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Speaking of Faster

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If I'm not answering the phone it's because my new computer arrived today and I'm neck-deep in getting it ready to take over from my old workhorse desktop. The new one is a custom-made machine built by Monarch PC. It's based on an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ processor. Combined with two 10,000 rpm hard drives in a RAID array and 2GB of RAM, it might even give Fritz a chance to beat me in blitz. Cough cough.

It's not as if most people really need a new computer these days. I bought my last one, an Athlon 1800+, over two years ago and it is still fine for 90% of common tasks. Surfing the web or opening Word in two seconds instead of four isn't a reason to drop a few grand on a new box. Unfortunately, chess and video work aren't common tasks, but they take up a lot of my time. Both crave CPU speed and the new hard drives will be handy for pushing around giant video files of the sort I'll be working on for ChessBase video materials.

As expected, Fritz and Co have more than doubled their node count on the new machine. That means the same quality in half the time or significantly better quality in the same time. A ChessBase search through three million games for Karpov's collected efforts returns its 3300 results in around two seconds instead of the old twenty. Trivial, but satisfying. I've no interest in matching my computer chessplayers against others online. These results can be worked out with a formula for the most part. More practical is cutting the filtering and encoding of a 30-minute video from 40 minutes to under 10. And did I mention the silent case? No more aircraft carrier behind my desk. Yay.



Just you wait until Windows XP-64 comes out!
And a 64-bit version of Fritz!

The athlon 64's running Windows right now are
like having a Jaguar V12 engine using only
eight cylinders.

Any news on when the next installment of Fritz is due to be released

So, how does Linux run on the beast? Er... You ARE at least dual-booting Linux, right? Windows is unsecurable and can't use the "extra" 32 bits. I'm sure we can get Chessbase et. al. running under emulation in Linux. I'd be happy to help.

ChessBase and friends under emulation (Linux or Mac) are much slower than under Windows, alas. And of course they still wouldn't be 64 bit. Actually I haven't set up my dual boot yet, still migrating the essentials so I'm not sitting here surrounded by three machines. I had a Red Hat slice on my old machine, formerly Mandrake, mostly to play around with Apache and mail server coding. I use shared hosting for Ninja, so the nitty-gritty stuff I have to practice at home.

ChessBase, like most tech companies, doesn't like to give exact release dates when they are still pushing the current version of a product. If everyone thinks Fritz 9 is right around the corner, nobody buys Fritz 8. (Cheap and convenient upgrades can help with this problem.) I'll only say not in the next few months but probably in time for Christmas.

What's the Fritz Mark on that wee beastie, Mig?

FritzMark (Fritz 8) = 1634 and 1471 kN/s. But I usually use Deep Fritz 8, Junior 8, and Shredder for analysis.

That's interesting. What is it about those engines that makes you prefer them over Fritz?

Well, Deep Fritz 8 is simply a newer, stronger and smarter engine than Fritz 8. DF8 is my main analysis engine. Junior is the most creative and overall fastest tactical engine. If I'm going in depth into a tactical game, I'll at least check everything again with Junior. It often finds sacrificial lines that other engines don't even look at. (One annoying quirk in Junior 8 under the ChessBase 8 interface is that it often spends a long time before publishing a new line, even a minute or two.) For me it's not so much a question of finding a best move, but interesting lines and material imbalances, and doing so quickly.

Meanwhile, Shredder is the best endgame engine, both for eval and for advanced use of tablebases. Other than bitter-end tablebase positions, all engines still play mediocre endgames, but if you coach them along in the right direction they often find things after a long think. The biggest problem is that for the most part they still can't see fortresses. Any position with a potential fortress can be completely misevaluated.

That's useful to know. I'd assumed that the Deep versions were identical to the standard versions but with the addition of multiprocessor capability.

Speaking of tablebases, I recently donwloaded the 5-man ones. I set up a test positoin, whereupon Fritz blythly informed me of a mate in 42.

I think I'll disable them when he's not looking.

It really depends on the engine. Deep Fritz 8 came out a relatively long time after Fritz 8 and they'd done a lot of work on the engine. They also often try to include extra stuff on the "Deep" CDs to justify the higher price. The Deep Junior 8 CD has bonus versions of the engine, like the ones they modified and used during the 2003 match against Kasparov. Some people are really into engine-engine matches and take computer chess as seriously was others take human chess.

Can anybody help me with tablebases? How do I get them? Which ones (5-man?) do you recommend I download? And how do I get them to work with Fritz 8?


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 25, 2004 11:23 PM.

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