2.1: About this Tutorial


Welcome to the ChessDB tutorial! This online document will show you how to get started with ChessDB and learn some of its features.

ChessDB is a chess database program which can be used with either UNIX or Windows. With it you can create a database of games, browse game databases, do searches, keep a repertoire file for your openings, see statistics on positions in your game collection, and use analysis engines to analyze positions. You'll learn how to do all that and more in this tutorial.

ChesssDB is also useful as a PGN-file reader. PGN is short for "Portable Game Notation", and it is the most popular text file format for chess games; here is a short example game in PGN:

    [Event "Corus"]
    [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
    [Date "2001.01.16"]
    [Round "3"]
    [White "Van Wely, Loek"]
    [Black "Morozevich, Alexander"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [WhiteElo "2700"]
    [BlackElo "2745"]
    [EventDate "2001.01.13"]
    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 c5 6.d5 Bf5 7.e3 e6
    8.Bxc4 exd5 9.Nxd5 Nc6 10.Qb3 Qd7 11.Nxf6+ gxf6 12.Bd2 Rg8
    13.Bc3 O-O-O 14.Bxf7 Rxg2 15.Nh4 Ne5 16.Nxf5 Nd3+ 17.Kf1 Rxf2+
    18.Kg1 Kb8 19.Qe6 Rxf5 20.h4 Bd6 21.Rf1 Rg8+ 0-1 

(You don't see many wins to Black in 21 moves amongst players of that strength!)

ChessDB uses its own format for chess game databases, and can read files in its own format or in PGN. It cannot open databases in commercial chess database formats (such as ChessBase and Chess Assistant). As you will see, PGN files are opened read-only in ChessDB so the functions available for them are limited, but you can easily import games from PGN format to a ChessDB-format database and export games from a ChessDB database to a PGN file.

The Tutorial Sample Database

To make the most of this tutorial, you'll want the file sample.pgn It is a small sample PGN file of nearly 200 games from a few top-level grandmaster tourmanents played in 2001. This file is used for the tutorial examples.

There are a few duplicated games which appear in the file twice. This is intentional, to assist with explanation of database maintenance.


This tutorial is (hopefully going to be) a group effort, and still a work in progress. Authors include:

If you would like to contribute to the tutorial or see anything that should be updated, corrected or improved, please contact David Kirkby. But please note David only speaks English.

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