Playfirst and Ubisoft Partner to Bring Chess to the Mainstream With the Launch of Chessmaster® Challenge
Company: Ubisoft
SAN FRANCISCO – March 1, 2005 – Have you ever wanted to discover your inner chess genius? PlayFirst, the leading full-service publisher of popular online games, and Ubisoft, one of the world’s leading videogame companies, today announced the launch of Chessmaster® Challenge, a downloadable PC game based on the award-winning Chessmaster® series, which has sold more than five million copies worldwide. Designed for chess players of all levels, Chessmaster Challenge can be a teacher, mentor or the ultimate opponent. One hour of full-version gameplay is available for free at and an unlimited version of the game can be downloaded for $19.95.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ubisoft to extend the reach of the world’s best-selling chess game,” said John Welch, president and chief executive officer, PlayFirst. “PlayFirst is doing what it does best – delivering accessible entertainment experiences to a broad audience. With Chessmaster Challenge, we’re able to demystify the game of chess for those who have not played before and make it enjoyable to chess players of all levels.”

Chessmaster Challenge appeals to chess novices and masters alike, with step-by-step tutorials for those playing chess for the first time, as well as challenging tournament-style matches for chess experts. With a choice of six chessboard sets, there are three ways to experience Chessmaster Challenge:

• Learn – If you’re new to chess, Chessmaster Challenge is your teacher and mentor, with more than 25 step-by-step audio tutorials to learn at your own pace. Learn all the basics plus strategies used by chess masters around the world.
• Fun – In the mood for a quick brain-teasing puzzle? Fun Mode offers eight types of chess challenges that help you master strategies like finding Forks, Checks, Checkmates and Pinned pieces.
• Play – After mastering your skills, challenge a computer opponent to a tournament-style game of chess in two modes of play. In Training Mode, request hints and learn moves with the help of a virtual chess coach, helping you improve your game as you play. In Ranked Play, play against top-ranked players and dominate your opponent as you move up the rankings.

“By partnering with PlayFirst, we’re able to take chess to a more mainstream audience,” said
Brenda Panagrossi, director of e-Commerce, Ubisoft. “This downloadable version of our best-selling Chessmaster brand is great for beginners and takes the intimidation factor out of chess.”

Copyright © 2004–2005 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Chessmaster, Ubisoft,, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. PLAYFIRST and the PLAYFIRST LOGO are trademarks of PlayFirst, Inc.

About PlayFirst, Inc.
PlayFirst, Inc. publishes popular games targeted at the mass market through all online consumer platforms. As Internet penetration has grown to 90 million users in the U.S. alone, including 30 million broadband customers, the Internet has become a viable distribution outlet for games. Available on more than 250 sites and in 10 countries worldwide, PlayFirst games can be found through channel partners such as Big Fish Games, MSN Games, Oberon, RealArcade, and, as well as on its own site at PlayFirst was founded in 2004 by veterans of Internet portals, traditional games publishers and technology firms and received venture funding from Mayfield and Trinity Ventures. To learn more, please visit:

About Ubisoft
Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide. It is the fastest growing company in the videogame industry and has grown considerably through its strong and diversified line up of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has offices in 21 countries and sales in more than 50 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge videogame titles to consumers. Ubisoft generated revenue of 508 million euros for the 2003–2004 fiscal year, an increase of 22.5% over the previous fiscal year at constant exchange rates. To learn more, please visit
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Game: Chessmaster Challenge (PC)