ChessBase Light 2007 - part 2

by ChessBase
5/12/2007 – Our tutorial series on the new program ChessBase Light 2007 continues with an informative column about basic game header searches. Read all about it in the latest ChessBase Workshop.

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In the last ChessBase Workshop column we described downloading and installing ChessBase Light 2007. We also looked at opening a database and replaying a game using the CBLight software. In this week's column we're going to perform a few simple example database searches just to give you an idea of what can be accomplished using the Search mask.

An easy way to bring up the Search mask dialogue is to right-click on the icon for the database on which you want to perform a search, then select "Search" from the popup menu. You'll see the following dialogue appear:


This dialogue is called the Search mask. It allows you to search for specific games within a database using criteria which you specify. There are five tabs across the top of the Search mask, each of which corresponds to a different type of search. We'll start by looking at the "Game data" tab, which is the most basic kind of search (and the one most often employed).

A very simple search which you'll likely use again and again is the player search. You simply type a player's name into the search mask and click "OK" to perform the search. An example is shown below:


We've typed the name "Kamsky" in the right-hand box after "White:"; since our database is a .pgn file containing all of the games of the 1991 Linares supertournament, we're obviously searching for the games of Gata Kamsky. Note that the "Ignore colors" box has a check in it; this indicates that all of Kamsky's games will be found regardless of whether he was playing with the White or Black pieces. Also note that you should type names into the Search mask the way you'd see them in a telephone directory, i.e. last name first (in the lefthand box) followed by the first name (or first initial) in the righthand box if necessary. After clicking "OK" we'll see a new window appear; this contains our search results:


The righthand pane shows a list of the games which matched your search criteria, in this case all of the Gata Kamsky games from the database. Why is there a chessboard on the screen? To find out, just single-click on a game from the list. You'll see the game's notation appear in the lower lefthand pane and you can replay the game exactly as described in last week's ChessBase Workshop without needing to open the game in a new window:


You can narrow the search by searching for a player's games by color. Simply uncheck the "Ignore colors" box, which now means that typing a player's name after "White" or "Black" will make a difference in your search results. For example, if we wanted all of Kamsky's games as Black, we'd uncheck the "Ignore colors" box and type his name after "Black:" in the Search mask:


And we'll subsequently get this list of games in the search results window:


Another variation of a player search involves using the names of two players; this will bring up all games which the players contested against each other (not a combined list of all games played by either Player A or Player B). So if we use this in the Search mask:


...we'll get as a search result the single game played by Kamsky against Kasparov at Linares '91.

A third twist on the player search concerns the "Wins only" check box. Type a player's name and check this box -- you'll get just the games which this player won.

Now that we have a general idea of how the Search mask works, let's look at some of the other fields available under the "Game Data" tab.


  • Tournament: Type the name of a tournament or place; if games from that location or event are present in the database, they'll be listed in the search results window.
  • Annotator: If the database contains games with variations or verbal commentary and the annotators' names are provided in the header information, using this field can locate games annotated by a particular player/writer.
  • Elo: This field lets you set a range (from low to high) of Elo ratings, further modified by the radio buttons included in this part of the dialogue. "One" means that one of the players a game must have an Elo rating within the stated range you've supplied. "Both" means that both players must have ratings within the selected range. "Av" means that the average of both players' ratings must fall within the selected range. "None" causes the software to ignore player ratings entirely.
  • Year: This allows you to set a single year (by typing the same number in both boxes) or a range of years for your search.
  • ECO: If you're looking for games which used a particular opening and you know the ECO code(s) for that opening, type that designation in both boxes (in the case of a single ECO code) or separate numbers in the two boxes (for all games which fall between those designations, inclusive).
  • Moves: Here again you can set a range of numbers corresponding to the length of the game; for example, setting a range of "1" through "20" will bring up a list of all games lasting twenty moves or less.
  • Result: This is a set of self-explanatory check boxes for the various end results which can occur in chess games. Note that you can select more than one set of results (for example, selecting both "1-0" and "0-1" will pull up all games which were not draws).

You can combine these search criteria in a vast variety of ways. For example, I created the Linares '91 database I'm using for our examples by pulling the games from a much larger master database. I used the Search mask to locate these games by combining two search criteria: I typed "Linares" in the "Tournament" field and typed "1991" in both "Year" boxes. Note that this combination will bring up all games played in Linares Spain in 1991, not all games ever played in Linares (regardless of year) and all games played in 1991 (regardless of location); in other words, the games have to meet both criteria, not either of them. (And, truth be known, the search for "Linares" coupled with "1991" will bring up two tournaments: the Spanish Championship from that year along with the desired "supertournament".)

Go ahead and play around with these basic header searches that you can perform under the "Game Data" tab. Next go 'round we'll look at position searches. Until then, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. All responses will be read, and sending an e-mail to this address grants us permission to use it in a future column. No tech support questions, please.

© 2007, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.


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