Searching for tactics and classical manoeuvres

by Steffen Giehring
6/12/2018 – Tactics are fun and solving tactics puzzles improves your chess. The search mask of ChessBase and Fritz allows you to quickly find games with sacrifices. And that's only one of the many options for this tool! | Drawing: ChessBase

Mega Database 2018 Mega Database 2018

The "Mega" is the database every serious chessplayer needs. The database contains 7.1 million games from 1500 to 2017, in highest quality standard, full of top level analyses and completely classified.


Mining Megabase

The Mega Database can help you in your chess research, whether for fun, training or teaching. Here are some tips to unlock the power of the Mega.

Position search

To find games with sacrifices in the selected database use the Position tab.

If you check Sacrifice the program searches for all games in the database in which short-term sacrifices occurred. Of course, you can combine this option with other search criteria.

For example: In "Game data" select "White"="Tal", "Wins only", and in the search mask check the option Sacrifice. The program will find all games in the selected database in which Tal sacrificed material and won.


Here's one of the results of just such a search:


Can you guess Tal's move?

Searching for sacrifices provides you with plenty of positions that help you to practice at home.

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Classic manoeuvres

The search mask also helps to find classical manoeuvres. Go to the tab Manoeuvres:

On the left of the search mask is a field in which the moves of the manoeuvre will appear. If the move-order is important, activate "Check move order". Using the option "Mirror Horizontal g1=g8" searches for games in which the manoeuvre you search for was either played by White or by Black, e.g. searching for the move Bxh7 will also find games in which the move Bxh2 was played.

Here's how you define your search: With the tabs "W", "B", and "WB" you first define which side played the move you are searching for. Below that is a drop-down menu from which you pick the piece that made the move you are searching for. After choosing the piece, you enter the starting and the ending squares of the move, e.g. Bd3-h7. A question mark searches for any entry, e.g. "?3-?3" searches for any moves on the third rank.

If you are searching for a move in which a piece or a pawn is captured check the little box. In the following list you can define whether you want to search for moves in which a particular piece (or a pawn) is captured. A "?" searches for all captures. You can also include "Promotion" or "Sacrifice" into your search.
With "Moves" and "Length" you define the part of the game in which the manoeuvre should occur. "Length" refers to the maximum number of half-moves that the whole manoeuvre is allowed to last.

For example: Find games in which White sacrificed a bishop on h7 and followed up with a knight check on g5:

This is clearly a classic sacrifice which has occurred in many games found in the Mega Database. Here's a list:

game list

Of course, you can sort this list, e.g. if you click on "Elo" for White the games of the highest-rated players appear at the top of the list. In this example, we have the game Kasparov-Short played 25 years ago.

Kasparov vs Short


Dr Steffen Giehring, born in 1968, has been a ChessBase employee for over 25 years. Since autumn 2018 he has been editor-in-chief of ChessBase Magazine together with Oliver Reeh.