If you are an organiser of a FIDE rated tournament and want your event to be worthy of scrutiny from chess commentators, making some or all of the games played available online is absolutely critical, more so if you aren’t offering live broadcast through DGT boards. Thankfully, the world’s most sophisticated pairings program, Swiss Manager, makes it possible to upload games manually from players’ scoresheets to Chess-Results via database compilation programs like ChessBase 13.
In my first ever attempt at a chess tutorial, I have outlined below the three steps you need to take to turn handwritten moves into games that can be replayed on a web-based board without having to use third party software to download and render PGNs.
For this tutorial, you will need licensed copies of Swiss Manager and ChessBase 13 (other versions of ChessBase should also work fine but the exact process might differ slightly), players’ scoresheets and results already entered into Swiss Manager for at least one round of your tournament.
Step One: Output Empty PGN File
Open the tournament file in Swiss Manager and navigate to ‘Other’ > ‘PGN files…’ on the main menu. You should now see a window like the one below.
Select the rounds for which you want to enter games, adjust parameter settings and click on ‘Output empty PGN file’. The empty PGN file will be created in the same folder where the Swiss Manager file is located.
Note: If you’re entering games for a round-robin tournament where pairings for all rounds have already been generated, make sure to select from the first to the final round to make your work easier. For a Swiss tournament, you will have to repeat this step for each round unless you are entering in games after the tournament has ended.
Step Two: Enter Moves and Replace
Locate the empty PGN file created in Step One above and open it in ChessBase 13. Of the windows that will open, one of them should look like this:
Double click on the game whose moves you want to enter. You should see a window like this:
Play through the game by using the mouse pointer to move the pieces as per the players’ scoresheets (keep both copies handy to check for errors in writing). You will see the moves being notated automatically in the ‘Notation + Openings Book’ section.
Note: If you make a mistake and have to retrace steps to correct a previous move, select the last correct move, right click the mouse/track pad button to bring up a menu and select ‘Delete’ > ‘Delete Remaining Moves’ (or simply press the “]” key on your keyboard) to delete all moves after it (if you don’t, the corrected move sequence will be added as a variation from that point on).
If the moves have been played through correctly, navigate to ‘File’ on the main menu and select ‘Save’ > ‘Save’ to bring up the following window:
Make sure the checkbox next to ‘ECO code:’ is selected and that there is a code in the field next to it. This sub-step is only necessary if you’d like the ECO code to be a part of the game’s PGN data. If the ECO code is displayed, click on the ‘Cancel’ button at the bottom (clicking on ‘OK’ will create a duplicate game instead of saving the existing one).
Next, navigate to ‘File’ on the main menu, select ‘Save’ > ‘Replace’ and close the game window.
To confirm if the moves have been entered properly and the game saved correctly, go back to the list of games in Image 2.1 above and double click on the game you are interested in verifying.
Repeat this step for all the games you want to enter in any rounds. It’s advisable that you key in all games from a round before attempting to upload them to chess-results.
Step Three: Adjust and Upload
Go back to the tournament’s Swiss Manager file and navigate to ‘Other’ > ‘PGN files…’ on the main menu like you did in step one.
Output another empty PGN file and make sure to name it differently from the previous PGN file which now has game moves keyed in. To avoid confusion between the two, you can name them ‘tournament-input.pgn’ and ‘tournament-output.pgn’ or something similar.
Change the values for ‘From round’ and ‘To round’ according to the rounds you are uploading.
In the ‘PGN input file’ field select the path to the first PGN file and in the ‘PGN output file’ field select the path to the second PGN file.
Click the ‘Adjust PGN file’ button to check for any discrepancies between Swiss Manager and PGN data. If there are no errors, you will see a window like this open up:
If there are no errors, select the checkbox next to ‘Special Database – Export format chess-results server’ and click on the ‘Adjust PGN file’ button again. This should result in the ‘Game-upload to chess-results.com’ button becoming clickable and not greyed out like before. Click on this button and check the tournament’s chess-results page to see if the games have been uploaded.
If uploaded properly, there will be a link next to Games with the text “There are XX games available for download” like in this image:
Clicking on that link will take you to a page like this one with a search form and a list of all rounds with the number of games available in each:
Clicking on a round and on a game within that round will open up a page with a chess board and pieces where you can play through the game:
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed all three steps and now chess enthusiasts from across the world can follow games from your tournament.
Note: If you have trouble with Step Three, you can visit the chess-results FAQ page for instructions from Heinz Herzog, the author of Swiss Manager, himself.
I would like to thank IA Stephen Kisuze from Uganda for being the first person to show me this process when we worked together as arbiters at the Zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championships 2016 in Mauritius.
At that time, I hadn’t grasped all the steps fully but when it was time for me to upload games from one of my own tournaments, I reached out to members of the FIDE Chess Arbiters – Study Group on Facebook for help. Thank you, Lara Barnes, Arno Eliens and Stephen Kisuze (again) for filling in the gaps in my knowledge. I am very grateful to all of you!