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ChessBase - 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.

In the part of the course devoted to ChessBase entitled "ChessBase - Efficient work with a chess database" I presented in a simple way the possibility of finding a chess player and the games played by him.

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

This is part 5 of a 5 part course on the ChessBase program.

Suitable for ChessBase 12 or later.

Thanks to the possibilities offered by ChessBase 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 Correspondence Database 2020.

In the Home ribbon, click on Filter List.

And click to Advanced button.

Note especially - the seven tabs at the top of the Filter Games 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 ChessBase, 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 Filter Games window. If the database is properly maintained and updated, you will be able to get reasonable results.

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

Game data

Search for players, tournaments, years, results, etc.


Search for different types of commentary contained in games.

Position Search for positional fragments, themes and sacrifices.


Search for material distribution and balance.


Search for manoeuvres.


Search for medals.


In addition to the search for manoeuvres and material constellations, in any database the program can conduct a targeted search for pre-defined defensive – or attacking – motifs. In the search mask you can define the search criteria you wish via the tab Attacks .

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.

When there are definitions present in any section a check box at the bottom of the search mask is switched on. You can unclick it to switch off that section.

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. The average ranking is between 2200 and 2400 Elo.

  2. White wins.

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

  4. White pawn on c7.

  5. There is a difference in material held between whites and blacks.

  6. Overworked piece

  7. With an attacking white bishop.

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

On my computer, a database consisting of 1,626,801 chess games was searched in 6 seconds!

ChessBase found 3 chess games that met the above complex criteria.

Below these three chess games in key positions according to ChessBase.

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. 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.

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

  4. With 0-0

  5. With mark: Critical Middlegame Position

  6. In position tab: structure showing white's attack on the king's wing. See below for a picture with the chessboard setup.

  7. Medals: with attack.

  8. Manoeuvres: Double Attack.

  9. Attacks: Defended by black Knight.

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

After click OK button, ChessBase found 3 chess games that met the above very complex criteria.

Below these three chess games in key positions according to ChessBase.

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. We are looking for games in which black was victorious and made a spectacular sacrifice.

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

After click OK button, ChessBase found 21 chess games that met the above criteria.

The attentive reader will have noticed that two games were labeled Top Game and annotated.

Let's look at one of these correspondence games between Pervago vs Neustadtl played in 1903.

A beautiful chess game with a amazing sacrifice black Rook on h8 :-)

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

Find games in the ChessBase Online Database

In the Database Window, select the Home Tab - Online

The benefit of such an online search is access to current data, updated by professionals. The downside is that the search capabilities are much smaller than those available in a database locally stored on your computer/storage.

Let's try simple search - you can enter a chess player's name, tournament, year, etc.

After click the OK button we get 500 games with chess player Nickel Arno:

Advanced search (click Advanced button) offers some additional features, but with very limited criteria to choose from.

And here are the search results:


It is worth using ChessBase Online Database if:

  • You do not have access to your local database (on your computer / storage).

  • You want to quickly find recent games of famous chess players or from important tournaments.

  • You are only looking for a chess game or games and don't need more advanced search options.


One of the more interesting features for finding chess games is Keys.

To make it easier to use Keys, I suggest in ChessBase Settings - Misc to check the Use 'Theme Keys' option as shown in the image below.

After confirming with Apply and OK buttons, we open the database.

In this case I will use Correspondence Database 2020.

To the right of the Openings tab, four new ones have appeared: Themes, Tactics, Strategy, and Endgames.

Select the options you are interested in from the thematic tree by clicking on the plus or minus sign and pointing to a specific game.

Keys are an extremely useful tool for chess players aiming to deepen their knowledge in various areas of the art of chess.

In the Strategy tab we can learn about many different techniques, the mastery of which will help a chess player in achieving success. A large number of chess games are enriched with professional annotations!

Similarly, under the Themes, Tactics and Endgames tab, you will find a lot of training content for many different endgame themes - with annotations.

Searching Masterfully using ChessBase does not require any special skills, knowledge or a very fast computer.

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 ChessBase we can achieve accurate and useful results in a very short time - even within a few / several dozen seconds.

It is amazing how much technology -> computers -> friendly software is able to enrich the chess world and support the development and search for interesting solutions, ideas.


This is the end of the course:

ChessBase - Search Masterfully

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



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