Reports | October 06, 2010 17:56

76,132 endgame studies in a database

Harold van der Heijden's Endgame Study Database officially presentedSaturday October 2nd at the Max Euwe Centrum in Amsterdam the first copies of Harold van der Heijden's Endgame Study Database IV were officially presented to Yochanan Afek and Jan Timman. With 76,132 studies it is the world's largest collection of studies - experts say that approximately 90,000 were ever composed. Video.

Endgame lovers GM Jan Timman and IM Yochanan Afek (who takes care of ChessVibes' weekly endgame studies) received the first copies of the enormous database. The fourth edition of Harold van der Heijden's Endgame Study Database has more than eight thousand extra studies compared to the previous edition from 2005. Besides, the solutions of tens of thousands of studies have been corrected or updated. It is by far the most comprehensive collection of endgame studies available.

The database is in PGN-format. Apart from the initial position and the solution (including sublines or analysis) also additional information is provided: the name(s) of the composer(s), the GBR-code which is an index code denoting the chess force in the initial position, place and date of the primary source (tourney, journal, magazine) and whether it is a win or a draw study.

Regular chess software can be used to find studies in the database by name, year, source, material balance, and numerous other criteria. Most chess software also allows you to find positions or moves. For advanced users (like judges and composers) a magnificent tool was especially developed for the endgame study database by Lewis Stiller and Gady Costeff for finding complex patterns and manoeuvres: Chess Query Language (CQL). CQL as well as the graphical interface Visual CQL (programmed by Emil Vlasak) are freely downloadable.

Screenshot of Chess Query Language and Visual CQL

Both John Nunn and Artur Yusupov explained that chess players can benefit from endgame studies by trying to solve them. This trains both one's calculation ability and tactical performance in the endgame.

"Studies are a very important part of the chess culture. I use a lot of studies for the training of imagination and calculations. The study database of Harold van der Heijden is the best source if you are looking for the less known positions". GM Artur Yusupov, 2010.

"In addition to providing excellent material for training one’s calculating abilities, endgame studies open a window into the artistic side of chess. The van der Heijden database is widely recognised as the premier reference source for studies". GM John Nunn, 2010.

If you're still not convinced that endgame studies are both instructive and fun, perhaps Mr Timman and Mr Afek can convince you in our video of the presentation last Saturday:

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We give two beautiful studies that were composed by Jan Timman and Yochanan Afek and shown at the presentation last Saturday. Take the time to think about the positions, as they are full of hidden beauty:

Studies by Timman & Afek

Game viewer by ChessTempo

The database costs 50 EUR and is only available via downloading. The database cannot be bought from re-sellers, but is only available directly from the author. You can buy it here.

Dr. Harold van der Heijden (b. 1960) is one of the world's leading experts on endgame studies. He is chief editor of the famous international magazine EG, board member of the Dutch endgame circle ARVES, FIDE judge for endgame studies, Section Director of the endgame study section of the FIDE Album, author of two books about endgame studies, collector of books with endgame studies and a successful endgame study composer himself. Professionally, after obtaining a PhD in 2009 (Utrecht University), he became head of the R&D-department of a veterinary laboratory early 2010.

Harold van der Heijden

Harold van der Heijden

Jan Timman

Jan Timman

Yochanan Afek

Yochanan Afek

Jan Timman

Timman showing a study that won the 2nd prize in The Problemist

Yochanan Afek

Afek showing a miniature composed for the Nikolai Kralin 55 tournament that won shared 1st prize

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

anonymous coward's picture

I ordered this on the first day of availability. The ordering process was easy, and I got the required e-mails / codes within a few hours. The database itself is amazing. The data is clean, easily searchable, etc. Well worth the purchase price!

JMRW's picture

Bravo !

noyb's picture

I especially appreciated the second study by Afek, Yochanan, bravo!

Felix's picture

btw., one can perform cql searches inside Aquarium

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