Fritz 15 engine - questions and answers

by Albert Silver
1/4/2016 – With the arrival of Fritz 15, and the new engine, a large number of questions have arisen regarding its strength, its origin, and its future. One of the very strongest grandmasters in activity expressed his concern quite simply, “The rumours say that it's some kind of old Rybka”. Here are the answers as well as an introduction to the Fritz 15 engine.

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The Fritz engine, since the very first iterations, was the brainchild and authored by only one programmer (in spite of rather humorous online rumors of a secret team): Franz Morsch. His engine deservedly became a legend, especially when it single-handedly defeated the super computer Deep Blue (still in prototype) at the World Computer Chess Championships in Hong Kong in 1995. As far as versions were concerned it was Fritz 3 running on a modest Pentium 90MHz.

Over the years Fritz has always been a top engine, providing players with top analysis, but after Fritz 13, the mighty Morsch hung up his hat, and the engine’s code along with him. In keeping with the tradition of a new and stronger engine than its predecessor, as well as new features in the interface, the Fritz 14 engine was signed by Gyula Horváth, and now the baton has been taken up by Vasik Rajlich.

After dominating the ratings lists and world championships for years and years with his engine Rybka, Vasik Rajlich eventually went off to greener pastures as he started a family with Polish IM Iweta Rajlich, and the throne was left vacant. After years of inactivity in the highly competitive computer chess field, he has returned, lending his skills to the next generations of Fritz, starting with Fritz 15.

ChessBase CEO Matthias Wüllenweber in Hamburg with Vas and Iweta Rajlich

The first question for the engine geeks or experienced players is: “Is this simply a rebadged Rybka 4?”

The programmer explains, “Fritz 15 is massively different from Rybka 4.1. The search is very different. I've spent the last six months mostly cleaning up certain aspects of the engine and setting up my infrastructure for testing, tuning, and various automation. It took me a long time (as well as insight from another project) to understand how this should all be structured. This isn't quite done yet but the core is in place. Although, there is very little Elo gain so far from that work. I see it as a foundation for the future.”

Vasik Rajlich - author of Fritz 15

For the record, current testing by specialized computer lists such as CEGT and CCRL, among others, have evaluated Fritz 15 as being somewhere between 30-40 Elo stronger than Rybka 4, however Rajlich comments that he is currently working on Fritz 15.1, which will bring further improvements to its play.

In spite of their incredible ability, the engines have fairly distinct styles of play, much like humans, and whie you may find a brilliant attacking game by Petrosian, to quote an extreme, it is not the usual fare. How does Fritz 15 play relative to Rybka 4?

Vasik replied, “Fritz 15 will have a rather different 'search personality' than Rybka 4, but this won't be anything which is easy to summarize for users.”

Here are a few games from the tests, to illustrate the range of its skills and ability to handle a wide variety of situations.

Wild Tactics and attacking

[Event "CCRL 40/40"] [Site "CCRL"] [Date "2015.12.20"] [Round "14.5"] [White "Fritz 15 64-bit 4CPU"] [Black "BlackMamba 2.0 64-bit 4CPU"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A05"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. d4 e6 5. a3 d5 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Bd2 Nf6 8. Bg5 Nbd7 9. e4 h6 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. Bb5 c6 12. Bc4 g5 13. O-O O-O-O 14. e5 Qg7 15. Qa4 Kb8 16. Ba6 Ba8 17. Rac1 g4 18. Ne1 f6 19. exf6 Nxf6 20. Nd3 Bd6 21. Rfe1 Qc7 22. Ne5 Nd7 23. Nxd7+ Qxd7 24. Qb3 Bc7 25. Rcd1 e5 26. dxe5 Qf5 27. e6 Bxh2+ $1 28. Kf1 (28. Kxh2 $2 {would allow Black to escape with a draw.} g3+ 29. fxg3 Qh5+ 30. Kg1 Qc5+ {etc.}) 28... Rdf8 29. Re2 Re8 30. Rd7 Bc7 {[#]} 31. Nd5 $3 Qh5 ({If} 31... cxd5 $2 32. Rxc7 $3 Kxc7 33. Qg3+ Kc6 34. Bd3 Qf8 35. Rc2+ {and the king has nowhere to go so} Qc5 36. Qxg4 Qxc2 37. Bxc2 Bb7 (37... Rhg8 38. Qa4+ Kb7 39. Qd7+ Kb8 40. Qd6+ Kb7 41. e7) 38. Qg7) 32. Ke1 cxd5 33. Rxc7 Qh2 34. Rf7 h5 35. Qb4 Rc8 36. Kd2 Bc6 37. g3 Ka8 38. Qe7 Bd7 1-0

