In a short test report (book reviews at M. Gluth Verlag, p. 216) the author – a well-known chess trainer and theoretician Jerzy Konikowski has called this program Chess Academy Test & Training Suite (RRP 51,00 EUR) “a very practical and valuable thing for all chess players and trainers“.

The presented CD provides the buyer with three things at once: A large database with more than 1.7 million games, various engines for playing and analyzing, and finally six test books. The games can not only be replayed but also sorted according to various criteria, e.g. tactical or strategic motifs, openings, endgames, etc. You can also enter new games to systematically complete the database.

In a large test report in Schachmarkt Magazin (issue 02/2002) the program was discussed in detail and evaluated objectively.

The author writes:

At this point, we actually wanted to talk about the attractive new program package “Chess Academy Goliath Blitz” again, as announced. In the meantime, the eager Witali Braslawski is on the market with a new product, which deserves a detailed review just because of its fantastic price-performance ratio.

It is the “Chess Academy Test & Training Suite (Beyer Edition)”, which besides a full version (!) of the current Chess Academy 6.0″ also contains a learning program with six (!) new learning modules. In the Chess Academy, there were already a number of very nice learning modules with topics like the bishop pair, hanging pawns, isolated pawn, and exchange sacrifice as well as several encyclopedia modules. The basis for these new modules was now the well-known “test books” series of the Beyer publishing house.

For the Chess Academy, the following six test books have now been transferred to the computer in practically their original form:

Test book of unwindings and transitions
Test book of opening tactics
Test book for masters of tomorrow
Test book of middlegame practice
Test book of endgame technique
Test book of combinatorial endgames

Thus, a total of 780 exercises are included, for which the Chess Academy, as already mentioned, provides its own learning program. Now let’s have a closer look at the implementation of the books. After selecting one of the six topics, a list of the respective examples appears automatically, as well as a board window with a task. As with the books, here you get a choice of two or three positional assessments for each starting position, which are often formulated in quite general terms (e.g. “White gains an advantage”) but can also contain concrete move suggestions (e.g. “White can save himself with Sxf7”).

Now you have to decide on an answer and select it by clicking on it. You can see whether your answer was correct by a smiley symbol, and points are also awarded as a performance check and motivation. After the selection of the answer, a significant advantage of the conversion to the computer comes into play, because very often you now have to practically justify the correct position assessment in a move question, so it is not enough to try to cheat your way through by guessing the correct answer. Of course, there are also points to be earned in this move test, as long as you are fast enough because the thinking time is limited. The default setting is very tight here, but you can adjust the time to your liking. The commentary on the tasks has been taken completely from the books, so you’ll find both good verbal explanations and all the relevant variants here. A word remains to be said about the level of the exercises. It should primarily appeal to the advanced amateur or the club and tournament player of lower and intermediate levels.

In order to substantiate the praise for the price-performance ratio expressed at the beginning, we would like to briefly discuss the remaining features of the “Chess Academy Test & Training Suite”.

As mentioned before, you get the full version of the current Chess Academy 6.0 and thus a very feature-rich and powerful database and game program. Mention should be made, for example, of the impressively fast search options, which show you the desired games within seconds even in the large database with over 1.7 million games that are part of the equipment, the diverse options for playing against one of the over 40(!) included engines and the extensive options for printing and exporting to other formats. Also worth mentioning are the two large opening books “Champion-Book” with over 9 million positions and “Gambit-Book” with over 2 million positions as well as a large middlegame book, which supports the engines in calculating middlegame positions with over 12 million positions. In short: With this good equipment the Chess Academy would be very cheap at a price of 51,- EUR even without the new learning modules, even more so with these six test books, for which you would have to pay about 65,- EUR when buying the book alone. We conclude our report on this very pleasing new release with the hope that more new interesting learning modules may follow.