Become a stronger player with the best Fritz ever

11/23/2007 – Fritz 11 is out and it has it all. The program that beat world champion Kramnik a year ago has been vastly improved in many respects: Fritz 11 comes with more Elo and groundbreaking new training features for improving your rating. It has something for the eye and something for your tactical vision. Buy Fritz 11 now or find out from Matthias Wuellenweber's article what makes Fritz 11 so strong.

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Become a stronger player with Fritz 11

By ChessBase chief programmer Matthias Wuellenweber

Calculate variations correctly

Does this sound familiar? Your opponent has just moved and you start calculating, beginning with an obvious move. Somehow you don’t like the variations which crop up, and although you go back over it again and again checking it move by move you can’t find a good line. So after fifteen minutes you turn to another candidate move. Once more none of the continuations seems to bring you much joy. Perhaps the first idea was better after all? Check everything through thoroughly again and still you can’t improve on it. Then a horrified glance at the clock; time trouble is looming. Just then you discover a third move, it looks quite good, you play it quickly, press the clock, you’re done now…

When you get down to it, chess is all about systematic calculating. Nothing is more important in a practical game. The capacity to visualise clearly over the board positions which will not occur till many moves in the future is as necessary for your playing strength as physical condition is for an athlete.

So there is a new function in Fritz11: training in calculation. It teaches you to calculate variations systematically and improves your visual perception. The idea for this training in calculation comes from watching live games on the chess server. There, people simply too frequently look on passively at the main line on the chess program they have running. This gives some spectators an illusion that they are superior to the grandmasters, because due to the engine’s second by second evaluation of the position they are immediately aware of mistakes which the player himself will only understand after the game.

Fritz11 offers with its training in calculation a radically better way of watching a live game, thereby improving your own playing strength and above all having real fun: you calculate logically along with the player. You enter moves on the board and they appear within the notation. But the pieces remain in their original position. Just like in real games, you can also play illegal moves, it is up to you.

Variations which have been calculated – before checking

When you finish calculating, you have three possibilities: 1. Check only the legality of the moves. 2. Switch on Fritz and look for tactical errors. 3. Let Fritz evaluate the quality of your lines! Good moves get a lot of points, obvious moves a few, tactical errors and important candidate moves which are missed cost points.

Fritz evaluates your calculation of variations

In the meantime, the grandmaster has also moved in the live game. You will be proud if he has actually made “your” move.

Of course, training in calculation is not restricted to the chess server. For the most part you will load a game or a training position into the classical Fritz and calculate for as long as you want. You will be surprised at what clear progress you make after any half decent training in calculation which you may do.

Tactical competition trains you for blitz chess

Perhaps you are like me and play a lot of blitz games on the chess server. Your Elo rating has been hovering around a constant central value for a long time. Things will now change and you will become a better blitz player with Fritz11. Just like in training in calculation you have to be prepared to put in some time and energy. However, we can guarantee a lot of fun.

In blitz you have to be able to grasp elementary tactics rapidly. Win material in two moves, threaten a hidden mate, punish blunders by your opponent instantly. Tactical competition on the chess server does just that: in a series lasting five minutes, the server sends you as many positions as you can solve. They are not deep combinations, in fact you will even get some with mate on the move, though all of them come from real GM-games.

It is called a tactical competition because your average speed at solving is calculated as an Elo rating. This rating is a mixture of playing strength and hard work. Hard work because you can try to learn off by heart a certain number of positions, although the database on the server is constantly growing.

Click here and see how the new Tactics Training works.

The tactical competition is clearly intended to improve your blitz chess. However, we can promise you that your strength will also improve when you play longer games.

Elo evaluation in the tactical competition

Something for the eye

There is one area within Fritz, in which the main role is played by artistic endeavour: the 3D-worlds. For Fritz11, our 3D development team of Stefan Huschenbeth and Jeroen van den Belt have invented a new abstract personification of the chess program. In contrast to those extravagant characters called the “Chess Turk” and “Mia”, the magic eye can be switched on in any of the 3D boards. Laser beams scan the board, showing the progress of the engine’s calculations and simulating what the program is actually “seeing” at any particular moment. See the picture at the top of the following page.

Playing strength of the Fritz engine

In the past the development of the Fritz engine was driven by the matches between man and machine. Since nowadays this subject seems actually to be receding into the background, Frans Morsch and Mathias Feist were able for once when developing Fritz11 to concentrate totally on the classic characteristics of a chess program and above all to improve the efficiency of the search function. The chess knowledge possessed by Fritz10 and with it the character of the program were carried forward into a new search function, which thanks to special heuristic routines “sees” a lot deeper. As a whole, the more speculative positional evaluation, which is important for chess against humans, becomes somewhat more toned down. As a result we are hoping for a clear leap in Elo strength of at least 80 to 100 points. This will also be helped by Alex Kure’s opening book which has been brought up to date and which goes even deeper.

The DVD is now full

The capacity of a single DVD is just enough for Fritz11. The reason for this is that it contains 14 hours of high class video training. Players such as Kramnik, Kasparov, Shirov, Kasimdzhanov, Korchnoi and others speak to you directly and put over in the most enthralling manner the most varied chess themes.

If, when you are finished with your hard training in calculation, you still want to learn more but in an entertaining fashion, sit back and simply take a private lesson from a famous player.

System requirements: Pentium III 1.4 GHz or higher, 256 MB RAM, Windows XP or Windows Vista, GeForce5 or compatible graphics card with 128 MB RAM or higher, 100% DirectX compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 9, DVD ROM drive. FRITZ 11 costs 49.99 €uros

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