by Steve Lopez

ChessBase 8 gives the user the ability to search an online database of over two million games. An often-asked question is: "How do I save these games into a database after the search?" It's quite easy (although it can be time-consuming); in this week's issue, we'll explore the way to do it.

A typical search involves looking for all instances in which a particular position appears. I opened a new game window and entered the moves 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Qg4. Going to the Toolbar at the top of the window, I clicked on the button to do an online database search (the button that looks like a globe with a small question mark to one side of it). Obviously, one has to be connected to the Internet to make this feature work -- otherwise you'll get bupkis. Once this button is clicked, a new pane appears at the bottom of the window:

Note the header at the top center of this pane: "Online". This is shown to differentiate it from the similar pane that allows you to search a reference database on your hard drive. To begin the search, click the "Search" button at the upper right of this pane.

Also be aware that this feature will display a maximum of 1000 games from the online database, even if more games are present in the database. This is to prevent the server from becoming overloaded due to many users searching for tens of thousands of games. If you think your search is likely to turn up more than a thousand hits, you'll need to conduct multiple searches in a slightly different manner. In this case, start the process by going to the Edit menu, selecting "Find position in", and then selecting "chessbase-online.com". This will bring up a search mask that lets you enter the span of years to be searched. As an example, you could search for the desired position in games played between 1500 and 1850, copy them into a database, then do a second search from 1851 to 1900, copy those into a database, then do searches by decade. Another tip: when you reach the mid-1980's, start limiting your searches to 2 or 3 year spans -- the vast majority of games in large databases are from 1985 to the present.

Either way, you'll see game headers start appearing in the search results pane after you've clicked the Search button in that pane. Searching an online database is a much slower process than searching a database on a CD or on your hard drive, so be patient. After a few minutes, you'll see the total result of your search displayed in the pane.

Next you'll need to mark the games for retrieval. Right-click once on the first listed game to bring up a popup menu. Select "Edit" in the menu and then the "Select all" command from the submenu. This highlights all of the games in the search results pane as shown here:

Notice that I included a slice of the Information bar at the bottom of the screen, showing that 525 games were found in my search. By the way, this part of the process will also take a bit of time, depending on the speed of your Internet connection and the amount of server traffic at the time you do your search.

Next you'll right-click once on the first game to again display the popup menu. Again you'll select "Edit", but this time you'll click on "Copy". This tells ChessBase 8 that you want to copy all of the highlighted games.

Now you'll return to the Database window (the one that shows icons for your various databases). Right-click on the "target" database, that is, the database into which you want the games to be copied. Again select "Edit" and then "Paste" from the submenu. ChessBase 8 will then begin copying the games into that database. Once again, remember that you're downloading information over an Internet connection instead of copying games from one database to another locally on your own PC, so this, too, requires a bit of time to complete. In my example search, copying 525 games from one database to another on a hard drive would be dang near instantaneous, while copying them from a CD to the hard drive would take just a few seconds. Performing the same process using games from the online database took over three minutes at 56.6kps. With a cable modem connection, it would take under a minute but it still wouldn't be an instantaneous process -- so remember that patience is the key word when copying games from the online database to a database on your PC.

Until next week, have fun!

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