ChessBase Account: Become an opening expert

by Sagar Shah
11/30/2015 – Memorizing humongous amount of opening theory is one of the biggest problems faced by chess players at all levels. But in the ChessBase Account there is a new web based application called Openings Trainer which can help you overcome the difficulty. In this article we explain you the features of this app, with step by step screen grabs. There is also a video you should watch.

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Become an opening expert

The Openings Trainer is one of the most recent and useful web based applications developed by ChessBase. In order to use it you need to go to "Openings" in the ChessBase Account menu and login with your ChessBase account or Playchess ID.

The Openings Trainer page has a lot of features on it

So let’s get acquainted with this exciting new application. There are two main functions:

  1. Organize your openings and
  2. Remember them through regular drills

The Openings Trainer can be used to learn an opening, but its main function is to help you get organized and better at the variations you have already prepared.

The first thing you do is to start feeding in the moves of the opening you would like to study on the Openings Trainer board. You can make use of the Live Book, which has seven million games, in the form of a tree for this. Below the Live Book you have the Live Database which updates with the latest games as soon as the moves are made.

Let’s say you want to work on the Queen’s Gambit 5.Bf4 variation. After making the initial moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4, you mark the 5.Bf4 as your move using the “Mark Move” function.

The mark move function lies on top at the tool bar with other options.
You can also right click on a specific move and mark the move.

You will see an asterisk on top of the move Bf4 and these five moves get added to your white repertoire

As the moves are made, the list of the live database also keeps getting updated. You can see the latest game that happened in this line is the top level encounter between Inarkiev against Aronian from the EU Cup just a few days ago.

After 5.Bf4 you make the moves 5…0-0 6.e3 Nbd7. At this point suppose it is very important for you to remember to make the positional move 7.a3 here, instead of the aggressive 7.c5. So you make the move a3 and right click on it and choose “mark as important move.”

Mark as important move is used when you would like to remember an important move in your repertoire.

You will see two asterisks on your move a3 and the entire sequence of seven moves
gets added to your white repertoire

What is described here was a simple line with only one branch. You can add intricate variations lasting more than 20 moves with many branches and save them in your repertoire. Every time you would like to save a particular line just mark the final move (final white move if it is a white repertoire) as “your move.”

Once you have built a decent white repertoire, you can then choose the very unique function called “Drill White”.

With the drill function the computer will take the black side and ask you to make the first white move. As soon as you play 1.d4 it will reply with 1…d5. It will always try to remain in your repertoire until you deviate. Now you can either make your repertoire move 2.c4, or something else say 2.Nf3. If you deviate the trainer shows a message saying “not in your moves” but plays on until it has moves in the live book.

The move 2.Nf3 is not in your repertoire and hence on your right you can see the words
“Not in your moves”. Yet the trainer continues playing and makes the move 2…g6.

The training ends when the moves in the live book end. If you like the new line you can just mark the final move as your move and add it to your white repertoire. Of course, everything that was written above remains true for building a black repertoire too.

Below the notation pane you can see many important functions in the openings trainer. You can download the PGN file, insert text between moves, delete or cut a line or use the annotations palette

When you start marking a lot of moves, the size of your repertoire will increase and then the Openings Trainer will have more options to drill you. You will have your entire opening preparation in one place and also the chance to regularly test yourself on it. This will translate into more tournament points as you will remember your variations better and not forget them in the crucial games!

Video tutorial

Second video on some advanced functions of the Openings Trainer

Register for a ChessBase Account and get free access for three months!



Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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mkonst mkonst 8/12/2017 09:44
Pfatzer you are right. I also pointed out this Opening Training behavior but i got no answer. I believe in general Chessbase need to add the possibility of choice which variation should be drilling by the user. Of course it is not easy because of the multiple of subvariations but at least in order someone to be able to be practiced, Chessbase needs to find a solution on this.
pfatzer pfatzer 8/11/2017 10:53
The openings trainer doesn't work very well, since the drilling mode does not use the actual frequency of the moves, but the frequency of the resulting position. For example if you try to drill black from the position after 1.Nf3 c5 the openings trainer almost always plays 2.e4 although it only occurs in about 9% of the games. This happens, because there are lots of Open Sicilians in the database. In real life 2.c4 and 2.g3 are much more common.

Also after 1.c4 Nf6 the "drill black" feature almost always plays 2.d4 even though it's the fourth most common move in this position and it happens only in about 4% of the games.

Also after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 the opening trainer claims that 4.Nf3 occurs almost four times as often as 4.e3 although in real life they occur about equally often.

This needs to be fixed, otherwise the tool is mostly useless for any real opening training.
K_Kara87 K_Kara87 12/12/2015 07:38
kyi when you bought chessbase 13 you already got some months of chessbase membership for free.
kyi kyi 12/5/2015 09:59
I own chessbase 13. Do I need to be a member of chessbase to fully untilize the Openings trainer ?
Maty Maty 11/30/2015 10:40
Im a premium member, and what I dont find, is the possibility of adding games as references (on Chessbase software is the "add to notation" or "copy to notation" option I think). Can anyone tell me where to find this option? Thanks.
MarriedRhombus MarriedRhombus 11/30/2015 10:13
This is nice. Can a coach share a repertoire? I depend so much to my coach for building my repertoire.
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