ChessBase's powerful games replayer for *Free*

by Albert Silver
7/7/2016 – You may have noticed the new replayer that is now used in the news articles. This powerful new tool brings a number of great features never seen before. For example, you can annotate games, analyze with an engine, and more, all directly in the replayer. However, if you have a chess page or blog, you can use this replayer with all the features and embed it in your page for free!

There is no question there are a lot of chess games replayers available, and all have the basic features asked of them: allow a visitor of the page to replay the games directly. Still, it's also fair to say that they are rarely a very satisfying experience. You can replay the moves, possibly save the game to your computer, but anything beyond requires opening the PGN file in some external software, or a browser tool such as MyGames Cloud.

The previous replayer in the news page was a bit better no doubt, especially as it allowed one to view all the games notes in elegant notation on the side, but ChessBase is proud to present a brand new replayer, chock full of new features, many never seen before in a browser tool such as this, and what is more, with easy instructions on how to embed this replayer, with all features enabled, for free in your webpage.

Maximizing the board

As a user, my biggest complaint was the size of the replayer board. It was the single largest reason that drove me to download the files and open them in Fritz or ChessBase. On today's typical widescreen monitors it just looked like a 98-pound weakling. This has been addressed to the spades with the button that maximizes the board from this:

Although usable, the board is fairly small compared to the overall screen size

To this:

Note how much more pleasant it is, and how the pictures of the player and flags were automatically provided

Note that to exit 'full screen mode' either click on the button again or just press the Esc key on your keyboard.

Analyzing with Fritz

Another reason we often feel compelled to download the games to view in an external program is to be able to consult an engine on a move played in the game, or one we thought should have been played. This brings the next feature, utterly unique at the writing of this article: engine analysis.

Click on the Engine button and watch Fritz start analyzing right there and then under the board with
analysis and evaluations. This might not be enough to produce 2800 GM analysis, but it is more than
enough to give a quick and efficient evaluation and blunder check. Click it a second time to turn it off.

Analyzing directly on the board

This too is quite unique. Since we are so accustomed to only being able to replay moves it is easy to not notice this. You can enter moves directly on the board. New moves, new lines, and consult the engine on any of them!

Here is a sample of a game that came with just the moves

Under the notation on the right of the window are a number of tools to annotate the game simply. You will not find full text editing, which you will need to edit in either MyGames Cloud or some other program, but you can enter new moves and lines and promote them or delete them to your heart's delight.

Feel free to enter new moves and lines and analyze them with the engine directly in your browser

Saving the game or games

The title might seem slightly redundant, but it is not. There are actually not one, not two, but three different ways to save games. To be fair, the first two require the replayer to actually be displaying more than one game. 

Suppose you saw the games of the round and wanted to save all of them to your hard disk.
For that you would click on Download, placed right under the board. This will save all the games
listed below it in a single PGN.

Suppose however, you were only interested in the game you were replaying and/or analyzing
right now. Under the notation, click on the PGN button. Not only will it save the PGN to your
computer, but it will save any analysis you made too!

Integrating with MyGames Cloud

If you have a ChessBase Account, you can also click on the -> MyGames button and it will instantly take you to MyGames Cloud, and open the game, with any analysis you may have down already. There you can annotate it more fully, such as text comments and the LiveBook openings statistics, and save it to a database in your Cloud, or save as a PGN.

Click on the MyGames button and it will take you to MyGames Cloud with the game...

... and all analysis you had already done. Now you can add text comments, evaluations, access
Live Book statistics, and save it to a Cloud database if you wish. This makes it that much easier
to update and maintain your opening repertoire.

The automatic replayer

Under the board is a moves replayer with two arrows pointing towards the right. If you click on it, it will automatically begin replaying the moves for you. If you are on a desktop or laptop, the point of this might not be obvious. After all, you can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to replay moves.

However, on a tablet or smartphone, tapping those arrows under the board, especially in a bus or on a train, might be much less convenient, and that is where the automatic replayer comes in. Tap once and watch the game unfold under your eyes.

