A chess-teaching rat gets an update for modern times

Amora R Jelo
A rook from the Kickstart project for Chesster and Fritz chessboard set. The "5" designates point value to give youngsters an idea of the piece's relative worth.

Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote about a chess-teaching program aimed at children ages 8 and up. It used various arcade-like games to teach kids how chess pieces moved and captured. It was a new concept in learning chess for beginners.

The program originally appeared in 2003 and was sold on a CD-ROM under the title of “Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster.” Children’s Technology Review wrote about it when it first appeared, saying, “clever review of the chess pieces and moves,” and concluded with: “This is the best children’s chess program on the market.”

Chesster was a Cheshire rat who – as you may guess from the odd spelling of the name – was also a teacher of chess. His two students were Fritz, the son of King and Queen White, and Bianca, Fritz’s cousin.

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