ChessBase GmbH is a German company that markets chess software, maintains a chess news site, and operates a server for online chess. Founded in 1986, it maintains and sells massive databases, containing most historic games, that permit analysis that had not been possible prior to computing. Databases organise data from prior games; engines provide analyses of games and perfect play in some endgames.
It used to be possible to utilise the functionality of this database from Chessbase's Pocket Fritz 2, which runs on PDAs, but some of this functionality was reduced in early 2006. ChessBase is also the name of a popular commercial database program produced by the company for storing and searching records of games of chess. The first version was built for Garry Kasparov under Atari ST in January 1987 and later for Microsoft Windows. ChessBase uses a proprietary format for storing games, but can also handle games in portable game notation (PGN). The proprietary format uses less hard drive space and manages information that is not possible in PGN. The software converts files from PGN to ChessBase format, or from ChessBase to PGN.
The program permits searches for games, and positions in games, based on player names, openings, some tactical and strategic motifs, material imbalance, and features of the position. The ChessBase database software integrates chess analysis engines, such as Fritz, Junior, Shredder (all Chessbase products), and several non-commercial engines, including Crafty written by Professor Robert Hyatt, Comet, and Anaconda.
The current version of the ChessBase program is ChessBase 13.
The last version of ChessBase to use the old style (pre "ribbon") interface is ChessBase 10. ChessBase 11 adopted the ribbon interface. The last update to ChessBase 10 was Service Pack 6 ('SP6'), dated December 19, 2011. As of September 2014, it could still be downloaded at the following url: http://www.fritzload.com/updates/c10_sp6.exe
There is no Mac OS X compatible version of the ChessBase program in 2015 (see system requirements of the latest version here). Grandmaster David Smerdon wrote in his blog: "Macs don’t run ChessBase. Well, technically that’s not true. A Mac is hardware, but the operating software that comes with a Mac – in my case, the imaginatively named “OS X Mavericks” – can’t handle ChessBase. Or, more accurately, ChessBase doesn’t produce an OS X compatible version". It is a serious problem since the popularity of Apple computers increased dramatically, making them strongly appreciated worldwide. "You might well ask why ChessBase doesn’t make a Mac-friendly version. It’s a good question. Actually, ChessBase did make a Mac OS version a while ago, but apparently it didn’t sell very well, so they canned it. Part of the reason could be that Macs weren’t as popular a decade ago as they are now in our hipster-flourishing era...", David Smerdon continues in his article. So, ignoring the platform, ChessBase ignores great numbers of potential users of the ChessBase program.
The ChessBase company produces or markets the Fritz family of chess engines (Rybka, Shredder, Junior, Chess Tiger, NIMZO, and Zap!Chess) along with their integrated graphic user interfaces (standard across the family). Some of these are sold (apart from ChessBase) in versions designed for Mac OS X. (See, for example, Rybka site.) Evgeny Bareev said, "I find the ideas? No. Fritz finds the ideas."
Chessbase also maintains ChessBase News, a web site containing chess news, as well as information on their products. The site is available in English, German and Spanish.
ChessBase produces many CDs and DVDs, including monographs on famous players, tactical training exercises, and training for specific opening systems. They publish ChessBase Magazine six times per year, which comes as a thin printed text and accompanying CD with multimedia chess news, as well as how to donate to ChessBase, articles on opening novelties, database updates (including annotated games), and other articles. All these are designed for viewing within their database software, but many have a more up-to-date version of ChessBase Light than the free version available from their web-page.
- John Watson, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances Since Nimzowitsch (London: Gambit Publications, 1998), 8.
- Karsten Muller and Frank Lamprecht, Fundamental Chess Endings: A New Endgame Encyclopedia for the 21st Century (London: Gambit Publications, 2001), 9-10.
- Muller and Lamprecht, 400-406.
- Tim Krabbe, Chess Records http://www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/records/records.htm#list.
- "Chess Online Database - Chesslive.de". Retrieved 2010-08-28.
- Chess software - Pocket Fritz 2
- Kasparov and ChessBase http://en.chessbase.com/home/TabId/211/PostId/4007229
- Christian Kongsted, How to Use Computers to Improve Your Chess (London: Gambit Publications, 2003), 104.
- Chess News, Chess Programs, Databases - Play Chess Online