ChessBase 13 from a club trainer’s perspective (1)

by ChessBase
12/12/2014 – If you want to play good “chess” you got to have a strong “base” of knowledge, and that’s where “ChessBase” comes in! The program is well known worldwide as the best chess database management tool. Prathamesh Mokal, an International Master and a top class FIDE Trainer from India, takes us on a trip down the main functions of ChessBase 13. The first part is fairly elementary.

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It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


ChessBase 13 from a trainer’s perspective

By IM & FT Prathamesh Mokal

My review is aimed at not only those who are considering upgrading from ChessBase 12 to ChessBase13, but also at those who have never used ChessBase. As a trainer, I came across a couple of students who were not using ChessBase. I considered ChessBase so indispensable, that it was very hard for me to believe that a chess player was not using it. It has many amazing features. In this article I would like to acquaint you to some of the features that have proved very valuable to me as a coach.

Why ChessBase?

Think long-term: It is almost impossible to find a chess player above intermediate level who does not use ChessBase. If you are serious about chess, then ChessBase is your future, with regards to chess study. And if it is your future, why not work towards it right away!?

Your own games

In the future you might want to look back at your games or your trainer might need to have a look at your notes to study your strengths and weaknesses in order to suggest improvements. Making a database of your games, writing notes to them and adding chess symbols or graphics to illustrate themes is not only useful, but also a lot of fun!

You can make a new database by right-clicking anywhere in the main window of ChessBase
and selecting “New Database” from the context menu, or by simply pressing Ctrl-X

After you have created the database of your own games and given a name to it, you can right click on the database and go to properties. Select “My games” as shown on the left in the picture above. The database will then have the symbol of a heart which helps you to quickly recognize your own games database.

Your openings: Know and understand what you play

I disapprove of the use of engines by players of beginner to intermediate level, so I won’t talk about it at this point. But there are some other really important and yet simple database functions that need mention. The “Opening book” tab in the game window is very useful to know the main opening moves and statistics for any opening position within a second. It is very handy when you are really short of time or when you do not consider the position important enough to make a deep investigation.

The Openings Book tab arranges the possible moves in the position in the order of their popularity

Understanding the logic behind the opening moves that you play is important. Let us see how you can use ChessBase to do this. After you enter the moves of your opening on the board you can just click on the “Reference” tab. For this you need to specify a Reference database. The best database that can be used as a reference database is Mega Database 2015, mainly because it contains a mind boggling 6,161,344 games.

Right click on the database that you would like to make a “Reference Database” (in our case
Mega Database 2015). Go to properties and then tick the Reference-DB on the right.

Now Mega Database 2015 has become your Reference Database. What does that mean?

After making the initial moves on the board, you reach a position and click on the ‘reference’ tab.

You will get all the games with the board position from the Mega Database 2015

Here's a clearer view of the reference function

You can sort the selected games according to Players, Elo Rating, year, annotator and so on with just a single click. I believe that studying games with notes and explanations is very important. All you need to do is click on the ‘VCS’ column tab (VCS stands for Variations, Commentary and Symbols) and you will get the annotated games at the top. Frequently among these you will find the games of current elite players like Carlsen, Anand, Caruana, Kramnik, etc. Studying these will enrich your knowledge about the openings that you play as well as chess in general.


Another important point is the study of classical games. In general the study of classics involves books with notes by the Champions of the past. But not everyone has access to such books at all times. With ChessBase and Mega Database you can simply search and study the games of any particular player.

After opening the Mega Database, you can go to the “Players” tab and look for the player by typing his name in the search box at the bottom

Another way is to go to the “games” tab in the Mega Database and then click on the “filter list” button

By clicking on the “Game Data” tab, you can then enter the name of the player. In our case we are trying to find the games of the fourth World Champion, Alexander Alekhine. The only difficulty of searching games in this fashion is that you need to be sure about the spelling of the player.

You could study the games of Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer to name a few. Many of these games are really well annotated, some even by Kasparov.

By clicking on the “Annotator” tab, you can get all the annotators in an alphabetic order

The above game played between Botvinnik and Alekhine is a famous classic annotated by Kasparov. Studying classical games is another sure shot way of improving your chess.

– To follow soon: Training with ChessBase 13 –

About the author

Prathamesh Mokal is an International Master and FIDE Trainer from India. He won bronze medal in Commonwealth Junior 2003 and was Asian Junior Joint Champion in the same year. He made his maiden grandmaster norm in 2009 and scored an unprecedented 100% in the FIDE Trainer’s exam in 2012. He is a reputed coach based in Pune, India, and has produced students with National and International achievements. He is also a Martial Arts enthusiast and was awarded Black Belt 1st Dan in Isshinryu Karate as well as Matayoshi Kobudo, before he stopped training in the year 2009.

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
  • 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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