Many of us as chessplayers own extensive personal chess libraries (I’ve met few players who didn’t) and we often find ourselves manually inputting games and analysis from our books and magazines into ChessBase 11. There’s a host of reasons for doing so: finding positions in an opening tree for statistical analysis, searching out games with the same position as the final position from an analysis line, running Fritz, Rybka, or another chess engine on those final analysis positions (or on a whole game).
But some users, after entering two or three “branch” variations from a given point, find themselves confronted with what we’ll call the “wall of text” effect:
In the illustration above, there are actually three separate variations at White’s fourth move (in addition to the main line) along with a subvariation within one of these variations – but you’d never know it unless you examined the notation very carefully.
ChessBase 11 contains a few toggles and tweaks which will help eliminate the “wall of text” effect and enable you to more easily navigate through heavily-annotated games.
The first tweak lets you change the color of “nested” subvariations (variations inside of other variations). Click the Application Menu button in the upper left-hand corner of the game window and then click the “Options” button (highlighted in orange in the illustration below):
Clicking the “Options” button brings up the Options dialogue; click on the “Notation” tab at the top of the dialogue to get the following display:
Remember this Options dialogue! We’re going to keep returning to it throughout this blog post.
Click the “Variation colour” button and you’ll see the Windows color palette appear. Select a color in which you’d like nested subvariations to appear; I’m going to select red in the following illustration:
Then click the “OK” button, which will return you to the Options dialogue. Click “OK” here as well, and you’ll now see nested subvariations appear in the color you selected:
This helps a little bit, but there’s still more we can do. Go back to the Application menu and click the “Options” button again. This time around we’ll put an check in the box beside “Paragraphs” as shown below:
Click “OK” and you’ll see the game notation altered to reflect this change:
Notice that each of White’s fourth move variations now begins on a separate line, instead of being buried somewhere in the heart of a massive paragraph of text. That’s far easier on the eye and makes it simpler to identify where the “branches” lie when working with multiple variations.
But we can take this one step farther. Go back to the “Options” dialogue and click the box beside “Structured variations”:
Then click “OK” and you’ll see more changes to the game notation:
Now each White fourth move variation (still on its own line) in enclosed in brackets, making it even simpler yet to find the start of each variation. Note, too, that the subvariations in the 4.e5 line are now indented and begin with a capital letter on their own lines, while the nested subvariation still appears in the color we selected back in the first step.
Compare that last illustration with the one at the start of this post and I’m sure you’ll agree that these toggles contribute to a better game viewing experience in ChessBase 11.
Have fun! – Steve Lopez
Chessplayers who have purchased their ChessBase brand software from USCFSales can receive free technical support and advice on their purchases straight from me; just shoot me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), but please remember to include the USCFSales order number from your ChessBase software purchase. – Steve
Copyright 2011, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.