Beginner's common questions
This article covers some common database operations, like copying games, exporting to PGN format and the like. ...more
Improve your tactics!
Thanks to the wide variety of software and books available, it has never been easier to improve your chess. In this article, I discuss the components of tactical skill, and provide some guidelines for improving in this area. Along the way I also take a look at some popular myths and misconceptions about tactical ability, and how it is improved....more
Maxim Blokh shows us some of the techniques that he uses within Chess Assistant to create the problems in his books, and the program CT-ART. As some of you may be aware, many of the positions have a different solution, depending on who's side it is to move. Training positions like this buid tactical vision, since it requires the student to pay special attention to any resources the opponent might have. Maxim refers to these types of exercises as "dual task", for obvious reasons. ...more
Quickly filling in field names
Today, I've got a very quick article on automatically filling in field names. This technique is commonly used when you are quickly entering a number of games, and want to assign a single tournament name to them. Or let's say you're copy an number of games that you played on an internet server, and want to make sure that the server name is properly recorded. ...more
Chess Assistant Objects
Chess assistant has a number of things I will call "objects", for lack of a better term. However, working with, and understanding these objects is key to a deeper understanding of the program.
I highly recommend that beginners read this article (and some intermediate users), because it will enable much greater mastery of the program....more
Chess engine analysis is a vital tool for improving your play. However, many players do not know how to make the leap from the information that the computer provides, to true self improvement.
This article describes the missing link between engine analysis and improvement. It talks about how Chess Assistant can be used to keep track of, and isolate weaknesses in your play....more
The first part of my tree article discussed some general guidelines for using one type of tree versus another. This part of the article discusses the display of tree data, along with a little know feature present in versions of CA 7.1 and later. ...more
Chess Assistant has the most comprehensive set of chess tree functions available in any software. And while Chess Assistant's trees are capable of storing and displaying statistical data, they can also contain annotations, move evaluations, and the like.
Even though using the CA tree is very intuitive, users that want to go beyond viewing basic move statistics will be interested in some of what goes on "behind the scenes". This article will explain the different types of trees, as well as how they are used when the user clicks on the tree button.
But be warned that confusion is sometimes the price one has to pay for enlightenment!...more
The so-called "Infinite analysis" function is used quite often in the course of game analysis. And Chess Assistant (from versions 7 on) provides a very interesting method for comparing the strength of the moves played in the game, and the move(s) that the engine thinks may be better. It turns out that Chess Assistant is the only program on the market that can do this, but there is a trick to it. ...more
Chess Assistant trees are extremely powerful devices for studying openings. And while CA offers many tools for annotating the information within the tree, many users still have a great deal of this information stored within other programs like Bookup. This article shows you how to take your Bookup trees and put them in CA format. Note: this is article not for beginners ;-) ...more
Web Publishing with Chess Assistant
Chess Assistant's HTML output facility was markedly improved starting in Chess Assistant 7.1. This article discusses the two basic types of HTML output, along with a few of the more important settings that can be modified to change the appearance of the output. ...more
Chess Assistant has many methods for sorting and categorizing games. This article explains the difference between datasets, databases, classes and classifiers. ...more
A quick guide for Chessbase users
It's recently come to my attention that there are quite a few Chessbase users out there that want to give Chess Assistant 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. ...more
Analysis modes explained
Chess Assistant has a large number of engine analysis modes. While this is one advantage it has over other programs, this wide array of choices can be confusing at times. This article discusses when each mode should be used, along with its attendant analysis parameters ...more
The Chess Assistant ICC Interface
Chess Assistant (CA) has had built-in support for ICC since version 6. The ICC client has undergone many minor upgrades since then, and sets the benchmark for all other clients to strive for. In this article, I will briefly talk about some things which are very easy to do with the CA, and also touch upon some unique capabilities of the client. ...more
This article contains some interesting information on using the CAP data that is included with every copy of Chess Assistant (CA). ...more
Classifiers are your friend!
