by Steve Lopez

One of the more puzzling legacies left over from CBWin is the DETAIL.CKO directory mystery. In the old ChessBase for Windows manual, the text describes a set of large ECO-style opening keys that should be copied into a directory called DETAIL.CKO (c:\cbwin\detail.cko). ChessBase International had planned to release a set of huge ECO (Encyclopedia of Chess Openings) keys on CD which would be copied to your hard drive in the DETAIL.CKO directory, from which they would be directly accessible by the program.

Scratch that. The DETAIL.CKO directory is no more. The "detail keys" that were to be released separately on CD have been incorporated into database CDs offered by ChessBase. There keys appear on both the ChessBase Openings Encyclopedia and the new Mega Database '98 CDs. These huge opening keys are able to be used in conjunction with any database you have on your hard drive.

Here's a couple of tips before we get into the nuts and bolts. If you have both of these CDs, use the keys from Mega Database '98. The key on that CD contains a few new variations that reflect some of the theoretical novelties that have in the last year. Also, don't use the complete key on small databases, particularly ones that contain nothing but games of a single opening. These key files are quite large and will dwarf the actual game files if used with a small database. These keys are designed to be used with databases containing tens of thousands of games.

Here are the names of the files you'll need. First, if you have the ChessBase Openings Encyclopedia, the files are:

If you have Mega Database '98, the files are:

Note that the file names are the same regardless of which ChessBase data format you'll be using (.CBF or .CBH). The keys work with either format.

Now we'll look at how to use them with your own database. Simply click once on your keyless database's icon in the "Database" window to highlight it. Pull down the "Technical" menu, select "Opening classification", and then the command "Install key" from the submenu that appears to the right. A window called "Open" pops up (which looks like the standard Windows file selection window). With the CD in your drive, click on the letter for your CD drive and select the .CKO file that appears in the left-hand box (that is, either opening.cko or mega98.cko depending on which CD you're using). Click "OK" and the keys will be automatically installed in the new database.

Once the new keys are installed, pull down the "Technical" menu again, select "Opening classification" and then "Whole database" from the submenu. This will sort the games into their proper places in the opening keys.

Now you can use the ECO-style opening keys simply by clicking on any of the "gold key" icons. You can also use key-dependent functions like "Opening classification" (from the "Game" menu) and "Find novelty".

A brief note before I go: sorry about not answering e-mail for a few days. It's been a hectic week; if you haven't received a reply from me yet, I promise that an e-mail from me will hit your box within the next week or so.

I also have something of a backlog of material. I have several interesting requests for articles sent to me via e-mail (including two that will require a heap of research and work to provide). ChessBase USA has sent me a stack of CDs to write about (including Danny King's positively awesome "Attack!" CD). I've also (finally!) been exploring the world of on-line chess (three times as much fun as cybersex and not nearly as boring and repetitive) and I plan to chronicle some of my experiences in Electronic T-Notes. I've sent a few ducats to a postal chess organization; I'm now returning to postal chess after a four-year hiatus. And I'm planning to return to (gasp!) over-the-board tournaments, possibly as soon as this spring.

The coming weeks should be fun. Stick around -- things may get pretty interesting by the time the thermometer hits 90!

Until next week -- have fun!

You can reach me by e-mail with your ideas and suggestions.