The company ChessBase, based in Hamburg, was founded as a civil partnership in 1985 by the physicist Matthias Wüllenweber and the science journalist Frederic Friedel and later converted into a GmbH. Third shareholder among Wüllenweber and Friedel was the Hamburg base coach Gisbert Jacoby.

The company is derived from the same name, developed by Matthias Wüllenweber, chess database program ChessBase based on the at the time popular database program dBase.

Company's history and program development

Starting point of the company was the distribution of the chess database program ChessBase, which was developed in version 1.0 of Wüllenweber for the Atari ST. From version 2.3 the ChessBase program was available also in a developed by Mathias Feist version for the PC operating system MS -DOS. Was released in 1989 for the Atari parallel and for the PC version of ChessBase 3.0. Version 4.0, in the DOS version of the chess program Fritz was able to count at the same surface for analysis, was the last version that was released for the Atari.

The database program ChessBase has been designed to capture the moves of chess games on computers, where appropriate, to comment with variants and store. For this Wüllenweber had developed a special storage format, the space-saving manner possible in a file stores all necessary data a game (players, tournament, tournament venue, date, notation, variant, assessment marks, etc. ) ( " CBF" format). For searching the ChessBase program allows systematic access to the games in the database according to various criteria such as player name, tournament, variant or opening index.

The development of the ChessBase database program was significantly influenced at the beginning of Garry Kasparov, the 1985 ChessBase first visited during a stay in Hamburg and made many suggestions for further development.

With the development of the first version of Windows from 1994 also the text format " PGN " was supported. The version of ChessBase 6.0 In 1996 an expanded program own database format ( " CBH " format). Apart from the actual database and the user interface especially after porting (migration) was gradually expanded and allowed numerous parallel applications that go far beyond the capabilities of a pure database program. Thus, a wide variety of chess engines can be included in addition to the convenient database access for analysis and Zugbestimmung that do not necessarily come from our own home.

The database software has been continuously developed and adapted to new Windows operating systems; so was 8 support, for example in the published version in December 2012 ChessBase 12 the then current Microsoft Windows.

Since 2007, a limited version is available for free under the name ChessBase Light 2007. They can be unlocked by purchasing an activation key full version ChessBase 9.

Publishing activities

Besides providing the chess database program, the company ChessBase operated with the collection and distribution of chess games. These were first in the " ChessBase Magazine " sold on floppy disks, later followed by the number " tournament Disk". 1990 ChessBase began training together with authors disks in the series to market " opening disk".

In 1991, Mathias Feist a user interface for chess engines, which was distributed with the programmed by the Dutchman Frans Morsch chess engine quest under the name Fritz.

Besides the chess program Fritz sells or sales ChessBase chess publishing more than chess programs, including, but Houdini, HIARCS, Junior, Shredder, Chess Tiger, ZapChess and Rybka in different versions.

Fritz Chess Server

In September 2001 ChessBase went online with its own chess server. This sparked soon after the introduction of the Internet Chess Club leader in terms of the number of visitors as the largest commercial chess server. In 2006 more than 200,000 members were registered with ChessBase. On the Fritz chess server people can play against other chess players chess on the Internet. It is also possible to play computer games against each other. The Fritz Chess Server also allows interactive teaching and numerous special chess variants. The games are almost daily there also shown live from current grandmaster tournaments, world championships or competitions and discussed by the visitors in the chat.


For the Fritz Chess Server and the training series " Fritz Trainer" developed ChessBase the Chess Media System. This audio or video recordings can be played in sync with game development. Thus, numerous instructional videos were produced, including by Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Viktor Korchnoi, Rustam Kasimjanov, Alexei Shirov, Adrian Mihalčišin, Daniel King, Andrew Martin, Jacob Aagaard, Helmut Pfleger, Thomas Luther and Eva Moser.

Learning program for children and adolescents

Since 2003, the chess tutorial " Fritz & Fertig " appears - to early 2009 in four progressive consequences. This playful children are introduced to the game of chess.

Other publishing programs

1994 Matthias Wüllenweber had developed a physics simulation program, which is sold under the name " Albert physics interactive" by Springer-Verlag.

In October 2007, Ludwig appeared with a music software that will lay claim to independently compose complex music of various styles and arrangements. Ludwig should be able to serve as a virtual music teacher for various instruments and choral singing as well as backing band. For composing it uses a tree search method as is used in the Fritz chess software. The arrangements of the melodies composed by the software are generated using a scripting language. George Moon Throw, lecturer in music teaching at the University of Oldenburg, commented: "The fact that " Ludwig " offers good facilities, singing and instrumental playing - even to train improvisation, has already been mentioned. Nevertheless, while " Ludwig" as a composer can completely convince today, his skills remain as an instrumental teacher in this version rather an interesting little bonus that will hardly replace a reputable music lessons. "

The Homepage of ChessBase is updated daily and offers ( German, English, Spanish) current chess news in three languages. In addition, a free online game database with more than four million chess games, as well as a player dictionary with names and photos of thousands of chess players.