Smartphone and tablet integration

A sample of the replayer as seen on a tablet

The replayer is sensitive to the device you are using it on. This means it resizes according to the device, and displays a few functions less if appropriate. For example, you won't find the Engine Analysis button on it, though you can move pieces and enter lines as before, so you can see any analysis or ideas you had on the board.

Resizing the board and notation

Just as normal programs, you can drag and drop the dividers between the board and notation,
or under, to resize everything the way you like.

List of shortcuts

You might not realize it, but almost every one of the functions in the replayer has a keyboard shortcut attributed to it. From the classic Ctrl-S (Ctrl-Save) that saves the current game to PGN, to various shortcuts that can change the speed of the automatic replay, see the list below:

Shortcut Function
Ctrl-B Flip Board
Ctrl-S Save current game to PGN
Ctrl-Y Redo
Ctrl-Shift-Y Remove all annotations
Ctrl-Z Undo
Alt-F2 Toggle Engine
F11 Load Next Game
Ctrl-F11 Load Prev Game
Enter Autoplay
Esc Stop Autoplay / Exit full Screen
Alt-Cursor up Promote Line
Del Delete Line
[ Delete previous moves
] Delete rest of line
Replay times
Default 3s per move
Ctrl-Click Button 2s per move
Ctrl-Alt 0.6s per move
Ctrl-Shift-Alt 0.3s per move
Shift-Click 5s per move
Shift-Alt 10s per move

Be aware that autoplaying will cycle through an entire database infinitely.

Embedding in your website

Even if you are an absolute  beginner webpage editor, adding this fancy replayer to your page or blog
is extremely easy. The instructions can be found by clicking on the Embed button under the notation.

This opens a page where you will find easy instructions on how to add them to your pages. The pictures
of players, such as Korchnoi above, and flags of their countries are added automatically if the names are
recognized from the database containing tens of thousands of entries.

In a nutshell, the main page must have a couple of lines in the Head section, and then you have a simple line for each place you want to add a replayer. You can paste a plain PGN between the <div> codes, or you can link a PGN file between the <div> codes. That's all there is to it! How easy is that?

Click here for Installation instructions

Although this sums up the feature list at the moment, don't be surprised if new features or refinements appear in the future. We hope you and your readers enjoy it.


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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gurutactician gurutactician 7/7/2016 05:41
Wow! Not that long ago, I had to painstakingly copy and paste diagrams on my webpage to show certain variations. Now, Chessbase makes it easy to share your game. What an amazing time to be a chess fan and to learn chess! Such powerful tools... no excuse really for not improving your chess. It's all right here for FREE!

Bravo Chessbase!
ardy53 ardy53 7/7/2016 06:10
For some reason, the replayer can't be seen on my IOS devices... IPad, IPhone. I don't know if others have this issue or if there's a fix.
Offramp Offramp 7/7/2016 07:11
The new replayer is really good. Much better than the old one.
genem genem 7/7/2016 07:19
The new replayer still neglects to tell the user which type of piece was captured by the latest move.
.
The difficult things are being done well, but this easy thing is still a fail.
Matthias Matthias 7/7/2016 08:22
Hello genem, thank you for your feedback. There is a display of the 'material balance' at the bottom of the game notation. It changes with every capture. Does this help?

I have been working with ChessBase products for a long time now, but with this replayer I discovered a new technique to play through games: Enter-key for laid-back viewing, then cursor-right/left to think at my own pace, then Enter-key again.
kyi kyi 7/7/2016 10:58
Where and how do you download the free replayer on my computers ? Thanks.
santiago2 santiago2 7/7/2016 11:16
I click on the cloud button but I do not see the game copied in my mygames.pgn
the function is only for premium accounts?
benavas3 benavas3 7/7/2016 11:49
The replayer does not work in both my computers (at home and at work). I cannot upgrade my Windows (I have no money for it at home and I have no power for ti at work) and this is all a nuisance for me.
Bertman Bertman 7/8/2016 02:44
@Benavas

