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Chess Assistant - Search Masterfully

What can help a chess player more than quick access to key information that will help in every area of the chess art ?

In short, an up-to-date database with chess games and software for its effective use.

You will discover how to find exactly the chess games you want.

This part of the course is prepared in Chess Assistant version 20 in such a way that the vast majority of this program's capabilities can be used in previous versions.

Thanks to the possibilities offered by Chess Assistant you can find chess games with three duplicated pawns, four Queens, a pawn attack on h4 field in the dragon variant of Sicilian defense, and hundreds of positions with unusual endings - so called chess fortresses - from the last 5 years for chess players with rating over 2300 Elo.

Is anything... limiting us in this search? Only our imagination.

To begin with, I suggest opening a large database with at least several hundred thousand games.

In this part of the course, I will be using Hugebase provided with the Chess Assistant program.

On the toolbar, click Search - General...

Instead, you can simply expand the magnifying glass icon on the additional toolbar and click General.

Note especially - few tabs at the top of the Search: window.

Each tab represents a different thematic set of criteria that can be used to search for chess games.

Only those games that meet the criteria you specified will remain in the list of searched games.

The remaining games will not be visible until you complete your search.

Big Tips...

You can download chess games from the Internet by adding them to an existing database; with careful and systematic maintenance, the search will be successful. The downside of this solution is the time-consuming nature of the process.

You can also download ready packets of chess games from various websites and similarly to the above described method - add them to the existing database. The downside of this solution is the necessity to verify many (hundreds, thousands of) chess games for correctly entered data and correct them if necessary. This also makes this process very time consuming.

From his own experience the author of this course once a year buys the chess games database he is interested in or updates it from a reliable source.

When you use Chess Assistant, the natural choice is to get the chess games database from this producer.
This way you will get an up-to-date database maintained in a correct, meticulous and professional way, which is 100% compatible with the software you use.

One of the key reasons to have access to a large, very well maintained chess database is to be able to search every field in the Search: window. If the database is properly maintained and updated, you will be able to get reasonable results.

Back to window with Search:. Here's what you'll find in the tabs:


Search for players, tournaments, years, Elo ratings, etc.

Position and material

Search for positional fragments, material distribution.

Advanced Material search in which the material restrictions are set.


Search for manoeuvres.

All of these sections are connected with a logical "and". This means that if a number of criteria are defined all of them must be fulfilled in order for a game to be retrieved.

Ok, so let's go ahead and search by setting many different criteria.

Search Masterfully, example 1.

We are interested in chess games that meet the following conditions:

  1. White Elo between 1900 and 2100

  2. Black Elo between 2200 and 2400.

  3. Moves range from 41 to 99

  4. Numbers of pieces from 10 to 16

  5. Result 1:0

  6. Event: open (open tournament)

  7. The chess game is at least 41 moves or a maximum of 99 moves

  8. With opposite color bishops

  9. White pawn on c7.

For your convenience, I have marked the criteria of interest to us in the appropriate tabs.

Note that in the Position and material and Maneuvers tabs, I have inserted a white and black question mark symbol in some chess squares.

This is useful when the user is not interested in what piece/s will be on the field marked with two question marks.

This procedure also has a positive effect on the search time, which is shorter.

On my computer, a database consisting of 6,727,869 chess games was searched in 93 seconds.

Chess Assistant found 5 chess games that met the above complex criteria.

Below one of these chess games in key positions according to Chess Assistant

Search Masterfully, example 2.

We are interested in chess games that contain a motif of white attacking the black King's position with the help of the white pawns g4 and h4, the white rook on h1 and after castling made.

On the black side with the King defended by Bishop on g7 and supported by Rook on f8 and pawn on h5...

...and meet the following conditions:

  1. Players with any rating Elo.

  2. Sicilian Defense: dragon

  3. A chess game takes a minimum of 15 moves, a maximum of 29. That is, we are interested in a game with not too many moves.

