ChessBase 13 from a club player’s perspective

12/10/2014 – Are you tempted to add ChessBase 13 to their Christmas list but are still undecided. Let’s be honest, people have ChessBase for many different reasons. Some want it just to analyse their own games, some to search for new ideas, some just to enjoy all the games and others want it because it is ‘the latest thing’. But is that a good enough reason? Carl Portman gives us his opinion.

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ChessBase 13 from a club player’s perspective

By Carl Portman

If you are reading this, then I can safely assume you have Internet access. You might even know that there is a ChessBase webpage called ‘Everything you wanted to know about ChessBase 13'. However, I want to offer my own view as a club player, to share my thoughts with those who are tempted to add ChessBase 13 to their Christmas list but are still undecided. ChessBase can be purchased in separate packages from starter, to upgrade, Mega and Premium. It is a stand-alone database system and you can among many things:

  • Create databases of your own games and games around the world
  • Input your own games for analysis and reference
  • Give and receive tutorials
  • Use the training and analysis facilities to improve
  • Play online at Playchess.com
  • Follow live games around the world
  • And so much more…

Let’s be honest, people have ChessBase for many different reasons. Some want it just to analyse their own games, some for the massive databases to search for new ideas, some just to enjoy all the games and others want it because it is ‘the latest thing’. But is that a good enough reason? Read on.

I have shown the various packages for purchase at the end of this review. One of the defining aspects of ChessBase 13 is the ‘Cloud System’. Now I will be honest, I don’t put my stuff in the clouds, not on ChessBase, on iPods, on PCs or anything. However I am in the minority I suspect and many people not only see the value of this but have doubtless benefitted from it with a sigh of relief in the past. I should say that I have tested it and it works! I put one of my databases on and it is now there in the ether somewhere, safe and sound.

Technical details of the cloud system can be found at ChessBase but in essence it means you can save your information ‘off’ your computer onto the ChessBase servers and in the case of disaster they will be nice and safe to retrieve. You can have access to the ChessBase Cloud and ChessBase Online Database (over seven million games).

There has been many an evening when I have wondered how I would feel if I lost all my information, my cherished databases – especially my personal one that is basically a statement of my chess life. I do back everything up onto external disks but perhaps now is the time to move on and try the cloud base. I always used to worry about security of information when it was resting on someone else’s server but hey if someone were to steal my private chess games or analysis from the cloud, then they would be the ones who suffered, not me! Magnus Carlsen I am not.

Here is the interface showing the cloud button.

Another little detail which has finally been introduced is that you can set up positions for copy and publication using illegal positions such as the one below.


Look – no kings!

No longer are you compelled to put kings in to make it ‘real’. This little change makes a big difference and saves time. Well done ChessBase for sorting this one out as I know it was a real inconvenience for some people, including me.

Game Annotations

You can input annotations in a new way (as well as still being able to use the old method (right clicking with the mouse) and the image below shows the annotations on the bottom bar ready to click on and the space to type your text. The method you use is one of personal taste but it is good to have the option.

Player photographs

Another nice touch is the introduction of player photographs at the heading of games. Of course there does actually have to be a photo in the database to show it, but it is quite useful. I really must update mine and face the fact that I am not that young anymore.

Chess Publishing

ChessBase is of course an excellent tool for chess publishing requirements. You can publish online, print games out, link with students and coaches and even publish direct to web pages – it’s fantastic. I use it a lot for coaching in school and the pupils love it.

Conclusion – why should you get ChessBase 13?

The simple answer is it depends on what you want from chess. People upgrade cars, phones, computers and the like, so why not ChessBase? There’s always something new and interesting to find in there (I am not as technically adept as many people but I know what I want from my database) and it really can help you to improve your game if you use it with a disciplined approach.

If you are serious about your chess, then you don’t want to be on the receiving end of opponents having found your games in a database and booking up on you. You don’t want to be caught cold at the board. You do want to prepare against your opponent and do to him/her what they would do to you! That’s where the ‘prepare against’ opponent facility is very useful – one only has to input their name and if the games are in the database – voila – you have them right in your sights. Preparation is always a key to success.

