ChessBase 10 trees - part 2

10/8/2008 – In our last ChessBase Workshop column we had a "refresher" on the basics of viewing opening books/trees (the terms are interchangeable) in the ChessBase program. In the second Workshop we look at the new tree features to be found in ChessBase 10, and some tweaks you may find very useful. Learn more in the latest Workshop.

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In our last ChessBase Workshop column we had a "refresher" on the basics of viewing opening books/trees (the terms are interchangeable) in the ChessBase program. We also discussed a particular quirk of the software: that the "success rate" percentage is always given from White's point of view. Here's an example, taken from Opening Encyclopedia 2008 following the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6:


With White to move, the percentages are straightforward: high numbers scored better. But let's step forward a move (after 3.Bb5) to see Black's candidate moves:


When Black is moving, low numbers indicate moves which scored better; this requires a little bit of mental gymnastics on the user's part -- you need to remember to "flip-flop" your numerical perceptions with each new ply (half-move).

But take a look at this illustration:


In the above illustration, the percentages have changed so that high numbers scored better for Black. How'd we do this?

This is one of the many new features of ChessBase 10 -- you can tweak the opening book/tree display to always give the "success rate" percentages for the moving side. All you need to do is right-click on an empty area of the tree display (somewhere near the bottom typically is best). A pop-up menu will appear; you just select "Properties" to get the following dialogue:


To have the percentage always from the point of view of the moving side displayed, be sure to uncheck "Result from White side" in this dialogue. Then click the "OK" button. From this point on, high percentages will always indicate the best success rate no matter which side is moving.

An additional tree "tweak" which is new to ChessBase 10 is also accessible from the "Properties" dialogue. Using this new tweak allows you to look an extra move ahead in the game tree, at the "expense" of changing the tree display somewhat. First let's look again at Black's responses after 3.Bb5 in the Ruy Lopez:


Now let's right-click in the tree, select "Properties", put a check in the box beside "Show next move", and click "OK". Here's what we'll see:


This new display might initially seem confusing, but it's actually quite easy to understand once you get used to it. Notice the moves in bold type, which constitute the lefthand column of this display. Each of these moves is simply a Black candidate move (just as you saw in the previous illustration). Each move is displayed in its own box, which also contains the total number of games from the database in which this move appeared, plus the "success rate" percentage of that move.

Let's look at the top move for Black in this display: 3...f5. It was played in 5878 games in Opening Encyclopedia 2008, and enjoyed a success percentage of 47.3%.

Now look at all of the moves displayed to the right of 3...f5; you'll doubtless notice that these are all White moves. These are the replies to 3...f5, listed in order of preference (but note that the percentages are still from Black's point of view, meaning that low numbers are good for White in these boxes). The most successful move for White is 4.Qe2, played in 82 games and in which Black scored just 39.6%. The second most successful move for White was 4.Nc3, the third most successful was 4.Bxc6, and so on. The "Show next move" toggle allows us to "peek ahead", causing the tree pane to display not only the moving side's candidate moves (in the lefthand column) but also the most popular replies to these moves (in the rows corresponding to each of the moving side's candidates).

Also take note of this: if you "grab and drag" the border between the board and the tree pane, you can display more replies in this display mode:


Remember that since these new displays are toggles, they're reversible -- you can turn them on and off. In fact, the new "Show next move" display will always contain a row of blank boxes at the bottom of the display, giving you a place to right-click to get the popup menu which allows you to get back to the "Properties" dialogue.

Until next week, 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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