Reader mail...

4/13/2006 – As our ChessBase Workshop columnist says at the start of the latest column: "I never intended for ChessBase Workshop to be a column driven by reader questions and comments, but as long as interesting e-mails keep coming, I'll keep printing them." He's printed another batch for your perusal along with his replies in his new column. Workshop...

ChessBase 15 - Mega package ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2019 with 7.6 million games and more than 70,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!

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I never intended for ChessBase Workshop to be a column driven by reader questions and comments, but as long as interesting e-mails keep coming, I'll keep printing them. As usual, my comments appear in italics after each letter. Let's get to it...

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Maybe Steve Lopez could cover this in his column.

Fritz 8
In the engine (analysis) selection of ChessBase 8.0 and CB 9, (I have both), I get two choices: The regular Fritz 8.0 and Fritz without MMX. What's the difference between the two? When should I use one, but not the other?

Along the same lines for Fritz 9.0, which I just got this week. There is a Fritz 9 and a +ACI-Fritz 960.+ACI- What is the 960 component? Is this an actual analysis engine, or is it just part of F9? (I can't get it to work.)

A.J. Goldsby I
Pensacola, FL

Thanks for writing. I covered the MMX versions of our engines in a column back in 2001. Instead of providing a link, I'll save you a couple of clicks and just reprint the reference here:

"Fritz7 actually comes with two engines, by the way. There's a version optimized for the newer MMX processors, as well as a "non-MMX" version. If you're using the engines inside the Fritz7 interface, the interface chooses which engine to use by default (depending on your hardware), so you'll only see one Fritz7 engine listed when you hit F3 to get the engine list. But ChessBase 8 users will see both engines available in CB's engine list -- you can use either or both for analysis."

Same story for Fritz9, of course.

As for the 960 engine, that's a special engine used for the Chess960 variant included in Fritz9. It won't work as a normal analysis engine, only as a playing engine which is selected by default when you play Chess960 (File menu and select "New/Chess960"). If you don't know what Chess960 is, that's covered in the Fritz9 Help file (First Steps/Levels of Skill/Chess960). -- SL

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A long time ago I was running Nicbase.
When I switched to Chessbase, I tried to convert my games, but I only succeeded with half of the games.
It does not matter, how many times I try, I will allways only convert the same half.
Do you have a solution, how to convert the other half to Chessbase?

John Rødgaard

You've left out some info here, such as what utility you're using to convert the games (there were several kicking around back in the old DOS days over ten years ago, but I don't know of any newer ones -- in fact, I've not even looked at any of the older ones in more than a decade), so I don't know how much help this'll be. My guess is that you're using an old DOS utility with limited memory and the database you're converting is too big for it to handle. So try this: split your NiC database into several smaller databases, convert each one to CB format, and then reassemble the parts in ChessBase to again create a single database. -- SL

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A friend of yours used the tell a friend form to send you this breif note:

Hello Steve,

Do you know about Arimaa?

It's a new game that is much easier to learn than chess, but yet is much more strategic.

The game was designed so that it could be played with a standard chess set. So there is nothing to buy, just learn some new rules which are very simple and intuitive. There's a cool animation which teaches the rules of the game in a few minutes.

The game was also designed to be hard for computers to play (while being easy for humans). There's even a $10,000 US prize for developing a program that can defeat the best human players. A match is held each year between the best computer and top human players. So far the humans are way ahead (look in the News section of the web site).

Something new and different; thought you might find it interesting.

[sent anonymously]

I make no claims as to the validity of this game, its complexity or lack thereof, nada. Like my anonymous correspondent, I'm just passing this along. No offense to my anonymous friend, but I didn't take a very close look; I currently have my hands full with standard chess and Texas Hold'em poker. -- SL

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I don't know if records are kept on this sort of thing but if so, can you find out what the longest computer chess game is in number of moves? Maybe Playchess.com has a record on this. I had a game of 255 moves the other day between two programs and figured if I can have this in such a small sample of games (maybe 3000 total) then I just wonder what the all-time record is or at least the Playchess.com record? Thanks.

T Harris
Corbin, KY

Awwwwwwww, man, I hate stumpers!

I have no idea. I did do a couple of Web searches and got the following:

  • "...keep in mind that the longest chess game in history was 200+ moves..." -- Me, in my column for June 25, 2000
  • "The longest Chess game theoretically possible is 5,949 moves" -- The Chess Poster
  • "The longest chess game is 269 moves (I. Nikolic - Arsovic, Belgrade 1989) which ended in a draw." -- Huntsville Chess Club
  • "The longest chess game: Discovery of chess endgames that require 221 moves to capture a piece and subsequently win. This work was done (entirely independently) by Lewis Stiller as part of his PhD thesis using a very clever dynamic programming formulation and symmetry group representation programmed on a 65000 processor Connection machine." -- Simon Kasif
  • "The longest chess game lasted 89hrs 56min and ended in a stale mate." -- CraigGA
Plus a lot of bar-type stories about the longest (in hours/minutes) games various Interrant posters have played.

But nothing about the longest (in moves) computer vs. computer game. So if any readers know the answer (and can provide some sort of citation, please, not some unsubstantiated "I think it was..."), do tell. -- SL

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I recently bought CB9 and can't figure out how to use some of the features.

I want to
1. Load a .pgn game
2. Set up the conditions for = analysis ( 60sec/move for example)
3. Connect it to Mega Base - so if the same game position is found it will save the game moves in the comments and analysis
4. Run it automatically so that I can go to bed or leave it running while I do something else.
5, Eventually analyse 10 games or more, one after the other, automatically

I also have Shredder 6.

Milan Ninchich
Australia

Good thing you have Shredder 6; you'll need it. What you want to do isn't possible in ChessBase (it's a database program and doesn't play/analyze games) but it can be done in the Shredder interface. Have a look at this page, scroll down to my series on the use of Fritz6 (the same stuff applies to Shredder) and pay particular attention to the sections on "Analysis". -- SL

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I'm trying to create a database in CB9 that will only include games that really matter; i.e. strong games.

A major challenge is the lack of ELO ratings for computers, and all games before about 1975.

What is the BEST way to assign reasonably accurate ratings to computers and any games before 1975?

I know that Fritz has a way to assign ratings to a database, but I understand that it requires exact name consistency and could take a week or more for a million game database.

If adding ratings isn't an option, what else would you suggest?

Tom Williams

I'll resist the temptation to give a flippant answer in lieu of the correct one (the latter of which, incidentally, is the same as the one Jim van Dorp gave you when you asked this in a message board a couple of days before you e-mailed me).

There's no objective way to do what you're asking, and all subjective methods are fairly labor-intensive. You'd have to pull out the games you want through searches of tournament or player name, review the games to eliminate ones you consider "substandard", and then merge the rest into your "strong database". That's a lot of work. For example, you might do a search for Emanuel Lasker, determine subjectively the point at which he became a "strong player" (due to lack of Elo ratings), eliminate the previous games, merge the rest into a database, and then repeat the process for each player.

The only other option would be to manually add some sort of subjective ratings to the work database, but I don't know of a quick way to do it.

The Fritz Powerbook 2006 DVD contains a "Strong" opening book (as discussed previously in this column) but doesn't include the database subset from which that book was created -- too bad, because it's probably exactly what you're looking for. -- SL

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And that's the latest batch. Until next week, 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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