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ChessOK.com » IDeA Master Trees and IDeA Game Links
IDeA Master Trees and IDeA Game Links 12 October 2010

Last month I described over forty new features and improvements in version 4.0.6 of Rybka Aquarium. This month I discuss two further features that will be appreciated by opening analysts, correspondence players, and other serious chess players.

Many users have asked for a simple method to organize their IDeA results in such a way that they can quickly locate and retrieve previous analysis as needed. The more you use IDeA, the greater the need for such a feature becomes. In version 4.0.6, you can combine analysis results from several projects into a single master tree. When you create a new project you can retrieve relevant analysis from the master tree and add it to your project. With version 4.0.6, infinite analysis becomes a natural part of the IDeA analysis work flow, but in previous versions these two analysis methods were seldom mixed. Aquarium 4 improved the situation by offering a better mechanism to send positions for analysis in IDeA. Version 4.0.6 adds a new level of convenience by creating an “analysis center” where IDeA is accessible along with other Aquarium analysis tools. By linking an IDeA project to a game, you get access to analysis tools such as infinite analysis, without the need to switch back and forth between the game and IDeA.
DeA Master Trees
creating a new project you can pull the relevant data from the master tree, add it to your project and use it as a starting point for additional analysis. You can create as many master trees as you like.
If you have several projects with analysis of related opening variations (e.g. different variations of the Scotch Game), it may be convenient to create a single master tree for storing all the variations. A user who likes to analyze test positions with the aid of IDeA may want to create a master tree for each test suite. An endgame analyst could create one master tree for each type of endgame, etc. If you want to use a master tree in your project, switch to IDeA, select the project and click the “Edit” button in the ribbon. The “IDeA Project Properties” dialog box will be displayed. As the project description at the top of the image indicates, I am analyzing a variation of the English Attack in the Najdorf in this project.

Adding a master tree to your project

Here you click the underlined link in the “Master tree” field and select the master tree. You can either select an existing master tree or create a new one. In this case I have chosen to call it “NajdorfBe3″ and it is stored in the “IDeA” directory (within “ATrees”). If I created another project dealing with a different variation after 6.Be3, let’s say 6…e5 7.Nf3, I would also select “NajdorfBe3″ as the master tree for that project.

This is all that is needed. The master tree is now ready for use in this project. If your project already contains some analysis, the first thing you should do is export the project tree and add it to the master tree. It sounds complicated, but all you need to do is click a single button. When you open your project (e.g. by double-clicking it in the IDeA project list), you will see a new tab in the ribbon, “Master Tree,” which holds three buttons as shown below.

Clicking the “Export” button adds the project tree to the master tree. This operation has no effect on the project tree itself. “Export” is a split button and if you click the menu part (shown above in lighter color at the bottom of the button), you will see the following menu.

Selecting “From Project” here is equivalent to clicking the “Export” main button as described above, but “From File” let’s you choose any IDeA tree stored on your disk and add it to the master tree. You can use this option to load as many trees as you like into the master tree.

After exporting the project tree to the master tree, you can trim off the parts of the project tree that are no longer needed for your analysis. The “Crop” button, shown in the image above, selects the part of the project tree that you want to keep and deletes the rest. This operation has no effect on the master tree. Of course it is important to export your project tree to the master tree before cropping. Otherwise you risk losing some of your analysis.

By default, “Crop” will only keep the sub-tree that starts at the first active root position. Note that this refers to the order of the root positions in the “Root Node List,” which you can access in the project properties or by clicking the first “Root nodes” link in the “Project Status” window.

The “Crop” button is a split button, which means that if you click the small black triangle near the bottom of the button, you will see a list of options.

If you click the “Import” main button, it is equivalent to selecting the first menu option, “First Root.” The first active project root position will be located in the master tree, and the positions in the corresponding sub-tree are added to the project tree.

The “Current Position” item is highlighted in the image above. It works exactly like “First Root” except that the starting point for the imported subtree is the position that is displayed on the chessboard. “All Roots” searches for all positions in the master tree that can be reached
from one or more active project roots and adds them to the project tree.

You can use the import function when you want to extend existing analysis that you have stored in a master tree. An opening analyst might, for instance, organize his analysis into several master trees according to openings and then pull the relevant parts of his older analysis into a new project tree for further analysis. The same applies to a correspondence player who is playing an opening variation he has played before. If he has stored all his previous analysis of the variation in a master tree, he can retrieve it and add to the
project tree for the current game with the click of a button.

