I am a Mac user and ChessBase is not available. Instead I purchased Hiarcs. I would like advise as to whether there's added value to ChessBase that should motivate me to install ChessBase on Parallels or even to buy a cheap laptop for this. Note: my question is not related to engine usage as I don't believe that should matter so much, but rather for DB management, meaning availability of DBs, ease of management, etc... Any pointers would be appreciated!

  • I do not have experience with Hiarcs, but I like ChessBase together with one of the megabases for its usefulness when preparing for OTB games. I can quickly look up opponents, find their games, and let ChessBase extract an openings tree from their games to see what they play, how often they played it and what results they got. Besides that I have a database of my own games, but I do not use that database too much (except for bookkeeping).
    – TMM
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 1:09
  • For others to be able to help you, it might help if you describe specifically what you are using the software for, and what features you are looking for (that you do not have with Hiarcs).
    – TMM
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 1:10
  • 1. Regarding preparing for your opponents, surely this is only if you're playing at expert level? I can't imagine games of simple club players would be included in the CB database..?! 2. I would primarily like to use the program for studying opening lines, to quickly go over games to see different ideas and lines in the openings I play. Hiarcs comes with a rather "small" DB of around 35000 games, and from my research it's not it's easy to get hold of large DBs. I understand CB sells also a huge DB (thought about the idea of buying only this DB and converting it to pgn to use in Hiarcs).
    – acye
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 19:54
  • CB also sells opening books/trees separately, at cheaper rates than their databases. I'm not sure if those work with other software as well, but it may be a good alternative to study openings. There used to be some large (1M+ games) free databases before, but I also couldn't find any of those anymore when I searched for them recently. (And indeed, preparing only works if your opponent's games are in the database. When playing against young, active 2000+ players there are usually plenty of games available.)
    – TMM
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 0:38
  • Thank you for your answer. I'm indeed beginning to suspect that there's a good reason that "everyone" is using CB.. Now, I did notice that they offer also the "Opening Encyclopedia", so maybe buying CB 14 and the Opening Encyclopedia separately is a better alternative than buying one of the CB packages that come with the Big/Mega Database, which I understand is less geared towards opening study. Do you have an opinion on this (The Big/Mega DB vs the Opening Encyclopedia)?
    – acye
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 8:58

1 Answer 1


By far, ChessBase is the most popular one, it has been there for a long time. But there is other software that can do more or less what ChessBase can do, like Chess Assistant.

When you compare software, you should consider comparing for example Fritz vs. Hiarcs or ChessBase vs. Chess Assistant, because Fritz or Houdini or Rybka are mainly engines with the capability of full game analysis and ChessBase is more of a database with special feature for the pros.

In terms of opening encyclopedia or other products, they could be read with almost any professional chess software. So, no problem here.

Finally, if you are not a professional chess player, any software like Hiarcs, Shredder or even Stockfish with a GUI could help you and you don't need to buy such expensive software.

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