Letters...

7/16/2006 – Our News items and columns generate an interesting assortment of reader replies, and ChessBase Workshop is no exception. Steve Lopez fields queries on such diverse subjects as text coloring, MMX processors, algebraic notation, and the joys of Andrew Martin's instructional videos in the new ChessBase Workshop.

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Back to the Inbox for some more reader e-mails. The letter are in normal type, my replies are italicized. We'll start with some related mails.


RE: From the mailbag 3/12/05 - Walter Wood e-mail on different text colours.

I too have found this to be a problem when differentiating between shredder 9 commentary and my own. Differing text colours would really help, and please, pass this on to Fritz/Shredder programers. The only way around this is to sign all texts individually with your initials (or opponents / shredder's) in brackets after each text - no matter how small the text.

Anyone following the game should then be able to work out what's happening from the game data panel at the top.

Yes, it is labour intensive. Yes, please write it into future programs.

I know this isn't a solution, but it's what I have to do after experimentation.

Andrew Fraser-Cole
Swansea, UK


This is in response to your blurb: "Unless there's a hidden toggle I don't know about, you can't change the color of individual text in ChessBase. You can set a uniform color in which all text will be displayed by going to Tools/Options, clicking the Notation tab, then clicking on Text color to set the tone in which all text commentary will be displayed, but you can't set different colors for specific individual blocks of text."

Steve, as per an email I sent you quite awhile ago, it is simply a matter of looking at the games heavily annotated with color in Megabase. With a little bit of ingenuity, you can obtain from Megabase a set of games heavily annotated with many colors. I sent you the I.D. for some of those games in my email. The fact is that IT IS BEING or has been DONE. Although you may not yet know HOW it is/was done, the fact that it is/was being done is sufficient evidence that someone should be able to tell you how. There are two possible sources for this how information: The smartest person at the Chessbase help desk or the individual annotators for the most colorful games.

Bob Durrett
Madison, Alabama USA


OK, here's what I've got for you so far. It is possible to change the color of variations, just right click on a move, go to "Special annotation" in the popup menu, and select "Variation color". This will bring up a color pallette in which you can set the variation color (or even create a color of your own, instead of using one of the presets).

But, after spending a really ridiculous amount of time messing around with this, I'm still stumped as to change the color of the text annotations. The only thing I can imagine is that some Mega Database annotators have possibly written annotations in a word processor, changed the color of the text therein, imported the notes into a game, and the coloring has "carried over" into ChessBase. That's an unlikely longshot, but it's the only thing I can figure out.

So I just plain don't know. -- SL


As a fairly new user of Fritz 9 I wonder if you can explain the practical use of the Chess Course option from the launch page. It seems to lead directly to a database of games but there is no explanation, unless of course I have totally missed it!, as to how to proceed from there.

Hoping you can point me in the right direction.

Robert J. Asser
Herts, UK

Sure can, Robert! When you open the Multimedia database, you'll see two entries: "Beginners Course" and "Grandmasters Teach Chess". Double-clicking on either will display a screen containing chapter/section titles with a little photograph off to the right of the title. Clicking on one of these photos will take you back to the main (chessboard) screen; you'll see an extra "floating" pane which will contain the video content, while the moves being discussed will be automatically made on your Fritz chessboard. That's all there is to it! -- SL


You recently mentioned that in Fritz 8.0 the user can select the engine that Fritz uses. Unless I am missing something, most users will want to use MMX (assuming that their processor has that capability). The MMX version, in many cases, will increase the analysis speed. MMX allows the program to perform mathematical operations in parallel--simultaneously.

Is there any reason to not use MMX if you can?

Ken Sallings

There's no reason not to if you can. It's more the other way around -- the non-MMX version is supplied for users with older machines. -- SL


Sometimes I like to play a series of games all with the same colour, but I also like to use "Friend mode". However, even when I uncheck "Flip board on new game" in the program options, Fritz (in "Friend mode") still flips the board around at the start of every new game. Is there any way to prevent Fritz from switching colours?

I understand that I can rotate the board [Ctrl+F] and force the engine to play [Space], but this has two problems:
1) Before saving the game I have to switch the player names and game result;
2) I think this messes up the handicapping. (I recall winning a game in Fritz 8, but my handicap increased!)

Please don't say that switching colours is the friendly thing to do ;)

Miguel Garcia-Blanco
Adelaide, Australia

I wouldn't dream of a pun like that; I'd just go ahead and say it (my dreams are reserved for visions of Southern belles and Texas beers).

Friend mode is designed to give you a handicap based on your ongoing performance against the computer. Unfortuantely (in your specific case) it's customary for human sparring partners to alternate colors from game to game, and Friend mode is designed to replicate this. I'm sorry, but the short answer is "no". -- SL


please tell me what or show me what the boxes are knight 1 to queenn 3 etc it would help me a lot if i knew which square was what if you could email me a copy of the board with the letters on it i would appreciate it!!!!!!!!!

Steve Tower

I'll go you one better: I'll share this request with everyone (this isn't an uncommon request) and provide you with a link.

The US Chess Federation has a short course in algebraic chess notation online, including a diagram like the one you've requested. You can find the page here. -- SL


I want to add the hedgehog defence to the openings list so that I can learn that with the openings training.The help file says play the moves and save the game in the openings database-which sounds alright, but I cannot get this to work!

As every time I start a new game Fritz plays g6 to 1.c4(!!!! the start of the hedgehog reply to the English) How do I switch Fritz off to manually play these moves?

Richard Dickinson

Go to the Engines menu and select "Switch off engine". Then you can manually enter moves for both players. -- SL


I heartily concur with your comments (02/14/06) about the two Andrew Martin DVD’s (Scandinavian and Trompowsky). I purchased them a few months ago and have found them to be both entertaining and informative. I am a USCF 1641 rated player who doesn’t have the time or memory to digest all of the latest theory, and the emphasis on ideas in the opening is perfect for my purposes. Nice column.

Greg Delaney
Menasha, Wisconsin, USA

Thanks, Greg! Andrew Martin now has a newer ChessBase CD on the Benko Gambit; if these columns are running in the order I write them, you may have already seen my preview of it. I'll paraphrase something I wrote in that column (which ties in nicely with your own comments): as far as video instructors for the intermediate player go, Andrew Martin's the best we've got and is arguably the best anywhere. Period. -- SL


Thanks to all for writing. More letters next week. Until then, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. All responses will be read, and sending an e-mail to this address grants us permission to use it in a future column. No tech support questions, please.


© 2006, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.



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