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Tools in a chess player's workshop - Windows - Part 2

In the second part of this post, I will introduce the ecosystem programs from ChessBase.


For several decades, Windows users have been able to use ChessBase software, one of the oldest, recognized and renowned brands in the world of chess software designed for all chess players: from amateurs to world's leading grandmasters.


This post is dedicated to chess players who would like to use the most interesting, useful and proven tools - programs from ChessBase for various chess activities in their chess workshop - Windows operating system.


My goal is not to discuss as many ChessBase programs in as much detail as possible, but to demonstrate the key capabilities of the tools I have selected in relation to specific chess activities, e.g. training, analysis, database and engine use, etc.


To learn about the capabilities and practical use of the ChessBase software, I invite you to visit the course area.


This entry will be updated on a regular basis when I feel that there is software worth presenting to you dear readers.

Contents

Program​

Learn

Fritz & Chesster

Training / Practice / Play Chess Offline

Fritz

Play Chess Online

Play Chess

Chess Game Annotations / Database / Analyzes

ChessBase

Chess Engines

Fritz


How to play chess / Learn



Once upon a time there was a small country, a very, very small country. And this little country was ruled by a very wise king. In fact, he was the wisest king that ever existed. He was called "King White."


This is the beginning of an interesting program for learning chess: Fritz & Chesster.


The program counts in four parts and is aimed at children who have never played chess before. It teaches the basic rules in an atmosphere reminiscent of Sesame Street. Children can follow the cartoons and stories and then interactively solve the tasks.


In each of the four games, Fritz White and his cousin Bianca learn to play chess with the help of Chesster. In the first three games, they learn the different elements of chess and then compete in a chess game against the Black King.

The fourth game takes place on another planet. The first game teaches the rules of the game, basic chess and strategy.


Subsequent games teach opening theory, tactics, middle and endgame analysis, and chess patterns. Other games include chess variations, chess puzzles, or timed games with scoreboards.



During the game, the child participates in an adventure in which young Prince Fritz must briefly replace his father, King White. Together with his cousin Bianca, Fritz sets off on a journey through his kingdom. A cheerful instructor accompanies them on their journey and tells them all about the kingdom.


In each scene, children can click on different items, such as the mouse traps in the image above, which causes funny things to happen.


While traveling through the kingdom, all three encounter the menacing Black King, who challenges them to a chess game. But Fritz doesn't know how to play. Fortunately, as the journey continues, he manages to learn the game.


The Fritz & Chesster series has been translated into 17 languages, which is certainly beneficial to learning chess in your native language.


Fritz & Chesster has received numerous awards, such as. won the Deutscher Computerspielpreis (German Computer Games Award) in the category Best Children's Game.



Training / Practice / Play Chess Offline




Fritz as well as other ChessBase programs is a mature product, developed and regularly updated, with its 30 years of tradition!


Several decades and 18 versions of Fritz may suggest that the program offers a lot. And indeed it does. For years, Fritz has been the undisputed market leader in chess software for training, playing, analyzing and using chess engines. It's a combo that also combines and gives access to many ChessBase services like the PlayChess online game server and web applications.


Upon startup, Fritz greets you with a window containing clearly described selection options.



Want to practice openings or end game elements? Or maybe the middle game, the motives of attack, defense or looking for the mat?


All "classic" training options can be found in Fritz.

Along with counting the rankings.




But... I'd like to turn you on to Easy Game.



First, what isn't Easy Game ?

It's not an option where a chess engine playing over 3000 Elo level uses 0.1 seconds to think of a move in order to lower its playing strength to human level. It's not an option where the engine plays without a pawn or even a few chess pieces.


And what is Easy Game?

It's a mode where the program will adapt to your level of play, make you a fun but also challenging opponent, give you a chance to make brilliant moves and win the game.


It's also a mode where the computer coach assists you during the game, giving you tips and suggestions, but not hints - unless you want a specific hint on what move to play, then the Coach will give you such information.

The computerized trainer communicates with the player by voice, in addition to the information visible on the screen. I used the English version of the Fritz 18 program and the computer coach spoke to me in that language during the game.


During the game, the computer coach, after a few moves, begins to evaluate the strength of your moves using Elo rating points. It will try to create appropriate situations for you, so that you learn something and play an interesting game.


With such a coach by your side, playing chess is extremely satisfying, often spectacular, but most of all informative and developing.


Ok, let's go through some examples.


Before starting the game, it is a good idea to select the level of the opponent during our training. We have a choice of levels:

  • Beginner

  • Hobby player

  • Club player

  • Strong Club player

  • Master Candidate

  • Grandmaster


In my first game, I selected an opponent playing at the Club player level and checked the Assisted Analysis and Dynamic Hints options. I set the game time for each player at 3 minutes per game plus an additional 2 seconds after each move.


Here are the first 10 moves.

