JiG is on Patreon and Needs You! Click here for more information

  • Review

  • Browser Games

Great MateMaster

  • Currently 4.2/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4.2/5 (35 votes)
Comments (7) | Views (4,430)

TrickyGreat MatemasterChess: Favorite pastime of Machiavellian rulers, rogue Artificial Intelligences and cool old guys in the park. The game that Goethe proclaimed as the touchstone of intellect. The sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe. The basis for programs as imposing as the human-crushing Deep Blue and as totally sweet as Interplay's Battle Chess. At JayIsGames, we're always on the lookout for quality casual versions of classic board games, and Alex Gagin's new release of Great MateMaster is just that. Like the previous less-great MateMaster, the focus here is on chess puzzles. Its huge wealth of content and polished presentation makes it something you should definitely check, mate.

Though regular chess play is available, endgame puzzles are Great MateMaster's raison d'etre, of the "Mate in 3" variety. You play as white, and clicking on a piece with the mouse shows all the possible moves for that piece. The goal is to checkmate the black king in the specified number of moves or less, which is to say to threaten the black king while preventing any possible means of his escape. There are some other rules, but that's the general gist... and with a good 16,000 puzzles to solve you'll have plenty of chances for practice.

Analysis: The AI in Great MateMaster is only fair, and shouldn't pose too much of a problem to stomp. This is appropriate for what the game sets out to do: one gets the feeling that its true purpose is not to pose a Kasparov-ian level challenge to the local grandmaster, nor to teach beginners the basics. If anything, this game is squarely aimed at helping the intermediate level player develop her skills. If you don't understand the basics of chess, Great MateMaster won't hold your hand. If you are an expert, the limitations of the game's engine may make it feel a trifle, even on fiendish. However, if you've been looking to boost the strategy of your endgame, Great MateMaster is the tutor for you.

Great MatemasterNaturally, it is easier to practice the beginning of a chess game than its conclusion: it takes 30 seconds to set up the pieces and hours to put them back in the box. This can lead to a noticeably spike in difficulty as players learn how to start a game, but not how to end it. While Great MateMaster is a fine puzzle game, it also, perhaps unintentionally,
functions surprisingly well as a trainer. With its literal thousands of likely and unlikely positions from which it challenges you to find checkmate, it can't help but educate your eye as to the nuances of the endgame.

The biggest stumbles for Great MateMaster come in trying to play a regular game. Minor stuff: not having an option to play as black against the CPU, or, for that matter, the ability to play against another person on the same computer. It's not game-breaking by any means, but there are some strange omissions. Likewise, it would have been nice to be able to view which problems are and aren't solved in a scrollable list form. Finally, while admittedly, games like this don't require sound at all, an affirming "ding" upon completion of a puzzle wouldn't have hurt.

There remains little to be said. Undoubtedly, Great MateMaster, as a work, appeals to a quite specific gaming niche. If you're not a chess fan, this game probably won't change your mind. However, if you are, it's as clear as black and white that you'll be wowed with quality and quantity. Reti or not, here it comes!

Play Great MateMaster


breezed through the first 85 levels (Mate in 1). Now there are another 1133 levels that I'm assuming are Mate in 2 moves, and that makes it a lot more difficult.

Well done game.


Doesn't seem to have an option for castling?

John Lubben September 17, 2011 1:35 PM

It didn't see the castle feature either, must have missed the 'X', but it is missing 'en passant'.


For an occasional chess player like me this is a very good game to stay sharp using the puzzle mode or if you just want to try and learn different strategies.


One thing I don't like about the Mate in 2 moves is that you can solve it without going down the proper chain of moves to force Mate in 2 moves. I.e. you'll move somewhere that only mates on the second move if it does something dumb and then voila it does something dumb.


For example, in the first Mate in 2 moves:

If you move the right rook at h1 to h4, the computer should move to f3, because as far as I can tell g2 is a hole that is impossible to cover. However, if you move the left rook at a1 to a4, anywhere the computer moves onto row 3 can be mated (if he moves to d3 then queen from h1 to d2, if he moves to f3 then queen from h1 to h3). The computer in both cases often just moves to row 5, simplifying the whole mate in 2 moves.


^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
Monkey GO Happy Escape the Castle> Bindie The monkeys are back! In the latest instalment of PencilKids'' popular primate series, your little furry friends have gone walkabouts in the dungeon of a castle. This particular dungeon is infested with more goblins, ghouls and gargoyles than you can...  ...
Kentucky Route Zero: Act II> Rebecca Spoilers ahead! Kentucky Route Zero is an episodic point-and-click game in five acts. Before you dig deep into Act II, please do consider enjoying Act I first....  ...
Frog Fable> Arceus You thought it would be a simple errand. Just run along and get some milk for the King of the Village's Friday pancakes, right? The trouble for protagonist Zbylut (pronunciation unknown) begins when guards block the entrance to the town....  ...
Greetings From Potato Island> Arceus Tell me--do you believe? Believe in what, I hear you asking. Santa? The Easter Bunny? The Tooth Fairy? All good guesses indeed, but the answer Carmel Games' Escape from Potato Island was looking for was actually potatoes! Eye couldn't believe...  ...
Mystery of the Ancients: The Sealed and Forgotten Collector's Edition

Recent Comments


Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Game of the week


Your Favorite Games edit

Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Monthly Archives