Thursday, December 27, 2007

ZOMG WTB l33t Chessbase h4xX0r Skillz!

Translated: "Jeepers! I wish to obtain elite Chessbase hacking skills!"

Whereas my DVD on the French Defense by Ziegler has a spiffy database of annotated games that's easily accessed, the King Powerplay and the Muller Endgame DVDs have the game fragments embedded in the multimedia lessons.

I would like to be able to access the chessbase content itself, directly, for a couple reasons:

1. You can't enter your own variations. You can't hit pause and then say, "Yeah, but what if I play..." and explore your own line of inquiry.

2. I want to play the positions over versus Fritz.

The only way I've found to circumvent this is to pause each lesson (preferably near the end of the discussion, so all variations that were covered are present) and then use "save as..." to save it to a .cbh file of my own creation. It's a bit cumbersome, but it works.

One trick you can then do is open two game windows: one with the multimedia lesson playing, and another with your saved copy. You can right-click on the bottom of your screen in Windows and select "Tile windows vertically" (or horizontally, but I prefer the former) and get something that looks like this:




(I have no idea what happened to Muller's video image in the left window. Depending on what copy of the image file I was using, you could either see the bottom half of his head or nothing at all. Weird.)

The left window is the video lesson, and the right window is my own copy, with personal annotations and with Fritz+5-man tablebases providing assistance. With the above setup, I can pause the lesson at any point, and in my own game window check the variations with Fritz (hooray for tablebases!) and add my own commentary and variations. This is good, because when Muller gets the bit in his teeth he goes through variations at breakneck speed. Some of the endgames towards the end of his first DVD were just crazy. "check check check andnowdoyouseeit ofcourse! decisivezugzwangdecisivezugzwangdecisivezugzwang and the game is over decisivezugzwang decisevezugswang and...fatal...zugzwang"

Also, Muller very frequently points out positions that he feels should be played against Fritz or people at the chess club, in order to master them. You can indicate these moments in your copy of the game, and later load them into Fritz and practice them.

I very strongly recommend using such a two-window approach when viewing DVD lessons.

7 comments:

CresceNet said...

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happyhippo said...

one slight problem with Ziegler's excellent DVD I found was that some of his annotations were in Swedish!

... which was a shame.

glad to see you enjoying Muller's DVDs. if you thought his first DVD was crazy, wait till you try getting all the way through his 2nd, 3rd and 4th DVD. The 4th DVD was frightening. He was at record breaking speed.

Grandpatzer said...

HH: Yes it was a shame about the Ziegler annotations, but iirc I was able to figure out a lot using Babelfish.

I've heard that about the 4th Muller DVD. Most of the first DVD was quite manageable, and his explanation of the B+N mate is the best I've seen. The crazy starts kicking in around the last third of the first DVD.

Going through the second DVD, I'm finding it very helpful to use the two-window approach and pausing frequently.

happyhippo said...

It's very hard to forget wrt Muller is in his inimitable way, says,"the motif of the endgame is of course zugswang. So, we now have zugszwang, zugszwang, zugszwang, zugszwang, and now, the fatal zugszwang." That line is now immortalised in my head. :)

IMHO The hardest sections among all the 4 DVDs has to be his 4th DVD. The amount of important info in there cannot be overlooked.

I should really get started and write a review for his DVDs.

And yes, I love his "W"-manouevre in his 1st DVD. After watching it once, you can't forget!

I am almost on the last legs of his 4th DVD and thankfully, he slowed down a lot towards the end.

Some of the combinations he throws at you were incredible, in one moment, he paused and says in the endgame involving Miles v Korchnoi. "And now Black wins. Can you see it?" I couldn't see it and by showing one and only one move, suddenly, a huge light bulb appeared above my head because I could see the mating threat in the next 4 moves and the opponent's Queen has to be sacrificed. And Muller didn't even bother showing you the rest of the moves. Top marks for that.

I am most likely going to get his FCE book because it ties in very closely with his DVDs - only more material! Yikes.

Btw, I copied all the files from the DVD to the hard disk and it definitely helps with load times.

I can't understand why some people said he was boring. The material he shows you is fantastic. And unlike opening DVDs, his DVDs will never be outdated within the next 10 years and beyond.

happyhippo said...

Thanks for the info on using a 2 window. I find that 1 window suits me just fine. Usually I just rewind and replay. I also use a notebook and pen and a chess board so that I can go through what he says and pause when he goes too fast.

likesforests said...

Keep the Chessbase lessons coming!

I'm working on the second iteration of my Nimzo-Indian repertoire this week based on a new book (I have Starting Out: The Nimzo-Indian and The Nimzo-Indian: The Easy Way) and some playing experience.

Perhaps when I'm finished, swapping our ChessBase Nimzo-Indian entries would benefit both of us... if not for the lines, then to see how we each organized/annotated things?

Grandpatzer said...

To be honest, my Nimzo material needs a lot of work still. Not many of my opponents play main-line 1.d4 lines. One new-years resolution I have for myself is to get my Nimzo lines straightened out, and your email is motivating me to iron out my main-line variations in the Nimzo. I'm trying to follow the guideline of only studying the opening after you encounter it in your games, so progress has been slow.

I'm roughly following Dearing's recommendations, with the main exception being that I mentioned in my series on opening preparation.

When my repertoire database is fleshed out some more, I'll be happy to share what I have, but that's a fair ways off.