More questions

12/11/2007 – Dipping back into the reader mailbag, our ChessBase Workshop columnist holds forth on such diverse topics as engine locking, RAM footprints, and permanent database sorting. You'll find this and more in the latest ChessBase Workshop. Just remember -- you asked for it... Workshop...

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We'll pick up where we left off in the last ChessBase Workshop column with a look at some more e-mail; my answers are italicized.

I've got the impression that in rated games, the opening book is always set to "tournament" (independently from the user choices in the F4 option). This means that the variability of the openings is limited. For training purposes, I would like to play rated games with a higher degree of opening variability. Do you have any suggestions?

Best regards.
S. Ardizzone

You're correct: the software plays from the "tournament book" in rated game mode. The way around this is to create a fresh opening book that doesn't contain "Tournament" and "Don't play" move preferences. You can, for example, merge the whole Fritz10 database into an opening book and utilize that one instead of the book which ships with the program. By the way, the "Remove move marks" function removes diacritical ("!, ?" etc.) marks from the tree but doesn't change the status of individual moves regarding their use in Tournament play. -- SL

When annotating games in Chessbase and you open up the [Enter text after move] commentary box, how do you actually increase the font size within this box?

Kevin Denny (IM)

If there's a way to change the font size in the annotation dialogue, I'm not aware of it. Sorry. -- SL

I would find it useful if I could renumber my databases. I don't always capture my games in the sequence they were played. I would like the database to renumber itself using date played not date captured. Is this possible?

Ryan Stevens

Yes, it is, assuming a) that you're using ChessBase (Fritz doesn't have this feature) and b) that you've correctly and completely filled out the date information (month, day, year) for each game in your database. Double-click on the database's icon to open the game list. Click on the "Date" header (the actual word "Date" at the top of the column). Keep clicking until you see the games displayed in chronological order (the first click might re-sort them into reverse chronological order, so a second click may be necessary); then go to the Tools menu and select "Fix sort order". ChessBase will now make this new order permanent. You'll notice that the games are renumbered sequentially in the new order and that any games which have no dates assigned to them will appear at the end of the database. -- SL

often in your recent columns you refer to things that can be found in 'previous columns'. but as far as i can discover there is no way to find previous columns not still listed on the support page. since you don't use the convention of citing such references, how and where do i find 'previous columns'? are they assembled somewhere? indexed so i can find the topic you say is covered in them?
James Breeden

James, that's one of my pet peeves -- the "powers that be" at haven't collected and/or indexed my column since 2003. With the longer "lead time" between the time I write a column and the time it appears online, sometimes I'm not even sure which columns have appeared and which haven't. You can, however, use Yahoo or Google to conduct searches (use the field provided to limit the search to the domain "" -- see last week's ChessBase Workshop) to scare up the older stuff that's not archived on an index page.

A friend and I have been kicking around the idea of archiving all of my old columns (the whole way back to 1997) on a new site, but since I'm no longer a fulltimer in the chess world the time required to make this happen has been in short supply. -- SL

I have chess base 8 and I want to print out both the diagram and the move order from an Elista game, but as one unit, or on one page as viewed on my monitor, for instructional purposes for a scholastic chess team. How could I print this out? Please tell me how.

  Thanks for your help,
Michael Bartus

You can insert a diagram at any point in the gamescore by clicking on a move, hitting CTRL-A to open the annotation window, hitting CTRL-D to insert the "Diagram" symbol into the window, then click "OK" to close the annotation window. Do this for as many diagrams as you require, then go to the File menu, select "Print", and then choose "Print game" from the submenu.

You might want to try various print settings; ChessBase provides a plethora. Go to the File menu, select "Print", then "Page setup" from the submenu to access the many configurable print parameters. -- SL

i have tried to find an answer to the following question for a long time - so PLEASE help me out: DO I HAVE TO EMPTY THE HASHTABLE MANUALLY TO RELEASE THE AMOUNT OF MEMORY USED WHEN USING ANALYSIS AND CLOSED THE PROGRAM!!!! - OR IS THIS DONE AUTOMATICALLY BY FRITZ 8. lets say i used all the memory allowed - 812KB's in my case - is this amount of memory returned to the to the total amount of memory of my computer when i stop playing and closed the program. thank you kindly.
alois g. turetschek

You don't have to manually clear the hashtable; Fritz releases RAM back to the system when you exit the program. However, you might notice something known as a "RAM footprint": a tiny amount of RAM that doesn't get released back to the system. This is actually a pretty common occurrance with a lot of software (not just chess programs), but rebooting the computer will clear these "footprints" and return all memory back to the system. -- SL

How can you tell that the engine is locked?  How do you unlock the engine?

You lock and unlock the engine the same way: right-click in the engine analysis pane and select (or unselect) "Lock engine" from the popup menu. A check mark will appear next to the command in the popup menu when the engine is "locked". The other way to know it's locked is when you move to a new position in the gamescore; a locked engine will continue to analyze the previous position even when you move to a new one. -- SL

I like the fritz programs especially for the analysis features. When fritz 9 analyzes my games many of the comments are in German (i think) instead of English. This is really annoying PLEASE HELP!

Pastor Timothy Braun

Perform an online upgrade of your Fritz program. Log on to the Playchess server (instructions are in the booklet which accompanies your Fritz disk), go to the Help menu once you're logged on to the server, and select "Query upgrade". Then just follow the prompts to finish upgrading your software. It's free and it ensures you have the latest version; it also corrects the problem you mentioned in your e-mail. -- SL

Next time around we'll look at a single e-mail that contained a pile of interesting (and related) questions -- so many that it'll require a whole column to cover them all. Until then, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. All responses will be read, and sending an e-mail to this address grants us permission to use it in a future column. No tech support questions, please.

© 2007, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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