Pocket Fritz 4: More formats, more chances

2/9/2010 – Pocket Fritz 4 supports the file formats CBH (ChessBase game database), CBV (ChessBase zipped game database) and CTG (ChessBase opening book or tree), which are familiar to users of other ChessBase products. This is an important qualitative and quantitative step that gives you access to a wide range of chess data, with unquestionable advantages introduced in this article.

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More formats, more chances

Pocket Fritz 4 includes native support of CBH, CBV and CTG formats, with which users of other ChessBase products are already familiar. The advantages of this compatibility are not limited to how easy it now is to share files or to avoid changing files to the PGN format:

  • Pocket Fritz 4 can use books and databases of any size due to the scalability of the format, restricted only by hardware limitations.

  • CBH game collections and CTG opening trees require less size to store the same amount of information.

  • Better structured data mean faster searchs and quicker filtering with CBH and CTG formats.

The only drawback, if it can be called such, is that you have to remember that every database or opening tree with these formats are build out of several files, all with the same name and different extensions, and that it is necessay to copy them all to the pocket PC (and to store all of them in the same folder) in order to the database or the opening book to work properly.

CBH, CBV or CTG are the extensions of the main files, but it is not possible to open and use the database or the opening book only with them.

Loading a book

Let's see for instance how to load a CGT book. First of all, we have to activate the book pane in the screen, by means of Menu => Windows => Book.

After tapping with the stylus somewhere in the book pane, the following menu pops up:

"Select book..." opens a dialog window through which we can navigate to the opening tree we want to load. In the picture you can see both opening trees delivered with  PowerBook 2010, which we had copied to the memory card of our device.

Once any of the book is loaded, there are several context functions available to arrange which data is displayed when we tap with the stylus on the headers. It is possible to optimise the display, either taking into account the information in the columns or the title of the headers.

We can also choose the information to be displayed, including the results statistics (wins, draws, loses) of each move, although this is better shown in the bottom line of the book window. To get this arrangement, we have to tap a free area of the book window with the stylus and then choose "Statistics" in the pop up menu:

After this you get a bar in the lower part of the book pane in with a color code and a number will tell you the win, draw and lose percentages for the highlighted move.

The pop-up menu of the book window gives you access to several functions related to it, like input moves in the notation (Execute) or finding games in the database in which the referred move has been played. The search can be restricted to games by chess players above 2500 Elo.

Here you can also select the way in which the chess engine should use the information contained in the opening book, or it it should not be considered at all.

As we already mentioned, Pocket Fritz 4 is now able to use game databases in CBH or CBV (zipped) formats. In order to look into a database.we have to open or to load it by means of Menu => Load game...

Then you get the database window, showing the last opened database.

You can tap on the downward arrow next to the database name to get a list of databases most recently used. You can go back to them through this list.

If you tap on the button with the two dots you are taken to the file selector dialog:

In the "Folder" field it is possible to navigate to the main storing places in the device (main memory, storage card and last opened folder).

In "Type" it is possible to filter the database formats we are trying to find, to reduce the number of results offered in the lower part of the window:

When the desired database is shown, you only have to tap on its name to open it and go back to the game list.

As it was the case with the opening books, keeping the stylus pressed in the game lists offers a pop-up menu to select the information to be displayed and to enhance its presentation.

For instance, it is possible to show the medals (or categories) assigned to the games. These are showed not only by the color codes but also in a descriptive way to avoid missunderstandings.

The integration of CBH format allows any database to be immediately opened by Pocket Fritz 4, without requiring previous conversion. Below you can see the text database of the introduction of ChessBase Magazine 133:

Pocket Fritz 4 supports also the compressed CBV format. For instance, it allows you to easily download a database with the Internet connection of the PPC and then to unzip and open it with our program. Having saved the CBV file in the memory of the PPC, the way to open it is not different that the one used to open a CBH file explained above.

For those who find it difficult to follow the notations beyond several moves, if they have enough screen resolution in their PPC, reading games in the notation window is not a problem anymore.

You can toggle between the notation and board windows, but you can also ask the program to display a diagram on the fly of any position you want in the notation window itself. To do it you only have to press with the stylus on a move and to choose "Diagram" in the pop-up menu:

You will get inmediately a diagram embedded showing the position in the board in that moment.

Repeating this will delete the diagram, to face again the plain and hard notation.

To finish this article, let's see how fast the search is in a CBH database. For example, in the game list of the PowerGames 2010 database we are going to find all games between Kasparov and Topalov in a blink.

We tap on the first funnel on the left of the lower icon bar and a search or filter mask is opened. In it we are going to search for games between Kasparov and Topalov. Please remember that it is not necessary to type the names. You can choose them in the player's list which appears when you tap in the downward arrow on the right of the field. If you type a few letters, the list automatically updates its presentation according to them.

Please, remember that you have to touch the OK button with the stylus once you have entered all the filtering criteria. If you tap on the red arrow on the left of the lower icon bar, you go back to the game list discarding the filter or search.

In less than a second you'll have all the games played by Kasparov with white against Topalov:


Now you can carry Mega database and PowerBook in your pocket to feed this chess monster!

Pocket Fritz 4 is a program for whenever and wherever you want to play chess. The new HIARCS engine, written by Mark Uniacke, is impressive because of its positional play and tactical power. Pocket Fritz 4 is much stronger than the previous version; in the 2009 Copa Mercosur Grandmaster Tournament in Buenos Aires it scored an Elo performance of 2938! 

You can order it here and now...

Other features to be dealt with in future articles:

  • Native support of CBH and CTG database and opening book formats.
  • New engine features: next best, lock engine on a position, move selection for the analysis. 
  • Elo simulation for playing mode. 
  • Customizable keys.

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