Reader “Kirk” submitted a link to a site called Top-5000 which offers free downloads of chess engines (for example, from Fritz 1 to Fritz 5.32, Rebel Pro-Deo and Rebel DOS engines) as well as some other stuff relating to chess engines from the 80’s and 90’s. Mostly old stuff that’s of not much interest because there are much stronger free engines available these days.
However, the main item of interest was the Million Base 1.74 pgn database. This file is a whopping 192MB rar file that took almost 90 minutes to download. To unzip these files you can use the free WinRAR program.
There are 1,749,375 games up to 2008 (actually only about 35 games are from 2008). By way of caparison, the db that comes with Fritz 12 has 1,546,900 games up to 2009. Both db’s have games played by non-masters and I’m not sure the extra 200,000 odd games in the Fritz db matters all that much. These games are in pgn format. What that means is if you are using Fritz and want to run a full analysis you cannot use it because with Fritz this option only allows using db’s in the cbh and cbf format. Nevertheless,if you are running a free chess program that handles pgn files and need a good, free, BIG database then this should work for you.