by ChessBase
1/20/2006 – Our ChessBase Workshop columnist loves to get your e-mails. In his latest column he examines some reader mail and answers questions concerning corporate firewalls, how to best learn an opening using ChessBase, Fritz9 installation, and the best (non- playing) chess job in the world. Read more in the latest ChessBase Workshop.

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I'd like to begin this column by thanking everyone who's taken the time to e-mail comments about ChessBase Workshop. Your input is definitely appreciated! In this column we'll have a look at some items from the e-mail Inbox and answer a few questions.

First off, comments on the "Intelligent Mistakes" series of columns continue to pour in. I regret that I won't be reprinting any more of them here but I'm still forwarding them to the "powers that be". If you wrote an e-mail on that topic in anticipation of seeing it used in this column, I apologize but it's time to move on to other topics.

I've also received a few e-mails asking for articles on Fritz9's new features. As you've seen over the last few columns we've started to take a look at the new Fritz stuff here in ChessBase Workshop. Please keep in mind, though, that there's currently about a six week delay from the time I write a column and the time it appears online. While it may appear to you that I'm late in getting out the latest info on Fritz (and, in a way, I am, because many of you had your copies of Fritz9 more than a week before mine arrived in the mail), it's that danged publication delay which is holding up the works.

Here's an e-mail from a person who declined to give his or her name:

I would like to know how one use the Online Search. In the ChessBase 8 or 9.

Edit - Find games in - Online Database... I get a Error: Cannot access database.

Well, I just now tried the feature and it works fine for me. But on a hunch I closed my Internet connection and tried it again. Sure enough I got the exact message you described.

So there are a couple of possibilities here. The first, obviously, is that you don't have an open Internet connection when you're trying to access the Online Database. ChessBase won't prompt you by bringing up an online connection box from Internet Explorer (or whatever other Interrant browser you're using). So you'll need to remember to open a 'Net connection before trying to access the Online Database. Push comes to shove, just minimize ChessBase and then get online through your normal means while ChessBase is minimized in your Windows Taskbar.

The other possibility that comes to mind is that you're using ChessBase at work and your company has a firewall that blocks unauthorized incoming and outgoing 'Net traffic. The solution here is a bit knottier because you're not likely going to be able to solve this one on your own. Find out who's responsible for IT (Internet Technology) in your company and ask if they'll pretty please set your computer up to allow ChessBase to "call out" to the Online Database. You might have to schmooze 'em a bit (bring 'em coffee and a pastry when you make your visit) and be sure to tell them that accessing the Online Database is spyware-free and won't do any harm to your company's system. Of course, there might be an issue over why you're horsing around with CB in the workplace -- just tell 'em you're studying some chess on your lunch break (and, by the way, if you use that line make sure it's the truth. Many companies that have firewalls also have Internet usage tracking software installed on the system so that they can tell what sites employees are visiting and when they're visiting 'em. So make sure you ditch those bookmarked bikini sites, too, while you're at it).

Here's another good one from my Inbox:

Dear Steve, My name is Sheldon I am a chessbase 8 user. I have some questions for you. I want to use chessbase 8 to record all my opening analysis and side variations but I just dont know where to start basically I just want to somehow record and analyse my repetoire and all variations that can occur within. I know you must be extremely busy but I dont know where to start or what features I should be using for this. If you can possibly point me in the right direction of an article online or give me some sort of clue in regards to where I should start I would deeply appreciate this. Im not looking for a in depth answer just something like "ok if you want do this then......" If anybody can help its you. I would be ok if I knew as much about chess base as you but unfortunetly I dont :) would you suggest just playing with it? Im not sure what efficient and whats not with chessbase.

Sheldon Pimentel
Toronto, Canada

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sheldon! I definitely encourage you to play around with the software; it's how I learned. Back in 1992, when the old DOS ChessBase 4 was the current version, somebody tossed me a disk and a manual and told me to "go have fun" (man, that sounds awfully familiar!). I spent a bunch of time with the program and (mostly) figured things out on my own. I had a blast doing it and little did I know that it would snowball into what it's become today. So I'm definitely all for you going in and playing around with the features -- and don't forget the Help file!

Meanwhile, though, we need to address your immediate concern: using CB to create a repertoire and study your openings. Fortunately I wrote a long series of columns on (more or less) that very topic. The exact specifics of what you're trying to accomplish varies a bit from the main theme of the series, but you'll be using all of the features discussed therein. Check out the article index for the year 2001 and scroll down the page to February through April; you'll find a nine-part series on using ChessBase to help you learn a new opening. It discusses creating databases and trees, adding games and analysis, and even copying bits of opening keys from the master key to your personal opening database. Even if a particular procedure isn't directly applicable to what you're doing, it might be something you can use in a modified form and will be good to know regardless. I'm pretty sure it'll put you where you want to be.

But definitely play around with the features! It's the way I learned and you really can't "break" anything unless you accidentally delete a database (and that's fairly hard to do unless you mean to do so).

I've received a few e-mails from folks who are a bit nervous about installing Fritz9, afraid that their previous 3D boards and chess engines won't appear in the relevant lists within Fritz9. If you've been installing your previous chessplaying programs to the default folders recommended by their Installation Wizards you won't have a problem; Fritz9 will recognize all of your prior boards and engines.

If, however, you've been changing the default installation folders to something different, you're going to need to do some copying of files. I obviously can't give you a chapter and verse procedure since I don't know the folder locations to which you've been installing your other chessplaying programs. The process, however, should be fairly intuitive since the basic folder structure is the same across the board: the 3D stuff is stored within various subfolders under the \3D folder and all of your engines will be in the \Engines folder. Just make sure you copy the files from your previous folders into the similarly-named folders in the place where you've installed your Fritz9 and all should be well.

One final item, which technically isn't from an e-mail. Somebody recently wrote an interesting post on a 'Net chess message board. The question was something like, "If you could have any job in chess professionally, aside from being a professional player, what would it be?"

Baby, this is it. I've been doing it for more than thirteen years and I ain't about to quit anytime soon; I'll go on and on until they get fed up and kick me out. And I definitely want to thank all of you readers, my editors/publishers, my proofreaders, and all of my friends and cronies who keep egging me on. Without all of you I wouldn't have this great gig; in fact, there'd be no point to it. Thanks all!

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. All responses will be read, and sending an e-mail to this address grants us permission to use it in a future column. No tech support questions, please.

© 2005, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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