ChessBase 12 – primer on installation and new functions

2/4/2013 – Our flagship program has been on the market for two months now – and people are beginning to realise how powerful some of the new functions are. For those of you who have not yet switched to ChessBase 12 here are full instructions on how to go about it. And for those who are wondering whether the switch to the latest version is warranted, take a look, for starters, at the new online search.

Installing ChessBase 12

If you are an ambitious chess player, if you want to continually improve your chess and train systematically, if you want to prepare for your next opponent – whether for a club match, an Open or for a top tournament, if you are a coach or teach chess and want to find training material, if you like to play through the best and most recent games with the latest opening trends, or if you want to enter and analyse your own games… In short: if you have any interest in chess whatsoever, then you just cannot do without the ChessBase program.

ChessBase is the Swiss Army knife for the chess player – there is a tool for every problem and an answer to every question! Now, the new ChessBase 12 is being released – and it has fascinating new possibilities...

Today we start a course on ChessBase 12, with instructions on how to install the program and a quick look at a couple of interesting new functions. We will continue the course over the next days and weeks, showing you how our flagship program can change the way you study chess and prepare for tournaments.

We will assume that you have purchased the program as a DVD package – there is also the possibility to get it as a download, whereby the installation process remains basically the same.

When you insert the DVD it should start up automatically and offer to run the Setup program.

The installer starts with a splash screen. Once you have finished admiring our new and unusual graphic design click on "Install" to start the process. The language of the installer will match that of your operating system or region of residence. It will offer to install the program in an appropriate directory, e.g. C:\Program Files\ChessBase\CBase12\. If you are not a computer expert and do not have important reasons to point to a different directory just accept the location it suggests. This will make all subsequent procedures, e.g. updates, databases, etc. easier to handle.

ChessBase 12 requires around 190 MB of space on your hard drive. Follow the instructions that appear. At one stage you will be asked (by Windows) for permission to install the new software. The installation process should take around five minutes, with a progress bar showing you that something is happening. In the end the installer will ask to restart the computer. If you don't do this and opt to do so later you may not have the correct fonts until you do so.

Once the installation is complete you will find a new desktop icon, which you can double-click to start the program for the first time.

When you start the program for the first time it will offer to copy the databases that are provided on the ChessBase 12 DVD to your hard drive. As a new user you may want to install these databases. But if you are already a power user and have lots of games (e.g. Mega Database) then you can tell the program to proceed without installing the game files.

The next step is to enter the serial number: this is to be found inside the DVD box and five groups of five digits. Type them in. You really cannot do anything wrong: if you mistype the program will not allow you to click OK, and you can correct the entry. Finally you need to recognize four characters displayed in the verification box – to prove that you are a human and not a robot trying to guess the serial number.

There is one more step: we need to activate the program. It will ask you to do so with the above window. Just click "Program activation" and give Window permission to activate ChessBase 12. All of the above is of course a one-time procedure – it takes about ten minutes, and in the future a double-click on the start icon will start the program without any further hassle. Except one:

When you start ChessBase 12 in the future it will periodically remind you to update the program. You also should do it immediately after installing the program from DVD, which may have been manufactured immediately when the program was first released. You can update the newly installed program using the following menu:

The entire update procedure will just take a couple of minutes. Note that you can also use the "Activate" option in the "File" menu above if the program requires this. It is only after doing this that you have access to the online database. Usually you will not have the enter the serial number again: the manual activation will offer you the serial number you entered when installing the program. And just for your information: "Deactivate" allows you to switch to a new computer without ChessBase believing that it is being pirated. Never give your serial number to other people. If someone is trying to use it from a different location that will make our authentication server very unhappy.

Incidentally, if something goes wrong with the language detection during installation and you see everything in a foreign language then you can fix it as follows: click on the little red wrench on the top left of the ChessBase 12 window ("Options") and then set the language to English. It won't happen, so don't worry about it. However, you may want to take a look at some of the other options that are useful, for example:

Do you want long or short algebraic notation? You can even select descriptive notation, where 1.d4 is displayed as 1.P-Q4. The piece names can be modified or figurine notation chosen, and you can even change the colours in which the variations are displayed.

When you start the program you will notice, to your great pleasure, that ChessBase 12 remembers everything from its previous installation: you see the same database icons on the start screen, and the layout is pretty much the same as it was for ChessBase 11. You should feel immediately at home with the new program.

On the bottom left you will find direct access to Playchess and to our special game update service which supplies the latest tournament games on a weekly basis. (In a separate article coming soon we will go through the upgrade of Mega Database 2012 to 2013, which is of course another important step in upgrading your chess software.

