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Home * Organizations * ChessBase (Company)

ChessBase logo [1]

ChessBase GmbH is a German chess software company located in Hamburg. ChessBase is marketing chess software, maintaining a chess news site [2] and is operating Playchess, a server to play chess online [3] [4] .

For the Chess database see main article ChessBase (Database).

History and Products

ChessBase was founded in 1986 by Physicist Matthias Wüllenweber and Journalist Frederic Friedel [5], eponymous was the chess game database developed by Wüllenweber for Atari ST computers. End of the 80s the chess database program was ported by Mathias Feist to the IBM PC and MS-DOS operating system, released as ChessBase 3.0 for Atari and PC. ChessBase 4.0 was the last Atari release, and already included the chess playing program Fritz [6], based on the program Quest by Frans Morsch, which was also market as stand alone product.

Fritz Family

In the early 90s ChessBase focused on Microsoft operating systems, MS-DOS and since 1994 Windows, notably as ChessBase for Windows and Fritz 4, not only the engine but also a Graphical User Interface for other chess-playing programs of the "Fritz Family" by various top commercial authors, most notably Junior, HIARCS, Shredder, Chess Tiger, the Zappa version Zap!Chess, since 2008 Rybka [7], since November 2012 Houdini [8] [9], since November 2013 Deep Fritz 14 with Gyula Horváth [10], in November 2015, 2016 Fritz 15/16 with Vasik Rajlich, and in November 2019 Fritz 17 with Frank Schneider as engine authors, since September 2014, Komodo [11]. Bundled with Fritz 17 in 2019, ChessBase started to purchase open source chess engines with slight modifications and customized neural networks - Fat Fritz was based on Leela Chess Zero requiring a GPU, followed in February 2021 by Fat Fritz 2 based on NNUE technology and Stockfish 12.

Young Talents

In May 2000, ChessBase released a CD with seven different amateur chess programs dubbed Young Talents, able to natively communicate with the proprietary Fritz or ChessBase GUI [12] [13]:


ChessBase is also publishing company of chess games, various chess multimedia products, such as the chess teaching software Fritz & Chesster [14] , chess opening monographs, and the Music composing software Ludwig [15] [16] [17] , developed by Matthias Wüllenweber.


Best-Publication Award

In 1999 ChessBase has offered to continue the Mephisto / Novag Award, until 2010 the ChessBase Best-Publication Award which enables the ICGA to distinguish a researcher or a group of researchers for their excellence.

Quote 1999

ICCA Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3, Many Changes [18] :

Fifth, the ChessBase organisation has expressed the willingness to cooperate more closely with the ICCA. In addition to their articles (see the article by Frederic Friedel and also the Correspondence section), they have contributed a CD ROM for our readership containing opinions bridging the gap between human Grandmasters and top programs.
Sixth, the ChessBase organisation has offered to continue the Mephisto/Novag Award. For 1999 we will again have an Award, of course now called the ChessBase Best-Publication Award, which enables the ICCA to distinguish a researcher or a group of researchers for their excellence. 

Quote 2010

ICGA Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, The 2008 and 2009 ChessBase Best-Publication Awards:

The aim of the ChessBase Best-Publication Award nominators is to identify the author(s) whose work has made the biggest contribution to computer games in the years 2008 and 2009. The selection committee consisted of Bruno Bouzy, Ivan Bratko, I-Chen Wu, Shun-Chin Hsu, Paolo Ciancarini, Reijer Grimbergen, Dap Hartmann, Jaap van den Herik, Ulf Lorenz, and Jonathan Schaeffer. The secretary of the committee was Prof.dr. A. Plaat. After the nominations were determined for the 2008 and 2009 award, the members Bruno Bouzy and Jaap van den Herik (for 2008) and Jaap van den Herik and Shun-Chin Hsu (for 2009) withdrew from the committee, since they were included in a nomination. 

Quote 2011

ICGA Journal, Vol. 34, No. 3, The 2010 Best-Publication Award:

 In 2011 the ChessBase company informed us that after twelve years of sponsorship they believed that it was time to stop with the ChessBase Best-Publication award. Although we regret their decision we would like to express the ICGA's gratitude towards the generous sponsorship of twelve consecutive years. Thank you, Matthias Wüllenweber and Frederic Friedel, you did an excellent job for our community and for its dedicated members by offering the best researchers among them a platform where their performance was recognized. 


Winners of the ChessBase Best-Publication Award 1999-2010:

Jonathan Schaeffer, Yngvi Björnsson, Neil Burch, Akihiro Kishimoto, Martin Müller, Rob Lake, Paul Lu, Steve Sutphen (2005). Solving Checkers. IJCAI 2005, pdf

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