Chess dates back long before computers, with origins many thousands of years ago, and it’s safe to say there’s never been a more accurate representation of the game.

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After bringing us the fantastic Pure Pool, Ripstone return with another accurate representation of one of the oldest games you probably already know.

Chess is a game (or more recently even classed as a sport) that most people will know, but for those that don’t i’ll attempt to give you a very quick explanation. On a board of 8 x 8 squares, players take control of one of two coloured sets (traditionally black or white) with two rooks, two knights and two bishops with a king and queen protected on the second line of a row of 8 pawns.

Each piece has a specified movement, so pawns can only (usually) move a single space forward. The rooks can move any number of spaces in a straight line, while bishops also have unrestricted movement but only in a diagonal line, the knight has an odd ‘L’ shape movement (two forward and one to the side) while the king can move a single space in any direction with the queen unrestricted in distance or straight-line direction.

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The aim of the game is to obtain check-mate by forcing the king into a position, where your next move will take the piece, and the king is unable to move. With so many possibilities every game is different (we’re talking about 10 million positions possible after 7 moves) so it’s easy to see why it’s such a Favourite game for the strategically minded.

Usually a game of chess will last anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes, with tournament chess sometimes lasting numerous hours. Pure Chess follows this with accurate movement and pace meaning you can happily expect the same 10 to 60 minutes per game.

Stepping into the game and there’s numerous options, firstly newcomers will want to check out the various tutorials, they’re  easy to understand and detailed enough to teach a complete amateur the rules far better than I could do, and with a host of challenges too, there’s plenty of reason to try out these two areas even if you’ve played Chess before because the 36 different tutorials are sure to teach you something and with over 100 check-mate challenges there’s literally hours of mind-bending challenges to explore.

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Over the last 20-25 years, I’ve always enjoyed the odd game of chess, however friends and family haven’t quite had the same passion for a slow methodical game so chess as a computer / console game is the perfect solution. Obviously there’s no setting up the pieces, storing a chess board or worrying about knocking a piece over when you make a move. So having the option to play both AI or against another player either locally or online.

Online play starts by allowing you to select between a friend, a random player or a previous opponent, while local play starts off with a simple menu allowing you to select between human or AI opposition.  The AI difficulty ranges from 1 to 10 and I’m certain these will more than cater for everyone from a complete novice to a vastly experienced player. Other options include if moves can be undone, if there should be a time restriction and whether legal moves should be highlighted. Then it’s on to selecting your chess pieces, their material and where you’ll be playing.

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With the Grandmaster edition there’s a healthy choice and some of them are incredibly impressive, from the reflections to how the light bounces off the pieces, there’s little doubt this looks as close to real life chess as you could hope for with pieces literally photo-realistic.

Audio carries a pretty low key background theme with subtle effects that highlight activity and movement without interfering with your concentration too much, many will appreciate this, others will mute it and some won’t hear it because they’ll have their own music on full blast.

It’s always tough to relay value or longevity of a game like chess, newcomers might have a few matches and give up on the complex strategies, while others will relish the brain-candy and spend many many hours playing through, players who already know chess may use this as their new number one, finding new opponents playing for hours day after day and for far longer than many games you could think of.

For me, Pure Chess will become a perfect retreat, not every day, or even every week, but i’ll know when I want a super relaxed game, that will test my brain without demanding cat like reflexes, I’m sure I’ll return time and time again.

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