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Continuing the definitive series that began in 1986 with the first Software Toolworks, Inc. Chessmaster release for MS-DOS and Atari ST, Ubi Soft Entertainment takes over the development reigns with Chessmaster 9000. With more than a decade and a half of enhancements and improvements to build on, the designers have added over 60 new chess sets and boards, introduced a "blindfold chess" mode, and a new random opponent feature. International Master Josh Waitzkin, whose rise in the chess world was documented in the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, offers a new "Psychology of Competition" chess course as well.
Players can benefit from new features like a Mentor Lines window (depth of advice), a Blunder Alert option, hidden opponents, and competition against other chess engines. In addition to the long-standing setup options of the series, The Kid's Room allows children or novices to work on drills, play practice games, learn to play, and monitor progress. Players have multiple options to set their "room environment" with personal preferences, enter a Game Room to analyze or play matches, specify levels of instruction desired in The Classroom, play rated games in The Tournament Room, or visit The Library to study more than 800 classic games.
The official Chessmaster web site offers a free downloadable "Chessmaster 9000 Endgame Database Generator" to use in conjunction with the existing Database Room features. Competition via the Internet or a LAN is available through the Chessmaster Live Room, with rated play available at the developer's web site. Additional features include a new Endgame Quiz by GM Larry Evans, as well as tutorials by legendary instructor Bruce Pandolfini, GM Yasser Seirawan, Becca Martinson and Evans. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide