ChessBase 8 printout

by ChessBase
6/18/2004 – If you've ever fired up ChessBase 8 and loaded a game which has a ton of opening variations, you'll know that the regular notation display can sometimes be a little tough to read and navigate. In this week's ChessBase Workshop, Steve Lopez shows you how to clean up that display and make a nice professional-looking paper printout of the result. Workshop...

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by Steve Lopez

I'm frequently asked two questions about CB8, questions which go hand-in-glove together: "What's the purpose of the 'Table' tab in the Notation pane?" and "Can I make ECO-style paper printouts?" The two questions are actually closely related and we'll look at both of them in this week's ChessBase Workshop.

The "Table" tab in the Notation pane provides a different, perhaps cleaner, overview of the game you've loaded if the game has a lot of opening variations. To demonstrate, fire up CB8, go to a game list, highlight a half-dozen or so games which use the same general opening, and hit Enter on your keyboard. CB8 will merge these games into a single game using the first game you highlighted as the "main line". You should see a display which looks something like this:


I've merged a bunch of Sicilian Wing Gambit games together to get this display. The first variation occurs at Black's second move and there are some immediate sub-variations within it that start with White's third move. This makes for a big "blocky" display that some users might find hard to read and/or navigate. So watch what happens when we click the "Table" tab at the top of the Notation pane:


We're looking at the same information as in the previous display, but now ChessBase 8 has organized it into a table format, much the same as you see in books like the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings or Nunn's Chess Openings. The big "block" of text is still visible in the lower part of the pane, but the main area of the pane now shows a much easier to read table of the main moves (in "Line 1") and variations (in Lines 2 through 6). Each line of the table is a seperate variation. You can still play through the game using the cursor keys or VCR buttons and the present position on the board will still be highlighted (with a black cursor bar) in the table. It's much easier to get an overview of the variations and where they occur using this table rather than the block notation format.

Please note, though, that there is a difference when playing through a game using the Table notation with the cursor keys: when you come to a "split" at the point where a variation starts (i.e. the moving side has two or more moves in the notation), you no longer get the "popup" asking you which variation you wish to view. As you step through the moves of a game, the program will stick with the current line in the table. If you wish to jump from one line to another you'll need to either click on the move in the table you wish to view or else use the up and down cursor keys on your keyboard to switch from line to line. (And, by the way, for users who hate that popup, this is a possible solution for you -- using the Table format in the Notation pane along with the cursor keys eliminates the popup and prevents it from appearing). If you use the VCR buttons, though, the popup will still appear.

Note the difference: the VCR buttons still replay the game in the normal manner, while the cursor keys actually moves the black cursor within the table.

All of this leads straight into the next (related) question: can you print out games in table notation format using CB8? Certainly -- but instead of using the "Print game" command, you'll use the "Repertoire" command instead. Go to the File menu, select "Print", and then choose "Repertoire" from the submenu that opens off to the side. You'll get a "print preview" display which will show you the game as it will appear in your printout:


You'll see a preview of a really nice printout which looks very much like the format used in the aforementioned chess opening encyclopedias. You'll see a diagram of the defining position for your printout (e.g. the point at which the first variation appears). Note the black dot in the upper right: this shows that it's Black's turn to move in that position. Below the diagram you'll see a table of the variations (similar to what you saw on your monitor in the Table display) with each variation appearing as a seperate line on the table. With the font size I'm using, the table displays the variations out to move thirteen on each line of the table. Each line ends with a footnote -- the footnotes (displayed beneath the table and on Page Two of the printout [not shown in the illustration]) provide the rest of the moves for each game. If you want to print out this display, just click the "Print" button at the top of the print preview display.

You can tweak the appearance of your printout in a number of ways; go to the File menu, select "Print", and then "Page setup". The most important tabs for tweaking a repertoire (i.e. table) printout are (of course) the Repertoire tab and the Fonts tab -- click the Notation button in that tab to get a dialogue which, among other things, allows you to change te size of the font used in printing.

Until next week, have fun!

© 2004, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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