ChessBase 10's Reference tab - part 1

by ChessBase
10/23/2008 – Our ChessBase Workshop look at ChessBase 10 continues with a new column which begins a series on the improved Reference tab functions. In this column, the preparatory steps of selecting a default opening book and reference database are discussed; find out more in the new ChessBase Workshop.

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I've been working a lot with ChessBase 10, using the (separately available) ChessBase Opening Encyclopedia 2008 as my main reference. It's been a while since I've played any serious correspondence chess and I've been toying with the idea of entering some online events, so I thought I'd have a look at some variations from my repertoire to see if there are any new developments. I have to say that the new features of ChessBase 10 make the chore a whole lot easier.

What we're seeing with ChessBase 10 is a smoother, faster integration of various useful features. Instead of staying with the old requirement of opening several windows to look at various pieces of information, ChessBase has been moving toward a more integrated environment. We saw this process develop in ChessBase 9, but the latest version takes ths concept of smooth integration an extra step. Information which was previously available only in features like the Opening Report have been added to the Reference Tab in a main game window.

In this ChessBase Workshop, and in the next couple of columns, I'll show you step by step how to make the magic work for you.

First, though, you'll need to prepare a couple of things. You'll first need to designate one of your databases as the "Reference database". This will usually be your large "master" database. For my examples, I'm going to use the ChessBase Opening Encyclopedia 2008 (and the opening tree which also comes on that CD) as my reference database, but you can use Mega Database 2008 (and its tree) or really any database that you choose.

To designate a database as the "Reference database", right-click on its icon in the main database window of ChessBase 10 and select "Properties" from the popup menu:


See that little box reading "Reference database"? Put a check in that box by clicking it and then click "OK". (By the way, acute observation will reveal that my Encyclopedia 2008 has more than the standard number of games in it. That observation would be correct, because I added a few more games to it).

Next you'll need to open a game window in ChessBase 10. In the Notation pane, click on the "Openings book" tab; you'll see this button in the center of the pane:


Click on this button to display our old buddy the Windows File Select dialogue. Use it to navigate to the drive and folder containing the opening tree you wish to use as your default tree (in my case, I'll be using the tree that comes with ChessBase Opening Encyclopedia 2008). Double-click on the name of that tree's .ctg file to load it as your default opening book:


Now we're set up and ready to have some fun. Let's use a really simple example (which was a starting point for some recent research I was doing). To make a move on the chessboard, all you need to do is click on the corresponding move in the Notation pane's game tree as a quick way to blast through the variation you wish to investigate (you can also use the cursor keys on your keyboard -- up and down arrows to select moves in the tree list, right arrow to enter the move). Let's quickly step through the short variation 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5. After making these moves, you can click on the "Notation" tab to see the variation as game notation:


Of course, the position will also be displayed on the game window's chessboard; I'll be omitting it from the graphics to concentrate on what's happening in the Notation pane. Speaking of which, take a look at the top of that pane:


You'll notice several tabs at the top of the Notation pane; each of these changes the type or appearance of the information which is displayed in the pane. Some of this stuff's been around for ages in ChessBase, but this is where the latest magic takes place (if you know what to look for). You'll recall the "Reference" tab from ChessBase 9. Click on it in ChessBase 10 and watch what happens -- after a few seconds you'll see this:


Man, that's crazy! There is a great heaping ton of information on display here, and you accessed it with just a single mouse click.

Remember what I said at the top of this column about "smoother integration"? This display is precisely what I'm talking about. The improved reference tab functionality now integrates the position search function, the "book analysis" feature, the opening tree, and several pieces of information which were formerly available only as part of an Opening Report (best Elo, top players, etc). There was a time in the very recent past when you'd have to run multiple separate functions to gather all of this information (and it would still be displayed in separate windows); now it's all gathered together in one place and at a single mouse click.

That's some pretty hot stuff. Now that you know how to set it up and make it happen, we'll show you how to use it in the next ChessBase Workshop, 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.

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