Fritz & Chesster's Chess for Winners

Game review by
Jinny Gudmundsen, Common Sense Media
Fritz & Chesster's Chess for Winners Game Poster Image
Learn slick chess moves at the carnival.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this third game in the Learn to Play Chess with Fritz & Chesster series presumes that kids already know how to play chess. It teaches strategy and tactics by having kids play a series of mini-chess activities. Because the computer game takes place at a carnival, one of the rides is in a Spook House, but the ghost is friendly and a good chess teacher.

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What's it about?

FRITZ & CHESSTER'S CHESS FOR WINNERS is the third title in the award-winning Learn to Play Chess with Fritz & Chesster series. The stars of the first two games, Fritz and Bianca, are back. Kids join them at the Pleasantville Village Fair, a carnival full of booths and games that teach chess knowledge, including opening, middle game, and endgame tactics. Fritz and Bianca discover that the evil King Black has cheated 16 other kings out of their carnival winnings; kids help Fritz and Bianca visit 16 booths and rides to win new prizes for the kings.

For example, to practice the Spanish Opening (also known as the Ruy Lopez), kids memorize the sequence of moves by placing a gem on the board during a practice session and then re-creating the moves to collect the gem and earn points. The game gives kids opportunities to play against the computer using the Fritz chess software engine, or they can play against a friend. A nice feature is that kids can ask for suggested moves.

Is it any good?

Chess for Winners is a great way for kids to expand their chess knowledge. It contains an excellent series of Mini games that explore advanced chess theory. By presenting meaty concepts within a whimsical game format, kids can learn complicated tactics in a less stressful way. Cleverly, the Mini games break down the components of strategy into different levels, and make good use of animations to help kids visualize what is happening.

Compared with the first in the series, this software has less of a storyline. Even so, it's well worth exploring if you have a child who already plays chess, and especially if the child enjoyed the first two titles in the series. The teaching of chess strategy is done in such a way that kids will find it fun, not overwhelming.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this game makes learning chess tactics interesting. Would it be easier to learn things at school if lessons were more like a game? In this game King Black is a bad guy. When playing chess, do you think of your opponent as bad? Or simply as someone to beat?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Viva-Media
  • Release date: November 15, 2006
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: E

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