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A Review of the new Fritz for Nintendo Lite

by Vic Southern
June 2009.

I have been coaching chess to school children for almost 50 years and have been using the PC based Fritz programmes since their first release. This led me to be keen to review Nintendos latest chess release Fritz by Chessbase via various developers and promoters.

The programme has several distinct functions. It can play chess at various levels which are set on a slider. Theoretically these are between 800 and 2400 Elo grade [Zero to 220 on the ECF system]. I suspect the higher claims to be inflated and at the lower settings the programme plays unbelievably badly. At a setting of 1800 Elo it plays very respectably and is a fierce blitz opponent. I think any good young player should forget the grades below that, which are beginner settings.

Unlike a full Fritz programme is does not seem to have any take-back function that I have discovered but the little manual is useless and help function throws little light on details. However, you can save an unfinished game and return to it without difficulty and review played games.

How should a keen young player use it?
Play one good game at a respectable time limit, say 30 minutes each side, or no more than 5 blitz games at a session.

The programme also has a set of games played by Masters of the past, divided in rough epochs from early to recent. When you tab one of these it show the end position and last few moves on the screen. You need to use the left hand arrow control to return to the starting position and then play the moves through, one at a time. These have less utility than you might imagine as they are in no way annotated with reasons or suggestions. Selection of game is roughly the same as the basic Fritz 6 set on disc.

There is a set of 2000 puzzles in 4 grades of difficulty. Those at the lowest grade are very easy whilst the Hardest lot are challenging for a club player but hardly for an expert.

Apart from that the little device can play Takes Chess, Suicide Chess, Losing Chess, whatever you call it. This is a function I did not test nor did I test the 960 Chess which is Fischer Random Chess where the back row pieces are randomly scrambled at the outset.

As with most Nintendo games two or more can play somewhat remotely, handy for a team going by car, bus or train.

Faults?
On start-up, one must endure several screens advertising the various companies who have a hand in it and the bells, buzzers and music would drive a person mad. Find those controls first.

Additional features:

  • You can set the device to play whilst pointing out targets of attack and threats
  • several users can have their own profile and strength settings.

Summary
For the money and features, well worthwhile.

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