Read the full review here.
“This was a game that placed its mighty boot upon the throats of Archon and Battle Chess and inquired, “Are we here to play chess, gentlemen, or fool around with combat animations?” Clearly, this was not a chess simulation to be messed with.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.
I like chess.
I do not get to play it very often, but I do admire its tactical depth and long-standing appeal as a widely known classic. I have never been great at it, but I am good enough to shred a beginner if need be. That being said, Chessmaster falls somewhere under Magic Darts in terms of unnecessary NES games: If you are a fan of the board game, you probably prefer playing it on a real board with a human opponent. If you enjoy playing against artificial intelligence, your computer will easily offer a better program with a quick search.
The astounding array of difficulty levels and options is a nice touch, but even if it were the best chess simulator of all time, how can you consider it to better-rated NES video game than, say, Tecmo Super Bowl or Bionic Commando? The Chessmaster is a pleasant, powerful chess simulator, but does not belong too high on the NES library totem pole.
NES Gameplay Tips for The Chessmaster: I considered actually writing a full-fledged chess strategy article here (or at least beginner’s tips such as explaining the importance of controlling the middle four squares, the eventual inevitability of a gambit, forks/skewers, basic openings, etc.), but I will just recommend that, for those who do not know where to begin with this game, put the difficulty at its lowest rating and play with the default settings. The default is just fine, and once you beat the easiest challenge, keep progressing the difficulty level as you get better and better. Just be prepared to set some real time aside to complete the games once the computer is spending a minute+ at a time with each move, as there is not a great option for saving or continuing a game.