View Full Version : Chess Databases

27-01-2009, 04:27 PM

Any over the board chessplayer who has a database program such as Chessbase or Chess Assistant and a large up to date database of games has a considerable advantage against players who lack these items. As for correspondence chess unless you have a database program and a large database you are at a very considerable disadvantage. I shall not compare the chess database programs Chessbase and Chess Assistant. I own both and consider that they are both very good. The purpose of this article is to compare chess databases from Chessbase, Chess Assistant and Opening Master. Before proceding further I wish to point out that in my opinion they are all first rate products.

Databases on DVD

It is possible to purchase databases on DVD containg about 4,00,000 games from either Chessbase (megadatabase xxxx where xxxx is the year) and Chess Assistant (hugebase). Megadatabase is marginally larger and contains a large number of correspondence games whereas the Chess Assistant database contains few if any correspondence games. Both Chessbase and Chess assistant have the facility to download games each week to add to your database. As far as I can see this consists of approximately 3000 games from “The Week in Chess”. However over a period of time your database will lack recent correspondence games as well as new over the board games that are not reported on The Week in Chess.

From time to time both companies make new versions of their databases available for purchase. These contain more over the board games, more annotated games, and in the case of Chessbase more correspondence games. The advantage of buying a database on CD is that you buy it, install it and use it. Furthermore often there will be a number of annotated games. The disadvantage is that over a period of time it will become out of date. To keep it up to date you need to download games from various sources and then remove duplicated games. Also you need to remove what can best be described as junk games; example are games played at absurdly fast time controls, very short draws, games with no moves recorded.

27-01-2009, 04:29 PM
Opening Master

Opening master provides databases that can be used by the Chessbase program. They do not provide their own database program. Opening Master Database uses a distinct approach. You pay an annual subscription. Then you can download the database and a replacement database each month. The database currently is about 5,000,00 games, none of which are annotated. It contains games from a wider range of sources than megabase or Hugebase and it contains more correspondence games. Furthermore it does not contain any games without moves This has the advantage of less junk on your database but means that you do not have full records of tournaments. New over the board games are added to the database each month and correspondence games are added on a six monthly basis.

The advantage of using the Opening Master Approach is that the database is up to date, contains more games and that you are spared the tasks of cleaning out the junk games and duplicated games. The disadvantages are first that there are no annotated games and secondly is the cost of the product.

27-01-2009, 04:32 PM
Correspondence Games.

Being a correspondence chess specialist I find that the handling of correspondence games could be better on all three databases. Hugebase appears to be very weak in covering correspondence games. I made a spot check and could not find any of my games or games by Estrin or Berliner Megabase has the disadvantage that although it has a large number of correspondence games new correspondence games are not added in the on-line update facility. OpeningMaster adds correspondence games but only every six months.

Fortunately there is a simple way to address this problem. I suggest that you purchase the most recent correspondence database from Tim Harding on DVD which contains many very deeply annotated correspondence games and download the free databases from IECG and ICCF frequently.

27-01-2009, 10:33 PM
Ta for the info, David. I have chessbase and I like it. Must use it more!

28-01-2009, 08:36 AM
I have just started a correspondence tournament.

I download games from ICCF using a tool called XECTOOL. Then I copy them into a work database. Next I bring up the position of a game and search for the position in various databases using Chessbase.

Within minutes I can find games that have reached the same position as the game.

One small database that I use a lot is the database of annotated games from Chesspublishing.com .It costs money to subscribe to this site but I noticed one super GM unleashing one of the ideas from this site recently.

25-08-2010, 02:36 PM
I've just discovered that Chess Assistant database has it's own query language called CQL (Chess Query Language) to search for positions and games within it's database.

How friggin cool is that !!

Have a look at this example :-
:movefrom [QRBNP]
:moveto .d4
:attackcount A Ad4 0

This says White is to play and is in check, and will move any piece but the King to the empty square d4, which he attacks zero times after that. The little :shift tag, which almost singlehandedly makes CQL so powerful, changes d4 into a token square - the specified events may take place on any square. Finally, :flipcolor makes sure examples with reversed colors are also found. A :moveto ?d4 tag could be added to limit the search to cases where the interposed piece is actually captured.

How friggin cool is that !!

Has anyone played with this before and if so why have they not told me.