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Customer Review

on December 29, 2004
Highlights:

(1) Make sure you have the necessary hardware/software before buying this.

(2) Of the three documentation sets, the Manual.pdf file CM9000 installs

on your hard drive is the most thorough.

Chessmaster has long been the most popular Mac commercial chess program.

It has been over 3.5 years since the last version (Chessmaster 6000)

was updated (April 2001), so I was excited to receive it today.

Chessmaster 9000 is OS X native and comes on a DVD full of goodies.

The minimum hardware/software requirements are high, though.

Both the package documentation and the publisher's Web site

(Feral Interactive) say you need:

- DVD player ( the Chessmaster DVD must be in your DVD drive to play)

- Mac OS 10.2 (minimum) or higher

- 256 MB RAM, 1.3 GB free hard drive space, Quicktime 6

If your setup doesn't meet these criteria, then Chessmaster 6000 Mac,

which Amazon also sells, is an alternative.

My copy came with a 20 page hardcopy manual, a 54 page manual

in Acrobat format (Manual.pdf) that was installed on my hard drive,

and a 68 page copy of the 2-yr old Windows version manual (?!)

accessible by the Help: Chessmaster Help menu option. The

Manual.pdf file seemed the most useful.

The program features are arranged in five areas:

- Classroom: tutorials, drills, tests, problems, annotated games at four levels

- Game Room: play games for fun, with lots of help from Chessmaster

- Library: View any of 800 classic annotated games from 1619-2002

- Tournament: Play games for score - no hints, takebacks, etc. ;

set up matches between various simulated chess greats

- Database: 500.000+ chess games, searchable by position, or from an

opening game tree of some 2200 initial move sequences.

- Kids Room: Training and games for beginners

- GM Live: Play another person over a LAN or the Internet

The program supports hosted games through the GameRanger site,

but the GameRanger site does not list it at present.

The voice-narrated annotated games and animated analysis are my

favorite features of this product. When Josh Waitzken is explaining

his games, for example, squares light up, ghosted pieces show

alternative moves, and arrows show lines of attack.

Also, Chessmaster is very strong. Of chess programs available

on the Macintosh, Chessmaster 9000 is second only to HIARCS

(based on matches played with the PC versions by the SSDF).

Chessmaster 9000 uses the chess engine "The King 3.23".
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