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Improvements to ChessDB compared to Scid

Shane's Chess Information Database (Scid) is an excellent chess database that is no longer developed by Scid's original author Shane Hudson, although there is however another fork of this. ChessDB used Scid's code, but has various enhancements, bug fixes and new features. Nothing has been removed from Scid at all, so you will not miss any feature you once enjoyed. These are the differences which a user could notice if moving from the last release of Scid by Shane Hudson (3.6.1) to ChessDB 3.6.19-beta11, which was the latest at the time this was written (22nd August 2007). (You are advised to check the latest version of ChessDB yourself on the Sourceforge web site, as the web pages can tend to become outdated, especially if using a non-English version, since updates to those pages requires translators to update them).

Download of large databases

A large (> 3.5 million game) Scid/ChessDB format database has been placed on the web, conveniently split up into 57 parts for easy downloading. ChessDB handles all the downloads and reconstruction of the files, so you can very easily get a data database of games played by mostly strong players - the average Elo is 2233.

In addition to the database of 3.5 million games, there is a smaller database of 100,000 games. The 100,000 game database contains only games where both players are rated 2290 or above. The average Elo is 2602. The 100,000 game database is a subset of the 3.5 million game database, so there is no point downloading both.

Addition of UCI engine support

ChessDB now supports the use of UCI engines, which are used more on commerical chess engines than the original Winboard interface supported by Scid. This means engines such as Fritz and Rybka can now be used.

Statistical significance of Chess Moves using Hypothesis Testing

ChessDB 3.16.19-beta-1 and later support the statistical analysis of chess moves in an attempt to determine if one move has been more successful in tournament play than another. The basic Tree Window in Scid showed the frequency of moves and the scores. But if one move scored higher than another, there was no way to tell if this was likely to be due to chance, or whether the data indicated that this was unlikely to be due to chance, and so there is likely to be an underlying reason one move scores better than another.

In a database of 628,370 downloaded from TWIC, the very odd move 1.Na3 scored far better than any other move, with a score of 80%, which is much higher than 1.e4 (53.4%). But statistical testing shows there is a high probability that this is due to chance alone. It was only played 4 times in the 628,370 games. In the revised tree window shown below, we see ChessDB indicates the probability the difference in score (or any larger score difference) between any two moves is due to chance. Tree window in ChessDB

Downloading games from ICC

It is possible to download games in the history of anyone on the Internet Chess Club (ICC) to a database. First, you must configure ChessDB to use an ICC server, with your username and password.
username and password for ICC

Then enter a list of usernames from where you want the games downloaded. The PGN representation of the game is displayed on the screen and the games imported directly into the database.

ICC download in progress

It is very useful to find games played by opponents you might meet in a competition, as you can find out the openings they play and find their weaknesses and strengths. Free Internet Chess Server (FICS), but

Downloading games from FICS from within ChessDB

Just as on ICC, it is possible to download games from FICS. Support for FICS was added somewhat after ICC, since FICS was a little more complex, as it did not output standard PGN, but ChessDB handles the conversion from the format of files used on FICS to standard PGN, then reads those into ChessDB. Logged into FICS

Importing multiple PGN files

You can import all the PGN files in a directory in one operation - there is no need to import each file separately, as it is necessary with Scid. Use:
Tools->Import all PGN files in a directory You can also select individual files if you wish.
import all PGN files import all PGN files

Downloads from TWIC

It's possible to download games from The Week in Chess (TWIC) website and have them converted to a database, all from within ChessDB. downloading from TWIC

ChessDB can estimate what should be the latest issue available, and will indicate if there is a problem.

summary after downloading from TWIC No such functionality existed in Scid.

Checking the revision of ChessDB

It's possible to see if you are using the current version of ChessDB by using an item on the Help menu. No such functionality existed in Scid.
current version

New annotation feature

Scid allowed one to annotate a game with a chess engine and had 4 choices of when to do this:

The last of these options had the problem that Scid would annotate a very large percentage of moves, which often was not what was wanted. ChessDB now has the further option of:

This allows only significant annotations to be made. Those where the difference in quality of the moves is small, will not be annotated. Obvious blunders are annotated with '??' and poor moves with '?'. The definition of obvious blunder and poor move can be changed.

New Logo

There is a new logo, designed by James Mossop a professinal graphics artist, who kindly designed the logo for no charge.

Other changes

Those are currently the main changes someone will see if moving from the last release of Scid (3.6.1) to the latest ChessDB (3.6.15).


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This page was last modified: September 16, 2007. 11:41:16 am GMT