Unless you are running Windows 98, all you need to do is update your browser to a recent version of FireFox or Google Chrome (for example).
SoDesuKa SoDesuKa 7/8/2016 07:25
Is it just my computer, or is it not possible wit this new replayer to be able to view the analysis without the game disappearing off the top of the screen? It seems I only have a choice of seeing one or the other (full game board, or full analysis), and I want to look at both concurrently, as was previously possible, and seems most logical.
yesenadam yesenadam 7/8/2016 08:29
I don't think that's true at all Bertman. You may think saying 'update your browser' is helpful or funny, but it comes across as extremely condescending and irritating. "We broke it, you fix it." Most people already have updated browsers as far as they can go, it seems. Well, I guess if people don't have $ for a new computer, or wish to spend $ on new computer products, CB probably doesn't want them hanging around here. Fair enough.
Resistance Resistance 7/8/2016 11:26
Personally, I find the new replayer ugly; barren, poor (just like previous ones). Also, rather akward to use (more complicated, not very intuitive). The functions, on the other hand, are great. A lot to improve in terms of layout, and an aesthetical downer...

.
AlvaroFrota AlvaroFrota 7/8/2016 05:38
Is it possible to use in a WordPress blog? Thanks in advance for the response!
santiago2 santiago2 7/8/2016 06:38
#alvarofrota,
certo, lo puoi usare su wordpress!
genem genem 7/8/2016 08:20
@Matthias, I now see the material balance display, which comes, then goes away when balance is equal between the two colors. Yes that answers a good 90% of the concern I described.
.
I always find it confusing that the capture of a white bishop results in the display of a black bishop in the material balance, in ChessBase products. Ideally the Fritz UI could offer a binary option as two whether captured pieces should be represented by their color or by the opposite color (this latter value being the current behavior).
. . . . . .
Another concern: When the next move is further down than the notations are currently scrolled, and I then press the right-arrow key, the position advances on the chessboard, but the notation pane does Not scroll to make the now-current move visible.
Thanks.
martien martien 7/8/2016 09:26
The player looks great. Unfortunately is does not work out on the Wordpress site of the chessclub I am webmaster of, since the theme does work with the Chessbase scripts...

It would be great if Chessbase could write a Wordpress plugin for this.
santiago2 santiago2 7/8/2016 10:43
#martien he player works with wordpress, this is an example
http://wpdev2.altervista.org/nuovo-visore-chessbase/
santiago2 santiago2 7/8/2016 10:47
but I prefer the old graphics
http://wpdev2.altervista.org/post7/
chessdrummer chessdrummer 7/11/2016 03:39
I've run chess websites for 15 years and this is the best in terms of integrated functions. It also has the ability to use engines during review.

It DOES work with Wordpress. Maybe you have to check your template.
martien martien 7/11/2016 04:59
Ah... thanks for your feedback guys! Then the problem is probably the theme my website is build on, so nothing much I can do about that. What I do now is inserting an i-frame from the webpage created with the export function in Chessbase 13. Which is also a very nice way to show chessgames indeed.
santiago2 santiago2 7/11/2016 11:03
I do not think that the theme prevents you from using the player,
in the editor (into text tab, not into visual) you have to copy the javascript call
https://docu.chessbase.com/reader/cbreplay.html
use <div class = "cbreplay" data-url = "KramniksBestGames.pgn">
</ Div>

I also ask you
I click on the cloud button cloud ChessBase but I do not see the game copied in my mygames.pgn
the function is only for premium accounts?
chessdrummer chessdrummer 7/15/2016 03:51
One problem I'm having is that the code interferes with another piece of javascript I have for pull down menus. So I have tried putting the code in different place in the <HEAD> or header.php in Wordpress, but can't get both to work at the same time.
mdamien mdamien 7/16/2016 04:36
A beautiful job on this game viewer. Thanks! Are there any configurable options when embedding it?
FrogC FrogC 11/5/2016 10:09
This worked for me with my Blogger site a couple of weeks ago. When I tried to update the site, though, the games were incomplete - only the first six moves of the first one appeared. In fact the same is true of my previous blogpost, which had been OK. A problem with Blogger? The site is here: http://aberchess.blogspot.co.uk/
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