Why Chess Database?

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? 


  • 3 years ago


    Lavidaeshermosa, que respuesta esperas recivir? Se supone que te diga como ganar un juego? Unas palabras que cambiaran tu forma de jugar para siempre? Te recomiendo el libro How to reassess your chess y el workbook de el mismo autor (IM Jeremy Silman), son muy buenos. Fuera de eso, no preguntes que puedes hacer para ganar. La respuesta es "practicar". Exito!

  • 3 years ago


    GM I am only about 1000 in real life what is the best way to win in tournaments and just in general?

  • 3 years ago

    GM GMTadic

    @alexman222t has inspired me for few more words :)

    The first step for every novice in the field should be making database of his own games. For example, whenever I am playing the game, the same evening I am trying to annotate it, just for my own use and future reminder. Next step is checking one of big databases, to see if anybody played the same, and how many moves are the same :). And finally, you should look for annotations from experts in the field, for annotated games or theoretical surveys.

    If you didn't start until now, it is never late. There is a lot of fun making your own database annotated. Finally, if there is some really good game, theoretically significant and after all, from the recent period, submit it to us, to Chess Informant, and maybe it comes to the selection for publishing. 

  • 3 years ago

    GM GMTadic

    Thank you guys and I am sorry being absent for a while. I owe an answer to @ hicetnunc so here it is:

    You're absolutely right, it is a compilation of Informant games and those databases will be constantly updated. There is longer story with more explanations about it at this article on Chess.com.

    I have to say that we are still in experimental phase. Adding the surveys is one of the options that we are evaluating. Right now, those theoretical surveys are available as separate products in CI Labs section. Basically now, readers could combine them freely, and I believe the price range for all download products is not high.

    However, I am pretty confident we will make bundles at some moment. Also, some sort of subscription might be interesting but it is too early for me to say does it make sense or not. We are listening our readers and we are ready to conduct changes if needed.

  • 3 years ago


    I don't see anything wrong with it, especially since GMTadic explicitly states his affiliation with the product and company.

  • 3 years ago


    What is wrong with representing one's own product in one's own blog?

  • 3 years ago


    It is true GMTadic represents a product but this article is general enough to make it interesting and useful. At  least as useful as the databases themselves.

    I am very thankful for the databases. As a novice, I don't want to make the same mistakes as those who have pioneered a line before me.

  • 3 years ago


    Are these databases a compilation of the corrresponding Informant games, or are there additional features (like surveys for example) ?

  • 3 years ago


    Cool! I was chatting with a friend at a local club who was recommending databases to me. Now, you are writing an article describing databases so that I can further my knowledge of what they are and how they are used, thank you.

  • 3 years ago

    GM GMTadic

    ChocolateTeapot Well, I have to say your comment is very cynical. If I am using expressions and sentences like: "our product", "this is what I am doing and my Editorial board" or "here I am representing DiamondBase PRO by Chess Informant", isn't it clear enough? And at the top of that, you can see my official role in my Chess.com profile. Does it makes your revelation brave or unexpected?

    On the other hand, my chess expirience and after all, the title, had recommend me to be editor in Chess Informant and I am proud for that. Or you just think none of this qualifies me to write at my blog about chess and about my daily routine which is again chess, or annotations or making chess products?

  • 3 years ago


    My opinion is that you are marketing this product very aggressively. Chess Informant is based in Belgrade, and you are from... oh, right.

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