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keywords: game, service, updates, downloads, informant, new in chess
Robert Pawlak
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
The e-mail method of delivery is slightly preferable, since it offers some classifiers that are not present by default in the automatically downloaded version. However, these can be constructed for the downloaded database, with a little work.


Before the advent of computers, there was only one way to keep current with the latest games and tournaments. In those days, most serious players had a subscription to Chess Informant or New In Chess. Nowadays, information like this is available via the internet, where it can be delivered quickly and easily to anyone with access.

[auto update menu]Chess Assistant users have a couple of options for easily keeping their databases current. One is to make use of the free game updates that are provided by going through the automatic update menu. Another is to subscribe to Convekta's weekly game service. The benefit of the latter is that it provides commented games, whereas the free update only provides uncommented ones.

About 5-10% of the games in Convekta's game service are annotated. Most of the game annotations have been automatically generated by computer, but a small percentage of them have also been annotated by humans. Convekta's web page states that subscribers receive about 10,000 game per month. You can download a sample of Convekta's game service from here. These files represent what you'd receive by e-mail weekly.

Game service is delivered in one of two manners. The first option is to simply get the games delivered via e-mail. The benefit of this approach is that all games arrive with a nice classifier that can be used to see the contents of the database at a glance. There are three classifiers provided. One contains tournament tables. The second contains the commented games of stronger players, organized by opening. The third indexes the games according to endgame criteria (once again, this applies to games by the stronger players). If you opt for this delivery mode, game service will arrive in your e-mail inbox every week. In fact, you can even use ChessAssistant's built-in e-mail client if you want. Note that Chess Assistant will automatically extract databases in ZIP files, so you don't have to go through that extra step. Below I have shown an example of a tournament table that comes with Game Service. If you follow this link, I have some information on the endgame classifier, which can be downloaded for free, and attached to any database.

[example tournament table]

The second delivery option is to use ChessAssistant to directly download the games, and place them in a database. While you can schedule automatic background updates, my personal preference is to do this manually, since I use dial-up access. When I was all done with the process (Which took several hours), I had another 140,000 games to add to CA's game collection. An upcoming article will describe this feature in more detail.

This RTF file (can be opened in MS-Word) shows an example of one of the machine annotated games, so that you can get an idea of what to expect. Note that it will only display properly if you have Chess Assistant, or CA Lite installed on your machine.


If you are the kind of person that needs to keep up with the latest theoretical novelties and tournaments, then you will enjoy game service. Interpreting the games does require one to understand Informant symbology, and the majority of the games are machine annotated. My feeling is that the best option for the subscription is probably e-mail, since the games are organized via classifier in this case.

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