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Fritz 10 Chess Software Review

Buy Fritz 10  |  Part 1  |  Part 2

Fritz 10 Chess Software Review

Fritz 10, released in November 2006, is a superb chess playing PC software with an integrated chess instruction, and online chess play interface.

Here are some of the new features: Enhanced and improved chess engine developed especially for the 2006 Kramnik vs Fritz match; extended openings book; updated database; dynamic graphic tips for attack and defence; improved graphics and move entry on the 2D board; new high resolution 3D piece sets in classical wood; live display of the thinking process on the chessboard; more efficient position analysis. New chess server features: additional ranking lists, full rankings for all players, filters for challengers with bad Internet connections, new and simple video conference function, bullet lists in the engine room, animated global weather display, direct link to Google Earth

It is only available on DVD and requires a DVD drive for play. Nearly all modern computers have a DVD drive. ChessBase figures that if you don't have one, you'll get one eventually and they only accommodate the DVD format. For those that don't know, DVD's are the equivalent of about 7 CD's.

Let's jump right into the installation sequence...

The test computer is a P4 3.0Ghz, 512RAM running XP Pro SP2

 

Installing Fritz 10

Simply insert the DVD and after a few moments you will see this screen. If it does not start, open "My Computer" on your desktop or start menu and open your DVD. From here, look for "Setup" and double click it.

Fritz 10 Install Screen

Next, it's best if you let it install to the default location it chooses. This will keep future add-on installations simple later.

Unless you wish to customize your installation most users should just choose TYPICAL as the installation type. It will take about 1.27GB of hard drive space.

On this computer installation took 10 minutes.

Next, you will need to install DirectX 9.0 if you want to see the high resolution photo-realistic 3D chessboard graphics.

Fritz 10 Chess Software - Start Playing

It should install in 1 minute or less.

Fritz 10 Chess Software - Choose Level

You will then be prompted to restart your computer

 

Fritz 10 Manual and Support

Fritz 10 comes with a 24 page, English only manual that appears to be a good resource.

For support, please email to the address provided on the back cover of the manual.

 

Start Fritz 10 for the first time

Click the Fritz 10 icon now on your desktop!

You'll be prompted to enter some personal details such as your name and location. This helps Fritz customize your experience. Next you'll need to enter the serial number located on the cover of your Fritz booklet/manual.

 

Play Fritz

Click "Play Fritz" to jump right into the main playing program! You'll be immediately greeted by a very friendly voice that welcomes you to Fritz and promises to do his best and serve you well. Let's see about that :)

Here's a screenshot of the Fritz 10 when you start the program for the first time!

Fritz 10 Level Settings

There are many ways to adjust Fritz's playing strength. One of most popular is Handicap and Fun... choose what rating level Fritz plays as well as his style, piece emphasis and more!

I fell for Giveaway chess immediately. This addicting chess variant had me losing fairly quickly to Fritz while receiving aggravating verbal taunts. I'm going to play another game to show Fritz a thing or two...

In the above position Fritz says... "Oops! never seen that before in my life... Never want to see it again either!"

Needless to say, I lost...

Ok, for those that have never seen Giveaway Chess before, you're thoroughly confused!! Let's return to real chess.

Full strength playing levels are mainly for strong club players and professionals. They have different time controls and almost any kind of tournament games can be played. Blitz, rapid chess - This brings up a dialog box in which you can select from a number of blitz and rapid chess time controls (five minute chess or 25 minute rapid chess, etc). Here, you can also use the "Fischer clock" which gives each side a time bonus for each move (e.g. 4+2 = four minutes for all moves plus two additional seconds for each move made). Long Games -  Here you can set longer time controls for tournament style games with multiple time controls. Rated Games - This switches the program into a special mode for serious tournament games in which it will give you an objective assessment of your playing strength. In rated games you can't take back moves or receive any help from the program. You can set the playing strength of Fritz. You can also choose a weaker playing engine if Fritz is still too strong for you (see section 10.1 in the manual). Doubling: In rated games you can play for (virtual) money started with $100. If the "Doubling" option is set you can double the stake at any stage of the game, just as in backgammon.

Fritz 10 - the new look and feel

All I can say is, this program is impressive!! The 3D version is VERY real and the verbal commentary is very realistic and natural, though sometimes a bit too frequent. Let's look at some screenshots.

Full-screen 3D is astoundingly real!!

With a simple drag of the mouse, rotate to any view!

And of course, the Turk!

How about this ICE view!

Sculptures...

That's just the surface... customize it to your liking!

Fritz 10 Analysis and Scoresheet view

Your current game is recorded on the scoresheet view and current/past analysis showing Fritz's rating of each move and potential line scrolls into the analysis window.

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