Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The power of CPT’s unique repertoire concept

Chess Position Trainer 4 introduced a new way to organize chess content. You can leverage this unique concept to gain invaluable insights into your repertoire, which no other chess software offers. And the best of all: it comes without any additional work on your side!


I’m not only developing CPT, but I'm an active chess player too. Recently I’ve started with the preparation of the upcoming season. This year I wanted to take advantage of the new repertoire concept, which CPT 4 introduced. Although I’m the author of the program I sometimes discover new things myself.

I bought several eBooks and imported them all into CPT - each into a separate opening (please check out the other blog post about how to create a chess repertoire). Now, there are some specific features which really make my life as a chess player much easier and actually give me confidence that my just created repertoire is really complete.

Insights 1: For openings a position database beats a game database hands down

Many chess books follow an approach where they explain certain variations by model games. I personally prefer a variation based approach (still with comments and explanations) and only model games once the theory part is over. This way I’m confident that all relevant moves for every position are covered and at the same time I get some ideas for the arising middle game positions. It also helps to quickly look up a specific position and to see, which alternatives exist. In books with the model game approach the index is usually rather shallow and you have to jump between games. This is not very convenient.

 Book Index

Now, if I import all model games from an eBook into CPT I actually get exactly this overview: for every position I can see all candidate moves covered by the book, no matter in which model game (or introduction!) they have been mentioned. That’s because CPT only imports unique positions (the same position does not exist twice). However, if two different games reach the same position, but then continue with different moves both moves are assigned to the same position.


If you only follow model games it is easy to miss alternative moves for a specific position. Usually the author adds a remark like “Nd4 is covered in game 24”.

Book Game Links

If you use CPT all alternative moves are shown directly and you can simply follow each variation. No need to look up another game some pages later. You get this feature for free, no extra work on your side.

You will be surprised how often alternative moves exist, which are not mentioned in the model game at all, but somewhere else in the book. In some cases I only knew about an alternative move thanks to CPT, but still failed to find the page in the book where the move is covered! And sometimes variations transpose, but the author recommends a different line suddenly, because he is using a game database and missed that he covered the specific position already earlier (it must be a nightmare to write an opening book without using a position database).

Using a paper book or an eBook with a game database is almost the same experience as game databases have been designed with games in mind and not openings.

Insights 2: Auto-detection of transpositions across openings

Now we get to my personal favorite. Assume you play the Sicilian Grand Prix with White and you’ve bought an eBook for this opening. Furthermore let’s assume you are playing the Sicilian with Black too and you bought an Anti-Sicilian eBook. Now, wouldn’t it be great to see for each position what each author / eBook covers or recommends?


Just import both eBooks into CPT (as two openings) and you get this info without any extra work! The candidate move list shows all candidate moves for the current position and opening, but it also shows any candidate moves covered by other openings. Those other openings are visually clearly separated. I love this unique feature of CPT - try to achieve this without CPT 4!

Comparing eBooks1

You can see that my Sicilian Grand Prix book is actually missing a6!? for the current position. As this move is mentioned in an Anti-Sicilian book I better should check this move (for example with the strong UCI engine Stockfish which comes with CPT).

Comparing eBooks2

In this case you can see that the recommended move by my book is even not considered by the Anti-Sicilian book. I should be able to give my opponent something to think about if I play this move!

If you are a chess book author you don’t want to miss this feature to make sure you really cover all critical moves of relevant chess theory.

As a chess player you can use the functionally in many ways, not only to compare two eBooks. For example you could use it to prepare your next over the board game or to check what strong GM’s are playing, which are playing the same openings as you do. First, create one opening for White and one for Black. Then import all games of your next opponent into the respective opening and browse through your opening. Check the candidate move window to see, what your opponent / other player plays in the given position.

The beauty of all this: you are not mixing your openings or any moves and positions. They all remain in their respective opening.

Insights 3: Comprehensive statistics

Finally, it would be very interesting to see how complex each opening system is. This info can be used to focus on specific openings or substitute them with less complex openings in order to save time.


Last, but not least the program shows you how well you know your complete repertoire:


Not to mention that the scheduler ensures you recall your openings just before you are about to forget them.



While Chess Position Trainer became popular due to its innovative training module and the applied flash-card concept, it offers much more than just memorizing openings. As we have seen CPT’s innovative concept of organizing an opening repertoire does not only make it more intuitive, but provides powerful features too.

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Comments (4)

  • Dave
    31 August 2012 at 00:43 |

    A nice insight into the building of repertoire files with use of e-books and using them to compliment your own repertoire with new ideas and moves. It is certainly something I will look at in the future. I am trying to build a repertoire from a manageable base and adding new lines over time. The lines I want to add are not necessarily the recommended lines from a book but the lines I most frequently meet. I use Chessbase to analyse my own games to see which lines occur most often. Thus I can concentrate on the lines that are relevant to my level of play. This is a time consuming exercise as I have to play through the moves to see the frequency and then decide whether a new line merits inclusion in my repertoire. If CPT could help with this process it would make a great program even better! If you could run a preliminary import of your own games and obtain a report on the frequency of the new positions, you could use this to decide whether to import on not. Is this something CPT could do, or do you know of a better, more efficient way?

    Best regards as always.


  • Stefan Renzewitz
    05 September 2012 at 23:51 |
    Stefan Renzewitz

    There have been more request going into the same direction and I'm considering to implement "something".

  • Peter Matyukov
    13 September 2012 at 14:29 |
    Peter Matyukov

    I am interesting in this program. I like its idea. But I found one problem that does not allow me to buy CPT.

    I tried import pgn with russian characters into CPT and in the result I got the strange symbols. Not russian.

    It is very hard for me to replace all russian comments in my repertoire.

    May be something is planning to fix this in future?

  • Stefan Renzewitz
    13 September 2012 at 14:38 |
    Stefan Renzewitz

    Hi Peter,
    please send an example PGN with Russian comments and maybe a simple screenshot of one comment to support@chesspositiontrainer.com This way I can check how to show russian charset and making sure I know what the correct result should look like.

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