Review of ChessBase Complete

by ChessBase
9/21/2014 – "A lovely book," writes Allan Beardsworth, "buy it if you use ChessBase, especially if you are like me: only good with the basic functions; or if you are an absolute novice with it." The owner of 556 chess books, "many read, many to be read, many never to be read," says that this book will remain by his computer for probably a good many months." That could apply to many. Review.

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ChessBase Complete

A review by Allan Beardsworth

A lovely book: buy it if you use ChessBase, especially if you are like me: only good with the basic functions; or if you are an absolute novice with it.

Jon Edwards has written an extensive user manual based on ChessBase 12. (He writes that Chessbase have confirmed to him that their next release, CB13, won't differ in terms of the guidance in his book).

Production qualities are good: a very nice front cover in both design and feel, creates a good first impression of the book. Some of the diagrams in the book could have been produced better (on occasion there is reference to coloured lines or arrows, but the pictures are in black and white) but this would be mere carping.

If truth be told, I liked it from the very first paragraph, in which Jon writes that he has about 3,000 chess books, which is itself nothing compared with the late Lothar Schmidt's library of over forty thousand. But Jon is a better comparator for me than a professional player like Lothar was, so my paltry 556 books (catalogued, excluding magazines) pales by comparison. I hope my wife reads this paragraph.

I have used ChessBase for many years- perhaps a dozen, but relatively infrequently until the last year or so. I found the program and online help poor, had dipped into and out of Steve Lopez's old articles, but basically given up with learning ChessBase properly, thinking it was 'clunky'.

A particular area was (and to some extent is) opening repertoires. I have never had one, basically deciding at the board what I wanted to play (not too bad, since I only play blitz and very occasionally rapid), but felt I should have one.

However, the main beauty of Jon's book is that by telling you about various buttons and how-to-dos, he gives you the freedom to explore by yourself. I have particularly learned a lot about game annotation, including the annotation palette, which I never knew existed, and several shortkeys. I had been blind to little things, such as the link in the bottom left hand corner to Playchess – I tended to access Playchess when watching games via Deep Fritz.

There are chapters I didn't need, such as how to play on Playchess (if the book were to be reprinted, and if there were to be some additions which required some parts to be pruned, I would suggest deleting these, as not being really part of the title) but plenty I will read and read again: such as publishing, and openings. I have also learnt a lot about searching, which until now I had limited to by player or by position: this looks to likely be a very useful new skill for me.

Most of my chessbooks are in my bookshelves: many read, many to be read, many never to be read; I like to be tidy and organised. However, this book will remain by my computer for probably a good many months. The principal strength is that it has given me permission to 'go explore' the program, learn for myself more of what it can do. Often I will now be able to do so without support, but I think on occasion it would be helpful to dip into and out of this great resource.

Allan Beardsworth is a strong junior chess player. Learning the game because of Fischer-Spassky, his first clubmate was Nigel Short, three years his junior. Nigel followed Allan to his senior school, and a lifetime of friendship has been the result, including playing for England Juniors together. In 2004 and 2006 Allan captained the England’s mens’ teams in the Olympiads.

Currently Allan is a tax partner at Deloittes, Manchester. With the demands of work and family was now only a keen Internet blitz player and follower of chess: his 2012 rapidplay rating was 227 (UK, equivalent to 2466 FIDE), though this is an example of “lies, damn lies and statistics”, because it is based on only the one tournament he plays each year. Allan suspects his true current rating is a couple of hundred points lower. For many years he has sponsored chess in the UK. His biggest fear in chess is not knowing how strong (or rather, weak) he will be in his retirement, when he finally has time to resume playing over the board.

Finally Allan is a friend of the ChessBase news page – hardly a day goes by when we do not receive a message from him, correcting typos or even the tiniest of errors that have crept into our stories. The original source of the above review is the Allan Beardsworth chess blog.

ChessBase Complete: Chess in the Digital Age

By Jon Edwards

Published by Russell Enterprises, 2014,
ISBN 978936490547
Paperback, 356 pages
Price: €29.95 / $34.95

Imported in Europe by New In Chess, Holland
Available at your local (chess) bookseller or
at New In Chess and Amazon

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