Chess databases store games and information about games, and can manipulate and recall that information in a variety of ways. The "big four" of chess databases are Chess Assistant, ChessBase, NICBase, and Bookup. You can purchase data disks for each of these databases. NICBase and ChessBase are game-oriented, Chess Assistant is position or tree oriented as is Bookup. While Bookup is primarily known for studying openings it really is also useful for endings, as may be noted by Chuck Schulien's endgame books. You can also enter middle game tactics for study. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. A good (but dated) review of these programs was written by Eric Schiller and appeared in the Sept. 1990 _Chess Life_. A more current review was written for the APCT, and Jon Edwards has volunteered his e-mail address for information: firstname.lastname@example.org. At this time, I believe each of these programs can interface with Fritz, Zarkov, HIARCS, and Chess Genius. A saved postion (epd format) can even be retrieved by ChessMaster 4000. The next version of ChessMaste 5000 is expected to be able to have a closer integration with the database software. Reviews will be incorporated and expanded here as I more fully evaluate the programs.
Chessbase for Windows Chess Assistant now have an expanded review and improved coverage. Deja Vu, Bookup, Nicbase and others will follow, as available. Sincere thanks to both ICS and ChessBase USA for making their programs available for evaluation.
Bookup from Bookup, Inc. 2763 Kensington Place West, Columbus, Ohio 43202
1-800-949-5445 toll free
614-263-7219 outside the United States
Request 20 questions pamplet and other information.
Version 8.5 is now available for $149.
Bookup Version 1.0 for Windows 3.1/Win95 for $179
Version 2.5.1 for MacOS costs $99. Online demo is available at caissa.onenet.net. This demo may read any version 8 database and includes a subset of the e4 openings. Definitely look at the demo and sample data on ICS. Opening study books, are also available. Endgame studies too! Make your own studies for tactics! Books on disk include The Scheveningen Sicilian, London System, Samisch Seminar, Open Game, Classical Ruy, Smith-Morra, and the Closed Game. Books on disk are priced from $25- $29 The opening books are directed at a varied audience from club player to that which would be suitable for a grandmaster's opening repertoire. Annotations are geared to the level at which the specific book is directed.
Bookup can be used to rapidly study openings. All of the information and notes regarding a specific position is stored with the position itself. This is helpful if a position is reached via transposition. A new book can be created rapidly by either entering the moves by hand or even faster by selecting and exporting in PGN format a series of games from a Chess Assistant or Chessbase database. PGN games are easily imported to create a branching positionaly based tree. The informtion regarding game results and players is retained. Bookup for Windows can be used with other windows programs. At this time only Deja Vu and Chessbase work well within Windows. Chessbase combined with Fritz is a nice way to check out your books and come up with additional lines. Ultimately plans are for Bookup for Windows to contain an integrated chess machine. Unlike the DOS viewer, available for free, the Windows viewer costs $29. I recommend the full product! While Bookup initially gained its reputation for opening study, it is also useful for many more aspects of chess. FM Chuck Schulien has written a Bookup book called "100 Essential Endings" which contains 7,000 positions. This follows his "King & Pawn" set of endgame studies. The "Rubinstein Collection" is FM Chuck Schulien's more advanced analysis of Akiba Rubinstein's instructive endings. Bookup may also be used for middle game study. Entering positions from your favorite middlegame or tactics book will be helpful. You can than set Bookup to training and test your ability to handle these positions. Bookup can also be integrated with several chess computer programs. These programs all utilize the EPD format. More information on the expanding list of chess computers can be obtained directly from Bookup. This is useful to generate an analysis of the postions in your specific book.
Hundreds of books-on-disk are available commercially from companies such as Chessworks Unlimited(1-800-700-1242 ( email@example.com) and Chessworks homepage.
Chessworks Unlimited has demos of their products at: ftp.chessworks.com and via their homepage. DixonData (614-890-4140) is another supplier of compatable educational material.
ChessAssistant 1.4 (MS-DOS); $195. Free conversion utilities for PGN, NICBase, ChessBase formats. Free functional demo available. The demo works on up to 250 games. Get the demo! This functional demo will give you an idea of the power of this program. It is available directly from ICS, Seattle, Washington and is also found online at caissa.onenet.net. The online name is capgn.exe. (550,000k+of selfextracting file). International Chess Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 19457 Seattle, WA 98109 1-800-26-CHESS or 206-448-1066. 5,000 games included in basic. One of the outstanding features is the "tree", from which all of the paths leading into and out of a particular board position are displayed. The percentages wins for white, draws, wins for black are displayed for each move , and the same statistics may be toggled on for that particular board position. Header and position searches. Easy easy to use, the interface and menu is quite intuitive. When entering your own games, a move guessing algorithm is used by CA and is extremely helpful. May be linked to Zarkov, Chess Genius, Fritz or HIARCS for analyis assistance. 1995 subscription 2,000 games sent every 2 months $150. 350,000 games on CDROM $250. This is truely an amazingly large number of games. Annotated Game Collections: include CA-Light Ruy Lopez (Spanish), Sicilian Chelyabinsk (...e5, Lasker/Pelikan), King's Indian Averbakh, Sicilian Rossolimo - $15 each. Toll free support is available 5 days per week. (longer review of CA coming shortly). The Web Page of I.C.E. is available at: I.C.E. Homepage
Chess Assistant ftp site in Russia: Games in chess assistant format: FTP access on site : ldis.cs.msu.su or 220.127.116.11 User : Anonymous MainDir : /PROJECTS/FTP/CA-DATA/OUTGOING
ChessBase 4.0 (MS-DOS only); basic $295, deluxe $395, super mega - $595. upgrade from 2.2 $75. ChessBase ACCESS $39.95. ChessBase USA, P.O. Box 133, Hagerstown, MD 21741. 301-733-7541 (orders only: 800-524-3527); fax 301-797-6269. USCF prices: 3.0 $279, ACCESS $37.95. ChessBase 4.0 is out; upgrade from 3.0 is $60-70, Depending on manual. $5 demo disk.