Many people don't realize it, but Chess Assistant (from version 6 and above) supports a system of classifiers. Furthermore, many users are also in the dark concerning what a classifier can do. In this introductory article, I will look at their capabilities, some of the uses for classifiers, and give a short example of where you might want to use a classifier. ...more
Which program is best for me?
While Convekta is most widely known for their two programs Chess Assistant, and CT-ART, they have a wide variety of other programs available as well. This article discusses how you can intelligently select among the programs in Convekta's comprehensive catalog. ...more
In this article, I'll talk about some CA features that you may not know about. Some are undocumented, while others may be enabled only through well-hidden settings in the options dialog ;-) In any case, some of these features can be quite valuable for specific tasks. ...more
Within Chess Assistant, the term "Direct tree" is used to refer to a type of tree in the generic sense. However, it also refers to a specific tree viewing configuration. You can see an example of the latter when you click on the drop-down menu that changes between the various tree configurations (i.e. default, current base, hugebase, direct tree). This article is for advanced users that want to update this tree. ...more
This article is taken from the "you learn something new every day" department. Alert reader Kimmo Muukkonen of Finland e-mailed me about a specific feature that he saw mentioned in some documentation on one of Convekta's tablebase DVDs. Further investigation revealed a hidden trick that can be used to view all tablebase data within the chess tree! ...more
Shredder 9 is arguably the strongest commercial chess engine, and it can easily be used within Chess Assistant. From there, you can use it to play against, or analyze games using Chess Assistant's myriad analysis functions. This article will provide a step-by-step tutorial guide to the installation process. ...more
In this article, Bob delves into the subject of the new background analysis modes in Chess Assistant (CA) 7. Use of this mode requires both a change in thinking as to how analysis is conducted with a computer, and the willingness to learn some more advanced CA concepts.
Note that this page may take some time to load, since there are a number of large graphics present. Make sure you are using CA 7 build 732 or CA 8 build 801 if you want to follow the text....more
Have you ever wanted to create a chess video that people can download? Or are you interested in creating videos for chess teaching and the like? This article will show you how to make some really cool videos with Chess Assistant and some freely available tools. ...more
This article provides some useful information for configuring tablebases within Chess Assistant. ...more
Sure, Convekta produces some wonderful software. But have you ever wondered about the business end of their company? Read this article to find out more about this topic, and Convekta's upcoming plans for the fall. ...more
Most of you are aware by now that Convekta produces the most innovative software for learning and studying chess. However, it is probably safe to say that many people don't know very much about Convekta as a company. ...more
It is well known that today's chess engines can challenge (and beat) the strongest players in the world. And while Chess Assistant comes with some really strong engines, it can be demoralizing to constantly lose to the computer. This article focuses on a couple of techniques for weakening the play of Chess Assistant (using the CraftySE chess engine and a handicap book), so that mere mortals can win a game occasionally. ...more
Because Chess Assistant does so much, it is a very complex program. Unfortunately, this complexity can mean that some things in the program might not work the way you expect them to. Based on personal experience, my observations of posts on USENET, and the Chessreviews mailing list, I've come up with the following short list of common CA 7 analysis problems and solutions. ...more
The annotation editor
The annotation editor in Chess Assistant is one of the most commonly used dialog boxes in the program. However, it can sometimes be a bit off-putting for new users, or for those that are used to other software. In this article, we will take a look at how move annotations are entered into the program, and talk a bit about how each field is used. ...more
When the first windows version of Chess Assistant was released, there wasn't too much scope for modifying the look and feel of the program. Things are much different now, especially with the advent of version 7. This article discusses some of the modifications that can be made to change everything from the piece set, to the appearance of ICC display. ...more
Some common mistakes
As with any software, it is sometimes easy to make certain mistakes when using CA (present company included). I'm going to tackle a few of these now. Hopefully, this article, and the tech FAQ will help answer some of your questions. ...more
Bob straps on his boots, and wades into the complexities of the Chess Assistant opening book. This article is definitely not for Chess Assistant newbies. But those wanting a basic understanding of how the opening book editor works should take a look. ...more
I've made available a copy of Chess Assistant's analysis of the X3D Fritz vs. Kasparov game. The analysis is in tree form, and you will need Chess Assistant to view it. Instructions for viewing the tree can be found in the full article. ...more
ICCF GM Blokh joins us with a fascinating article on endgame analysis. He shows how the new analysis capabilities of Chess Assistant 7 can be used to detect zugzwang positions! I have not seen mention of this particular method anywhere else in chess literature, be sure to check this article out.
