by Steve Lopez

This week we're going to take another look at the "cosmetics" of ChessBase 7. ChessBase users have for several years been requesting the ability to change the color of the board and pieces in the program. This feature has at last been implemented in version 7.0.

To be able to use colors in ChessBase your computer system must be capable of Hi Color graphics resolution. With Windows 95 it's easy to change your computer's settings to take advantage of Hi Color (a higher number of colors than the traditional 256 colors).

With no programs running, click the "Start" button in Windows 95. Select "Settings" and then "Control Panel" from the submenu that appears. Select "Display" from the items in the "Control Panel" window. A new window called "Display Properties" will appear. Click on the tab marked "SiS Settings". The window will look like this:

You'll see a couple of sliders in the box. One of these is labeled "Color palette". This is the slider you'll use to change your display's setting to Hi Color. Most systems will have four choices: 16 Color, 256 Color, Hi Color, and True Color. Move the slider over to "Hi Color". (While you can select "True Color", this will generally have the effect of slowing down your system's performance). While you're in here, you might want to fool around with your system's resolution (under "Desktop area") as well as the font size for the way menus and other items are displayed on your screen.

Once you're finished, click the "Apply" button. You'll see a message box asking if you want to restart your computer. You'll need to do this for the changes you made to take effect. Once your computer restarts, close the Control Panel and fire up ChessBase 7. Under the "Status" menu, click on "Options". Select the "Board colors" tab and you'll see a box with buttons marked "White" and "Black" (to change the colors of the pieces) and "Light squares" and "Dark squares". Click on the button for the feature you want to change. The standard Windows "color" window appears and allows you to select a color from the regular Windows palette or create a color of your own.

Once you've made your choice, click "OK". Then, in the "Board colors" window, click the "Apply" button followed by "OK". Open a board window to see the results of your handiwork.

After a bit of tweaking to the dark squares I came up with a board that resembles the standard U.S.C.F. vinyl roll-up tournament mat:

I couldn't figure out how to get the ivory ("buff") color of the mats for the light squares, so I settled for plain white. The seetings for the dark squares are as follows:

Hue: 80
Sat: 240
Lum: 87
Red: 0
Green: 185
Blue: 0

Obviously, I left the pieces alone.

Once you've changed the color settings they're stored as the "User" scheme in the "Board colors" window. You can find some nice preset board schemes there as well.

Fool around with this feature until you find something you're comfortable looking at for hours on end. Aesthetics are purely subjective. I used to work with a guy at ChessBase USA who made Fritz' dark squares a bright screaming red. The walls of the office were painted a plain white, so after looking at a board position on the screen for ten minutes, you could turn off the monitor, look at the wall, and still see the board for another hour. To each his own, I suppose.

Until next week, have fun!

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