Chess played for laughs, with skill

3/10/2005 – Chess tends to be serious, silent and slow. In general the game of kings doesn't have a rep for lightheartedness and laughs. But, according to the Houston Chronicle, Learn to Play Chess with Fritz & Chesster 2 could change that perception. Here's the review...

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Excerpt from the review by Anne Reeks

It's hard to be uptight about aiming a cannon stuffed with a hungry fellow called Jumbo Chops Joe and firing at flying food. Yet that seemingly silly enterprise demonstrates diagonal movement of bishops and queens and prepares for more sophisticated training, using a single piece to threaten two of your opponent's pieces.

Without sacrificing scope, depth or raw chess power, Learn to Play Chess 2 jests and jollies kids and grownups along the path from beginner to intermediate player and beyond. On one hand, it's got Fritz, the world-class software engine, providing behind-the-scenes brains, and on the other, a whimsical plot, charismatic cast, funny settings and clever games and activities to make the trip enjoyable as well as instructive.

Once again, evil is afoot in King White's kindly realm, evoked in charming 2-D, watercolor-look scenes. Dastardly, chess-obsessed King Black wants to win the title of best player in the land. He captures Chesster, a rat who's a brilliant player and coach to royal cousins Fritz and Bianca. The duo sets off to rescue Chesster, stops to participate in the Pleasantville Olympics (site of the previously mentioned Cannon Man Championships) and ends up trapped too.

List of stories on this remarkable children's program.

Old world sophistication, not rampaging rooks
2/10/2005 When a magazine like Game Chronicles reviews a nerdy chess program you would expect a gigantic yawn. "When I began playing Fritz 8, I figured a jeans and T-shirt guy like me would hate it," admits reviewer John DeWeese, who also tried out our children's tutor Fritz & Chesster. See how he fared...

Fritz & Chesster 2 gets five-star review
1/6/2005 Our children's chess teaching program is out there, generating thousands of new chess players. Like no other chess software "Fritz & Chesster" has scaled the mail-order lists, landing on the top of the Amazon top-sellers. Now version two is out and getting rave reviews.

Fritz and Chesster volume two
12/15/2004 The original Fritz & Chesster children's teaching program is currently number two on Amazon's overall top selling software list, just behind Adobe's latest Photoshop Elements 3.0. Quite unprecedented for a chess program. First reviews of volume two lead us to suspect that it will do as well as the original.

Fritz and Chesster tops Amazon
11/13/2004 For the first time the bestseller list in the Children software section of Amazon was topped by a chess program – ahead of Nancy Drew, I Spy and Backyard Baseball. Learn to Play Chess with Fritz & Chesster by Viva Media has received a 4½ (out of five) star rating. Meanwhile Viva has announced the release of Fritz 8 Deluxe. Curious?

Gold Award for Fritz & Chesster
3/25/2004 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 reviews.

Maybe you should get it for the kids?!
03.12.2003 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 list.

Software 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...

Learn 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 review.

A 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 it," writes 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 program here...

Slow and steady
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.

Chess '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."

Yet more rave reviews
19.06.2003 After USA Today gave it a resounding five stars (of five), now Cablevision's Power to Learn reviewer Diane S. Kendall calls Fritz and Chesster "one of the best of its kind I've seen in years". And Discovery.com 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".

Chess 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 the report.

It'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...

Soccer 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 program Fritz and Chesster Rudy is convinced that the next Morphys, Fischers and Polgars are at their computer screens right now. More...

Fritz 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.

A 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.

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