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.

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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 playchess.com

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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thirteen thirteen 9/23/2021 10:42
@Lachesis..About that. Mega Databases are not and cannot always be made to read within my own language, which is English. FACT. This means huge numbers, not small ones, are just NOT annotated [readable] in reality, as advertised. Unfortunately, I cannot read German. [The language selector simply never works]
Lachesis Lachesis 9/23/2021 01:31
The Mega Database was always regarded as the Best, and I do believe it still is because of the quality of the annotations.
thirteen thirteen 9/18/2021 04:26
Like the openings 'move-adding' features to CB16. Another gem!
ConwyCastle ConwyCastle 9/18/2021 04:39
The title of this article, how to get mega for free, is misleading. You have to pay for software and a subscription.
Maty Maty 9/17/2021 09:15
I bought your Megas more than once and I can say what I think about it and why im not buying it again (this last two/three years)...
- The new games are also free to find or download online.
- The opening articles are old... sometimes is good to have the concepts of the opening even though its old info, but sometimes you search for something updated and theres not.
- From the thousands of commented games, there are a lot that has "some coments" or only variations and are a few that are really good commented. This part of the Database is getting bigger but really slowly. The last two times I bought the new mega, I found that the part of the commented games was actually almost the same as the older that I had.
- The subscription is fine, but Playchess is not popular, so I play on other websites. The other modules are interesting but I never liked how the interface works. Tactical training is easy to find free and of a good quality online. Had also issues with different browsers.
- Support from chessbase is really poor.
Looking at the development of other companies, I can tell that Chessbase is getting outdated. I have Chessbase 15 at home but im actually using other websites for the same purpose as this are easier to use and the interface is much clear and better to use.
Please Chessbase, dont take my comments wrong... Since 1998 Ive been a fan of your software, got in love with the Fritz 5 as I was a kid, and bought lots of products from you since then, but this last three years I felt not that happy with your products anymore, and also felt that the prices are really expensive! I think that a lot of products should be cheaper in comparison to what other companies offer.
Many other players I spoke to think the same.
Hope this review helps to improve the offering of your products!
Btw... you forgot to put a "forgot password" option into the login... I had to do it now because i have forgotten it and dindt find that option.
Albert Silver Albert Silver 9/17/2021 04:33
@soprano - If you mean Mega Database, it is actually not, but you need to realize what it includes:
- it is not just the 8.4 million games,
- it includes hundreds of opening articles,
- articles on events,
- the full playerbase with hundreds of thousands of photos of players,
- over 85 thousand commented games accumulated over 20+ years,
- and a one year subscription to the full weekly updates.

Still, you don't really need to buy it multiple times, every year for example. IMHO, the best value, aside from CB16 itself (if you don't own any copy), is CB Account. There is a ridiculous amount of genuine value for all manner of consumers. Personally, I am partial to the Tactics trainer. I just love it. It is well done, has over 90 thousand cool positions from human games, and so on. I use it on my phone, and on my desktop to idle time, outside actually training sessions.
dgbchess dgbchess 9/17/2021 02:17
I still use CB-12 and it works well enough for me not want to spend any more money on more bells and whistles. Plus, with the Mega database, for the average player it's really not going to make a ton of difference if you have a database of 1m games or 10m games. The same way with engines - even Stockfish 1.5 (32 bit!) from years ago has an ELO higher than Magnus does right now, so I really don't think that spending extra money on bigger databases and better engines, etc, makes much difference to the average player; for me, what I already have is almost always sufficient.
Soprano Soprano 9/16/2021 09:36
I wonder if there's anyone else who consider this product too expensive
Albert Silver Albert Silver 9/16/2021 06:07
@adalthor23 - I have no influence on this of course, but am replying with sympathy. Back in 1998, I had bought Chess Assistant, the then rival to the ChessBase program, and wrote them with ideas and suggestions. After some TEN replies all reading: "Dear Mr. Silver, Thank you for your email. it has been forwarded to the appropriate department." (yes, I am the persistent kind), I was convinced the 'appropriate department' was the waste bin. I then received, out of the blue, a long email by the chief developer thanking me for all the suggestions. I was over the moon, but the point is: bureaucracy and busy schedules may get in the way of a reply, but I am certain they are reading them, since the fixes were made as you noted. Cheers.
adalthor23 adalthor23 9/16/2021 05:14
I bought the megadatabase some years ago. I have discovered several errors, most, even all, by coincidence. I have sent e-mail to mega@chessbase and it seems the errors have been fixed, but unfortunately i have never got a reply from chessbase, like a simple: We have received your e-mail and will check this out, thank you.
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