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Viewing tablebase data in Chess Assistant's tree
keywords: trick, tablebase, tree, configuration
Robert Pawlak
Sunday, March 06, 2005

There are two ways to view tablebase data within Chess Assistant. The first is via a chess engine, which is perhaps the most straightforward method. This method is currently supported by Chess Assistant 6,7 and 8 (possibly older versions as well, but I don't have them installed to check). The second is via the chess tree, which requires a bit more configuration. For the moment, I have only verified that the tree method works in Chess Assistant 8. It may work in earlier versions, but I make no guarantees.

This article assumes that you have first configured the tablebase access properly using either Convekta's tablebase installation program (briefly discussed here), or the manual method discussed here. Once that is completed, there are a few extra configuration steps that you need to complete to use the tree method. Essentially, some modifications need to made to the way tree data is shown. The rest of the article will give instructions on how to do this.

First, double check that tablebase access is configured for the Convekta EndgameTB engine. To do this, press alt-F11, which should bring up the engine's setup dialog box. Make sure that both the path to your tablebases (1) is set correctly, and that the EndgameTB engine appears in the list of engines (2). If either of these conditions is not true, then simply click on the ellipses next to the tablebase path (1) and specify the location of your tablebase files. After you've verified that the tablebase engine (EndGameTB) is installed properly, hit "OK" to dismiss this dialog box.

[TB engine setup]

Next, press shift-ctrl-F7 to bring up the tree configuration dialog. Single-click on the entry on the left side of the dialog called "Direct Tree". Then click the add button. After you do that, you should see something that looks like the picture below:

[dt setup]

Now making sure that Direct tree_1 is still selected (blue), click the "Rename" button, and change the name of this tree configuration to something like "Direct tree TB". This is an optional step, but it makes it easier to remember what this tree configuration is for. When you are done changing the name, hit "OK", which will bring you back to the tree configuration dialog. Now you want to scroll down the entries on the lower right hand side of the dialog until you see the row labeled "Engine's":

[tree setup]

Now double-click on the little gray box called "Engine's". An open file dialog will then appear. Now, here's where the "trick" comes in. Navigate to the directory where your tablebase files are stored on your hard drive. In my case it is "E:\TBs". Once you've done that, manually type "EndgameTB", where the "File name:" combo box is shown:

[file open dialog]

Make sure you type in "EndgameTB" exactly. There are no spaces, and it's all one word. Next click on "Open". This will take you back to the tree setup dialog. Then click on "OK" again. Now that you've got the tree configured, set up (or open up) a position with an appropriate number of men on the board. Most people have the five-man tablebase files installed, so I'll use the position below as an example:

[board position]

Once you've got the position on the screen, right-click over the board, chose "Properties", and you should see something like the dialog below. Now, where it says "Current tree configuration", select the tree configuration that you created earlier in this article. In my case, I called it "Direct tree TB". Also make sure that the "Tree" checkbox is checked as well:

[activate tree configuration]

Click on "OK' to dismiss this dialog. Now, you should be able to view tablebase data within the tree. The screenshot below shows the tree display in the lower right. All the legal moves from the position will be listed, as well as the numerical evaluation for each move (see the column labeled "Compute")!

[end result]

For some people, it will come as a surprise that black can draw in the above position, even though white has an extra piece. And in the board position, it is clear that black has to do something really stupid (like leave the rook en-prise) to lose.

Note that setting up this tree configuration only needs to be done once. Afterwards, the tablebase data will be visible any time that tree configuration is used.


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