Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Fritz & Chessters Chess for Winners

Fritz & Chessters Chess for Winners

Fall 2007 Software
Ages: 8 & Up
Publisher: Viva Media
Price: $29.99
Platform: Windows

When the first Fritz & Chesster title came out in 2003, the game quickly earned awards and checkmated most of the "serious" chess-tutoring programs in sales and popularity. The formula was simple: Make the remarkably educational game of chess both entertaining and easy to learn for children using a funky storyline, a few cute characters, and mini-games embedded with chess lessons.

In the latest Fritz & Chesster, the same goals apply to teaching kids the game's more advanced concepts and strategies. Previous characters return to help Fritz and his cousin Bianca, royal kids related to the King White, maneuver through a storyline about the evil King Black up to no good yet again, this time at the carnival Chesstival, where they go on rides and play amusement-park mini-games. Visit the fortune teller, play the Tin Can Alley game, ride the bumper cars and the Ferris wheel, and win a stuffed animal if you're good. But each ride and game actually teaches advanced chess concepts, from clock-timed moves to opening schemes, strategies like diversion to endgame planning.

If you need a refresher on the more basic moves, Bianca has an organizer that has that info. But this game is really meant for kids who already know how to play. In fact, it's perfect for kids who've played through the first two Fritz & Chessters. Purchasing Fritz & Chesster also includes a year's subscription to, a site where youngsters can try out their newly learned moves on real players online. But what's cool about this series is that kids really do learn how to play chess by playing it-and now they can learn to win.

Don Oldenburg   ©2007 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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Viva Media
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