Jan 29Liked by Dennis Monokroussos

It seems that SCID has just had a major release (version 5.0) within the last day or two. Highlights in the update include a new database format supporting up to 4 billion games, a new engine window, and Chess960 support.

SCID is less polished than ChessBase, certainly. In my experience, it really falls behind in automated game analysis. ChessBase stands out in that arena, especially with its natural language annotations. SCID users may want to supplement it with another program for that kind of automated game analysis (sort of like how one combines Fritz and ChessBase into one workflow I suppose).

There are two things that I much prefer in SCID over ChessBase. The first is a small thing, but SCID's ECO classification just seems strictly superior to ChessBase's. It updates dynamically as you step through the opening moves of a game, catches all transpositions, and overall is much more informative with letting you know what variations you're looking at.

The second thing that I think SCID does better than ChessBase is database maintenance. Especially in finding and deleting twin games, ChessBase has been very lackluster for me in the past. While this may be less of a concern if the user only sticks to heavily curated databases like MegaBase, SCID's thorough twin deletion, spell checking, and of course ECO classification can otherwise be immensely helpful.

Lastly, ChessBase's reference tab sees the most use from me when I'm reviewing a game, but SCID's tree window is comparable and feels about five times more responsive.

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Jan 26·edited Jan 26

I've used both chessbase and SCID-vs-PC for years. I prefer SCID-vs-PC over the original SCID because there are a couple of interface differences. SCID-vs-PC has a unique feature I like that chessbase doesn't ... in SCID-vs-PC you can set your player name or names and when you open a game with your player name it automatically flips the board, if necessary, so that your player's color is on the bottom. I don't think the original SCID has that option.

You can put the names of one or more of your chess heroes as one of the "My Player Names" so that, when you open one of their games in your referenced database, the board will flip if necessary, too.

The main reason I prefer SCID to chessbase is that I prefer to use the Linux Operating System rather than Windows and chessbase will only run in a virtualbox Windows session. Also, SCID-vs-PC only costs time to learn, there is no financial cost. I have built a nice database from TWIC and high-level pre-TWIC games going back to Morphy.

Chessbase has more bells and whistles, but SCID-vs-PC has everything I need -- and some things I just like.

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Chess newbie here, but LucasChess also has some of the same functions. Not sure how it compares to database specific tools (i.e. SCID or CB), but it is nice to have training tools and my personal games all in one local program.

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I've not used CB, and not used SCID, but I can comment on HIARCS.

I use HIARCS on macOS. It has a nice clean UI, can integrate any engine (that supports the standard plugin API). They can maintain databases in PGN format or in their own HCE format (which loads very very fast and is more compact than PGN). The UI is quite nice, I think; with rely nice display of the moves, comments, variations ... I prefer to read through a game record in HIARCS over any other choice (CB online, lichess, chess.com).

I have loads of databases, so no problem maintaining many databases.

It can import CBV (and I think CBH), but only standard games ... it doesn't capture the moves for Chess960 (the CBV format is proprietary to CB with no public documentation, so has to be reverse engineered by any other product wishing to import CBV files. If transferring games from CB to HIARCS, I recommend exporting to a PGN database file and importing that to HIARCS; though if all the games are standard, then CBV should work as well.

The one weird quirk is that ELO tags below 600 are ignored (they become zero). The dev team are aware, but I don't know when or if it will be addressed.

The HCE database format allows "huge databases only limited by memory - 1GB per 8 million games". So it could handle the MegaDatabase's 110 million games if you have enough RAM (perhaps 14 GB free memory). My TWIC db, in HCE form, loads in about 1 second on a 3-yo mac laptop.

It may take some time to load ... the CBV of the entire TWIC database took between 2 and 3 minutes to load. But once in HCE form it takes, as I said above, 1 second or less. I'm showing 3,376,022 games in my TWIC right now (I haven't added the most recent week yet).

The development team is quite responsive. I've emailed them half dozen times this past year with bug reports or feature request and have gotten useful and intelligent personal responses and sometimes had extended conversations with the developers and tech support.

There is a local opening book, and then a few larger opening books that you can subscribe to (updated quarterly from latest tournament games); I do subscribe and find it useful. You can add CTG books, but I have not tried that. There is no tool or feature to create opening books, but you can explore databases using the Tree Explorer.

There is no equivalent of ChessBase Online, no HIARCS specific web publishing platofrm. For that I use Lichess's "Study" feature. A study is a game collection that can be shared privately or publicly. It is useful for publishing analysis, or for collaborative post-mortems, and people build courses using lichess studies. However, each study is limited to 64 chapters (where a chapter is equivalent to one game record). (NOTE: other than the study, you cannot host arbitrarily sized game databases on lichess).

The other HIARCS features I find useful, as a person trying to improve my chess, include:

- copy and paste positions (FEN strings)

- blundercheck (a fast engine analysis of the entire game ... good for finding mistakes I may have missed)

- playing against the engine (either whole games or sparring a position against the engine)

That's probably enough ...

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Been using SCID and the fork SCID vs PC for more than 20 years, and it does what I need from it. Not quite as slick as CB, but a lot faster. Can handle quite large databases. I think the limit is around 16 million games per database, which should be plenty for most unless you are planning on importing every single game played on Lichess into one database. Fast and advanced search functions, database maintenance, name checking, removal of duplicate games etc.

I also have purchased Chessbase, but it sees little use. SCID is my daily driver.

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I've never used chessbase so I'm a little unsure what it offers. What does it do above what you can do for free on lichess, which as the masters database, lichess database and your own games all built in and free? The study option also enables you to study games and add OTB games too.

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For a while I have felt the need for something like Chessbase. My main requirement is to find good quality games for the openings I play. I am especially interested in finding out how games typically branch out from middlegame tabiyas. I was almost about to purchase SCID, when I decided to give SCID a try. It’s early days yet, but so far I like SCID immensely. I have downloaded 7M+ games from various sites and my database is growing. For the limited purpose for which I use SCID, I have no complaints.

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I'm on Mac, so Hiarcs is main option.

Hard for me to compare against ChessBase, as I haven't used it for year.

I like what I have with Hiarcs - their openings databases are enough to work with.

They don't have real databases of games (or I don't know how to get them), but TWICs are good enough here.

Worth trying.

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