24 February 2014

Short List for an Online Chess Database

In a recent post, Searching for an Online Chess Database, I listed five chess game databases for further consideration, then added,

To go further, I need a practical exercise. I'll report on that in a future post on this blog.

For convenient reference, here are links to the five databases plus a sixth that was recommended in a comment to that first post.

One of the first questions is the relative size of the databases. I queried each database on From's Gambit (1.f4 e5) and noted the game counts for the first moves. Following the table are notes specific to each database.

1: database.chessbase.com • According to Introducing the online ChessBase database, the latest incarnation of this well known tool was released in January 2014.

Fairly recently, a new online tool was released by ChessBase with little if any fanfare, but that is of no small use for casual users: an online searchable version of the ChessBase database, accessible from your browser, and free. It brings well over 6.5 million games, includes the playerbase pictures, move statistics, and even the Let’s Check computer evaluations. Here is a tutorial.

PGN download? No.

2: 365chess.com • The service is the 'Chess Opening Explorer' running on the 'Big Database'. The corresponding counts for the 'Masters Database' are 1.f4: 519 and 1... e5: 21. • PGN download? No. 'As a free member you can download only one game at a time. Become a Supporter now and you'll have unlimited downloads!'

3: chess.com/explorer • The counts are for 'Master Games'. • PGN download? Yes, but I'm a full member and am not sure if free members have the same access.

4: shredderchess.com • PGN download? No.

5: chessgames.com/explorer • '705,230 games · 1475-2014'; After a few more moves, 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6, I received the message 'The links below [i.e. further moves] are restricted to premium members.' • PGN download? Unknown.

6: chess-db.com • No search on openings

As for my requirements (stated in the 'Searching' post) that I be able to restrict the search to top rated players and recent games, none of the services offered that functionality. The best I could get was sort by rating or by year played.

At this point, the best of the six services to suit my purposes appear to be those offered by Chessbase.com and Chess.com. I'll come back to these with a further practical exercise.

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