Zarkon Fischer's Free Chess Programs

Chessbase Light 2009

Chessbase Light 2007

The new version of Chessbase Light may have been a long time coming, but it was certainly worth waiting for! Essentially a read-only version of Chessbase 10, with some functions limited to 32,000 games, it is state of the art software for browsing chess databases, creating statistics, and replaying games. If that weren't enough, it also comes with the latest Playchess server interface and a top quality database of 12,000 games. An excellent companion for Fritz 5.32! (Update: There's a newer version called Chessbase Reader 2017, although they have slightly different features.)

You can use this program for browsing and searching databases, small and large alike. The tournament tab gives quick access to a list of tournaments in the database: double click on a tournament for a tournament table. The player tab shows a player's tournament and game history: right-click on a name for player statistics or to create a dossier. You can also enter the database via one of the classification keys: openings, themes, tactics, strategy and endgames. If you set a large database as a reference database, you can view position statistics from it in the reference pane when you replay a game, or right-click on the board for an opening report or to provide a quick opening annotation. Games can be merged and viewed as an ECO table or as a tree: use the best book line pane to show frequent variations from the tree. Other functions include game statistics, piece probability, game overview and exporting to html. The Playchess server is a good place to play chess on the internet, and the best for watching live chess from top grandmaster tournaments.

Update: Chessbase light 2009 updates the 2007 version with a few new features from Chessbase 10: frequently played lines in the reference tab; show next move in the book pane; and the ability to search a subset of better quality games. Perhaps the most impressive addition is the ability to search and download games from the online database of 5 million games!

Hints and Tips

Use Fritz 5.32 to create databases, and save and copy games to databases!

If you want to view games beyond the first 32,000 in your database, e.g. from the tournament or player index, or from one of the classification keys, simply use the Clip button (or press F5) to copy the selected games to the clip database, and view them from there! Shift F5 opens the clip database, and Ctrl-Alt-V empties it.

To get search results beyond the first 32,000 games, create a new search in one of the classifcation keys (right-click, Edit/Insert new Key...) that will find all games, such as Year: 1500-2100. After classifying the key (Tools/Classification/Classify all Keys...), click on the new key you just created so that the games are displayed in the games pane, and search using the Filter button at the bottom of the screen.

When observing games on Playchess, set Help/Spy... to show with an arrow on the board a threatened move, and Help/Opening Hints... to show the best moves from the opening book.


The program is read-only, which means you can't create databases or save or copy games to databases. Some functions are limited to the first 32,000 games of the database, for which you can use the clip database as a workaround. UCI engines are not supported. Playchess Nicknames only last for 30 days, after which you will have tostart again or enter as a guest.