Fat Fritz in the cloud

by Albert Silver
11/28/2019 – Have you just spent a tidy sum for graphics cards and even a powerful new computer? Well, there is an elegant way to make the hardware pay for itself. Instead of switching off the computer half the time (or more) you can make it available to other users in the ChessBase Engine Cloud. They will pay you for the privilege. This means that other chessplayers, who have not yet taken the step, can use your computer while you sleep. We tell you how this works.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package ChessBase 17 - Mega package

ChessBase is a personal, stand-alone chess database that has become the standard throughout the world. Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it.


Renting out Fat Fritz in the Engine Cloud

Say you have a very powerful system, with the latest GeForce RTX graphics cards running on an eight or twelve core computer. You are delighted with the ideas Fat Fritz is producing during analysis sessions. And Fritz 17 is the ideal interface to run the AI engine – not to mention conventional brute force engines like Fritz 17 (the engine) and Stockfish. But, half the time the computer is not running. Humans sometime sleep, or they are at work, or have other tasks to attend to. In this case why not make your computer available to other chess enthusiasts, for a modest sum, in the ChessBase Engine Cloud? For them it is as if Fat Fritz were running on their machines – on a simple notebook. This is how you go about it:

1. Optimize your analysis

Working with multiple engines simultaneously makes a lot of sense — cloud systems running in parallel can undertake the most challenging of calculation tasks without the slightest loss of performance. One example of the benefits of this would be running one cloud engine in the slower “multiple variation” mode to see just how sharp the position is. Meanwhile, another engine could be focusing on just the main line, reaching very deep search depths.

2. Save system resources

Running a multiprocessor engine on a notebook or laptop is very energy intensive — a lot of battery power is used just to cool the system. And because chess engines makes the CPU run at full capacity your portable device will soon be switching into stand-by mode. Running an engine from the cloud, however, means that your device doesn’t need to perform the calculation locally – as all the computation is performed by a separate machine.

3. Dispense with expensive hardware

Serious analysis requires very powerful computers. However, such systems are expensive, take up a lot of space, and suffer from a high rate of obsolescence, given that new processors are being developed all the time. If you just use the engine cloud whenever you need it, you stand to save a great deal!

4. Peak performance when you need it

If, for example, a correspondence game comes to a head and a critical position needs deep analysis, one might want to dramatically ramp up the processing power. With the engine cloud even the tiniest of notebooks can be running a bank of strong engines on powerful machines – and all at the click of a mouse.

High-end for everybody! 

If you own a number of computers you can run all your engines on all of them and harness the full processing power on a single PC. Or you can rent your machines to other users via the “Cloud”. This is an especially exciting development for owners of high-performance computers or clusters. But the key point is: you can rent processing power from third parties and turn your little notebook or your “old faithful” into a tactical giant and strategic monster at the click of a button! 

"Let’s Check”

Join the community! “Let’s Check” is a revolutionary new feature of ChessBase that is changing the chess world. With it Fritz users can join a world-wide community that is putting together a giant knowledge base for chess. Using Let’s Check while watching top games live on the Playchess server becomes an experience in itself. Not only do you have the very latest openings and statistics at your disposal, you can also see the results of the most powerful computers and engines that are logged into the server — all the info at your fingertips.

What does it cost?

  1. The provider determines a booking fee for the engine (it can even be zero ducats).
  2. The provider sets a base price per minute. Currently, the prices are 0.01 to 0.65 ducats (10 ducats = 1 euro), You might pay 3.90 Euros for an hour working with one of the more expensive engines.
  3. If an engine is "busy" you can offer a higher price than the base price to book it with priority. You can also enter an upper, automatic limit for your own bid so that you can automatically bid up to a certain price level.
  4. Guaranteed Price Per Minute: The vendor can set a fixed price that will not allow you to be outbid and use the engine for as long as you want.
  5. You can end the analysis with the engine at any time, for example, if you are not satisfied with the results. In this way, you can try different engines quickly, without any risk.

What do the colored buttons in the list mean?

The current status of each of the engines on offer is show with red, green and yellow buttons:

  • Green medal: The engine is available: Double-click to hire the engine.
  • Yellow medal: The engine is in use right now, but you can hire the engine with a higher bid. Note: Each bid costs an additional fee equal to the current rate per minute. The fee will also be charged if your bid is unsuccessful. This feature protects the current user from destructive bidding in this way. If your bid does not win, you can put yourself on the waiting list ("queue"). In this case, the engine would load immediately as soon as the previous user releases it. If at this moment a board window with a position is opened, then the engine will immediately begin automatically with the analysis of this position.
  • Red medal: The engine is in use and can not be rented by higher bids because the current user has paid the fixed max price. 