The boa constrictor

[Event "CCRL 40/40"] [Site "CCRL"] [Date "2015.12.28"] [White "Critter 1.6a 64-bit 4CPU"] [Black "Fritz 15 64-bit 4CPU"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C88"] [PlyCount "132"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. e4 {(0.00/0 0)} e5 {(0.00/0 0)} 2. Nf3 {(0.00/0 0)} Nc6 {(0.00/0 0)} 3. Bb5 {( 0.00/0 0)} a6 {(0.00/0 0)} 4. Ba4 {(0.00/0 0)} Nf6 {(0.00/0 0)} 5. O-O {(0.00/0 0)} Be7 {(0.00/0 0)} 6. Re1 {(0.00/0 0)} b5 {(0.00/0 0)} 7. Bb3 {(0.00/0 0)} O-O {(0.00/0 0)} 8. h3 {(0.00/0 0)} Bb7 {(0.00/0 0)} 9. d3 {(0.09/22 35)} Bc5 {((d6) +0.14/0 33s)} 10. Nc3 {(0.15/22 29)} d6 {((Re8) +0.14/0 22s)} 11. Nd5 {((a3) +0.11/22 79s)} Na5 {(0.12/21 19 )} 12. Bg5 {(0.23/23 23)} Bxd5 {(0.11/22 18)} 13. Bxd5 {(0.25/24 27)} c6 {(0.13/23 13)} 14. Bb3 {(0.28/23 20)} Nxb3 {((h6) +0.13/23 22s)} 15. axb3 {(0.33/24 40)} h6 {( 0.13/23 26)} 16. Bh4 {(0.30/24 20)} g5 {(0.13/23 22)} 17. Bg3 {(0.28/23 20)} Re8 {( 0.13/23 16)} 18. Bh2 {((c3) +0.22/22 72s)} a5 {(0.13/20 40)} 19. Qe2 {((Nd2) +0.22/ 21 21s)} Re6 {(0.08/21 52)} 20. Nd2 {((Qd2) +0.19/20 24s)} Ra7 {((Nd7) +0.06/20 30s)} 21. Rf1 {((Bg3) +0.15/20 42s)} Bb6 {((Rd7) +0.02/19 22s)} 22. Rfd1 {((Nf3) +0.14/20 0s)} Rd7 {(-0.03/21 51)} 23. Nf3 {(0.08/21 0)} Qe7 {(-0.06/20 21)} 24. c4 {((Rf1) +0. 00/20 37s)} Rd8 {((d5) -0.06/19 29s)} 25. Ne1 {((Re1) +0.07/19 0s)} b4 {((Re8) -0.19/ 20 41s)} 26. Nc2 {(-0.18/22 17)} Nd7 {(-0.20/21 12)} 27. Ne3 {(-0.12/24 18)} Nc5 {( -0.15/23 13)} 28. Qc2 {(-0.12/24 23)} Qa7 {((Rf6) -0.16/23 38s)} 29. Nf5 {(-0.17/0 55 )} Rf6 {(-0.17/22 21)} 30. Re1 {((Rf1) -0.16/22 16s)} Ne6 {(-0.17/20 31)} 31. Rf1 {( -0.17/0 19)} Rxf5 {((Ng7) -0.36/21 29s)} 32. exf5 {(-0.24/22 18)} Nd4 {(-0.37/22 7)} 33. Qd1 {(-0.24/21 0)} Nxf5 {(-0.37/23 10)} 34. Qf3 {(-0.25/22 21)} Qd7 {(-0.37/23 14)} 35. Kh1 {((Qd1) -0.28/23 23s)} Kg7 {((Nd4) -0.40/23 34s)} 36. Rfc1 {((Bg1) -0.23/22 61s)} Nd4 {(-0.73/21 60s)} 37. Qd1 {(-0.23/20 0)} Ne6 {(-0.35/22 30)} 38. f3 {(-0.23/ 23 20)} Re8 {((Be3) -0.35/22 17s)} 39. Ra2 {(-0.23/24 23)} Ra8 {(-0.35/24 0)} 40. Rca1 {(-0.23/24 24)} f5 {((Qd8) -0.35/24 33s)} 41. Ra4 {((Bg1) -0.23/23 18s)} Qd8 {( -0.45/24 34)} 42. R4a2 {(-0.38/22 40)} Kg6 {((h5) -0.45/24 0s)} 43. Rb1 {((Qf1) -0. 35/20 19s)} h5 {(-0.59/22 53)} 44. Ra4 {((Rba1) -0.53/20 36s)} g4 {((Be3) -1.04/0 17s )} 45. Qf1 {((hxg4) -0.88/18 23s)} Qh4 {((Qg5) -1.26/18 27s)} 46. Raa1 {((f4) -1.32/ 19 75s)} f4 {((Bf2) -1.59/20 47s)} 47. Qe1 {((Rd1) -1.32/19 16s)} Qxe1+ {(-1.69/22 12 )} 48. Rxe1 {(-1.32/0 0)} Kf5 {((Bd4) -1.93/22 24s)} 49. Bg1 {(-1.62/21 18)} Bxg1 {( -2.03/22 10)} 50. hxg4+ {(-1.80/23 19)} hxg4 {(-2.22/21 5)} 51. Kxg1 {(-1.89/25 32)} Nd4 {(-2.22/21 6)} 52. Kf2 {((Red1) -1.89/25 28s)} g3+ {(-3.18/25 17)} 53. Kf1 {( -1.95/29 17)} Nc2 {((Nxb3) -3.18/24 8s)} 54. Rac1 {((Rec1) -2.13/28 16s)} Nxe1 {( -3.72/25 6)} 55. Rxe1 {(-2.46/28 37)} Rh8 {((d5) -3.87/25 8s)} 56. Kg1 {(-2.50/27 18)} d5 {(-4.22/24 4)} 57. c5 {(-2.88/27 36)} Rd8 {((Ra8) -4.54/26 25s)} 58. Kf1 {(-2.88/ 29 15)} Ra8 {(-4.94/25 11)} 59. Rd1 {(-2.88/30 18)} a4 {(-5.54/25 6)} 60. bxa4 {( -3.73/30 122s)} Rxa4 {(-5.54/26 2)} 61. Rc1 {((d4) -2.88/29 0s)} Ra2 {(-9.69/29 24)} 62. Rb1 {(-4.85/27 29)} d4 {((b3) -9.69/31 3s)} 63. Kg1 {((Ke2) -6.30/26 0s)} b3 {( (Ke6) -15.16/31 6s)} 64. Kf1 {(-7.34/30 63s)} Ke6 {((Ra5) -22.27/33 23s)} 65. Ke2 {( -9.03/27 32)} Kd5 {(-22.27/34 31)} 66. Ke1 {(-9.03/25 9)} Ra5 {(-22.27/33 31)} 0-1

