by Steve Lopez

There are a number of ways to format a list of games in ChessBase 7. Setting up and switching between various game formats is quick and easy to do.

Double-click on a database icon to open the game list. If you right-click on the list, you'll get a menu of commands. Selecting "Game list configuration" gets you the following dialog box:

This lets you toggle and change a number of features of the game list. "First name length" refers to the number of characters displayed in a player's first name. For most players a single character is sufficient (the vast majority of games have only the first initial in the header or no initial at all). However, there are times when it's important to know which games were played by Anatoly Karpov and which by Al Karpov (don't laugh -- there is such a person). ChessBase enables you to select how many characters will be displayed in the first name. The default is 99 (e.g. all first name characters).

"Annotators" is self-explanatory. I personally use this, as I like to know who wrote the notes before I load the game.

"Publishing sources" refers to where the game came from. All ChessBase data now contains the publishing source (that is, what disk the game came from). I'm not terribly interested in this, except in the case of the Chess Informants, so I leave this toggle off.

"Game number": this helps show you where you are in a large database of games (especially useful if you scroll the window a lot, as I do).

"Full date": selecting this will show you the month, day, and year of the game (if available).

"Foot line": this will give you a white bar at the bottom of the game window, showing you the opening moves of the highlighted game (the game the cursor bar is over).

Once you've set up this preliminary stuff, you can move on to further setting the format of the games in the window. There are a lot of buttons at the bottom of the game list. Right now we're concerned with three of them:

The button on the left shows the moves of all games in the list. The center button shows game data (player names, tournaments, etc). The third button sets the first move for the display you get when you click on the first button.

Let's try some examples. Here's a typical game list:

That's generally what you'll see when you click the middle button of the three (the one for "Show game data").

You'll notice a small line at the top of the window, immediately to the left of the word "Tournaments":

You can grab this line (by clicking on it with the left mouse button and holding the button down) and drag it to the left or right to change the amount of column space given to the player entries and tournament entries (in other words, you can make the players column wider while making the tournaments column narrower, and vice-versa). By the way, this particular feature also works in Fritz5.

But let's say you want to see the moves of the games instead of the player and tournament info. To do this, just click on the leftmost of the three buttons I showed you:

After you've clicked on it, your game list will change to look something like this:

Now you can easily see all of the moves of the games from the database. This is useful when you're looking for a particular oddball opening sequence that transposes into a main line.

Suppose now that you'd like to see a display of opening moves, but one in which the listed games start with a move later than move one. No problem -- click the rightmost button of the three ("Set first move for move display") and you'll see this fun little window appear:

This should be pretty self-explanatory. It lets you set the move number at which the entries in the list will start, as well as whether it will be White's or Black's move at that move number. Let's try setting it for White's third move and see what happens:

Ain't it just swell? Now we see the same list of games, but this time the move sequences start at White's third move. Note that the footline at the bottom of the list changed, too, to reflect the new settings.

All right, let's do another trick. Move lists are fine, but what if you want to see a combination of player info and game moves? In this case, the leftmost button is our little buddy once again. Click on it to see what happens to the game list:

Terrific! The "Tournaments" entry has been replaced by the list of moves! Remember that you can widen the move display by grabbing and dragging the small line to the left of "Tournaments" at the top of the list. Clicking again on the leftmost button will once again return the list to nothing but game moves.

The center button of the three changes the display back to the original format of player and tournament names.

Go ahead and play around with these features to get the game list of your dreams! Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for Electronic T-Notes. Stop by the Yahoo Chess Kamikazes Club and the Chess Kamikaze Home Page.