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happinessisawarmgun 30 ( +1 | -1 )
opening database How many people actually use an opening database during their games ? I don't as I have been told too many times that I should concentrate more on my tactics and endgame . If I had the time or inclination maybe I could make the effort and use a database for my openings , but would it improve my play ?
caldazar 133 ( +1 | -1 )
I doubt the quality of your games would improve in the short term, but I think in the long run you would learn more so it might accelerate your chess improvement, if that happens to be your goal.

When I analyse my own games, what I like to do is first do my own analysis of the positions at hand. Then, I like to do a database search to try to find games that were either played out from the position I'm analysing or positions that are very similar (similar opening, similar pawn structure, etc...). I do my own analysis first so that my judgement is not swayed in any way by what Kasparov did in 1995 or what Kramnik did in 2000 (this is not an issue when analysing my OTB games since I'm reviewing the games after I've played them). I step through the database games to try to see how the play unfolded for both players and then compare the play in those games to my own analysis. Which ideas are better, mine or the ideas in the database games? How are the ideas similar? How are they different?

In the end, I don't really play any one game significantly better, but I gain exposure to a wider variety of ideas from the comfort of a single starting point. Compare this to just picking up any random grandmaster game and studying it in isolation; by doing this type of compare/constrast analysis, you get a broader scope of ideas.
coyotefan 30 ( +1 | -1 )
Oh, how wrong! I use a large database when playing USCF, APCT and ICCF email. I am a rated expert in all three. I use nothing here and rated class D. Databases when used correct give the player a HUGE advantage against those who do not. Coming out of the opening with the advantage is the key to correspondence.
dervish 17 ( +1 | -1 )
Coyotefan... wouldn't coming out of the opening with the advantage be the key in any type of chess? Do they give prizes here for the most ridiculous posts? Is it a member thing or can freeloaders win too?
achillesheel 41 ( +1 | -1 )
I don't understand ... Unless I misunderstand you guys, isn't it unethical to play this way (at least if your opponent has not agreed)? I have studied openings, sure, but do I find a master's game that had my current board configuration and then imitate the masters? It DOES seem like a great way to learn, but it also is terribly unfair unless you are playing unrated and/or your opponent has consented. Am I missing something here?
happinessisawarmgun 5 ( +1 | -1 )
heel......... opening databases are allowed in correspondence chess :)
halfpast_yellow 44 ( +1 | -1 )
Databases Yes, for instance I have a small database of 200 top quality games featuring Alekhines defence. When I play this defence on gameknot I often use this database to find a few games similar to mine to get a feel of the position and ideas to use. It's perfectly alright to do this on gameknot. Big Database programmes ofen cost, but Chessbase Light, 6.0, is free to download. Often there are packages of games avaliable to download scattered around the net.
achillesheel 30 ( +1 | -1 )
I suppose that because there is rule permitting it, then everything is on the up and up, which was my concern (one player doing it unbeknownst to the other). I can't imagine a rule prohibiting it as it would prove unenforceable and punish honest players who obeyed the rule against cheaters.

You might just see my openings improve a bit ;-)
baseline 38 ( +1 | -1 )
achillesheel It seems incredible to me that you would make statements about chess ethics when you haven't even bothered reading the rules. The fact is that using books and later databases have ***allways*** been allowed under correspondence rules. It wasn't add later because honest players were being taken advantage of by cheaters.
loreta 28 ( +1 | -1 )
My games has the most value! As it could sound wild - the best value for me has a database of my own games... :-)
Of course, if they are evaluated properly... :-)
Anyway, If I feel that my opponent follows the 'book' or another game very carefully {even if it could be called 'is addicted' } - I try to turn to a sideway on my hand... :-)
baseline 52 ( +1 | -1 )
loreta I maintain several database's

!. my games - I do my best to annotate these.
2. Annotated GM games
3. A Repertoire db - here are the lines I intend to play.
4. Tactics! games with various tactical motiffs
5. Stragety
6. endgames
7 a very large db with as many games as I can find
8. 2500+ a base with with games where both players are rated 2500 or higher.

I use the database program to prepare openings, study tactics, stragety and endgames. It's my notebook, record book, study guide etc.
achillesheel 74 ( +1 | -1 )
Baseline Plainly you misunderstood my message. I didn't suggest the rule was "added later" because of abuse of a contrary state of affairs. I was observing the difficulty of enforcing any other rule ... whether from the inception of correspondence chess or added as a later rule.

