MegaDataBase 2024: Chess moves on!

by clement

Carlsen and his rivals

With more than 10.6 million games published in high quality and dating from 1475 to 2024, the Mega Database 2024 ChessBase’s most important chess database. The very first game it contains was played in Valencia, Spain.

Suppose I ask readers, “What would you like to see in this new edition of MegaBase?”

  • A young player might exclaim: “Show me the latest matches – and no draws, please; I want to win!”
  • Perhaps a player of my generation would say instead, “Show me some GMs games – and remember I like combinations!”

So I’m faced with a dilemma. Which demand should be met first? Young players don’t like to wait. So I’m going to satisfy them first. But I have something else to share with you, my older friends. Rest assured, you won’t have to wait long.

The first question a young reader would ask here would be, “What about Carlsen? How many of his parts are in the new database?” To date, the MegaBase contains over 4,000 games played by Magnus. He himself analyzed 26 of them over the period 2006-2016. Subsequently, Peter Heine Nielsen, his long-time second-in-command, has annotated around 50 of them.

Magnus represents the ultimate test for his peers and younger rivals. As for his own generation, Hikaru Nakamura offered him the longest competition.

Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura

Magnus Carlsen playing white against Hikaru Nakamura. | Photo: FIDE / Fischer Random World Chess Championship.

In the MegaBase, there are some 240 games played between the two of them, in various cadences. Not all of them will stand the test of time. However, a number of them stand out.

The next part is a memorable encounter, which I have annotated for our readers:

Nakamura also shone in saving desperate positions, finding magical resources when all seemed lost:

Nakamura also fought his other great rival, Fabiano Caruana:

Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana

Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norway Chess.

These two players will face each other at the next Candidates Tournament in April.

This brings us to the young talents in the global arena. Currently, the Indian quartet, Praggnanandhaa, Vidit Gujrathi. Gukesh and Arjun Erigaisi, have taken the chess world by storm. The MegaBase contains a number of their games, both annotated and unannotated.

Perhaps the strongest of them all is Praggnanandhaa. The next part is well worth a look:

For inexplicable reasons, this section appears in the MegaBase without annotation. However, it is commented in detail in the CBM 216.

Pragg’s performance did not go unnoticed:

Even when Pragg is in poor form, he’s not easy to beat, as Carlsen found out to his cost last year:

Magnus Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa

Magnus Carlsen against Praggnanandhaa, Wijk aan Zee. | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Tata Steel 2023 Chess Tournament.

Among the other young players, Abdusattorov, Firouzja, Duda and Abasov deserve a mention. As we know, Abasov became a candidate due to Carlsen’s withdrawal from the competition. Here’s a game from the Azeri in which he came close to beating Magnus, but ultimately lost:

Daniil Dubov deserves a special mention. He finished second to Carlsen at the 2023 World Blitz Championship. The Russian is a daredevil, and his game is particularly reminiscent of young Tal. However, this is a player with ups and downs. You can learn from his victories and defeats in this Mega. The next game is a duel between him and Alexei Shirov, who was also considered the successor to the great Latvian player mentioned above:

Alexei Shirov, Daniil Dubov

Alexei Shirov versus Daniil Dubov in 2013 Photo:

Let’s not forget to mention the reigning world champion, Ding Liren. The Mega counts nearly 2’000 games played by him. Here’s a spectacular game from the world championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi:


This brings me to the annotations in this database. Parts from recent years are commented on in detail, thanks to their main source, the ChessBase Magazine. The same cannot be said for games from the past. A number of them are not annotated. Others have annotations of varying length and quality in the Informant style.

What are the best annotations? Those that offer a judicious mix of explanation and analysis. Anish Giri is a perfect example.

Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri

Magnus Carlsen congratulating Anish Giri on his victory at the Tata Steel Masters 2023. | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Tata Steel 2023 Chess Tournament.

He understands perfectly how his fellow GMs think during a game. His comments are lucid and a great introduction to the game. To date, the Dutch GM has annotated 126 games in the Mega.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find annotations by Caruana, Karjakin and Ding on their games. This was in the years leading up to their participation in the World Championship title.

Viewing the games in the Mega is the first step. After that, you need to supplement your understanding with good reading and, above all, practice on the chessboard.


  1. Anish Giri’s annotations appear both in New in Chess Magazine and cans ChessBase Magazine.
  2. Leading GMs annotate games in the Mega:
  • Caruana: 47 games
  • Nakamura: 6 games
  • Ding Liren: 5 games
  • Praggnanandhaa: 17 games
  • Vidit Gujrathi 35 games


  1. In a previous MegaBase article, Nagesh Havanur discussed the treatment of three world championship matches:
  2. In another article, Nagesh Havanur discussed the coverage of Carlsen and his peers, as well as the play of veterans and young talent in MegaBase:
  3. Just published: Mega Database 2024

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