If you’ve been playing chess any length of time, you have gobs of old scoresheets lying around, maybe whole books of them. You’d love to be able to input these games into the Fritz family of playing programs (Fritz, Hiarcs, Junior, Shredder, and Rybka) to have a chess engine analyze them, but you don’t know how to do it.
Guess what today’s topic is going to be?
The first step is to create a database in which to store your games. This was described in the previous post to this blog; just as a reminder, go to the Application Menu and select New → New Database. Select the folder in which you want the database saved, name it, and click “Save”.
Now you can start entering games by hand. You’ll want to double-check to make sure you’ve selected the correct database. Hit F12 to open the game list window, go to the Application menu, and either select the proper database from the “Recent databases” list or click the “Open” command and use the File select dialogue to go to the folder where you saved that database and then double-click on it to open it.
Now go back to the main chessboard screen by clicking the button on your Windows Taskbar. Select “New game” from the “Home” menu to set up the chessboard:
This next step is very important: you have to turn off the chess engine so that it doesn’t respond as you move pieces on the chessboard. Go to the “Engine” menu and select “Switch off engine” from the “Engine” section of the ribbon as shown in the following illustration:
Now you’re ready to start making moves on the chessboard. To move a piece or pawn, just grab it with the mouse – hold the mouse cursor over the chessman, then click and hold down the left mouse button. Move the cursor over the destination square, and then release the left mouse button to drop the piece onto the board.
What happens if you make a mistake when entering moves? There’s a “takeback” button you can use, which is located in the “Insert” menu:
It’s the button which looks like a curved red arrow pointing to the left. Clicking that button takes back the last move and allows you to enter a new one. If you find that you’re using this feature a lot, it’s also available as one of the VCR buttons below the chessboard:
In this case, it’s the blue arrow (instead of red). You might not have these VCR buttons displayed; to turn them on, right-click on the chessboard, select “Board design” from the popup menu, and select the radio button beside “Buttons” (as shown below):
…then click “OK”.
Keep making moves on the chessboard until you’ve entered the entire game. To save it, go to the Application Menu, and select “Save → Save”:
This will bring up the dialogue into which you’ll enter the information for that specific game:
Enter as much of the information as you can (or wish to). Remember that names should be entered in [Last name/first name] format as shown in the illustration above. The “Date” will need to be changed, as it always defaults to the current date (that is, the day you manually input the game). The ECO (Encyclopedia of Chess Openings) code will be filled in automatically by the software.
If you don’t understand the “Result” selections, “1-0” signifies that White won the game, “1/2” means the game was drawn, and “0-1” is a Black win.
When you’ve finished entering the game header information in this dialogue, click “OK” and you’ll see the game appear in the game list:
And, if you look at the entry in the game list and realize that you’ve made a mistake (such as marking the game as a White win when Black actually won – this, by the way, is a very common error), just single-click on the game in the list to highlight it, then hit the F2 key on your keyboard. This brings the header into dialogue back up again; just make the changes and click “OK”.
That ought to keep you busy for a while; when I got my first copy of Fritz (the first version, back in the old DOS days when Fritz was named Knightstalker), I spent a couple of full afternoons inputting my own tournament games.
We’ve examined inputting games manually into Fritz/Rybka, as well as transferring e-mailed PGN gamescores into the software. There’s one last really cool (and little known) trick for entering games into a database. We’ll check that one out on Friday. 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 (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.