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Database Searches Using Chess King

Chess King's GigaKing database contains more than five million chess games from throughout chess history. Through the decades I have been in the chess software business, I have heard players say (more than once) "Why do I need all of those games? I will never play through all of them anyway." It is a surprising comment, akin to "Why would I want to visit a library? I will never read all of those books." No one expects any player to view every game in a massive chess database, any more than someone would be expected to read every book on a library's shelves. A library has an organized catalog that allows one to find just the book or books in which one is interested. Likewise, a chess database such as GigaKing has search tools that let you find just the games you wish to view.

After you have launched Chess King, click the large "Games" button to go to the game list view, after which you should select "GigaKing" from the left-hand panel:

Chess King

This loads the GigaKing database as the default database. Now we can search the database for the games we wish to view. The easiest search is a player search, which we can launch by going to the boxes at the top of the screen:

Chess King

Type the player's last name in one of the boxes, and you will see a pull-down menu allowing you to select the player by first name from a pre-generated list:

Chess King

Just click on a name from the list, then click the "Search" button; you will get a list of that player's games. When you double-click on a game it will be loaded into Chess King's main chessboard screen, and you can play through it using the arrow keys or the arrow buttons on the screen.

Note that the player search box has a check box labeled "Any color". If you check this box, your player search will turn up all the games of that player regardless of whether they played White or Black. If this box is unchecked, the search results will depend on which box (White or Black) you used when you typed the player's name.

You can search for games in which two specific players played against each other by typing a name in each box; the "Any color" box controls whether you get all of the games the pair contested regardless of color (if "Any color" is checked) or only games in which a player's piece color matches the box in which you typed his name.

In the upper right-hand corner of this search panel, you will notice a box marked "Other fields". Clicking this button displays a dialogue with additional search options:

Chess King

You can use the various options here to further refine your searches. You can still search for players using this dialogue, but you also have additional options for searches: by result, by Elo rating, by year, and by ECO (Encyclopedia of Chess Openings) classification.

To activate one of the options, click the square box under that option to activate it. For example, if we want to use the "ECO" option, we would click the box under "ECO":

Chess King

Note that the boxes now become available; the half-tone labeling changes to black to let you know that the sort option is available.

The "Result" option lets you find games by White wins (1-0), Black wins (0-1), draws (1/2-1/2), and "No result" (signifying incomplete games). The "Year" option provides two boxes so that you can select a range of years (say "2000" in the first box and "2012" in the second, for all games from the years 2000-2012 inclusive). If you want to see games from a single year, type the same year in both boxes.

"Elo" indicates the ratings of the players involved. You can select a range of ratings; if you want games from master level and higher you would type "2200" in the left-hand box and "2900" in the right-hand box. You can further refine a rating search by using the additional radio button options provided: "Both" means that both players must have a rating within the range specified, while "Any" means that at least one player's rating has to fall within the range you have entered.

"ECO" refers to the standard chess classification of openings. If you do not know a code, just do a Web search for "ECO codes"; numerous chess websites have a catalog of the classifications available in a variety of formats and layouts. You can look for just one ECO code by typing the same one into both boxes, or find games within a specific range of codes by entering two different values (for example "E60" in the left box and "E99" in the right box will create a search for all of the games of the King's Indian Defense).

You can combine searches as well by entering search parameters in more than one field. For example, entering Viswanathan Anand's name in the "Black" field (with "Ignore colors" unchecked), and "B10" through "B19" under "ECO" will bring up all of Vishy's games in which he played the Black side of the Caro-Kann Defense.

You can infer from this that, in Boolean terms, a multiple parameter search using Chess King is an "and" search rather than an "or" search. In the search we have just described, we get games in which Vishy played Black and that were Caro-Kann Defenses (a "hit" must fulfill both of these parameters) rather than a combined list containing all of Vishy's games OR Caro-Kann Defenses.

As always, double-click on a game from the list to load it. When you are finished with a particular search, clicking the "Reset" button returns you to the full GigaKing database.

Bear in mind, too, that you can use these tools to search any database in your left-hand pane in your "Games" view, not just the GigaKing database. Remember that you can search databases just one at a time, so load the game list for the database you want to search (by clicking on it in the list) first before doing a search.

And, above all...

Have fun! – Steve

© 2013 Steven A. Lopez and Chess King. All rights reserved.

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