Spectacular blow and counter blow

[Event "CCRL 40/40"] [Site "CCRL"] [Date "2015.12.30"] [Round "235.1"] [White "Fritz 15 64-bit 4CPU"] [Black "Equinox 3.30 64-bit 4CPU"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B66"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r4k1/R3br2/2qp2p1/4p1Pn/1Bp4R/P1N5/KPP4Q/8 b - - 0 34"] [PlyCount "28"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 34... Qb6 35. Rxe7 $1 Qxb4 $3 {A spectacular counter stroke!} ({The idea is obviously} 35... Rxe7 36. Nd5 Qb7 37. Nxe7+ Qxe7 38. Rxc4 {winning a pawn.}) 36. Nd1 {Forced!} ({Taking with} 36. axb4 {allows Black to mate White!} Ra8+ 37. Kb1 Rf1+ 38. Nd1 Rxd1#) 36... Qb6 37. Re6 Rfb7 38. Rxg6+ Kf7 39. Qh1 $1 ({ The point becomes clear after seeing the line} 39. Rxh5 $2 Qxb2+ 40. Nxb2 Rxb2+ 41. Ka1 Rb1+ 42. Ka2 R8b2# {The difference is that with the game's move, the first rank is protected by the queen!}) 39... Kxg6 40. Rxh5 Kf7 41. Rh7+ Ke8 42. g6 Rxh7 43. Qxh7 Rb7 44. g7 Rxg7 45. Qxg7 Qc5 46. Nc3 Kd8 47. Qf6+ Kd7 48. Qf7+ 1-0

A bolt from the blue

[Event "CCRL 40/40"] [Site "CCRL"] [Date "2016.01.01"] [Round "235.2"] [White "Fritz 15 64-bit 4CPU"] [Black "Hannibal 1.5 64-bit 4CPU"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C11"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r4r2/1b2bpk1/p1q1p1p1/1pnpP2p/1P1B1P2/2P1Q3/P3BNPP/R4RK1 b - - 0 19"] [PlyCount "44"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 19... Ne4 {[#]} 20. Bxh5 $3 {A shot from the blue!} Rfd8 ({The point is that after} 20... gxh5 {White wins with} 21. Nxe4 dxe4 22. f5 $1 exf5 23. e6+ $1 Kg6 (23... Kh7 24. Rxf5 fxe6 25. Qg3 $3) 24. Qg3+ Bg5 25. e7 Rfe8 26. Rxf5 Kxf5 27. Qe5+ Kg6 28. Qg7+ Kf5 29. Qxf7+ Qf6 30. Rf1+ {A fantastic line!}) 21. Be2 Rac8 22. Rac1 Rh8 23. a3 Qe8 24. Nxe4 dxe4 25. c4 bxc4 26. Bxc4 a5 27. b5 Qd7 28. Bb6 a4 29. Rcd1 Qe8 30. Be2 Rc2 31. Rc1 Ra2 32. Rc3 Bd5 33. Bc7 Qa8 34. Bd6 Bd8 35. Rfc1 Qb7 36. Bc7 Be7 37. g4 Rc8 38. b6 Bb3 39. f5 exf5 40. gxf5 Bxa3 41. Qg5 1-0

 

What does the modern chess player need? A sparring partner, a trainer, an up-to-date database and access to an online chess server! Fritz, probably the world’s most popular chess program offers just that for beginners and tournament players alike: it plays at the highest level, offers training features for every stage of the game and comes with 6 months Premium access to playchess.com and ChessBase Account. It includes management and analysis options for your own games, as well as a database with 2 million games.

€69.90 
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($58.74) (without VAT)

You can order Fritz 15 in the ChessBase Shop



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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castledkings castledkings 10/29/2017 04:29
asmfish lot stronger
castledkings castledkings 10/29/2017 04:29
nice engine
jkh0208 jkh0208 9/15/2017 02:03
This says that Fritz 15 is using the Rybka engine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_(chess)
RolandBascou RolandBascou 9/29/2016 05:12
When installing Fritz 15, it stops saying that it cannot close the application Radeon Settings.
What can I do ?????????????????????
jcel jcel 6/1/2016 10:42
Trying to find the command Clean Up on Fritz 15 to permanently delete games. How do I find it? Where is it?

