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

Updated: May 8

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 at chessengeria.com.


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.