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Fritz 15 - English Version

New Fritz, new friend

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How to exchange pieces

Learn to master the right exchange! Let the German WGM Elisabeth Pähtz show you how to gain a strategic winning position by exchanging pieces of equal value or to safely convert material advantage into a win.

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Master Class Vol.7: Garry Kasparov

On this DVD a team of experts gets to the bottom of Kasparov’s play. In over 8 hours of video running time the authors Rogozenko, Marin, Reeh and Müller cast light on four important aspects of Kasparov’s play: opening, strategy, tactics and endgame.

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ChessBase Magazine Extra 173

A solid concept against Benoni: Learn from GM Pert how to win with the Fianchetto Variation (video). Classics put to test: Robert Ris shows Fischer-Kholmov (1965) with an impressive knight sacrifice by the Russian (video). Plus 44,889 new games.

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Pawn structures you should know

Every pawn structure has its typical plans and to know these plans helps you to find your way in these positions. On this DVD Mikhalchishin presents and explains the most common central structures: The Hedgehog, the Maroczy, Hanging pawns and the Isolani.

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Trompowsky for the attacking player

Tap into your creative mind and start the game on a fresh note. The Trompowsky (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) is an opening outside of conventional wisdom. Create challenges and make your opponent solve problems early on.

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The 4...Nf6 Caro-Kann

On this DVD Nigel Davies examines both the Bronstein-Larsen (5.Nxf6+ gxf6) and the Tartakower (5.Nxf6+ exf6) systems and shows how the doubled f-pawn, common to both lines gives Black a range of aggressive plans and ideas.

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John Nunn: 'It's about imposing your will on the opponent'

9/30/2006 – After Yasser Seirawan another highly repected grandmaster has written to us, presenting his opinion on the current crisis in the World Championship match in Elista. John Nunn, who worked in the GMA and has vast experience in the mechanics of such events, says once again chess has shot itself in the foot.
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The Kramnik – Topalov dispute

In many disputes between top chess players, there is no clear right and wrong – forming a clear opinion from the letters of protest, contradictions and mutual accusations is virtually impossible. However, the Kramnik-Topalov case is an exception.

We have to start with the background. Topalov and his team have worked closely with FIDE for some time. Topalov is the FIDE champion and he supported Ilyumzhinov’s re-election campaign. Kramnik, by contrast, is much more an outsider. His world championship title derived from Brain Games and then the PCA, so he has had much less contact with FIDE.

The current match is FIDE organised and sponsored, and is being played in FIDE’s home territory of Kalmykia. To avoid any suspicion of favouritism, it would have made sense for all the match officials to be clearly independent and unbiased. Instead, what do we have? The Appeals committee consists of Georgios Makropoulos (Deputy President of FIDE), Zurab Azmaiparashvili (Vice-President of FIDE) and Jorge Vega (FIDE Continental President for the Americas) – a selection which can hardly inspire confidence in the impartiality of the Appeals Committee. Nor are the members of the Appeals Committee especially qualified for such a potentially sensitive post, since only one of the three (Vega) is an International Arbiter and only one (Azmaiparashvili) has any experience of high-level chess.

The first extraordinary act was the handing over of the video of Kramnik in his rest room to Topalov’s team. This could easily be used against Kramnik, for example by seeing if he looked agitated after a particular move in the opening. This act was so obviously wrong that one can hardly imagine it being committed by an unbiased person.

Next was the ‘toilet protest’ from Topalov’s team. Notice that not only has Kramnik not been proved to have done anything wrong, there isn’t even a single piece of evidence that he has done anything wrong. All he has done, apparently, is to wander in and out of his bathroom – a bathroom which, one must remember, was open to inspection at any time before the game.

However, this didn’t stop the Appeals Committee from deciding to lock Kramnik’s bathroom. This may not sound such a serious matter, but chess at the highest level is largely about psychology and the imposition of your will on the opponent. Achieving this away from the chessboard could easily be the first step towards doing the same on the board itself. The organisers have stated that they do not believe Kramnik is cheating; in that case, where is the logic in punishing Kramnik by making a decision that is so obviously favourable to Topalov? Moreover, Topalov declared that he would not shake hands with Kramnik. There is no requirement in the Laws of Chess that the players shake hands before the game, but not to do so is a substantial insult.

It is hard to avoid the impression that Topalov’s team realised that it would be an uphill struggle to win two games from eight (and against a player who went 15 games without loss against Garry Kasparov!) and decided to launch a psychological attack. Such tactics are far from unknown in top-level chess, but they are usually frustrated by the fair and common-sense approach of match officials, an approach which has been notably lacking in Elista. Not only was the actual decision of the Appeals Committee clearly wrong, it was also wrong to start Game 5 without any kind of agreement between the players. The result has been to plunge the whole match into crisis, since now that Topalov has been awarded Game 5 by default, it is hard to see him playing it again.

Once again chess has shot itself in the foot; who will want to sponsor a top-level chess match if the whole thing can grind to a halt over a dispute about a toilet? At least when the 1984/5 Karpov-Kasparov match was controversially terminated by the then FIDE President Campomanes, the players had managed to entertain the chess public with 48 games before everything collapsed in chaos. Apparently today’s players only have the stamina to manage 4!

John Nunn
Chess Director of Gambit Publications

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