ChessBase 17 review: "A wide range of opportunities"

by ChessBase
5/12/2023 – ChessBase 17 is the leading software in the world of chess, and a huge number of professional players and club enthusiasts use it. It is our digital notebook, where we can organize all our chess-related work: openings, games databases, analyses, master games, training positions and much more. A review by FM Jorge Ramírez for the “Peón de Rey” magazine.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

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.


Quick and easy

By FM Jorge Ramírez for Peón de Rey

I must admit that technology has never been my strong suit, so I have always been a bit behind in this regard. In fact, until a year ago, I was still using ChessBase 11, which was released in 2010. I thought that the functions it had were enough for me, but in the last few years, while sharing ideas and working with training partners, I saw how they obtained information more quickly, and how easily they reached conclusions that took me a long time to analyse.

The reason is that they were using functions from the newer versions of ChessBase. By not being up-to-date, I was wasting time and opportunities, so a year ago I decided to upgrade and bought ChessBase 16, which at that time was the newest version — and I noticed a big difference. The moral of this story is simple: technology, if used correctly, gives us more opportunities, makes our lives easier and saves us time.

After this brief introduction, let’s move on to the focus of this article: ChessBase 17, the latest version, which I have been using since the beginning of the year. There are many new features, and it is impossible to mention them all, so I will focus on the ones I found most useful.

The analysis window

The new analysis window, which has many new functions, is undoubtedly the best feature. If you are familiar with ChessBase, you will notice that there are a lot of new features. Let's have a look at what it has to offer:

  1. Coloured hints for the most important moves (those where choosing between the best and second-best option generates a relevant change in the evaluation of the position). These colours provide a lot of useful information at a glance, ranging from how much the evaluation would change to how difficult it is to make such moves.
  2. Textual explanations, which sometimes indicate plans or some conclusions of what is happening, as in this example: "White has a decisive advantage. Black loses a pawn".
  3. It shows the threats in red, which helps us to understand more quickly what is happening in the position.
  4. You can easily drag any variation shown by the module into the notation, as well as the threats.
  5. Hovering the cursor over any point of a variation in the analysis module will show the highlighted position on the board.
  6. The visual evaluation panel indicates: the complexity of the position with fire emojis and the activity of each player’s pieces with gear icons. When the cursor is placed over this panel, each piece on the board lights up with a colour depending on how well or badly placed each piece is. Just by seeing which ones are red, we can quickly identify weaknesses.

Another completely revamped panel, which provides many options and helps us to save a lot of time, is the new search window. Here I would highlight the ‘fast search’ function, with which it is not necessary to place all the pieces of a position to find it.

The search window

I think the best way to explain this function is with an example.

Let’s suppose we want to search for the game in which Shirov won with his famous ...Bh3, but we do not remember who he played against or any other details of the position — only that White could capture it with a pawn.

So, we enter the search panel, and in ‘players’ we write ‘Sh’ and it already shows us Shirov as the first option. Then we choose ‘result’ and write that Black won. Finally, in the section ‘search by position’, we place a white pawn on g2 and a black bishop on h3, and that's it!

As we can see in the image below, in my database there were nine games in which Shirov won with Black and he had a bishop on h3 and there was a white pawn on g2. Just press the search button and those nine games will appear, so you can easily find the one you are looking for. Of course, we have to search in a database where the game is to be found, for example. In my case, I searched in MegaBase 2023.

Beauty awards

This is the function that I found most entertaining. ChessBase 17 can award between zero and three beauty medals to games contained in a database, using sacrifices and tactics as the main criteria.

Evidently, I could not resist the temptation, and the first thing I did was to activate this function in my own games’ database.


ChessBase 17 offers many new possibilities that can be useful for every type of player, from the enthusiastic amateur to the professional player. Technology is a great tool, and it is up to us to use it wisely to get the maximum benefit. In this respect, ChessBase 17 is a worldwide leader, as it offers a very wide range of options and opportunities.

ChessBase 17 - Starter Package

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it.

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