Fritz 16 – your companion and trainer

11/12/2017 – When is chess the most enjoyable? When you win! But computers have become far too strong and won't allow their human owners that satisfaction. Until now. The latest iteration of our flagship program has advanced handicap features that make it behave like an average human player. At the same time it is a full-blooded trainer that will teach you how to think – in grandmasterly style. Fritz 16 also comes with other very useful functions, like voice recognition, spell checking, and much more. It also has a completely overhauled navigation. Take a look.

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When Fritz entered his first tournaments some 25 years ago, humans still had a real chance of taking the engine down. Only a few years down the line, Fritz was already beating grandmasters left, right and center, and ever since his 4:2 victory over Kramnik in 2006, Fritz has been considered unbeatable. Who would want to play against him?

In the case of Fritz 16, however, playing against an engine is now once again the very definition of fun! A host of features, including "Assisted Analysis," which gives you discreet visual hints as you move, and emoticons, which show Fritz’s mood, are there to help you. Even with little knowledge of chess, you can enjoy many an exciting game, and more importantly, occasional victories against the computer. And if things don’t work out, Fritz 16 will show you the combinations you might have missed, directly after the game, with the handy “Tactical Analysis” function. Or you can dive right into "Easy Play" calculation training to hone your skills. Fritz doesn’t come up short with regard to playing strength either: the new multiprocessor engine was developed by star programmer Vas Rajlich ("Rybka") and is up there with the global elite.

Stay mobile with Fritz 16: With a six-month ChessBase Premium Account included, you’re guaranteed full access to the world of ChessBase Web Apps (also for iPads, Android Tablets and Smartphones) on the move: 6,000 chess training videos, 60,000 tactical exercises, 8 million games in the Live database and, of course, the best online action on playchess.com. Fritz now also annotates and analyses as you play, immediately providing you with move-by-move summaries to replay after a game ends.

No other chess program offers you more, with the online manual alone spanning a whopping 457 pages! But you won’t need it – Fritz 16 is intuitive and easy to use, and whether you want to play against the engine, analyze or enjoy some online blitz, Fritz 16 will open just the functions you need at the click of a mouse.

Order Fritz 16 in the ChessBase Shop
Available from Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New in Fritz16

The Portal Screen

Fritz16 has a new and simplified user interface [click to enlarge]. This starts in the main entry screen where you now reach typical user areas with a single click. Fritz16 distinguishes between playing and entering+analysis. This simplifies the menu bars a lot and lets you concentrate better on the task at hand.

  • Click “Easy Game” to play against a human-style Fritz.
  • Click “Enter & Analyse” to analyse games you played in your club.
  • If you want to reach the familiar menus of Fritz15, click “Classic Menu”.

Also for Playchess.com, you reach typical functions directly from the portal window. For example “Watch Live Games” immediately opens a board of the most important grandmaster games currently being broadcast live.

Easy Game with Assisted Analysis

Playing against a chess program was an exciting pastime 20 years ago. However playing against a modern chess engine at full strength is no real fun anymore. Previous Fritz versions introduced various handicap, friend and sparring modes to mimic human play. In Fritz16 all humanized and handicapped play has been radically simplified and unified under the title “Easy Game”.

You simply set a level from Beginner to Grandmaster (Menu Levels). The most common level would be Club Player, which is probably around Elo 1800.

Now click “Start Game as White” or “Start Game as Black”.

The interesting thing about “Easy Game” e.g. on level Club Player is that the program plays mostly rather natural and strong moves, but is prone to fall into tactics. So the sharper you play, the more likely that Fritz will “find” mistakes to make. As a consequence, you will often play nice attack games if you risk something.

Nevertheless, the program is still hard to beat. Therefore you might take advantage of a subtle new help: click on a piece a bit longer and Assisted Analysis will indicate good and bad moves with colored squares on the board. This boosts your playing strength with a little safety net, while you remain in control of the game. If you are still out of ideas, you can turn your mouse wheel for a little hint.

A couple of moves into the game, the program will display your estimated Elo strength. Whenever a tactical opportunity or possible refutation of an engine move arises, the program will say this out loud and indicate it in the Easy Game Info Window.

Assisted Calculation

Proper calculation is the single most determining factor of playing strength. Assisted Calculation takes a new approach to boost your calculation skills. It concentrates on improving the crucial ability behind good calculation: visualizing positions without moving the pieces. The program helps with legality and tactical correctness of moves, while your focus is entirely on the task of picturing in your mind a position a few moves ahead. This leads to meaningful variations which also create better moves in an Easy Game against Fritz.

In Assisted Calculation you move on the board, but the pieces remain in their original position, like they would in a real game. Assisted Analysis helps finding the correct moves. To check whether your visualization is correct, right-click the board anytime to see the real current position.

New in Playchess

Fritz16 introduces a new Blitz rating: “Pool Blitz”. In Pool Blitz your games are paired automatically. The server tries to match players with similar ratings. Formulas to choose specific opponents are ignored. This gives more realistic Elo results and faster matches for all players. If you want to play with a formula, you can still seek “classic” Blitz games.

