ChessBase: How to add colored arrows and squares

by Albert Silver
4/13/2017 – When annotating a game, aside from the usual elements such as verbal commentary, or chess notation symbols, but some of the most powerful tools in ChessBase are the colored arrows or squares that can show an idea at a glance. The secret to using them is only found in the Help file though… or in this simple tutorial.

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In spite of all the training we do in calculation, mathematics and more, we are profoundly visual creatures. Sayings such as ‘an image is worth a thousand words’ are rooted in truth and sum up the idea perfectly. In chess this is no less true. Consider the position below from the recent US Championship:

At this point, Gata Kamsky embarked on the astonishing king maneuver Kg8-f8-e8-d8-c8-b8. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this explanation as it is the truth. However, as you read this explanation, you will already be trying to plot its journey across the board in your mind.

Instead, this can be so much easier if that same explanation were accompanied by some visual cues such as above. “At this point, Gata Kamsky embarked on the astonishing king maneuver Kg8-f8-e8-d8-c8-b8.” Except with the arrows you instantly see it, and may even skip over the notation, just registering there was a king maneuver, and let the arrows tell the rest of the story.

After the game, Kamsky noted that he was fortunate that Xiong missed his idea of queen to g3 and knight to f4, until it was too late, which won the game. Notice how the arrows help highlight the idea and its execution.

 

In the short video above, an excerpt from the excellent DVD “The Art of Defense”, you can see in just the first two minutes how Sergey Tiviakov uses the arrows to immediately illustrate his explanations.

Finally, there are the highlighted squares, which in tandem do a great job of completing the picture. Even with no words said, the visual cues in the diagram are very clear.

Colored arrows

The key to any of the colored commentary is the Alt key. If you keep that in mind, even if you forget all else, that alone will allow you to remember the rest.

Green arrows: While keeping the Alt key on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the starting square and drag to the destination. Let go of the mouse button and the arrow will appear.

Red arrows:  While keeping the Alt + Shift keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the starting square and drag to the destination. Let go of the mouse button and the arrow will appear.

Yellow arrows: While keeping the Alt + Ctrl keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the starting square and drag to the destination. Let go of the mouse button and the arrow will appear.

Colored squares

Green arrows: While keeping the Alt key on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the square you want to color.

Red arrows:  While keeping the Alt + Shift keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the square you want to color.

Yellow arrows: While keeping the Alt + Ctrl keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the square you want to color.



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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de_rigeur de_rigeur 6/30/2017 01:21
Is it possible to draw arrows and mark squares in `My Games Cloud` or in Fritz in browser ?
Or it is only possible in installed CB format?

Thank You.
Werewolf Werewolf 4/14/2017 11:45
We need more articles like this
Jacobijn1983 Jacobijn1983 4/14/2017 03:09
More than paying attention to coloured arrows, I suggest you try using the chessboard on a mobile device. The recent change with notation and board on two different tabs has left it completely unusable. Please use your site as a real user and fix this.
Bertman Bertman 4/13/2017 05:01
@MrT - There are no rules for each color except what you establish yourself.

@blueflare - I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 'broken lines'. Are you talking about the Training questions asking you to find a certain move or solution? If so, it will be the topic of the next technical article.
blueflare blueflare 4/13/2017 10:48
Can it please be added about Broken Lines to display hidden attacks? Thanks. They are in annotations. By the way, about the squares should be titled Squares and not Arrows.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 4/13/2017 10:38
Last example was also a Kamsky game in US-ch 2017

I Think this function is good. I remember then I learned this. The joy of using CB improved greatly.
But this isnt "News" it aint even infotainment, It could be with that Kamsky game and some questions of what color to use on the desperado moves Kamsky fell into against Akobian or his funny blunder against Fabiano. I could call them Yellow pieces and moves like standin' here lookin’ at your yellow railroad...

So Albert, What I Think what we want to know is how to select color
green Square = a good piece, or square, or if many Squares it can be part of a complex for ex pawn structure
yellow Square = The same as green square but now a Square that not yet decided??
red Square = The same as green square but now a bad piece but sometimes used just as a contrast for white/blacks position and pieces
green Arrow = a good move or series of good moves, if arrows not start with a piece a good line, row or diagonal, sometimes shortcuts for pawn structures, or color complex.
yellow Arrow = The same question as for yellow Squares. What exactly is yellow for?
red Arrow = moves that one should try to stop, in general bad as whats bad for you is good for your opponent
So Albert what is yellow for? And Alber remember: The sun’s not yellow it’s chicken!
runner2006 runner2006 4/13/2017 10:24
Simple and useful!
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