BASE BASICS 3

by Steve Lopez

Now that you know how to add games to your database, let's look at some of the ways you can utilize the information.

In the first part of this series, we examined the idea of a database as a large reference work -- a library of games. But how do you find the information you need? After all, there's no "card catalog" such as you'd find in an actual library.

Chess database programs contain something even better than a card catalog. It's called the Search Mask. Using a Seach Mask, you can call up exactly the information you want at a moment's notice.

Fire up Fritz5 and click on the "database" icon. Click on the "open" button and select the 300,000 game database from your Fritz5 CD. Next click the "Search" button. You'll see the Search Mask appear on your screen. This is where you tell the program what to look for.

We'll start with the most basic of all searches: the player search. Click on the empty box next to the word "Players". You'll see a flashing cursor appear in the box. Type in "Kasparov" (without the quotation marks); make sure you capitalize the "K", as the Search Mask is case-sensitive. Next click the "OK" button.

You'll see a scroll bar appear in the center of your screen, with a red bar creeping across it as Fritz searches the database for all the games of Kasparov. The number after the "n=" shows you how many games it's searched; another box shows the percentage of the database that's been examined.

When the search is complete, you'll have a very large number of games to play through. You might want to copy these into another database for future reference (as described in Part 2 of this series), saving you from doing a search every time you want to view some of Garry's games.

Now let's say that you want to view all the games of Kasparov vs. Anand. How do you limit the search? It's quite simple. Click the "Search" button again. Click "Reset all" to clear the Search Mask and redefine your search. Type "Kasparov" in the "players" box. Then click on the button with the plus sign (+) to the right of the "players" box, and type "Anand" in the box. Next click the large "down arrow" button to the right of the box and select "Opponent" from the menu that appears there. Click the "OK" button and you'll get a list of only the games in which Kasparov and Anand faced each other (including the 18 games of the 1995 PCA World Championship).

The menu you see when you click on the large "down arrow" is a pretty handy tool. You can specify whether you want the player's games as White or Black, the game result you're looking for, and the player's opponents. For example, you can type in "Yusupov", select "White" and "1-0" and get nothing but Artur's wins as the White player.

The next type of search you can try is a tournament search. Just type in the name of the event you're looking for, such as "Linares". This is especially good when used in conjunction with a "Year" search (and we'll get to combined searches in a moment).

You can also look for the games annotated by a specific person. For example, I'm a big fan of Lubomir Ftacnik as an annotator. So I just type in "Ftacnik" and let it rip (and wind up with a huge list of games!).

Worth mentioning here is the "not" item in the "down arrow" menus. This screens out whatever you place in the corresponding field. So if you want all of Kamsky's games except those played at Linares (in case he's right about his play being affected by the orange juice), you just type "Kamsky" in the "players" field, "Linares" in the "tournament" field, then select "Not" by clicking the "down arrow" next to "tournament".

The "year" field is self-explanatory. You can get the games from a specific year by typing the year number in both boxes, or from a range of years by typing two different year names.

"ECO" allows you to get all the games of a specific Encyclopedia of Chess Openings code or from a range of codes. For example, if you want to see all the games in which the King's Indian Defense was played, you would type "E60" in the first box and "E99" in the second box. The program will then give you a list of all the games from opening codes E60 through E99 (inclusive).

"Elo" gives a list of games in which the players match a certain rating criteria. You can tweak this by asking for just one player in this range or getting an average of both players' ratings within this range.

"Moves" allows you to specify a range for the total moves in the game. For example, if you want nothing but miniatures you could type "1" in the first box and "25" in the second. This will give you all the games that lasted "25" moves or less.

The box below "Moves" lets you specify a number of criteria:

1-0 -- White wins
0-1 -- Black wins
1/2-1/2 -- draws
Txt -- games containing text annotations
# -- games in which the final position is a mate
= -- games in which the final position is a stalemate
+ -- games in which the final position is a check

The "Medals" box allows you to find all the games tagged with a specific medal. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for a specific combination of medals. For example, I tried checking both "Novelty" and "Sacrifice" and got a list of games in which either medal appeared (as opposed to both medals). However, it's easy to scan down through the list and manually find the games in which both a red medal (sacrifice) and blue medal (novelty) appear. (And, while I'm thinking about it, check out the game Moberg-Hector, Goteborg, 1997 from the Fritz5 database; it's pretty danged spectacular for an 18 move draw).

