ChessBase Magazine # 147

4/16/2012 – "April's issue of ChessBase Magazine keeps up the very high standards one can rightly expect from this fine series," writes reviewer Sean Marsh He picks out a few examples in which Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen annotate their games frankly and without holding back. 'ChessBase Magazine continues to offer excellent value for money,' Sean writes. 'There's no other chess product like it.'

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ChessBase Magazine # 147

Review by Sean Marsh

April's issue of ChessBase Magazine keeps up the very high standards one can rightly expect from this fine series. As usual, the coverage of recent top tournaments is first class. Those receiving the full treatment this time include Wijk aan Zee and Gibraltar.

Girbraltar is billed here as the more exciting of the two events; the magazine states that "This year there was not really great excitement in the Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk. The dominance of Levon Aronian was simply too obvious."

Of course, there was plenty of excitement at Wijk aan Zee. How could there not be, with the likes of Aronian, Carlsen, Nakamura, Topalov and world title challenger Gelfand all in action? Nevertheless, Aronian's performance was indeed one of dominance (even though he managed to lose two games on the way to victory).

I was impressed by some little of the little details in his game with Giri.

[Event "Tata Steel-A 74th"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2012.01.25"] [Round "10"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2714"] [BlackElo "2805"] [Annotator "Aronian"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5rk1/pp2q1p1/1nb1p2p/3p2p1/2pP4/2N1PPQ1/PP3P1P/R4RK1 w - - 0 21"] [PlyCount "4"] [EventDate "2012.01.14"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "NED"] [EventCategory "21"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2012.03.16"] 21. Ne2 {White's only active plan appears to be to push f3-f4. It's instructive how Aronian manages to keep that idea strictly under lock and key while manoeuvring towards a winning advantage for himself.} Rf5 {"Preventing the advance f4" says Aronian, whose own notes adorn the game.} {White played} 22. Kg2 ({"On} 22. Qb8+ {as well as other moves, Black has the interesting resource"} Nc8 {because after} 23. Qxc8+ Rf8 {wins the queen!}) (22. f4 gxf4 23. Nxf4 Rg5 {is the essential point.}) {Aronian followed up with} 22... Nd7 { 23 ...Nf8, 24 ...Ng6 and 25 ...Nh4+ and went on to win after 43 moves.} 0-1

Magnus Carlsen provides enlightening annotations to one of his games too. There's a key moment towards the end where he admits to missing an important possibility - which could have spoilt all of his efforts and earned Black a draw.


Carlsen-Gashimov

Carlsen played the tempting 51 f5 and comments: "This was my point, as now Black cannot play ...gxf5 Bxf5 Ne6 due to the check on e6. However, Black has another trick, which I failed to spot." 51 ...g5? It turns out that Black could have played 51 ...h5!! and after 52 fxg6 Ne6! the knight springs to life and will soon hop into d4, apparently saving the game. It's always good to read honest comments by the top players.

Gibraltar may well have produced more exciting games than Wijk, but its not really comparing like with like. Gibraltar was an Open tournament on the Swiss system, a format which demands active and aggressive chess if top honours are to be fought for.

Nigel Short certainly entered into the spirit of things, playing the rare Benoni Defence in a critical last round game and being rewarded for his bravery.


Sasikiran-Short

White has just played 29 Bg2-h1? which was a clear error (29 Bf1 was the better bishop move). Short pounced with 29 ...Ne5!, winning the c4 pawn and, soon afterwards, the game.

With characters such as Hou, Adams, Judit Polgar and Korchnoi all in action, there was no shortage of dynamic chess or decisive results at Gibraltar.

In total, there are 2097 recent games from recent Grandmaster events and there's lots more besides. For example, there's a 50 minute video featuring Alexi Shirov presenting his take on recent developments in the Botvinnik Semi-Slav, using his game against Grischuk at the European Team Championship as the main focal point.

Elsewhere, the opening surveys will be welcomed by serious tournament players as they are invariably up to date, interesting and presented by experts. The pick of the bunch this time is the one in which Viktor Moskalenko rounds up the recent theory on the French Advance with 6 a3 c4.

ChessBase Magazine continues to offer excellent value for money. There's no other chess product like it.


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