Pocket Fritz 4: Full ahead!

by ChessBase
3/19/2010 – To play and to analyze – those are the most important element in a chess program. To this respect, Pocket Fritz 4 provides a real thoroughbred, not just a bean counter. But don't be afraid: you don't need a special training course to run this beast. Everything is very easy, with a pleasant and intuitive interface. To study and to have fun, Pocket Fritz 4 offers you versatility and power.

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New engine functions

Together with its improved strength and better adaptation to pocket devices, the engine Hiarcs 13, included in Pocket Fritz 4, shows some new functions that both the amateur and the professional are sure to appreciate.

In order to simultaneously view the board, the notation and the engine pane we have two main options, which can be accessed by Menu > Windows > Notation / Engine and Menu > Windows > Engine / Notation:

In this you can select any of the two following display:

Notation / Engine

Engine / Notation

To analyze and to better focus your attention on the engine activity, I prefer the first option, while the second one is more suitable to work with the engine in the background. But there's no accounting for taste. Once we have the desired screen layout, we can start the engine in analysis mode by tapping on the microscope icon.

Incidentally, if you keep the stylus on any icon, a label is displayed with a short reference to its function. Similarly, if you keep the stylus pressed somewhere on the engine pane, a context menu pops up. It is possible to manage most of the engine functions with this.

With the first, upper option it is possible to easily switch engines.

"Switch off Engine" stops the analysis, while "Lock engine" fixes it to the position that is currently on the board, so you can continue playing through the moves of the game. If this option is not selected, the engine follows the game and always analyses the current board position.

Naturally you can lock and unlock the engine using the same menu point.

"Main lines as list" allows the evaluated lines the engine comes up with to be showed as a list. If this is deactivated, the program only displays the current best main line, overwriting previous main lines with it.

"Next best" forces the engine to ignore the best move it has found so far and only consider alternatives.

Chess engines in principle examine all legal moves, even those which make no sense at all for human beings. In some positions this can waste a lot of time. Pocket Fritz 4 offers you the option of pruning the search tree manually, narrowing the moves the engine will analyze. This allows it to make the most of its time.

When "Move selection..." is activated you get a window in which is offered a list of all legal moves in the position. The engine will consider for analysis only the ticked moves. Tapping with the stylus you can tick or untick the moves to be considered or discarded respectively.

To confirm the selection, you should close the window tapping on the button "ok" (1), because if you tap on the red arrow (2), you go back to the previous screen, discarding all changes.

Icon number 3 allows you to tick all moves at once and number 4 do exactly the opposite. Icon 5 reverse the selection: ticked moves are unticked and previously disregarded moves appear as selected. In some cases it will be quicker to work in this way.

The function "Next Best" has an effect on the window "Move selection". The moves rejected in the analysis are unchecked. It is easy to see which moves are being ignored.

"Lines in notation" inserts the best line into the notation as a variation.

"Calculate threats" calculates and displays the strongest threat for the next move, showing the possible dangers that we would have to face.

Playing mode with Elo simulation

With Menu > Tools > Options, in the "Engine" tab, it is possible to select the engine that will be used by default for playing and analyzing, together with the main settings which affects its behaviour.

If we have selected the engine Hiarcs 13, in the "Parameters" tab you can adjust its playing strength, forcing it to simulate a customizable Elo level.

To do it, first you must tick the option "Simulate [xxxx] Elo" and then you can adjust the Elo rating with the slider immediately below. Please note that the Elo simulation works only in playing mode. In analysis mode, the engine always works at full strength.

In the lower part of the Options window, each time a customized value is selected, an icon is activated so you can revert to the factory or default settings immediately, just tapping on it. It is the one circled in red in the screen capture below:

As you can see, both for play and for analysis, for fun and for work, Pocket Fritz 4 is striving to reach the heart of its user – and not just because it is normally carried in your shirt pocket.

Update to version 4.2 now available!

Pocket Fritz 4 is a program for whenever and wherever you want to play chess. The new HIARCS engine, written by Mark Uniacke, is impressive because of its positional play and tactical power. Pocket Fritz 4 is much stronger than the previous version; in the 2009 Copa Mercosur Grandmaster Tournament in Buenos Aires it scored an Elo performance of 2938! 

Pocket Fritz 4 offers you access to ChessBase‘s high speed online database. You can search for board positions in four million games, and you can research the latest openings theory. Pocket Fritz 4 is now fully compatible with other Chessbase products by supporting the CBH database format and the CTG openings book format. The program also includes a tried and tested openings book and more than 300 commented games. The design, functionality and user interface are the best of the best: excellent piece design, different screen layouts, comfortable input and commenting functions, openings display, ECO codes, coaching, threat display, and an integrated trainings system for openings, tactics and endgames. The cream on the cake is 12 hours of grandmaster training!

You can order it here and now...

Previous articles

Pocket Fritz 4: More formats, more chances
09.02.2010 – Pocket Fritz 4 supports the file formats CBH (ChessBase game database), CBV (ChessBase zipped game database) and CTG (ChessBase opening book or tree), which are familiar to users of other ChessBase products. This is an important qualitative and quantitative step that gives you access to a wide range of chess data, with unquestionable advantages introduced in this article.

Pocket Fritz 4: installation, activation, update
15.01.2010 – A new version of our pocket-sized grandmaster was released in mid December. It contains the chess engine Hiarcs 13, about which you may have read in our Copa Mercosur report. The program, as it is suggested by the DVD cover, is a complete multitask tool for training and enjoying chess. In a new series we introduce you to this Swiss penknife amongst chess programs, starting with the basics.

Pocket Fritz 4: my keys, your keys...
18.02.2010 – The first pocket PCs all had very similar designs, with standard button and key arrangements. With the improvement of touch screens and the incorporation of mobile phone features, the design has changed, as have the number and functions of the keys in each device. So we need to allow every user to configure our program according to his/her preferences and needs. Here's how it is done.

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