86 ( +1 | -1 ) Best freeware is ScidThe best freeware chess database available is Scid
which offers great functions, some of them even superior to the commercials (one that i love: the "all hyperlinked" tournament tables and opening reports) In the past there was also a decent database (500K games) available for download at the address above, it is currently off-line but it should come back soon. I should also try Chessbase Light, as suggested, for when you have to deal with the chessbase file format (beware of the 8000 game limit, though) and also for manual game entry, which is still better than Scid; both of them can handle PGN export/import so you can easly switch back and forth if needed.
33 ( +1 | -1 ) I have severalfree database programs available for download on my site www.chess-knights.com, including the latest version of SCID and several others.. some of them very small downloads..
67 ( +1 | -1 ) giboIMO chessbase is the best if for no other reason than it will replace most of your opening books. There are three parts to my reasoning: 1) a high percentage of the opening books written today are no more than database dumps. The authors put nothing of themselves into the books. 2) chessbase has a feature that creates an opening analysis of a specific position. 3) chessbase trees give excellent statistical information. Like all statistical information this must be taken with a grain of salt.
When combined with Bookup and a good analysis engine anyone can work out good alternatives for exploration in their games.
27 ( +1 | -1 ) Bogg,I have to agree with you there.. Chessbase 8 is a very goodtool. I especially like the Opening Reports you can generate with it...not to mention the various training tools it contains..you can also download the latest games from inside Chessbase from TWIC.