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Subject: Recommendation for chess computer rss

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John Burnson
United States
Northbrook
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I am looking for a chess computer, one of those tabletop models to help teach my 6-year-old daughter. Anything good and cheap (<$30)? There are a lot of "Saitek Mephisto Jr." models on ebay for $25 (after shipping). Is that any good?
 
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Lyman Hurd
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Cupertino
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Falling squarely in the "not what you asked" category, my kids really enjoyed the CD Rom Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess. I find it is even still available:

http://www.chesshouse.com/Maurice_Ashley_Teaches_Chess_p/a00...

What concerns me about chess computers is that now-a-days almost all of them will simply beat the pants off a beginner with no particular explanation as to why!

However, there may be some teaching computers out there of which I am unaware.
 
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John Burnson
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The "beating-the-pants-off-a-beginner" does concern me. It'd be nice to get a computer that you could set to, say, 2-ply. However, the Saitek model seemed to have both a "fun" mode AND a "casual" mode, so I figured that one of those would be, er, inexperienced enough.
 
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Travis Bridges
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I always recommend Fritz. Usually you can find an outdated version (version 7 say) for even cheaper than the $30 you were looking at paying. The great thing about Fritz for youngsters is the variability of the skill level. If you are a 6 year old beginner, you have a choice of a 5-8 yr. old beginner who has human qualities. This skill level makes similar mistakes to most young players. Then you step up slowly. Most handhelds or tabletop devices have a syndrome where they don't make full on mistakes, rather just play subobtimally. They also tend to be Level 1 easy, Level 2 easy, Level 3 is a nightmare. It makes it difficult to use them as learning devices. Also with Fritz, you get some of the best chess analysis software available. It is something that if you buy it, it will grow with the development of the player. It is among the top choices of master level players for deep thinking analysis. If you shell out a few bucks for Deep Fritz 8, you probably will never need another chess program. It's that good.
 
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