Analyzing games with Komodo (Part one)

by Albert Silver
11/12/2014 – One of the chief attractions of the Fritz interface is the many options to automatically analyze your games and help you reach your potential. We often shy away from this, since if the world's elite can blunder, imagine the less privileged players. However, they can do more than show us our mistakes if you look at it from the right perspective. Learn how in this new video tutorial.

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When acquiring a program such as Komodo, Fritz, or any other engine packaged in ChessBase's Fritz interface, one of its great attractions is the ability to quickly get it to analyze your game automatically, and tell you not only where you went wrong, but how you could improve your play. Even top grandmasters benefit from this, since even if they might argue with an engine's evaluation that its move is better than the player's by 0.20 pawns (the engine's measurement unit), if the engine says there was a screw-up worth a +2 or more, then even they just accept it as gospel.

The vision of a super chess-playing computer is very much a reality today, accessible to all,
and can help us reach our own potential when used properly. Komodo won't open the pod bay
doors
either though.

Of course, classic learning dictates that ideally we should study our own games in detail, with large notebooks holding all our thoughts and analyses, and while this may all be true, it is a serious mistake to think that having the program digest the game and spit out its analysis is unproductive. You may also wish to avoid this, not wishing to face the reality of the mistakes, or number of them. Allow me to share a 'cup is half full' perspective on this instead:

Learning from your good moves is just as important as learning from your mistakes

We often forget that when a program analyzes our moves and says that we blundered twice in 45 moves, it is also telling us that 43 of our choices were acceptable, and reviewing those 43 correct moves for positive reinforcement is no less valuable. In other words, don't focus only on where you went wrong, but also on where you went right!

Complete video tutorial

 

Full video instructions on how to load or enter a game and mistakes to avoid. The video is recorded in
high-definition, so be sure to set it to 720p or 1080p and maximize it on the screen.

The complete instructions:

Loading the game

The first step is to have a game ready to be analyzed. If you played it live, then you will need to enter the game manually, move-by-move.

Manually entering a game

The first problem you may encounter is that if you try this without any preparation, the engine will actually try to play against you after you enter the first move. You have two solutions:

  • Turn off the engine

Go to the Engine toolbar and put a checkmark in Switch Off Engine. Now the engine will
stay quiet as you enter the game's moves.

  • Set the engine to Infinite Analysis

If you want to see the engine analyzing while you enter the moves, in the Home toolbar,
click on Infinite Analysis

There is nothing wrong with this practice, but it will be slower in the long run, and here's why: even if you see the move evaluations, it will not actually record these moves into the notation, so you would need to do this manually. Also, it is easy to get distracted or lost in the analysis and end up spending far more time watching the engine analyze than actually reviewing the game. Let's be honest, we're human after all.  

After you are done entering the game, go to File and Save or Save As... before trying anything.
This is not obligatory, but it is always a good practice.

Loading a game played online

If you played the game online, whether at Playchess or another much worse and far less interesting rival server, you have two options really (aside from entering the game by hand as above):

  • The game was played in Playchess

Open the file where Playchess saves your games by going to the Home toolbar, then click on
the Database button (F12) to go to the Database window

On the right you should see an icon that says "MyInternetGames". Just click on it and the
list of all the games you played on the server will be stored there. Choose the game you
want, and double-click on it.

Please note that if you watched a game, whether played as a blitz, or from a broadcast, you
can click on the icon "MyInternetKibitzing", and it will show all the games you watched.

  • The game was played on another site

For Komodo or Fritz to be able to analyze a game from another site, the game needs to be saved in a PGN file. This should not be a problem though, since almost all sites support this, and this is how games played on Playchess on Android would be saved as well.

Go to the Home toolbar, then click on the Database button (F12) to go to the Database window

Now click on File and then Open (the direct shortcut for this is Ctrl-O)

A pane will open, allowing you to locate the PGN file. Before you go to the directory where
the file is saved, click on Files of type, and select PGN files (*.PGN). If you neglect this step,
your PGN file will not appear even if you are in the correct directory.

Now go to the correct directory, and open the PGN file

Continued in Part 2...

Komodo Chess 8 includes:

  • The Komodo 8 engine, which can support up to 64 processor cores and 16 GB of hash memory
  • The new Deep Fritz 64-bit program interface (+ 32 bit program interface)
  • Online access to the world’s largest analysis database “Let’s Check”, with over 200 million extensively analyzed positions (free access to “Let’s Check” until December 31, 2016)
  • Access to ChessBase engine cloud
  • Premium membership to Playchess.com for six months
  • Database with over 1.5 million games

System requirements

Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 2 GB RAM, Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3), 7/8, DirectX9, 256 MB graphics card, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9 and Internet access for program activation, access to Playchess.com, Let’s Check and program updates.

Recommended: PC Intel i7 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 8.1, DirectX10, 512 MB graphics card, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and Internet access for program activation, access to Playchess.com, Let's Check and program updates.

Price: €79.90 (€67.14 without VAT for customers outside the EU; $86.62 without VAT). Languages: English, German. ISBN: 978-3-86681-442-4; EAN: 9783866814424. Delivery: Download, Post

Order Komodo Chess 8 in the ChessBase shop now!




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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Bertman Bertman 11/12/2014 10:01
Yes, there will be further video tutorials not only on Komodo/Fritz, but also ChessBase. Part two will illustrate some of the automated analysis functions.

Thanks for the compliments, always appreciated.
NYTed NYTed 11/12/2014 11:25
Very Good Tutorial Albert!
Crazymo Crazymo 6/3/2014 08:12
Hi, really nice article. Can you make one for chessbase 12 aswell?
Issus like opening book etc is kind of hard to make work well for me..
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