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Tarrasch V3.13a

November 18, 2020

This is quite an important new release. Although I was initially pretty happy with Tarrasch V3.12a released some 18 months ago, inevitably bugs and issues emerged as I used it as a workhorse for all my chess work. Some of the problems were embarrassing I am sad to admit. In the last few months I have worked quite hard on resolving the problems and refining Tarrasch (anyone who doubts me is welcome to consult the Github log).

I issued a minor update Tarrasch V3.12b a couple of months ago, and now this more significant upgrade which I hope is a significant milestone. Details of the fixes and refinements can be found on Github and on the project news page.

A very significant change is the new TarraschBase games database which replaces Kingbase Lite as the default Tarrasch database. Pierre Havard’s Kingbase project has been abandoned, so it was necessary to move on, and I think the solution found is a big win for Tarrasch. I am indebted to Mark Crowther, the dynamo behind the awesome TWIC (The Week In Chess) project, who has given me permission to use TWIC as the basis of the new TarraschBase database. TarraschBase comprises all TWIC games since 1995 played by two 2200+ players (similar criteria to Kingbase Lite), excluding some blitz and bullet events. My intention is to add a few hundred thousand pre 1995 (i.e. pre TWIC) games to make TarraschBase a universal solution for the casual chess fan. I will do that when (if) I get explicit permission from someone who owns an existing database to source the games from.

To protect Mark’s commercial interests we have agreed that the TWIC games should be kept within the Tarrasch program as much as possible. To this end I have made TarraschBase a “restricted” database, which means that no more than 10,000 games at a time can be exported out to PGN format. I feel that this is a very reasonable and it doesn’t affect any of Tarrasch’s usual features.

Of course if you want unrestricted access to all the TWIC games you can buy Mark’s complete TWIC database directly from him, it’s good value and I encourage you to do that.

I’d like to quickly document here how I currently put TarraschBase together. This might be of interest to someone who wrangles PGN files. Here is a version of the Windows/DOS batch file I made to capture the process;

REM prepare tarrasch-base 17 Nov 2020, remember to use .CBH
REM versions of individual twic files, then use ChessBase
REM to convert to .pgn (for name convention compatibility to
REM twic-1-to-1346.pgn which was itself converted from .CBH by
REM ChessBase)
echo twic1347.pgn>twic.lst
echo twic1348.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1349.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1350.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1351.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1352.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1353.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1354.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1355.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1356.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1357.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic1358.pgn>>twic.lst
echo twic-1-to-1346.pgn>>twic.lst
pgn2line -p -r -l twic.lst twic-1-to-1358.lpgn
del twic-1-to-1358.pgn
ren twic-1-to-1358.lpgn.pgn twic-1-to-1358.pgn
tournaments -b twic-1-to-1358.lpgn tournaments-1-to-1358.txt
wordsearch -i blitz tournaments-1-to-1358.txt >black-list.txt
wordsearch -i bullet tournaments-1-to-1358.txt >>black-list.txt
wordsearch -i 5' tournaments-1-to-1358.txt >>black-list.txt
pgn2line -p -n +y 1995 -b black-list2.txt twic-1-to-1358.pgn t.lpgn
REM final pgn is in t.lpgn.pgn

I obtained the TWIC database through TWIC 1346 from Mark a few weeks back, and have added TWIC 1347 through 1358 since. I processed the combination of one huge PGN and 12 small PGNs with my own pgn2line.exe utility. I have been working on pgn2line.exe off and on for a while now, and I think it captures an excellent approach to managing collections of PGN files. It is much easier to wrangle chess games in a text format related to PGN, but with the feature that each game is on one line. (Admittedly the lines are rather long!). You can check out the details on the pgn2line Github page. The pgn2line program is very good at taking a big (or small) collection of PGN files, sorting and deduplicating all the games from the entire collection and putting it all back together in one optimally sorted (as far as this is possible) file. It supports various transformations on the Event/Site information for each game, including white lists, black lists and fixups (renames). Player name reports are supported, and players names can also be fixed up.

In the batch file above pgn2line creates a PGN file in reverse order (most recent first) to suit Tarrasch, with games from prior to 1995 and Events that include the magic words Blitz and Bullet removed. The ancillary programs tournaments and wordsearch are included in the pgn2line release on Github. The final step of excluding games involving players less than 2200 takes place in Tarrasch itself.

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