How to get Mega for free

by Albert Silver
9/16/2021 – Mega database is easily the greatest database one can buy. Not only does it come with 8.4 million games, but over 85 thousand of them are annotated, many by world champions and the elite. It doesn't come free, though its asking price includes a full year of unparalleled updates, but what if you could have access to it without having to buy it?...

Mega Database 2021 Mega Database 2021

The ChessBase Mega Database 2021 is the premiere chess database with over 8.4 million games from 1560 to 2020 in high quality.


On any other website or forum, the first thought such a title would provoke would be ‘scam’ or ‘piracy’, but neither is the case, albeit there is a catch.

The 'catch'

Mega Database is regarded as the Rolls-Royce of databases with good reason. While there are without a doubt other sources of games, Mega brings a huge collection of amazing content in the form of articles, crosstables, and above all: tens of thousands of annotated games. Some may have light notes, a sort of light Informant, but others contain deep analysis and heartfelt thoughts by the players analyzing them. There is quite simply no other source like it. This amazing package comes at a price, without a doubt, and is worth it, but you can enjoy those nearly 90 thousand annotated games for a fraction of the price.

How? And what are the conditions? Simple: you need to own a copy of ChessBase 16 or 15 (it may work even with ChessBase 14, but I don’t have it installed), and have a Premium subscription to ChessBase Account.

A subscription goes for 50 Euros/year, and includes a huge swath of features and options, which you can check out at the page, but one of the unpublicized features is that when you search through the Live Database using ChessBase, the search results will also include the fully annotated games!

ChessBase Account Premium annual subscription

At the airport, in the hotel or at home on your couch: with the new ChessBase you always have access to the whole ChessBase world: the new ChessBase video library, tactics server, opening training App, the live database with eight million games, Let’s Check and web access to

How to access the 85 thousand annotated games

In order to use this, you must first be logged in in ChessBase.

If you don’t have a picture as I do, you can upload one at the ChessBase Account webpage of your profile.

Once you are logged in, you click on Live Database and a dialogue will open. It seems very basic and offers you a simple search by player or tournament. This will work fine if it is enough, but if you want more control then click on Advanced.

This opens a far more detailed list of search options. Here we can select both players, the tournament, the year, the Elo range and the results. Let’s try a simple tournament search: Linares 2004

It is important to not write 2004 but instead to enter the dates in the filter as above

A massive spillout will be displayed, but what stands out is that many games have annotators.

If we click on one, such as the one annotated by Tom Wedberg, we immediately see:

But we can also manipulate the data. For example, you can highlight all the games:

The select 'Crosstable' and we are served with a colorful, detailed crosstable, with results and Elo changes.

Now let’s take a look at matchups between players, just to see some different search options in action. We’ll choose all games between Shirov and Kramnik from 1990 to 2000 that ended in a decisive result.

Notice the range of dates was chosen, as well as the Draws was unchecked, meaning it will not include draws in the results.

Once more we see a list of annotated games, but a closer look reveals a spectacular list of annotators, including Kramnik, Shirov, and Anand! But how detailed are these notes? Let's click on one annotated by Shirov.

In a nutshell: this is content from the real Mega Database we can see. You'll note it contains German notes by Huebner too. As to the results between the players over the course of that decade:

During the 90s Shirov enjoyed a positive score against Kramnik with 15 wins to 12.

Needless to say you can save the games to a base or other. That said, as you can see, you can access all the annotated games if you have a subscription to ChessBase account and copy of ChessBase program. Was the title misleading? Only a little, since most people subscribe for all the amazing apps and perks it offers, so the ability to enjoy the tens of thousands of annotated games is essentially a free, unannounced perk. To be fair, Mega Database offers much more than this, but nor is it an exaggeration to say these are one of its biggest features. If you don't yet have a subscription to ChessBase Account, then this can be viewed as yet another selling point to convince you to make the leap. 

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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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