To use the Piece Tracker, first make sure the filter contains the games you are interested in, such as games reaching a particular opening position or all games where a certain player had the white pieces. Then, select the piece to track and set other tracking options; these are explained below. Then press the Update button.
The tracked piece movement information is displayed in two ways: a graphical "footprint", and a text list with one line of data per square.
The chess pieces are displayed as in the standard chess starting position below the footprint chart. A single piece (such as the White b1 knight or the Black d7 pawn) can be selected with the left mouse button, and all pieces of the same type and color (such as all White pawns or both Black rooks) can be selected using the right mouse button.
The move number range controls when tracking should start and stop in each game. The default range of 1-20 (meaning tracking should stop after Black's 20th move) is appropriate for examining opening themes, but (for example) a range like 15-35 would be better when looking for middlegame trends.
There are two types of statistic the tracker can generate:
There are at least three good uses for the Piece Tracker: opening preparation, middlegame themes, and player preparation.
For opening preparation, use the piece tracker with the Tree opened. By tracking pieces you can see trends in the current opening such as common pawn pushes, knight outposts, and where the bishops are most often placed. You may find it useful to set the move number range to start after the current move in the game, so the moves made to reach the current position are not included in the statistics.
For middlegame themes, the piece tracker can be useful when the filter has been set to contain a certain ECO range (using a Header search) or perhaps a pattern such as a White IQP (using a Material/pattern search). Set the move range to something suitable (such as 20-40), and track pieces to see pawn pushes in the late middlegame or early endgame, for example.
For player preparation, use a Header search or the Player information window to find all games by a certain player with one color. The Piece Tracker can then be used to discover how likely the player is to fianchetto bishops, castle queenside, or set up a d5 or e5 pawn wedge, for example.