ChessBase - Using chess engines

Updated: May 23

ChessBase allows you to use chess engine / engines when working with chess games - ChessBase calls them Kibitzer. For any move or position you can call the Kibitzer, which will evaluate the position, suggest a good or interesting continuation, or analyze the chess game noting the good and weak moves, suggesting what to play.

The longer the chess engine works, the more confident we can be in its evaluation. ChessBase allows you to install multiple chess engines and use one or more of them simultaneously.

ChessBase allow access to millions of already proven positions by other chess players using the Kibitzer.

If you find yourself in an interesting position and turn on the Kibitzer, you can immediately see the results that other chess players have obtained in the same position using different chess engines, The result is astounding. You can now quickly go through the key lines, observing not only what moves made, but also what the different Kibitzer - chess engines - calculated.

ChessBase has compiled all these Kibitzer evaluations into a separate book of openings called the Live Book. The result is a lively, fast-moving environment that helps chess players in their analysis, position evaluations which enables faster and more effective preparation for opponents and promotes learning and rapid progress in the art of chess.

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).

Depending on the version of ChessBase you are using dear reader, your program includes one to several Kibitzers that are integrated into ChessBase.

The very good news is that...

Each of the pre-built Kibitzers plays with a strength that surpasses even the playing strength of a World Chess Champion!

This means, that the results of position analysis and evaluation using any of the Kibitzers will be objective and at a very, very high level.

You can install additional engines, you can set the default engine as any of the installed ones, you can even rent some really powerful Kibitzers in the cloud.

How to use chess engines with ChessBase - that's what this part of the course is about.


In the rest of this course, I will use the name: Kibitzer instead of chess engine.

To see a list of installed Kibitzers: - Open a any game and go to Home - Add Kibitzer

As you can see, I have added several additional Kibitzers to my list of chess engines.

Install Kibitzer

You can install any chess engine in ChessBase that uses the UCI (Universal Chess Interface) protocol.

Almost all modern, free and commercial chess engines support the UCI protocol.

To install new Kibitzers, download them, open any game or empty chessboard and click Home - Create UCI Engine.

A new window will open: Set up UCI Engine.

Click "..." button.

And in the next window indicate the chess engine to install. In this case it will be Colossus v2008b.exe.

Click on the Open button.

Note that ChessBase recognized the engine name: Colossus 2008b and its author: Martin Bryant.

To install the selected chess engine, click on the OK button.

UCI engines can be used wherever they are, in any folder or any disk on the computer. The configuration files with the extension *.uci are always saved in the folder / Documents and Settings/Username/Application Data/ChessBase/Engines.UCI.

When you install new ChessBase programs (such as Fritz), the built-in chess engines are automatically placed in the Engines directory.

Once the chess engine has been installed correctly, it will be visible in the list of available Kibitzers.

Kibitzers (engines) management

If you have installed a lot of Kibitzers and would like only selected Kibitzers to be listed, go to Home - Engine Management.

After moving the selected Kibitzers from the left side ( Active engines ) to the right side ( Inactive engines ), confirm your choice by clicking on OK button.

Again by clicking on Home - Add Kibitzer, my list contains only selected Kibitzers ( Active engines ).

Of course, inactive Kibitzers (they are installed) can be activated in the same way as described above by clicking on Home - Engine Management.

After activating two Kibitzers named:

  • Colossus 2008b

  • Fritz 15

My Kibitzers list looks exactly like this:

Default Kibitzer

Let's open any chess game.

There is always one selected default Kibitzer in ChessBase, which can be started by clicking on the Home - Default Kibitzer ribbon.

The default Kibitzer can be set by entering the main options - Click on the key icon.

The Options window will open.

After click on Engines, you will see options on the right side of the window for setting the default chess engine.

To make a change to the default Kibitzer, click Browse...

A familiar window with a list of chess engines will open.

After selecting another default Kibitzer from the available chess engines, confirm with OK button.

As we can see, the default Kibitzer ( Default Engine ) has been changed to Fritz 17, which we selected in the previous window.

The default Kibitzer should be the chess engine that is best / most used for you.

After clicking the OK button, we will return to the window with the chess game opened earlier.

So let's check if our new default Kibitzer will work after launch.