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Opening repertoires, and using the new endgame classifier in Chess Assistant 7
keywords: Chess Assistant, Endings, Openings, Repertoire, Classifier, Folder, Template, Averbakh, Averbach
Robert Pawlak
Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Terminology:

Classifier - Contains folders that group games into logical categories.

Folders - Are collections of games that can be automatically or manually extracted from a larger collection.

Once games are placed in a classifier folder, they can be copied easily to another database (if desired). This example uses the KIA, but you should substitute your own openings from your personal repertoire.

Just because a game is in your repertoire base does not mean that it provides useful information. It usually takes manual examination to determine if a game is valuable or not.

Using Classifiers for Repertoire Database Updates

I've recently received a number of e-mails regarding the construction of a repertoire database. These databases normally contain only games that occur in one's own repertoire. It is easy enough to manually place games in a repertoire database, and this is the approach that I prefer to take. Thus, whenever I run across a game that I feel has a useful or thematic opening plan, I simply place it there. But since Chessbase offers an automatic method for extracting repertoire games, many people want to do the same thing with CA.

The process is simple in concept. Essentially, you construct a classifier that contains your repertoire. This classifier should be attached to the database that you place your new games in (be it downloaded from the internet or from some other source). You then reclassify the database whenever you want to check for relevant games. After reclassification, you copy the games to another database, or annotate it in some fashion, so that you know it is relevant.

Ok, let's first construct a classifier that contains a (very) small repertoire. For this purpose, suppose your repertoire consists of two variations from the King's Indian Attack:

We are going to use Hugebase for this example. So the first order of business is to create a new classifier. Right-click on the hugebase icon in the browser pane on the left hand side of the screen. Then select the "Classifier" menu entry. Then once the classifier window opens, hit the "New" button, and name the new classifier KIA.

[new_classifier]

Hit the "Ok" button, and another window will open. This window contains the contents of the classifier you just created. Next, we want to give the folders names that give an indication of their contents. So right click on the icon labeled "New Folder", and select the menu option labeled "Edit". Then type in the new name - call it "Caro-Kann". Now we need to specify the  criterion that this folder will use for extracting the Caro-Kann games. To do this, first click on the folder you just renamed, and then click on the button that looks like a folder with a magnifying glass on it, on the right-hand side of the screen. As an aside, note that there are two icons that look like this, one on the left, one on the right. They look similar because the functionality of both buttons is nearly the same - they both bring up the search dialog.

Conceptually speaking, folders are very simple - they give you the ability to store searches for later use. So what we are going to do is specify a position from the KIA vs. the Caro Kann.

After clicking on the folder button on the right side of the screen,  the search dialog box will open. Click on the button labeled "Clear all criteria". Then click on the check box labeled "Position". You should then see a picture of a chess board. Now, either simply put the position from the Caro Kann on the board by clicking and dragging the pieces, until you have something that looks like the following:

[caro_kann]

Then hit the button labeled "Set". Incidentally, this process can be sped up a bit. Let's say you are examining a game in which a position arises from your repertoire. Simply copy the board position to the clipboard with the right click context menu. Then, when you construct a classifier for that position, all you need to do is paste it into the search dialog (using the right-click context menu again).

Ok, now let's add a folder for the KIA against the French. For this, we create a new folder (hit the button with the green plus sign on it). And repeat the procedure that you went through with the Caro Kann, only this time, put the French position in the search dialog (and of course, you must do it for the appropriate folder, call it "French").

When you are done, you should see something like the following:

[completed_classifier]

If your screen does not have checks in the boxes, or numbers in the #Games column, then do not panic. Convekta changed the default behavior of the classifiers in one of the CA 7 patches. If you don't see the checkboxes or game totals, simply select both the folders (ctrl-click works best), then right click over then, and select "Update #games".

[updating_game_totals]
In fact, whenever you add games to the database, you will have to select the folders and update the game totals (note that ctrl-A selects all the folders). This is a fairly fast procedure, depending on the number of games in the database, and number of classifiers.

Now, if you want to look at the games in the "French" folder, all you need to do is double-click on the folder, and a dataset/list of KIA vs. the French games will open. Note that classifiers are linked to the database for which they were created, and so can be accessed from the database right-click context menu.

Once you've constructed a few classifiers, you will understand how powerful this tool is, especially since you are not restricted to simply doing positional searches - you can  construct a folder for any type of search, and folders can be nested, and contain text and animations as well. 

Power User Tip

Also note that once a game is in a particular folder, you can put that information into the header of a game, and search on it. You can do this by going back to a folder in the classifier, and clicking on "Add folder to found position" (see previous screen shot). Once this is done, any game that belongs to that folder will have an annotation to that effect placed in the header of the game. You can then search for this information by clicking on the "Set annotations" button on the comments tab of the search dialog. Once there, you can select particular folders to search for.

You will then notice that in the list view, there is now a capital "F" that appears next to all games linked to a folder. If you want to delete these folder references, you need to open a dataset that contains all the games with folder marks that need to be deleted. You then must select the "User folder" column in the dataset view. Then right-click over the column and select "Fill" from the tools menu. Be careful when doing so that you only select the user folder column.

The New Endgame Classifier

Did you know that Convekta is giving away a free endgame classifier to owners of CA 7? You can find it in the downloads section (it is called "endgame.zip"). To use it, you first create a new classifier like you did for the KIA. Only this time, you will employ a slightly different procedure to construct the folders. So let's first extract the file "endgame.zip" into a folder on the desktop. Also, you should make sure that you are using a current build of CA (I am using build 722 as of this writing).

Then, create a new classifier for Elite base. Incidentally, you could use any database you want at this point, but be warned that applying the endgame classifier to hugebase will take a loooong time. In any case, I've called the folder "Endings". Ok, now instead of giving the classifier a name like we did before, we are going to import it as a template. To do this, click on the box labeled "Use template" in the lower half of the new classifier options dialog. Then navigate to the folder that contains the contents of endgame.zip. Select the file called endings.tr1. You should then see something like this:

[creating_engings]

Hit "Ok". Normally, at this point you would reclassify the database by selecting all the folders and updating the number of games like you did previously. However, the endgame classifier is a different beast, and needs to be applied a bit differently. So we need to go back out to the browser pane, and double-click on the elite base icon, then single-click on the newly opened dataset that results. Then select "Classify using formulas" from the "Advanced" menu. You should then see a progress dialog box come up, and when CA is finished, if you look at the classifier, you should see something like the following:

[endings_classifier]

Pretty cool eh? Convekta has added some board diagrams to their classifier, and has used symbology to represent the material balance on the board. This particular classifier took a long time to create, and is based on the same classification scheme used in the famous Averbach endgame encyclopedias.

 







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