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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good upgrade from previous versions
Fritz is arguably the most commercially-successful and popular chess package available. I started using Fritz at version 6 and have purchased most of the upgrades, up to version 10. With each successive version the whole package has gotten better and better though some of the upgrades were more worthwhile than others (one reason I never purchased version 11). Version 12...
Published on October 7, 2010 by Matthew K. Morgan

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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Glitchy
Been trying to play this program for about two weeks. Everything about it seems overly complicated yet poorly programmed. Difficulty levels seem to vary wildly no matter what settings you choose and the tournament games keep freezing up. Then I realized the game was not freezing up, but that I could move my opponents pieces but not my own. Tried doing the online...
Published on January 20, 2011 by jonathan johnson


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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good upgrade from previous versions, October 7, 2010
This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
Fritz is arguably the most commercially-successful and popular chess package available. I started using Fritz at version 6 and have purchased most of the upgrades, up to version 10. With each successive version the whole package has gotten better and better though some of the upgrades were more worthwhile than others (one reason I never purchased version 11). Version 12 is a quantum leap forward, though it is still not perfect.

Installation from the DVD was painless and uneventful. However, there is one issue with the installation that bothered me - the installer never installed a desktop icon or a program group, so I needed to navigate to the installation directory, from which I made a shortcut to the application binary on the desktop. After this step, everything has worked smoothly and I can launch the application without issue.

The interface has gotten a huge facelift - this is not a color scheme change or rearrangement of the menus and toolbars, but rather it is a complete overhaul with Windows ribbon controls serving up the components. Normally, I would be wary of such a large change to the overall interface, but ChessBase has done an excellent job of designing the interface and it is very well-organized. There is a learning curve, though, for people who have grown very accustomed to the older ChessBase interface, as some things are a little difficult to find unless you have familiarity... Given a couple of hours of exploration, the interface becomes second nature and finding things becomes easy again.

The Fritz engine itself is a strong one, able to crush practically any human player (including seasoned grandmasters) with ease when used at full playing strength and it holds its own against other top-drawer engines. It is not the strongest engine available, but for the vast majority of players it doesn't need to be the strongest. When using an engine this strong, playing against it is not the most useful activity; where engines of this strength are most useful is in the analysis of games.

Fritz includes several analysis modes, my favorite being full analysis for post-mortem scrutiny of games. The full analysis function works backward through a game and adds move suggestions as well as canned commentary as the selected chess engine evaluates each position. Though the English commentary is not always especially informative (for example, comments like "This is a futile try to save the game" are common), the comments do add a more "personal" touch to the analysis which would otherwise be simply a dump of suggested moves. When the engine finds an especially good move, the commentary is usually a little more helpful.

I found an annoying glitch with the Full Analysis mode. After fully analyzing a game, the interface simply chopped the last quarter of the game from the report, even though I could still iterate through all of the moves. I never could get the rest of the analysis on the screen.

Another very helpful analysis mode is "Infinite Analysis" which takes a single position and continuously analyzes it until the engine is interrupted or the position is changed. This is especially helpful for taking a deep look at a position and trying several what-if scenarios.

Deep position analysis is another mode, as is Monte Carlo, though I have used these so little that I cannot really comment on them.

The last analysis mode I will talk about is "Engine Shootout" which takes a position and feeds it to two or more engines for analysis. These engines evaluate the position and play through, with the intent of determining how the game would proceed and the outcome as a result. Though it's a feature I really don't need, it is something I use occasionally to look at games I have played when the game was unfinished but the outcome wasn't clear. Different engines arrive at different conclusions which makes this even more intriguing.

The Fritz package includes a large database of games, which can be used to explore and analyze. Where I find this database to be most useful is in researching specific styles of play. For example, it is easy to track down all of Tal's games and follow his playing style with the database search functions.

Also included on the DVD is a set of training videos. To be honest I have never found these to be especially helpful but others may very well benefit from them.

The UCI interface continues to improve, so adding in UCI engines is easy and reliable. I have found several weaker engines against which I can play so I have them bound into the interface for playing. I use the Fritz 12 engine for analysis after the fact.

Central to the Fritz interface is access to the ChessBase chess server. Through the interface, players can log into the server, play games, read chess-related news, watch seminars, and observe important matches with live coverage.

There are a couple of different versions to this package. The version sold by ChessBase and its resellers sports a green box whereas the version sold through Viva Media comes in a black box. I noticed an appreciable price difference and I investigated that difference. The software appears to be the same; the real difference is in the access given to the chess server. The more expensive package offers a 1-year premium membership which gives access to all content on the server such as seminars, elite tournament coverage and other content. The less expensive package also offers a 1-year membership but the access is more limited and excludes much of the premium content. Both offer guest access which allows anyone to log in and play games without hindrance, but as a guest so there is no tracking of progress. Which kind of access you desire should be considered when choosing which package you need.

Fritz 12 is a big step forward and is a worthwhile upgrade from previous versions. The engine is stronger and the interface is vastly superior. It is not without its glitches but the problems seem to be few in number.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Resign!, July 27, 2010
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This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
As a very casual chess player, I decided to give Fritz 12 a try. The program is smart enough to obliterate just about anyone, but you can play the game at several different difficulty levels. It even has a friend mode where the computer determines how strong a chess player you are and plays at close to your level. This is one tough opponent - even in the friend mode. There are also several "personalities" you can play against. Each personality has preprogrammed strengths and weaknesses (including how badly it blunders). You can also change several of their attributes to make them a stronger or weaker player.

