Chessmaster 11 (Grandmaster edition) catch-all
Tip: To disable the annoying Ubisoft splash screen, go into the game's folder and rename or delete the file cmgm.bik
Thanks to the spedman for the head's up on this excellent version of Chessmaster. I used to play fairly regularly, but haven't touched the game in 10 years or so.
The main attraction of CM11 is the 'Waitzkin Academy', a VERY in-depth chess class, which is 100% vocalized by Josh himself. You start with 'this is a pawn, this is a knight' etc, and go to much more advanced topics as you progress.
So far I'm finding it a ridiculously good value. (I found CM11 for $11.47 shipped at amazon). The game is also available on Steam for $19.99. The DVD version, once installed, does NOT use Ubisoft's new 'always-on' DRM (thank goodness), and in fact doesn't even require the disc to play. You can install and put the disc away in your closet. The package includes a code you must enter for online play, otherwise, there are no other restrictions.
Regular games played vs the A.I. have a huge number of A.I. opponents to choose from, everything from a 7 year old kid playing for the first time, up to Grandmasters. There are a ton of options available for games, including a very nifty 'chess coach' that gives you a panel for toggling coaching aids on and off. For example, there is one that, when you pick up a piece, it will highlight all legal moves for that piece. The chess board can be a flat, top-down 2D, or a very pleasing 3D board that can be manipulated in 3D space.
I'll add commentary and screen-shots with features and highlights as I uncover them. If you're interested in chess, or want to learn, this is THE product to get. The Waitzkin tutorials are simply awesome.
More to come ...