Fritz and Chesster does not teach chess in the usual
way. It does not set up a board and explain how each of the
pieces move. Instead it targets children who have never played
chess before in their lives and teaches them the basic rules
in a friendly and fun cartoon-like environment. There are
cartoons and stories for the children to follow, and then
there are tasks for them to solve interactively. In short
Fritz and Chesster makes chess fun...
you've decided that the most important thing in the world
is to teach your six year old chess, not the first thing that
came to my mind when mine were six, but hey someone out there
must have had kids who didn't seem like Armageddon on legs
at that age. So when this insane idea has rooted itself in
your head, what do you do? Well you can always spend frustrating
hours trying to teach your kids yourself or you can sit them
in front of Fritz & Chesster Learn to Play Chess.
first I thought that the idea was patently insane - I mean
how can you turn, what is a fairly seminal game, into something
that kids would want to learn in the first place? Well, my
stressed fellow parents, this may be the answer to your dreams.
Fritz & Chesster hooks the little tykes with an animated
story that looks and feels very much like that old animated
kid's show Mr Ben (now I'm showing my age) in its style
of animation, with Prince Fritz looking very much like a young
Harry Potter. Indeed, there is a Potter reference in
the game, showing that the creators know something of their
his father away Fritz is forced to take on the Black King
in his father's stead. But, of course, Fritz has no idea how
to play the game, so he is taken through a number of sub-games
by a fat psychedelic mentor. The smaller games teach Fritz
and the kids how the pieces move and are done in such a way
as to keep the whole thing very entertaining. Indeed, some
of the sub games are so much fun I found myself revisiting
them even though I already knew how to play chess.
you progress through the story you progress through the games,
but you have to finish each game before you can move on. The
only exception to this is the ability to play a full game
from the start; I guess this is aimed at the parents so that
they can also use the game when the kids are asleep.
you may think that the full game is a bit naff, but as far
as I could see it's a full game of chess, in fact the stupid
thing beat me as often as I beat it; it has a full hint system
for the newbie, but should also stretch the parents as well.
is it worth the money? I would have to say yes. The only detraction
that I found was that the navigation system wasn't as intuitive
as I would have liked. It's not that obvious at first how
you progress from one teaching level to the next. There's
no indication that you need to return to the story to move
to the next level.
quibble aside, and it's a pretty bit one if you're a six year
old, the program is well worth its cost. Of course I still
think you're mad if you thing a six year old will pause from
destroying the family home long enough to learn chess, but
I guess there may be a few kids out there. If you think you
have one of those buy the disc but be on hand for the story