After my eleventh move, an evaluation of my game appeared. Certainly at the beginning of any game, as long as you don't make any glaring mistakes, your game rating will be high. A 2700 Elo rating is the playing strength of a super grandmaster. I play at a much lower level - perhaps at the level of a experienced club player.

The longer I played, the less precise my moves became, although with white I reached a pretty promising position after sixteen moves.

After a few more moves, unfortunately for me, black's position regained control. The position was equal.

I was determined, I was able to improve my position.


Finally, after 57 moves, I managed to win.

The strength of my play in the entire chess game was rated at 2170 Elo points.


I must admit that after finishing my first chess game with the assistance of a computer coach I was impressed.


Fritz behaves very naturally, the comments and suggestions are accurate, the voice communication helps in understanding.

Maybe it's a coincidence, but after only one Easy Game, Fritz accurately indicated my level of play, which in reality usually oscillates between 2100-2200 Elo.



Analyze


During chess training and practice, it is extremely important to be able to analyze and learn from completed chess games.


Fritz has a very powerful chess game analysis module that stands out for its excellent annotation in the language of your choice and its ability to place diagrams and highlight moves and variants.

So, we will analyze a played chess game with the default settings.


After a while..

...we get a complete analysis of the chess game.


Below is the complete analysis performed by the Fritz 18 program.







Now let's analyze the chess game with the Training settings and with the Opening reference checked. When Erase old annotations is checked, the previous annotations will be deleted.



After the game analysis is completed, the notation window will show the positions that will be proposed to indicate the best move.

In the notation we also see a marked novelty (4...f5N) and a reference to the game from the database.

Fritz adds diagrams, making the notation more readable.

If the correct movement is indicated, Fritz moves on to the next training position.


The diagrams show highlighted suggestions for good moves in conjunction with the position.


Fritz 18 is currently (February 2022) probably the best chess program for training, sparring and playing.

The program although has a huge playing power (Fritz 18 over 3100 Elo) plays so that you can win with it and learn cool and new chess stuff. You can also play against it in a position of your choice or set to test the answers you may encounter in playing against your opponent.


Due to high reader interest, the Fritz 18 program and its features will soon be described in detail with practical examples. Feel free to visit the course area.


I recommend Fritz 18 to players of all levels.



Play Chess Online



Play Chess is one of the oldest and most recognized places to play chess online.

This is a commercial and extensive chess server that will provide entertainment on all chess fronts.


Play Chess is available to play for all hardware and system platforms through its website. It is also directly accessible from any Fritz or ChessBase program.

There is also a separate Play Chess client, a free download that allows you to play on this server.


This server has probably one of the best chess safeguards (e.g. using computer assistants), which takes it a regular place for people who want to spend time having fun playing chess.


Play Chess is a place where you will certainly meet many nice and helpful players and admins.

After logging into the server, we are greeted by a program in the Main Playing Hall.


We can filter and customize the view.


After selecting the time for the game using the buttons at the top, the program will search for an opponent with a similar ranking.


Here is the beginning of the first game played by chessengeria.


As an untitled player, I was given a ranking of 1620 before the game started.


The results of the first games have a big impact on the ranking. After playing just a few games, depending on the results of the games, the ranking can change by up to several hundred points.


When we want to take a break from the game for a bit, we can watch other games while they are going on. During the observation, the program allows you to run the chess engine (Kibitzer), which displays an analysis lines.

Of course, it is possible to customize the appearance of the program elements - in the image above the chessboard with changed color.


Every day we can participate in interesting events such as tournaments, shows, streams with famous and titled players and...


Also play in official tournaments...


...or private tournaments.

In a very nice atmosphere :-)


We also have access to a profile, statistics and a many information - for each Play Chess member.




On the Play Chess server, you can participate and watch live games from many chess tournaments and events.



When there are interesting events, matches, games going on, then Play Chess provides a live feed with commentary by the Masters and Grandmasters.



As an Play Chess member, we are provided access to a database of hundreds of videos of lessons and previously covered events.


Play Chess also offers the opportunity to practice tactical skills...

...and many more like Fritz engine, Games cloud, Quizs (from web).


Play Chess is not only a place to play chess over the Internet, it is also an excellent center for many services provided by ChessBase, such as broadcasts of events, game streams, participation in simulations, access to chess games databases and various types of training.



Chess Game Annotations / Databases / Analyzes



ChessBase is a commercial program developed by the company of the same name (ChessBase GmbH).


ChessBase as well as other programs from this developer, has a long tradition of over thirty years. It is actively developed and on average every 2 years a new version is released. During the life of each version of ChessBase, it is also regularly updated - the producer's support usually extends over several years.


For many chess players, ChessBase stands for the best chess database software. And there is a lot of truth in this, because ChessBase is used all over the world by amateurs, club players, champions and grandmasters from the world's top.

ChessBase is a program that has been paving the way for the development of chess-database software for many years. Everything or almost everything can be done using this program in a comfortable, fast and, above all - effective way.