Thanks in advance.
jcel jcel 6/1/2016 10:41
Trying to find the command Clean Up on Fritz 15 to permanently delete games. How do I find it? Where is it?

Thanks in advance.
Exclam Exclam 1/15/2016 07:45
Not even sure anyone is even reading these posts now but update in Aquarium match for Fritz 15 and Stockfish 7 after 11 games Fritz 15 is leading 9 - 2 - It would appear like a landslide victory for Fritz 15. I have not tweaked any engine in the competition so far, simply used the engine as downloaded. Time control in this match is 60 15 alternating between white and black. If Komodo 9.3 which did better against Fritz 15 than Stockfish is doing and Stockfish are suppose to be the two strongest engines why are they regularly losing to Fritz 15 in every competition I run. I am going to put Deep Rybka 4 up against Fritz 15 next as it was just as strong in the blitz competition interesting to see what happens next. Once done against Rybka I will give Houdini 4 Pro a go to see how it fairs against Fritz 15 but something is amiss.
Exclam Exclam 1/13/2016 07:36
After 14 games Fritz 15 score 7.5 and Komodo 9.3 score 6.5 - @cansa I have used the engine as downloaded only and haven't adjusted any of the settings for any of the engines. Fritz 15.0 versus Stockfish 7 now underway will report shortly. I am not associated with any of these programs I just happen to own all of them.
cansa cansa 1/13/2016 05:54
maybe you use some custom settings for Komodo and SF.
Exclam Exclam 1/13/2016 04:07
12 games in at the 60 15 time control and Fritz is leading 6.5 to 5.5 over Komodo 9.3 - Game 13 appears like it will be drawn with game 14 remaining. I will put the winner up against Stockfish 7 and then the winner of that match against Deep Rybka 4.0 - I am not sure how the computer chess engine ratings are truly established because to this point Fritz 15 has won every competition against every engine in Blitz aside from its tie with Deep Rybka. I am using Perfect Book 15 and using the default engines in Aquarium 15 so I have changed nothing. Wondering if I should be tweaking those engines for better results.
Exclam Exclam 1/12/2016 05:07
6 Games in Fritz 15 is leading 3.5 to 2.5 against Komodo 9.3 in 60 15 time control.
Exclam Exclam 1/11/2016 03:37
I know this isn't necessarily useful, but I am still attempting to figure out how strong Fritz 15 is. Over the weekend I played a 4 2 blitz tournament with Fritz 15, Stockfish 7, Stockfish 6, Deep Rybka 4, Houdini 4 Pro A, Houding 4 Pro B, Komodo 9.3 and Komodo 9.2. Results were Fritz 15 won with 21.0 over Deep Rybka 21.0 but lost to Fritz 15, 3rd was StockFish 7 at 16.5. This all ran on an i7 2600 PC using Aquarium and Perfect Book 2015. I disabled autoflag so the engines wouldn't lose on time. Again like before Fritz 15 engine is winning again. I am now running a 14 game match 60 15 with Fritz 15 versus Komodo 9.3 and will do the same with the other engines just to get a rough idea. But every match up I do so far Fritz 15 is outclassing the competition but the computer sites suggest it isn't that strong. Wouldn't mind Vasik inout here. interesting that Deep Rybka 4 was still able to tie for first place in the little tournament as well seeing as all those engines use multiple cores now.
simonchess27 simonchess27 1/7/2016 06:25
Wich Answers??
Spring break Spring break 1/6/2016 08:36
“Fritz 15 will have a rather different 'search personality' than Rybka 4, but this won't be anything which is easy to summarize for users.” Well you should try to explain because 30-40 elo stronger than a previous Rybka version and saying it's different and stopping there that does not deserve an article. About the examples it's some tactical exercices where all engines I tested logically found all the same moves.