Start a Pool Blitz or Pool Bullet game by clicking on one of the three buttons. If no opponent is available, the server will automatically pair you in a classic Blitz game. Note: All web clients (blitz.chessbase.com) will automatically start Pool Blitz and Pool Bullet games.

Automatic and interactive post game analysis

Fritz analyses your game in the background while you play it. So as soon as the game is finished, you receive a full analysis of possible mistakes:

Note that diagrams are included in the notation. If you do not see analysis in your finished game, you played either too fast or too well, or your machine is too slow or running on battery.

Fritz16 now allows you to start an analysis engine after a game has finished. Simply click the button Start Analysis. This will not only take you to analysis mode, and notify your opponent about this, who will understand why you do not want an immediate rematch. In addition your opponent can watch your analysis of the game.

In-Game Action Sounds

If you switch on Action Sounds in File -> Options, Fritz16 will give audio feedback on the quality of your moves and your opponent’s moves:

Action sounds give feedback in unrated games when the following happens:

  • Your opponent blunders.
  • You punish a blunder of your opponent
  • You play a strong move
  • You make a blunder

Does this make you stronger against opponents with older software? A few Elo points perhaps, because you more often note hanging pieces (blunder sound) of your opponent. But the main point is that it creates a nice additional emotional component when playing a Blitz game.

Kibitzing grandmaster games

A single click from the Fritz16 Portal Window opens the most interesting live games currently being broadcasted on Playchess.com:

In the above example [click to enlarge] you see tournament games and a live broadcast: former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhinov commenting on the game the current World Champion played against football star Marco Bode in a simul exhibition.

The new Fritz16 multi board is asymmetric: one big board is shown and a number of small ones. This reflects a common situation: you want to focus on one interesting game but keep the other games in sight. Double-click any small board to move it to the big diagram.

Note in the live GM broadcast all interesting games are now automatically analyzed in real time. They also display an evaluation profile below the notation. If Let’s Check analysis is available for a given board position, this will be displayed with an evaluation bar adjacent to the board. Note the new marker in the bottom right corner of the board: it denotes the side to move.

A striking new feature of Fritz16 is the 3D Multiboard [click to enlarge]. Just click 3D-Board in the Board tab to watch live games in 3D. Every board can be rotated and zoom in independently.

Enter & Analyse Games

If you click Enter & Analyse in the Portal Window, the Fritz board opens in a menu layout which contains all functions you need to to enter and analyse games – but no playing functionality. Fritz16 has major improvements for game analysis and entering:

  • Assisted Analysis is known from ChessBase 14 and has now been brought to Fritz 16.
  • Tactical Analysis, as contained in ChessBase 14 and used on live.chessbase.com now replaces the old full game analysis function of Fritz.

There are two new features of Tactical Analysis in Fritz16:

  • Interesting Alternatives: variations slightly stronger than the game continuation which threaten something.
  • Precision: weighted engine correlation as seen on live.chessbase.com

Resolve score sheet problem

It is a typical situation when entering games from score sheets: suddenly a move on the score sheet is illegal because the previous moves have not been recorded correctly or were difficult to decipher. In Fritz16, you call Resolve Score Sheet Problem, a new interactive tool to resolve such cases:

You can edit any move and upon hitting TAB, a legality check on the rest of the moves is performed. You see at one glance, if changing a possibly wrongly noted move repairs the rest of the game. For each move there is a drop list of all legal moves sorted by tactical plausibility. Inserting a missing pair of moves is also possible and a common cause of score sheet troubles.

Various Other Improvements

New 2D pieces "Smooth". The 2D boards now indicate the side to move at the bottom right.

Enhanced 3D-Boards using DirectX11 – Loading of the boards is faster than in previous versions. And: if you have a 3D printer, you can print Fritz pieces!

Evaluation Profile embedded in notation – Every game analysed with Fritz16 Tactical Analysis now contains evaluation profile data which is stored with the game. An evaluation profile gives you an immediate overview how the game developed as a whole. Whenever you load such a game (or download games from live.chessbase.com), the evaluation profile is displayed below the notation.

New Board Sounds – The well-known sounds when moving and capturing pieces have been expanded, there is now much more variety. A couple of game announcements (like “Mate”, “Stalemate”) are now spoken for additional clarity.

Quality of notation font enhanced – The main line of annotated games is now displayed in a proper semi-bold.

Speech To Text – You can use speech to annotate the games. Click on the Microphone icon in the notation pane. The “Speech to text” window appears. Press start to record your voice and stop when you are done. Using speech recognition your comments will be automatically entered in the notation.

