The rest of the game

6/1/2007 – ChessBase has released a flurry of training DVDs, not only on the openings, but on other phases of the game as well. Two of these latter are Rustam Kasimdzhanov's "The Path to Tactical Strength" and Karsten Mueller's "Chess Endgames 3". Get a sneak peek at what's included on these training disks in the latest ChessBase Workshop.

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  • Chess Endgames 3 - Major Piece Endgames by Karsten Mueller
  • The Path to Tactical Strength by Rustam Kasimdzhanov

In the last ChessBase Workshop we looked at four Chess Media System DVDs on various chess openings. This week we're going to preview two more such DVDs which deal with later aspects of the game. You'll need a computer with a DVD drive to utilize these disks, but since they come complete with ChessBase Reader no additional ChessBase software is required.

Title: Chess Endgames 3 - Major Piece Endgames
Author: Karsten Mueller
Disk contents: Introductory video followed by five chapters, each of which contains multiple Chess Media System instructional videos (see below); total video content is approximately seven hours
Comments: Mueller has divided this DVD into five chapters (numbered "7" through "11" following the numbering established on previous disks in the series). The first covers Queen and pawn endgames (fourteen videos). The second is on Rook vs. Knight endings, "pure" endgames as well as those with pawns (eight videos). The third major piece endgame discussed is Rook vs. Bishop, again both with and without pawns (fifteen videos). The DVD's fourth chapter is about Queen vs. one Rook, with pawns and pawnless (thirteen videos), while the final chapter discusses Queen vs. two Rooks, both "pure" and with pawns (nine videos). This is some great instructional material, particularly for players who traditionally hate studying endgames and find them "boring". Karsten Mueller's crisp no nonsense approach lends itself particularly well to the material covered; I especially appreciate the quantity and length of the videos (high quantity, short length). Instead of beating the viewer senseless with videos that last 20+ minutes and which try to cover every imaginable aspect of a particular endgame, Mueller has divided the material into many smaller parts -- a typical video on this DVD lasts between four and seven minutes. The author provides just what you need to know without undue embellishment and provides you with an easily accessible "building block" approach to learning the major piece endings.

Title: The Path to Tactical Strength
Author: Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Disk contents: Twenty-four instructional videos using the Chess Media System, running a combined total of four and a quarter hours.
Comments: The DVD is divided into twenty-four video lectures. Aside from the intro and concluding video, the other twenty-two videos each cover a single game (the DVD's author was a participant in all of them). This disk differs from other tactics books/disks in that it's not divided into the common tactical themes (pin, fork, skewer, etc.); instead the former World Champion offers nearly two dozen practical examples of tactics in action and, most importantly, describes his thought processes in each of these examples (he tells you what he was thinking while at the board in each game). The emphasis here is on identifying tactical possibilities and properly calculating the resulting combinations (which are often quite short and don't require undue mental effort). While Kasimdzhanov's instructional style on this DVD isn't quite as engaging as that displayed on his previous training disk release (see the previous ChessBase Workshop), the information imparted is certainly quite useful and more than carries the DVD along -- the glimpse into the mind of a GM as he calculates at the board is worth the price of admission.

Until next week. have fun!

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© 2007, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

 


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