In my recent article about our new feature DiamondBase PRO by Chess Informant, interesting discussion came up to the surface. Among others, our chess friend @LacksCreativity asked the following:
"Why have a database though? Can't I just use a computer, and learn how to play the opening? Are there really so many games you can't get online?"
It seemed for me that there are some clouds in general when it is about understanding of the value of chess databases. Of course, there must be opinions pro et contra and there is a strong point in these questions.
My intention here is to reveal the field of chess databases (or at least start to!). Why databases are useful? Is it really neccessary? What are the differences among databases?
I won't do it alone. I am inviting you to take part with your comments, not to support my view or fight against, but to contribute with your thoughts. I am sure that lot of readers are uncertain about chess databases as well.
As a starting point, let me put it this way.
I am regular buyer of computer magazines. Why I am doing it at all, when all the answers could be find on Google?
When it is about chess bases, it might be similar. Most of the answers probobaly could be found, but do you know to ask the right question?
As a chess grandmaster, what I am getting from chess bases, that cannot be seen elsewhere?
First of all, it is synthesis, just like in computer magazine. Instead asking a questions, right or wrong, someone else gathered the information. Best printers or laptops on the market? Yes, it is presented there for me. Sure, I won't buy the first machine from the list but I already get info about the field and it is giving me the confidence for further reasearch in the shop.
Just like everybody else, I am using my own chess systems. I cannot play the same openings all my life, it is tournament need to be able to surprise. What if I want to jump into something new? How much time do I need? This is the moment when I need databases. If I could learn everything from a few games on Internet, chess crown will be already in my hands. I can feel the opening line deeply only if I can see hundreds or thousand of games in the same variation and be able to compare them easily.
Primary database for serious players are those with millions of games. You start filtering games in the search for the answers, but as it was said, you need to know what you are looking for.
Here I am representing DiamondBase PRO, new feature on the market. It is not alternative for mega or big databases. It is extracted quintessential. Pure quality comparing to quantity. I agree, you might need both.
DiamondBase PRO fulfills some important needs. This is why I am thinking it is important and recommendable.
First, all the games are annotated and mostly by players themselves. These are non-textual annotations, in system of chess signs.
Secondly, all the games are either played or annotated by the biggest name from modern chess. This is thankfully to the great tradition of Chess Informant, since 1966.
And third, opening variations are alredy carefully selected. This is what I am doing and my Editorial board of fully employed chess GMs and IMs. At the moment, there are only 22 databases, but hundreds are on a way.
As I said in the previous articles, all DiamondBases are provided in different formats, PGN, CBH and CA, which makes them readable by ChessBase, Chess Assistant, CI Expret Lite (free) or any PGN reader or PGN viewer (tons of those are available online).
Chess databases are useful or not? What's your opinion?