Nor does the rule resolve the larger ethical question (though the rule did in this instance resolve the concern I had). It seems to me FAR more ethical---all rules aside---that no player use a book or a database during any game, but I recognize that this is pragmatically impossible in correspondence chess, which explains the existence of the rule for correspondence chess but not OTB play. Were there some other justification for the rule, then I fail to see why it would not apply in OTB play.
baseline 44 ( +1 | -1 )
achillesheel No! You just don't get it. The rules of correspondence chess were debated and established long before you or I learned the game.
There is no ethical question here none what so ever. The fact that OTB Chess is played under different rules has no bearing on the rules and traditions of Correspondence Chess. You could just as easily question the rational behind a stalemate being a draw rather that a win for the side who just moved.
aqeel 70 ( +1 | -1 )
Forget rules here! ;-) Lets debate on how to improve our game.
As baseline suggested, I think having a database of that kind certainly improves your game.When ever I expand my repertoire , I download a few games from a large database and study them.This way I can identify a few traps or tricks in the opening which I am about to learn.Secondly I also get some idea of how to continue with the opening.For instance 8..Qe8 manoever in dutch defense is very sound.I saw this in one of the games capablanca Vs tartakower..

So it helps..I hope you get the point.


achillesheel 81 ( +1 | -1 )
Baseline Your response is like saying that because a given law was enacted before I was born, I've no right to question its wisdom. I am free to deem it unethical to use a database regardless of what those who established the rules might have thought about it (again, I recognize the impracticality of a rule banning books/databases in correspondence chess). And I stand on the observation that if using books were desirable, it would be permitted in OTB play. It is not because it is not desirable, but there is no way to ban it in correspondence chess, whether now or 500 years ago. OK, I just wanted to be clear because I really don't think you get where I'm coming from. Feel free to respond but I will end the debate from my end to avoid annoying anyone further over a simple question that was readily (and politely) answered minutes after it was asked.
baseline 109 ( +1 | -1 )
achillesheel You still don't get it. I do see where you are coming from you are looking at correspondence chess and otb chess as if it were one thing. You need to look at this from a different point of view. Correspondence Chess and OTB chess are two different things! The appeal of Correspondence chess and the reason it is so popular is because of the things you can do in correspondence chess and cannot do in OTB chess. The use of chess books and data bases allow you to research opening in a way you cannot in otb play. You typically have three day time limits which means you can spend as much time on a position as you need to fully understand whats going on. Heck you can move the pieces around on your chess board while you are thinking! If you can't make up your mind you can sleep on it! Your not trapped and forced to produce a move by the merciless minute hand of a clock! Its not a matter of ethics its just a different style of play. Not everyone likes Correspondence Chess but that does not make it unethical. It's not like people are taking away your right to chose, there are many sites where chess is played under otb rules.
achillesheel 5 ( +1 | -1 )
Baseline Fair enough. I think we understand one another.
baseline 41 ( +1 | -1 )
achillesheel Good!! Now if you don't have a chess database I know where you can get one for free!!
In the old days I keep my records in those large ledger books and used a card filing system for my openings. very time consuming both recording your games and thoughts and finding them again later.
The really nice thing about a chess database is that it saves you so much time.
achillesheel 1 ( +1 | -1 )
Baseline ... I'm all ears.
baseline 152 ( +1 | -1 )
How to research an opening If you are looking for a free database go to my website and click on links there you will find three good free data bases.

For a club level player the best way to build an opening repertoire is to start with your own games.

1. Get your games into your database, here you can just down load them

2. annotate them carefully, get help from a stronger player if you can. I mean annotate the games all the way through not just the opening.

3. Consult an opening manual and find out where you have been leaving the "book" make a note of the games quoted in the text. You'll want to find these games and get them into to your database.

4. There are many places you can download games, there are even a few places where you can get annotated games. You'll want to start a file with down loaded games and add to it weekly.

5. from your growing database of GM games you can run a search from the point you normally leave theory, save them to a seperate file and play through them quickly noting the different strageties the Grandmasters are using. The games that you like the best, and you feel comfortable with you add to your repertoire file.

the process is slow to begin with, but over time as your repertoire file grows your opening arsenal will too.

