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Tarrasch V3 Demo, This Time it’s Useful!

March 12, 2016

Today I released a radically revamped preview edition of Tarrasch V3 on the Tarrasch Chess GUI website. I am pretty excited about it because it’s a huge step forward. I did release an alpha/demo/preview before Christmas, but that version had issues. Basically I had a big problem in that my database files were way too big. That made it really difficult to put the program in users’ hands in a practical way. I resorted to a tiny demonstration database and a clunky installation procedure via Github, the open-source platform where I publish the Tarrasch source code.

Although I could use the system effectively enough, I was using an absolutely gigantic multi-gigabyte database file that required an overnight build process. There were multiple reasons I couldn’t distribute it. It was too big, both in source form and (especially) in database form. Even if the files weren’t too big, the games were exports from my (legitimate) personal copy of ChessBase which I possibly am not legally allowed to redistribute and wouldn’t redistribute in good conscience anyway.

Even the puny demo database I distributed through Github was too big in database form, and so I used the source (.pgn) form instead, which meant  a puzzling and slow database build process was frontloaded onto the user if he or she did manage to download and run the program.

Basically things were not good.

In the months since I’ve built a compact and lightning fast replacement database system that’s a much better fit for Tarrasch, which should always be comparitively lean, mean and lightweight. My new database format is more compact than .pgn, as it should be. That means the demo includes a database file in preference to the equivalent pgn file, avoiding frontloading an awkward conversion. When the user does get around to making their own database files, the conversion process is now much quicker.

I am now including a really useful demo database. It is called Kingbase Lite and it was put together by Pierre Havard. Thanks to Pierre who granted me permission to include his work. I’ve added his name to the credits, along with Mark Crowther whose TWIC website is effectively the source of all modern game collections.

I hope plenty of people download and try out the new demo. It’s still a big file, around 100Mbytes. But the Kingbase Lite database in compressed form is also around 100Mbytes. Databases mean bigger file sizes unfortunately. I do have some ideas on how I can get more compresssion but for now hopefully 100M is a practical size for many people.

For now I’ve named the new program TarraschDb. One reason for that is to make it clearly separate from Tarrasch. You can download the demo and try it out with zero impact on your existing Tarrasch installation.

If you do try TarraschDb please let me know how it goes.

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