Chessbase 11 - Review

  • IM zoranp
  • | Oct 13, 2010

For me, as a professional chess coach, the emergency of every new program for processing chess data is a big event.

It is neccessary to study the program carefully to see what advantages it has compared to  previous versions of the same program and also to similar programs that already exist on the market. Before, this was a relatively easy task because then new programs brought just a few new possibilities and it was not hard to compare them. Modern programs, like Chessbase 11 has such a large number of options that it is practically very difficult to know all them. That’s why in this article I will only mention the options that are especially useful for a chess coach and a practical player (and will mention only those that are, in my opinion, the most important).

I have been using Chessbase programs from their first “Atari” version and I know well the possibilities of these programs (Chessbase and Fritz). The version Chessbase 10 that I have been using until now is, in my opinion, an excellent chess program (especially with the new update): the player has practically everything that is needed for tournament preparation as well as for abstract preparation. The options are simple and a user has no problems to use them. That’s why I was a little surprised when heard that Chessbase prepared a new version of this program, Chessbase 11. And, of course, professional curiosity forced me to try to understand what is that what is new in this program and I did this using a beta version of the program (which I also did before watching the previous beta versions). So, this summary deals with the beta version of the program (Beta version 2a because the program has not been published on English yet) and I will mention only some of the most important new options of the program. Detailed analysis of the program (all its options) will follow later when the program is published.

When Fritz 12 was published the most often heard remark was that the new interface was a limiting factor because a big number of users simply didn’t want to learn how to use this program properly. This is same when we buy a new car (which is better than our previous car) and, of course, we need some time to learn options on the instrument panel. And nobody complains saying that their old car was better. That’s why I do not take this remark as a serious one especially because of the fact that a user gets used on their new environment only after a few days and this is because it is natural, intuitive and simple. Chessbase 11 is based on the new Microsoft Office based interface just as Fritz 12 and I can say that it is very easy to manage with the new environment. I had no problems when using it for the first time.

It is not needed to work for a long time with this program to understand its big advantages compared to the previous version (Chessbase 10 which is, to remind readers, very good). Though CB 11 has a large number of new possibilities I will mention just those that are most important and that are intended to be used by players and chess coach.

The first thing we can see in the program is that the icons of bases are changed and that there is a much bigger number of icons. This is, of course, important because now we can differentiate between a bigger number of bases (the author of this text strived for this as an addition to the version of Chessbase 10).

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Maybe there will be users that will not consider the change of icons to be important but I would like to say that this helps us make various bases which is very important for players and especially for a coach.

For me, the most important and most interesting is the following new option:

Novelty annotation

If we want to see in what moment in a game was played a novelty e.g. on what move the game was different to the all other played games, we can get the answer for a very short time just by clicking on one icon. And not only this, we get two more answers: What variation is relevant for the variation that we are watching as well as predecessor of this game. And thereby the criteria for defining a variation as a relevant one in this program is different – it is not the principle of the biggest number of played games with this variation any more (which very often cannot give us a correct answer) but it is the number of games played by good players recently. And if we want a game with moves that are most similar to the moves of our own game then we can see it by using the option  predecessor. So, with only one click we get almost all the relevant date about opening! This is really a revolutionary novelty and its simplicity and speed are amazing!

Picture 3.png

The next very important difference to the previous version of the program is that when we look for Reference games now we also get a possibility to see what variation is the main variation e.g. what variation is most often played on top level. This option is significant because when we use a base with a large number of games the pure fact that some move is played many times does not mean much. Much more important is the fact if that move was played on top level.

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It should be mentioned that in this version of the program already known options are improved much – I will only mention some of them:

The repertoire database is completely revised which helps players prepare their opening repertoires much simpler and easier.

The functions “Opening report” and “Dossier” are improved much and there is no need to say how much these options are important both for a player and coach.

For a chess coach most important is to prepare questions of high quality for their students and this version of Chessbase enables them to do that much simpler and easier than the previous versions.  

It is also important that the users of this program will always have database remained up-to-date.

 This program enables a user to increase or decrease the number of CPU (as in Fritz 12) – from the maximal number that our PC has to only one.

These are only some of the novelties in Chessbase 11 that makes it (besides other well-known options) the best program on the market.

The price and way of ordering this program can be seen on the site


  • 3 years ago


    Can't thank the contributors to this thread enough. I have CB9 and was thinking of upgrading. You certainly convinced me that is a bad idea.

