by Steve Lopez

A couple of times a month I receive an alarmed phone call from a ChessBase or Fritz user who informs me that the annotations he's just laboriously typed into a game have suddenly vanished! "Where did they go? You've got to help me?"

Relax -- help is on the way. Your annotations aren't gone, they're just obscured. This week, we'll look at how to get them back.

We'll first need to take a look at the annotation window in ChessBase 7. While in the game window, you can hit [CTRL-A] to call up this box or else use the convenient button at the bottom of the game window.

Notice the row of file tabs near the top of this box. These correspond to different languages ("Eng" for English, "Deu" for German, "Fra" for French, etc.). Select the tab for the language in which you'll be annotating. If you don't really care one way or the other, select "ALL"; this will make the annotation visible no matter what language your program is set for.

Once your annotation is typed in, click "OK". Then go to the Game menu and select "Replace game", which will then make your annotation a permanent part of the game.

So why do typed annotations suddenly disappear? For that, we'll have to take a look at another box in ChessBase 7. Go to the Status menu and select "Language"; this box will appear on your screen:

You may remember this box from the first time your started ChessBase 7. The right-hand column allows you to set the language for your menu items and help files. But what are those two rows for "First language" and "Second language"? These two rows correspond to the file tabs we just looked at in the Annotation window.

Notice that I have "First language" set to "En" (for English) and "Second language" set to "D" (for Deutsch, also known as German). However, I also have the radio button near the bottom of the box set for "One". This means that the only annotations I will see are ones that have been typed into an annotation box with the "Eng" (English) file tab selected (that is, the "First language") or the "ALL" file tab selected (Annotations typed under the "ALL" tab are always visible, regardless of what language[s] the user has selected).

So why do annotations disappear? In 99% of the cases, you've typed your annotation under a file tab for a language which you've not selected as either your "First" or "Second" language. I've been caught this way a few times myself. For some reason I accidentally selected the tab for Italian, typed my annotation, clicked "OK", and failed to see it appear in the game notation, since my languages were set for only English and German. It only took me a few seconds to figure out what had happened, but there was still a moment of extreme distress when it first occurred.

The best remedy for the problem is to make sure you type all of your annotations under the "ALL" tab -- that way they'll always be visible, no matter what language has been selected by the user (in most cases, yourself).

Why is multiple-language support a feature in ChessBase? Every so often, you'll come across a game in ChessBase Magazine that's been annotated in more than one language. These games are dang near impossible to read unless you have a way to mask one of the languages. This feature gives you a way to do exactly that.

By the way, the annotation box look a bit different in Fritz than it does in ChessBase 7:

Instead of file tabs across the top of the box, you instead have a row of radio buttons near the bottom of the window. The "Neutral" button corresponds to the "ALL" tab referred to in this article. You can call up this box by hitting CTRL-A or clicking "Annotation" in the Moves menu.

The Language box in Fritz is identical to the one in ChessBase and can be accessed by clicking "Language" in the Setup menu.

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 the Chess Kamikaze Home Page and the Yahoo Chess Kamikazes Club.