Chess Databases: Scid, ChessDB and ChessX

In some of my previous posts I have mentioned the ChessDB chess database program, but you may also want to use one of the other free available chess databases.
Scid (Shane’s Chess Information Database) was written by Shane Hudson. He started Scid in 1999, but the development stopped in 2004.
December 2006 the development of Scid continued with the publication of the first release of ChessDB. This project was started by Dr. David Kirkby.
Pascal Georges joined him, but the cooperation went very wrong and he started another continuation of Scid. The two different points of view can be found here and here.

In addition ChessX is another free chess database under development. Initially ChessX also has started as a continuation of Scid, but after some initial development, it was decided to break away from the Tcl/Tk code and start to program in Qt and C++ in order to get the program faster.

Another free chess database is Jose, but you can also use the free versions of some of the commercial chess databses. Chess Assistant Light is the free version of Convekta‘s Chess Assistant and ChessBase Light 2007 is the free version of ChessBase. Chess Assistant Light is limited to 15,000 games and the games are limited to 255 moves. ChessBase Light is limited to 32,000 games per database.

You just have to look and decide for yourself which (free) Chess database will be the best.


How to create an opening analysis?

This lesson is based on the use of ChessDB, but for other Database programs similar approaches can be used. I suppose that in the future some tutorials will be added to the ChessDB site, so make sure that you also check this site.

I will give a very short explanation and you probably need the program to be able to understand all the steps. Please note that ChessDB also enables you to generate an opening report. If such a report fulfills your needs don’t take the time to create a much more time consuming opening analysis.

We start by opening our lessons database or by creating such a database. In addition we will also open the large database. By means of the Database switcher it will be rather easy to switch between these two databases.

Switch to the large database and open the Tree Window. In this Tree Window we will check the Lock checkmark.
And since we are here we can also click on the little button on the left which will open the Best Tree Games window.

Now we select the lessons database by means of the Database switcher. Here we start to enter a new game.
You make the initial moves of the opening you are going to analyze on the board and make the decision if you want to analyze the opening for White or for Black. My advice is to analyze an opening for one side at a time.

By selecting the first mentioned move in the Tree window you are able to enter the main line. You can enter as many moves as you like, but try to remember that the purpose was to analyze an opening.

At this moment we also open the (PGN) Game Notation view. In this view select the first move for which the tree view showed more than one interesting continuation. If such an alternative exists for our own side we only have to add it if it looks very promising. Comments can easily be added by means of the Comment Editor.

If an alternative exists for the opposing side that is frequently played we have to add it too, because the purpose is to create material that assists us in learning an opening. Choose Add New Variation in the ChessDB’s pop up window.

The Best Tree Games window can be used to check which players have played the selected continuation and also to merge some example games in our analysis.

In addition one of the chess engines can be used to analyze the positions and you may want to add some comments or annotation symbols by means of the Comment editor.

Don’t forget to save the game you entered.

In the next lesson we will create an opening report of the Lolli Attack.

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