Creating user keys in ChessBase 8 - part 2

4/13/2004 – In part two of our series on creating user keys in ChessBase 8, we provide tips on how to structure your key list with two different methods for displaying your user-created keys. It's all in this week's ChessBase Workshop.

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CREATING USER KEYS -- PART TWO

by Steve Lopez

In last week's ChessBase Workshop we learned how to create user-defined index keys for databases. This week we'll expand on that and see how to create "layers" of keys -- that is, keys within keys.

Our example key last week was one for White Knight forks with check. But let's say we'd like to narrow this down a bit. We still want our original key for White Knight forks with check, but we'd like to have a second, narrower category for White Knight forks with check in games that White won. And, going a step further, we'd like to have a further subclassification: White Knight forks with check in games that White won in twenty moves or less.

There are a couple of ways we can tackle this and both involve the creation of additional keys. The difference in the methods lies in the way the keys will be displayed on the screen.

The first method is what I call the "list" method. Open the game list for the database we worked with last week and click on the "Tactics" tab. Position the black cursor bar over the "White Knight forks with check" key. We want to create a subclassification for White Knight forks with check in games that White won. Give the "Insert" key on your keyboard a whack to tell CB8 that you want to create a new key; the Search mask will appear and will likely be open to the "Maneuver" tab, with the moves of the Knight fork with check maneuver already inserted.

All you'll need to do is click the "Game data" tab and put a check in the "1-0" box under "Result". If you want, click back over to the "Maneuver" tab to make sure the maneuver parameters for a Knight fork with check are still there. You've now defined a subclassification: Knight forks with checks in games that were White wins. Click the "OK" button.

You'll see the text entry box appear. Delete what's already in this box, then hit the space bar on your keyboard about five times to create an indentation (the "Tab" key won't work in this box). Next type "White wins". Click the "OK" button on the right of the text entry box and you should see this on your screen:

You'll see the old "main" key from last week, with the "subkey" listed right under it and indented five spaces. Now we'll go a level "deeper" by adding another key for the White wins in twenty moves or less. Position the black cursor bar over the "White wins" key and then whack the "Insert" key on your keyboard. You'll again see the Search mask appear. Click the "Maneuver" tab to make sure that the Knight fork with check parameters are still there. Then click the "Game data" tab and make sure there's still a check in the box next to "1-0". Now put a check in the box next to "Moves" and make sure the lefthand value is set to "1" and the righthand value is set to "20". Click the "OK" button.

You'll see the text entry screen again. Delete what's in the box, hit the space bar ten times (to make a bigger indentation), and type "Short games". Then click the "OK" button to the right and you should see this:

And don't forget to use Tools/Classification/Whole database to make sure the proper games get sorted into the new keys you just created.

We can go on and create a similar set of keys for Black Knight forks with check, etc. to get a display that looks like this:

And we can continue on, adding as many keys as we want. But if we add a lot of keys to this display we'll eventually end up with a very long, cluttered-looking list that's hard to read. So how do we solve this problem?

If you've used opening keys or other keys that come attached to ChessBase databases you've purchased, you've no doubt noticed that double-clicking on a key often takes you to a list of sub-keys -- that is, subclassifications of the key you double-clicked on. When we created our key list just now, we did the exact same thing -- but instead of "nesting" the subkeys inside of other keys, we just indented the entries in the key list. If you want to create a lot of user keys and wish to avoid the eventual clutter, you'll want to create a "nested" key list instead of an indented one.

This is really easy to do and is actually pretty useful for another reason we'll examine in a moment. The first step is to double-click on the "White Knight fork with check" key; you'll see a list of games in the database in which this tactical motif occurs. Give the "Insert" key a whack, double-check the "maneuver" tab to ensure that the proper moves are still there, then click the "Game data" tab. Put a check in the "1-0" box and click "OK".

You'll get the text entry box again. Delete what's already in it and type "White wins"; you don't have to indent it by using the space bar this time. Click "OK" and then use Tools/Classification/Whole database to sort the games:

You'll see your new "White wins" key displayed. But you'll also see a list of games underneath that key entry; these are games in which a White Knight fork with check occurred but which weren't White wins. This illustrates another advantage to creating a "nested" key list. In the previous indented list we created, double-clicking on "White Knight fork with check" gets you a list of all games in which that motif occurred, no matter what the result. But with a nested key for White wins you already know that the "lose" games are ones that White didn't win.

Now you can double-click on the "White wins" key, hit "Insert" on your keyboard, and add the parameters for a twenty move or less game (as we did earlier in our indented list):

Here again we see "lose" games, but we know these are White Knight forks with check that were White wins, but which lasted longer than twenty moves.

And, as a last quick tip, if you want to go back up to the next higher level of key (for example, if you wanted to go back to "White wins" from the display in the previous illustration), double-click the line containing two dots at the top of the display.

How you organize the keys you create is ultimately a matter of personal preference; the beauty of it is that you do have a choice. In fact, there's nothing preventing you from mixing the two types of display within the same user key. It's all up to you.

Until next week, have fun!


© 2004, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.


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