What’s In Your Database?

Chess databases have become quite the fashion during the last couple of decades, being used for all sorts of things such as statistical assessments of particular openings. But how many people stop to think what’s in them?

Essentially they are collections of games that people bothered to enter into electronic format, from all sorts of events. Are these good or important games? Well sometimes they aren’t but often they aren’t. And often they include errors made in entering the game and encounters between very weak players.

Here’s one such effort from the World U12 Girls Championship in 2012, a game in which both sides blundered away pieces before agreeing a draw. And whilst both girls may develop into strong players over time, does it have any value?

I suppose that some coaches might claim it does because everyone can now prepare for Tammy or Kirsty’s favourite lines. But seriously, is such preparation really relevant compared to the size of the blunders that are still present? I say it’s irrelevant, unless of course you’re a coach with a laptop who wants to appear very serious. Kind of like Peter Cushing bringing his creation to life…

In my next column I’ll show you an example of what is NOT in your database. And you’ll probably be quite shocked!

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.