Lilit Mkrtchian (1) - How to create an opening repertoire with ChessBase for the rest of your life

by Arne Kaehler
10/9/2022 – Welcome to our new series with Lilit Mkrtchian - "How does a chess pro prepare for a tournament?". Very recently, the Armenian IM played quite superb tournaments at the Olympiad, and the European Women's Championship. We wanted to ask a professional chess player, how they prepare for a tournament, so you at home can get some ideas, tricks, and inspiration for your next tournament. We start off with one of the keys for a good prep - building an opening repertoire. Perhaps not as ChessBase intended it, but it seems to work wonderfully for Lilit!

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How does a chess pro prepare for a tournament?

with Lilit Mkrtchian

So, how does one prepare for a tournament with ChessBase, Fritz, and the Megagdatabase?

We also wanted to know the answer to this question, and asked a professional chess player. In our six-part series, Lilit Mkrtchian guides us through the tournament preparation, by showing us how to build an opening repertoire, sharpen your skills with tactics training, and gives us many other tips, tricks, ideas, and inspirations.

In this walkthrough, we glimpse over Lilit's shoulder, and spot her repertoire, opponent preps, and we will certainly analyse some of her played games in depth.

Of course, we also tackle the moment, when you know about your next opponent, and how to trap them with your specific preparation. The Armenian IM will show us some examples of how this worked nicely.

A beautiful guide on how your next tournament can be more successful.

  • 1:55 - When does a professional chess player decide to play in a tournament?
  • 3:10 - Team tournament and single tournament are very different, correct?
  • 4:00 - Lilit prepares for a tournament in general.
  • 6:09 - How long before the tournament begins are you starting to prepare?
  • 7:28 - You work on your openings all the time. Can you show us what your ChessBase folders look like?
  • 8:35 - Lilit has over 750 Gigabyte of opening files.
  • 10:25 - How are you preparing your opening repertoire with ChessBase and the Megadatabase?
  • 14:27 - One of the most important features in ChessBase? - The "Reference" option
  • 16:34 - The Megagdatabase lets me find all the newest variations for my opening.
  • 18:30 - Save the variation (Perhaps not as ChessBase intended it, but it doesn't matter)
  • 21:54 - Browsing the Megadatabase for new openings, seems like a nice hobby!
  • 23:01 - Lilit tries many openings, to not get bored. That's why she is collecting so much.
  • 23:51 - Preparing every day is like preparing for any tournament for all your life.

Lilit Mkrtchian is an International Master from Armenia, and received the IM title in 2003.

She was one of the best female players in the world in the 2010s and represented her national team in the Olympiads since 1996.

In 2003, she won the gold medal with her Armenian team in the European Women's Championship in Bulgaria, Plovdiv.

Furthermore, Mkrtchian won the Armenian women's chess champion four times.

In 2015, the IM won the individual gold medal on the second board, at the Women's World Team Chess Championship in China, Chengdu.

She still remains one of Armenia's strongest female chess players, is coaching several students, and is an active player in chess leagues, and tournaments.

We interviewed Lilit in 2020, as part of our series "The best in"

Lilit is living in Germany with her husband, and enjoys chess almost every day.



Arne Kaehler, a creative mind who is passionate about board games in general, was born in Hamburg and learned to play chess at a young age. By teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess-related videos on YouTube, Arne was able to expand this passion and has even created an online course for anyone who wants to learn how to play chess. Arne writes for the English and German news sites, but focuses mainly on content for the ChessBase media channels.