The "Position" search feature is worthy of its own column in a future T-Notes (and I'll be doggoned if it won't get one). Meanwhile, don't be afraid to go ahead and play around with it.

Of course, you can always combine these searches in various combinations. Try this search: "Kasparov" in the "player" field (checking the "Black" item in the drop-down menu), "1990" through "1993" in the year field, "E60" through "E99" in the "ECO" field, "2500" through "2875" in the "Elo" field, "1" through "30" in the "moves" field, and the "0-1" box checked off. This will do a search for Garry Kasparov's wins in 30 moves or less on the Black side of the King's Indian Defense against grandmasters from the years 1990 through 1993. You should get three games. You should also notice something interesting: all three occurred in Linares. Maybe it's the water.

And, obviously, I don't need to tell you that once you've located the games you want you just double-click on it in the list to play through it in the main Fritz5 screen.

Those are the basics of doing a database search in Fritz. Pretty easy stuff, right? In the future we'll look at the "Position" search as well as some more complex searches using ChessBase. But this stuff should get you started. Happy hunting!



CHESS EMBITTERMENT

by Steve Lopez

WARNING: Readers of a puritanical nature may find certain passages of the following article somewhat offensive. Or maybe even very offensive. Maybe just boring. Hey, it's the Internet -- at least it's free.

Last week's tale of fear and loathing (with due credit to Dr. Thompson) elicited some interesting responses from readers. Most of them can be paraphrased as "Why are you wasting my time with your crappy games? I have crappy games of my own to deal with!" The word "comiseration" has evidently been excised from the dictionary whilst my back was turned.

However, sympathetic soul Tom Powers chimed in with a truly remarkable story, guaranteed to cause wracking sobs and severe depression amongst any but the most stout-hearted.

There's only one thing worse than losing a brilliantly-played game: winning it and not getting credit. I'll let Tom take it from here...

Steve,

Years ago (circa 1980) I was playing postal chess through USCF and I came up with a gem playing the Black side of the Marshall Gambit. After the game was finished I sent the score in to Chess Life and it was published in a column on postal chess -- WITH THE NAMES REVERSED. I said "what the hell" and let it pass. I recently started playing correspondence chess again and while loading a Marshall collection from the University of Pittsburgh into my ChessBase database I came across -- MY GAME! WITH THE NAMES REVERSED!! After 17 years I still look like the Tom Powers who was blasted by Mr. Thompson. If you care to check out Powers-Thompson you can load it from the University of Pittsburgh or e-mail me and I'll dig up the score (I'm at work writing this).

-- Tom Powers

Tom,

Two thoughts spring immediately to mind. First, if you have a job where you can spend time writing to other chess freaks, I want to know where to apply. Second, if you still look like the same "Tom Powers" after 17 years, you're doing better than I am. My beard is rapidly greying. Women say I look more "distinguished"; men just refer to me as "the old guy".

Lord! Look at this story! Where to start?

First of all, let's just say that Chess Life is not a model of accuracy in reporting. I've heard of several cases in the last few years of reversed names on published gamescores. Sort of makes you wonder what they do with tournament results: I remember playing a guy rated 1950, gutting him, leaving him for dead, and I'm still waiting for my 32 points six years later.

Chess Life is swell if you want to read about the ongoing game between Kortchnoi and the ghost of Geza Maroczy (who actually looked 3/4's dead while he was still breathing). I personally feel that chess and the occult don't mix well -- I've been consulting a Ouija board for years trying to get a definitive answer on the Anglicized spelling of "Kortchnoi" so that I can standardize my database, but the otherworldly entities in charge just keep putting me through to Maroczy. He Ouijas with an atrocious Hungarian accent, so I still can't get the answer I need.

Chess Life also has occasional trouble distinguishing between Rudolf Spielmann and Jon Speelman, as well as between Carlos and Eugenio Torre. Since this causes monster chuckles down at the chess club, however, I hope they don't straighten this out anytime soon.

