The "Let's Check" Crystal Ball
Let's Check, the function built into the latest Fritz
13 program, has been touted as the second coming in chess functionality.
Deservedly so, although many users are still unclear about its power. In this
tutorial we will explaing one of its less understood features: its ability to
predict the future and allow a player to avoid those nasty openings surprises.
Let us presume you are studying the Najdorf, an opening that requires permanent
work in order to stay abreast of what is going on, but no matter how much work
you put in, your own predictive ability never seems to be quite on top. We type
in the first moves of one of the main lines: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3
d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3
Now if you click on the "LiveBook" tab above the notation you get
full statistics of the games in which this position occurred. Just like in any
regular openings book, except of course that this book is quite up-to-date.
In fact tournament games are usually updated the minute they are finished –
The Live Book shows the continuations 8...Be7 on top, with 3040 games in which
this move occurred, and 8...Nbd7 in second place, with 1591 games. In third
is 8...h5 with only 451 games. Simple! It is clear that 8...Be7 and 8...Nbd7
are the most popular by far, right? Wrong!
What we have here is a new source of information that does not simply show
what has been played, most often in the near or distant past, but what people
are looking at most right now, and thus where new developments are most
likely to appear in the near future. This is the Let's Check crystal ball.
To the right is a column called "Visits". Every time someone looks
at a move through Let's Check, this counter is ticked, whether they contributed
something or not. The "Visits" column tells us which moves are being
looked at the most, and in our example we can see a very notable curiosity:
8...h5 actually has many more visits than any other move. In other words, something
Instead of following the moves that have been the most played, we will follow
the yellow brick road of moves most visited: 8...h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7
When we reach this point something clearly sticks out. The third most played
move has in fact nearly ten times the number of visits of the top move:
10.Nd5 has just 85 games, but almost 8000 visits. And behind
this move you will find a full tree of theory containing many moves that have
not occurred in OTB play – i.e. they are marked with zero games, but have
been visited often by Let's Check users. If ever there was an indicator that
one can expect something in a line this is it.
Slightly puzzled by all this we consulted Correspondence Chess Grandmaster
Arno Nickel, who is writing a big article on the use of Let's Check and the
LiveBook. His comment:
It's a very interesting example. 10.Nd5 represents an extremely volatile
position in which Black has been scoring well in recent times. Anyone who
plays the Najdorf is not satisfied to secure a draw but wants to obtain winning
chances. But that is hardly possible in the previous main lines in which Black
allows g2-g4-g5, even though according to current theory White too cannot
gain a decisive advantage with the pawn storm. In correspondence chess almost
all top games end in a draw.
The move 8...h5 was made popular by Topalov in the WCh 2007 in Mexico, which
is why people sometimes call it the Topalov Variation. Here are a few statistics:
- MegaData 2012 + games from 2012: total 592 games.
- Black: 56.3 % (draw quota 27.2 %)
- Black score since the beginning of 2010: 63.7% in 84 games.
- Black score for games above Elo 2500 (both players): 53.7% in 82 games
(draw quota 41.5 %)
In correspondence chess at the 2600 level, and with massive computer assistance,
you get a complicated game in this line, with many unclear positions, which
often lead to curiously drawn endings. In OTB chess it is difficult to handle
the lines correctly, so the draw quota is much lower. Here it is the stronger
or better prepared player who simply wins. We can assume that GMs are less
willing to take the risk involved, so that the variation is not so popular
with them. Last black win: Bologan (2678)-Dominguez (2719), 31.8.2011 (62
moves). Last white win: Inarkiev (2689)-Kovchan (2565), 3.2.2012 (24 moves).”
The point is that these statistics are nothing less than predictors of opening
novelties to come. The LiveBook will show you deeply visited unplayed
novelties that may just appear in your game. As an example, we idly follow the
trail left by the visitors until we reached move fourteen (with 10...Bxd5 11.exd5
g6 12.Be2 Bg7 13.0-0 0-0 14.Na5). See for yourself:
You will notice that the highlighted move, 14.Rac1 has zero games attached
to it, i.e. it has never been played in serious tournament game, but has had
a huge 2249 visits. That means that more people have looked at it than the most
oft-played choice to date. It does not take a genius to realize that theory
is being actively developed here, and it won't be long before this starts appearing
in games. Maybe for the first time in a game against your next opponent?!
A final word: if you are worried that all this kind of preparation can leave
leave information for other players you should bear in mind that while your
visits to any position will always leave tracks – when you are working
within the Let's Check system – it will not leave the name of the player
visiting it. If you go into a position that has never occurred in a tournament
game, and has never been visited by a Let's Check user, you will leave a track.
The next person visiting that position will see that one user has been there
before him, although he will not be able to tell who it was.
Price: 49.90€, shipping immediately, per download
or on DVD.
When you click on the "To Cart" button you will get a choice
of ordering the program on DVD to be delivered by post or whether you
want it right away as a download from the shop.
Previous articles on Fritz 13 and Let's Check
||Fritz 13 and Let's Check at the Women's World Championship
25.11.2011 – What do the players in a world
chess championship do immediately after their games? Rush off for dinner?
No. Check their game with the computer? Warmer. Actually in Tirana the
two GMs used, for the first time in such an event, the new feature of
Fritz 13, "Let's Check", to see what spectators from all over the world
had found in their games. Here's
how it is done.
||Fritz 13 and Let's Check – Lesson one: getting started
31.10.2011 – You have ordered Fritz 13, on
DVD or as a download in the ChessBase Shop. And you have heard a lot about
the new Let's Check function. How do you get started? In our tutorial
series we begin with some very basic instructions on how to activate the
program and then take a few initial steps into the world of cloud computing.
Too daunting? Take a look – it's
easier than you think.
||Hoogeveen: Kramnik beats Polgar, leads by a full point
20.10.2011 – In round two Vladimir Kramnik
beat Judit Polgar – as usual, we are tempted to say. In twenty classical
encounters Judit still has to win a single one. At the end of this game
Fritz 13 surprised people on Playchess by announcing mate in 45 moves
– on a super-fast spectator machine. In rounds three and four all games
were drawn, but some of them quite interesting. Report
||Fritz 13 is now available – let's check who needs it!
13.10.2011 – “Success very often is the enemy
of future success," Garry Kasparov warned us some months ago. Changing
the world once is not enough, he said, we needed to do it again. Well,
we are trying. Today we launch Fritz 13, which incorporates a tantalizing
new feature: "Let's Check", which provides communal analysis in the cloud.
You can order it now or download it for instant
||Take the five-minute tactics test on Playchess
20.03.2012 – Many may not realize that there
are inherent differences in the versions of Playchess that come either
Fritz 13, or ChessBase 11. One function they both provide, that does not
come with the standalone Playchess program is the "Tactics training".
This adrenaline rush test, is a five-minute quiz in which you must solve
as many positions as possible. Find out more and see
how well you can do!
||Endless Tactics Positions with Fritz 13
16.03.2012 – Tactics are the building blocks
of chess, without which strategy will fall flat on its face, and for this
reason regularly working on tactical test suites is always of interest.
While you can buy any number, whether from the ChessBase Shop, books,
or other, Fritz 13 also provides the means to easily construct endless
new ones for you to test yourself. Learn
how in this tutorial.