New In Chess reviews: Kasimdzhanov and Ramirez

10/8/2015 – He spent a month "relaxing with a bottle of wine and some chess DVDs". GM Matthew Sadler reviewed them for the magazine New In Chess. Of Rustam Kasimdzhanov on the Nimzo-Indian with 4.Qc2 he says: "I do like his DVDs a lot ... excellent insights!" And on Alejandro Ramirez' Ragozin: "He does a super job of structuring the material and delivers it with enthusiasm and clarity." NiC reviews.

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Rustam Kasimdzhanov:
Meet the Nimzo-Indian with 4.Qc2

New In Chess review by Matthew Sadler

I’ve been having a good time in the evening the past month relaxing with a bottle of wine and some chess DVDs. Hmm… that sounds slightly sad come to think of it! Anyway, Kasimdzhanov, Marin and Ramirez have been pretty much constant companions. Meet the Nimzo-Indian with 4.Qc2 by Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Chessbase DVD) is a fairly old DVD so I don’t want to spend too much time on it.

There were a couple of moments though where I was shocked out of my evening torpor and I just had to share them with someone! The first was when he is discussing the queenless middlegame that arises after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 b6 7.Bg5 Bb7 8.f3 h6 9.Bh4 d5 10.e3 Nbd7 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Bxd8 Nxc3 13.Bh4 Nd5 14.Bf2 f5 15.Bb5. In his game against Ghaem Maghami from Doha 2006, Kasimdzhanov discusses the following position: 15...c6 16.Bd3 c5 17.Ne2 Rad8 18.0-0 e5

‘It’s very important to observe how White uses the bishops. When having the bishops it is important not to open the position immediately, but to understand that the position is likely to open itself in the logical development of the game. White doesn’t have to force any opening at the moment. For instance, 19.dxe5 Nxe5 would only help Black to activate his pieces. The same goes for 19.dxc5 Nxc5 and 19.e4 fxe4 20.fxe4 Nf6. All these things would just help Black to get counterplay. So White is just activating his remaining pieces and giving Black the opportunity to open the centre. If Black would start liquidating with 19…cxd4 20.exd4 exd4 21.Nxd4, we see that White’s pieces are coming into play, the White knight is threatening to come into e6 and f5 and Black would already be losing material.’

That is such a fantastic insight! The advantage of the two bishops is a long-term advantage, so White shouldn’t hurry to open the position at the first opportunity. If you do, you run the risk of bringing Black’s knights into such active squares that they counterbalance the bishops. Just waiting and letting the opponent do the hard work is a surefire way of guaranteeing that the balance of activity is completely in favour of the two bishops. You also see in the rest of the game that the side with the two bishops was able to withstand the maintenance of the central tension much better than the side without.

19.Rad1 Ne7 20.Nc3 Kh8 21.Rfe1 a6 22.Bc2 g5 23.dxc5 Nxc5 24.b4 Ne6 25.Bb3 Bc8 26.Na4 b5 27.Nb6 Ng7 28.Nxc8 Nxc8 29.e4 fxe4 30.Bc5 exf3 31.Bxf8 Rxf8 32.gxf3 Ne7 33.Rxe5 Ng6 34.Rd6 1-0.

[Event "Asia Classical 15th"] [Site "Doha"] [Date "2006.12.13"] [Round "8"] [White "Kasimdzhanov, Rustam"] [Black "Ghaem Maghami, Ehsan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E32"] [WhiteElo "2672"] [BlackElo "2581"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2006.12.06"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "QAT"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2007.01.10"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 7. Bg5 Bb7 8. f3 h6 9. Bh4 d5 10. e3 Nbd7 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. Bxd8 Nxc3 13. Bh4 Nd5 14. Bf2 f5 15. Bb5 c6 16. Bd3 c5 17. Ne2 Rad8 18. O-O e5 {[#]} 19. Rad1 Ne7 20. Nc3 Kh8 21. Rfe1 a6 22. Bc2 g5 23. dxc5 Nxc5 24. b4 Ne6 25. Bb3 Bc8 26. Na4 b5 27. Nb6 Ng7 28. Nxc8 Nxc8 29. e4 fxe4 30. Bc5 exf3 31. Bxf8 Rxf8 32. gxf3 Ne7 33. Rxe5 Ng6 34. Rd6 1-0

The other moment was quite funny. I’ve had the experience myself when recording and starting to explain something and then halfway through getting the feeling that something in your explanation is wrong. But you plough on regardless and hope no one notices!

