Deep Fritz 12 Download

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Fritz is one of the best known and most widely used chess programs in the world. Garry Kasparov once said, "I regularly analyze with Fritz." ChessBase recently released the Deep Fritz 12 Downloadable Version. This is an excellent initiative from ChessBase (previously they just published their software on DVD) and allows players in remote locations to receive their software instantly. Since ChessBase doesn't want to bamboozle the downloader with an infinitely large download size, they have made a few changes compared to the DVD version. This includes cutting down the opening book, database, etc. (Click here to see a comparison between the DVD version and the downloadable one.)

Image of Deep Fritz 12 Database

One added bonus with the downloadable version is that players can now try out the software before buying (I believe this is the first ever version of Fritz to allow this). The 295MB download file acts as a demo with some functions restricted (mainly engine functions). If the player is happy with the product, they can then purchase an activation key and the restrictions will be lifted (no extra downloads will be necessary).

The programmers have worked very hard to make this new version of Fritz very self-intuitive for beginners. The new version boasts a completely redesigned ergonomic interface. There are also a collection of tutorials at the bottom of the product page.

I was very impressed with the demo version. ChessBase have actually been very generous in the number of features that haven't been restricted. For example, you can freely use their high quality chess set, open and search databases, look over games, play against the computer (Deep Fritz is restricted to 1-second of calculation time), use "position setup", play on Playchess.com (one of the largest chess servers in the world, owned by ChessBase) and flip through the opening book.

The demo awards you with a selection of 87,758 games (adapted from Power Book 2010) and an openings book by Alex Kure, with 1,497,114 positions. The book displays interesting statistics and players can flip through the openings book to see which variations are currently trendy.

Players can also test out the Deep Fritz 12 engine. Although the engine is limited to 1-second thinking time, it will defeat the majority of players with great ease.

One suggestion, which can also be used as a training tool, is to force Fritz to play with a handicap. To do this, simply press 's' on your keyboard and remove one of Black's pieces. For beginners, I recommend removing a queen or more and this will make your task much easier. For stronger players, removing a rook at first is perhaps appropriate and as the player builds up confidence, they can advance to removing a piece, removing an exchange, etc. This can be a fun way to train your chess and is perhaps more useful than asking the computer to simulate a particular playing strength.

In my opinion, the most useful feature that Deep Fritz has to offer is the ability to enter and analyze games. This is invaluable for an enthusiastic chess player and is probably the largest factor towards chess improvement in general. In Garry Kasparov's book The Test of Time, he emphasized, "by strictly observing Botvinnik's rule regarding the thorough analysis of one's own games, with the years I have come to realise that this provides the foundation for the continuous development of chess mastery". I recommend that analysis be done through "infinite analysis" mode (restricted in the demo version), which allows Fritz to give evaluations in the background as you look through your games.

Features that are unlocked after purchasing the activation key include 1 year premium Playchess.com membership (this is important because it's most useful to play against human opponents than computer ones) and access to the full capabilities of Deep Fritz 12 (i.e. editing/saving games, infinite analysis, etc.).

The Deep Fritz 12 Downloadable Version is highly recommended, especially for beginners and intermediate players who want to take their chess to the next level. Owners of previous versions of Fritz can be encouraged to upgrade for the stronger engine and improved ergonomic interface.

Click here to download Deep Fritz 12 (free download). Click here to see the official product page for the downloadable version of Deep Fritz 12.

To purchase products, I recommend Wholesale Chess. They provide the highest quality chess products at the lowest prices (especially for US and Canadian players). They even offer to match prices with other chess websites! Even though I live overseas, this is where I choose to purchase chess goods.

For chess opening training and repertoire maintenance, I highly recommend the software that I personally use, Chess Openings Wizard. This software was approved by Grandmaster Peter Svidler (FIDE rating 2730 as of January 2011) many years ago.

See Also

Best Chess Interfaces/GUIs
Chess Software

Article originally written: Saturday, April 3, 2010

Article edited (slightly): Saturday, February 5, 2011