by Steve Lopez

This week we're going to answer some common Fritz6 questions. Many of these questions have already been discussed in the thirteen part series on Fritz6 earlier this year, but these questions are asked so frequently that I think they deserve a column of their own.

1) Q: How do I enter moves without Fritz6 responding?
A: This is probably the single most frequently asked Fritz6 question. You want to enter a game of your own (from the chess club, a magazine, etc.) but everytime you make a move, Fritz responds. How do you stop this? It's simple. Just hit ALT-F2 to activate Infinite analysis (or click "Infinite analysis" in the Game menu). You'll see Fritz6 start analyzing in the analysis pane. Go ahead and enter moves for both sides -- Fritz won't respond. Hitting ALT-F2 a second time returns Fritz to normal mode (in which it will respond to moves).

2) Q: How do I access the engine parameters to change Fritz' style of play?
A: Just hit F3 (or else click "Engine" in the Tools menu). When the engine list comes up, you'll see a button for Engine parameters. Click on the engine you're going to use and then click the engine parameters button. If the engine in question has "tweakable" parameters, you'll get a dialogue box that displays them.

3) Q: How do I open the database window?
A: In the main (chessboard) window, go to the File menu, select "Open", and then "Database". There are two shortcuts for this also: F12 and a button that looks like three windows superimposed over each other.

4) Q: How do I save a game? When I click on the button or the menu item, I get a message that says "Please open database first".
A: Exactly. See Question #3 above. You have to open a database so that the program knows where to save the game. (This is probably the second most frequently asked question abut Fritz6, by the way).

5) Q: How do I get back to the chessboard window from the database window?
A: Either click the button that looks like a blue arrow or else go to your Windows taskbar and click the Fritz6 button.

6) Q: Fritz5 and Fritz5.32 had a "Pick" button that let me go to any previously opened database. How do I do this in Fritz6?
A: There's a pulldown menu in the upper right corner of the database window that allows you to select a previously-opened database, with an exception: if the database in question was on a CD and the CD was not in the drive when you started Fritz6, it won't appear in the menu.

7) Q: How do I view the opening book?
A: This one's right under your nose. Take a look at the notation pane (where Fritz6 displays the moves of the current game). There are two file tabs there. Click on the one that says "Openings book" to view the book. You can also hit F11 to open the book (just as you did in the previous two versions of Fritz).

8) Q: I want to access the opening book functions under Edit/Openings book but the program won't let me. Why?
A: You have to open the book first (see Question #7 above).

9) Q: When I open the book, I see no moves. Why?
A: The most common reason for this is that you have a middlegame or endgame position on the chessboard and that position is not in the book (in which case you should start a new game to see the full book). Less common reasons are that you have no book loaded or else the book is on your hard drive and one of the files has become corrupted. In the latter case, recopy the opening book onto your hard drive.

10) Q: How do I add moves to the opening book?
A: Right-click in an empty spot in the opening book display to get a popup menu; you'll see the menu item "Allow move adding". Selecting it enables you to add moves to the opening book.

11) Q: How do I get Fritz to display the "bar graph" evaluation pane (or other informational panes)?
A: Go to the Window menu and select "Panes". You'll see a variety of panes that you can choose from. This is also how you can select the "Explain all moves" pane, by the way.

12) Q: Why does the program always select Fritz5.32 as the engine for the "Explain all moves" function?
A: Because it's by far the fastest analyzer among the engines that come with the Fritz6 program.

13) Q: I want to display all of the panes but they're all too small after I select all of them. How can I get all of them to display?
A: This will sound like a flippant answer, but it's not. There are limits to what a monitor set for the standard 640x480 or 800x600 resolutions can comfortably display. You'll need to increase your monitor's screen resolution. If your monitor doesn't allow higher resolutions, you'll need to either live with fewer information panes on your screen or purchase a monitor that's capable of higher resolutions.

14) Q: What does the "Engine output" pane display?
A: Some programmers create chess engines that will display additional info about their analysis. This is what's displayed in the engine output pane. I've not yet tested this pane on all of the available engines (such as the Young Talents engines), but I haven't seen this pane display any information with the ones I've used regularly (I don't normally access this pane, as it makes the chessboard smaller -- see Question #16 below). Just view this pane as a future feature that's not yet been implemented by our engine authors.

15) Q: How do I change the board colors or piece styles?
A: Right-click on the chessboard itself to get the dialogue for this. You can also go to the Tools menu, select "Options" and click on the "Design" tab to get an abbreviated version of this dialogue.

16) Q: How do I resize the board? I don't see any preset board sizes like in older versions of Fritz.
A: The board is automatically resized depending on the number and size of the other panes. To change your board size, just grab a border of a pane and drag it to make the chessboard larger or smaller.

17) Q: I finally have the screen looking the way I want. How do I save it?
A: Go to the Window menu and select "Save layout". Then just rename the file from the default name of "noname.lay" to something more significant to you (I used my initials and a number: "sl001.lay"). Click the "Save" button to save the file. You can create as many board layouts as you like and switch between them by selecting "Load layout" from the Window menu. There are also a pile of preset layouts in the Window menu under "Standard layouts".

18) Q: You write about Fritz6 all the time. Why don't you ever write about Junior6?
A: Fritz6 and Junior6 have the same interface and the same features. The difference is in the engines themselves. So any tips I give for Fritz6's features (excluding engine parameters) are also applicable to Junior6 (as well as to the Young Talents CD).

As a side note to this question, 99% of the information given for Fritz5 and Fritz5.32 is also applicable to Fritz6; the step-by-step procedures may differ, but the ideas are the same. A quick look at the Fritz6 documentation should show the new way to accomplish the task in question.

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for Electronic T-Notes. If you love gambits and sacrificial play, stop by my Chess Kamikaze Home Page and the Yahoo Chess Kamikazes Club.