  4. Results: 0-1 and 1/2-1/2

  5. With the same Bishop color

  6. Maneuvers: move white pawn from g2 to g4 square. White's move.

  7. Total numbers of pieces: 20 - 32

For your convenience, I have marked the criteria of interest to us in the appropriate tabs.

After click OK button, Chess Assistant found 6 chess games that met the above very complex criteria.

Below one of these chess games in key positions according to Chess Assistant.

Search Masterfully, example 3.

And a final example.

This time with less specific search criteria; suppose we are interested in positions similar to those arising in the King's gambit after a short castling of the white King and with an attack of black pawns on f4 and g4.

For your convenience, I have marked the criteria of interest to us in the appropriate tabs.

After click OK button, ChessAssistant found 7 chess games that met the above criteria.

Below one of these chess games in key positions according to Chess Assistant.

Concluding this part of the course, I would like to emphasize that using a professionally maintained chess database (which is the Hugebase from ChessOk), we can also find annotated games with diagrams and variants from interesting continuations.

CQL search

After click Search - CQL search

We will move to the CQL query editor.

Chess Query Language (CQL) was designed to allow researchers, authors, and players to search for games, problems, and studies that match specific themes. You specify the theme you are looking for, and the database to look for them. Then you run this CQL query . This creates a list that has all the games matching your theme. CQL can find much more complex themes than any other chess database search method.

For details, please visit the CQL dedicated webpage.

Composite search

These are ready-made chess database queries created by the Chess Assistant producer using the CQL language (see description above).

Using this option is very, very easy :-)

It is visible by clicking Search on the toolbar and select Composite search.

A new window named Condition will open.

Remember that the Composite search will be done on the database you opened earlier.

Specifying criteria is very simple: expand the options tree on the left side of the Condition window and select one what you need.

The following shows some examples of searching using Composite search.

Search Masterfully, example 4.

When clicking on the OK button, you get the search result: 13 games.

Note that in each of the chess games found, the pieces were colored to distinguish a particular structure, in this case: Two knights in better endgame, side: White.

  • colored red (white pieces)

  • colored blue (black pieces)

Search Masterfully, example 5.


Search Masterfully, example 6.


Search Masterfully, example 7.


Search Masterfully, example 8.


Search Masterfully, example 9.


Search Masterfully, example 10.


Search Masterfully, example 11.


Examples can be multiplied many times over.

Search combining different techniques

The strength of Chess Assistant is its ability to combine various advanced search techniques to achieve a specific goal.

In one last example - I will demonstrate exactly this way of working.

Search Masterfully, example 12.

We are interested in chess games that meet the following conditions:

  1. ECO: Ruy Lopez. Berlin defense

  2. White Elo between 2500 and 2900

  3. Black Bishop cannot be on the d6 square

  4. Materiał restrictions: white pawns 5 to 7 pcs, black pawns 4 to 7 pcs, material difference from 1 to 1 pawn.

  5. Numbers of pieces from 16 to 24

  6. Ignore colors: yes

  7. Side to move: either

  8. Bishop: Any

  9. Maneuvers: black King from e8 to d7

For your convenience, I have marked the criteria of interest to us in the appropriate tabs.

Once you have entered your search criteria precisely, click on the Search button.

Chess Assistant found 53 chess games in Hugebase using these very complicated criteria.

We keep looking.

We want to find chess games with a motif of a white pawn placed on the f6 square....

We found 12 games with this motif.

And the final stage, in which we will look for games in which the white pawn has been moved from f6 to f7 square (close to promotion!).

Moving the white pawn from square f6 to f7 can also be in variation.

That's all the search criteria :-)

Click on the Search button.


We have found 2 chess games that meet all of our extremely complex search criteria.

Below is one of those games, already annotated with comments and analysis.

Searching Masterfully using Chess Assistant does not require any special skills or knowledge.

With examples I have shown - that regardless of whether the search criteria are very simple (the chess player's name), or very complex consisting of many elements.

Using Chess Assistant with well-managed database we can achieve accurate and useful results.


This is the end of the course:

Chess Assistant - Search Masterfully

I invite you to choose the next course :-))



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