Saturday, 17 January 2009

Online Databases (and being organised)

Are online databases worth it? For most of my chess career I've mainly used databases stored on my local machine. I'm pretty sure I had a copy of Chessbase version 1 a long time ago, and also copies of Nicbase and Tascbase. Now I (like almost everyone else) use Chessbase, although I do use Scid on my linux box.
However I recently took out a subscription to It wasn't expensive and in purely money terms is about a quarter of the cost of Chessbase, although that is on a per annum basis. I've also taken free subscriptions to a couple of other services, such as In a sense it's not the data I'm paying for (as with enough searching I can find petty much every important game ever played), but someone elses organisational skills.
And as if this isn't enough even have got in on the act, but in a different way. They are producing a weekly newsletter that covers opening developments of the past week! However they assume that the customer has access to the data, as the newsletter discusses what's new and hot in opening theory, but doesn't present the games themselves. But while it is tempting, I'm still tossing up whether my total expenses on these services is entirely warranted!


jesgar said...

Scid was nice software, but it has been discontinued since 2004 :-( The only Linux sotware that remains in active is Jose ( and ChessDB (

David (ANU chess) said...

I also have a sub to - their Opening Explorer tool is pretty useful, and links in to the games database. You can use it in free mode, but only to a limited depth.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shaun

I'll have to have a look at some of the online resources you mention.

One of the things I like about chessbase is that I can open my own 'repertoire' databases and enter games, annotations and my own comments from a variety of different sources (i.e. books, DVD's, advice from Solo etc) and then can play over these games in a fraction of the time (eg on afternoon before a weekender) it takes to set up a physical board.

In a similar vein, I am also making an 'endgame' database in Chessbase with a similar concept.

I guess the acid test of whether your outlays are worth it is if your game improves a little bit.


Peter said...

With the ChessVibes Openings PDFs we also provide PGNs with all the games and analysis, Shawn.