Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fritz 13

     Fritz 13, according to the advertisements, has an array of exciting new features. I have used Fritz 12 for several years ever since I found it in Office Max for $20.  Like most chessplayers though I find it hard to resist the newest stuff so considered upgrading to Fritz 13.  So, what’s the difference?
      For most of us these days being without a chess playing program is unthinkable because they help us prepare for tournament games, train in tactics, study openings and analyze our own games.  Then there are databases and game collections that are a big help in keeping up with the latest developments.  Gone are the days of buying Informants every six months and searching through hundreds of games to find examples of our favorite openings or trying to discover how GM's played the positions arising from them.  Now you can do it in a couple of mouse clicks.  Today we have multimedia training and lessons and the possibility of playing online chess from the comfort of our home.
      One new feature of Fritz 13 is called 'Let's Check'. This feature allows the world-wide chess community to build a huge database.  Whenever you analyze a position long enough and deep enough Fritz 13 allows you to send the main line and evaluation to a central chess server to be shared by all users. This feature also allows you to search for positions that have been analyzed to a substantial depth by others.  Supposedly this feature will save you time. You can also see the analysis of different engines.  One “hook” they use to get people to use this feature is that you can automatically get registered as discoverer of a position if you submit analysis of a hitherto unknown position. You are also able to add comments to your analysis.  This feature allows you to have the latest opening statistics at your disposal and the results of the most powerful engines.
      Fritz 13 features an improved engine, board graphics in 2D and 3D (if anybody actually uses the 3D views), coaching functions and adjustable playing strength, automatic analysis of games.  Also included is a database of 1.5 million games and ten hours of GM video instruction and free six months premium membership to the world's largest chess server, Playchessdotcom.
      So from what I can discover, Fritz 13's only new features are a stronger engine and the “Let’s Check” function.  There are better engines than Fritz available for free and all can be used with Fritz 12, so there is no incentive to upgrade just for the sake of a better engine.  The “Let’s Check” functions sounds like something that might be fun to play with but personally it doesn’t hold any interest for me. 
      Conclusion: As a user of Fritz 12, I did not see any enhancements or changes that warrant purchasing Fritz 13.

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