by Steve Lopez

Mega Database 2003 comes with an additional CD: Player Encyclopedia 2003. The single biggest tech support concern lately is how to install this CD. Even though this topic has been covered before in ETN, it bears repeating.

There are two prerequisites for using the Players Encyclopedia 2003 (hereafter abbreviated as PE):

  1. You must have ChessBase 8 -- the PE is not usable with any of the Fritz family of playing programs;
  2. The file format of the PE's pictures was changed from .BMP to .JPG in early 2001, so you should do an Online Upgrade of CB8 (in the Help menu/"Online upgrade" command) to be sure you have an upgraded version that will recognize the PE's photo files.

Put the PE CD in the CD drive and start ChessBase 8. Go to the File menu, select "Open", and then "Players Encyclopedia" from the submenu:

Click in the white box to the right of "Look in:" to get a pulldown menu. Select your CD drive. After you do, you'll see a pile of folders called PLAYBASE.xxx (the x's here stand for the various folder extensions). Scroll this view to the far right and you will see one file (not folder) called either playbase.plh or simply playbase (depending on how you have your computer configured for displaying file extensions). Click once on this file and then click the "Open" button.

It'll look like nothing happened -- the dialogue will simply disappear. But you've just shown CB8 the location of the PE files.

The next step is to install the PE to your hard drive. Be aware, however, that the total file size of PE 2003 is 477 MB. That's really not an issue for most users (whose hard drives will be 40 GB or more capacity), but I just thought I'd warn you anyway in case you're running out of drive space.

Go to the File menu, select "Install", and then "Players Encyclopedia" to get the following dialogue:

This dialogue lets you select where on your hard drive to put the PE files. You can put the PE wherever you want, but a lot of users request that I tell them where to place it on the drive. If you want a suggestion, here we go: click the "plus sign" next to your C: drive. Scroll down to "Program Files" and click on the plus sign next to it. Then scroll down to "ChessBase" and click directly on the word "ChessBase" to highlight it:

Then click the "OK" button. CB8 will now create a new folder (inside the \ChessBase folder) called \Playbase and will copy all of the PE files into it. Another warning: there a a lot of files and it will take CB8 some time to copy them. The exact time will depend on your hardware, but it's best to allow thirty to forty-five minutes for the process.

When the process is complete, CB8's information bar (at the lower left-hand corner of your screen) will say "Done". At this point, exit ChessBase to ensure that the program will "remember" the location of the PE files. (Technical info: CB8 writes various parameters to its initialization file upon a normal exit from the program. If you were to have a power outage, or crash the program, etc. after copying the PE but before a normal exit, CB8 wouldn't "remember" the hard drive location of the PE. So it's best to do a normal exit right away). You don't need to restart your computer after exiting CB8.

On a related note, if CB8 would later (for whatever reason) "forget" the location of the PE, just go to File/Open/Players Encyclopedia and use the dialogue to select C:\Programs Files\ChessBase\Playbase\playbase.plh in order to "point" CB8 to that file again.

Two final points. The first is to tell you that the PE doesn't contain photos/pictures of every chessplayer who has ever lived. So if you look up a player and get a "blurred head" image, this is not a "bug" or program malfunction. This is the normal display for a player who doesn't have his image in the PE.

The second is a reminder that you can find all kinds of info on how to use the PE in the January 7, 2001 issue of ETN.

Until next week, have fun!

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