There’s one more topic we need to cover before we discuss how to use the analysis features in the Fritz family of playing programs (Fritz, Rybka, Hiarcs, Shredder, and Junior) to actually improve our play: how do we get games other than ones we’ve played against the computer into a database for analysis?
I was reminded of this subject by an e-mail the other day from a user who plays a fair bit of online chess at a site which furnishes him with a gamescore after each game, a gamescore which is sent in Portable Game Notation (PGN) format. He asked how to add each game to a database. It can be done in Fritz/Rybka, but it takes several steps, and you’ll also need to know a little something about computer files and folders. Note I said “a little”, and you can easily learn it by clicking on the link I’ve provided in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.
The first step is to create a new database into which you’ll copy your PGN games, to keep them separate from the large database which comes with the software. You don’t have to do this; you could easily store the games as part of the larger database if you want to, but most players’ preference is to store the games in a “personal” database.
Launch Fritz (or any of the other programs in its “family” as listed above) to go to the program’s main chessboard screen. Then click the “Database” button in the ribbon under the “Home” menu:
This will open the game list window. Next you should click on the Application Menu and select “New”:
…which will open the Windows file select dialogue. Use it either create a new folder or navigate to an existing folder in to which you want to create and store your new database. Make sure the dialogue’s “Save as type” is set for “Databases (*.cbh)”, give it a name in the “File name” part of the dialogue, and then click “Save”:
You’ll need to do this just once, not every time you want to copy a game – the database you just created can hold a (theoretically) limitless number of games (the practical limit, of course, being available hard drive space).
Next you’ll go back to the Application menu and select “Open”:
…to again call up the Windows file select dialogue. This time you’ll need to do two things. First, navigate to the folder into which you’ve downloaded your PGN game files. Second, use the pulldown menu to the right of “Files of type” to select either “PGN files” (as seen in the illustration below) or “All databases”:
You’ll then see the PGN file(s) in the main window of the dialogue:
Double-click on the filename to open the file (or single-click on it to highlight it and then click the “Open” button), and you’ll see the header(s) of the game(s) appear in the game list:
Now we come to the part where you’ll actually copy the game into the database you created. Right-click on the game and select “Edit → Copy” from the popup menu:
Now go back to the Application menu and select the database you created (back at the first step) from the “Recent databases” menu to open its game list:
Right-click in an empty spot of the game list and select “Edit → Paste” from the popup menu:
A confirmation dialogue will appear; click the “OK” button and you’ll see your game listed in the database’s game list:
Notice that you’ve copied a game from a PGN database into a ChessBase-format database. That’s how you “convert” a PGN database into a ChessBase-format database: you just copy the games from the PGN database into one in ChessBase (CBH) format.
Next up: entering a game into a database by hand. Until then…
Have fun! – Steve Lopez
Chessplayers who have purchased their ChessBase brand chess computer software from USCFSales can receive free technical support and advice on their purchases straight from me; just shoot me an e-mail (email@example.com), but please remember to include the USCFSales order number from your ChessBase software purchase. – Steve
Copyright 2011, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.