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3/23/2003 – People who own Fritz 8 (or the interface compatible Shredder 7) will probably have seen an unusual message when they logged on to the Playchess.com server. The request would have been to upgrade the program, a process which involves a few "yes" clicks and a couple of minutes of your time. Here's a list of all the great new functions you get.

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Free program update for Fritz8/Shredder7, March 2003

The latest Fritz 8 upgrade is also to be found on the latest ChessBase Magazine CDs and can be manually executed from there. Once again it is a painless process requiring just a few minutes. If you unsure whether you have the latest version you can log into the Playchess.com server and use "Help – Query update" to find out.

But what do you get when you have installed this running update? First of all a stronger engine, one the authors have tuned up and improved for recent tournaments. Secondly there are a lot of new chess server functions, that make your activities on one of biggest onlen chess communities in the world even more pleasant.

New Playchess.com server functions

  • Search for friends (Menu: Edit – Search friends)
  • Search for any player (Edit – Search player)

  • Extended Formula in the Engine room: exclusion of engines, limited number of games per opponent.

  • Elo statistics in players list. Right mouse-click in Players list – Statistics.
  • Rank displayed in user data. Useful when checking players who are not currently online.

  • Create your own chat channels (rank of bishop or higher required).
  • Elo display contains date of the last game.
  • Double-click on player in the list of people joining a chat brings you into his room.
  • Planet display in the photo-realistic globe.
  • More efficient administration of large server-tournaments on the tournament director's side (faster and less resource intensive).
  • English flag corrected.
  • White can abort before the first black move.
  • Faster loading of spectators list during large live transmissions.
  • Every kibitzed game is saved in the database My Documents/ChessBase/MyInternetKibitzing.
  • Separate saving of games played in the machine room.

New Engines

  • The update contains the latest version of the Shredder7 and Fritz8 engines. Both versions played in Paderborn, and they are both stronger than the previous versions.

New Functions in the regular chess program

  • 3D board with rotatable knight heads
  • 3D board can run in full window mode
  • Full analysis: existing commentary is optionally retained

  • Right-click to copy game/position to the analysis board
  • Better display of results in engine match
  • Rounds of an interrupted engine match can be renumbered (right-click)
  • Program now translated into Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish and Swedish.

Ducats

"Ducats" (pronounced "Duck-it", to rhyme approximately with bucket) is the currency on Playchess.com. With ducats you can pay strong players for games or for private coaching. Ducats are bought online in the www.chessbase.com shop. This is best done from the program, using the Menu Edit – Payments – Fill up account, because it ensures that the right name is given to the shop. For 10 Euros (just over $10) you can buy 100 ducats.

From now on all prizes in tournaments will be paid out in ducats. Ducats you have won or bought can be used to purchase any ChessBase products. To do so, use the function Menu Edit – Payments – Buy with Ducats. The system is currently under construction. Full details will follow in the coming week.

Some more tips for Playchess.com

Join the channel Events. If an important player (with rank of rook or higher) starts a transmission or a training session it is automatically announced in this channel.

If you want to analyze during a game or broadcast, unplug the transmission. This is done in the menu Game – Unplug transmission (or press Ctrl-U). Click Plug into transmission or press Ctrl-U again to resume automatic transmission.

Use the premove function in blitz games. It is activated using Tools – Options – Server settings – Premove. It is a double-edged weapon for bullet players, but if it is used properly it saves a lot of thinking time without any risk. If you expect your opponent to exchange, enter your recapture in advance. Your reply will cost zero seconds of thinking time. An example: after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 you now enter Nxe4 by moving c3 to e4. A green arrow appears that indicates the premove. If the opponent does not play d5xe4, then Nc3xe4 is an illegal move because your pawn is still on e4. So it won't be executed.


Switch off the Window titles (like Players, Games, Challenges, Rooms) to save space on the screen. Menu Tools -> Options -> Server Settings -> Window Titles.

Prominent or strong players tend to get chatted up or even mobbed during live broadcasts. If youe want to concentrate on the game you can set a minimal rank for incoming chat (Tools -> Options -> Chat -> Autoreply below rank). If someone below this rank addresses you, a polite autoreply is send to him, and the chat does not appear in your window.

Before accepting an incoming challenge, click on it, and check the quality of the connection in the status bar in the lower part of the window. This way you avoid blitz-games with an unacceptable "lag" (delay through slow internet connections).

To be continued...


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