Fasten your seatbelts – (Uncle SCID is driving!)

Let’s show, in graphic detail, how to use SCID 4.4 to manage a tournament. Since I did Subotica Izt 1987 yesterday let’s do Szirak Izt 1987 today.

Step 1 – See if MillBase has the any or all of the tournament

Since there can be so much variation in the <Event> name, it is best to look for all games with <Site>/<Year>. In this case Szirak/1987. Already a few caveats are in order:

  1. Looking for <Szirak> with SCID will match entries such as “Szirak, HUN” or “Szirak Hungary” or even “Izt Szirak”. If you want to exactly match Szirak, then you must search for <“Szirak”> (without the angle brackets of course… they denote the entry field).
  2. Now there could be several tournaments in a city over the same year, so some detective work is in order. Generally, it’s like using google, you start broadly, and narrow you search as you learn what exact terms to use. Here, we might luck out, and get the entire tournament in one fell swoop, or we might have to pick out the exact <Event> name and iterate.
  3. If you’re unsure the spelling of the city, you might have to use the country. Beware of mistyping any names during your search – if will lead to great confusion.

Without further adieu, select the database (or PGN set) you want to search:


Then pull up the “Search Header” dialog (the button that looks like binoculars above the chessboard on the left – or use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-H).


I highlighted the search fields. The dates need only be filled out with the year, 1987, SCID will automatically set the values to span the entire year. After you hit search the progress bar fills, and the search yields 139 games (MillBase has ~1.6Mgames).

Now, Szirak 1987 was a 18 player round robin, which means that the number of games should be 18*17/2 = 153. So we already know that MillBase is either incomplete or not consistent (i.e. one tournament doesn’t have all the same PGN headers). Inconsistency is a big problem on CG, btw, since it inhibits bulk processing. I will show later how easy it is to normalize consistent data with SCID.

Step 2: Always look at the gamelist to see what exactly you’ve got.

SCID allows you to quickly scan hundreds, even thousands, just by scrolling through the gamelist tab.


So, we see that MillBase has more problems than just missing games. It has <Event>=<FIDE (36) 1987-1990> for some of the games, and <Event>=<Szirak>  or <Szirak izt> for others. Sometimes it gives the month, sometimes not. All the rounds have <Round>=<1>, etc. etc. Clearly, the tournament was put together piecemeal, without being normalized. The player names, thankfully, do look consistent – though not FIDE normalized.

Step 4: Look at the CrossTable

Heck, you got this far, so you might as well right? Let’s see what we’ve got. Sometimes, you might actually have the entire tournament, completely assembled from the pieces. Then you could consider normalizing the data, and being happy. Sometimes you might care about the rounds, other times not. Usually though, most people want to have all the games from a tournament if at all possible.

Looking at the cross table for a round robin makes that extremely easy. SCID has a button, again just above the board over on the right, that creates a pop up window. You have a drop-down box where you can pick auto/play-by-play (aka round-robin)/swiss/knockout. You have menus where you can set other options (e.g. whether the columns use letters or numbers, etc.). Just pick any game in the filtered gamelist and press the button. SCID will automatically scan the filter games to build the crosstable (you could actually have two tournaments in your filter – SCID will pick the right one. Still I like working with one at a time, if possible).


Here’s a quick look:


I show the crosstable dropbox selector circled in red. A few of the missing games are shown inside the green circle.

Well, this looks like a good place to stop. We have to go out on the internet to find the complete tournament, so I’ll have to finish this another time.


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