When is chess the most enjoyable? When you win!
When Fritz entered his first tournaments some 25 years ago, humans still had a real chance of taking the engine down. Only a few years down the line, Fritz was already beating grandmasters left, right and center, but ever since his 4:2 victory over Kramnik in 2006, Fritz has been considered unbeatable.
Who would want to play against him? In the case of Fritz 16, however, playing against an engine is now once again the very definition of fun! A host of features, including "Assisted Analysis", which gives you discreet visual hints as you move, and emoticons, which show Fritz’s mood, are there to help you. Even with little knowledge of chess, you can enjoy many an exciting game, and more importantly, victory, against Fritz. If things don’t work out, Fritz 16 shows you the combinations you might have missed directly after the game with the handy “Tactical Analysis” function, or you can dive right into "Easy Play" calculation training to hone your skills.
Fritz doesn’t come up short when it comes to playing strength either: the new multiprocessor engine was developed by star programmer Vas Rajlich ("Rybka") and is up there with the global elite. Stay mobile with Fritz 16: With a 6-month ChessBase Premium Account included, you’re guaranteed full access to the world of ChessBase Web Apps (also for iPads, Android Tablets and Smartphones) on the move: 6,000 chess training videos, 60,000 tactical exercises, 8 million games in the Live database and, of course, the best online action on playchess.com.
Fritz now also annotates and analyses as you play, immediately providing you with move-by-move summaries to replay after a game ends. No other chess program offers you more, with the online manual alone spanning a whopping 457 pages! But you won’t need it - Fritz 16 is intuitive and easy to use, and whether you want to play against the engine, analyze or enjoy some online blitz, Fritz 16 will open just the functions you need at the click of a mouse.
Fritz 16 lets you play the unique starting position called Fischer Random or Chess960. It randomizes the pieces on the 1st and 8th ranks, allowing for less focus on memorized opening positions. It's a popular alternative form of chess.
New in Fritz16
The Portal Screen
Fritz 16 has a new and simplified user interface. This starts in the main entry screen where you now reach typical user areas with a single click. Fritz16 distinguishes between playing and entering+analysis. This simplifies the menu bars a lot and lets you concentrate better on the task at hand.
- Click “Easy Game” to play against a human-style Fritz.
- Click “Enter & Analyse” to analyse games you played in your club.
- If you want to reach the familiar menus of Fritz15, click “Classic Menu”.
Also for Playchess.com, you reach typical functions directly from the portal window. For example “Watch Live Games” immediately opens a board of the most important grandmaster games currently being broadcast live.
Easy Game with Assisted Analysis
Playing against a chess program was an exciting pastime 20 years ago. However playing against a modern chess engine at full strength is no real fun anymore. Previous Fritz versions introduced various handicap, friend and sparring modes to mimic human play. In Fritz16 all humanized and handicapped play has been radically simplified and unified under the title “Easy Game”.
You simply set a level from Beginner to Grandmaster (Menu Levels). The most common level would be Club Player, which is probably around Elo 1800. Now click “Start Game as White” or “Start Game as Black”.
The interesting thing about “Easy Game” e.g. on level Club Player is that the program plays mostly rather natural and strong moves, but is prone to fall into tactics. So the sharper you play, the more likely that Fritz will “find” mistakes to make. As a consequence, you will often play nice attack games if you risk something.
Nevertheless, the program is still hard to beat. Therefore you might take advantage of a subtle new help: click on a piece a bit longer and Assisted Analysis will indicate good and bad moves with colored squares on the board. This boosts your playing strength with a little safety net, while you remain in control of the game. If you are still out of ideas, you can turn your mouse wheel for a little hint.
A couple of moves into the game, the program will display your estimated Elo strength. Whenever a tactical opportunity or possible refutation of an engine move arises, the program will say this out loud and indicate it in the Easy Game Info Window.
Proper calculation is the single most determining factor of playing strength. Assisted Calculation takes a new approach to boost your calculation skills. It concentrates on improving the crucial ability behind good calculation: visualizing positions without moving the pieces. The program helps with legality and tactical correctness of moves, while your focus is entirely on the task of picturing in your mind a position a few moves ahead. This leads to meaningful variations which also create better moves in an Easy Game against Fritz.
In Assisted Calculation you move on the board, but the pieces remain in their original position, like they would in a real game. Assisted Analysis helps finding the correct moves. To check whether your visualization is correct, right-click the board anytime to see the real current position.
New in Playchess
Fritz16 introduces a new Blitz rating: “Pool Blitz”. In Pool Blitz your games are paired automatically. The server tries to match players with similar ratings. Formulas to choose specific opponents are ignored. This gives more realistic Elo results and faster matches for all players. If you want to play with a formula, you can still seek “classic” Blitz games.
