Annotation searches - Part 1

3/7/2009 – The Search mask in both ChessBase and Fritz is a handy and versatile tool for locating games in a database. In the new ChessBase Workshop we examine using the Search mask to find deleted games, games which start from non-standard positions, and those containing critical position annotations. Learn more in the new Workshop.

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In the previous ChessBase Workshop we discussed critical positions, in both a chess sense and in a ChessBase sense. In the latter, a critical position is any position you wish to mark as memorable or is one to which you'd like to return later.

The way you return to such a marked position is by performing an annotation search, which is what we'll be discussing in the next two ChessBase Workshop columns. As a means of tying these in with last week's column, the basic idea is that you'd mark a position as "critical" (as discussed in the previous CB Workshop), and then use the annotation search feature to find that game/position again.

You can perform annotation searches in both ChessBase and Fritz:


  1. Right-click on a database icon and select "Search";
  2. When the Search mask appears, click on the "Annotations" tab near the top of the Search mask.


  1. From the main chessboard screen, hit F12 on your keyboard to open the game list window;
  2. Go to the Edit menu and select "Filter games";
  3. When the Search mask appears, click on the "Annotations" tab near the top of the Search mask.

After following the steps in both cases, you'll see the following dialogue appear:

And this brings us to the point at which we link last week's column with this week's. Notice the check boxes beside the three kinds of "critical position" (opening, middlegame, and endgame). You can select the box for the variety of critical position you wish to find, click "OK", and the program will pull up a list of all games containing moves marked with that "critical position" designation. So, for example, you've "bookmarked" a game you were replaying by marking the place where you left off as a middlegame "critical position". You would select "Critical position - middlegame", click "OK", and select the game you were replaying from the list you'd be shown. As an added bonus, the software will "jump" you right to the position marked with the "critical position" annotation form.

Note that you can check more than one of these types of critical positions. For example, you could easily check all three of these boxes. But please note that this is an "OR" search, not an "AND" search. By checking all three of these boxes, the software will identify and display all games in which any of these annotation forms were used (whether one was used or all three), which is not the same as exclusively finding games in which all three annotation forms were used in a single game.

I'd like to describe in this column two more aspects of the Annotation dialogue of the Search mask. The first is the "Deleted" box. As you may (or, rather, should) know, deleting a game in ChessBase/Fritz is a two-step process. In the first step, you mark the game for deletion, after which it appears in half-tone ("grayed out") with a line through it in the game list. The second step physically (and permanently) removes all such games so designated from the database.

I'm sometimes asked the following (panic-stricken) question: "I've just accidentally marked for deletion a game in my database and now I can't find it!!!! How can I locate the game?" This "Annotation" dialogue is the way you do it. Just put a check in the box beside "Deleted" and click "OK". You'll see a list of all games which are marked for deletion (and you can then easily unmark them to prevent their deletion). I realize at this point that there may be a few readers who don't know how to delete games from databases using ChessBase/Fritz, so I'll try to remember to cover that topic in the near future.

To the right of the "Deleted" box is one called "Position". It's possible to create and save into a database games which don't start from the standard starting position for the game of chess; these might be tactical or endgame problems, or even "odds games" which were popular in the mid-1800's. Any game which doesn't start from the standard opening position is designated in the game list with a letter "P" in the righthand column. That letter abbreviation is one way to locate such games in your database.

Another means of locating these games is by using an Annotation search in the dialogue shown above. Just check the box beside "Position" and click the "OK" button; any game in the database which starts with a non-standard position will appear in the resulting search list.

We'll look at more annotation searches next time; until then, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. No tech support questions, please.

© 2008, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

Topics: ChessBase 10
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