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 Post subject: Pocket CT-Art 1.0: choose a mobile chess workout
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 12:20 am 
When no one was looking, I snatched away a copy of Pocket CT Art 1.0, the Pocket PC version of the famous CT Art 3 tactical training program.

More than 1200 exercises gathered or adapted by Russian correspondence GM Maxim Blokh; and if there's one country able to (still) deliver superb trainers, it's Russia.

The program is not for beginners. People who are past the introductory stage of chess tactics, and at least do have some knowledge about tactics terminology seem the prime target group to me . The program learns you to exercise a wide range of those tactical themes, helping you to recognize them when similar patterns emerge in your chess games. First know thy tactical terminology, then start using CT Art.

The main problem for me was that I had to take time off to sit down behind my desktop PC and take some time off - time sometimes simply lacking. So this little rascal I can put on my iPAQ hx4700 was the solution I've been waiting for.

Convekta tells us the program needs WM2003 as OS; too bad I have no PPC2002 machine available anymore; so I can't advice you here on backward compatibility. Let's stick to WM2003 as a minimum.
Pocket CT Art does _not_ run on Palm.

The 2.7 MB install (in main memory, on a card or, in my case in iPAQ file store) is hassle free, but starts with the following screen.

Image

No problem, but I already have SP3, so why bother. However I can't skip it, I can only choose "repair" or "remove". Well - I leave the .net CF window for what it is and proceed with installation through ActiveSync. At the end after a flawless installation, I simply discard the CF-SP3 window by clicking "exit setup" after the whole shebang is installed to my Pocket PC. Begone.

(If you think you have .Net Compact Framework SP3, and when in doubt, simply choose "repair" if it only shows the above options. Nothing gained nothing lost.
If you don't know, always choose "install SP3".
Are you a computer buff? Or want to use WiFi and no ActiveSync? Simply copy the .cab(inet) file from the appropriate language folder on the CD, and copy and install it directly on you PPC. I mostly use CABInstllr for that. But again, the installation procedure goes zippy.)


To be honest, the look and feel is no doubt a port from big brother, but looks much better on a Pocket PC. Let's rock!

Image

Fill in my name - not that halfwitted rating system in the Pocket PC version that distracted people from the training with "I'm 1950 in CT Art!" instead of focusing on the content. A good decision. Some kind of progress meter is good, but it shouldn't lure people to believe the program gives them a "rating" when there are none really.

Image

Image

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Here you see the navigator after starting up the program. An overvieuw of themes.
Icons below lets you choose between practice, test, statistics and filter.
Tooltips for those icons would come in handy.

You can see what selection criteria there are, just like CT Art 3.0.

Of course we have an options screen:

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and the filter screen for choosing which range of exercises to choose from. If you want to test or exercise in a random fashion, setting the strength will prevent you from ending up with either the very simple ones or the very difficult ones.

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Here are two examples of the board:

Image Image

If you want Pocket CT-Art will present some hints, and far more simple than the truckload of arrows, squares, different colors like in its big brother. Makes it a lot easier to really help you.

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This picture shows you the results. Simple score percentages, no fake ratings.

And the last picture is an addition to the "test" setting. It is somewhat akward to move the slider to the number of consecutive tests you wish. I'd rather had a small box to fill in the number myself (as well).

"Practice" means: just choose any exercise you like; "test" means "specify what you want to test (practice) and how many in a row without stopping and I both time the exercises for you and choose them for you from that selection.

Image

Too bad CT Art (neither the desktop, nor the PPC version) doesn't do anything with the timer, like subtracting score points or adding bonuses when solved quickly.

All in all the format of the program is much more suited for such a mobile platform. Hassle free, easier to use than the desktop version, intuitive, and piece of cake for those already owning the desktop version, this program is your software of choice if you want high quality mobile tactical training.

And given the price and the size of the training database it's quite a bargain, $26 here at the ChessExchange.
(http://www.chesscentral.com/software/pocket-ctart.htm)

May I offer you advice? If you own a PPC with WM2003 and you want a mobile trainer, well, just _buy_ it. You won't regret it.

Scotty, beam me up! While in the pattern buffer I'll solve a few tactical exercises on my PADD! 8)


(addition: according to the Convekta website PCTArt runs on PPC2002/PPC2003 and WM5)

(links updated 8/24/2006)


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 Post subject: will CT-Art work on a PDA with an HORIZONTAL VGA screen ???
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:56 am 
Very interesting review. I totaly agree with the advantage of a PocketPC version. I owe CT-ART for Windows and I can never find the time to sit and open my PC for training.

This is why I intend to purchase the HTC X7500 which is a mix of PDA and smartphone ( http://www.europe.htc.com/fr/products/htcadvantage.html ).

It run under Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 and has an HORIZONTAL VGA screen. a.... BIG 5" screen :lol: :D

But... I wonder if pocket CT-ART (as well as other CHESS pocket PC software) that are made for PDA vith VERTICAL screen will function corectly on such a device that has an HOrizontal screen.

Image

If it work, this will be great because a 5" screen will make the reading/playing much more convenient than on a 3,5" PDA screen !

many thanks for your advices


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 Post subject: Re: will CT-Art work on a PDA with an HORIZONTAL VGA screen
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:08 pm 
Image

Image

This is a typical screen on my 4" iPAQ hx4700. It's doable, but certainly not optimized due to the need of scrolling. It doesn't resize to landscape.

OTOH a 5" screen has an additional height (if my math still works) of 0.6", so the height of the 5" screen should be a total of 3.2" or about 25% extra; that's some 110 pixels extra on the iPAQ screen resolution. Depending on the screen resolution of your device it might fit. With 800x600 it seems enough to me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:06 am 
thanks for the reply.

In fact the x7500 screen is only 640x480, but... I found in the manual that it can be configured to work vertical OR landscape.



but, I read that CT-ART do not support VGA resolution! only 320x240 ! is it true ?

In this case, will it be displayer only on 1/4 of the screen or will the pocketPC adjust the resolution to display it "full screen" ???


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:35 pm 
http://www.chesscentral.com/chess-softw ... d-s/29.htm


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:18 pm 
bmichels wrote:
thanks for the reply.

In fact the x7500 screen is only 640x480, but... I found in the manual that it can be configured to work vertical OR landscape.



but, I read that CT-ART do not support VGA resolution! only 320x240 ! is it true ?

In this case, will it be displayer only on 1/4 of the screen or will the pocketPC adjust the resolution to display it "full screen" ???


My iPAQ is a 480x640 VGA screen, and as you see the screen is filled up. You can run it in landscape without problems, but it is _not_ optimized for landscape, that is - there is no specific landscape mode.
If the x7500 screen is 640x480 it will look like this.

There's one extra option for the few PDA's with VGA, and that's a true VGA hack like SE_VGA. That's because these PDA's don't have true VGA, but something between QVGA and VGA.

True VGA renders text unreadable I must say, and I have experienced some problems with VGA hack software (up to spontaneous hard resets) I personally wouldn't recommend it.

Given the quality of Pocket CT ART when it comes to chess content I guess you'll feel comfortable enough with the landscape mode.


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