What do I have to consider when renting?

Double-click on a "green" engine to rent it. A dialogue box opens in which you can enter all the parameters regarding the price (maximum rate, budget, enter fixed price, if applicable). After pressing "OK", you can then use the engine. To stop using the engine, click on the "STOP" button in the same dialogue box (it will remain in the background during use). This will stop the use and process the payment immediately.

Use your desktop on your laptop

If you have a high-performance PC at home and are on the go with your notebook, you can connect to the notebook via the cloud and use your own home computing power on the go!

The "Private Cloud Engine"
  • Specify on your PC the engine in the cloud via (e.g.) ChessBase 15, Fritz 17 or Komodo 13.
  • Connect with your ChessBase account username.
  • Click Engines → Open Engine Cloud.
  • Click "Offer Private Engine" and select the engine you would like to offer in the cloud.

That's it! You can use your own private engine from another computer. Just open the Cloud Engines window on another computer and connect to the same ChessBase account. Your private engine will now be highlighted in blue in the list. Double-click to start the engine (of course this is free!)

How do I offer an engine for public use?

It is very simple to offer other users your own engine, running on your own computer and offer it for rent in the ChessBase Engine Cloud:

  • Open ChessBase 15 and log in with your ChessBase Account
  • Cloud → Engine Cloud
  • In the window that appears now you will find a list with all engines that are being provided in the engine cloud at that moment

Click on "Offer Public Engine" to offer (one of) your own engine(s):

Select the engine you would like to offer (in our example, we see Fat Fritz) and confirm the selection with OK.

In the dialogue box you can then set the prices for the rental:

Tips for providers

At the beginning you generally should set a low booking fee (i.e. zero) if you want many people to try out your machine. Offer your engine for free to gain experience points. You will still earn Ducats because users might rent your box at the max fixed rate. People might try out your engine for only a minute or two, but this is OK — the point is to gain credibility.

Once your engine is well-known and respected, a higher booking fee and low minute rate encourages serious users who prefer long sessions.

Increase your chances by offering different engines than other people. Users might want to analyse with more than one engine at once. Modern engines play very similarly and tend to be optimized for computer chess strength. However, for analysis, users might prefer unusual engines like (e.g.) Deep Junior which suggest alternative moves.

The server will identify your engine by your name, the engine name and a hardware identification key. It will calculate average node speeds for you and sum up the "Likes" received from users.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use engines without spending ducats?

Of course! You can provide private engines from your own machines for yourself. This is the main use of the Engine Cloud. You can also use free engines from others.

Can I bid lower than the current minute rate asked? Can I negotiate a price?

You can always queue a bid. The provider will be notified of your bid and might even lower the current rate. If he/she does so, the engine will load automatically. It is recommended to open a board window with your analysis position. If you gain the engine while being away from your computer, analysis will then start automatically.

Can I limit the time I am using an engine?

You can limit your ducats budget. As soon as the budget limit is reached, the engine will be unloaded and the current variation plus evaluation will be stored in the game notation.

Can I play engine matches?

Yes, the engine cloud is an interesting auto-play option. You could also run tactical test suites or play in the playchess.com engine room. Engine tournaments are not implemented yet. If you use engines for playing it is recommended to use the reliable rate which protects you from getting outbid by others. Losing control of the engine would resign the game.

Can I make my engine visible for a limited group of users only?

Yes! In your provider window (which opens when you offer an engine), call "Edit Engine Data" and add the users to the "private users" list.

What is the "provider experience"?

It is a function of total minutes over all engines, number of different users, "likes" received and Ducats earned.

At what price should I offer my machine?

Price is a function of supply and demand. Try offering for free to gain experience ranking and then benefit from auctions.

What is the meaning of "Max. time for fixed rate"?

The fixed rate protects a user from bidding. After a time limit set by the provider has been reached, the engine is open for auctions again, but the current user may continue working.

Can I offer more than one engine on one machine?

No, your engines are identified by a combination of your name, the engine name and a unique machine identifier. This combination has to be unique for every engine.


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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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