ChessBase - Preparing for an opponent

Updated: May 23

It is 1980. You have just found out that in the next game of a chess tournament your opponent will be a strong player who occupies the first place in the table. The stakes of this game are very high for you. If you win, you'll gain a higher chess category and a lot of ELO rating points. If you lose... you'd rather not think about it further. You only have one day, and the game is tomorrow. In that one day you want to get the records of all the games played by your tomorrow's opponent in the last 2 years. You don't know if you will have enough time to analyze the debuts and continuations and the plans your opponent uses in the middle game. Ufff. Big of it and only one day... Maybe your colleagues can help you? .... And if not ? ;-)

In the days when no one believed that a computer could win against a human in a game of chess, preparation for a game of chess with a future opponent was... "analog" and took a lot of time and often involved many chess players to work together. Unfortunately, not everyone had a friend who played and understood chess at the level of a master or grandmaster.

Today, when chess players have access to databases of chess games and specialized software to work with such databases, preparation for a game against another chess player takes a maximum of a few tens of minutes instead of one or up to several days as it did in the past.

This part of the course is prepared in Chessbase version 16 in such a way that the vast majority of this program's capabilities can be used in previous versions from 12 to 15.
(ChessBase 12 was released in 2012).

In this part of the course I will show you how to use the ChessBase program to effectively prepare for a game against another chess player.

Prepare Against...

The first step will be to select the base where your chess opponent's games are.

In this example, I select Correspondence Database 2020 by right-clicking on it and selecting Properties...

Click in the Reference-DB field.

Notice that this will be followed by a change in the icon representing the Correspondence Database 2020.

Confirm by clicking on the OK button.

Select the function Prepare Against in the Home ribbon.

A new window appears that lists the players whose games appear in your database, in my case Correspondence Database 2020.

Of course, ChessBase is, as we know, a chess game database tool, which means you can sort the data in many ways, not just by date. Above the list of games there are column headers. Clicking on them will immediately sort the data by that field. You can use the sort function to sort the games in the database by the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (ECO) code, by score (if you're only interested in white or black wins), by author (which comes in handy to find games that are annotated), by game length, or here, as we'll do now, by ranking Elo.

You can scroll through the list of players until you reach the name of your opponent or, better yet, use the search function in the lower left corner of the window or the Filter List function on the ribbon. Type in the name of your opponent, in this case: Schulz Klaus Juergen.

By highlighting a player's name, you can see all of their games, as well as a scrolling list of tournaments they have participated in.

Highlight your opponent's name and press the Enter key. A picture of your opponent and pertinent information about them will appear on the screen.

After clicking on the Elo Profile button, a window will appear with a graph of the changes in ranking over time.

Clicking the Esc (escape) key closes the window with the ranking graph.

Clicking Esc (escape) key closes the window with the ranking chart and returns to the ID-Card window.

What happens when you click on the Dossier button I will present in the course content below.

  1. Clicking the Esc key closes the ID-Card window and returns to the window with hihlighted your opponent name.

  2. Clicking the Esc key closes the ID-Card window and returns to the window with the opponent's name highlighted.

Highlight one of the tournaments for eg. BdF-Bronze 08 email

And press T to view the interactive table.

If you wish, you can choose any chess game played in this tournament to open.

I chose the chess game Schulz vs Ottesen. Double-click on this game to open it.

OK. Again, let's return to the window where your opponent's name is selected (the easiest way is to use the Esc key).

We are greeted by the now familiar sight of a list of chess players' names, in which the name of our future chess opponent is marked: Schulz Klaus Juergen.

At this point of preparation the ChessBase program will show how powerful a tool it is in a chess player's work.

From the Players ribbon let's choose the option Prepare against white.

On the new screen that has appeared you have immediate access to all the games in the database in which Schulz Klaus Juergen played with white.

As you can see, when playing white he prefers 1.d4 which he has played on the first move in 97 chess games and scoring 57.2% of games won. An important piece of information is that 1.d4 was last played in 2018 which means that he has used this opening relatively recently and there is a good probability that he will choose 1.d4 in the next game that Schulz Klaus Juergen will play in white.

After answering 1...d5 the opponent always plays 2. c4 and continuing with 2...c6 3. Nf3 his opponents answered in 14 games with 3...Nf6 and in only one game with 3...e6.

And at this point in the chess game we can prepare a surprise for Schulz Klaus Juergen in the form of a move he has not yet played against, and for me and maybe also for you my dear reader - it is well known.

After 3...g6 we get a position that is very well known to me. Knowing what variant I'm going to face, I can spend as much time as I want to study the continuations in depth, using the chess engine or opening book suggestions in ChessBase and my own knowledge - to prepare the best lines against my opponent.

Player statistic

With a chess player's name highlighted in the Players tab, you can view their scores.

Click Player statistic on the ribbon, or right-click on a player's name and select Player Statistic.

  1. The first column shows the total score of Schulz Klaus Juergen against each opponent. You can sort by name, number of games or score.

  2. The second column lists the tournaments he has participated in. You can sort by tournament name, date, score, or call up the Table for the highlighted event.

  3. The third column contains the number of games and overall score in each ECO line. You can sort by White, Black, or as here by ECO code.

Clicking OK button or by pressing the Esc key, closes the Statistics window and returns to the window with hihlighted your opponent name.

Now, pressing the S key - will open the statistics window along with the graph.

It is possible to search directly from the dialog box for the results of a specific player.

While typing the first letters of the surname, ChessBase will show the chess players from the database