Sunday, January 29, 2023 08:13

Posts Tagged ‘Computer’

From Off Blog to Off Physically

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I’ve been down with a bad cold since Tuesday afternoon. Almost off work yesterday and today (spent an hour both days doing absolutely necessary things then getting out.)

So now I’m lying in bed with my laptop. How does one enjoy one’s chess when sick?

Well, there are things which can be done. For example, I call up Fritz 12 and run it in “Friend Mode.” Fritz has various training capabilities. Among them are “Sparring Mode” and “Friend Mode.”

Training modes in Fritz 12

Training modes in Fritz 12

In Sparring Mode (as I understand it,) Fritz will occasionally make deliberate moves which will allow the human to take tactical shots.

“Friend Mode” adjusts the playing strength of Fritz according to your wins and losses. On choosing the option, a window opens:

The "Friendly Game" Mode of Fritz

The "Friendly Game" Mode of Fritz

What this window tells me is that I have played 37 “Friend Mode” games against Fritz, and my win percentage is 39%. It also shows my current handicap. While I can adjust this up or down, it keeps track for me. If I win, it decreases the handicap and Fritz plays stronger. If I lose, it increases the handicap and Fritz plays weaker. While this can lead to some odd situations (like when I see Fritz has a win on the board I can see, but it intentionally plays a move by which I can draw,) it nevertheless allows me to not have to always experience the futility of playing a computer.

The mode is designed to be a “friend” against whom you both win and lose against. (It also has the side effect of ‘progressive resistance’ training – building up a player’s strength by presenting challenges just above one’s current playing level.)

So, even when down-and-out, I am able to enjoy my chess. Until I return from my sickness, I hope that you’re able to find ways to

Enjoy your Chess!

Making a Chess Screen Saver dream come true…

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

The last couple of days I’ve been playing around with an idea and making it real.

What I wanted to do was have a screen saver that would present games where the moves would be animated on a board. (Historically significant games, games with openings /tactics / endgames I’m working on, my own games, whatever.)

ChessBase has the capability to take a game and create an HTML/javascript replay, and an option to animate the board in replay. (For an example: )

Then a bit of careful Googling led me to Web Screen Saver 2010. A quick install later, using ChessBase to create 50 games from 1700-1863 to start with for display, pointing the screensaver to them, a little more configuration, and voila! I now have my chess screen saver.

When running, you don’t see the browswer frame – it’s all full screen. It’s also interactive – I can click on the moves and replay them from that point. (And I’m not sure if it’s bug or feature, but clicking correctly stops the replay until the next game in the screen saver loads or one manually refreshes the page – I can actually manually step through the game. I’ve configured the program that mousing and mouseclicks don’t wake it up, but pressing any keyboard key.)

The screen saver program is good enough that I’ll be coughing up the $19.99 for it. ;)

Having historic games replay on my computers when they’re idle is another way I’ve found to enjoy my chess. Creatively adapting existing solutions is yet another way to

Enjoy your Chess!

Good Computer Things Happening to LV

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

I need to make this brief, as I really should be doing other things at home at this moment.

But my copy of Fritz 12 arrived today. It installed without a hitch, and it is at least as excellent as I’d hoped for. (In fact, moreso after a few minutes usage.) I won’t be trying to install it to my old laptop. (That machine is heading towards a full-on install of Ubuntu Linux.)

Full review coming to this blog, soon!

I also heard back from ChessBase support today. Sadly, what I had all-but-proven is true: ChessBase 2007 won’t install to my new system. The support I’ve received, however, has been most excellent. It, in part, has caused me to purchase the Premium version of ChessBase 2009 Light.

While I could probably suvive with alternatives, there were several factors that went into my deciding I needed the ChessBase. The excellent service I’ve received is one. Second is that ChessBase really does manage to improve their products significantly with each new release. I can count on the folks at CB to keep improving their products to keep up with the state of the art. One clincher is how easy I have found both preparing diagrams and generating the full replay boards using ChessBase – a very handy tool for a budding Chess Blogger. Next to last, I anticipate no problems with the new software and adding in the Fritz 12 that I just got as a UCI engine. Finally, ChessBase also provides chess world news and information – check out the link in my sidebar to them. I like supporting companies that support Chess beyond what would be simply necessary to sell their product.

Add it all up, and I’m glad that I found the free version of ChessBase back at Version 6.

OK, off to other things, but I hope that you too can find the tools which help you best to

Enjoy your Chess!

Of PDAs and Steampunk Cases…

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to mention this for any PDA / electronic scoresheet owner… There are a number of essential accessories that a person who owns a PDA should have. And I retrofitted/built/homebrewed one accessory over the last 24 hours or so.

But first: Get screen protectors for your device. Without screen protectors your PDA’s touchscreen will have a limited life. (Especially if you’re using it to record Blitz games.) I know whereof I speak in this. Like the song that advises you to use sunscreen, this is an essential protection need!

As a professional, I have managed to take an iPhone screen protector and cut it down for my PDA – and it looks like it’s working well so far. (Time will tell, and I do not advise trying that at home!)

Other less essential items to have: A spare battery for the unit (if your unit’s battery can be replaced by user.) Mine can – and I intend to get a spare one. I may start using an SD external card – still thinking on that one. The Axim I have does have a CF slot, and I have an old CF based WiFi card – not as sure about that one. I will still have a backup manual scorekeeping method. My old equipment case is up to the challenge I have found, but one does have to account for that, also. Additional power adapters may help, as well, for on-site charging if necessary.

But there is one other essential: A case to carry it in. (This assumes that one doesn’t come with it.) The MonRoi does have a hard plastic screen protecting cover. My Axim didn’t come with case – though that might change with future runs, Sevan tells me.

So… what to do? Answer: Trip to Hobby Lobby! I spent an hour plus finding primary components to build my own box from. I had settled on an unfinished card box, some tools, felt, etc. to convert it. Then I found something that with some modding will work better.

My picture-intense solution after the cut!


Now… What did I forget?

Sunday, December 27th, 2009


More specifically, I forgot to read that little paragraph in many ads and sites for software. The paragraph that starts, “System Requirements.” And this turns out to be a problem…


Thinking about Computer Analysis

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

I got a number of wonderful gifts for Christmas. Among them eNotate and I just ordered Fritz 12 from the USCF Sales outlet on Amazon! Yay!

Update late morning 12/26: Tomorrow’s blog post will detail some of my troubles – it turns out I may or may not be able to use the Fritz 12 I ordered. :(

The rest of this post may not be quite oriented to the beginning player – we’ll have to see! I am discussing theoretical options in regards to computer postmortem analysis for weaker players below the cut.


TDing at IL All Grade in Bloomington

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Today was the All Grade K-12 tournament. I ran the computer for grades 3 and 7.

I absolutely love running the computer. And, aside from a recording error that happened on the floor in one round and some people who failed to register their teams or registered the wrong team, I think I had an error-free run.

This is what I want to do as a TD. (Though eventually I would like to floor direct, also, just for the experience.)

More later. Bed now.