A quick guide for Chessbase users
keywords: Chessbae, Migration, Orientation, CBF, CBH
Sunday, May 21, 2006
It's recently come to my attention that there are quite a few Chessbase users out there that want to give Chess Assistant (CA) a shot. But, they're worried about a few issues, the primary one of which is data compatibility. So let's take a look at some of these in this article.
Chess Assistant can read (but not write) Chessbase format files. Generally speaking, CA will read and convert just about any CB format file, but with a few exceptions. This includes both the old chessbase format (with the CBF file extension), and the new format as well (with the CBH extension). Even though CA can read the most heavily annotated Chessbase format file, there are still a few things that won't transfer over. Here is a list that I've compiled:
- Hypertext articles - These just show up as empty games.
- Multimedia comments - The game will be imported fine, but the sound and video will be missing.
- Training questions - Timed training questions will not be read in, but the game and game fragment will be. Chess Assistant does have a training function that can be used with these positions, if you so desire.
- Chess Assistant cannot read new archive format files with the CBV extensions, since this type of file is compressed, and optionally encrypted as well.
For best conversion results, simply open the CB format file in CA, and copy or convert it over to a new CA format database. You'll have the best results if you don't attempt to convert the file to PGN first.
Note that CA does have the ability to export and import PGN, which is a format that Chessbase supports as well.
Most CB engines won't work within CA. This is because Chessbase uses a proprietary engine communications protocol that has not been released to the public. You can of course always conduct analysis within Fritz, Junior, etc, and simply open the resulting database within CA. However, running them as internal engines within CA is not currently possible.
The only commercial CB engine that currently works as an internal analysis engine is Shredder (and you need a Chessbase version that includes the Shredder UCI engine). To use Shredder, you've got to install the "Shredder Classic" program, and set it up as a UCI engine within CA. The data on the CB Nalimov endgame CDs can also be used within CA as well.
CA comes with the Tiger engine standard, so there is no need to try and use the Chessbase version of Tiger within CA.
Most Winboard and UCI engines that run under Chessbase will also work under Chess Assistant as well.
If you know Chessbase, then learning Chess Assistant is not that difficult. The basic functionality of the two programs is very similar, but the implementations are quite different. Generally, once you learn your way around CA, you'll find that it is a very efficient program. Here are a few of things that you might want to be aware of, or take a look at:
- The annotation dialog - CA's annotation dialog is a bit more complex than its counterpart in CB. However, it gives you greater control over the formatting of comments. I've got a flash tutorial that explains how some of the annotation fields are used (see this link for more information).
- Engine analysis - CA offers much greater flexibility for analyzing games. For example, you can analyze a game or list of games within CA, or blunder check games if you want. You can even analyze individual marked positions within a game in batch mode, if you so desire. CA also support what CB calls "Infinite Analysis". You do not need to call external programs (like Fritz) for game analysis.
- The browser bar - CA has an area on the left hand of the CA window that allows you to see all the open windows in the program at once. Within this window, you can drag and drop games to copy them from database to database. This is very quick and easy to do. IMO the browser bar is one of the better features of the program.
- Trees - In CA, most chess trees are connected to individual databases. 99% of the time, you really don't need to worry about building trees. Chess Assistant will prompt you if this is necessary. Trees are also built very quickly, so you shouldn't worry about generating them. Right now, there are extra steps required in CA if you want to use a tree as an opening book for a playing program. This is a complex topic, and is covered in this article.
- Hugebase - In CA, this database is the default "reference database", as it is called in CB terminology. It is the main database you'll want to search for reference games and the like. It is roughly equivalent to CB's "Mega" database, but contains fewer commented games.
- Openings 2003 - This is something like the Fritz powerbooks, but it is much more powerful. This database contains a summary of human opening theory, and can easily be accessed from any position on the board (ctrl-shift-o).
- CAP - Currently, Chessbase cannot read CAP data. CAP contains computer analysis of many opening and endgame positions. It is available in almost any tree display.
- Playing games - Chess Assistant allows you to play a game against any engine that you set up within the program. You can also run engine tournaments from within CA.
- ICC - CA has a built in client for the Internet Chess Club.
- Chessplanet - CA also has a built-in client for connection to their own chess server.
ChessAssistant is a trademark of ChessOK
Syndication available through rss.xml