Scid vs. PC - Efficient work with a chess database

Updated: May 23

Chess databases are essentially tools for working with lots of data. Scid vs. PC is essentially a tool for storing, organizing, analyzing, sharing, chunking, ..., etc. data - that is, chess games in many different ways.

This part of the course is prepared in Scid vs. PC version 4.22 in such a way that the vast majority of this program's capabilities can be used in previous versions 4.x.
(Scid vs PC 4.0 was released in 2010).

Scid vs. PC is a free program that was released for Linux, macOS and Windows operating systems.

The versions for these systems do not differ in anything. Scid vs. Pc works in the same way on each of these systems.

The differences that occur are literally cosmetic and related to the appearance in purpose of integration with the system in which Scid vs. Pc is running.

To illustrate these minor differences, I will show the appearance and access to the toolbar on macOS and Windows.


In this system Scid vs. Pc is called Scid vs. Mac

Click to enlarge (works with any image)


In this system Scid vs. Pc is called Scid vs. Pc

I'll show you how to organize your work and access to data in Scid vs. PC well.

After the first start of the program we are welcomed by two windows: a chessboard (Board) in the initial position and a game annotation window (PGN).

At the top of the Board window is a bar with icons - shortcuts to the following tools:

Looking from left to right:

  • Replace Game

  • Bookmarks

Loading game shortcuts:

  • Load First

  • Load Previous

  • Load Next

  • Load Last


  • Game List

  • PGN Window

  • Maintenance Window

  • Tree Window

  • Book Window

  • Crosstable

  • Tournaments

  • Analysis Engines

If you hover over any icon, its name will be displayed. In this example by hovering over the floppy disk icon.

These shortcuts will make working with the database more efficient and will be presented in more detail later in the course.

Below that we see a bar with shortcuts for the current chess game operation, such as go to the beginning of the game, go one move back, etc.

Chess Data Base

Before we start exploring Scid vs. Pc I highly recommend get a database of chess games. Having access to the database, the Scid vs. PC program will enable us to use all its important features and tools.

Chess games in database format can be downloaded from many online sources.

A good, recognized and proven place on the net is The Week in Chess or Caissabase.

From Caissabase website you can legally and for free download a database containing over 4 million chess games! (December 2021).

For us - users, the good news is that the author of Caissabase provides chess games in a format supported by the Scid vs. PC program.

For the purposes of this course, I chose Caissabase.

After downloading (and unzipping if necessary) the selected chess game database, let's proceed to open it in the Scid vs. PC program.

Click File - Open.

After opening the chess game database, the first thing we see is that a game notation has appeared in the PGN window -> in this case between Vachier Lagrave vs Caruana.


...The interface to work with the database.

Clicking on the Game List icon will open a separate window with a list of all the games contained in the database.

If you click on the Board tab, you will return to the chessboard window.

As you may have noticed, to the right of the Board tab, a Game List tab has appeared with the name of the database we opened earlier.

From the icon bar at the top of the Board window, let's click on the Tree Window icon.

To the right of the PGN tab, a Tree window will open with the database name.

But, we don't see the notation of the chess game - we don't see the PGN window.

So let's move the Tree window down.

Right-click in the Tree pane and choose Move to bottom.

When confirmed with a left mouse click, the window layout looks like this:

Well done. Let's open some more windows.

Select Windows on the toolbar and click on Game Info

Below the chessboard you will see a smaller window with data about the first chess game in the database.

This way, by clicking on shortcut icons or selecting specific window/s from the Windows toolbar, you can prepare Scid vs. PC to work according to your preferences.

In order not to open windows every time after starting Scid vs PC, after clicking Options - Save La