Chess Titans is a chess video game program that comes with Windows Vista (Home Premium, Business and Ultimate editions), and in the new Windows 7 beta edition. It is developed by Oberon Games. Unless lacking the relevant video card or video software, Chess Titans will allow you to play on a marble 3D chess board. If the marble board and "frosted glass" chess set is not to your satisfaction, you can choose between three different sets of chess pieces, and you can switch boards between porcelain (or china), marble and wood. If you do not have Windows Vista, I can recommend looking at ChessGenius (free demo).
What can we say about Microsoft's new game? Well, it must be at least equal to Pinball, which has been replaced, although I am biased in this view. Chess Titans is very simple and to-the-point - after loading the program, a chessboard immediately appears so that you can start playing. There is a helpful feature for beginners - if you click on a piece, the board will highlight the squares which that piece can move to. This makes it much easier for new players to grasp the rules of the game, just remember to move the king and the rook when you castle on a real chessboard! There are 10 difficulty levels, so beginners should probably start off with level 1. Chess Titans understands all the rules of chess including en passant, under-promotion and "insufficient material" (which automatically becomes a draw).
The game doesn't let down advanced players either. There are 10 difficulty settings and the 10th is mighty hard to defeat. Level 10 is the hardest, but it also plays the slowest. The 10th level should be a challenge to defeat, even for titled players. I like to play against level 8 because it replies fast and provides an opponent which makes mistakes which you can exploit. It can be annoying if players play white in every single game and don't know to go into Game --> Options (or just press F5) and click "Play against computer as Black".
When playing against Chess Titans, the computer uses an "opening book", which are moves pre-programmed into the computer. Since computers aren't good at opening strategy, programmers like to give it a head start by using an opening book. Chess Titans will play popular modern openings against you.
Other features include a "save game" feature, which allows you to continue a saved game later (but don't close the game without saving it, because then the "statistics" counts as you losing!), as well as a "statistics" feature, which shows your record against the respective difficulty setting of the computer.
All in all, Chess Titans is a picturesque, fully-animated 3D chess game, suitable for all chess players. If you just want to sit down and play a good game of chess, this is the perfect game for you!For chess opening training and repertoire maintenance, I highly recommend the software that I personally use, Chess Openings Wizard. This software was approved by Grandmaster Peter Svidler (FIDE rating 2730 as of January 2011) many years ago.
Article originally written: Friday, April 24, 2009
Article edited (slightly):
Friday, January 28, 2011