by Steve Lopez

Nothing surprises me anymore...

A recent news item on the ChessBase GmbH site describes an incident from a recent tournament in which a player was caught using Pocket Fritz "in the toilet" (as the article puts it). I dunno -- I'm kind of reluctant to use it in the toilet. The water would likely short out the PDA unit. There would probably be some cool sparks though.

The Interrant chess message boards have been all abuzz with commentary from players shocked by this hideous development. I have some sad news for you: this kind of thing is nothing new. Heck, I didn't even bat an eye over the Allwermann incident a few years ago (see the ETN for March 14, 1999 for my take on that twisted tale).

Many moons ago (I think in late 1993 or early 1994), I received a tech support call from a guy claiming to be the "computer guru" of a famous U.S. chessplayer --said player was preparing for a major tournament (maybe the U.S. championship; I really don't recall). The request was for a means to copy ChessBase 4.0 from a desktop to laptop computer (not possible back in those days because of the copy protection scheme used by CB4). I had a workaround which involved simply putting the CB4 disc in the floppy drive of the laptop machine.

"That won't work," said the "guru". "His laptop doesn't have an internal floppy drive and he doesn't want to have to lug around a separate external floppy wherever he goes."

I was puzzled. "What's the big deal? You stick the drive in the laptop carrying case and hook it up in the hotel room. Then he can just prepare for his next opponent before the next round starts."

There was a rather significant and protracted silence from the other end of the phone connection. Then it hit me. "Ohhhhhhhhh. Aw, man!"

"Yeah," said the guru. "You got it."

So the "computer in the loo" thing has been around for a very long time -- almost ten years as I type this. Don't be shocked the next time you hear of a professional player cheating by using a computer in the can -- that's been happening for a looooooong time now. (And please don't write to ask the name of the GM whose "guru" I was talking to -- such requests will be ignored. I'm not "the hand of justice"; I figure the guy's karma will catch up with him sooner or later without any help from me).

While we're on the subject of chess in the news, check out this swell little item. I've been a fan of Mr. Krauthammer's work for a long time; he's managed to slip little chess items into The Post now and then for years. "...at our club, when you lose with a blunder that instantly illuminates the virtues of assisted suicide, we have a cure. Rack 'em up again." It sounds like me and my friends down at the pub. I think I'd fit in well at the Pariah Chess Club, and D.C.'s pretty close. Ah, but it's by invitation only. Too bad...


by Steve Lopez

Yes. The thing. The horrible shambling creature from the depths known as Windows XP. It's past time to confront the beast. I can't drive a stake through its heart, but I might be able to wrestle it to a draw. So let's get to it.


ChessBase 8 will run under XP; the ChessBase programmers are running it under XP with no problems. (I won't run anything under XP until Bill Gates shows up at my front door with gun in hand -- I'd rather eat a bag of broken glass). There have been a relatively small number of cases in which CB8 users have experienced problems with the program hanging under XP. There are two tweaks to alleviate this:

1) Disable XP's System Recovery feature. Check the XP documentation for the blow-by-blow on how to do this. You'll find that a lot of programs that handle huge amounts of data (such as Maxis' The Sims, for example, if you have multiple expansion packs and a lot of downloaded items) will tend to hang because the OS is busy backing everything up. "Isn't that tempting fate?" you might ask. Not if you make backups manually (the way Grandpa used to do on his Commodore 64). See ETN for April 29, 2001 for info on backing up your databases.

2) Check out this article from the Microsoft website. I see questions about this all the time in various software message boards.

Here's the deal. XP is designed as a networking operating system; as such, it allows the user to set up various priviledge levels for file access. If you accidentally lock yourself out from the use of a file (such as a database), you have to give yourself access to that file -- the "Workaround" section of that web page will tell you how to do this (in case you can't get into a ChessBase database on your hard drive -- rare, but it happens).


This one's a dicier proposition. Some people get CB7 to run fine under XP, some can't get it to run at all. Keep in mind that CB7 predates XP by almost three years, so problems are to be anticipated.

So there are no guarantees here. In addition to items 1 and 2 above, a third item that might help you to run CB7 under XP is this:

3) Run CB7 in Compatibility Mode. Right-click on your Desktop icon for CB7 and select "Properties". Click the file tab for Compatibility and select "Win98/ME". This essentially "fakes" CB7 into thinking it's running under an older Windows version.


First off, our chess engines from Fritz1 (Knightstalker to us Yanks) through Fritz5 won't run at all under Windows XP. This can't be tweaked or forced. 16-bit chess engines can't be made to run in the new 32-bit XP architecture. This sucks deeply, 'tis true, but it's a fact. This also applies to engines like Doctor? and some of the older freebies/extras.

As for the interfaces, the Fritz6 GUI will run with the service pack upgrade (from the Download page at www.chessbase.com) installed. Fritz7 and 8 should run fine, but if you experience problems with your program hanging, see 1 and 2 above.

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for Electronic T-Notes. Dirty jokes are OK, too, as long as I haven't heard them yet.