ChessBase: How to add colored arrows and squares

by Albert Silver
4/13/2017 – When annotating a game, aside from the usual elements such as verbal commentary, or chess notation symbols, but some of the most powerful tools in ChessBase are the colored arrows or squares that can show an idea at a glance. The secret to using them is only found in the Help file though… or in this simple tutorial.

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In spite of all the training we do in calculation, mathematics and more, we are profoundly visual creatures. Sayings such as ‘an image is worth a thousand words’ are rooted in truth and sum up the idea perfectly. In chess this is no less true. Consider the position below from the recent US Championship:

At this point, Gata Kamsky embarked on the astonishing king maneuver Kg8-f8-e8-d8-c8-b8. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this explanation as it is the truth. However, as you read this explanation, you will already be trying to plot its journey across the board in your mind.

Instead, this can be so much easier if that same explanation were accompanied by some visual cues such as above. “At this point, Gata Kamsky embarked on the astonishing king maneuver Kg8-f8-e8-d8-c8-b8.” Except with the arrows you instantly see it, and may even skip over the notation, just registering there was a king maneuver, and let the arrows tell the rest of the story.

After the game, Kamsky noted that he was fortunate that Xiong missed his idea of queen to g3 and knight to f4, until it was too late, which won the game. Notice how the arrows help highlight the idea and its execution.

 

In the short video above, an excerpt from the excellent DVD “The Art of Defense”, you can see in just the first two minutes how Sergey Tiviakov uses the arrows to immediately illustrate his explanations.

Finally, there are the highlighted squares, which in tandem do a great job of completing the picture. Even with no words said, the visual cues in the diagram are very clear.

Colored arrows

The key to any of the colored commentary is the Alt key. If you keep that in mind, even if you forget all else, that alone will allow you to remember the rest.

Green arrows: While keeping the Alt key on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the starting square and drag to the destination. Let go of the mouse button and the arrow will appear.

Red arrows:  While keeping the Alt + Shift keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the starting square and drag to the destination. Let go of the mouse button and the arrow will appear.

Yellow arrows: While keeping the Alt + Ctrl keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the starting square and drag to the destination. Let go of the mouse button and the arrow will appear.

Colored squares

Green arrows: While keeping the Alt key on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the square you want to color.

Red arrows:  While keeping the Alt + Shift keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the square you want to color.

Yellow arrows: While keeping the Alt + Ctrl keys on your keyboard pressed, click the mouse on the square you want to color.



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.