FooBase Tutorial


Unpack the distribution file foobase-0.2-bin.tar.gz in an empty directory:

An alternative to using gunzip and tar may be to use one of the unpacker programs like WinZip. In that case, make sure that the case of the filenames does not get mangled (or worse: shortened to 8-dot-3 filenames!)

If you want to use the large collection of images for drawing the chess pieces, rename directory images to something else and next rename images-big to images.

The smaller version is intended for usage on a PDA screen, the larger require a window of at least 500 by 500.

Finally, add the directory into which the distribution is extracted to your CLASSPATH environment variable.

Starting the application

There are two choices for launching the application: with or without commandline parameters.

Without parameters, the application will size itself to use the entire available screen. On a PDA, this is probably the way to go.

With commandline parameters, two parameters are required: width and height (in pixels) of the main application frame.

will launch the application being maximized.

will launch the application in a 500 by 600 pixels frame.

With either option, the application will show its main application frame.

Main application window

The main interface of the program looks like this:

Main Foobase Window

The title bar shows the names of the two players, separated by a dash ("-") Unfortunately, that string may be too long to be displayed entirely on a PDA screen.

Moves can be entered by simply clicking on a piece, followed by a click on its destination square. After the first click, the piece-to-be-moved is highlighted by a colored rectangle around its square of departure.

To cancel a move after a piece has been selected, just click on any square that does not allow a valid move for that piece.

As you enter the moves, you will notice that the notation of every move is appended to the annotation window.

Scrolling up and down in the annotation window is done by clicking on the up or down arrow to the right of the window. Adding a move to the game will always cause the text window to scroll back to make the last move visible.

The help-info window

Clicking the rightmost button on the bottom row (that is: the button with a question mark on it) will display the help-info panel shown here:

Help Info Window

AS you can see, each of the available buttons is briefly explained.

Selecting databases

FooBase operates on the "current" database. You can select an existing database by means of the "O" button (Oopen database) or create a new one by clicking on the "C" (Create database) button.

In either case, select or enter a file with either extension .CBI or .CBF

Starting a new game

To start with a new game, just click on the "N" (New Game) button.

That will reset the pieces to the starting position and clear the move list, as well as all other game related information (names of the players, tournament etc.)

Game information

Clicking on the "I" (Information) button will display the game information panel as shown here:

Game Info Panel

This panel serves two purposes:

  1. enter game related data
  2. show game related data for a game loaded from a database

Beware, though. The old-style Chessbase databases store the ELO ratings divided by five. In practice, the displayed ratings will always be multiples of five (for games loaded from a database)

The internal old-style Chessbase databases store player names as sirname + comma + firstname. If a firstname is entered, please follow this convention, as there is currently no normalization done by Foobase.

Saving a game

Clicking the "S" (Save Game) button will save the game to the database. If this is the first time that the game is saved, a new game will be created. If the game has already been saved, or if the game is read from the database to begin with, the game will be updated in the database.

Unfortunately, there is currently no feedback indicating that a game has been saved or not. Clicking this button will append a new version of the game for each click (this is because of the database format: no data is ever changed, but rather a new game is appended to the datafile)

It is perfectly possible to save a game, continue entering more moves and save it again etc.

Deleting a game

Clicking this button will delete the file in the database and clear the all game related data (as if the "New Game" button were clicked)

Again, due to the database format, the game is not actually deleted, but rahter marked as being deleted. When you open up the game in Chessbase, the game will be present in the game list but with a horizontal line across the game header data.

Show the contents of the current database

Clicking the "*" (taken from the common wildcard character matching "all") button will show a new panel containing a list with all games in the current database. You can select a game by clicking once on a game header, followed by a click on the confirmation button.

The game info panel contents, as well as the title bar, will be updated with the loaded game properties.

Navigation through a game

The four buttons labeled "|<", "<", ">" and ">|" are used for moving to the beginning of the game, the previous position, the next position or the end of the game.


The last two buttons, labeled "<<" and ">>" will trigger Foobase to start advancing automatically back or forwards in the game until the end. The delay between each two moves is one second. Pushing either of these autoplay buttons during autoplay will halve the current delay (and hence double the speed).

Autoplay continues until either the end/beginning of the game is reached or until one of the other buttons is pressed.

Last Update: 15 October 2001.