Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - August 2020

Sponsored by The Ulverscroft Foundation
Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Creating a Database of Games using Fritz

John Gallagher writes:

Hello all!

When we study chess we are trying to make ourselves better at playing the game. For a blind person it can be very daunting going over many lines and finding an accessible chess book to learn from. One really good way I found to learn was to look at chess games with a set position for example a game you have played and you get to a certain point and then you are stuck. So, to be able to see how other very good players handle your setup is a huge help. It’s not just going over lines and lines of moves it’s a feeling to the setup on the board. I will try to explain here how to create a good lot of games so we can be better players.

First of all, if possible, it is much better to use Fritz9 chess playing program as it is much more accessible for a blind player. It’s very important that we configure some settings to make the program run better for us. The less clutter you have on the screen the better! Note that it is best to use the most updated version of Jaws if you can. NVDA works and the Windows speech software also works, but not as well.

To start the Windows narrator press the Windows key with the control key and the enter key all at the same time to start the Windows speech. Do the same to stop it. Now if you have a better version of Fritz it will not work as the menus will not speak.

From your computer load up Fritz9 and press the space bar to get to the game window. If you press enter it tries to go online. Press control with ‘n’ to start a new game. You should hear the pieces being put up on the board.

Now we will alter some important settings.

Press the left alt key let it go then press ‘t’ let it go and press ‘o’ for options. Press your left control key and see what it says. We should hear ‘clocks notation tab’. If you do not hear this press the shift key with your tab key.

Now press your right cursor until it says multimedia tab.

Press the tab key and it will say ‘audio talk check box’. This should be unchecked. To do so press the space bar.

Press your tab key for ‘audio announce moves check box’. This is very important. It must be checked. Again to do this press the space bar.

Press your tab key and it says ‘audio board sounds check box’. This must be checked by pressing the space bar.

Press tab again and it says ‘chatter messages’. I have this as checked. If you don’t it says daft messages to you in the game.

Press the tab key and it’s a combo box. Set this for no music. To open your combo box press your left alt key with your down arrow or should I say cursor key together. Now to go up or down press the down or up cursor.

From here press your tab key until it says okay and press enter.

Now we are ready to create a database of games. Please note you need a good database like bigbase. If you have Fritz9 it will have a database in it. So ready steady go let’s create our games! It’s very complicated I know.

First of all we need to enter our game in to Fritz to where we get stuck.

Press the left alt key with the f2 key.

This lets you enter a position in to Fritz without it replying back to you with a game. Now type in your moves like this: d2d4 g8f6 c2c4 g7g6 b1c3 f8g7 e2e4 d7d6 f2f3 e8g8 c1e3 e7e5 d4d5 c7c6 d1d2 c6d5 c4d5 d8a5 h2h4

Remember, after your move put in a space the computer should speak your moves.

Now we need Fritz to find this set up in the database so press the left alt key let it go and press the right cursor and it should say edit. Now press down cursor until it says find position now press the enter key and it may say the number of games to search. Press enter again and wait.

The program will now search the database for all games that you have put the position in.

If it says no games found press the escape key to go in your database and get to the top of it with the keystroke control home and try again. So press the escape key to go in the main game window press the left alt key then right cursor key until it says edit. Now press cursor down until it says find position and press the enter key.

If all has gone well go and get a beer! It will take a while to go and find your games.

Eventually, to see what’s happening you can press tab key and shift tab to hear how many games it’s found.

It could say stop when you press tab just ignore it and wait.

Now if you press cursor down or up you should see a list of games. You need to select these games now. So press control with a and then control c to copy the games to the clipboard.

From here get into your database by pressing the escape key and press left alt key then press down cursor for new now press right cursor for database. It will say file name and here give it a name for example “kingsindian”, press shift tab to files of type and set it to pgn and then tab to save.

Now go in to the database and press left alt key go down to open and press enter

Find your database that you created. It should be in chessbase then bases. When on it, open it.

From here you must paste your games into the database so press control with v.

And that’s it! Rather complicated I know! If anyone wants help with this please email me and we can arrange to go over it on the phone or Skype. If anyone is interested, we can configure more settings in Fritz to make it better.