Fritz 12 is packed with training tools. You can set the game up so it suggests opening moves; warns you if a square you are about to move to is under attack; give you hints or suggested moves; tell you what your opponent is planning to do; and much more.

The free beginner training videos are good. There are also several sample videos for other topics included, in hopes you decide to purchase additional training videos.

Even at full price this is a terrific training tool and should certainly help you improve your game, even though you may get a bit frustrated if you like to win.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Game, but needs improvement, September 30, 2010
This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
This game is the best chess program out there that I know of. It plays excellent chess and the pieces look nice. However, when you move the ELO slide to the minimum, it plays really hard, about 1100 ELO rating. I played it at this level using Online Chess Kingdom and Chess master (PSP games) at the highest level vs. fritz set to the min level, and so they lost to fritz. It was easy to tell Fritz wasn't playing at 1100 ELO, but closer to 2000. The PS3 version of Fritz doesn't have this shortcoming, you feel drastic changes at different ELO ratings, but this computer version you don't feel much ELO change. Another shortcoming is that the game freezes if you choose the "render light" option, it slows down significantly if you improve all the graphics in the option menu, and the game flashes once in a while. Some windows don't close despite they have the "x". The clicking sound can be deactivated, but it takes some googling time to find out how. On the positive site, the sense of humor is a unique touch, since playing chess can get really quiet. This game could use more chess sets and picture wall papers like in Chess Master. Everything else, I wouldn't change.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The good and the bad., September 6, 2011
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This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
After I opened this I set up an engine tournament with Fritz 10 and 11 and Crafty 24 and Stockfish 2.2a. I expected Stockfish to win because it used all 4 processors on my computer while all the others were restricted to one processor. Fritz 12 won the tournament by 1.5 points. To test this further I set up a 12 game head to head tournament with Stockfish and one processor Fritz 12 tied four processor Stockfish 6-6. This won me over. I use Fritz 12 to analyze games almost exclusively. The major disappointment was the Fritz trainer samples which were cut down to about 2 and one half minutes each. They became more like advertising "teasers" than real instruction videos. If you are primarily interested in the training aspects of a chess program, I recommend that you get Fritz 10 or one of the latest Chessmaster programs.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Glitchy, January 20, 2011
By 
jonathan johnson (greenville, nc USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
Been trying to play this program for about two weeks. Everything about it seems overly complicated yet poorly programmed. Difficulty levels seem to vary wildly no matter what settings you choose and the tournament games keep freezing up. Then I realized the game was not freezing up, but that I could move my opponents pieces but not my own. Tried doing the online update to see if this would fix the problems and the update kept crashing whenever I tried to install it. Very frustrating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money, May 18, 2011
By 
Conor M. Power "Cooker" (Billerica, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
I bought the $14.99 Fritz 12 edition. It is the same as the more expensive edition except that it does not include the premium membership to the online playchess.com.

I have used Fritz 8 in the past and was not too satisfied with it. I decided to try this edition after reading the hype.

This is a good program for the money. It installed flawlessly; it is strictly a Windows program so I had to run it on my Mac using VmWare.

It is still a little glitchy as in the past, but the new interface helps a lot. The 3d is excellent and lifelike and a great step up from what I used previously.

I am not a great player (1400) and the computer's response seems to be more realistic when I tone it down to my level.

I don't doubt that a few people were not satisfied with it, but, if I can run it on my Mac, they might seek a solution to their problem instead of giving up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lots of bang for the buck, December 24, 2011
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This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
this includes a 1 year membership to playchess.com, lots of tutorials, opening books and huge game database and you can add a stronger engine like komodo or stockfish or houdini for free. just google "stockfish chess engine" and hit the download button and then load it up on the fritz gui and it runs smooth as silk. stockfish even supports multi-core processing! for 20$ a great deal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its the real deal, September 24, 2010
By 
S. Klug (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
This is the real Fritz 12 Single core interface.

The boards look great and I love the wonderful remarks the program makes about my play.
( I am sure I will turn them off at some point)

You can add your own UCI engines and you have a first class chess interface

Highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best there is, October 26, 2011
This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
Fritz is the best there is, that is the short and the long of it. Chess is a mind sport,and so no software can force you to become a better player without you having the right mindset. Having said that, Fritz offers you all that modern software can for chess improvement. Miles ahead of Chessmaster in my opinion. I've owned chessmaster for a while and it is worth the money, if nothing else, with the Josh Waitzin tutorials. Chessmaster has great graphics, but everywhere else, Fritz wins out. Use a combination of Fritz and chessbase light (freeware downloadable online), and use playchess.com for human vs human play and its a win win situation. Great product!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent program, but still has some minor bugs, April 9, 2011
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This review is from: Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition (DVD-ROM)
Fritz 12 is an excellent chess program. I'm an intermediate level player (chess club strength) and I find Fritz to be an great companion for analysis, casual play, and finding out about recent activities through the "Playchess.com" subscription.
The installation process was very smooth and it worked right off the bat. However, the update didn't work at first (update 12). It wasn't until following updates (version 17, I think) that it was able to finally work as it should have. Sometimes the audio features get messed up (the clock continues ticking even when you are not playing, no sound comes when you move a piece, the funny comments don't work, etc.). However, these minor bugs don't affect the important stuff, i.e., the chess playing and analysis.
Playchess is a great place to go find out about news, playing with other people, and fiddling around with the tactical exercises.
In short, an excellent purchase for the price. I would recommend it 100%!
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Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition
Fritz Chess Twelfth Edition by Viva Media (Windows Vista / XP)
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