Icon tasks in ChessBase 10 – Part 2

4/14/2009 – Tips and tricks for handling database icons in ChessBase 10 are the topics of the day – especially the right-click "Properties" menu and the many options you have to tweak up your Database window with this command. Learn all about it in the latest ChessBase Workshop.

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Last time around in ChessBase Workshop we right-clicked on a ChessBase 10 database icon to reveal a menu of commands:

In that column we discussed most of the commands, but we saved "Properties" for this week. Let's select that "Properties" command and see what we get:

There's a lot going on in this dialogue (which is why I saved it for a column all its own) and we may jump around a bit, but you'll know all about the dialogue's selections when we're through.

The first thing which grabs your eye in this dialogue is the scrolling display on the dialogue's lefthand side. This is a very long list of database types which determine the "picture" displayed as part of a database's icon. You can change icons simply by scrolling up/down the list and making another selection. There's no law which says you can't use, say, the "Openings" icon for a database of endgame positions (if you like the "Openings'" picture better), so suit yourself. I do try to follow the intent of the selections, though, as it prevents later confusion.

You can preview an icon by clicking on a selection from this scrolling list; the icon will appear in the small box on the upper right of the list. Note, too, that no selection here is "permanent"; you can freely switch icons at any time by returning to this dialogue.

The center portion of the dialogue is purely informational. The total number of games in a database is displayed and, if there are index keys attached to the database, the number of keys as well as the number of positions those keys contain are displayed as well. (You might be wondering why the numbers wouldn't match up. Not all keys need to be basd on a position; Player and Tournament keys are good examples of this.)

"Name" allows you to type in a name for your database as you want it to appear on your ChessBase 10 "database desktop" (the display of database icons as they appear in the database window). Note that this doesn't change the database's actual filename (as it will appear in Windows Explorer or My Computer); it's simply a "cosmetic" device related to the icon's appearance in ChessBase 10.

Two check boxes are provided which allow you to designate the database as your Reference database or as your Repertoire database, both of which are essential to various ChessBase 10 functions. There are lots of pros and cons and caveats and all that; for right now, if you don't know anything about the terms "Reference database" and "Repertoire database", don't worry about it -- just make your largest database your Reference database and don't designate any database as your Repertoire database until you learn about that particular ChessBase 10 feature later.

"Always open text" is a relatively minor function. Many databases you might purchase from ChessBase start with a text entry (often a "How to use this disk" sort of thing); checking "Always open text" ensures that this initial text screen will be displayed every time you double-click on a database to open its game list in a separate window.

Now we come to the three buttons on the upper righthand side of the "Properties" dialogue...

The "Protocol" buttons aren't complicated but they do require a bit of explanation. Everytime you import games into a database, information identifying that imported stuff is saved by ChessBase 10. For example, let's say you're in the habit of downloading The Week in Chess and importing it into your master ("Reference" -- heh) database each week. Clicking the "Show Protocol" button displays a new window listing every database you've previously imported into your master database. Anytime you find yourself unsure as to whether or not you've already imported a particular Week in Chess into your database, you can click the "Show Protocol" button to see if that issue appears on the list of issues you've already imported.

"Reset protocol" wipes out the database's existing protocol information, resetting it. This is useful for databases you've been building for a very long time and which consequently have very long protocol lists; you probably no longer need to know if The Week in Chess #125 was imported into your database, since that issue came out years ago.

"Training" is useful for databases which contain timed training questions, such as the ones frequently found on instructional disks purchased from ChessBase:

This display will show you the training questions you've answered and the score you've achieved (points scored/total points possible = accumulated percentage score). By the way, many questions offer "bonus points" for quickly providing a correct answer, so percentages higher than "100" are indeed possible.

If you wish to start over and reset all of your scores back to "0", you can click the "Reset" button. Selecting the "Random training" box means that the database's training questions will be presented in a randomized order, which is useful for tactics drill databases like those found on Intensive Tactics Course.

Returning to the top of the main "Properties" display:

..we see the "path" to the database in question: the drive on which it's located, as well as the folder/subfolder(s) containing it, and the database name. All of this is useful information, especially in cases in which you've forgotten the location or need to know it (example: you want to copy the database to a different location).

In the next ChessBase Workshop we're going to take a detour away from ChessBase proper (although we'll be discussing some important ChessBase-related information), and I'm going to do something I don't generally do: provide some Windows instruction. Until then, have fun!


© 2008, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

Topics: ChessBase 10
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