While downloading some games I came across some files in ChessBase format:

  • .cbv
  • .cbf
  • .cbh

I would like to know if is is possible to convert these files to .pgn format without using proprietary software and how it can be made.

  • Remove all special annotations. Copy all games to another pgn file. Simple.
    – Arun J
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 18:30

4 Answers 4


Well since the protocols creating cbv, cbf and cbh formats are not made publicly available, one will certainly not find any such conversion tool (i.e. unclear how they are encoded to reverse them to pgn).

Other reason maybe that the difference between all these formats is just due to an "incremental encoding" that is being used, which means that for it to be possible to go backward, to a pgn format, only the chessbase engine can do so!

Until a way around this is found, you can use playchess free program or easier the chessbase light (which is free), where using

choose file->new database and create pgn files

will allow you to obtain pgn formats again.

  • 3
    I downloaded CBLight2009 and it has worked. Thanks! PS: there are detailed instructions here.
    – lodebari
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 16:23

Here is a simple way to do exactly what you want:

  1. Open the .cbv file in ChessBase Reader
  2. Select all the files you would like to convert to .pgn (Ctrl-A to select all files)
  3. Go to File at the top left corner and press Selection To Text file
  4. You will receive a popup where you should select PGN under Format and press OK
  5. Save the .pgn in your designated area and that's it!

You now have a .pgn database!

  • This works! It was a bit hard to find: I opened my Chessbase 14, then I located my database and selected it: this showed the game list. Then I selected Ctrl+a all games, then right click and finally Output->Selection To Txt file.
    – Danijel
    Commented Jan 8 at 12:38

I wrote a cli tool to extract .cbv archives. And you can use scidb to open the resulting .cbh file. Scidb will eventually support opening .cbv archives directly.

  • Reading about it - sounds like it does not actually convert resulting CBH to PGN, does it? Just wanted to double check since it might be misleading given the main question.
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 17:13
  • You indeed need to use the both tools I mentionned. uncbv is used to convert the .cbv to the files contained in the archive (which could be .pgn but is usually .cbh with many other files). Then, you can use scidb to convert the .cbh file to .pgn.
    – antoyo
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 15:00
  • It works for me like a charm, thanks for the cli tool !
    – Olórin
    Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 19:09

There is now a CBH to PGN app for Android (only handles CBH files, not cbv) - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.chess.cb&hl=en

I personally would like to see this available as a command line utility on windows.

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