In Part 1 we looked at how we can find and use master game databases online. In Part 2 we will see how to get a database of our games. Then in Part 3 we will look at some ways to study that data to improve our game.
First you need a database of your games. This is why keeping a good score sheet is important. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have all your over the board games. I would encourage you to do better from now on. There is no better material than your otb games. Dig out those score sheets and enter them if you have them. It won’t take as long as you think. Maybe start with the most recent ones and work your way back.
So if you don’t have a database of your games or your score sheets. Go to your online games. For this example I’ll be using Chess.com but all the major chess site keep your games in a database that you can download. If not you need to change chess sites.
I’ve been trying to learn the English opening. So all my recent games on Chess.com with the white pieces start with c4. Let’s grab a bunch of those games. On the Chess.com website mouse over Play, a menu drops down. Now click Archive, a list of your 50 most recent games will appear. We can make the most of those 50 games by prefiltering them.
To the right you will see a box labeled Archive. At the bottom click advanced. Now you can select how you want to filter the list. I selected a filter that will return games where I play white, all results, only standard daily games. I tried to filter by opening but English returned only one game. Something is wrong with that.
Click Search. The list contains only games that met my search criteria.
I turn off time stamp data. I don’t care about that in this case.
Check the box to the right of Date in the header to select all the games listed.
Now your ready to click the download button.
It will save them in a format like chess_com_games_2017-12-22.pgn. Just make note of where they are saved on your computer. In part two we’ll look at the data and try to find improvements in our play.