A Study Process based on using a chess database program (Chess Base).

By Mark Kaprielian


Prior to my creating a document about my process, I had already formulated over an extended period of time, most of the steps outlined below, but did not make use of them in any particular fashion. I would start by doing one kind of thing and then move to another and so on and so on. By the end of my study session, I found that I had certainly done a lot of things but not necessarily the thing I had intended to do. Once I organized and documented the different tasks, I found it much easier to accomplish what I set out to do at the beginning of a study session. Now, when I sit down to do some study, I decide just category of task I am going to do at the outset. This allows me to stay focused. For me, it also makes studying less stressful. Before I used to have an uneasy urgency to do many of the individual tasks because there were so many different things that needed doing. Now, I can consciously choose which tasks to perform and which to put off. I know exactly what to do to make progress in the area I feel most in need of at the time.

Its taken me a long time to find a way to study effectively, efficiently and most importantly, comfortably. I hope that by sharing my process with you that you will be able to develop your own optimal approach to study in a much shorter time than it took me.

  1. Notes about the Process
    1. You will create and maintain several databases collectively referred to as your Repertoire. These contain the ideal lines you would play if you could have a cheat sheet in front of you during a game.
    2. Since the database is essentially the "book", lines that are derived from Fritz (or some other analysis engine) should be noted at the end of the line as Fritz with its revision. Lines that you select that are not offered by the analysis engine should be clearly indicated so that you will realize that it may have non-optimal results and have not been proposed by an engine. I select to start such lines with "What if…"
    3. As a general rule of thumb, do not spend time transcribing from a book, especially a master level game that most likely is available somewhere for importing. Even endgame studies are generally available. Of course, special information that you are not likely to locate elsewhere but desire to have readily available for review are worth entering. In short, Books are to be read. Get the games from somewhere else for computer use.
  2. The different types of tasks that make up the Process
    1. Post Game Analysis
      1. Enter Game into Personal USCF rated games database
      2. Analyze Tactics, alternatives and Play
      3. Make note if opening is not covered in the repertoire and add to Research list.
    2. Weekly Review
      1. Go through all prepared lines
      2. Note any lines that need to be examined more closely and add to Research list
    3. Research List
      1. Open the game file which contains the line to be examined
      2. Search all games for similar lines (Shift F6) and/or Exact position (Shift F7)
      3. Sort games by move
      4. Filter so only your color wins
      5. Save clipboard to a research file. This file will later be deleted
      6. Examine the games in the research file and copy those that most closely fit your style and that cover all the major variations you think are probable
      7. Organize the games into one or more files and place into appropriate Database or insert lines into appropriate file.
    4. Exercises
      1. Review specialized databases as exercises. I.e. K&P endgames, Mates.
    5. Target Study
      1. Based on who you are likely to be paired with, find all games played against that player in your Personal database
      2. Play through the games to see what happened before in the game and which Repertoire lines were played
      3. If a game is not covered by repertoire, add to Research list
      4. Do the Research process on above noted lines
      5. Go through weekly review process with emphasis on applicable lines for the projected opponent