Is Bigger Better?
A modern chess database’s drawback is that there are simply too many games in it. Worse still, each year yet another million or so games are added!
I once witnessed an amateur chess player boasting proudly to GM William Lombardy that he had two million games in his computer, to which the un-impressed Lombardy playfully replied “Wonderful! How many of these games have you played over so far?”
A good chess book — by way of comparison — NEVER has too many games. Each game has been hand chosen by the author to demonstrate a specific point, an idea or a strategy…so in some sense a chess book has EXACTLY the right number of games!
Therein lies the biggest obstacle that every up and coming player faces when he uses a chess computer as his main learning tool on his road to improvement.
It is practically impossible to even begin to fathom what can be found in a large database (I think the latest Chess Assistant database is almost 8 million games!) and to simply use the database for its Opening Tree seems to me to be a pretty unimaginative use of either the millions of games or the advanced technology.
Personally, I have never stopped using books as my principal learning tool. Of course, I have adapted to modern technology and have acquired the latest games database and chess engines, but I struggle daily to find the most efficient use of such tools.
I suspect that as technology advances (and the games’ database grows ever larger) this problem will persist and continue to get worse.