Every player has run into knotty chess positions from time to time. I recall a variation from the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings that used to baffle me; the evaluation said that White had a “won” game, but I just couldn’t find it. I remember sitting in a local pub with the position set up on an analysis set, just staring at the board for so long that the barmaid thought I’d passed out or fallen asleep with my chin on my chest; a couple of my chessplaying friends soon showed up and we had a lively debate about the merits of the position.
One of the benefits of today’s chessplaying computer software, like Fritz13 from USCFSales.com, is that you can use the chess engine to analyze any position anytime you choose. And the plethora of available engines allows you to get multiple “opinions” and evaluations. But analysis by multiple engines takes time, though, which is why the Fritz13 “Let’s Check” distributed computing features are so revolutionary – many, many players are ausing a variety of chess engines to analyze positions and are then storing those analyses on a central server, accessible by other Fritz13 users in mere seconds.
However, it’s entirely possible that your particular “knotty” position hasn’t yet been analyzed by multiple users – perhaps it hasn’t even been analyzed at all. What then?
Fritz13 has us covered there, too, with the ability to submit a position for analysis by the worldwide community of users. That’s what we’re going to look at today.
A few months ago, I had a phone conversation with one of my customers (I’m pretty sure it was George) about a particular oddball gambit like called the Gibbons-Weidenhagen; a reference book we both use gives the following variation:
1.d4 Nf6 2.g4 Nxg4 3.e4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 5.Nc3 dxe4 6.fxe4 g6 7.Be2 Bg7 8.Bg5 c5 9.d5 Qa5 10.Qd2
It’s a very strange and messy-looking little position. At first glance, I’m thinking the players will castle on opposite sides but Black will definitely hold an edge when it comes to “duelling pawnstorms” (since White doesn’t have much of a “storm” left on the Kingside).
So what will a variety of chess engines think of this position? I can submit this board position to the “Let’s Check” community and have it analyzed by players who have “contributed” their computers and engines for this purpose (and we’ll talk more about this at a later time).
With the position after 10.Qd2 on the chessboard in Fritz13, I first click on the “Let’s Check” button in the Engine menu:
…and, after Fritz13 connects to the server, I can click the “Submit position” command:
This opens the “Live Book” display, in which I’m startled to see that this position has already been analyzed; that information is provided in purple text in the running Announcements window:
…with the analysis displayed below as part of the “Engine analysis” pane.
So I just click on the “Let’s Check” button a second time to disconnect from the server.
However, I’m also interested in a previous position from the same variation: the point just after Black plays 8…c5. Should White exchange pawns here or push the pawn on to d5 (as shown in the variation)? Returning to the game notation by clicking on the “Notation” tab, I click on 8…c5 to jump to that position.
This time I’ll just click the “Submit position” button to connect directly:
Notice this time that my loaded chess engine doesn’t start. Instead, the view jumps to the Live Book display and we get a message saying:
Position has been submitted, credits remaining = 103
Expected wait = 1-6 minutes
The second part is easy to understand: it’s going to take some time for the contributing computers to come up with the analysis. But what’s this business about “credits”? We’ll discuss this in detail later, but contributing your own computer and engine to this same “group analysis” project earns you credits which you can later use to submit your own positions for the community to analyze.
After a few minutes we get another message:
…which tells us that the position has been analyzed and that the analysis has been saved. Connecting to the “Let’s Check” server (using the “Let’s Check” button or the blue arrow button on the right-hand side of the “Engine analysis” pane) will display the result:
…and we see that mely’s (the “Let’s Check” analyst mentioned in the message) chess engine has verified that 9.d5 is the proper move (and my own engine presently concurs with this, although it’s just started to analyze the position locally).
As mentioned before, over time, as more and more users “discover” positions (or “win” them), and contribute their own engines to user-requested positional analyses (such as this one), the more frequently you’ll have the happy result (as I did in the first position above) of seeing that your troublesome position has already been analyzed, and you’ll thus get “instant gratification” from the “Let’s Check” features of Fritz13.
Have fun! – Steve Lopez
Chessplayers who have purchased their ChessBase brand chess computer software from USCFSales can receive free technical support and advice on their purchases straight from me; just shoot me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), but please remember to include the USCFSales order number from your ChessBase software purchase. – Steve
Copyright 2011, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.