ChessBase 9.0 – a matter of history (3)

by ChessBase
11/3/2004 – A really useful feature of ChessBase 9 is "History". When you look for something you recently saw you don't need to search in a million game database. Just check the games you loaded in the last days or months. You will also find the new threat animation and 3D graphics of ChessBase 9 fascinating. Part three.

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ChessBase 9.0 – Part 3

Game history

The folder “Drives” in the left navigation allows you to browse all the drives of your computer, including CD ROMs and DVDs. Clicking any directory will display the chess databases it contains.

There is one new function there: “Game History” stores all the games you load and replay (or enter). If you recently saw a combination or openings variation you do not need to search for it in a million-game database, but can check the ones you loaded on specific days. There is a search function at the bottom of the window that allows you to search (for a game, player, position, etc.) in the games you loaded on a certain day, week, month or year.

The Game History function works by storing the games you have looked at, day by day, month by month, year by year – in a special folder, at a rate of one database per day. Even while you are entering games, these are stored automatically in the history database every ten minutes, as automatic version backup.

  • A note for strong players with professional interests: you should delete the contents of the directory \My documents\ChessBase\History before you allow other people to use your computer, otherwise they will be able to see what kind of work you have been doing in recent weeks and months. You can also switch off the History function altogether in the Tools – Options – Misc menu for general security reasons, especially when you are doing sensitive work.

For the current session there are a couple of interesting History buttons below the board. These are the green arrows on the left and right ends of the replay control buttons. Clicking the left arrow jumps to the previous game you loaded or entered, the right arrow takes you to the next game you were looking at. This is very much like Internet browsers, where you have buttons to take you to previous pages and return to the newer ones.

A new Heumas

The Heuristic Move Assistant, which helps with intelligent suggestions during move entry and which has been in ChessBase for a long time now, was completely rewritten for ChessBase 9. It now speeds up move input even more. If you click on a square, the most plausible move to or from this square is displayed, and executed if you release the mouse button.

Click on the queen and Heumas suggests capturing the pawn on d6

Heumas now has a full-fledged chess engine and openings book to drive it. It will also consult the openings book which is attached to the current board window. We have measured the average hit rate for move suggestions if you click only the target squares when entering a grandmaster game. Heumas gets over 97% of the moves right with a single click.

Threat Animation

The board window also has a built-in chess engine, which is used to show you threats and plans in the current position. Pale orange arrows are used to display what one side is actually threatening, and blue arrows to show the move that would create the strongest threat. The latter is not necessarily the strongest move, but highlights possible tactics that can be used in a more convoluted fashion. Here are two examples.

In the above position the program is displaying in orange what White is threatening in the current position (it is Black to move): Nd5 forks the queen and king, which it is possible to overlook since the black e-pawn is pinned.

In our second example the program is drawing attention to the fact that Black could play …Ng4 and create a double threat (…Nxe3 and …Qxa5) to win a piece.

Fast real 3D board

ChessBase 9.0 now has an ultra fast DirectX based 3D board which can support all the Fritz8 3D piece sets. The built-in set Modern (picture above) is a simple but aesthetic piece design and has been optimised for speed, contrast and thus for optimal visualization during practical chess work. The initialisation of the 3D chessboard takes less than a second on modern graphics cards.

The following are the best settings for 3D boards: Settings – 3D Effects – Shadows – Rendered Shadow for fast but realistic shadow effects. Experiment with Settings – 3D Effects – Animation to get smooth move animation.

High-quality fully vectorised and rendered chess pieces for Fritz and ChessBase 9 (optional)

Fritz users will know that you can tilt the board to any angle and zoom in and out. To do this you right-click the board and then tilt it, Ctrl + right-click to change the point of view; and Ctlr + mouse wheel to zoom in or out.

Owners of recent Fritz 8 programs can even use the full 3D "Spanish Room" display

Scoresheet notation

ChessBase 9 can handle long and short algebraic, descriptive and correspondence notation, with piece names in any language or with figurines. It can also display the moves of a game in scoresheet format, which some people might prefer.

Extended Drag & Drop

At many points in the program ChessBase 9 allows you to do things with simple Drag & Drop operations that took a fair amount of clicking and typing in earlier versions. For instance you can simply drag a database file directly from the Windows Explorer onto the main ChessBase window to register it there. You can also simply drag a game, e.g. one you have just entered, from the board window into a games list or a database icon. No need to go through the Windows file manager for that. You can also use Ctrl-C – Ctrl-V copy-and-paste to move games into lists or database icons.

– To be continued –

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