Opening training with Fritz 18 (1)

by Martin Fischer
4/14/2022 – How do you build an opening repertoire and learn the variations? Fritz 18 offers many possibilities for this, and you can even compare your learning success with other users. In a short series of tutorials, we show you how to do it. In the first episode, we deal with learning and testing the opening repertoire. The next episodes will deal with building the opening repertoire. With the new "Easy Game" mode in Fritz 18, you can check your knowledge of an existing repertoire, and you can replay and practise it. Let's go!

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Part 1 – Getting started

To learn the opening repertoire, it is important to log in with your username:

Log in

Logging in with your username ensures that your opening repertoire is accessed, trained, stored and retrieved.

The left column in the Fritz 18 start menu is interesting for working with the opening repertoire. Depending on the intention with which you now want to work on the opening repertoire, you should choose the start menu.

Choose mode

If you want to work analytically on your opening repertoire, we recommend the "Enter and Analyse" mode . If, on the other hand, you want to test your knowledge of the opening repertoire or practise it in training games, the "Easy Game" mode is the right choice.

For the following presentation I have chosen "Easy Game", because this first tutorial is about checking your knowledge of an already existing repertoire. After choosing "Easy Game", Fritz 18 will ask you to play a game with it. Ignore this prompt for the time being and concentrate on the notation window:

My Moves

In the notation window, click on the tab "My Moves" and you will have the following picture in front of you:

In the next step you load your own opening repertoire. (How to create an opening repertoire will be discussed in the next tutorials).

For the white opening repertoire click on "Load White", for the black repertoire click on "Load Black". The corresponding repertoire appears in the notation:

Part 2 – Learning

Fritz 18 offers entertaining and efficient features for learning or repeating the acquired opening repertoire:

2.1  Replaying the repertoire

A useful function to deepen and repeat the learned repertoire is to have the repertoire played to you automatically. You are able to concentrate completely on what is happening on the board and how well you have mastered your repertoire, while the programme takes care that a new position with a new question (you know that, don't you?) constantly appears on the screen. This function is called up by selecting the tab "Openings" and the feature "Replay":


When you click "Replay" the following menu appears:

Full Tree Replay


With the help of this bar, you can set whether the repertoire is demonstrated from the end (backwards) or from the beginning (forwards). If you select the arrow to the left, the programme jumps to the final position of a variation and then demonstrates how to reach this position by taking back the individual moves.

If, on the other hand, one chooses the arrow to the right, the repertoire is replayed from the position in which one started until the end of the variation.

With the blue button in the middle you can start and stop the replay.


"Speed" regulates the speed at which the repertoire is to be replayed. The slower the replay, the more time there is for reflection and you get an idea of whether the repertoire is already correct.


With this selection you can determine how often each variation is displayed. 

Here you can choose what exactly you want to be replayed. 

Covered Positions

At the end of the feature, you will see how much of your repertoire you have already looked at. Both in absolute numbers, by indicating the theoretically relevant position visited and in percentages, so that you can quickly see what part of the work you have already done.

Once you are sure that you remember the repertoire, it is time to test your knowledge with the help of the "Drill" function.

Part 3 – Drill

The drill function checks your learning success that allows you to check your opening knowledge. The result of his check comes in hard numbers.

Your own opening repertoire is activated by "Load White/Load Black". Now simply click on "Drill White" or "Drill Black"


and the following menu appears on the screen:

Start Drill

You can now enter the position on the board with which you want to start the drill, or you can begin with the starting position. To start the drill, click the button "Start Drill".

DrillYour repertoire in the example includes a total of 48 moves, all of which (ideally) you should remember correctly. In a previous drill session, 26.8 points of memory have been achieved (approx. 55% of the moves to be known). For this result, you have covered 77% of the positions.

Now start the drill and execute the moves on the board that you think belong to your repertoire.

Line Finished


If you have successfully replayed your moves and have reached the end of the variation, you will receive a corresponding message and the opportunity to play a training game against "Fritz-Online". (More about this in a separate tutorial).

Click on "Repeat Drill" and your repertoire will be checked again, taking your previous knowledge into account when selecting the exam material.

Wrong Move

If you did not play your repertoire move, a corresponding hint appears as well as a tip about your repertoire. Just try it again.

In addition to the numbers and percentages, the light bulbs also show your learning progress. The more bulbs light up, the more moves in your repertoire you have in your head.

Part 4 – The Drill-Ranking

Another playful competitive component is the "drill ranking". To see where your memory performance lies in relation to other chess friends, click on:

High Score List Drill

Provided you are online, you will be connected to the ChessBase Opening App and here to the ranking page. Here, the points you have scored in the drill are counted and collected in a ranking list. There you can see where you stand:

Rangliste Drill

Through further drills you can deepen your knowledge and score more points and thus move up in the rankings. What is not possible is to rest on your points. Because points are always deducted as time passes, which pays tribute to human forgetfulness.

Part 5 – Free drill

Assuming you have not created an opening repertoire or just want to quickly check how well you have mastered a variation, e.g. for preparation, then the Free Drill is just right for you!

Load the variation you want to drill and play forward to the position you want to start with. Then click on the option:

Free Drill

And start the drill in the following menu:

Drill Not Started

Here you can start the free drill at the point that seems appropriate to you.

Track the progress of your efforts here.

So much for the overview of the drill function. The next tutorials will be about how to build up an opening repertoire with the help of Fritz, which you can drill.

Fritz 18

"Evolving Genius": learn to attack and play brilliancies. Fritz offers you everything you will need as a dedicated chess enthusiast.


Martin Fischer, born 1962, is a ChessBase staffer who, among other things, organizes and holds seminars throughout Europe and helps administer