As you can see, this new powerful feature is very easy to use. Those who collect all their analysis and carefully organize their master tree collection will benefit most.

Master trees contain very valuable data; therefore, it is even more important than before to regularly back up all your IDeA analysis.

Note that if the same position exists in both trees during import/export, the evaluation in the source tree will overwrite the one in the destination tree. This means, for instance, that if you export the project tree to the master tree, the evaluations in the project tree will overwrite those in the master tree when the same position exists in both trees. Of course this makes no difference in the normal case; i.e., when you have analyzed each position once.

Linking an IDeA Project to a Game

Starting with version 4.0.6 you can link an IDeA project to a specific game. This feature gives users simultaneous access to IDeA as well as Aquarium’s other analysis tools. It is of interest to chess players working on their opening repertoire, opening analysts, and correspondence players who now can link an IDeA project to each of their ongoing games.

If you already have an IDeA project that you want to link to a game, then open the database containing the game and open the game for viewing. Switch to the Analysis tab.

Here you click the menu portion of the IDeA button and hover over (or click) “Link to project” to display a list of available projects. Select the project you want to link to the game. Note the top menu item “” which you can choose when you want to break the link between a project and a game. An alternative method is to click the tool button (highlighted in the image
below) in the “Send to” group. The “Select IDeA project” dialog box will appear.

Here you choose the project that you want to link to the game (in this example I have selected the project “Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3″), and then create the link by selecting “Link the IDeA project to current game.” As soon as you click OK, a little magic takes place. If you look at the notation window, you will see the link information at the top of the notation window.

The link information helps you identify linked games and Aquarium uses this information for the same purpose. If you want to break the link at a later time, you can either delete this comment or clear the check box in the “Select IDeA project” dialog box discussed above. Clearing “Link the IDeA project to current game” automatically removes the text from the notation.

The second change is that the tree window automatically switches to the project’s tree. Additionally, the tree will be locked (see Aquarium’s Hidden Treasures, Part Two), so it will continue to be displayed even if you switch to a different tree configuration in other games.

Note the new “Master” column in the IDeA tree configuration. It displays the evaluation stored in the master tree. If it is been a while since you exported the project tree, you can compare the numbers in the “Eval” and “Master” column to see the changes since you last exported the tree.

Two new tabs are also added to the ribbon when you link IDeA to the game: “Home – IDeA” and “Master Tree” as shown in the screen-shot below.

This means that now you get access to IDeA features in game view, but in previous Aquarium versions they were only available in IDeA mode. This eliminates the need to switch back and forth between IDeA and the game.

The fourth automatic change is that the game icon in the navigation tree is changed to indicate that it is linked to an IDeA project.

In this example, an IDeA project is linked to the Shirov game shown in the screen-shot. The icon at the beginning of the line has been changed and the text is displayed in red, indicating that the project is active. Finally, linking a project to a game, adds the IDeA “Stage Status” window.

The screen-shot shows an example of a database game that has been linked to an IDeA project.

Note that we are in database mode, but the IDeA tab is active in the ribbon and the “Stage Status” window is displayed in the lower right corner. The IDeA analysis can be started by clicking the “Start IDeA” button (leftmost button in the ribbon) as usual.

This means that in addition to other analysis tools, you can access IDeA while viewing the game. As an example, you can run IDeA and infinite analysis at the same time in a combined view showing the game, the infinite analysis and IDeA.

This screen-shot shows an example of IDeA and infinite analysis running side by side. The IDeA “Stage Status” window is located below the chessboard and infinite analysis, with several analysis engines, is running on the righthand side.

The design chosen for this feature has two advantages. You can link a project to more than one game and the link to the IDeA project follows the game when you copy it (e.g. with Ctrl+C). If you, for instance, paste the game into the Sandbox, you will see the IDeA tabs appear automatically and the “Send to” project is changed to the linked project. The same happens if you want to create a working copy of the game, but reserve the original game for storing only the final variations. In such cases there is no need to go through the linking process again – everything happens automatically.


IDeA master trees and IDeA game links are important features that have been wrapped inside an easy to use interface. I am convinced that both of these features will be widely used and lead to improvements in the analysis work flow of IDeA users. Aquarium 4.0.6 is a free update for current Aquarium users.

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