Tweaking Fritz - PART 6

by ChessBase
6/5/2008 – In Part Six of his ChessBase Workshop series on configuring Fritz, Steve Lopez solves one of the biggest mysteries concerning the software: what do the "Tournament" settings under the "Options" tab control? The veil is lifted in the latest ChessBase Workshop.

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In last week's ChessBase Workshop we looked at the available toggles under the "Engine" tab in Fritz11. Let's go up to the next row of tabs now; fire up Fritz11, go to the Tools menu, select "Options", and then click the "Version" tab:


The first thing you'll see here is "GUI version". "GUI" stands for Graphic User Interface, the software "wrapper" displaying the chessboard and all the commands and features of Fritz11 (this is different from the chess engine which is the chess "brain" itself, the part that calculates moves).

As of right now (as I write this), the only name displayed in the "GUI version" pulldown menu box will be "Fritz11". However, as new engines are released throughout the year, and as you purchase and install them, the pulldown will display the names of other chess programs (such as the forthcoming Hiarcs).

The thing to remember here is that the selection you make in this pulldown is purely cosmetic; it has no effect on the program's operation or features other than selecting an engine which will be loaded by default when you start the program (and there's a caveat here as well -- if you have a different engine loaded when you exit the program, the software will remember the engine you used last and will load it again at program startup). The choice you make in the pulldown simply determines whether your splash screen says "Fritz" or "Shredder" or "Hiarcs" etc., as well as what the title bar says at the top of your screen while you operate the program. It has no effect on engine choice (they're freely selectable by hitting F3 on your keyboard while in the main chessboard screen and will be remembered from session to session -- see above), opening book choice, database selection, or any other actual feature of program operation.

The second section under the "Version" tab is "Tournament settings". Note that this dialogue is completely in half-tone ('greyed out") and is unavailable until you click the box beside "Tournament version":


This entire section is useful for human operators in "human vs. computer" matches like the ones you see on TV. "Tournament settings" allows chess program developers who create engines following the UCI protocol to use the Fritz software as a GUI (a "wrapper") for the testing of their chess engines against strong human opposition. I'll tell you straight up -- nothing in this section is of any use or interest to probably 95+% of Fritz11 users. However, we will take a brief look at these features.

The biggest visible feature of this mode is that the area surrounding the chessboard will turn bright screaming red whenever the chess engine makes a move. If you're playing a game against, say, Vlady Kramnik, you don't want the computer to go "ping" or "crack" or make some other audible sound when it moves, a sound which could distract the carbon-based lifeform -- so a bright red visual cue is the best way to go here:


Assuming that you're not blinded by the red color surrounding the board, you'll also note the message "Please adjust my clock!" on the title bar at the top of the screen; this is merely a reminded to the human operator to make sure that the software's clock is in synch with the actual match clock.

Selecting "Log file" causes the software to generate a log of the game (similar to the notorious IBM "Deep Blue" log), which can be used after the match as evidence (pro or con) of outside (i.e. human) intervention in the game.

The "PGN" section allows you to designate a folder location where the PGN file of the game/match will be stored for periodic or later uploading to the Interrant (as well as for other forms of distribution).

"Opponent" is just a convenient place to enter the name of the human opponent, for purposes of the aforementioned PGN file.

Finally, there is an "Operating time" toggle, measured in seconds, which allows you to give the chess engine a per-move time bonus, a handicap to allow for the time it takes for the software operator to physically enter moves on the screen with the mouse and on the physical chessboard by hand.

Note that "Log file" and "PGN" are independently selectable after "Tournament version" is selected, but that everything depends on "Tournament version" being selected first.

More "Options" toggles are on the way next time. 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.

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