In this article, you’ll find a list of the best free Chess databases you can access right now, today and start using as well as a list of the best paid Chess databases you can purchase. A paid database does not automatically mean it’s better than one that may be free. But is in an indication. Many of the free options or more than suffice for players.
What is a Chess Database?
First, let’s quickly go over what a database is.
A Chess Database is a database that contains records, in the form of a PGN file, of Chess games that have been played throughout history.
In a perfect world, every database would have every single Chess game ever played in any tournament, by any player, at any point in the history of the game. But this isn’t the case, however some databases are close to that level of perfection.
Best Free Chess Databases
ScidvsPc (Shanes Chess Information Database) is one of the most popular free Chess databases there is. The majority of players will be using this on their computers to look up Chess games.
PC Users: You can download ScidvsPc here.
Mac Users: They do have a Mac version you can download here.
Named after the Goddess of Chess and Database, which is a nice touch, Caissabase is one of the largest and best Chess databases in existence.
Go to the website and download it here. You will also need ScidvsPc to use the file.
This is a free database you can access. As of writing this, here are some stats to peak your interest on their database:
- 360,292,134 games counted
- 258,895,404 games stored
- 582,462 players stored
- 1,531 computers stored
- 18,260 tournaments stored
Not too bad for a database. You can download FiscGames here.
lichess.org is one of the big three websites people play Chess on. For more information on this, see the Chess.com vs lichess.org vs Chess 24 comparison guide.
lichess is an excellent learning platform overall. With this, they have a database you can access for free. You can access to the lichess database here.
I personally use this database everyday. ChessGames.com allows you to search anything you want to in the game of Chess. If you want to see all games between two specific Chess Players, you can search and find them here. Do you want to see games where a specific opening was played by a specific player? You can find it here. Do you want to see a specific Chess Tactic that took place in a game? You can find all of the games where the tactic was played.
You can also get the Chess PGN of any game as well so you can take the code and run it through one of the Chess Engines like Stockfish to analyze the game.
You can access the database here.
365 is a popular Chess website with many different tools and resources. Their database is free and is used by thousands of players.
You can learn more about them on their Homepage.
This microbase packs a punch for being a microbase. This tool allows you to save, share, and annotate your games. You can sign up for free to start using it. They also have a paid option for more features.
You can learn more about the microbase here. or you can go straight to browsing the free portion of the database.
Chess Tempo Chess Database
Chess Tempo is one of the most popular Chess resources. This makes their database one of the best free resources you can have.
You can learn more about the database here.
From New in Chess, they have a database that you can access for free and use. It’s not the best free database, but it’s one of them.
You can access the database at New in Chess.
Chessbase Reader is arguably the best free Chess database you can use. I used it when I had a PC and think about switching back to a PC just so I can use the Chessbase reader again. The interface looks good and it’s one of the most established Chess tools out there.
For PC users: You can download the database here.
This isn’t just a database for Chess players, it’s a tool that allows you to build a tree of anything you wish. For example, you could build a tree of your favorite players and organize as you’d like.
You can learn more about the database and build your Chess Tree here.
Is It Legal To Download?
You might be wondering if these free databases are legal to download. It is perfectly legal to download PGN’s and other files from Chess databases.
Best Paid Chess Databases
Chessbase isn;t just a database, but an entire Chess suite of tools and resources. Chessbase is one of the largest Chess companies in general. They have been around for many years. Chessbase is most likely what you’ll see being used as a Chess resource if you’re reading an article that was published all the way back in 2004.
You can learn more on the Chessbase Homepage.
Or you can go straight to the Chessbase Live Database.
From Chessok.com, Chess Assistant 21 has recently been released. They have weekly updates to the database that you can download. They also have other Chess tools such as playing Chess online.
For more information, you can go to the Chess Assistant page.
Tascbase is a large database and also a Chess playing program. It is a tree as well as a key database. Tascbase is also unique in that it combines the keys with the Chess tree, most other databases do not.
You can learn more on the Tascbase website.
New in Chess
Update August 19th, 2021: As of writing this, it looks like New in Chess is out of stock with these two databases.
One of the largest Chess magazines, New in Chess sells Chess databases. The big database and the Mega database.
Bookup is an Openings Database tool. Many players are still using trees to learn lines of openings, this is where Bookup comes in. Bookup is a positional database that will drastically cut down the learning curve of learning openings.
You can learn more about Bookup here.
PGN Mentor is one of the most affordable options. I also like them because they list the Chess players in alphabetical order with the number of games that player has in the database, you’ll see this when you go to their homepage.
For more information, go to the PGN Mentor Homepage.
I hope this guide on the best free and paid Chess databases helped you. If you like guides like this, you may be interested in other guides such as the guide on Chess Gambits and Chess Engines.