This is indeed something we have never seen before: a chess program topping
Amazon's best-selling children's software list. In America. The US distributors
Viva Media were caught by
surprise. CEO Carlo Voelker: "We had a faint suspicion that this might
happen sometime, but we assumed it would be around Christmas." But it
happened in the pre-Christmas sales in November.
bestseller list for children's software is upgraded hourly. If you view
the list you may find Nancy Drew ahead of Fritz & Chesster. The two most
popular programs are running neck-and-neck on this prestigeous list.
Fritz & Chesster is selling very vigorously and producing thousands of
new chess players all over the country. The software is aimed at children,
but is is quite likely that a lot of parents are joining in to learn the game
with their offspring.
Fritz & Chesster, developed by the German publishers Terzio, in collaboration
with ChessBase, does not teach chess in the usual way. Instead it teaches children
who have never played chess before in their lives the basic rules in a Sesame
Street like environment. There are cartoons and stories for the children to
follow, and then there are tasks for them to solve interactively.
Each piece and each rule is explained in a subgame, which you can play against
the computer. Many of them are far away from the actual game of chess, but
at the same time they give the children full insight into the sometimes daunting
rules of the game.
For instance the first lesson comes when they see two sumo wrestlers fighting
in a ring. The wrestlers are too fat to approach each other directly, so they
always stay at least one square apart. They move around the board blocking
each other off. The chess kids try to occupy chairs before their opponent,
and while playing this game the program explains how they can use "opposition"
to outwit the opponent. At the end of this lesson the children have learnt
everything they need to know about the king move, including the concept of
Earlier this year Fritz & Chesster won the Parent's Guide to Chidren's
Media award for best computer software 2003. A sequel
to the program has just been announced.
Fritz 8 Deluxe released
Viva Media has also just announced the release of a new package: Fritz 8 Deluxe.
It contains the same powerful engine that tied Garry Kasparov in the televised
2003 New York match. It also has the full Chess Media System developed by ChessBase
and used for a unique type of chess training. On the CD are teasers from Garry Kasparov's
DVD chess training series.
Fritz Deluxe also has six brand-new highly detailed zoom, tilt and rotate
TRUE 3D chessboards, including the remarkable "Spanish
Room," a one of a kind chess environment.
Here's a list of stories
on Fritz & Chesster
Award for Fritz & Chesster
Our children's CD-ROM title has won the 2004 Parents' Choice Gold Award.
The reviewers found Learn to Play Chess with Fritz & Chesster
"wonderfully unexpected, charming, simply animated, and cleverly designed."
It is number 35 on Amazon's top selling software list and has received
almost exclusively five-star
you should get it for the kids?!
After testing hundreds of new titles this year, USA Today came
up with their "Best Picks for the Holidays" in the category of children's
"edutainment" titles (software combines entertainment and learning).
Among the eight titles we find Fritz and Chesster, our very successful
children's chess tutor. Here's the full USAT
of the year, five stars for Fritz
18.09.2003 Game Industry News
has reviewed our program Fritz 8. Their conclusion: "Fritz earns
5 GiN Gems for being one of the most entertaining, informative and easy
to use chess games on the market today." And Parenting Magazine has chosen
Fritz & Chesster as a winner of the magazine’s prestigious
“Software of the Year” awards. More...
to play chess with Four Fat Chicks
24.08.2003 The name of the site is,
well, interesting. Four Fat Chicks does reviews of adventure games
and software that goes beyond the mass destruction of humans or aliens.
This week it's Fritz
and Chesster, which they call "one of the more remarkable and commendable
edutainment titles" they've seen. Here's their charming
wolf in sheep's clothing?
10.07.2003 "Learn to Play Chess with
Fritz and Chesster is a bit like a wolverine in that it's cute and
furry on the outside, but has some real teeth once you get involved with
GiN, the Game industry News service. The note that most children
won't even realize they are learning how to play chess. You can buy the
02.07.2003 "Learn to Play Chess with
Fritz and Chesster is a tad slow-moving at times, but its system
is quite effective and the story very charming," says this software
review, which gives the program an A. You can get your kids a copy
of Fritz and Chesster here.
'toon fun a cool combination
25.06.2003 "In a world of violent video
games there must be a place for children and their parents to interact
and actually learn something," says this
Washington Times review. Fritz and Chesster will "turn
junior into a grandmaster before mom and dad can say Svetozar Gligoric."
more rave reviews
19.06.2003 After USA
Today gave it a resounding five stars (of five), now Cablevision's
to Learn reviewer Diane S. Kendall calls Fritz
and Chesster "one of the best of its kind I've seen in years". And
gives it 9.2 out of 10 and a 5½ star rating. "Making the game of chess
child's play is not entirely easy, but this new game succeeds admirably".
is child's play
11.06.2003 That's what USA Today
thinks, after looking at our children's chess teaching software Fritz
and Chesster. "This software has an amazing amount of depth and is
presented in a progressive manner," writes USA Today reviewer Jinny Gudmundsen,
who gives the package five stars (out of five). Here's
raining awards and prizes!
04.06.2003 Our top programs are doing
pretty well out there in the media scene. Europe's biggest computer magazine
gave Fritz 8 the top place for board game software (Shredder 7 came in
second), and the Bologna Children's Book Fair gave Fritz & Chesster
the top children's media prize. More...
moms and Chesster
20.05.2003 "The US is going to become
the world's powerhouse of chess, I can guarantee that," writes star journalist
Rudy Chelminski (Smithsonian, Wired, Life, et al.). "How? Why? Because
of the soccer moms and Chesster." After some experiences with our
and Chesster Rudy is convinced that the next Morphys, Fischers and
Polgars are at their computer screens right now. More...
and Chesster get an A
01.05.2003 Of course we are proud when
ChessBase super-programs like Fritz and Junior bash Kramnik and Kasparov.
And we're proud that just about every GM in the world uses ChessBase
every day, as do thousands of other chess fans. But we're REALLY happy
with our new Fritz
and Chesster program that teaches chess to kids. And so was a Houston
Chronicle writer, as you will see here.
revolution in chess learning|
02.04.2003 It is possibly the most important
piece of software created by ChessBase. Like none of the other products
– Fritz, Junior, Shredder, or even ChessBase itself – Fritz and Chesster
is one that can recruit new players to the game. We predict that
tens of thousands of children will take up chess because they had access
to this program. Here's a description of the ultimate chess
teaching tool for children.