by Steve Lopez

There are a few handy tips you should know for doing text searches in databases using ChessBase 7. A question I'm often asked is how to do searches for games that contain text annotations. This is pretty simple to do. In the Search mask, click the "Annotations" button (this is the rectangular button that has the word "Annotations" displayed directly on it, not the check box to the left of the button). A new window will appear that looks like this:

This allows you to set the parameters for your text search. If you just want to find all the games that contain text annotations of any kind, check the "Any text" box (as I've done in the above illustration). Click "OK", which will return you to the Search mask. You'll notice that there is now a check mark next to the Annotations button. Click "OK" again and ChessBase 7 will give you a list of all the games in the database that contain text annotations.

You can do a lot of other things with the annotation search window. If you click the box next to "Deleted", you'll get a list of the games that are marked for future deletion (i.e. appear as crossed out in the game list) but which haven't yet been removed by use of the "Physical deletions" command. Clicking the box next to "Position" will give you the games that start from a position other than the normal starting position for the game of chess (these are designated with a "P" in the rightmost column of the game list).

There is a list of different annotation types that can be searched as well. "Colors" gets you all the games in which colored arrows and colored squares are used in the game annotations. "Training" will provide a list of the games that contain timed training questions. "Multimedia" will list the games that contain sound or video files. "Pawn structure", "Piece path", and "Critical position" will get you lists of the games that contain these special annotation types.

"Variation" retrieves all the games that contain variation lines, while "Any symbols" will find games that use Informant-style symbol notation in them.

But what if you want to look for a specific symbol? Just use the "Symbols" blank near the top of this window to type in the symbol you want to find. You can type these in using keyboard combinations; there's a chart of these in your ChessBase manual.

For example, I want to find all of the games in my Budapest Defense database that contain the "Unclear" symbol. First, I double-click the icon for my Budapest Defense database to get the game list. Next, I click on the button to get the Search mask ("Install a filter"). I click the Annotations button. I click once in the white box next to Symbols to put a cursor in the box. Next I type [CTRL-3] to insert the Informant symbol for "unclear".

I click "OK" to go back to the Search mask and then click "OK" in that window. ChessBase then gives me a list of games which contain the "unclear" symbol. If I double-click on one of these games to view it, I'll be jumped to the move immediately before the one marked "unclear".

You can also search for specific words contained in the text commentary to your games. Just type the words or word string in the box provided for this purpose. For example, if you wanted to search for the word "initiative", your window would look like this:

Note that this search is not case-sensitive (capital and lower case letters don't matter). Start the search and you'll be presented with a list of games in which the word "initiative" appears somewhere in the text. Double-clicking a game will jump you to the position immediately before the one with the text comment.

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.