One might think that all of the new “Let’s Check” features of the Fritz13 chess playing program revolve around positional analysis generated only by chess engines, but that’s definitely not the case. Fritz13 users can contribute written textual positional analysis, too – and that’s what we’ll learn about in today’s blog post.
You may have occasionally noticed text comments attached to chess positions on the Fritz13 “Let’s Check” server; for example, after 1.e4 you would see the following when you click the “LiveBook” tab in the Notation pane:
The right-hand portion of the pane (in violet, for those playing along with their Windows color palettes at home) contains a number of natural language text comments about the position. These were submitted by “Let’s Check” users (including me, as viewers of my YouTube ChessBase and Fritz videos might remember – I submitted the Gyula Breyer quote in the illustration).
It’s really easy to submit a comment; let’s learn how…
We’ll use the opening book to step through the following moves:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5
…which you’ll recognize as the first three moves of the Giuoco Piano. There are no text comments to this position yet:
…so I’ll write and submit one. You’ll notice in the illustration above that there is a string of buttons at the bottom of the comment pane. When I click the “Write” button, Fritz13 presents the following dialogue:
This dialogue allows users to write a short comment about the position. And I do mean “short” – you’re limited to 144 characters (four more than Twitter allows). You’re not going to be able to write a major multi-paragraph exegesis on the merits of the Giuoco Piano, just a short comment as I’m writing here:
I didn’t get to say much, and I still used all 144 characters. To use this features, we have to train ourselves to be concise and to the point!
After I’m finished writing, all I have to do is click the “OK” button, and now my comment has been posted to Fritz13’s “Let’s Check” server:
…and we notice that a global message has been sent to everyone presently using “Let’s Check” that I’ve added a new comment (it’s displayed in the black scrolling message box in the illustration above).
The comment function also allows users to go back and edit their own quotes. Let’s say that I discover to my horror that I’ve misspelled “Giuoco”. I can click on my comment, then click “Edit” (to display the same dialogue I used to write the initial comment), which allows me to rewrite my comment. After clicking “OK”, the revised comment replaces my original one on the server.
There’s also a button which allows users to delete their own comments (obviously you can’t delete someone else’s comments). If you change your mind about one of your comments later and decide that you don’t want it to appear online, you can click on it to highlight it, then click the “Delete” button to permanently remove it.
If the comment function resembles a “chess Twitter”, two other buttons make this feature a “chess digg” or “chess reddit” (for readers familiar with those Internet sites). Notice the pair of buttons marked “Like” and “Dislike”. These allow you to “vote” on other users’ comments. You’d simply highlight a comment that you particularly appreciate (or disagree with), and click either “Like” or “Dislike”. Fritz13’s “Let’s Check” server keeps track of these “votes”, and you can access a “leader board” which shows the running totals. Go to the “Engine” tab, click the “Lists of Honour” button, and then “Likes”:
…which will bring up a scrolling list of “Let’s Check” users whose comments have been voted upon:
Note that if your comments are particularly useless, uninformative, or unpopular, your score can fall into negative values:
…so if you want a good ranking, it’s best to make sure that your comments are pertinent, accurate, and/or helpful to others who wish to understand a particular position.
You can also click on a user’s name in the list, click the “Show User Information” button, and see the personal information about that user which they’ve opted to attach to their Playchess profile.
There’s one final button which we should mention (although I really wish we didn’t need to). The Interrant being what it is, there are always a few clowns who feel the need to exercise the electronic equivalent of spray painting all over every blank surface they can find. Since the comments on “Let’s Check” are unmoderated (meaning that no one needs to approve them before they’re posted), someone is bound, sooner or later, to use this feature for inappropriate commentary, such as remarks of a sexual, racial, religious, or political nature – or even just to post a string of random obscene words. If you spot one of these comments, please do everyone a favor and highlight it, then click the “Report” button. That will send a message to the folks who run the server indicating that the comment should be reviewed and, if necessary, removed.
On the other hand, please don’t use the “Report” button just because you personally don’t like the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and someone posted a comment encouraging other players to try it. That’s not what the “Report” button is for, and using it for that purpose is simply wasting somebody else’s time.
Ultimately the “Let’s Check” server is what the community of users makes it, so even if you’re not especially interested in using your Fritz13 chess program (or other chess engine) to discover or analyze chess positions, you can still make your own valuable contribution to the community by offering the benefit of your personal chess knowledge – write and submit some text annotations to the growing tree of “Let’s Check” positions and help other players better understand the game of chess, one position at a time.
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And don’t forget — when you purchase ChessBase, Fritz, and now ChessKing Windows PC computer software from uscfsales.com, you can receive free technical support from yours truly. Just e-mail me with your questions (but don’t forget to include your uscfsales.com order number!).
Have fun! – Steve Lopez
Copyright 2012, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.