Make sure that you also look at the animated version of this tutorial. Follow this link to see it....more
Did you know that Chess Assistant 7 and 8 include a player's encyclopedia? Tournament, photos (CA 8 only) and ELO histories for highly rated players are all available at the touch of a button. ...more
Hyperthreading and processors
Well, the dust has cleared, and Intel's hyperthreading has been available for some time. This article talks about hyperthreading and its implications for Chess Assistant (CA) users. It also offers a little practical advice for those with P4 or multiple processors that are using the Shredder engine within CA (or other chess software). ...more
ICCF Grandmaster Maxim Blokh makes a guest appearance with this article on multivariation infinite analysis, a new mode that was introduced in Chess Assistant 7.0.
Watch him dissect a game from Informant 80, and explain how to harness the power of Chess Assistant's analysis modes....more
Do you want to analyze your games, but don't know where to begin? This article tells you how you can analyze your games, using some of the powerful features that Chess Assistant 7 provides.
While some features of CA 7 are employed in this example, users of other versions CA will also find this article helpful....more
Solitaire chess with Chess Assistant
Chess Assistant 7 provides some useful modes for self-test and game study. This article discusses the basics of using these modes, and shows how you can use them in your chess studies. ...more
Are you wondering how to create a repertoire database? This article will show you how to use a classifier for this purpose. As an added bonus, it also discusses the use of the new endgame classifier that Convekta recently made available for free download.
The first part of this article should prove useful for owners of CA 6 and CA 7. The second part is for CA 7 owners only....more
Hash - how much is enough?
Ok, this is a family web site, so that headline might not mean what you think it does.
In this article, I will provide some interesting test results that show the effect of increasing hash table size. Not surprisingly, the amount of speed up is a function of the position. Read the full article for more information....more
There is a new version of CA available (Build 720), with a more trouble-free patch procedure.
However, I've received many e-mails from people having trouble installing the CA patch. Some of these questions came about because of a bug in the build 719 install procedure. Read this article for a pictorial guide to installation, and more info on installing build 719 as well....more
Next Steps with Chess Assistant
This is the second part of my introductory series on Chess Assistant. In it, I discuss the game window, and some basic analytical tools that recent versions of CA support.. ...more
Using Rebel 12 with Chess Assistant
Even though Ed Schroeder is semi-retired, he is still continuing work on his Rebel chess program. In this article, I talk about installing the free beta version of Rebel 12, and provide some options for using it under Chess Assistant (CA). The procedure is applicable to other chess engines and earlier versions of CA as well.
News Flash - The evaluation passing problem that was mentioned in the original version of this article appears to have been fixed with the release of beta version 1.01. Thanks go to Ed Schroeder for his quick action....more
In the second half of my interview with him, Doctor Zakharov talks a bit more about various topics, including Linux and some of the technologies that he thinks are important for the future. ...more
This is this grand opening week of ChessAssistance.com, and I have an exclusive interview for the readers of this page. My guest hails from the secretive development labs of Convekta's Moscow office.
Dr Victor Zakharov has been with the ChessAssistant/Convekta development team since its inception over fifteen years ago. In this first of a two-part article, he talks about the history of Convekta and Chess Assistant, and discusses his vision of what the future holds for chess software development....more
First steps with Chess Assistant
This article guides you through the installation of CALite, and then explains the important elements of the Chess Assistant graphical user interface. ...morePrevious