I very much want to buy Fritz 15 but I do want to know why it is different from Rybka and this article comes nothing close to give a tale of an answer...
Halflash Halflash 1/6/2016 07:02
I'm curious to see a match session between Fritz 15 and Stockfish 7 :-)
Exclam Exclam 1/6/2016 03:10
I have been trying to figure out the strength by playing engine games in Aquarium and thus far Fritz 15 has won every competition that is against Komodo 9.3, Stockfish 6.0, Rybka 4.0 and Houdini 4.0 - I am a little confused as I didn't believe it would be that strong and am wondering what is going on, I haven't gone back to see how many of those games were lost on time however. Those matches were all at 4 2 time controls, I have played 2 40 40 matches versus Komodo 9.3 and Fritz 15 earned 1.5 score. Of course that isn't enough to make any conclusions. The only real conclusion I made is the realization as to how much money I spend on chess software in general.
@gmwdim - My Fritz 15 as is most of my Chessbase software in the last couple of years all download based except the endgame tablebases that were shipped via mail.
gmwdim gmwdim 1/6/2016 05:13
Btw I wish ChessBase would get with the times with its products. I bought a previous version of Fritz some time ago (Fritz 11, I think), and it requires the DVD at all times to use. I now use a thin laptop that doesn't have an optical disc drive, and I can't use my Fritz that I already paid for! I tried creating a disc image on another computer and mounting it as a virtual drive on my laptop, but now ChessBase thinks I'm using a pirated copy. Now I see that the system requirements for Fritz 15 also include a DVD drive. Please move to license server-based software like every other software company and ditch the physical media!
gmwdim gmwdim 1/6/2016 05:05
Showing games against weaker engines and comparing Fritz 15 to Rybka are irrelevant. The top engines have been Komodo, Stockfish and Houdini for the last few years, and anyone interested in Fritz is going to want to know how it stacks up against those three.
CID64 CID64 1/5/2016 11:28
The holy trinity in chess are Houdini,Stockfish and Komodo.
GrahamB GrahamB 1/5/2016 08:14
@Cansa - Fritz 15 can be used as a stand-alone UCI engine in other GUIs.
MJFitch MJFitch 1/5/2016 06:43
I can't wait to see how much improvement 15.1 will add as far as ratings go!!!...I'm hoping it reaches the Stockfish/Komodo atmosphere :-) or near that!!!
Johannes27 Johannes27 1/5/2016 03:24
Fritz is no match to Stockfish (FREE) or Komodo. This is the simple truth and that' s why victories versus weaker engines are aforementioned. A simple emgine match will convince.
vixen vixen 1/5/2016 02:40
I think this is good news
hopefully we have competitor for Komodo Stockfish
cansa cansa 1/5/2016 02:19
very good but i dont know why chessbase dont use UCI standard all version of Fritz require dvd disk.Its so uncool.
Jakub Sevcik Jakub Sevcik 1/5/2016 02:01
Stockfish -free avaiable chess engine founfd it all in few seconds.....
tom_70 tom_70 1/5/2016 01:33
There was a time when chess programs were interesting. Not anymore. They are all so strong that they are more or less useless for anything but analysis and playing each other.
Derek McGill Derek McGill 1/5/2016 01:32
Is there a setting for it to play for a draw ?
Catastrophe Catastrophe 1/5/2016 01:02
He is not a persona-non-grata. He is only banned from the ICGA, and this is controversial. The ICGA is irrelevant to computer chess nowadays anyways.
Spookie Spookie 1/5/2016 10:45
Isn't Rajlich like a 'persona-non-grata' in computer chess these days? I thought he was banned after it turned out Rybka was partly stolen from other engine codes?
T.V.Smith T.V.Smith 1/5/2016 09:19
Because Rajlich is the author of rybka
sunnyside sunnyside 1/5/2016 09:11
why not compare with Houdini?
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