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If you want to learn and enjoy playing chess, I honestly wouldn’t advise you to do that here with this game. With the over simplified design and concept of the game, the only thing you are ever going to get from this video game is the total concept and principle of playing chess – no more; no less. The style is so plain that it defeats the purpose of having fun while learning – it’s just out-and-out boring. But let’s put aside my opinion and let me try to just look at the merits and drawbacks of the game without prejudice.

When it comes to its relative concept, you really can’t ask for more. The game is basically designed for those who want to learn while actually playing chess. If you consider yourself quite an expert, you’d most likely think there’s no meat in the game.

Be that as it may, the game has 4 basic levels. In the Quick Game option you are going to battle against a random AI opponent. You can also proceed to the Classic Chess where you have the option of four modes. The Practice Game lets you explore and expand your knowledge and master the moves you learn while you battle wits with one of 8 opponents to pick from; you can also choose the level of difficulty from three choices. I’m sure you’d be glad to hear that you are given tips and hints in this mode. A variation of the mode is the Rated Game where you can still select your opponent but the tips and clues are gone. Then there’s the Setup Position, which as the name implies, allows you to create and arrange any position of your choice and proceed to playing your way around it. I’m willing to bet that with the title such as this game has, most players are going head straight for the Learn Chess mode where newbies go through 24 lessons on chess pieces, moves, tactics and strategies.

Alright, time to move away from the Classic Chess and check out the ad-hoc multiplayer mode. The mode provides you with some straightforward chess games and chess puzzles. The purpose of this mode is to get you familiar with the game – what moves to make and what not to make. Interestingly, there are mini games that you can also exploit for possible break in the monotony – well, I’d say! Your scores are recorded and tallied to let you see your progress. You can save your matches anytime, and pick it up from where you left off the next time you play the game.

Chessmaster: The Art of Learning is really designed for beginners. The only thing to do when you buy it is to play chess all day all, night and become a master chess player (you wish!). I think it’s kind of weird that it has such a high price. Let me ask this…Are you willing to pay $30 just to learn how to play chess? Count me out.