Fritz Powerbook 2011: Size <i>and</i> quality

by ChessBase
2/15/2011 – The Fritz Powerbook 2011 contains 23 million opening positions, derived from 1.5 million high-class games (also included), with all relevant information stored: average rating, success rate and Elo performance. However, the DVD also contains a restricted StrongBook, with moves only from players rated over 2100, so you can choose to see it all or just the best. Review by Dennis Monokroussos.

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Fritz Powerbook 2011

By Dennis Monokroussos

For those who might be interested, I'll make quick mention of an inessential but quite pleasant piece of software I've used a lot over the years: Powerbook. It essentially comprises four files, two of which I never use and two I use very regularly. It comes with two databases: Powerbook and Strong, and with two opening trees with the same names, because they're built from those databases. The Powerbook database has about 1.5 million games, including only players rated 2100 or above (games from the pre-Elo period have been back-rated, so potentially relevant games by good-to-great historical figures are included), while the Strong database is much more stringent, taking only games with players 2500 and above from the past century.

One can also simply use it to accompany the opening of a game and see the
recommendations of the opening book.

If you've already got a "complete" database like Mega2011, you won't have any need for the database, but it's useful to use one or the other of the trees for your computer's opening book. The advantage of using this rather than a tree based on some enormous, unrestricted database is at least twofold. First, you'll see what main lines and main sidelines stronger players gravitate to (and with the 2100 cutoff it's far from the "Black to move and draw" realm we sometimes see at the top level), which saves time when you're starting a do-it-yourself opening repertoire. Second, the stats will be more reliable as to the "truth" in a given line, as they won't be affected by hundreds or thousands of games from events like the girls' under-three championship of Antarctica.

Switching books is as simple as clicking on Load Book in the Openings Book tab
and selecting the book whose recommendations you want to see.

One can of course create a similar database on one's own, but it will only go back to around 1970 or so, when the Elo ratings started. (True, there are variations where what happened before 1970 is nearly meaningless anyway, but plenty more where older games are relevant.) So it is a useful tool, because it helps reach that mean between too much and too little information.

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Original review at The Chess Mind

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