Spell Checker – If Fritz is used in the same language as your computer, the chat will mark the misspelled words in the chat. Right clicking the word will give you suggestions to correct the spelling. The supported languages depend on your Operating System and optionally installed language packs

Order Fritz 16 in the ChessBase Shop
Available from Tuesday, November 14, 2017


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Chesspunk Chesspunk 11/17/2017 08:44
Can this be used on an iPad mini or smartphone? Don’t own a laptop anymore and the compatibility is a bit vague on this ChessBase write up.
rsilva rsilva 11/16/2017 10:06
"6-month ChessBase Premium Account included..."

I have a question... Recently I bought chessbase 14 and got a year of premium. If I buy Fritz 16, will the 6-month period be added to my account, or I loose it because I already have more than six months of premium subscription?

Thanks.
cr_seven_forever cr_seven_forever 11/16/2017 05:50
The first major release in years. "Humanized Play" and "Tactical Analysis" are really impressive and welcome. "Post game analysis" is a striking innovation too; my games get a lot of medals and, unfortunately, missed combinations.
kenard kenard 11/16/2017 02:57
Really like the new POOL matching, this has made playchess.com much more enjoyable.
Chesspunk Chesspunk 11/15/2017 11:38
What do you need to run Fritz 16?
afiedito afiedito 11/15/2017 05:40
i am not that impressed with fritz 16...
maelic maelic 11/14/2017 11:30
So Fritz is being specialized for playing, huh? All fun and games and stuff. I hope Chessbase will become the serious analysis tool for correspondence chess etc. then.
Also I love how in the whole article is not mentioned a crucial info many of us were looking for - estimated elo increase of Fritz engine. Why no info? Hasn't it gained any strenght? That would be shame!
Wembley Wembley 11/13/2017 05:15
I can't see that I will be using the Pool Buttons, which are already present on Chessbase 14 GUI 11 and Fritz 15 GUI 26.
I tend to play 10 min + 5 sec Blitz which is only available on the Classic Function.
As for software cheating I've found avoiding Guests and Pawns is a good strategy. I believe Playchess still scans for software and people caught cheating are busted back down to Pawn Ranking. If someone has been registered to Playchess for a long time and has reached at least Knight Ranking it is a reasonable bet they are honest.
But if I have my doubts about anybody they go on my Ignore List.
kenard kenard 11/13/2017 04:56
The addition of assisted analysis on the Fritz program is very nice! That is a great analysis tool, definitely speeds my analysis process. having analysis immediately following a game sounds very interesting as well, if it doesn't cause GUI issues by taking too much processor time.
kenard kenard 11/13/2017 04:51
@Nemoroso - I agree. Any computer assistance, even when unrated, without notification is pretty much the definition of cheating. It would be like having a GM helping you while playing casual games at the coffee shop. I do like the improved opponent matching on the game server, GREAT JOB WITH THAT ONE!!!
Nemoroso Nemoroso 11/13/2017 01:10
Go New! Computer-assisted traps on the CHESSBASE Server!, Now its no necessary to go to the service to watch the mobile. It does not seem fair that a program can warn of mistakes or successes, both mine and my opponent, during an online game between humans. This in practice means adulterating the competition, it is a way to distort the essence of the game, not to say that they are directly traps, smalls or soft, but cheating. Players who use or have this option should be identified by the server, so that everyone else knows what kind of circumstances to take if they decide to play with them. This is a tremendous nonsense. With Fritz 16 Chessbase takes a step back in regards to the fair play. These types of options have a logical adaptation in the games of human players against the engine of the program, in a didactic or compensatory sense, but not in a confrontation between humans.
melante melante 11/13/2017 06:28
"The interesting thing about “Easy Game” e.g. on level Club Player is that the program plays mostly rather natural and strong moves, but is prone to fall into tactics. So the sharper you play, the more likely that Fritz will “find” mistakes to make. As a consequence, you will often play nice attack games if you risk something."

That's interesting... but I believe it should be the opposite: club players are generally fine with tactics, while it's the positional aspects of a position they find very hard to grasp. On a AI programming perspective, though, I see it is much easier to program how to miss simple tactics. Playing positionally poor moves that still make some sense and are not obvious mistakes, but slowly lead into an inferior position like a human would do, is much harder...
genem genem 11/13/2017 03:29
Wish List: [1] Offer to automatically analyze for the whole-game what the best move (and its eval) would be for the color who is Not on-turn. [2] Offer another notation better than LAN, one that is playable in Reverse (given the ending position). Thus include the type of piece captured.
rjl518 rjl518 11/13/2017 01:15
it sounds like a complete new GUI. Is it compatible with other engines or will it update other software like Komodo 11 which uses Fritz GUI?
puertolajas puertolajas 11/12/2017 08:43
Is it multi processor?
kenard kenard 11/12/2017 08:04
I hope there is a way to turn off that top bright yellow menu so that the program starts up with the classic format. This menu idea is great, but some users, like myself, will find the extra mouse clicks very annoying.
Werewolf Werewolf 11/12/2017 06:59
The interface sounds great, but what about the engine? Has Vas made progress?
Wembley Wembley 11/12/2017 06:39
I'm looking forward to using Fritz 16 very much.
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