If you’re like me, a chess player of an older demographic with a bookcase of full of chess books and rating that’s as stuck as a rusty bolt on old lawnmower in need of repair, hearing about using a chess database is probably the last on thing on your mind. I am a willing old dog looking for new ticks and have renewed my interest in updating and using a database to help catalog my games and maybe learn something new.
Sam Copeland did a great job outlining the variety of online and offline databases on this post. I recommend spending a little time looking through it.
What was I looking for in a database?
Over the years, I’ve used a variety of revisions of the software tools from chess base. I wanted familiarity with horsepower. I was willing to spend the extra bucks so I didn’t have to build something from scratch and import PGN’s and game collections. Though, I like the DIY spirit of open software and free imports to stick it to the big guys, I’ll save my revolutions for other social injustices.
- Large database to reference
- Ability to import my games
- Annotating my games
- Setting up training positions from my games
- Gain insights for next steps on where I need to train
- Develop and grow an opening repertoire from my collection
- Ability to access the database on both table top and portable devices connected
I went with a package from ChessBase and got the database manager along with the megabase of 8 million games for a reference base. I can set up the database files all on a shared OneDrive to use between devices. I got busy. Here’s a snap shot of some of the items on my cluttered “top shelf”.
Holy Crap, what Am I going to do with that 8 Million game data base?
Yes, the Mega Data base is huge. Working with such a HUGE file as a reference while refining opening preparations can add to your frustrations as the system will lock and constantly refresh. I suggest creating smaller reference data bases using the filtering function.
Searching for games where BOTH players are rated ELO 2500 or higher pares down the beast to a solid list of MASTERS ONLY games. I created a reference database from just those. Refining the search little bit more to Master only games with recent games ( I went back 10 years) made a good reference for OPENING BOOK from this collection.
The other thing I did was create a reference data base of LOWER RATED Games. Why would I do that? I’m an amateur and I play other amateurs. If I am looking at opening moves most likely played, looking at a data base of LOWER RATED players gives me offshoots most likely played so I can prepare for this. If it’s a move I am looking to make, I’ll hop back to the MASTER GAME REFERENCE or look at the MEGA OPENINGS BOOK.
Using the cloud
There’s a working directing called “My Database” and then there’s a shadow directory under OneDrive > Documents>ChessBase that you can set up called “My Work” and I use this to share between devices.
Here, I create backups to various ‘bases” I’ve created. I like the flexibility of going portable for my devices or having the workhorse on my main system to run a batch of game analysis on recent games I imported from my online activity.
Gaining insights from my games
In the above image, you may have noticed the heart logo named “2020games”. This is a collection of my games I either imported from chess.com, lichess or meticulously entered move by move from over the board games since the beginning of the year. One of the things I can do with this when I click on it is to look at statistics on my openings.
I can use this information to better prepare for my most common encounters.
A topic for another time maybe is how one can create a repertoire database from this and even the training databases you may have seen in the images above with the sneaker Icon. Basically, from the statistical insights from my games, I prepared a training database for my white pieces and black pieces based on the most common responses from the activity.
This is a snap shot of how an old dog is learning new tricks to loosen a rusty bolt in hopes to turn that motor over some day.
Until next time,