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Two PocketPC chess programs for beginners
keywords: tactics, chess, beginner, tutorial, PocketPC
Robert Pawlak
Sunday, May 07, 2006

Without much fanfare, Convekta releases two more PocketPC chess tutorials, both geared for the beginning chess player. Like the other PocketPC programs that Convekta has recently released, these are virtually identical to the equivalent PC versions.

I've reviewed many other PocketPC programs in this series, and if you're looking for illustrative screen shots, I would refer you to this article, it should give you a good feeling for the interface. When compared to the other Convekta PocketPC programs, there weren't any changes to the interface that were immediately obvious. However, these two programs require that the Microsoft .NET compact framework 2.0 be installed. One result is that these programs also have a smaller memory footprint at about 1.8 MB a piece (assuming the framework is on your machine).

Of the two programs, Pocket Chess Basics is the most suitable for those with some previous chess knowledge. The name might lead one to believe that it is only suitable for absolute beginners, but this is not the case. I found the content to be very similar to Convekta's Advanced Chess School for the PC. As such, much of what I said about that program holds here (find my review on The program is organized into the following sections:

Stage 1: Utilizing a decisive material advantage
Stage 2: The three stages of a chess game
Stage 3: Basic pawn endings
Stage 4: The fundamentals of chess tactics
Stage 5: Utilizing a material or positional advantage.

Some chess knowledge is assumed - but this program should be suitable for players that are looking to learn a bit more about the game. I liked "Advanced Chess School" (and "Pocket Chess Basics"), since both had some interesting training exercises, and covered some material that tends to be neglected in other software.

Pocket Tactics for Beginners is best for people that have some tactical knowledge, but wish to improve. The exercises are best suited for those with ELOs of 1600 or below. Although, some stronger players might want to use it for tactical speed drills. All the tactical exercises come from Sergey Ivaschenko's Manual of Chess Combinations (a print book that Convekta sells as well). There are about 1300 exercises all total. They are broken down as follows:

Stage 1: Mate in one with the various pieces
Stage 2: Mate in one, drawing, piece sacrifices, winning material, mate in two, sacrifice
Stage 3: Mate in two, winning material
Stage 4: Gain a piece, draw, and free-for-all
Stage 5: No subcategories

With these two programs, Convekta has rounded out their selection of tutorials, and now has something for just about every class of player.

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