This chess program for both slim and fat Joyces was 'created in consultation with International Grandmaster and British Champion Jon Speelman' and carries his endorsement: 'with its strong playing program and excellent 3D graphics, I can confidently recommend 3D Clock Chess to all lovers of the Royal Game.' Well, if it's good enough for Jon, it's good enough for me. And you.
In fact, 3D Clock Chess was far too good for me. It thrashed me repeatedly and mercilessly. Now I don't claim to be an ace chess player, but I'm not a complete dummy. I can beat Cyrus on level 3 any day of the week. I can beat Bob Wade. But 3D Clock Chess plays a tough old game, whatever the option you choose, and I didn't get a look in.
Rather than having levels of play, this program asks you to set a time in which it will respond. The longer the time, the more lines of play it can analyse. Unless you're a very strong player, it won't need more than 20 or 30 seconds to come up with some powerful moves. If you prefer, you can set its limit to match the time you yourself are taking per move.
Another useful, but frightening option, includes the clock game, in which you set the time for the total game on the clocks. If you want, you can have as little as five minutes. Naturally, if your time runs out, you lose.
Graphically, the game is pretty good. The 3D display is very similar to the game CP produced on the CPC's Staunton-ish pieces that somehow aren't as sharply outlined as they could be but nonetheless are easily differentiated. The 3D effect is very well done.
Moves are entered using algebraic notation. Don't worry if this is not familiar to you - pressing Z will display the co-ordinates on screen. The program contains all the other features you would expect from computer chess: recommended moves, inversion of the board, self play, display previous moves, etc.
3D Clock Chess is an excellent chess program that will test even stronger players. It should provide a welcome interlude in that novel for all you PCW owners.
P. All the options you need.
P. Good display.
P. Game can be from blitz up to marathon.
N. Why does it cost £5 more than CPC disk software?