Questions and answers

9/10/2003 – In this week's ChessBase Workshop, Steve Lopez answers a handful of common questions regarding ChessBase and Fritz. There is bound to be something of interest to you.

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by Steve Lopez

This week: some answers to a few common questions.

Q: How do I use Fritz to delete games in a PGN file?
A: You don't. All you can basically do with PGN files in Fritz is search and view games. If you want to be able to use the full range of database tools in Fritz, it's best to convert your PGN database to CBH format (create a new CBH database and copy the PGN games into it). As for deleting games from PGN files, you can do this in any word processor or text editor -- a PGN file is just an ASCII text file anyway.

Q: How do I get the Engine analysis pane to display the threat in a given position in ChessBase 8?
A: I know of three ways to do this. The first is to right-click in the Engine analysis pane and select "Threat" from the popup menu. The second is to hit SHIFT-T on your keyboard. The third way is an easier keyboard shortcut: just hit X. If you're engine is already displaying threats, just use any of these three methods to return the engine to the normal display.

Q: How do I change the size of the panes in ChessBase/Fritz?
A: Pretty much the standard way as in most Windows programs. Move your mouse cursor over the edge of a pane and you'll see the cursor change to a two-headed arrow. Click and drag this to resize the pane.

Q: In ChessBase 8, how can I play through the main variation an engine is giving me without interrupting the engine or dropping the variation into the actual gamescore?
A: Right-click in the Engine analysis pane and select "Variation board". PLEASE NOTE: you may need to make the Engine analysis pane larger or increase your computer's screen resolution in order for this feature to work properly. You'll see something that looks like this:

The larger you make the Engine analysis pane, the larger the Variation board will appear. Use the "VCR buttons" below the board to move back and forth through the variation displayed in the Engine analysis pane. To get rid of the Variation board, just right-click in the pane and select "Variation board" again.

Q: How do I get to the game list in Fritz8?
A: I get this question a lot and it strikes me as strange because there are plenty of ways to do it. One way is to go to the File menu, select "Open", and then select "Database" from the submenu. Another way is to go to the Window menu and select "Database".

The easiest way (to me) by far is to just hit the F12 key on your keyboard. It's a really handy shortcut, because it toggles back and forth between the main chessboard screen and the game list screen (in other words, if you're in the game list and want to go back to the main screen, you can hit F12 here too and it will return you to the main chessboard display).

Q: I've "lost" my Notation/Engine/Clock/etc. pane in Fritz8. How do I get it back?
A: Go to the Window menu, select "Panes" and then choose the panes you want from the submenu. As a super-fast shortcut to use later, save this display as a layout (Window/Save) -- the next time you "lose" a pane or adjust your layout and decide you want the old layout back, you can just go to Window/Load and reload the saved layout. There's no limit to the number of saved layouts you can have. And a really neat feature is that it also saves board colors/designs, so you can create piles of board designs and save them along with the overall screen layout.

Q: How do I enter a "blank" move in Fritz (to show what will happen if the moving player doesn't respond to a threat, for example)?
A: There are a couple of ways to do this. You can go to the Insert menu and select "Enter null move". You can also use the keyboard shortcut CTRL-ALT-0 (that's a zero, by the way, not the letter o).

Q: How do I bookmark games in ChessBase 8?
A: There's no bookmarking feature, per se, but there is a way to do this. At the point in the game where you want to insert your "bookmark", right-click on the move, select "Special annotation" from the popup menu, and select "Set medal" from the submenu. Choose a medal type (I typically select "User") and click "OK". Then be sure to use "Replace game" (File/Replace) to save your bookmark.

To find your game later, either look for the medal in the game list (if it's a small database) or use the "Medals" tab in the search mask to look for all games containing the type of medal you use for your bookmarks. The cool part is that when you double-click on the game to load it (after a search), the game will be loaded with that exact position already on the chessboard.

To "unbookmark" a game, just right-click on the move, select "Special annotation/Set medal", click on the proper medal box to remove it, and click "OK". Again be sure to use "Replace game" to save the newly de-bookmarked version.

Q: I marked a game for future deletion, but I changed my mind and want to unmark it. The problem is that I can't find it in my database. How do I find games marked for deletion?
A: Open the search mask, click the "Annotations" tab, and check the box next to "Deleted". Click "OK" and the program will pull up a list of all games in that database which are marked for deletion.

Until next week, have fun!

© 2003, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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