16 February, 2012

Chess Assistant 12 Lite

Convekta are offering their main database software in a "lite" version, ie a free chess database.

I own and use Chess Assistant 11 (CA11) and find it incredibly useful for searching, comparing and preparing for games.

It has far more functions than I would use on a regular basis, but is excellent for its main purpose : storing and classifying games.

I first tried CA Lite in 2002 or 2003, when it was CA6 or CA7, and when comparing to Chessbase Lite found it so much richer in functionality and ease of use, such that when I worked around to buying a chess database, I chose CA and have generally been very happy with it.

Yes, it has its quirks and its failures, but I dare say Chessbase has too.

Convekta are very helpful, but they don't seem to want to solve some of the issues tha CA has ( and worse, have the irritating habit of announcing a new version that has no extra functionality or even fixes : CA12 is practically the same as CA9, the last major update. The differences are that new databases of games or Opening Encyclopaedia are included ).

What do you get for free ?

Judging by the download size, a lot !

Limitations ?

According to the announcement:

The database is limited to 1 million games. You cannot open, merge or create new databases;
The Tree and CAP database come in limited versions;
The engines included are relatively weak, but you can add other engines;
No Opening Encyclopedia 2011;
No opening book;
No pictures of chess players.


Seems pretty good to me, and if you just want a database then the limit of a million games ( although dwarfed by the size of commercial ones of 4 or 5 million ) is easily enough for a club player.


If this also means you get to try out the superb search  functions ( including an enhanced CQL ) and play around with classifiers, you will enjoy it even more, and it might just persuade you to go for the full version.

In the end, its free, so certainly worth trying out if you wanted to compare to other chess databases

[Update : Free Games Service ]
Also worth mentioning, is that these days Convekta also offers a free games update service.  These games used to be pay only ( usually if you bought the Professional CA package, the games update was included ).

Now the basic games are free, but you can also pay for the service and receive more games, some of them commented.

This free service is a bit like the TWIC one now. Not sure which is better ( in terms of either quantity or quality or consistency). I use both in separate databases.




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