Due to reader interest, the course area has materials showing practical ways to use ChessBase. You are invited!



A feature of the ChessBase program that is worth emphasizing is that a novice player as well as a chess expert will be able to very easily use this program adequately to their needs.

Example no. 1

A beginning chess enthusiast simply needs to collect his chess games in one database, in some games he would like to add text annotations and from time to time use the chess engine hints.


Example no. 2

An advanced and experienced player needs many databases of chess games in order to quickly and efficiently manage a collection of millions of records. He very often uses advanced chess notation in his games, prints games with diagrams and regularly looks for chess novelties while preparing for different and strong opponents. When analyzing many positions and games he uses different chess engines and endgame tablebases simultaneously.


In both activities described, ChessBase will do a great job.


I invite you to watch a few pictures showing the capabilities of ChessBase.



Annotated chess game with diagram...



...and Symbol Palette.


Variations.


Position analysis by three chess engines: one line of analysis.


Position analysis by single chess engine: main chessboard, three lines of analysis, variation board, Let's check database informations.


An analysis of the entire chess game by the chess engine, along with the annotations and variations it adds.




Analysis of a chess game to check if the opponent did not use computer assistance - Centipawn Analysis


Selecting the type of chess database.


Chess player dossier.


Player's ELO rating over time.


List of chess player's tournaments from the database.


Table of selected tournament.


Advanced chess game search.





Database statistics.


ChessBase is a program of enormous capabilities offering the chess player extremely powerful tools for game and chess database maintenance and analysis.

Add to this many years of producer's support and regular updates - not without reason ChessBase is considered to be the best and one of the most popular programs for handling chess databases.




Chess Engines

  • Watching chess engines struggle

  • Testing in different configurations and positions

  • Organizing matches and tournaments between computer opponents

  • Calculating rankings and creating ranking lists

  • Advanced position analysis

  • Examining the "strength" of different opening books

  • To see if the engine ( Deep Junior ), which in 2003 was able to draw with the then world chess champion ( Garry Kasparov ), today competing with the modern Stockfish engine in 100 matches, wins ... hmm, as in many games Deep Junior is able to win against Stockfish?

  • ...


All of the above and many more "computer" features can be found in the Fritz.



I did an introduction to the Fritz program in the body of this post above - in the section on practice, practice and offline play.

In this section I'll describe Fritz's capabilities in relation to chess engines.


Fritz is by all means a professional program, so users will surely be pleased with its ease of use, clear interface and many options for customizing the appearance.


Fritz has clear and logically grouped ribbons, menus and icons with shortcuts to the most frequently used options, and...


In addition to using chess engines locally - installed on your own computer...


...offers the possibility to use chess engines in the cloud.


It's great how easy it is to have access to very powerful chess engines. You don't have to spend a lot of money to buy a powerful computer - all you need is a regular PC with internet and the Fritz program (or ChessBase program).

The Cloud engine or engines can be used in exactly the same way as engines installed on your own computer - they can analyze, play matches and participate in tournaments.


Here's example what the window looks like where we set up the engine tournament.



Below is a view when playing two engines against each other.


And current tournament result.


Based on the results of the games played, Fritz can calculate the ranking of chess engines.


Are you a chess engine author, would you like to test a new configuration or an opening book, do you want to play in an engine tournament, ..., ?

Nothing stands in the way to do it - log on to the server Play Chess and enter the engine room.


Good fun guaranteed and the opportunity to meet nice people :-)


Fritz is an amazing program that, in combination with an ecosystem (Fritz & Chesster, Fritz, PlayChess, Cloud, ChessBase, etc.), offers the chess player modern and useful tools with comprehensive use of chess engines.


And that ends the entry about...




Stop!


As I was writing, the Deep Junior and Stockfish engines were fighting in the background on my computer.


Dear reader, if you have been reading this post carefully, you are probably thinking what was the result of this match ?


Before we get into the outcome of this exciting match, let's check out what - what chess engine - Garry Kasparov was up against in 2003.


According to Wikipedia, Deep Junior in 2003 was the holder of the 2002 World Computer Chess Champion title!


To determine the version of Deep Junior that Stockfish is up against, let's look at the release dates:

All is clear, Stockfish should play against Junior 7.

( explanation: Deep -> means a version Junior chess engine capable of playing using the power of multiple processors ).

Match parameters:

  • for the entire game: 1 minute, 0 seconds of extra time

  • cpu's: 4 for each engine

  • hash table: 128MB for each engine

  • open book: Perfect_2021

  • ponder: off

  • number of games: 100


Result:



Out of 100 chess games played, Deep Junior 7

  • has not won a single game

  • draw 1 game

  • lost 99 games


Below is a link to download games from that match.

DeepJunior7_vs_Stockfish14.1_100games.pgn
.zip
Download ZIP • 92KB



 

This is the end the entry: Tools in a chess player's workshop - Windows - Part 2


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