I have been playing a lot of chess lately. I find that, as a parent, I have much less time to play really long games, like Civilization IV or World of Warcraft. Chess is nice because it’s easy to fit in 15 minutes here or there for a quick game.

So, one of the two chess games I’ve been playing are Chess Titans, which is one of the free games like Minesweeper included in Windows Vista, Microsoft’s upcoming version of its flagship operating system. It has statistics, good AI, and excellent graphics. It is simple but solid and elegant.

The other program I have been playing chess on is called Majestic Chess. Published by Vivendi Universal, Majestic Chess includes a fantasy storyline in which you play as a king, and go from place to place solving quests and gathering chess pieces. The graphics are good and the story is wonderful. (I hadn’t thought it possible to develop a good storyline about chess, but they did it.) The AI doesn’t seem quite as good and it hangs for long periods of time, though. Nevertheless, it’s pretty entertaining.

Windows Vista Chess Titans:

Hoyle Majestic Chess: