Lately I've been doing a lot of work entering games from chess books into databases. It's actually not too hateful a task; I use a few extensive monster databases and if a game's not in one database it's bound to be in one of the others. But when you get to the part where the book's annotator provides a looooong variation and reference to a similar game that had a slightly different opening, how do you handle that? You *could* enter that whole long variation manually but that's a big grind. There's an easier way...

As always, let's use an example. Let's say that this is the main game from the chess book I'm using:

Vijayakumar,P - Lee,L [C62]

DSSM WK2 Husum (5.4), 12.05.2002

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nxd4 7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Qxd4 Nf6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.Bg5 Rfd8 12.Rad1 c5 13.Qd3 h6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.e5 Be7 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Ne4 c4 18.Qxd6 Qxd6 19.Rxd6 Rxd6 20.Nxd6 b5 21.Re8+ Rxe8 22.Nxe8 Kf8 23.Nc7 b4 24.Nb5 a5 25.Nd6 b3 26.cxb3 cxb3 27.a4 Ke7 28.Nc4 Kd7 29.Nxa5 Kc7 30.Nxb3 Kb6 31.Nd2 Ka5 32.b3 Kb4 33.f4 f5 34.Nc4 g6 35.a5 Kb5 36.b4 Ka6 37.Kf2 g5 38.fxg5 hxg5 39.g3 Kb5 40.Nd6+ Ka6 41.Nxf5 g4 42.Ne3 1-0

I've already found this game in one of my databases and copied it into the new database (based on the chess book) that I'm creating. But let's say that the author gives a complete second game as a variation: Van Vliembergen,M - Delleman,M NED-ch U12 2002, which is also in one of my databases. Do I enter the moves by hand and type in the game citation as a comment to the last move of the variation? No! I open this second game in another board window:

Van Vliembergen,M - Delleman,M [C62]

NED-ch U12 Hengelo (8), 2002

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bd7 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.Nc3 a6 8.Bc4 Bg4 9.0-0 g6 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Bg7 12.Bg5 0-0 13.Rad1 Ne5 14.Qe2 b5 15.Bd5 c6 16.Bb3 a5 17.a4 bxa4 18.Bxa4 Qb8 19.Bb3 Qb4 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Na2 Qc5 22.Nc3 Qb4 23.Na4 Rfe8 ½-½

Then I go to the Edit menu, select "Copy", and then "Copy game" from the submenu. I then return to the first game (Vijayakumar,P - Lee,L) by clicking on its button on the *Windows Taskbar*. I then go to the Edit menu, select "Paste", and then "Paste game" from the submenu. I wind up with a game that looks like this:

Vijayakumar,P - Lee,L [C62]

DSSM WK2 Husum (5.4), 12.05.2002

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7

[ 4...exd4 5.Nxd4 Bd7 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.Nc3 a6 8.Bc4 Bg4 9.0-0 g6 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Bg7 12.Bg5 0-0 13.Rad1 Ne5 14.Qe2 b5 15.Bd5 c6 16.Bb3 a5 17.a4 bxa4 18.Bxa4 Qb8 19.Bb3 Qb4 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Na2 Qc5 22.Nc3 Qb4 23.Na4 Rfe8 ½-½ Van Vliembergen,M-Delleman,M/Hengelo 2002/CBM 88 ext (23)]
5.Nc3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nxd4 7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Qxd4 Nf6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.Bg5 Rfd8 12.Rad1 c5 13.Qd3 h6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.e5 Be7 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Ne4 c4 18.Qxd6 Qxd6 19.Rxd6 Rxd6 20.Nxd6 b5 21.Re8+ Rxe8 22.Nxe8 Kf8 23.Nc7 b4 24.Nb5 a5 25.Nd6 b3 26.cxb3 cxb3 27.a4 Ke7 28.Nc4 Kd7 29.Nxa5 Kc7 30.Nxb3 Kb6 31.Nd2 Ka5 32.b3 Kb4 33.f4 f5 34.Nc4 g6 35.a5 Kb5 36.b4 Ka6 37.Kf2 g5 38.fxg5 hxg5 39.g3 Kb5 40.Nd6+ Ka6 41.Nxf5 g4 42.Ne3 1-0

Check it out, baby! The whole second game is now a variation that's been added to the first game -- no fuss, no muss, no manual move entry or typing required.

Note that the game citation (players, tournament, year, etc.) has been added to the variation as a text annotation. If I want to edit this (for example, I might want to remove the reference to the publishing source [*ChessBase Magazine Extra 88*] and the number of moves in the game [23]), I can just click on the last move, hit CTRL-A to open the annotation window, and cut out anything I don't want:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7

[ 4...exd4 5.Nxd4 Bd7 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.Nc3 a6 8.Bc4 Bg4 9.0-0 g6 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Bg7 12.Bg5 0-0 13.Rad1 Ne5 14.Qe2 b5 15.Bd5 c6 16.Bb3 a5 17.a4 bxa4 18.Bxa4 Qb8 19.Bb3 Qb4 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Na2 Qc5 22.Nc3 Qb4 23.Na4 Rfe8 ½-½ Van Vliembergen-Delleman Hengelo 2002]

5.Nc3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nxd4 7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Qxd4 Nf6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.Bg5 Rfd8 12.Rad1 c5 13.Qd3 h6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.e5 Be7 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Ne4 c4 18.Qxd6 Qxd6 19.Rxd6 Rxd6 20.Nxd6 b5 21.Re8+ Rxe8 22.Nxe8 Kf8 23.Nc7 b4 24.Nb5 a5 25.Nd6 b3 26.cxb3 cxb3 27.a4 Ke7 28.Nc4 Kd7 29.Nxa5 Kc7 30.Nxb3 Kb6 31.Nd2 Ka5 32.b3 Kb4 33.f4 f5 34.Nc4 g6 35.a5 Kb5 36.b4 Ka6 37.Kf2 g5 38.fxg5 hxg5 39.g3 Kb5 40.Nd6+ Ka6 41.Nxf5 g4 42.Ne3 1-0

And, of course, I'd be an idiot if I didn't use "Replace game" to save my work.

It's as simple as that -- a really handy tool for popping in game fragments that can be found elsewhere in your database(s).

But, as always, there's a fly in the ointment. With the advent of these wonderful electronic tools (like *ChessBase*) which let you search for *positions* in the twinkling of an eye, some clever authors are now catching transpositions and dropping these in as notes in their games. Why is this a fly in the ointment? Because of the way this technique works: *ChessBase* plays through the second game until it finds the point at which it varies from the first game and inserts the second game as a variation at that point -- unfortunately (due to transpositions), this might not be the place where you want the variation to appear. Let's have another example...

Here's our first (main line) game from the chess book:

Chandler - Bousmaha [B29]

Lucerne, 1985

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 Nde7 **8.0-0** Ng6 9.Nc3 Qc7 10.Nb5 Qb8 11.Bf4 f6 12.Rfe1 Bc5 13.Nd6+ Kf8 14.Rad1 Bxd6 15.exd6 Nd8 16.Bg3 b5 17.Bxb5 a6 18.Bd3 Bb7 19.Qg4 Kf7 20.h4 Nc6 21.h5 Nf8 22.Qf4 Qa7 23.h6 Ng6 24.Qg4 Qc5 25.hxg7 Rhg8 26.a3 a5 27.Nd2 Nce5 28.Bxe5 fxe5 29.Bxg6+ hxg6 30.Nc4 e4 31.Qf4+ Qf5 32.Ne5+ Ke8 33.Qh4 Rxg7 34.Qh8+ Qf8 35.Qxf8+ Kxf8 36.Re3 Rc8 37.Rb3 Bd5 38.c4 Ba8 39.Rb5 a4 40.Ra5 g5 41.Rxa4 g4 42.Ra7 Ke8 43.Kh2 1-0

Note that move eight is in bold type. This is the point at which the annotator gives a complete second game as a variation:

Hecht,H (2475) - Bartsch,B [B29]

Bundesliga 8081 Germany, 1981

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 Nde7 8.Nc3 Ng6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Nb5 a6 11.Nd6+ Bxd6 12.exd6 b5 13.Bb3 Bb7 14.Bg5 Qb8 15.Qd3 f6 16.Be3 Na5 17.Nd2 Ne5 18.Qd4 0-0 19.Rad1 Rc8 20.Ne4 Nxb3 21.cxb3 Bd5 22.Bf4 Qb7 23.Rfe1 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Nf7 25.Qd3 Rc6 26.Bg3 e5 27.Rh4 g6 28.Qe3 Rac8 29.f4 Nxd6 30.fxe5 Nf5 31.Qf3 R6c7 32.Qxb7 Rxb7 33.Re4 Nxg3 34.hxg3 Re8 35.Red4 Rxe5 36.Rxd7 Rxd7 37.Rxd7 Re1+ 38.Kh2 Ra1 39.a3 Rb1 40.b4 Rxb2 41.Ra7 Ra2 42.Rxa6 Kg7 43.Ra7+ Kh6 44.Ra5 f5 45.Rxb5 ½-½

Now watch what happens when we paste this second game into the first game:

Chandler - Bousmaha [B29]

Lucerne, 1985

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 Nde7 **8.0-0** Ng6 9.Nc3 Qc7

[ 9...Be7 10.Nb5 a6 11.Nd6+ Bxd6 12.exd6 b5 13.Bb3 Bb7 14.Bg5 Qb8 15.Qd3 f6 16.Be3 Na5 17.Nd2 Ne5 18.Qd4 0-0 19.Rad1 Rc8 20.Ne4 Nxb3 21.cxb3 Bd5 22.Bf4 Qb7 23.Rfe1 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Nf7 25.Qd3 Rc6 26.Bg3 e5 27.Rh4 g6 28.Qe3 Rac8 29.f4 Nxd6 30.fxe5 Nf5 31.Qf3 R6c7 32.Qxb7 Rxb7 33.Re4 Nxg3 34.hxg3 Re8 35.Red4 Rxe5 36.Rxd7 Rxd7 37.Rxd7 Re1+ 38.Kh2 Ra1 39.a3 Rb1 40.b4 Rxb2 41.Ra7 Ra2 42.Rxa6 Kg7 43.Ra7+ Kh6 44.Ra5 f5 45.Rxb5 ½-½ Hecht,H-Bartsch,B/Germany 1981/GER-chT (45)]

10.Nb5 Qb8 11.Bf4 f6 12.Rfe1 Bc5 13.Nd6+ Kf8 14.Rad1 Bxd6 15.exd6 Nd8 16.Bg3 b5 17.Bxb5 a6 18.Bd3 Bb7 19.Qg4 Kf7 20.h4 Nc6 21.h5 Nf8 22.Qf4 Qa7 23.h6 Ng6 24.Qg4 Qc5 25.hxg7 Rhg8 26.a3 a5 27.Nd2 Nce5 28.Bxe5 fxe5 29.Bxg6+ hxg6 30.Nc4 e4 31.Qf4+ Qf5 32.Ne5+ Ke8 33.Qh4 Rxg7 34.Qh8+ Qf8 35.Qxf8+ Kxf8 36.Re3 Rc8 37.Rb3 Bd5 38.c4 Ba8 39.Rb5 a4 40.Ra5 g5 41.Rxa4 g4 42.Ra7 Ke8 43.Kh2 1-0

Whoops...the variation has been popped into the game at the *wrong place*. Now I won't go into a rant here about how the author took a few liberties with the gamescores (the move order for the second game was altered to make it fit into his book the way he wanted it to). I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt; he's writing a book about how to play a particular opening and, for his tutorial purposes, the second game "fits" better if it branches at move eight. But that still leaves us with a problem -- how do we fix this so that our database game matches the game as presented in the book?

The first step is to get rid of the variation we just pasted (since it's in the wrong place anyway). Right-click on 9...Be7 and select "Delete" and "Delete variation" from the popup menu. Next left-click on 8.0-0 (the branching point as given in the book) and hit the "T" key on the keyboard. This takes back a move (bumping the cursor back to 7...Nde7) and lets *ChessBase 8* know that you want to start a new variation.

You'll remember that when we previously pasted in the second game, the branching occurred at Black's ninth move. Looking in the book, we see that the start of the branch variation for the second game is given as 8.Nc3 Ng6 9.0-0 Be7 (this last move being the branching point that *ChessBase* previously found). So we'll make these moves on the board and have something that looks like this:

Chandler - Bousmaha [B29]

Lucerne, 1985

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 Nde7 **8.0-0**
[ 8.Nc3 Ng6 9.0-0 Be7]

8...Ng6 9.Nc3 Qc7 etc.

The reason we do this is to provide *ChessBase* with the point at which to insert the second game (since the 8.Nc3 Ng6 9.0-0 Be7 sequence wasn't played in the second game).

Next we go back to the second game and do an *important* step: right-click on 9...Be7, select "Delete" and "Delete previous moves" from the popup menu. This cuts off the start of the gamescore so that the notation starts with 9...Bg7. Then select "Copy game", return to the first game, and paste in the second game. You'll get this:

Chandler - Bousmaha [B29]

Lucerne, 1985

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 Nde7 **8.0-0**
[ 8.Nc3 Ng6 9.0-0 *Be7 ( 9...Be7* 10.Nb5 a6 11.Nd6+ Bxd6 12.exd6 b5 13.Bb3 Bb7 14.Bg5 Qb8 15.Qd3 f6 16.Be3 Na5 17.Nd2 Ne5 18.Qd4 0-0 19.Rad1 Rc8 20.Ne4 Nxb3 21.cxb3 Bd5 22.Bf4 Qb7 23.Rfe1 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Nf7 25.Qd3 Rc6 26.Bg3 e5 27.Rh4 g6 28.Qe3 Rac8 29.f4 Nxd6 30.fxe5 Nf5 31.Qf3 R6c7 32.Qxb7 Rxb7 33.Re4 Nxg3 34.hxg3 Re8 35.Red4 Rxe5 36.Rxd7 Rxd7 37.Rxd7 Re1+ 38.Kh2 Ra1 39.a3 Rb1 40.b4 Rxb2 41.Ra7 Ra2 42.Rxa6 Kg7 43.Ra7+ Kh6 44.Ra5 f5 45.Rxb5) ]

8...Ng6 9.Nc3 Qc7 etc.

Note that we now have a variation at White's eighth move and that there is now a branching point in this line, starting with 9...Be7 (which is also the regular move of that variation -- I've italicized this for emphasis in the gamescore above). The problem is that our game reference to the second game is the "second level" subvariation. How do we fix this?

It's easy. Right-click on the second level subvariation that starts with 9...Be7 and select "Promote variation". This will bump the second level variation up to first level (primary) variation status like so:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 Nde7 **8.0-0**

[ 8.Nc3 Ng6 9.0-0 *Be7 ( 9...Be7)* 10.Nb5 a6 11.Nd6+ Bxd6 12.exd6 b5 13.Bb3 Bb7 14.Bg5 Qb8 15.Qd3 f6 16.Be3 Na5 17.Nd2 Ne5 18.Qd4 0-0 19.Rad1 Rc8 20.Ne4 Nxb3 21.cxb3 Bd5 22.Bf4 Qb7 23.Rfe1 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Nf7 25.Qd3 Rc6 26.Bg3 e5 27.Rh4 g6 28.Qe3 Rac8 29.f4 Nxd6 30.fxe5 Nf5 31.Qf3 R6c7 32.Qxb7 Rxb7 33.Re4 Nxg3 34.hxg3 Re8 35.Red4 Rxe5 36.Rxd7 Rxd7 37.Rxd7 Re1+ 38.Kh2 Ra1 39.a3 Rb1 40.b4 Rxb2 41.Ra7 Ra2 42.Rxa6 Kg7 43.Ra7+ Kh6 44.Ra5 f5 45.Rxb5]

8...Ng6 9.Nc3 Qc7 etc.

So our full second game is now the primary variation and is in the "right" place in the main gamescore (according to the book we're reading). We now need to do three more things:

1. Right-click on that second-level variation (the lone 9...Be7 in parenthesis), select "Delete" from the popup menu, and then "Delete variation" to get rid of it -- it's redundant and unnecessary;

2. Left-click on 45.Rxb5 in the variation, hit CTRL-A, and manually type the game citation for the second game in the annotation window;

3. Use "Replace game" to save all of this hard work.

And here's what we ultimately end up with:

Chandler - Bousmaha [B29]

Lucerne, 1985

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 Nde7 **8.0-0**

[ 8.Nc3 Ng6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Nb5 a6 11.Nd6+ Bxd6 12.exd6 b5 13.Bb3 Bb7 14.Bg5 Qb8 15.Qd3 f6 16.Be3 Na5 17.Nd2 Ne5 18.Qd4 0-0 19.Rad1 Rc8 20.Ne4 Nxb3 21.cxb3 Bd5 22.Bf4 Qb7 23.Rfe1 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Nf7 25.Qd3 Rc6 26.Bg3 e5 27.Rh4 g6 28.Qe3 Rac8 29.f4 Nxd6 30.fxe5 Nf5 31.Qf3 R6c7 32.Qxb7 Rxb7 33.Re4 Nxg3 34.hxg3 Re8 35.Red4 Rxe5 36.Rxd7 Rxd7 37.Rxd7 Re1+ 38.Kh2 Ra1 39.a3 Rb1 40.b4 Rxb2 41.Ra7 Ra2 42.Rxa6 Kg7 43.Ra7+ Kh6 44.Ra5 f5 45.Rxb5 ½-½ Hecht,H-Bartsch,B/Germany 1981]

8...Ng6 9.Nc3 Qc7 10.Nb5 Qb8 11.Bf4 f6 12.Rfe1 Bc5 13.Nd6+ Kf8 14.Rad1 Bxd6 15.exd6 Nd8 16.Bg3 b5 17.Bxb5 a6 18.Bd3 Bb7 19.Qg4 Kf7 20.h4 Nc6 21.h5 Nf8 22.Qf4 Qa7 23.h6 Ng6 24.Qg4 Qc5 25.hxg7 Rhg8 26.a3 a5 27.Nd2 Nce5 28.Bxe5 fxe5 29.Bxg6+ hxg6 30.Nc4 e4 31.Qf4+ Qf5 32.Ne5+ Ke8 33.Qh4 Rxg7 34.Qh8+ Qf8 35.Qxf8+ Kxf8 36.Re3 Rc8 37.Rb3 Bd5 38.c4 Ba8 39.Rb5 a4 40.Ra5 g5 41.Rxa4 g4 42.Ra7 Ke8 43.Kh2 1-0

We now have the second game inserted at the branching point given in our chess book: 8.0-0. Note that when you go back to the second game's window and try to close it, you'll get a dialogue asking if you want to save the game. **DON'T!!** If you save it, you'll be replacing the complete game in your database with a truncated version starting with 9...Be7 and the first 8½ moves will be permanently missing. So just click "No" in that "Save game" dialogue when you go to close the second game's window.

This whole procedure for manually inserting variations sounds like a lot of hassle and, to some extent, it is. You can blame the chess book's author for playing a bit fast and loose with his move orders. In truth, if he only gives a short variation with an *Informant* symbol evaluation at its end (instead of the whole blasted game, as in the example above), it's easier to just enter the handful of moves manually as a new variation. But for situations in which an author uses complete games as his variations (the classic "database dump" method of chess book authoring), you'll need to know and use the technique we've seen here to make sure that the variations/games get inserted in the right place.

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for *Electronic T-Notes*.