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Customer Review

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent chess game for the DS, 5 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Fritz Chess (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
Fritz DS is the little brother of the all singing all dancing pc chess powerhouse that is Fritz. I couldn't find any reviews whatsoever on the web, so took a chance and decided to buy it anyway. So this may well be the very first english language review of Fritz DS. Woo hoo!

You can play normal chess, chess 360/Fischer chess, and giveaway chess, where you have to lose all of your pieces to win. I myself am really only interested in standard chess, but it's nice to have a choice. Fritz provides a range of playing levels, rated from around 400 to 2320 elo, as well as a self adjusting 'friend mode' where its strength will adjust over time to meet yours. You can play rated games or practice games where you can take moves back as often as you want.

Timer modes available are blitz (preset time for the whole game), long (x moves in x time), and without clock. Incremental time per move can also be used in blitz mode.

Unlike pc Fritz there is no game or move analysis at all - you can only play chess. However, you can tell Fritz to warn you when you blunder, and it can also display legal moves and threatened pieces etc. The game does not teach you how to play chess, so is not suitable for absolute beginners.

I tested out Fritz DS against Fritz 11 on the pc. I really didn't have much hope that Fritz DS would challenge its big brother, but it lost one game (at 1500 elo) and won another (at 2320 elo). I should mention that pc Fritz used only around 4 minutes of time when playing at 2320 elo and looked around 4 or 5 moves ahead. I'm sure if I played around with the settings more it would have crushed Fritz DS (as it did at 1500 elo). I myself am a very average player and Fritz DS can beat me when I set it at 1500 elo. That's all I'm looking for really, a portable chess game that can beat me.

You can tell the game to resign early, late, or never. In one game with resignation set to late, we were down to king/bishop v king/bishop which as far as I am aware is a dead draw. Fritz refused 4 or 5 draw offers from me but then inexplicably resigned.

I played quite a few games as white 1. e4 and Fritz DS played a variety of black openings, about half of which were Sicilian Defence. There was also the French Defence, Petroff Defence, and Ruy Lopez.

As far as presentation is concerned, you play holding the DS in 'book style' with the board on the right and the move list and captured pieces info on the left. Right and left handed modes are available. You can choose from quite a wide variety of 2D chess pieces and board colours, so there should be something to meet everyone's taste. I found the standard staunton pieces best.

Music is available but I found it quite annoying and soon silenced it. You can set the game language to English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian. Moving the pieces is done via the stylus and is really easy and natural. Games in progress can be saved and reloaded.

There's a database of 2000 games ranging from the year 1625 to 2007. There is no text commentary available so all you can do is replay the game a move at a time. Puzzles consists of mate in 1, best move, and medium and advanced mate in x moves. I'm not sure if the puzzles are infinitely generated or you will eventually run through them all as there is no numbering included. There's a board setup mode which can be used to play through puzzles or games from newspapers.

Multiplayer is limited to 2 players using 1 DS or 2 players playing locally on 2 DS's. There is no internet wifi play.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with Fritz DS. It provides an easy to use and functional chess playing environment at a strength that can easily beat me. There are some quirks (such as the bishop/king situation noted above) but nothing to complain about too much. For me Fritz DS plays a good game of chess and should be enough for most average chess players.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Sep 2010 13:15:57 BDT
Val says:
Looking for a DS chess game for a 9 year old, who is a comparative beginner, so found this review helpful. Still in a bit of a quandary though as to whether to plump for Fritz, Learn Chess or Chessmaster 11
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