Fritz Online: introducing the basics

by Albert Silver
6/5/2016 – When ChessBase began rolling out the web apps that now enrich the experience of Premium subscribers, one that stuck out for its primitivity was the Fritz Online app. It was a basic board with a handful of options that was waiting for the facelift and care the others had all received. Now the true feature-filled version is available and brings with it many interesting ideas.

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Click here to access Fritz Online

It goes without saying that you have the normal options to start a new game, set the level of play, and so forth. However, you also have tools to help you improve as a player beyond simply having a suitably handicapped opponent, such as a new hint tool that offers intriguing tips according to the piece, as well as a feature calls Assisted Calculation that allows you to think ahead in a position and then test what you calculated and visualized with Fritz's feedback, all while keeping the game active. Finally, if you would like to embed the Fritz Online board and options onto your website or blog, you will find instructions on how to do so.

The initial version looked like this, with some basic options

Now users have this feature-packed version with numerous innovations

The toolbar

The toolbar offers the usual gamut of options as well as the new ones, and the buttons to access these are fairly self-explanatory.

Playing options

The crux of it is to be able to play, or train positions, since if all you want to do is analyze the moves of a game, you can do this in MyGames Cloud, enter a game, and run the engine. Before clicking on the New Game button at the far left, you may wish to set the level first.

Click on Level and you will be shown a list of options in plain language: Beginner, Amateur, Club Player, Master and Grandmaster. The strength of the levels may vary according to your computer, so use these as an approximation, and if you find the play too hard or too easy, adjust accordingly.

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There is no clock here either, so you will never be flagged for taking too long, and Fritz seems to play quite quickly no matter the Level chosen.

If you want to play Black or choose a different type of board and pieces, you can do so too. In fact, this is probably where the fancy 3D boards will prove themselves the most useful. If you prefer to play on a real board as opposed to your usual 2D diagram-style set without actually having a real board next to you, you have some rich options here.

Playing a game

Once the Level and boards are set, just click on New Game to start a game. Fritz Online does have a rudimentary opening book, but it is hardly all-knowing and all-seeing. If you play it straight up and find a hole or missing move in its theory, realize that it is on purpose since no one really wants to face a "Beginner" that is reciting the latest edition of the Opening Encyclopedia all the way to move 45. However, if you play at "Master" or "Grandmaster", then be prepared as it will make full use of the Live Book.

That said, while Fritz does not have access to an Opening Encyclopedia, you do! The purpose isn't to help you 'cheat', but allow you to train openings and test them by looking at the LiveBook statistics.

Available to Premium subscribers only, you can consult the Live Book with complete statistics
on all the moves, with success rates and the average Elo of the players who chose it. Bear in
mind the stats are filtered to show results of good players and not every player under the sun.

Note: Remember that while you may see success rates, they won't necessarily tell you if a move is just popular, or best. Doesn't seem obvious? Imagine you are playing an opening that has claimed 99 victims in the past 100 games, but one loss. It would say it scored 99%, right? What it wouldn't tell you is that in game no. 100, the entire opening had been refuted, and was now unplayable....

In a game, you can always request a hint by clicking on the Hint button, but there are other ways to ask for a bit of friendly help.

Suppose you are in the position above. When you click on Hint, it shows
you straight up what you should play. It is a bit like clicking on the Solution
button in the Tactics Trainer.

Nevertheless, there is a new option where you can ask about just a piece. What if what you had really been studying was to play the bishop on c4? If you click on it with the mouse, and keep the mouse button pressed, it will tell you what it thinks of the various bishop moves available.

As we can see, Bb3 is orange, meaning it is pretty bad, Bd3 is plain red
meaning it is a blunder, and Bxd5 is yellow/green, meaning it is ok.

At any moment, you can save the game as a PGN file to your computer by clicking on the PGN button under the notation, and after the game has ended, it will automatically be saved to a database in MyGames Cloud, where you can study it in detail, analyzing and annotating. or export as you see fit.

In the next article, we will look at the options to use Fritz Online as a tool to understand positions and train calculation.

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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