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Spark Chess: Stroud's Favourite Online Game

Chess. It's hard to reinvent the wheel when something has been pretty much unchanged for the best part of fifteen-hundred years. So why bother? Instead let?s just make it better...

In that case what better place to start than Spark Chess? Whilst it doesn't differ much from other chess games it does have an excellent set of tools to help you get to grips with the game and develop your skills. The game comes in three difficulty settings. If you fancy a challenge then you could try playing against Claire (medium difficulty), or for a confidence boost you could try Cody (beginner difficulty). If you've no fear then you could always try and defeat Boris (advanced). Cody will make mistakes which will create opportunities for an easy victory and Claire will too (but not as often!). On the other hand, Boris won't slip up and you'll really need to out think him if you want to win.

The user interface is perfect for the beginner. Every time you select a piece it will show you all the possible moves, even more complex ones like "castling", before you select the move you want to make. This lets you learn by doing instead of trying to digest all the rules of chess before you even play the game. You can also undo as many moves as you like (very useful when you've walked into a trap). For the advanced player, the game includes a timer and a side bar that tracks every move you make so that you can analyse your own performance.

The saving function is useful too: you can save multiple games on different difficulty settings and load them whenever you want. Even on the beginner setting, Stroud Chess won't be over in five minutes so the saving setting will stop you from throwing in the towel, especially if you're a newbie. It'll also automatically save your current game if you have to close it every time the boss walks through the office...

So let's not reinvent the wheel of a classic game. But if your going to make it more accessible to beginners as well as adding a few nice touches for seasoned pros then sign me up. With a load of useful features to help you learn and improve your game, Spark Chess is the ultimate way to become the master of your Kings and Queens.