ChessBase Winchain utility

by Frederic Friedel
8/23/2020 – In a recent article mathematician Christian Hesse described the concept of the "winchain" – is there a player you have beaten, who has beaten someone, who has beaten someone, who beat a World Champion? It is astonishing how close you can get – like a 2144 player, Fabian Brinkmann, being just three steps away from Magnus Carlsen. Fabian has written a nice little ChessBase app which will help you search for your winchains.

Master Class Vol.1: Bobby Fischer Master Class Vol.1: Bobby Fischer

No other World Champion was more infamous both inside and outside the chess world than Bobby Fischer. On this DVD, a team of experts shows you the winning techniques and strategies employed by the 11th World Champion.

Grandmaster Dorian Rogozenco delves into Fischer’s openings, and retraces the development of his repertoire. What variations did Fischer play, and what sources did he use to arm himself against the best Soviet players? Mihail Marin explains Fischer’s particular style and his special strategic talent in annotated games against Spassky, Taimanov and other greats. Karsten Müller is not just a leading international endgame expert, but also a true Fischer connoisseur.


Before we show you the winchain utility here's a letter we received from David Luban (USA):

I found this article about Fischer numbers interesting and amusing, because it drove home to me the absolute lack of correlation between Fischer numbers and skill. I base this on a preposterous fact: I am a weak player with a Fischer number of 1.

The story: in 1964 Fischer played a simul in my home city of Milwaukee. I was a 15 year old enthusiast of no great talent. The players were arranged at the tables from strongest to weakest, and as an unrated player I was down at the weak end. When the smoke cleared, Fischer had lost four games. I was one of the winners. It was an absurdity. Fischer was taking about a second a move at my end of the table. Even so, a dozen moves into an Evans Gambit he had an obviously winning position. Just to keep playing a little longer, I sacrificed a piece. Then Fischer blundered and allowed me to trap his queen. With a sour look on his face, he turned over his king.

Now, here is the measure of just how weak I was: I have forgotten the moves. No player of any skill could possibly have forgotten the game where he beat Bobby Fischer. (When I finally played in a rated tournament, I got a class B rating.)

If you are interested in tracing your Fischer number, here is a comprehensive list of people who have beaten Bobby Fischer, in tournament, match play, exhibition and offhand games. There are more than a hundred names, and you can scan them for anyone you have defeated.

The ChessBase Players Gallery 

Most of our readers will know the ChessBase Players Gallery: it allows you to search for any player and get statistics and games.

Clicking on Wesley So, for instance, will give you an overview of his career:

Below this is a Javascript board where you can play through a selection of his games (and save them, analyse them with a built-in chess engine, annotate them, etc.)

Replay a selection of Wesley So games

There is an interesting function for Winchain seekers on the ChessBase Players page. You can look for the games in which a player has beaten a World Champion, then for games in which some opponent has beaten them, then the games of that players, and try to build a chain to someone you have beaten. Or you can work the other way around: look at the game someone you have beaten, and the games in which he has beaten someone else, until you find a world champion. Naturally this presupposes that the games are recorded in Mega Database. But even if you are not in Mega, look for players you have faced that are, and start the chain from there.

If you are in Mega there is a simpler way. Click on the Winchain button and enter your and the name of a World Champion. The winchain app will search through the seven milllion games plus and find a winchain if there is one. Naturally this can take a number of milliseconds,

Here's an example: I typed in the name of the author of the app, rated 2144, and the name of the current World Champion. Here's the result:

Turns out he has a winchain to Carlsen of just three: he beat WIM Liubka Genova in the Hamburg Easter Open in 2018, and she in turn beat WIM Tatjana Plachkinova in the Bulgarian Women's Championship in 2001. In the Nordic Championship in Bergen, on August 10, 2001, Tatjana beat the ten year old Magnus. He had a 2084 rating at the time, while Tatjana was rated 2190. She won after Magnus erred on move 37 (taking the c-pawn with his queen and not his bishop – remember that, Maggi? Bet he does!). All this research took me less than a minute to conduct. After I had entered Fabian - Carlsen the program found the chain in reasonable time: 125 ms after processing 56,350 candidate players. It also showed me the games on our Javascript board.

Fabian is 23, and started as an intern at ChessBase in 2016. Since 2019 he is a permanent part of our development team. He is responsible for many other ChessBase utilities, like the Playchess tournament overview, and the great tournament tables that are automatically generated. He plays for Werder Bremen, and you can look him up on the players page:


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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