  • 3 years ago

    FM Cozianu-SEA

    As a retired chess player and practicing software engineer, I can solemnly swear that this is the absolutely:

    • ugliest user interface
    • crappiest user interaction design
    • most unintuitive
    • buggiest 
    • most annoying (prompt me to register time and again, I suspect it's because I'm not using it as an admin account on my Windows 7)
    piece of software that unfortunately I have to have on my computer. Other than their monopoly status and the high barrier of entry in the marketplace for such programs, this piece of software is a shame.
    And it got worst and worst because the more features theyu have the more irrelevant buttons they add in every place creating a dizzying variety of "how you can waste your time" because the program was not designed to serve the user but to serve the narcissistic behavior of people who programmed it -- who probably are experts in their creation.
    The problem is that it is 21st century and you don't have to waste space in you head equivalent to a PhD program to have access to some extremely simply function (and somewhere hidden in the program there must be code that could provide these functions).
    And the problem to be solved is:
    * keep me up to date with what's happening in the world of chess
    * keep my frigging selection of opening variations up to date
    * (if it's not too much to ask, train me and help me become a better player by  quizzing me)
    These are 3 (I'd be happy with even 2 of them) functions, and for that you have to countless of stupid clicks on countless of stupid buttons because the software is stubbornly designed to make these functions extremely hard to perform
  • 4 years ago


    For saving the position, not the picture this link may help:

  • 4 years ago


    Question: I want to use the save position feature on chessbase. This function saves a picture of the position in a jPeg format. So when I want to see the picture, I have to use jPeg software. There is no option within chessbase or Fritz that will let me see that picture. Correct?

  • 4 years ago


    Posted a comparison.Just for info.:

  • 4 years ago


    I am a chessbase expert.  I have been using ChessBase every day for eight years now.

    ChessBase 11 is rife with bugs, and I curse the day my harddrive was wiped, so that I lost CB 9 and HAD to get CB11.  Terrible.  As we speak, I cannot activate it, am an intermediate to advanced PC user, and I hate, I hate this mess.

    They are telling me that my activation number is already in use.  Yea.  Its me, the only PC I am using it on.  

    I am on a leased Notebook, while my desktop is in repair, and I want to kill myself, I need the online chess database.  Do I have Megabase, and already installed here?  Yes, of course.  But the online one is much better--faster, more up to date.

    Now the painful process of emailing Steffen  Giehring at Monday morning.  Ouch. 

    Get CB9 if you can.  CB11 crashes, is bloatware, and has nothing, zero the earlier version will not do.  And if you try to move around games in the file view, they show as on a line, when they are not.  You cannot slide them up or two or five lines, but if you do, they appear to be on lines they are not.  You have to cntl c then cntl v, then slide the bar up, then down, so see where they actually go.  In CB9 this most basic but most important feature worked fine.

    Games won't save, crashes do not show versions in history, and history does not work like it did.

    Again, I am not one to call myself an expert, but I am in this, as in a world top 100 asking me to send HIM his games with the WCC of the last twenty five years.

    ChessBase, you ruined it.  David Korn

    +206 284-2722 I will help anyone if I can, this is not a commercial solicitation.  Just respect my time.  I care, thats all.

    PS System crashes all the time, all the time, all the time, lossing all my work.  If you rank sort games, and it crashes before you rank, sort, set sort order, you loose it all.

    The old version would save whatever you had done, whether you closed it of free will or not.  Is this not what databases are supposed to do?  CB 11 is wrecked.  I knew this a year ago, but right now I am pissed, pissed, pissed.  Royal pissed at them.

  • 5 years ago


     If a person wants to continue playing Chess, it is good if the best Computer Chess program is available to him/her. One may need it later, rather than sooner, or the other way around. I learned about Windows 7, not by studing books, but by using the operating system, according to my needs, and trying to find out possibilities in it's operation. I always wanted Chessbase, but didn't get it. There was a time, when I asked, should I wait for Chessbase 11? Now I ask, when is the release date of Chessbase 12? If it is licensed to me, and if it is essential for me to change my PC, then can I install it on my next PC? I would feel well, shortchanged, if I bought the 11 version, and the 12 version came out the next month. If I can install Fritz 11, on more than one PC, then why not Chessbase?

    Chessbase may be a wonderful program, but one must feel inclined to appreciate it, or at least feel comfortable, after one has purchased it, shouldn't one?  Everyone cannot buy Chessbase. Even those who do, will not buy it because it may be difficult to have as an owner, in the first place, even if one can buy it again, perhaps, later. I am reticent, when I consider buying Chessbase. Perhaps, I will buy Chessbase 12.

