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Art of Chess

Amiga - 1987

Alt name The Art of Chess
Year 1987
Platform Amiga
Released in United Kingdom
Genre Strategy
Theme Chess
Publisher Software Publishing Associates
Perspectives 3rd-Person, Free-roaming camera
4 / 5 - 2 votes

Description of Art of Chess

If you haven't played Art of Chess or want to try this strategy video game, download it now for free! Published in 1987 by Software Publishing Associates, Art of Chess was an above-average chess title in its time.

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Comments and reviews

BenRedic 2020-04-09 0 point

In 1987 the Amiga was still in its infancy, the 500 was just taking off, and there were a total of three chess games widely available for the platform: Chessmate, Chessmaster 2000 and Art of Chess. Chessmate was an independently published program written in AmigaBASIC (!), and although it looked better than that sounds, it was weak and buggy and not much of a keeper for anybody. Chessmaster 2000 took the strength of the already succesful and acclaimed Mychess program, and added a ton of features, master games, tutorials and a content packed manual, adding up to a complete package for any chess nut in the mid 80s, and went on to be the most successful franchise in computer chess history. Art of Chess places itself square in the middle between these two.

To start with what is good: I like the way the pieces move. Grabbing and moving a piece in AoC feels way more fluid than it does in a number of other stronger chess programs from this era. A lot of 16-bit chess programs with an isometric view of the board presents some issue with moving the pieces. Both picking up and dropping a piece is just awkward in Psion. Piece movement in the Whittington programs (Chess Champion 2175 et al) is jerky and slow. The click-click Colossus X is just a pain. Sargon III is fluid, but with no visible feedback until you actually finished your move. The pieces in AoC is easy to pick up and moves like a dream. I can only guess, but I imagine that being an Amiga only title this program makes good use of the Amiga graphics hardware, like using sprites for the pieces, and to good effect. Also, the 3D board doesn't look too bad. The default view easily feels cluttered, but if you tilt the board towards you it is easy to make out where the pieces are. Although I would prefer a plain 2D option, and the 3D board in CM2000 still looks better.

Apart from that, there's just not much good to say. The engine is just a pushover, and easily becomes the subject of miniature games that I would expect from an early 8-bit program. There is no opening book to speak of. There is a load/save function, and games can be printed, but not listed on the screen, leaving little room for post game analysis.

The game is designed to run off a single floppy, and makes little attempt to support anything else. There is no hard drive installation routine. You can install it with some clever use of assigns and IconX scripts, but trying to quit back to Workbench just gives you a message that "To Quit hold down CTRL, COMMODORE and AMIGA keys".

All in all, this just feels like a poor mans Chessmaster 2000. The latter just has way more features, more polish, plays stronger, and looks better doing it. One for beginners and/or collectors only.

Sample game, played at about 1 minute per move:

[White "BenRedic"]
[Black "Art of Chess A500"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3
{AoC is already out of book}
3...Nf6 4.d4 Bb4 5.Nxe5 Nxe5 $2
{This exchange, although common, does black no favours}
( 5...Qe7 {is the way to go} )
6.dxe5 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Nxe4 8.Qg4
{The white queen threatens to take the knight and invade on g7, and there is no way to prevent both. The black king is not castled, the black queen is locked in, and the white pawn on e5 is hampering any possibilities of holding the position together.}
( 8...d5 {would have been a more stubborn defense, but black is already losing} )
9.Qxg7 Rf8 10.Bg5
{Developing a piece and going after the helpless queen}
10...f6 11.exf6 Ne4 12.f7+ Rxf7 13.Qh8+ Rf8 14.Qe5+ Kf7 15.Bxd8 Nxf2 16.Bc4+ d5 17.Qe7+ Kg6 18.Qxf8
{Black Resigns. There is no way to parry white's threat }
18...-- 19.Qf6+ Kh5 20.Qg5# 1-0

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