Chess game databases

Collections of chess games are stored in files called PGN databases. PGN stands for Portable Game Notation, it is a standard way to store chess games independent of the hardware and software program/application which produced it. HIARCS Chess Explorer reads and writes chess databases in PGN format. It does not support any non standard format of database.

Chess Explorer paradigm

In the context of a chess game HIARCS Chess Explorer uses a different approach to most other chess software. Most chess software focuses just on the current game and the database is a secondary concern mainly used as a repository to store and retrieve games.  We believe this approach is not as powerful as the database centric paradigm that HIARCS Chess Explorer uses. We will explore this in more detail below.

HIARCS Chess Explorer uses a database first approach, this means you open the database you are interested in first and then you can view, modify, delete or add games to it.

Secondly HIARCS Chess Explorer is a multi-database program, that means you can open, view, manipulate and analyse games from multiple databases simultaneously.

These two facets of database first and multi-database capabilities enable much more powerful solutions than a single game, single database approach more normally used.

Using a database first and multi-database approach gives some genuine advantages over the traditional approach:

  • Choosing a database first sets the context for the game and leverages other related information in a database to make the entry, analysis or viewing of a game more informative.
  • The game can draw on information from the other games already in the database in a number of ways:
    • Compare in real-time the current game to other games played in the database
    • Show what other players have played before in the same position and how they faired statistically
    • Enable real-time access to other games which have encountered the same position to see how those games progressed.
  • Manage your games better by using databases not just as a repository to store games but as a way of organising your games and analysis, for example you can store your games in multiple databases for different purposes:
    • maintain a database of your own games to get an automatic opening repertoire tree generated for you.
    • prepare for an opponent by generating a database of their games and having their opening repertoire tree presented automatically
    • Analyse games of your favourite player and get additional information about the player, their moves, openings and performances
  • Manage multiple databases at the same time to perform distinct operations simultaneously:
    • Have an analysis database open where an engine can be analysing your game
    • Simultaneously you can be examining other databases of games and working independently of the analysis being done for you in another database
    • Manage game collections more effectively by having access to multiple sources
    • Transfer games between databases more quickly and smoothly.

Don't panic if that sounds complex, it really is not and we have example usage in the Getting started section to show how different tasks can be achieved simply within HIARCS Chess Explorer.

If you are a novice user do not worry as HIARCS Chess Explorer can be used to manipulate just a single game and database at a time if you prefer to keep things very simple.

One of the key aims of HIARCS Chess Explorer is to simplify the user experience and provide a set of powerful tools for the novice and accomplished player alike, to analyse and play chess.