ChessBase for Windows (Windows 3.1); $295 basic. deluxe $395. Currently there is a special available with the basic ChessBase for Windows: 200,000 games are included at no extra charge. Chessbase Homepage Upgrade from CB 4.0 for DOS is $80. Analysis module $60. ChessBase USA, P.O. Box 133, Hagerstown, MD 21741. 301-733-7541 (orders only: 800-524-3527); fax 301-797-6269. A demo is available in 2 parts.
Deja Vu Chess Library (Chessworks Unlimited at 1-800-700-1242, or via fax (415) 712-0720 or via Internet (firstname.lastname@example.org or Chessworks@aol.com. $349.00 list price.)
Deja Vu Chess Library is a CD-rom containing over 350,000 chess games in a FoxPro-based database, including a powerful search engine. It can be used as a standalone research database or in conjunction with most popular playing and chess processing programs. Data is accessible from ChessBase, Chess Assistant, Nicbase, Bookup and others. Macintosh and Windows versions are available. Since this is in a Foxpro based database, Foxpro or Visual Basic or Microsoft Access may also be used to develop your own program or set up features you would like to use. A new version is expected by the end of summer, a discounted upgrade to the new version will be available. Yearly CD database upgrades are expected to be available at less than $100 per year. National Master Eric Schiller designed the database project, which was implemented by John Crayton of J.H. Crayton & Associates.
The games supplied on the CD are not annotated. Games can be annotated, if they are on your hard disk rather than the CD, by inserting comments wherever you wish. All fields are editable, including the game itself, which is stored in a Fox Pro memo field.
A broad range of games from early excursions by Greco to events of June 1994. Most of the games are from professional chess events, included also are correspondence play (over 17,000) and 10% of the collection is from Open and amateur events. This allows for a diverse database which includes extensive examples of Gambit and unusual line play that is not as frequently seen in GM vs. GM collections.
Deja Vu itself will Search by player, event, year, result, number of moves, specific sequences of moves, openings (both ECO codes and by name) and any combination of these (including Boolean searches). Virtually any program that accepts ASCII or PGN import, including ChessBase, Chess Assistant, NICbase, Zarkov, Hiarchs, Kasparov's Gambit, Chessmaster, Chess Genius 3, Gazebo, Bookup. Some programs require a conversion utility for PGN import. Chessworks Unlimited supplies a converter for ChessBase.
Exportable data can be produced in the following formats: ASCII, PGN, Kasparov's Gambit, Figurine notation (USCF standard), Bookup and FoxPro/dBase.
A CD-rom player, 3 Megs of available hard disk space, and 4 Megs of RAM, with Macintosh or Windows operating systems. You do not require FoxPro, since a runtime version is part of the Deja Vu application.
Deja Vu is a game collection, and intended to be used with other programs, not compete with them. The unique aspect of Deja Vu is that the games can be used with almost any program. You can even import them directly into Microsoft Word, Excel or Access. It is a true Windows/Mac program, with copy and paste functions via the clipboard. It does not have at this time have position search/compare features, built-in replay options, or other advanced chess playing functions. It is not copyprotected.
A demo is available, which has only the import feature disabled at: ftp.netcom.com in the directory ftp/pub/chesswks/DejaVuDemo
The TASC System-TascBase
Tasc has a fine looking and interesting program available. The complete information may be seen at their web site along with information on a variety of their products.
Chess Genius: Written in 386 assembler.$149 for Genius 3, or $75 for the Genius 2 to 3 upgrade. This price includes airmail registered delivery from PC Solutions. Local currentcy: 90 pounds + 2.50 pounds Post & Packing - (first class or airmail registered delivery) There is an automatic info service for Chess Genius - just email:- email@example.com and you will get an info sheet back. Having just been set up, it is primarily an advert-sheet at this time, but it will be expanded to include general new & interesting stuff as time goes on. Also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for direct questions.
NICBase 3.0 (MS-DOS or Atari ST: $195 with 5,000 games; $595 with 50,000 games) & NICTools ($125) from Chess Combination, Inc. P.O. Box 2423 Noble Station, Bridgeport CT 06608-0423. Phone 203-367-1555 or 800-354-4083; fax 203-380-1703; e-mail: email@example.com (Albert Henderson). Free catalog and sample of _New in Chess_. NICBase 3 demo disk free to users of CompuServe and the Internet. NICBase 3 was reviewed in _Chess Horizons_ Jul/Aug 1992, Canadian _En Passant_ Apr 1992, _California Chess Journal_ Feb/Mar 1992, and USAT _Chess Perspectives_ Nov 1991.
Smart Chess, available from 4M Data Systems, Inc. 800-125-3555 162 W. Washington St. Hagerstown, MD 21740 Macintosh Software