by Steve Lopez

Quite a few users are asking lately about the use of PGN format in ChessBase 7. Although this was covered earlier in an ETN issue (June 1st, 1997), I think it's worthwhile to have another quick look at it.

PGN stands for Portable Game Notation. All PGN consists of is a glorified text file of a chess game (or games) in a standard format, with the game headers and moves organized in a specific rigid format. A description of the format's specifications can be obtained at http://www3.pitt.edu/~schach/Archives/index2.html, clicking on the PGN link, then the Demo link, and downloading the file pgnstd.zip.

ChessBase 7 will read this format directly. You can load a PGN database and play through the games in it, but many of ChessBase 7's features will not work on a database in PGN format.

Loading a PGN database (for example, your database of games you've played on the Internet Chess Club) is pretty simple. Just fire up ChessBase 7, click the Database menu, select "Open" and use the file selector to go to the folder on your hard drive where the PGN database is located. You'll see the PGN database listed in the large white window. Double-click on it, click the "Permanent" button in the new window that appears, and you'll see a new database icon in the upper left corner of your Database window. This is the icon for the PGN file. You can then double-click on it to get a game list of the games in that database.

Suppose you'd like to convert these games into ChessBase format. That, too, is simple to do. After you've set up an icon for your PGN database, click the Database menu, select "New" and use the file selector to create and name a new database in .CBH format. After clicking "Save", you'll now have another new icon in your Database window for the (empty) ChessBase database you just created. To copy the PGN games into this database, just drag and drop the PGN database over to the .CBH database and the games will be copied; the file format of the games will be converted as they're copied.

To get ChessBase games into a PGN database, you just reverse the procedure. Create a new PGN database (by clicking Database/New, making sure you select PGN as the type of file and name the file accordingly) and then drag and drop either a whole ChessBase database or else just individual games (from the ChessBase Clipboard, for example) over to the icon for the PGN database. Simple, eh?

Just keep in mind that many of ChessBase 7's functions don't work on PGN format games and databases. So when you download a new PGN database from the Internet, one of the first things you'll want to do is convert the games into ChessBase format as described above.

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for Electronic T-Notes. If you love gambits, stop by my Chess Kamikaze Home Page and the Yahoo Chess Kamikazes Club.