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A quick guide for Chessbase users
keywords: Chessbae, Migration, Orientation, CBF, CBH
Robert Pawlak
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.

Data Exchange

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:

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.

Engine Compatibility

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:


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