Chessmaster is a chess playing computer game series which is now owned and developed by Ubisoft. It is the best-selling chess franchise in history, with more than five million units sold as of 2002.
The Chessmaster series started in 1986 with The Chessmaster 2000 by The Software Toolworks. It was published for Amiga, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Macintosh, and DOS. In 1988, Chessmaster 2100 was published for the Apple IIGS, and in 1989 for DOS. In 1990 The Chessmaster was published for the NES and in 1991 it was published for the SNES. Also in 1991, Chessmaster 3000 was published for Windows 3.x and in 1995 for PlayStation.
The current version, Chessmaster XI, was released on 30 October 2007 for PC (titled Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition) and Nintendo DS (titled Chessmaster: The Art of Learning), and 12 February 2008 for PlayStation Portable (also titled Chessmaster: The Art of Learning). It includes numerous tutorials by International Master Joshua Waitzkin for players of all skill levels.
Download Chessmaster 10th Edition
The Chessmaster chess engine is called The King, written by Johan de Koning of the Netherlands. It was introduced in Chessmaster 4000; earlier releases featured a chess engine written by David Kittinger.
According to the September 2009 Swedish Chess Computer Association (SSDF) rating list, Chessmaster 9000 has an estimated Elo rating of 2718 on an Athlon-1200 PC. If multiple versions of other engines are stripped out of their list, Chessmaster 9000 ranks 14th among all engines tested. As of May 2008, Chessmaster 9000 remains the most recent version rated by the SSDF. Another rating list, CCRL, places Chessmaster 11th Edition in 24th place on its December 2009 list.
The King engine allows users to create new playing styles, also called "personalities", by manipulating several dozen different settings, such as King Safety, Pawn Weakness, Randomness, Mobility and others. Individual piece values can also be adjusted. Chessmaster 9000, for example, features over 150 different personalities ranging from International Grandmaster strength down to Stanley, who is described as a monkey and plays what are essentially random moves.
The personality feature has inspired many amateur computer chess enthusiasts to attempt to find more optimum personalities.In Chessmaster 10th Edition, the creation of new personalities has been made easier than before.
Chessmaster 9000 defeated then U.S. Chess Champion International Grandmaster Larry Christiansen in a four-game match held in September 2002. Chessmaster won the match 2.5-1.5. The Chessmaster program was operated by John Merlino, the Project Manager of Chessmaster at the time of the match. Four different personalities were used in the match, the first three of which were based on famous human Grandmasters: Alexander Alekhine, Bobby Fischer, and Mikhail Botvinnik. The final game of the match used the default "Chessmaster" personality. Christiansen won the first game, lost the second and third games, and the fourth game resulted in a draw.
To date, various versions of Chessmaster have appeared on Amiga, Apple II, Apple IIGS, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, DOS, PC, Mac, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Sega Game Gear, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and mobile phones. Early Macintosh versions Chessmaster 3000, 4000 and Multimedia were developed by Sebastian Rapport and Troy Heere that leveraged the Kittinger and de Koning engines respectively. Later Macintosh versions were ported by Feral Interactive, and the latest Macintosh version available is Chessmaster 9000. Ubisoft also offers a downloadable version of the game: "Chessmaster Challenge differs from Chessmaster 10th Edition in its simplified interface, and scaled-down tutorials. It’s a non-retail product available for trial and purchase through download only.