For the bad news: Jim Ablett’s excellent site, Winboard Chess Projects has bitten the dust. The site now reads, “Goodbye and farewell. It was fun for a while. Not anymore. Now back to the real world.” Jim Ablett. [08-08-13] The site says a single self-extracting archive containing everything he has done over the past 15 years, chess engines compiles (inc every version) , logos etc. is available for download, but when I tried downloading I got a message saying the site is no longer available.
Keeping a database updated is necessary if you want to keep up with recent developments in you favorite openings. Personally, I never use the opening book that comes with Fritz. I use a database instead.
If I hadn’t found Fritz 12 on sale at Office Max for $20 a couple of years ago, I would be using Scid. Shane's Chess Information Database is a database application for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems that allows you to maintain a database games, search games by many criteria, view graphical trends, and produce printable reports on players and openings. In addition you can analyze games with the Xboard or UCI compatible chess program, play online on FICS, and even use Scid to study endings with endgame tablebases. Download Scid HERE.
A good source of recent games can be found at the following sites:
The Week in Chess – Mark Crowther’s The Week in Chess (TWIC) publishes games played each week
Now in Chess – Gerardo Fernandez' site offers games not included in TWIC.
ICOfY – This lesser known site is a free games collection that can be used with most free and commercial chess programs, which support the PGN file format. It is also available in the file formats of Chessbase, Chess Assistant and SCID. The collection does not contain any short games with less than ten moves (good) and does not include tournament locations (not so good) or round numbers (who cares about round number?!).
KATAR Chess - games for use with SCID
Norm’s Chess Downloads – Norm Pollock's page features a collection of games between top players.
Best engine downloads: