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Introducing the online ChessBase database

by Albert Silver
1/17/2014 – Fairly recently, a new online tool was released by ChessBase with little if any fanfare, but that is of no small use for casual users: an online searchable version of the ChessBase database, accessible from your browser, and free. It brings well over 6.5 million games, includes the playerbase pictures, move statistics, and even the Let’s Check computer evaluations. Here is a tutorial.
 

The first thing to do is of course go to the web page where it is located, at database.chessbase.com, a link that is not terribly difficult to remember. In fact, the online Playchess client follows a similar vein, and is play.chessbase.com

After it loads, you will be presented with a screen somewhat similar to the image
above, depending on the size and resolution of your monitor

At the very top is a familiar looking toolbar with the available options. The choices
are fairly self-explanatory, and much like the web version of the Playchess client,
the piece and board appearance can be changed.

Below it, on the left, is the chessboard, and below it is the notation. At first it starts blank as no game has been chosen as this allows you to also choose whether you wish to consult a specific move, or search for something such as players or an event.

Searching move-by-move

It is fairly common to search an opening to see not only how it has done, but also to see what the computers think.

This can easily be done by simply moving the pieces on the board. As each move is played, the database statistics are updated as well as the Let’s Check evaluations. In the book moves you will see the number of games played with a certain move, as well as the overall percentile score, always from White’s point of view.

Above we can see the percentile score of 52% meaning that the score has been
52%-48% in White’s favor. If you click over the top of each column, you can
re-order the information as you wish. For example, by clicking on score, we will
now see the list organized according to the best results.

You can also remove certain columns you have no interest in, by mousing
over the top of the column, and deactivating the columns you wish to hide

In the notation, just as in ChessBase program or Fritz, new moves are included
as variations. Bear in mind it is not possible to change the order of importance
of the moves, nor comment them. For that you need the full-fledged programs.  
 

These are the computer evaluations of the Evans Gambit position above

The Let’s Check information also shows the deepest computer analysis stored. This is particularly valuable since sometimes a move may have had poor results, for whatever reason, yet be perfectly sound, something the computer evaluations will reveal. Here too the evaluations are from White’s perspective, the depth is the number of plies (ex: 1.e4 e5 is two plies), and the engine that produced the analysis.

Searching for games from a position

Let’s suppose you now want to see a few games from a certain position, to see how they went, and how some players handled it. With the position already set up on the board, just click on Search at the top.

Here we see that the Evans Gambit is still enjoying some action from strong
grandmasters. Let’s click on Short-Bruzon to see what happened.

The game opens, and the playerbase picture and country flag is displayed

Searching for player(s) or event

You can also search for players or a specific event. Were you paired against
some unknown kid called Wei Yi? Type in his name in the search space, and
press Enter (on the keyboard).

Want the games between Carlsen and Aronian? Type Carlsen-Aronian, and
then press Enter (on the keyboard). You can also enter the event name, though
searches by date do not seem to work yet.

Sadly there appears to be no way to save a game, so I will give you the quick and dirty workaround:

Highlight the notation using the mouse, press Ctrl-C (or Ctrl-Ins) and paste it
(Ctrl-V or Shift-Ins) onto a text file of your choice such as Notepad or Word

Although it is true it is not perfect (yet), bear in mind this searchable online database is still in its first incarnation, but there is plenty to look at. The ability to consult opening moves, with both database statistics and computer evaluations from Let’s Check is invaluable.

Editor and writer at ChessBase News. Lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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