An unexamined life is not worth living.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Scripting Your Chess Database

Scripting is a relatively common feature in many software packages (think of Excel Macros), so it is unfortunate that no chess software package has ever exposed it – until now! When staring at databases with my games, I’ve often had desire to do things like

  • Create a diagram right before every move that has a question mark, if that blunder was made by a player with a give name
  • Export games to a different format
  • Add a diagram for all games after every 5th move for convenient printout and practice of visual replay
  • Calculate an average number of blunders per game, compare the average between two sets of games (e.g. my blitz games and my slow games)
  • Find out in how many games do I stay in my repertoire until move 15?
  • Find out who of the top 10 players has an opening repertoire most similar to mine

These are features similar to what’s available in ChessBase’s and Chess Assistant’s of this world, but not quite the same. If you are a programmer, with access to the code of the tool - adding them this is not too hard. But if you are a mere user, without source code, you are out of luck completely. With scripting however, you at least have a chance. In addition to being able to do some new things, your powers multiply in other ways:

  • It is easier to interoperate between programs and use the power of multiple packages – e.g. you can export data into Excel
  • It becomes possible to automate several repeated UI manipulations and tie them into one script
  • Users can share their scripts between each other and you get features added to your tool added more often and for free

Aquarium Scripter is coming out very soon (rumour is - tomorrow) and I can’t wait to read reviews and if those are good - get an official copy of it. The features are described here, and I have to imagine (from the first blurry screenshot) that instead of a plain list of games

we now still have a plain list of games, but also an ability to run scripts against selected games!

Now we are getting somewhere!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Watching World Chess Blitz Championship

The world blitz championship 2010 was won by Levon Aronian, and for a chess fan – the greatest attraction of this event was the amount of video materials available with the coverage of the games. I’d like to point out three sources that I was following:

  1. The official site, which also includes the coverage of the Tal memorial itself – in Russian, but some post-mortem with Nakamura was in English - – in Russian
  2. Multiple YouTube video channels – bumblebee1607, SergeySorokhtin, EugenePotemkin and probably a few more. Chessbase has posted pgn games next to some of the videos – to make it more convenient to replay:
  3. Sergei Shipov’s analysis – on – in Russian. The synchronization suffers a bit, but I like the way Shipov explains the essence of every position within 5 seconds.

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