  • 5 years ago


    I've been using CB9 for awhile now, I picked up used copy via eBay for a very good price. I'm very underwhelmed with their upgrade option, which boils down to this: you can only upgrade to CB 11 from CB 10, which leaves me and other users of even older versions SOL. I did invest in the BIG DB 2011 (about 4.8 million games) which I constantly update via TWIC (The Week In Chess) and DBs from IECG, here and other sites. CB 11 sounds swell, but probably 90% of us (or more) can get by with CB 8, 9 or 10 and save some dough by purchasing a used copy at amazon or eBay or some chess site (maybe even here).

    They ought to at least give some sort of discount depending on what version you now own, but they don't (except for the next-to-last version) so for some extra bells and whistles I'm in no hurry to upgrade, ever. At least not until MS forces me to when CB9 will no longer work under WhineDoze 7 or whatever.

  • 6 years ago


  • 6 years ago


    I find the approach that has been taken to the dossiers very irritating when looking at Black performance.  All the Elo calculations and percentrage scores are calculated from White's performance.  Consequently you must use the lowest scores with Black as an indication of good performance, and the ELO performance are utter garbage.  

    In CB9 they had this done properly but since have taken this nonsense approach - why?

  • 6 years ago


    Its just a new way of Chessbase to let people pay again for some minor adjustments in the program. We are using Fritz 10 and will not buy the new version...its BS to do that. Chessbase doesn't have an upgrade option, so to us it just looks as cajoling money from chess lovers.

  • 6 years ago


    Great review, i like Chessbaseas as it is easy to use, evry other program has something missing compared to it.

  • 6 years ago

    IM zoranp


    I would have liked to see more of a comparison with the much less expensive programs Aquarium and Chess Assistant, which I use mostly because of the flexible output for publishing purposes and interface customization. There are some ChessBase features in previous versions I like a lot, but not enough to justify the price, which is more expensive by hundreds of dollars than any other software I use."

    Hello Mr. Schiller.

    Before I answer your comment I would like to say that I respect your chess work very much and I especially like your book about Kasparov. Your fresh style of writing and clear explanations makes this book a master piece in chess literature.

    In this article, I only compared Chessbase 11 and Chessbase 10. And I only mentioned the novelties that are important for practical players and coachs.  Chessbase is a kind of programs that are very complex, with many, many options, so it is impossible to describe all the options in one article – this could be done only in a book.

    Of course, Chessbase 11 has excellent output for publishing purposes (the previous versions had such possibilities as well).

    I agree that it would be very interesting to compare Chessbase 11 and Chessassistant but it’s a very complex topic since both the programs have many options.

    On site you can see that the price for Chessbase 11 starter package for users who already have Chessbase 10 is 105$ (for those who will buy Chessbase for the first time the price is 188.97$). Starter package includes the following:

    ChessBase 11 program, Access to the CB online database (over 5 million games), ChessBase BigDatabase 2010 + voucher for Big Database 2011, Games download until 31st December 2011 as well as Half a Year’s subscription to ChessBase Magazine (3 issues). So, when you mentioned a hundreds of dollars I guess that you thought on Premium package that costs 388,55 dollars. However, Premium package includes other Chessbase programs (see

  • 6 years ago

    IM zoranp


    CB9 premium allows for normal DB management, don't see the point of high versions besides a paint job and marginally increased functionality... to each their own, i guess."

    There is a big difference between CB9 and CB11. Many, many new options you can find in CB11.  

  • 6 years ago

    IM zoranp


    How much can avail that database? Is it out in a market?"

    The Program is connected with the CB online database with over 5 million games. Yet, it’s already on the market.

  • 6 years ago

    IM zoranp


    Is it possible to install CB 11 on more than one computer (ie a desktop and a laptop to take to tournaments?)"

    Chessbase 11 can be installed on three computers.

  • 6 years ago

    FM FM_Eric_Schiller

    I would have liked to see more of a comparison with the much less expensive programs Aquarium and Chess Assistant, which I use mostly because of the flexible output for publishing purposes and interface customization. There are some ChessBase features in previous versions I like a lot, but not enough to justify the price, which is more expensive by hundreds of dollars than any other software I use.

  • 6 years ago


    Is it possible to install CB 11 on more than one computer (ie a desktop and a laptop to take to tournaments?)

  • 6 years ago


    How much can avail that database? Is it out in a market?
  • 6 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    CB9 premium allows for normal DB management, don't see the point of high versions besides a paint job and marginally increased functionality... to each their own, i guess.

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