So far, I am very much enjoying Fritz Chess 14. While I'd like to consider myself a decent Chess player, I admit I still have much to learn of the game, such as end game calculations, mass attack and defense strategies, and how to not accidentally spill coffee on my chessboard while I play.
Although I haven't found tips for coffee related checkmates, I believe this game is a substantial learning and teaching tool. In essence, this software is great for improving your game and playing techniques, or teaching them if you enjoy being a Chess tutor. While you can indeed play a simple game of Chess with Fritz 14, it offers a great deal more than that, from rated games and multimedia files that explain the rules of the game, to analysis tools that suggests blunders, correct moves and checkmate threats.
I would like to warn potential buyers of Fritz 14, it can be very complex and intimidating to learn all of the programs offerings. It truly does go the distance in terms of analysis tools and options. However, in my opinion, once you indeed learn how it all works, it is that much more at your disposal. So, while it can be very confusing to master (perhaps even understand) at first, I think it pays off in the long run, especially for anyone whom is seriously trying to master the challenges that make Chess what it is. After using this program, I can easily understand if one would choose to call it "Software" rather than "Game".
The core game offers several types of 2D and 3D boards, not a considerable amount, but a few. A player can customize the pieces of the set, the board color and style, as well as the background table the board lays on. This is also the first Chess program I've played that offers 3D opponents that can move the pieces with their hands. While I prefer a simpler 2D Chessboard myself, I find the 3D opponents to be an interesting concept, and I certainly appreciate creativity.
From what I understand, the game also comes with a six month subscription to PlayChess.com,
a website that offers Chess news, training, a dedicated server for online matches, and likely a good deal more. I must admit I tend to be a very esoteric individual (Did I mention this is my first Steam review?) and I have not played online. I would have to imagine the community at PlayChess,com
is a positive one, however, this is purely my own speculation. Perhaps sometime I will find out for myself.
To conclude my review, I would recommend it happily to any player looking to go from being a good Chess gamer to a great one, from a hobby player to a pro player, or even an inexperienced player to a rather competent player. With patience, this program offers a considerable deal of training content and much more. However, if you would rather simply enjoy a Chess game or two, there are much less complex, not to mention cheaper, alternatives to Fritz Chess 14. And I personally recommend caution with certain malicious cups of coffee.
Good luck and happy gaming!