CBM 142 – something for everybody

7/14/2011 – "ChessBase Magazine no. 142," writes reviewer Sean Marsh in his chess blog, "is like its predecessors a top quality chess product at a very reasonable price. It remains the best single piece of chess merchandise on the market." Powerful words about a product that combines a luxurious printed magazine with a DVD chock full of chess training.

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ChessBase Magazine Volume 142

The new issue of ChessBase Magazine starts with an editorial by Andre Schulz, celebrating 25 years of ChessBase. The opening line reminds us how much has changed over the years.

'Magnus Carlsen for example, has never known a world without computers nor chess training without ChessBase'

Back in 1986, when Kasparov said, 'This is the greatest innovation in chess since the invention of printing!' he was absolutely correct.

A further example of the passing of time is revealed by the fact that the recent Melody Amber tournament has been running for 20 years. However, this year's was the final one of the series. Top players have always supported the event (Garry Kasparov being the only notable exception) and they were out in force for the finale. Aronian won, ahead of a star-studded cast including Carlsen and Anand. Kramnik narrowly avoided finishing in last place.

The tournament, with its famous fixture of Blindfold and Rapid chess, receives excellent coverage as one of the main focal points of the magazine.

I thought it was a good time to take a look at some games by Gelfand, in light of his recent Candidates success. Here are two snippets from Melody Amber which caught my eye.


Gelfand-Giri, Blindfold

Black threatens mate, which is easy enough to defend in itself, but Black keeps trying to win with pressure on the g2 square. 21 Be4 Rc7 22 Qd6 Rc2 23 Qe7 Rxg2+ 24 Kh1. A calm winning move. One has to be confident of the vision in a blindfold game to be able to allow a rook to crash down on g2 with check. Black simply has too many pieces hanging now and resigned.


Carlsen-Gelfand, Blitz

The new challenger for the World Championship title played the amazing 14 ...Re4!! here went on to win the game.

The other big tournament report features an event with a surprising winner. Vladimir Potkin won the European Championship with a performance rating of 2803 in a field containing no fewer than 150 Grandmasters. He provides annotations for his game in the penultimate round, which featured an interesting sacrifice.


Jobava-Potkin, European Championship

White has just played 16 Rd6. 'White sets up a threat, but clearly did not anticipate that his opponent would simply ignore it.' 16 ...0-0 17 Nd5 cxd5 18 Rxb6 axb6

'After the queen sacrifice, Black soon outstrips his opponent in creating threats, the biggest problems for White being that his light-squared bishop is firing into the air.' Black won after 26 moves.

The opening surveys are a popular part of the magazine. This time they examine the following variations:

  • Grivas Sicilian
  • Sicilian Kan
  • French Exchange
  • Evans Gambit 5 ...Be7
  • Two Knights Defence 8 Bd3
  • Ruy Lopez Exchange
  • Anti-Slav 4 Qc2
  • QGA 7 Bb3
  • Semi-Slav 9 ...a6
  • QGD Cambridge Springs
  • QGD Lasker
  • Catalan 8 a4
  • Bogo Indian 4 Bd2 and 5 BNc3
  • KID Saemisch 6 ...Nc6

In addition to the text-based surveys, there are four multimedia presentations on:

  • The French Winawer (7 Qg4 0-0)
  • Sicilian Sveshnikov (6 ...h6)
  • QGA (1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 a6 4 e3 e6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 d5)
  • Sicilian Rossolimo

Some of the world's top players provide annotations to games on the DVD, including Anand and Carlsen. There's still room for all the regular features too, such as the features on tactics and endgames. Here's an example of the latter for you to try.


Santos-Lalic, What had White (to play) planned?

ChessBase Magazine no. 142 is, like its predecessors, a top quality chess product at a very reasonable price. It remains the best single piece of chess merchandise on the market.


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