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I want to use Fritz 12 to setup positions, play both sides and also make annotations (arrows, boxes, circles, etc). Can it do that? I am pretty sure I've seen someone use it that way, but I don't know how they set it up or what function they may have used to do so.
I tried to turn off the engine and that gets you part way there. Their board setup screen is still terrible in that you can't flip the board to set things up from black's perspective. Yes, you can trick it but it is a pain. That aside, not sure how to get into full manual mode and then be able to annotate both graphically and in text.
Should I be using a different program?
??? Did you try reading the Help files in F12? How about going to ChessBase.com and checking out the tutorials?
I've used F12 for a few yrs and haven't found it to be overly difficult to work with. I used it to annotate all my games for quite some time but switched over to ChessBase 9 DB basically just to insure that I was analyzing my own games in progress with any engine(s) turned off by default, other than that I didn't have any problems with F12. Now I use CB9 and I think it has all the stuff you want (except a pricetag) maybe Arena or Winboard (both free) would work for you? You can load engines in them as well.
I supposed you could download freeware such as Arena and/or Winboard, install free engines in them such as Houdini, Stockfish,Firebird etc. and see if you like them better than F12...OR you could read this first:
I downloaded it and uninstalled it the same day.. Anyhow try Arena 3.0 you can enable arrows in Options, Appearance, Marks, Check Arrows.
Of course I did. Fritz documenation is, shall we say, lacking in some respects. The mode that I am envisioning is basically a fully manual mode without any analysis whatsoever. I want to be able to move any piece at any time, no white-black-white-black sequence. Of course, no engine analysis either. And I want to be able to draw graphics on the screen as I do the above.
In other words, something like the equivalent of a magnetic chess blackboard that you can draw on with chalk of different colors, add and remove pieces, etc.
I asked here because I tried pushing Fritz around to do this, went through the entire manual and simply can't figure out how to get close to this. There's analysis mode but even if you turn off the engine Fritz either turns it back on or "does things" (like arrows of different colors auto-magically showing up).
My conclusion at this point is that Fritz can't do what I want it to do nor get close to it. I'd be happy with full manual mode and basic graphical annotation (arrows, circles, squares) if that were available.
It sounds like the features you are looking for are the ones more associated with database programs like Chessbase - Fritz always came with basic database functions but not the bells & whistles because they want you to buy CB.
robomartin sorry but after hanging around in the forums here for a few years I've discovered lots of members never heard of a users manual or never looked thru it, so now I usually ask as a matter of routine
I don't use F12 very much nowadays but I do recall turning off the engine when I was recording my online games in F12 so it wouldn't "cheat" by showing me any analysis, and the engine stayed off until I turned it back on.
You can try contacting ChessBase support, sometimes they're helpful and sometimes not. They do have a lot of online tutorials maybe something there will help you. I don't know if Fritz has all the options you want or not. You should also look around for forums (not here) that specialize in chess software, in the past I did get some answers that way for questions re: F12 and CB9.
The following site has been helpful to me in the past
Go to File at the top of the screen - New - position set up. Its simple.
Or you can cut and paste moves. On the big ribbon click the board icon and paste in the moves.
You can annotate by using the insert tab at the top of the screen
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