Start a Pool Blitz or Pool Bullet game by clicking on one of the three buttons. If no opponent is available, the server will automatically pair you in a classic Blitz game. Note: All web clients (blitz.chessbase.com) will automatically start Pool Blitz and Pool Bullet games.
Automatic and interactive post game analysis
Fritz analyses your game in the background while you play it. So as soon as the game is finished, you receive a full analysis of possible mistakes:
Note that diagrams are included in the notation. If you do not see analysis in your finished game, you played either too fast or too well, or your machine is too slow or running on battery.
Fritz16 now allows you to start an analysis engine after a game has finished. Simply click the button Start Analysis. This will not only take you to analysis mode, and notify your opponent about this, who will understand why you do not want an immediate rematch. In addition your opponent can watch your analysis of the game.
In-Game Action Sounds
If you switch on Action Sounds in File -> Options, Fritz16 will give audio feedback on the quality of your moves and your opponent’s moves:
Action sounds give feedback in unrated games when the following happens:
- Your opponent blunders.
- You punish a blunder of your opponent
- You play a strong move
- You make a blunder
Does this make you stronger against opponents with older software? A few Elo points perhaps, because you more often note hanging pieces (blunder sound) of your opponent. But the main point is that it creates a nice additional emotional component when playing a Blitz game.
Kibitzing grandmaster games
A single click from the Fritz16 Portal Window opens the most interesting live games currently being broadcasted on Playchess.com:
The new Fritz16 multi board is asymmetric: one big board is shown and a number of small ones. This reflects a common situation: you want to focus on one interesting game but keep the other games in sight. Double-click any small board to move it to the big diagram.
Note in the live GM broadcast all interesting games are now automatically analyzed in real time. They also display an evaluation profile below the notation. If Let’s Check analysis is available for a given board position, this will be displayed with an evaluation bar adjacent to the board. Note the new marker in the bottom right corner of the board: it denotes the side to move.
Enter & Analyse Games
If you click Enter & Analyse in the Portal Window, the Fritz board opens in a menu layout which contains all functions you need to to enter and analyse games – but no playing functionality. Fritz16 has major improvements for game analysis and entering:
Assisted Analysis is known from ChessBase 14 and has now been brought to Fritz 16.
Tactical Analysis, as contained in ChessBase 14 and used on live.chessbase.com now replaces the old full game analysis function of Fritz.
There are two new features of Tactical Analysis in Fritz16:
Interesting Alternatives: variations slightly stronger than the game continuation which threaten something.
Precision: weighted engine correlation as seen on live.chessbase.com
Resolve score sheet problem
It is a typical situation when entering games from score sheets: suddenly a move on the score sheet is illegal because the previous moves have not been recorded correctly or were difficult to decipher. In Fritz16, you call Resolve Score Sheet Problem, a new interactive tool to resolve such cases:
You can edit any move and upon hitting TAB, a legality check on the rest of the moves is performed. You see at one glance, if changing a possibly wrongly noted move repairs the rest of the game. For each move there is a drop list of all legal moves sorted by tactical plausibility. Inserting a missing pair of moves is also possible and a common cause of score sheet troubles.
Various Other Improvements
New 2D pieces "Smooth". The 2D boards now indicate the side to move at the bottom right.
Enhanced 3D-Boards using DirectX11 – Loading of the boards is faster than in previous versions. And: if you have a 3D printer, you can print Fritz pieces!
Evaluation Profile embedded in notation – Every game analysed with Fritz16 Tactical Analysis now contains evaluation profile data which is stored with the game. An evaluation profile gives you an immediate overview how the game developed as a whole. Whenever you load such a game (or download games from live.chessbase.com), the evaluation profile is displayed below the notation.
New Board Sounds – The well-known sounds when moving and capturing pieces have been expanded, there is now much more variety. A couple of game announcements (like “Mate”, “Stalemate”) are now spoken for additional clarity.
Quality of notation font enhanced – The main line of annotated games is now displayed in a proper semi-bold.
Speech To Text – You can use speech to annotate the games. Click on the Microphone icon in the notation pane. The “Speech to text” window appears. Press start to record your voice and stop when you are done. Using speech recognition your comments will be automatically entered in the notation.
Spell Checker – If Fritz is used in the same language as your computer, the chat will mark the misspelled words in the chat. Right clicking the word will give you suggestions to correct the spelling. The supported languages depend on your Operating System and optionally installed language packs.
Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 2 GB RAM, Windows 7 or 8.1, DirectX9, graphics card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9 and internet access.
Recommended: PC Intel i5 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 10, DirectX10, graphics card with 512 MB RAM or more, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet access. System requirements for ChessBase Account: Internet access and up-to-date browser, e.g. Chrome, Safari. Runs on Windows, OS X, iOS, Android and Linux.