The Fritz12 chess program (available here from ChessCentral) provides an infinite variety of playing levels; if you use the “Blitz Game” or “Long Game” commands, you have limitless options for setting time controls. But what if you wish to play a “casual” game (that is, a game in which the clock won’t be a factor)?
You can do that in Fritz12, too, but you might not know where to look for the proper command. To set up a casual game in Fritz12 you should first look for the “Levels” section of the “Home” ribbon (in other words, select the “Home” menu, then look for the “Levels” section in the resulting ribbon). Next click on the “Levels” button — the one with an icon that looks like the dial on a kitchen timer:
You’ll see in the illustration that this button provides four commands. For a “casual” game you can choose either “Fixed time” or “Fixed depth”. I recommend “Fixed time” for the simple reason that Fritz12 can look quite deeply into “uncomplicated” positions. Here’s another point to consider. If you set the “Fixed time” value to, say, fifteen seconds, you’ll notice that Fritz12 doesn’t stop thinking and move immediately when fifteen seconds have passed. Instead when the fifteen second mark is reached Fritz12 will finish the current level of search depth before moving. For example, if Fritz has looked five moves ahead for each player and is currently looking at sixth move possibilities when the fifteen second “limit” is reached, it will continue its search until it decides on a definite “best variation” which includes that sixth move. So even if you set “Fixed time” for “15”, you may well see Fritz12 commonly take thirty seconds to move (or even longer, depending on how complex the current board position happens to be).
If, on the other hand, you set Fritz12 for a “Fixed Depth” (let’s say you set it for a value of “14”, meaning seven moves for both sides) it will always move after finishing a fourteen ply (half-move) search, no matter what, even if it’s a complicated position in which further search may well be deserved. It’s really up to you (and the next Fritz12 tip will concern a trick for using “Fixed Depth”), but I’m more inclined to use “Fixed Time” rather than “Fixed Depth”.
When you select “Fixed Time”, you’ll see the following dialogue appear:
You just type in the number of seconds desired in the box to the right of “Time per move” (or you may use the “up” and “down” arrows which are part of that box). Note that the value is expressed in seconds, not minutes. If you wanted to let Fritz12 think for approximately a minute a move you’d set the value for “60”. Click “OK” and the value is set.
Please note, by the way, that for the average player Fritz12 will likely still be crazily strong even at low settings of three to five seconds a move. So if you’re looking for a casual game in which you actually have a chance to win, you’re better off using one of the Handicap modes (“Handicap and fun”, “Friend”, or “Sparring” mode) instead.
Have fun! — Steve