by Steve Lopez

Every so often the question "How do I update my opening books with new games?" comes up, so this week I'll take a swing at providing an answer. Keep in mind that the terms "opening book" and "opening tree" are used interchangably.

In Fritz6, there are a couple of ways to update a tree. You can combine two existing opening books or you can add new games to an existing book. Combining two books is pretty simple. First you load an opening book (File/Open/Openings book); make sure that this is the target book (the one which will contain all of the moves of the combined trees). Go to the Notation pane and click on the "Openings Book" tab to display the contents of the book.

Next you'll go to the Edit menu and select "Openings book", then pick "Import book" from the submenu. You'll see our old buddy the Windows file select dialogue appear. Use this dialogue to go to the folder where the second opening book (the one you want to import into the present book) is located. Select it and click "OK". The "Import book" progress bar appears; when it hits 100%, the process is finished and the two books are now combined. (And, if you don't know how the Windows file select dialogue works, SHAME ON YOU! Consult your Windows documentation),

Another method of updating a book is to bring in new games from a database. If you want to import all the games from a single database, just go to Edit/Openings Book/Import Games. The file select dialogue appears. You know the drill -- use it to go to the folder where the database in question is located, select it, click "OK". The games will now be imported into the opening tree and the statistics will be updated.

Another method is to bring in selected games from a particular database. Go to the Database window [F12] and highlight the games you wish to import (and, of course, there are a number of ways to do this, like combining the [Shift] and cursor keys, the [Shift] and [Page Down] keys, or hold down the [Ctrl] key and click on the individual games, depending on the situatiion. This is all standard Windows stuff; please consult your Windows documentation for details). Once you have the games highlighted, go to the Edit menu and select "Copy to". This brings up the (you guessed it) Windows file select dialogue. Select "Trees" from the "Files of Type" pulldown and then use the file selector to go to the folder where your opening book is stored. Select it, click "OK", and the games you picked from your game list get merged into the opening book.

You can update a tree with new games using ChessBase 8 as well. To import all the games from a database into a tree, just drag and drop the database's icon over to the opening tree icon in the Database window. You'll get the "Import games" dialogue which allows you to set parameters for how the games will be imported.

The method for importing individual games (instead of a whole database) is somewhat similar to that used in Fritz6. Highlight the games you want to import into the tree and then right-click on any of the highlighted games. Choose "Edit" from the popup menu and then select "Copy" from the submenu. Then bring up the Database window (you can do this by clicking the "ChessBase 8.0" button on your Windows Taskbar, or use the [Alt-Tab] combination), single left-click on the icon for the opening tree in question to highlight it, then go to the Edit menu at the top of the window and select "Paste". You'll get a box asking for confirmation that you want to import the games to the tree. Click "OK" and the games will be merged into the opening tree and the statistics will be updated.

Please be aware that importing a whole heaping mountain of games into an opening tree takes time; this is not an instantaneous process. It's also important to know that opening trees are huge, much larger than game databases in fact. The faster the processor and the more RAM you have, the less time importing piles of games will take. But if you're importing a few hundred thousand games into a tree on a Pentium I, start the process, go eat Sunday brunch, go watch the Raiders game or the Darby match (depending on your preferences, geographic location, and [in the case of the Darby match] your level of masochism), then come back later and start swearing because the process still isn't complete. However, adding a few thousand games to a tree is a relatively quick "while you wait" process.

Until next week, have fun (and go Darby Rams)!

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