I’m a child of the 80s. A time when there seemed to be so much talk of computers playing chess. Not only were people asking if a computer could beat a human, but there were a variety of electronic computer games that promised to teach you how to play and give you a computer to play against. But how did people learn to play chess before we had computers to help? MB Games Chess Tutor was probably the answer.
On the box Chess Tutor promises that you can “learn by yourself in 4 hours”. That’s quite a promise, but as a child I think the thought of 4 hours of working through something like chess rules and moves might have put me off somewhat. Maybe I was just a child without a very good attention span?
Paper based learning
When I first saw this I assumed it was some sort off electronic game, but far from it. Released in 1975 Chess Tutor has people working their way through 84 pages of instructions (yes, 84!) to teach them how to play chess. Starting with where all the pieces go on the board and what moves you can make with each one, it then moves on to show how you can arrange your own pieces so not to get them taken, and how to capture your opponent’s King.
The way it works is by having pages that slide into a plastic tray with clear plastic over the board. You can then position and move your playing pieces whilst reading and following the instructions that are located to one side of you. It’s a simple system, but an effective one.
Also included in the box is a chess board so that once you’ve mastered the game you can sit down and try out your new skills against a real life opponent.
I’m not going to lie, this is probably one of the geekier games that I’ve covered here on Penny Plays, and not one that I’m sure I’m prepared to spend 4 hours of my life working through. But, if you’re after a non-computer based way to teach yourself chess then it’s actually a really good way of doing so.
Chess Tutor – the facts
The version we have was published by MB Games in 1975. Aimed at ages 10 to adult it can be played by 1 or two players, depending now whether you’re learning to play or actually playing a game.
Vintage board games
If you’re interested in vintage board games then why not head over to Facebook and join our new vintage board games group.
For more vintage board games and toys here on Penny Plays take a look here.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you buy anything having clicked through on them I receive a small amount of money (not even enough for a coffee most of the time) but it costs you nothing extra.