PocketPC owners are blessed with a wide array of chess playing programs from which to choose. But until now, there has been a dearth of tutorial software for this platform. Convekta has chosen to remedy this situation by porting their most successful chess training program to date – CT-ART, to this platform.
This version of CT-ART is very true to the original on the PC (which incidentally, is the benchmark against which all other tactics training programs are judged). It uses the same types of training exercises, and roughly the same functionality - the only thing missing is the ability to play a position against an engine. And it should be noted that the user interface has been highly tuned and optimized for the smaller screen of the PocketPC.
Let’s go down a list of the basic features of this software
· >1200 tactical training exercises
· Training mode – Go through exercises in preprogrammed order, theme by theme
· Test mode – Test yourself on a random selection of exercises
· Tracks your success in particular areas
· All the normal functions – resizable boards, option to flip board depending on side to move, etc.
Let me quickly walk through the basic operation of the program. When it is first started, you can use the default user name, or put in your own using the “New” button.
Next you'll see the navigator window, and be presented with the choice of going into practice or test mode using the two buttons shown to the right of the menu button. If you want training mode, you'll have to select a tactical area that you want to work on.
Test mode allows you to input the number of test positions that you want for this session.
Then you'll be presented with a series of positions to solve – with visual hints given if you guess wrong (this can be turned off).
When you complete the test positions, you'll be able to review your progress using the bar charts.
You'll probably recognize the graphics in this version of CT-ART, since they are virtually the twins of those used in CT-ART for the PC. In fact, those that used the DOS version will recognize the color scheme in this version of the program (which looks better on the PocketPC than it does here).
In my opinion, training software is one of the best uses for a PocketPC. The reason is size. When you're crammed ear to ear on a plane, believe me, smaller is much better. In fact, I used PC CT-ART on my last plane trip, and found it to be very nearly perfect. Not only was it convenient from a size standpoint, it also saved me from lugging a bunch of books around with me (I normally take tactical problem books with me to read). If you ask me, this training software is as close as you're going to get to a killer chess app for the PPC.
The program is compatible with WM2003SE (although, there will be a warning when the program is installed). One of the major new features in this version of the PocketPC OS is support for landscape mode. CT-ART PPC is compatible with this mode, but on my machine, there was some scrolling needed to get everything situated properly on screen. On VGA, with more pixels, it might look better (but I don’t have a VGA PPC).
There is no question that this is the best training software available for the PocketPC. It is derived from the highly successful program and book by Maxim Blokh, which has been recommended by numerous coaches, instructional texts, and reviews. So it is obvious that the material used for the exercises is top-notch. The user interface for the program is quite straightforward, and just plain works. I would highly recommend this program for PocketPC users.
The program is available directly from the Convekta Shop.
Space required: Approx 2.5 MB