When discussing a position from the game Ivanchuk-Morozevich, Kasimdzhanov points out the weakness of the Black queenside and remarks: ‘Black’s pawns would be much safer if the pawns had been on b7 and a6, in accordance with the Capablanca rule where you have to place your pawns on squares opposite to the opponent’s bishop where they are less vulnerable’. To be honest, this is one I always get very confused about but Capablanca’s principle (expounded in Chess Fundamentals) is ‘When the opponent has a bishop, keep your pawns on squares of the same colour as your opponent’s bishop. Whenever you have a bishop, whether the opponent also has one or not, keep your pawns on squares of the opposite colour to that of your own bishop’.

I do like Kasimdzhanov’s DVDs a lot though: I’ll happily take a few mistakes in return for the excellent insights!

[Event "Reggio Emilia 53rd"] [Site "Reggio Emilia"] [Date "2011.01.06"] [Round "9"] [White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Black "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E36"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2700"] [PlyCount "143"] [EventDate "2010.12.28"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ITA"] [EventCategory "18"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2011.01.18"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 d5 7. Nf3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 b6 9. Bg5 Ba6 10. Qa4 h6 11. Bh4 Qe7 12. e3 Bxf1 13. Rxf1 Rc8 14. Rc1 c5 15. dxc5 g5 16. Bg3 Rxc5 17. Ke2 Nbd7 18. b4 Rcc8 19. Rfd1 {[#]} Nf8 20. Be5 Nd5 21. Bb2 Ng6 22. Nd4 Qb7 23. Kf1 a6 24. b5 axb5 25. Qxb5 Ra5 26. Rxc8+ Qxc8 27. Rc1 Qxc1+ 28. Bxc1 Rxb5 29. Nxb5 f5 30. f3 Ne5 31. e4 fxe4 32. fxe4 Nf6 33. Nd6 Kf8 34. Be3 Ke7 35. Nc8+ Kd8 36. Nxb6 Nxe4 37. Bd4 Ng6 38. Nc4 Kc7 39. g4 Kc6 40. Bg7 Kb5 41. Ne5 Nf4 42. Bxh6 Ka4 43. h4 Nh3 44. Kg2 gxh4 45. Kxh3 Nf2+ 46. Kxh4 Nxg4 47. Kxg4 Kxa3 48. Kg5 Kb3 49. Kf6 Kc2 50. Kxe6 Kd1 51. Kd5 Ke2 52. Ke4 Kf1 53. Kf3 Kg1 54. Bf4 Kh1 55. Nd3 Kg1 56. Nf2 Kf1 57. Bh2 Ke1 58. Ne4 Kf1 59. Nd2+ Ke1 60. Ke3 Kd1 61. Kd3 Ke1 62. Bg3+ Kd1 63. Nc4 Kc1 64. Bh4 Kd1 65. Nb2+ Kc1 66. Kc3 Kb1 67. Kb3 Kc1 68. Bg5+ Kb1 69. Nc4 Ka1 70. Bh6 Kb1 71. Na3+ Ka1 72. Bg7# 1-0

Order the Kasimdzhanov DVD in the NiC Shop or directly from ChessBase

In the same issue of New In Chess (6/2015) Matthew Sadler writes:

The last DVD I watched was The Ragozin Defence by Alejandro Ramirez (ChessBase DVD). Absolutely nothing to criticize about this one. Ramirez does a super job of structuring the material and delivers it with enthusiasm and clarity. He’s definitely one of the best DVD authors out there. The one downside is that the opening is pretty boring – this is a drawing repertory and no mistake! That aside, warmly recommended.

Order Ramirez Ragozin Defence in the NiC Shop
or directly from Chessbase


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