Introduction to BritBase

Feedback, suggestions and corrections for the British chess games archive.
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John Saunders
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Introduction to BritBase

Post by John Saunders » Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:10 pm

Firstly, my thanks to Carl for generously offering to host a section for BritBase discussion on this, the English Chess Forum.

A bit of background: BritBase (http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/) is subtitled the British Chess Game Archive. I started it going in 1997 and I believe it was the first website worldwide to provide free downloads of a specific country's digitised chess games. Plenty of others followed in its wake worldwide, many of which are superbly done and well worth a visit (check the links page). Of course, commercial disk-based databases and websites offering game downloads from everywhere and anywhere existed before 1997 but BritBase was the first to concentrate on one country (strictly speaking, two countries because I also collect and provide downloads of games played in Ireland).

The reason I decided to specialise in British and Irish games was because I was concerned that the quality and accuracy of data found on big databases was suspect and that local knowledge would be important. Also, of course, I hoped to find more games played in Britain and Ireland and make them generally available. Incidentally, I started this a couple of years before becoming editor of British Chess Magazine (http://www.bcmchess.co.uk). The two are not connected. BCM does not own BritBase - it is simply something I do as a hobby in my spare time on my own account.

I don't have all that much time to devote to BritBase so progress is often slow. I add contemporary tournament games as they are played and try to get my hands on old bulletins to input games from the past but you will find plenty of gaps that need filling. I also (unofficially) proof-read games I find on ChessBase's own Mega/Big databases and try to point out mistakes I find there. This seems to get acted on by the people who edit those commercial databases (they must visit my pages!) so over time it has a beneficial effect on the quality of those databases.

What I would like to achieve via this forum is to (a) get feedback on BritBase (this can also be done privately via an email contact link you'll find at the website); (b) get suggestions for improving presentation (which I would be the first to admit is not currently ideal - the website needs a thorough make-over!); (c) receive corrections and information about missing games and bulletins; (d) for me to answer questions that arise where the answers may be of general interest.

Finally, please remember that BritBase's motto is "don't shoot the webmaster, he's doing his best." I am reminded of something Bill Hartston is alleged to have said to some spectators who dared to reprove him for a quick draw he agreed at a British Championship many moons ago (Eastbourne 1973 I think it was): "Now, remind me, how much did you gentlemen pay to watch my game?" "Nothing." "Well then, you can't complain you didn't get value for money." This value for money argument also applies to BritBase.
Personal Twitter @johnchess
Britbase https://www.britbase.info
(I prefer email to PM - contact me via this link - https://www.saund.org.uk/email.html)

Peter Sowray
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by Peter Sowray » Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:24 am

John,

Britbase is a fantastic resource ... many thanks for putting it together. I do use it regularly.

Perhaps I'm being obtuse ... is it possible to download the entire database in one go? Maybe there's a reason you've decided not to allow this ...

Best,

Peter

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John Saunders
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by John Saunders » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:41 pm

Peter

Thank you for the kind words. Regarding a one-time download of all the games - the historical reason was because the download file would have been too big to sit on the webserver, which was (and still is, to some extent) a free webspace area but with some size restrictions. I now have a paid-for webspace but I still need to keep an eye on bandwidth so it still might be tricky. I'll look at this when I plan the make-over. One solution might be to collate the games into downloads of years or decades.
Personal Twitter @johnchess
Britbase https://www.britbase.info
(I prefer email to PM - contact me via this link - https://www.saund.org.uk/email.html)

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by Carl Hibbard » Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:04 pm

John Saunders wrote:Peter

Thank you for the kind words. Regarding a one-time download of all the games - the historical reason was because the download file would have been too big to sit on the webserver, which was (and still is, to some extent) a free webspace area but with some size restrictions. I now have a paid-for webspace but I still need to keep an eye on bandwidth so it still might be tricky. I'll look at this when I plan the make-over. One solution might be to collate the games into downloads of years or decades.
No problems with putting on here if you want?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

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John Saunders
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by John Saunders » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:58 pm

Carl

Another generous offer, thank you. I shall bear that in mind when I start my overhaul of BritBase.
Personal Twitter @johnchess
Britbase https://www.britbase.info
(I prefer email to PM - contact me via this link - https://www.saund.org.uk/email.html)

Peter Rhodes
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by Peter Rhodes » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:50 pm

If the entire game collection was available as one file I guess people would download that and then update it every now-and-then.

Howver, I am sure you would get lots more downloads because people will inevitably misplace the file, upgrade their pc and forget to transfer it, be at the 4NCL and forget to take it on their laptop - and the ease of availability would just encourage people not to bother putting it on a usb-stick or ensuring they have a regular backup.

However..... if you want all of the files you can do the following.
1. Download a spider from http://www.httrack.com
2. Point it at britbase and download just *.zip files.
3. Unzip all the files on your local pc to a single folder.
4. Open chessbase and navigate to that folder.
5. Create a new database - you can then select the entire pgn game series and drag then to your new database in one action.


Then you can visit britbase every so often just to download the new games and append them to your local database. Let's hope John doesn't put a [robot=0] directive in this httpd !

Thanks again to John for the upkeep of this fantastic resource.
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John Upham
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http://www.britbase.com/

Post by John Upham » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:40 pm

Hi,

Has http://www.britbase.com/ been replaced by a new URL?
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

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John Saunders
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by John Saunders » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:23 pm

I don't remember it ever being britbase.com (.coms are too expensive!). It's http://www.britbase.co.uk
Personal Twitter @johnchess
Britbase https://www.britbase.info
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John Upham
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A cheeky request!

Post by John Upham » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:55 am

This may or may not be appropriate but...

Has anyone compiled a cumulative database in either .cbv or .pgn format of all the games to-date that comprise BritBase?

I'm sure I'm not the only person who would appreciate such efforts so I'm being lazy in attempting to avoid repeating what I guess many others have done in the past.

If not, I'll have to do it myself I guess!
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

Peter Rhodes
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by Peter Rhodes » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:09 am

I created a 11.7 Mb rar file - not sure if you're provider will let you recieve emails of that size - but I sent it anyway.
Chess Amateur.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by Carl Hibbard » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:25 am

Peter Rhodes wrote:I created a 11.7 Mb rar file - not sure if you're provider will let you recieve emails of that size - but I sent it anyway.
I am happy to host it here (but only with John Saunders approval of course...) either your unofficial copy or something more official from John, but it's got to be his call...
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Laurie Roberts
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by Laurie Roberts » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:43 am

Hi - is this hosted? would be helpful to have that!

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John Saunders
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by John Saunders » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:00 pm

Can I ask people not to make copies of BritBase available online, if it's all the same. Although individual games are in the public domain, collections of games, such as the one I have made over the course of many years, are not.
Personal Twitter @johnchess
Britbase https://www.britbase.info
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Laurie Roberts
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Re: Introduction to BritBase

Post by Laurie Roberts » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:48 pm

John

Of course. Sorry if you felt that would detract from all your hard work. I think Britbase is a great resource. I will download the files from your website for personal use only

Laurie

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