Deep Fritz 11 is fast – and now available from ChessBase

by ChessBase
11/21/2008 – Fritz 11 is a complete rewrite of the famous Fritz program. It is crammed with tactical strength and chess knowledge. But until recently it ran on just one processor. Now ChessBase has released a "deep" version that supports up to 16 CPUs or cores. On a quad system, fast becoming the industry standard, it runs almost four time faster than on a single core. A perfect partner for chess analysis.

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FRITZ 11 now available

A year ago Fritz became the first commercial chess program in history to defeat a reigning World Champion in a formal match. Hundreds of thousands of chess fans followed the event on the Internet. In its games against Vladimir Kramnik Fritz displayed an astonishing degree of strategic understanding, underscoring its reputation as one of the strongest and best-loved chess programs in the world.

The new Fritz 11 – now availabe in the ChessBase Shop – has been vastly improved, compared to the version that beat the world champion. Its playing strength has improved by 80 Elo points. But it is also the entire package of new features that will impress chess fans. The program helps you with practical play, training and analysis, and does so in an entertaining way that fosters learning and understanding.

The main Fritz database contains over one million games, ranging from the years 1625 to 2007 – from the early beginnings of chess history to the latest top-level tournaments. The revised and extended openings book is more diverse and better tuned to the strengths and preferences of Fritz. A complete new feature, the “magic eye”, visualizes the thought processes of the engine on the 3D chessboard. You can directly follow the ideas that are going through the “mind” of the program.

Deep Fritz 11

By Mathias Feist

Fritz 11 was a new start in the engine development of the Fritz series. The historically grown Fritz 10 proved to be very resilient to further improvement of the playing strength vs other engines. On the other hand we were quite happy with the evaluations and the general playing style. The tactical performance was superb, and the endgame knowledge was extensive, making Fritz 10 a very good tool for analysis.

The positional and the endgame evaluations both improved over the years, not the least because of the matches and tournaments we played against various grandmasters. Most important were the Frankfurt Classics series and the matches against Kramnik in Bahrain, vs Kasparov in New York, and again vs Kramnik in Bonn. In sharp positions we didn't fear anyone, the focus of the development was on quiet or closed positions.

We were aware that to be successfull in these games we needed not only to play a strong middlegame, but also a decent endgame. Please note that Tablebases were still in their infancy when these challenges came up. One could say the development was driven by these matches and tournaments.

An important role in these matches was played by Alexander Kure, the long-time openings book author for Fritz. To be successfull against such strong competition the openings had to be slected carefully. Of course we preferred sharp positions, but there was no way to avoid quiet positions. But both sides always have an influence on the selection.

With Fritz 11 we wanted to keep these strong points while refactoring the engine to make it easier to add chess knowledge. This was quite successfull, Fritz 11 kept the endgame knowledge, was tactically comparable to Fritz 10, and beat Fritz 10 convincingly. In order to support the latest techniques in computer chess the search was re-written completely.

Deep Fritz 11 goes further down this road. It has been improved in all phases of the game, giving it a slight plus over Fritz 11 in direct play. But much more important is the resulting improvement in analysis. For instance attacks and perpetuals are evaluated better.

A crucial change is of course the support of multiple processors which we neglected during the refactoring towards Fritz 11. The engine supports up to 16 cpus/cores, which gives plenty of leeway for furture hardware. The standard today is dual core, with quad cores machines slowly becoming popular.

A quick example

We allowed Fritz 11 and Deep Fritz 11 to analyse a position from the recent Bilbao Masters (Topalov-Ivanchuk, final round). The defensive move to find was 37...Rc4. The machine we used was a standard Intel four-core system with Windows Vista 64 installed. Price of the computer: around 550 Euros.

Fritz 11, running on a single core gets you 2.7 million positions per second (2675 kN/s = 2675 thousand nodes per second). The good defensive move is displayed in 25 seconds.

This is Deep Fritz also running on a single core. It is slightly slower than Fritz 11 (2.2 million positions per second) because it is using more chess knowledge. It finds the move after 19 seconds.

Running on all four cores Deep Fritz 11 gets 8.5 millions positions per second, which is about 3.8 times faster than on a single core. It finds the right defensive move in seven seconds.

Speed is of essence when you are analysing complicated lines, because very often players tend to wait only a few seconds on each position, so that there is a danger of overlooking something the computer would find if you gave it a little more time. Or if you used a computer with multiple cores. Fritz 11 is a tactically very reliable program, and many top players, even if they are using Rybka as their main engine, will consult Fritz in complicated positions and where chess knowledge is required to find a good continuation.

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
Deep Fritz 11 costs 99.90 €uros

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