by Steve Lopez

This week, we'll have a look at a couple of neat annotation and analysis tricks in ChessBase 7. These tips may seem a bit basic to some users, but I receive at least two calls a week about them -- I think it's time for us to take a look.

Chessplayers frequently are left hanging at the end of pubished games, wondering "Why did he resign here?" or wondering why the game was a draw. There's a pretty easy way to explore these post-game scenarios using one of your analysis engines within ChessBase 7.

Let's open up a game in ChessBase 7. This game's one of my favorites from this year -- the Cochrane Gambit as played at the Linares supertournament. The first trick that a few folks don't know is that you can jump to any position in the game just by single-clicking on that move in the notation window. In this case, I single-clicked on 31.Bc5+ to jump right to the end of the game:

So let's say we want to figure out why the players called a draw at this point. The first step is to start a variation line at the end of the game. "But how do we do this?" I can already hear you asking. It's pretty simple: to start a variation line in ChessBase 7, just hit the "T" key on your keyboard. When you hit "T", you'll see the game jump backwards one move. This signifies that ChessBase is ready for you to enter a new move:

All that needs to be done now is to enter the new move. In this case, simply play 31.Bc5+ again and it will be added as a variation line, even though it's the same move as what was played in the game:

Note that the position on the board is exactly the same as in the first illustration above, except that now the final move is presented as a variation instead of as the main line move. Now you can enter moves at will without altering the main line moves of the actual game.

You can do this for any move in a game using ChessBase 7; it doesn't have to be the final move of the game. This is a good shortcut to remember when you want to add your own variations to a game -- just hit the "T" key to take back the move and then start making the variation moves on the board.

Now that we've covered the "T" key, let's look at how to paste a chess engine's analysis into the game score. Note that you won't have to use the "T" key to do this. Just highlight the move you want a chess engine to analyze and let it rip. Going back to our example, we'll just click on the last move of the game and fire up the Fritz engine inside ChessBase to have a look at what the computer thinks of the final position.

After letting it get to a decent search depth (nine to eleven plies or greater), just right-click in the analysis window and select "Lock". This freezes Fritz' analysis at that point. Then right-click again and select "Paste". Fritz' analysis is dropped into the game at that point as a variation line (this is why you don't have to use the "T" key to accomplish this:

In this illustation we see that I had Fritz take a look at the two best moves in the position and both have been added as variation lines. The top line is displayed as the main variation (which we see leads to a draw by repetition of position). The second-best line is shown as a sub-variation; in this line we see that White is forced to keep checking Black (eventually leading to a similar draw by repetition), otherwise ...Qg1 or ...Qh1 is mate. The display also shows the positional evaluation for each variation (in this case 0.00, meaning the positions were even due to the impending draws) and the search depth (eleven plies in this instance).

So we've seen two ways to examine why a game was resigned or drawn. The first way allows you to start a new variation line and shuffle pieces around as you figure out why the game ended the way it did (which is certainly the most instructional of the two methods). The second method lets the computer analyze the position and show you the results had the game been played out.

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.