Since my boss at ChessBase is a former Chess Life editor, I'd best quit busting on the magazine and get right to Tom's game. In an attempt to further embitter me, Tom has sent the game sans analysis, so I will attempt to describe the action as we go.

By the way, please play though this game using Fritz5 with the sound option turned ON. The sound effects of pieces being banged around and cracked off the board seriously heighten the impact of Tom's cascade of sacrifices (I always wanted to use that expression). And make sure you play through this from Black's point of view; viewing this game from White's perspective may cause nightmares and has been know to cause brain cancer in Canadian lab rats.

Remember, dear reader, Tom Powers is Black in this game. Black. He's playing BLACK...you know, the darker pieces...

Thompson - Powers
correspondence, 1981

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.dxe5 e4

WOOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I always loved this, though I admit that I'm not studly enough to play it myself. Powers is obviously a manly man.

(And, speaking of "Powers", I used to play chess with a girl who bore a striking resemblance to actress Stefanie Powers. It wasn't strip chess, unfortunately. Another testament to my lack of manliness. Pardon me while I go to the refrigerator...be back in a few. Or maybe after a few. I'm very depressed now).

10.dxc6 exf3 11.Qxf3 Bg4 12.Qf4 Bd6 13.Qd4 Re8

I don't mean to spoil the fun, but I will say that this game belongs in every beginner's anthology under the heading "Don't Bring the Queen Out Too Early".

14.Re3 Re7 15.f3

And now Thompson obviously awaits the pedestrian 15...Bf5. But our man Tom feels a sudden powerful surge of testosterone and plays:

15...Qe8!

Pardon me, I feel lightheaded...I must lie down.

16.fxg4

"Hah!" cries Powers aloud, with infinite Nimzovichian sarcasm. "I laugh at the loss of my Bishop and the subsequent weakening of my light squares! I sneer at the pre-modernist development of your Queenside pieces! I guffaw aloud at your exposed King! I chortle audibly at your puny advanced c6-pawn, so far from home and hearth!"

Unfortunately, this is a correspondence game, so Tom's masterful mockery goes to waste.

16...Be5 17.Qb4 Bd6 18.Qd4

And the best part is that Thompson has to buy stamps to keep running away with the Queen. Talk about adding insult to injury!

18...Rd8

Here's where Tom shows true genius in screwing with somebody's head. Most people would have been content with running up their opponent's postal bill with 18...Be5. But Tom has bigger fish to fry.

19.Rxe7 Qxe7 20.Qe3

Yeah, like moving the Queen along the same diagonal is going to help the oncoming pin! 20.Kf1 is better, but I have no idea where it leads as I am laughing too hard right now to effectively analyze.

20...Bc5 21.d4 Rxd4

The second sac (all right, so two sacrifices hardly constitute a "cascade" but I really really wanted to use that expression).

22.Bxf7

I freely admit to having no clue here, and thinking about it is giving me a headache. I guess some people just like to lick stamps.

22...Kh8

0-1

With the continuation 23.cxd4 Bxd4 24.Nc3 Bxe3+ 25.Bxe3 Qxe3+ 26.Kh1 Nxg4 27.h3 Nf2+ 28.Kh2 Qf4+ 29.Kg1 Nxh3+ 30.gxh3 Qg3+ 31.Kf1 Qxh3+ 32.Ke2 Qg2+ 33.Kd3 Qf3+ 34.Kd2 Qxf7 and the Black Kingside pawns just book right on up the board. Fritz5 found this continuation, but I made him put it back (as my sides already hurt from laughing; I couldn't take any more mirth and hilarity).

And there you have it, friends! A dazzling win by Tom Powers -- you know, the guy with the Black pieces. Black -- as in the second player, OK?

Excellent job, Tom!! Now I want everyone to go correct this game in their databases. By the way, it's been seventeen years -- do you think it's too late to write to Chess Life and see if they'll print a correction?

Your tales of shame and degradation are also welcome for publication in Electronic T-Notes. Submissions from players who write their own jokes are especially prized. Send your tales of misery, questions, and comments about Electronic T-Notes and Battle Royale to our ChessBase Users Group or you can e-mail me directly.