Creating user Keyes in ChessBase 8.0

by ChessBase
4/1/2004 – Do you do a lot of the same searches repeatedly on the same database and wish you didn't have to manually enter the same search criteria over and over? If so, there's an easy way to save yourself a lot of work: create your own user keys to index your database. We show you how to do it in this week's ChessBase Workshop.

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ChessBase is a personal, stand-alone chess database that has become the standard throughout the world. Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it.


This week's ChessBase Workshop goes hand-in-glove with last week's article. We looked last week at ways to define tactical themes in ChessBase 8's Search mask. Let's say, though, that it's a search that you perform frequently on the same database -- in fact, so frequently that you wish you didn't have to keep repeatedly defining the same parameters in the Search mask. Is there a way to avoid having to repeat the same search over and over?

In fact, there is. You can create a new user key for that database. Keys are a tool for indexing games; in fact, you should just think of the term "key" as being synonymous with "index". Anything that can specified in the Search Mask can be saved as a key.

As an example, let's use the Knight fork with check search from last week's ChessBase Workshop. Start ChessBase 8 and double-click on a database's icon to get its game list. Click one of the file tabs at the top of the game list; the tab you'll select will depend on the type of key you're creating. In this case, we'll want the "Tactics" tab, since we're going to create a key for White Knight forks with check. If there's not already a key of that type attached to the database, we'll see this:


Since we're going to create our own key, we'll click the "Install empty key" button and wind up with this:


Note that the display says "Key is empty"; obviously so, since we haven't yet created a new key.

Now just hit the "Insert" key on your keyboard; this tells CB8 that we want to create a new index key. This will bring up the Search mask. We'll just enter the same parameters we used in last week's CB Workshop when we were searching for White Knight forks with check:


When we've finished entering the parameters for the maneuver, we'll click the "OK" button. Note that CB8 doesn't do a search here -- instead, we see the following display:


This is actually a text entry box. We just type text into this box to determine how the key will be displayed in the key list. In this case, we'll replace all the gibberish with something a bit more meaningful:


Then just click the "OK" button to get this:


And our old "Key is empty" message has been replaced by the entry for our new key. We have one more step. Go to the Tools menu, select "Classification", and then "Whole database" from the submenu. This causes CB8 to search the database for games in which a White Knight checks/ forks and "attach" them to this key.

So what exactly has this accomplished? The next time you want to find all the games in this database containing White Knight forks with check, you don't have to open the Search mask and laboriously enter all of those maneuver parameters. You just open the game list for that database, click the "Tactics" tab, and double-click the key you just created to bring up a list of the games in which this tactic occurs. When you double-click on a game from this list, you'll be taken right to the position at the end of the maneuver (in other words, it won't be the point at which White plays the Knight fork with check; instead, it'll be the point at which the White Knight has made a capture without being taken by a Black piece in reply).

Note that I made a mistake when I created this key. I didn't properly type in the name of this tactic. I should have typed "White Knight checks and forks" (or something similar) instead of "White Knight forks". Fortunately, it's an error that's easy to fix. All you have to do to edit a key is position the black "cursor" bar over the key you want to edit and then hit the "F2" key on your keyboard (or you can right-click on the key to get a popup menu and then select "Edit key" from that). You'll see the Search mask again (with your original parameters already entered, in this case the Knight check/fork maneuver); just click "OK" to get the text entry box into which you can type your corrected key designation. Then click "OK" after you've made your changes:


Next week we'll look at some other tips for creating your own index keys for your databases. Until then, have fun!

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

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