The save/replace game dialogue - part 2

2/28/2009 – Our examination of game headers continues in the latest ChessBase Workshop. When you load a game and then save or replace it there are certain important things to consider. You'll discover quite a number of "hidden" fields that are used to correctly maintain tournament information as we unlock the mysteries in our latest Workshop installment.

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In the previous ChessBase Workshop, we looked at the difference between saving and replacing games, as well as some basic tips regarding game headers. Now we're going to dig a little deeper and look at some "hidden" game header info.

Let's look again at the basic dialogue you'll see when you save or replace a game:

In last week's column we skipped over the "Tournament" field, except to say that you can enter some basic information here such as a tournament name or a geographic location. I also left out a small detail about the "Tournament" field; if you have a database's game list open in another window when you use "Save game", the field will automatically be filled in with the information from the first game in that database:

Now before you go asking why this happens, think about the subject mater of this (and the previous) column. One of the primary functions of ChessBase 10 is to facilitate game entry, that is, to allow users to quickly and easily enter games into a database. When you download games from the Internet (from ChessBase or The Week in Chess, for example) you're often downloading complete tournaments, and these are games someone entered into a database by hand. The ChessBase programmers are basically looking out for these folks who are contibuting to the overall data pool; instead of requiring users to re-enter tournament info by hand, the software just repeats the info from the database's first game, on the assumption that the user is entering all the games from a tournament and that the database they're creating will consist of games from just that event.

The "Tournament" field is just a small part of the total tournament information that can be attached to a game in ChessBase 10. Let's click on the large "Details" button and see what happens:

This dialogue allows you to enter a boatload of additional tournament info. Although this information won't appear directly in the game header in a database's game list, much of it is actually crucial to the overall historical record.

The first thing we should note is the presence of three categories of tournament information, listed in this dialogue's lefthand box:

  • General
  • Place
  • Tiebreak

Although these three entries aren't depicted as "tabs" (as in other ChessBase 10 dialogues), that's exactly what these entries are: just click on one to switch sections of the dialogue. We'll examine each of these three sections in turn, starting with "General". This is where you enter the overall tournament information.

"Title" refers to the name of the event: "Tenth Podunk International Masters Congress" or whatever other name the event bears. If there's no actual name for the event, just type the geographic location in this blank (such as you see in the above illustration: "Monte Carlo"). The three "Date" fields are self-explanatory. "Category" refers to the FIDE category number for the event (if one applies); if the tournament doesn't have an official category number, leave the field at "0" and don't check the corresponding box. "Rounds" refers to the total number of rounds (not games) in the tournament; you can actually enter some ridiculously insane values here (like "10000"). "Type" is a pulldown menu which contains the following choices:

  • Single game
  • Match: used when two players contest a series of games against each other
  • Round-robin: an "all play all" event (USCF weekend "quads" qualify as such)
  • Swiss System
  • Knockout
  • Simul: not technically a tournament form, but very useful since ChessBase 10 now contains a toggle allowing simuls to be excluded from game searches
  • Schevenigen System: used for pairing team events

Just pull down the menu by clicking on the black arrow, and choose the correct tournament type.

"Team tournament" is an interesting section which allows you two choices. If the pairings for each round are made by team results, choose the "Team tournament" box. If pairings are made by individual results (but each individual's wins/draws contribute to an overall team total), then choose "Board points". (The latter is a relatively uncommon way to run team events, but such tournaments do still occur.)

I'm not going to touch the difference between "blitz", "rapid", and "normal" with a ten-foot pole, because anything I'd say would be a guarantee of an e-mail box filled with reader diatribes. However, according to FIDE, "Blitz" is any time control less than fifteen minutes, while "Rapid" is any time control between fifteen and sixty minutes; as always, let your good judgement be your guide. "Correspondence", though, is pretty cut-and-dried: it refers to time controls measured in days, not minutes or hours.

Now let's click on "Place" and see what we scare up:

"Nation" is optional; you can activate it by placing a check in the corresponding box and then selecting an abbreviation from the pulldown menu. "City" is self-explanatory; the large box can sometimes provide existing choices for you. For the pathologically over-meticulous among us, ChessBase 10 also offers "Latitude" and "Longitude" fields (in case algebraic notation is ever replaced by GPS coordinates).

Now we'll click "Tiebreak" and see what kind of dialogue we get:

The specific content of this dialogue will depend on the tournament type you select under the "General" tab; in the above illustration, "Round-robin" was selected. The pulldowns allow you to select tiebreak forms specific to the tournament type, and if more than one tiebreak is in effect, you can select them in hierarchal order using the multiple numbered pulldowns.

You might think that we're finished with the "Save/Replace game" dialogue, but there's still more to discuss. We'll look at the last of it in the next ChessBase Workshop. Until then, have fun!

© 2008, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

Topics: ChessBase 10
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