At least, they are essential for advanced players and for coaches. If you’re already familiar with ChessBase and MegaBase and understand their value, feel free to skip this post. Otherwise, you need to keep reading.
What is ChessBase?
ChessBase GmbH is a chess publishing company founded in 1985 and based in Hamburg, Germany. The company’s flagship product is also called ChessBase: a database program that can organize chess information in myriad ways. The current version is ChessBase 15.
The primary information ChessBase manages is chess games, which we’ll discuss below. The program can also play chess videos, organize opening “books,” and utilize endgame knowledge contained in “tablebases.”
What is the MegaBase?
MegaBase is a collection of annotated chess games played from the year 1475 to the given year. Pulished annually, the current MegaBase 2020 contains more than eight million games! You will find plenty of games with commentary by grandmasters and world champions including Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand, etc.
A cheaper alternative is the Big Database, which contains the same eight million games as MegaBase, but few have commentary. It’s much better than nothing, but I highly recommend MegaBase.
For working seriously on chess, ChessBase will save you a huge amount of time and effort. Search games in a database and study them on your screen without combing through books or using a chess set.
You can search databases for opening positions, distributions of endgame material, brilliancy prize games, games with commentary by a certain player — the possibilities are extensive. In addition, you can also create your own database files that contain games in a certain opening, or study material for a particular student. Which brings me to my next point.
ChessBase and MegaBase: the most important resources for coaches
I would cry if I couldn’t use ChessBase to prepare lessons and manage my students’ material.
I make a new database file for every student I teach privately. This allows me to keep a running track of what we have worked on together; I just keep adding to their database. I can import games from MegaBase and the internet, recreate instructive positions from physical books, enter my own commentary, and much more.
Preparing for lessons can be a very time-consuming process, but ChessBase cuts that time down tremendously. When I’ve finished preparing my lesson, I print out the material and go to my student’s home to teach the material.