Tweaking Fritz - PART 5

6/2/2008 – The "Training" and "Engine" tabs are the subject of the latest installment in our ChessBase Workshop series on Fritz11 – and this column contains the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions regarding configuring Fritz. You won't want to miss the latest workshop column.

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In this ChessBase Workshop, we'll continue our tour of various ways to "tweak" Fritz11 using the "Options" dialogues. Launch Fritz11, go to the Tools menu and select "Options", then click on the "Training" tab:


This is a really simple dialogue, but has an important purpose. The Opening and Endgame training features of Fritz (discussed in previous ChessBase Workshops) are designed to drill you in the moves of various openings and in proper endgame technique. But, as we've also previously discussed, the suites of openings/positions used by these training features are just databases (albeit ones specially organized and with specifically-formatted header information).

That's why I find the occasional "How can I replace the training database?" question so odd. You don't need to "replace" the training databases; just create your own and "point" Fritz to them. Thus the original training databases remain intact while you're using a newer homebrew one; you can always return to the "factory" databases later.

That's what the "Browse" buttons are for in the "Training" dialogue of the "Options" menu. Clicking a "Browse" button brings up the standard Windows File Select dialogue which you can use to navigate to any folder on any drive on which you've created/stored a database you wish to use as an Opening or Endgame training database.

Let's click on the "Engine" tab now and see what we scare up:


This dialogue contains four toggles for turning various engine-related features on and off.

The first one is "Show plans", discussed a year ago in ChessBase Workshop when the feature was first introduced in Fritz10. When this option is selected, Fritz will display (by means of colored arrows on the board) numerous plans it's considering:


Consequently, users who find these arrows distracting should uncheck "Show plans" in this dialogue.

One of the neat things about Fritz (and ChessBase software in general) is that there's often more than one way to skin a cat. If you need to activate/deactivate a feature or enter a command, there's often multiple ways to do it. That point's graphically illustrated by the remainder of the "Engine" dialogue. The three tweaks listed after "Show plans" are simply repeats of commands provided in the Help menu.

"Coach is watching" turns the chess coach on and off. We discussed the coach in some detail a few columns ago -- you'll recall that a couple of settings which affect the Coach's performance are configurable under the "Game" tab of this Tools/Options dialogue.

"Spy", you might recall, gives a graphic representation (again using a colored arrow on the chessboard) of what Fritz plans to do on its next move. In other words, this is what the software will play if you don't prevent it. "Spy" is an "always on" feature and doesn't need to be activated turn-by-turn. Once you've toggled it "on" it will remain on until you shut it off (by unchecking the box here or by unselecting it in the Help menu).

Finally we have the option to turn "Threatened squares" on and off. Activating this feature enables the software to show threatened pieces through color-coding of squares:


A red square means that the piece is being attacked by a piece of lesser value, or that the piece is insufficiently defended -- in other words, you're about to lose material. Yellow means that the piece is under attack but is sufficiently defended as long as none of the defenders is removed (in other words, a prime candidate for deflection or overloading). The green color means that the piece is more than sufficiently defended ("overprotected"; shout out here to my man Nimzovich).

"Threatened squares" can be switched on and off here in the "Options" dialogue or else in the program's Help menu.

We'll continue with more tabs in the "Options" dialogue in the next ChessBase Workshop. Until then, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. No tech support questions, please.

© 2008, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

Topics: f11
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