I would not say that the changes are so earth shattering that upgrading from ChessBase 12 is a must, unless you love the cloud facilities. But newcomers to ChessBase should definitely consider buying it. In any case I do believe that chess players of all levels who want to improve or just get more out of our great game should be using ChessBase. In my humble opinion ‘standard’ club players here in the UK have improved immeasurably from 20 years ago and this is due in no insignificant part to ChessBase. I know of ‘lowly’ club players who are ridiculously strong in certain openings or endgame positions as a result of their lucubrations with ChessBase. It isn’t just for grandmasters, you know.

You can have opening training, endgame training, game analysis, millions of games to choose from, GM coaching, online chess, and access to games around the world. Come on – what is there not to like? There are so many aspects to mention but space prohibits this. Just try it for yourself.

Note that depending upon the package you buy you could also have the Mega Database 2015 with six million games and free updates throughout the year to stop you scrolling through all those web sites to get the latest pgn games. That saves valuable time. I also personally like the subscription to ChessBase Magazine and the one year subscription to Playchess.com, my favourite online chess playing site.

Note: Shop around for the best deals on ChessBase at a competitive price.

One other important issue is the after sales service. I can tell you from my own experience and that of others that the ChessBase team have no equal in this respect. If you have a question they will answer it. They will do their best to get you back on track. They will look after you. Steffen Giehring and his colleagues have once again produced an outstanding product.

About the author – Carl Portman MCILT MinstLM MCIPS

Carl is a Director who has a background in logistics in the public sector. He has worked in warehousing, distribution, secretariat, change management, communications, project management, Data Protection and Human Resources both in the UK and Germany. Away from logistics he is the author of works on natural history and is a qualified chess coach. His proudest moment came when he represented the United Kingdom in the NATO Chess Championships in France in 2012. Carl’s motto is ‘Don’t complain about the dark, light a few candles’.

Links


Ordering the program

ChessBase 13 Premium package
  • ChessBase 13 program
  • Mega Database 2015 (approx. 6 million games, 68,000 with annotations)
  • 1 year premium membership to Playchess.com
  • Access to ChessBase Cloud and ChessBase Online Database (over seven million games)
  • Games download until 31st December 2015
  • One year subscription to ChessBase Magazine (six issues)
  • Corr Database 2013
  • Endgame Turbo 4 (four DVDs with Syzygy tablebases)

Available here...

ChessBase 13 Mega package
  • ChessBase 13 program
  • Mega Database 2015 (approx. 6 million games, 68,000 with annotations)
  • Access to ChessBase Cloud and ChessBase Online Database (over seven million games)
  • Games download until 31st December 2015
  • One year subscription to ChessBase Magazine (six issues)

Available here...

ChessBase 13 Starter package
  • ChessBase 13 program
  • Big Database 2015 (approx. 6 million games)
  • Access to ChessBase Cloud and ChessBase Online Database (over seven million games)
  • Games download until 31st December 2015
  • Subscription to ChessBase Magazine for half a year (three issues DVD + booklet)

Available here...

ChessBase 13 - Upgrade from ChessBase 12


• ChessBase 13 program
• Access to ChessBase Cloud and ChessBase Online Database (over seven million games)

Available here...


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ashperov ashperov 12/11/2014 07:42
Very Awesome. However price is a bitch. Even if you upgrading. However im sure that the fellows have done their business and economic analysis to detirmine the optimal price in the market place. They have the data and I dont therefore my opinion is merely singular.
Looks pretty cool though, Obsolete in a year or so because of some brand new function in '14 :) haha.
I still think it could become easier (meaning people with full time busy careers should be able to extract more in less time). I know there is no such thing as shortcuts in chess... however the ideal is to take the corner right on the curve for maximum speed!
Im sure its a fantastic program. And im sure ill check it out eventually directly or indirectly. But unless you make a living from the game, the sea of free information out there with a basic chessbase database is even more than mortals can comprehend
anomonomous anomonomous 12/11/2014 04:13
a little shameless to keep running these promos for your product under the guise of analysis… I guess you gotta make a living though with so much free access to good articles and GM analysis here….
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