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Title: Chess Academy 6 Office Exclusive Pack Author: Chess Academy
Language: English, German, French... Published: 2001
Publisher: Chess Academy Software Homepage: http://chessacademy.de
Price: EURO 255,00
 
System requirements: Pentium 133 Mhz, 64 MB RAM and Windows 95/98/2000
Test Computer: Pentium III 450 Mhz, 128 MB RAM and Windows 98
Reviewed by: Søren Søgaard Date: 22/04 2001

Chess Academy Software has released a new edition of there program Chess Academy 6 Office, and in this review I will take a look at the product called "Chess Academy 6 Office Exclusive Pack". This is the most expensive from the three options you have for buying Chess Academy Office 6, the other is "Chess Academy 6 Office Starter Pack" (Euro 102) and "Chess Academy 6 Office Pro Pack" (Euro 155).

Let's have a look at what this Chess Academy Office 6 contains, so you know what it is all about. Not all the additional tutorial & training modules below is available in the "Starter Pack".

Content

  • Database containing 1.702.723 games
  • Tutorial and training program
  • More than 50 chess engines
  • 11 additional tutorial & training modules with more than 15.000 annotated and classified examples.
  • Middlegame Strategy
    - Exchange Sacrifice
    - Isolated Pawn
    - Hanging Pawns
    - Compensation for the Queen
    - The Bishop Pair
    - Rook vs. Minor Pieces
  • Encyclopaedia of Chess Combinations
  • 3 modules with Encyclopaedia of Chess Studies
  • 10 additional modules with Encyclopaedia of Chess Endings
    - Rook Endings vol. 1,2
    - Rook vs. Minor Piece Endings vol. 1,2
    - Pawn Endings vol. 1,2, Queen Endings vol. 1, 2
    - Minor Pieces Endings vol. 1, 2
    - Total more than 10.000 annotated and classified chess endings

Let's take a break here and catch our breath......I assure you that I don't get paid to write what it contains, but after reading the list one has to admit that it is "packed" with  information. I will now take a closer look at the program. First you have to install the program, and it is not everyday day that you have to use a CD-ROM AND an installation diskette to install a program. Nevertheless, the installation went smoothly, but it took quite some time as I chose to install everything. A total installation requires by the way 783 MB free space on your Hard disk drive!

 

Layout

As you can see from the screenshot  there is a lot of toolbars, but fortunately it is possible to remove them from the screen! The set-up of the program is a little bit confusing at start, but after a few hours you are familiar with the program.

One thing that annoyed me was that with a screen with 800x600 it wasn't possible to see the bottom of the tutorial. You have to scroll down to see it, so I recommend you to use a screen with 1024x768.

 

Database

The Database contains 1,7 million games and the latest games is from 2000 including the match between Kasparov and Kramnik in London. It has the features that a Database program supposed to have, you can easily search after games: Header, Position, Material..... Moreover the program finds the games very fast! It is also possible to search through opening-keys, middlegame-keys and endgame-keys.

I checked which of my own games the Database contained - of course, I shouldn't have done this as it turned out that it contained games that I had forgotten all about. And with good reason!! I also found some of my own games where it was the wrong opponent listed - a quick view gave at least 3 out of 136 wrong opponents.

Training & Tutorial

The training & tutorial part is really good. There are so many tutorials in the "Exclusive Pack" that I can't mention them all - but there is many!! Just take a look at the content earlier in this review.

There is Educative Examples that tells you about the most basic things (like King + Pawn against King), and then there is training games where you have to guess the move before your time runs out. At first, I didn't have a chance to solve these problems until I discovered that it was possible to change the time intervals!! 30 seconds isn't much time to solve these "Test Your Chess" games!!

The tutorials have some prominent annotators like GM A.Mikhalchishin and GM I.Dorfman.

All in all this product from Chess Academy is quite interesting and I think is it worth remembering this product if you are about to buy a ChessDatabase and/or training programs.

Conclusion:
If you don't have a Chess Database by now, Chess Academy Office 6 is a good alternative to ChessBase and Informator. You get a good Database (with a few errors!) and on top of that, there is training and tutorials for a year or two!! I'm really impressed by the program(s) and I think that both chess-instructors & people who want to train on there own can benefit from these tutorials.

It should be mentioned that the layout is not quite as good as e.g. ChessBase, but if you buy the StarterPack you can save some money. Its not easy to choose which is best, and I'm glad I wont have to take that decision ;-)

 

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