When you double-click a database icon you will get the games list, and immediately notice a very useful live board on the right. Clicking a game will display it, with notation, on the replay board, and you can navigate using cursor keys or by clicking on the notation with your mouse. All the other sorting functions, tables, searches, tournament tables, etc. are similar in operation to those in ChessBase 11 – though you will discover that most functions are much more powerful than in the previous version.

New online search function

Let us take a simple example of a new function, just to get you in the mood. In the database window of ChessBase 12 you will find a new search button:

The "Hard Disk" search gives you the regular search you know from ChessBase 11, for games in the highlighted database. But the killer is the new "Online" search, directly from ChessBase 12. Try clicking this button:

This produces a Google-like search mask where you can simply type in text, as we have done in the above screen grab. In our example it produces the following result:

The retrieval of the games is almost instantaneous – faster than from your hard disk. This is because our online database is comprehensively indexed and the games are found in almost no time (just as in a Google search). Naturally the games can be loaded, replayed, saved, etc. – just like the games you get from a search in your local Mega Database.

There is also an "Advanced" button, which allows you to filter the search. Say you are playing Irina Krush tomorrow and have the black pieces. You can conduct an online search for Irina's games, using the following advanced settings:

Note that we have unclicked "Black" in order to retrieve only white games, set an Elo for her opponents for 2500 or more, and narrowed the period from 2011 to 2013 (her name is in the initial search mask). This is what you get – instantaneously:

The games can be sorted (by clicking the column headers) according opponents, results or, most relevantly, notation, to understand her repertoire and what she is lightly to play on the morrow.

For instance we can click on "Notation" to sort the games and then highlight all the ones that start with 1.c4. Hitting Enter in the above screen will merge all six games into a single tree.

With the six games loaded we can click on the "Table" tab to get a great overview of Irina's recent 1.c4 repertoire. We can also switch on an engine and in fact use Let's Check to find very deep evaluations from other computers on the Internet. Note that all of these actions – searching for white Irina Krush games against strong opponents from the last two years in the online database, merging all the 1.c4 games, generating a table overview and switching on an engine with Let's Check to analyse the games took us less than 30 seconds. Seriously.

This is where we end today's introduction to ChessBase 11. You have now learnt how to install the program and seen a small fraction of the new features that await you. This course will continue over the next days and weeks until you have become, hopefully, a power user of our new flagship program.


ChessBase 12

Program packages

Chessbase 12 – Starter Package

  • ChessBase 12
  • Integrated CB online database with more than 5 million games
  • Access to player encyclopaedia with over 30,000 pictures
  • Language: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German
  • plus: ChessBase Big Database 2013. Automatic update until 31st December 2013
  • plus: ChessBase Magazine subscription, half year, 3 issues DVD + print
  • On DVD-ROM or download

179.90 EUR incl. 19% VAT

ChessBase 12 – Mega Package

  • ChessBase 12
  • Integrated CB online database with more than 5 million games
  • Access to player encyclopaedia with over 30,000 pictures
  • Language: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German
  • plus: ChessBase Mega Database 2013 + automatic update until 31st December 2013
  • plus: ChessBase Magazine subscription for one year (6 issues)
  • On DVD-ROM or download

Euro 269.90 EUR incl. 19% VAT

ChessBase 12 – Premium Package

  • ChessBase 12
  • Integrated CB online database with more than 5 million games
  • Access to player encyclopaedia with over 30,000 pictures
  • Language: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German
  • plus: ChessBase Mega Database 2013 + automatic update until 31st December 2013
  • plus: ChessBase Magazine subscription for one year (6 issues)
  • plus: DVD Fritz Endgame turbo 3 (9 DVDs)
  • plus: ChessBase CORR 2013
  • plus: 1 year playchess.com Premium membership
  • Only on DVD-ROM

    Euro 369.90 incl. 19% VAT

CB 12 – Upgrade from ChessBase 11

  • ChessBase 12
  • Integrated CB online database with more than 5 million games
  • Access to player encyclopaedia with over 30,000 pictures
  • Language: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German
  • On DVD-ROM or download

    Euro 99.00 incl. 19% VAT (CB 11 serial number required)

Programm ChessBase 12 Download

  • Integrated CB online database with more than 5 million games
  • Access to player encyclopaedia with over 30 000 pictures
  • Language: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German
  • Only as download

    Euro 99.00 incl. 19% VAT

System requirements

Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 512 MB RAM – Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3) – DirectX9 graphics card with 256 MB RAM – DVD-ROM drive – Windows Media Player 9 and Internet access to activate the program, Playchess.com, Let's Check, Engine Cloud and updates.

Order ChessBase 12 in our ChessBase Shop


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