This morning I came across an old Reddit post that mentioned IM Josh Waitzkin’s tutorials from the Chessmaster software. If you have a copy of Chessmaster lying around, you’ll already know what I’m talking about. And for those of you who don’t already know, Josh was the inspiration for the Searching for Bobby Fischer movie, which is roughly based on his childhood success (with the usual Hollywood tampering to improve the story).
Josh Waitzkin Chessmaster Tutorials for Free
In any case, the Reddit poster wanted to know if he could install the old Chessmaster files on a Windows tablet (he was able to do so in the end). Comments were closed on the thread, so I couldn’t leave this information there, but I thought it was worth mentioning that a lot of those tutorial videos are available for free on Chessmaster’s YouTube channel. If you search through the playlists, look for the thumbnails that have a blue and gray chessboard, and several of those will either be the Waitzkin tutorials (the others are equally interesting, as they are tutorials by GM Larry Christiansen and some others). The channel actually has quite a bit of interesting content, even if it’s not one of the hot chess channels at the moment. Also, I believe Josh has his own channel (or maybe it’s someone else posting all of the old videos). You can check them out at the WiichessVids channel.
A Word on the Chessmaster Program
Regarding the old game, I do have a copy of version 10 (the Reddit post mentioned the “newer” version 11). As I’ve mentioned in a couple of my videos, even Chessmaster 11 is not ranked highly in engine rankings (currently number 76 on this list). But there is something to be said for the program–there are several “personalities” programmed into the game at differing strengths. So, you can play against weaker settings and players who try for more active or defensive play, etc. This is actually a pretty good training tool, particularly if you want to practice against types of play that you struggle against.
Indeed, I might have to dig up my old CD at some point and give it another try. It’s been a couple years since I’ve messed around with the game because I had uninstalled it when I was trying to simplify my computer a bit. I wouldn’t recommend spending a lot of money for the program, but if you can find an old copy for five or ten bucks at a local shop or online, it’s probably worth it simply because the tutorials will be nice and organized for you and you can enjoy playing different computer strengths that you can actually try to beat.
Playing against Stockfish on the other hand–well, I don’t know if there are too many people that even bother playing against strong computers any more. A lot of people seem to like trying their hand at Computer Impossible on Chess.com, but some people are able to get some wins and draws in, whereas even the world’s best players struggle against the top engines, even with odds.
In any case, I’m starting to ramble a bit, so I’ll close this post up. I mainly just wanted to mention the Chessmaster YouTube channel for others who might be looking for those old Waitzkin tutorials and don’t have a copy of the CD. I’m not sure if all the tutorials are on there, but I seem to remember that many of them were.