by Steve Lopez

You should see the mailbox this week! Thanks for your letters! I'm going to answer everything, but just a few at a time (otherwise this week's issue would be the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica!).

Let's dive right in!

Q: In Fritz5, why are some of the games annotated in German when I have the English version?

A: ChessBase products are sold worldwide. The grandmaster annotators speak a variety of languages also. It's been ChessBase's policy, when receiving annotated games from masters and GM's, to leave the annotations in the original language. Hence, some of the games are in German, some in English, most are in universal "symbol" annotation. I've even seen annotations in French and Italian. I'm expecting a Trekker to post an annotated game in Klingon on the net any day now (and if somebody spots this, PLEASE tell me!).

Q: Is there any way to translate these?

A: Yes, if you're bilingual. There's not a key to hit to do it automatically. And, by the way, I've never seen a computer program that could do this correctly anyway. The trouble with computerized language translation is that of context. Computers are unable to discern the context in which a word is used.

The word "bat" is a good example. The word means two entirely different things, depending on whether one is in Yankee Stadium or Carlsbad Caverns. And that's just using it as a noun. Using "bat" as a verb puts a whole different spin on it (as in "Diego Maradona used his hand to bat the ball into the goal"). Computers are notoriously bad at making these contextual distinctions.

Q: What do the different medals mean in Fritz5?

A: This missed inclusion in the manual for some reason. To be honest, there is some confusion here on the meanings of the medals (a point I brought up in a previous Electronic T-Notes). The chart information in the ChessBase6 manual is slightly different than the info provided in the Help file of the program.

The latest list can be found in the Fritz5 Help file. Just click the "help" button in Fritz5, click the "Search" button in the help window, and select "Medalsillen" from the topic list. Click "Display" and you'll see a list of medal colors and their corresponding meanings.

Q: Does Fritz5 always save the games I play against it, even the bad ones?

A: Nope. Fritz saves the games in serious and sparring modes. It does not automatically save the ones in friend mode. The games are saved in a database located at c:\fritz5\mybases\autosave. You can access this database as you would any other and delete your agonizing losses at your leisure.

I've also received a ton of questions on various database functions, the correspondence analysis feature, and various other topics. We'll cover those in future Electronic T-Notes issues, so don't despair! Your questions will be answered!

Speaking of questions, send 'em on! Fire them off to our ChessBase Users Group or you can e-mail me directly.