It's tempting to list every bit of Chess Software ever created, on this page. But, instead, our focus is going on just two offerings:
The first, Fritz 12, because I use it and it's good;
The second, WinBoard, because it's free, I've had a go ... and it's good.
Prior to Fritz 12, I'd been pratting about with Chess Titans - afterall, it was already on my computer and I didn't need to pay to play it.
However, a decision to use Chess as a Brain Training exercise, prompted me to take learning the game a bit more seriously and I wanted a program to match my intentions.
As a beginner, it's difficult to assess the merits of one Chess software program over another, so we're largely reliant on recommendations and endorsements by experts and professionals.
Besides the features and styling, I purchased my own copy of Fritz 12 largely due to the quote from Garry Kasparov, who "regularly analyzes with Fritz" - can't get a better endorsement than from a World Champion.
The way I saw it was, if it meets the needs of someone who relies on it for their profession - their livelihood - then it'll easily do for someone like me, a casual player who wants to get good, if not play chess for a living.
Part of the Fritz 12 package includes a series of Training Videos. Sure, some turned out to be 'Previews' to other Training DVDs by ChessBase (creators of Fritz 12), but there was more than enough educational content to satisfy a beginner, without being information-overload.
Of the 3D boards available, I found it best to stick to the simplest choices ...
You can choose the one where the CGI opponent is an animated Turk, but that annoyed me, as the character's hand sometimes remained over the piece it had just moved, which was off-putting, as it was then my turn and the clock was ticking down.
It's difficult to give a full evaluation on a page that contains an overview of other Chess Software, simply because there's a LOT of features and stuff that you get with Fritz 12. At the moment, a few of the 3D boards aside, it certainly doesn't disappoint.
|For more Fritz 12 videos, Click Here!|
Unlike some other free Chess programs I looked at try too hard to be different, just for the sake of being different.
But, with WinBoard, there's no attention-grabbing gimmicks here. It doesn't try to be anything other than a Chess program, which is a good thing.
WinBoard (also known as XBoard, for Linux machines) is just a 2D board layout, but everything's immediately identifiable - no having to guess which fantasy creature is the Bishop / King / Rook / etc. - and you can get straight down to playing your game.
You'll find a Chess clock at the top of the window and the default setting is for a 5 minute game, which can be changed via the no frills, easy-to-use menus (again, this is a good thing).
At any time, during or after your game, there's a facility that allows you to play back all the moves.
The program window has a good range of resizing options - if you've ever played Minesweeper (10 Mines), on a Microsoft Windows PC, WinBoard can be shrunk down to that sort of size - in fact, even smaller - and still playable, making it good for small laptops and Netbooks.
|WinBoard. Click To Begin Download.|