Chessbase 13 through the eyes of a top Junior

by ChessBase
12/4/2014 – With a rating of 2625, 20-year-old Vidit Gujrathi is India’s top Junior and number ten in the world Junior ratings. He is a perfectionist and well known as a dangerous theoretician. We sent him a copy of our new ChessBase 13 and asked for his opinion. Vidit thinks it is mandatory buy for all ambitious players, analysts and professionals, and finds some of the new functions 'simply amazing!'.

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Chessbase 13 through the eyes of a top Junior

By GM Vidit Gujrathi

“ChessBase software” to a chess player is what a gun is to a soldier. One feels completely powerless without it! It is rightly known as the best database management software and no wonder everyone from an amateur to a top professional uses it.

When Chessbase 12 was released I thought, “This is it! This has all the features that I need, there is really no the scope for improvement from here.” I was proved wrong, and in fact there are quite a few interesting additions in ChessBase13 which I am going to discuss in my review.

Vidit Gujrathi is one of the most talented youngsters from India. Born in 1994, he already has a number of great achievements to his credit:

  • In 2008 Vidit became champion of the World U14 Junior Chess Championship held in Vietnam.
  • In 2009 he took silver medal in the World U16 Junior Chess Championship held in Turkey.
  • Vidit became four-time joint champion of the Asian Youth Chess Championship in different age groups /U-12 Delhi 2005, U-12 Iran 2006, Under-14 Iran 2008, U-20 Chennai 2010.
  • Vidit is four-time National Youth Champion /U-11 Nagpur 2005, U-13 Bhiwani 2006, U-13 Delhi 2007, U-15 Mumbai 2009.
  • In 2013 he became bronze medal winner in the World Junior Chess Championship in Turkey.

What’s New?

Design and interface

The design hasn't changed much from ChessBase 12. We still have the same ‘Office’ style ribbons, although with some interesting tweaks.

The first thing I noticed was the “annotation toolbar” in the notation pane. It is quite a user-friendly feature which saves you a few clicks while annotating a game. But, I must say that I have already become quite comfortable with the keyboard shortcuts. For a new entrant it might be a pretty useful addition.

Another interesting change is when you enter moves in a game it doesn’t bring the variation dialog pop-up. It is quite useful when you are analyzing openings where you have to enter tons of variations.

Aesthetically one nice change is that now you can see some extra information alongside the names of players such as their pictures and flags.

At the top you can see the pictures of Pavel Eljanov and Ivan Salgado Lopez with their flags
and at the bottom you have the ready-made annotation symbols

Cloud Feature

What already existed: One of the most important feature of ChessBase 12 was the cloud analysis. It has really taken chess analysis to a new level. Through this feature you can rent a powerful machine to do the analysis for you for a few Ducats. Just look at all the awesome beasts available on ChessBase’s cloud server.

Powerful chess hardware at your service – click here to enlarge

By connecting to the ChessBase cloud you could use a strong machine to analyze one of your games. I have used this feature on couple of occasions and have found it very useful.

You can always rent a powerful engine at a negligible cost – click here to enlarge

Analyzing my game against GM Vladimir Fedoseev using these cloud engines

Not only can you rent, but you can even host your own machine on the server for some fee. Besides this, you can connect your powerful home computer to your notebook when you are at a tournament. I have seen some of the top professionals use it and I must say, this is one of the best features of ChessBase.

What is new?

With Chessbase 13 they have added a new feature called “Cloud Databases.” With this feature you can save your important databases on the ChessBase server. You can either share this database publicly or with some particular users. I imagine this can be really helpful when you are working with your friend or coach and you want to share some games or analysis. Also one of the advantages is that you can easily access all your repertoire databases from any computer, and even if your computer ever crashes, you always have the databases backed up.

Analysis Jobs

With this new feature now you can have your chess engines analyze a particular position automatically. You can use this feature in two ways: One is deep positional analysis and the other is to create number of variations from the task position. In both the cases you can set how much time to be devoted & which engine to use. The program automatically analyzes the position and stores the evaluation and the depth at the end of the line.

Selecting the position and also the amount of time required for in-depth analysis

In the last few days I have played with the settings and I have found this most helpful when I let the computer analyze some of my most critical opening positions overnight. It indeed gave me some very interesting lines in the morning to work with. I am sure this feature is going to be quite helpful for me during tournaments where there is not much time to prepare.

Fo course I cannot resist: although it is an interesting addition, I think it can be improved upon by giving more control of the analysis to the user. A nice customization could be to have an option of “Fixed depth”. This will allow the user to fix a certain amount of depth for the engine per move. For instance: if you set a depth of “30” the engine will move on to the next move only after reaching a depth of 30. Another possible setting could be to have an option of controlling the “time per move”. As of now we only have control over the total time designated for analysis.

With few more tweaks this can be one of the most useful feature in Chessbase 13.

Repertoire Databases

ChessBase 13 has changed its handling of Repertoire databases. Apparently now it creates two different repertoires: one for White and one for Black. I mainly used this feature only to scan the periodical databases as TWIC or CBM. I feel that this feature is quite underestimated and not made full use of.

For example: When I use the feature “Repertoire Scan” going through the latest TWIC I easily can see all the games that have been played in the recent week which are in my repertoire. This is indeed a sure shot way to see if you aren’t missing any crucial games which are played in your opening lines.

The Repertoire scan function makes my task very easy. From the 2542 games of TWIC 1046,
it comes up with 11 games in the Nbd2 variation of Bogo Indian which I play...

and two games of the Caro Kann Panov Attack.


Similar structures

One major improvement I noticed was in the feature “Similar Structures” and “Similar endgames.” The search was faster and much smoother. Sometimes in Chessbase12 when I tried to make use of it, it used to crash. Also the search results in ChessBase 13 are quite accurate. For example, when looking through a top level game or your own game you just click one button and you get a list of games which were played in a similar pawn structure. This is really helpful when you study openings.

When I was studying the above game Kramnik-Leko, I found the pawn structure interesting and made a search with "similar structures" feature. And I found a whole lot of games. Studying those games increased my understanding of such pawn formations.

Similar endgames

In my game against Ni Hua, I failed to win a pawn up endgame position. So, before analyzing the game, I used the feature “Similar Endgames” and with a single click I had a list of games which were played in that type of endgame! It’s simply amazing!

This has made the study of endgames so much easier. The next I get this endgame, I am sure to win it!

Installation error

I must say that everything wasn’t completely smooth, as I was not able to install ChessBase in the first attempt. Apparently it was due to a “Key not valid for use” error. After a few google searches I found that it was a problem with Windows files rather than the program. It was easily fixed by following the steps on this link.


I have only used ChessBase 13 for a couple of days, but from what I have seen I really like it very much. I particularly found features like “Analysis Job” and “Cloud server” extremely interesting. Needless to say, ChessBase 13 is a mandatory upgrade for ambitious players, professionals and analysts.

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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