You'll also find that recording your games in progress allows you to keep all your analysis recorded and available for future games.
ctrl-reset 20 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks baseline... thanks for the advise on how to use a game database. I was always blurred in this aspect. I'll start with my own games, annotating them and hopefully becoming more aware of my mistakes.
Thank you.
achillesheel 3 ( +1 | -1 )
Ditto ... I will try both databases.
baseline 46 ( +1 | -1 )
more opening techniques If you are facing a strong opponet and at a loss for what to play you can try this.

download his games to a file.
sort the file into games where he has white and games where he has black.

load all his white games into a book and you have his opening repertoire! You can see statistically how he has done with each of his favorite lines, you can somewhat predict what he will play and can plan your opening to reach a middlegame position you are comfortable with.
ctrl-reset 12 ( +1 | -1 )
:) my goodness, I never thought of that. This sis something that I will try immediately.
Thank you for the advise.
baseline 10 ( +1 | -1 )
another thing you can try you can download the games of your favorite player and load these as your opening book!
loreta 107 ( +1 | -1 )
My 2 cents 'baseline' one of his msgs targeted to me - as if I said something wrong. And yes, I did!
Anymore, at first, I do my notes directly on printed positions and don't use any electronical appliance.
So I look like a dinosaur, or I'm from that period what baseline mentioned - when he was using card stocks or similar technics... :-)

Only later, some of my (already finished) games I'm transfering into files (on computer) and do additional analysis - for searching interesting lines or variations I could use later....

And of course, I've prepared my 'repertoire db' - variations, I haven't played but I'm ready for that.
As example, I'm now experienting with Rousseau gambit. So it's chance that someone will face it {or it could happen it won't be applied}...

And all that needs some work on opening DBs... :-)
And I hope baseline with his experience will help me go through some problematic games, or won't he?
As example, I'm going to return to my game against tovmauzer:
Who would dive in couple questions of it?

coyotefan 36 ( +1 | -1 )
dervish I will ignore the insult and answer your question. While coming out of the opening with an advantage is important in all chess, it is MUCH more important in correspondence where any little advantage can be exploited as the time element is eliminated. You can survive, and even win against top players OTB if you come out of the opening with a slight dieadvantage, but a CC master will kill you.
coyotefan 71 ( +1 | -1 )
And to continue While books are nice, a database is much more important, if you keep it up. You need to download as many master level games as you can get your hands on. You never know when they will come in handy. I have always advised to stay away from those "20,000,000 game databases" as most of them are dumps from low level IECC and IECG games that are worthless for anything other than researching a particular opponent. An up-to-date database will increase a "C" player to at least an "A" player immediatly, as long as he learns to use it properly.

And yes, databases are legal and ethical. A good CC player is as much a researcher as he is a chess player. It has ALWAYS been that way.
baseline 9 ( +1 | -1 )
loreta I don't recall ... I will give that game a look as soon as time permits.
bogg 77 ( +1 | -1 )
happinessisawarmgun I don't know about other databases but chessbase allows you to look for positions that are similar to the one in question. I frequently do searches based upon pawn structure and material to see what ideas there are in similar positions. For instance in the game that Felix timed out against me I was able to determine from looking at the search results that the type of position that we had is won by White against an opponent of similar strength the vast majority of the time. The position is in actuality only a little favorable to White but Black is required to just sit back and play passive defense as nearly any change in the pawn structure weakens his position. I think being able to study middlegame and endgame positions is also of value to the correspondence player.
peppe_l 106 ( +1 | -1 )
Coyotefan "While coming out of the opening with an advantage is important in all chess, it is MUCH more important in correspondence where any little advantage can be exploited as the time element is eliminated. You can survive, and even win against top players OTB if you come out of the opening with a slight disadvantage, but a CC master will kill you."

But if you are not a master yourself, he will propably kill you even if you come out of the opening with advantage :-)

I agree small advantage is relatively more important in correspondence chess though.

From my experience I can mention one example where I managed to gain an advantage vs one of the top players of GK, but he killed me quickly and easily anyway.

I suppose using databases can help as long as one is capable of understanding every move he plays, but for learning purposes - at least on my level - a good book with 50 annotated games is much more instructive than 5.000.000-game database.

I have no doubt the methods suggested by Baseline are very good, but for my part I have to say I am not even nearly as strong player as he is, and therefore I need to stick with meat & potatoes for now :-)

happinessisawarmgun 16 ( +1 | -1 )
thank you.... everybody for your responses. During my searches I have recently found a site called with 200,000 + master games looks promising !!
anaxagoras 14 ( +1 | -1 )
Good gracious! If I used a database and still sucked like I do now, i.e. remained an amateur, I'd either shoot myself or give up Chess.