ACM: Cat and Mouse with Vassily Ivanchuk

by American Chess Magazine
2/8/2018 – American Chess Magazine #5 is out, featuring a dashing Magnus "Clark Kent" Carlsen on the cover. The issue is packed with great stories, and we present the annotated game from Vassily Ivanchuk's World Cup run. That prompted ACM reader Art Jensen to send in this photo of his own cat "Taz" enjoying the article! The issue also includes reviews of two ChessBase DVDs.

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Reproduced with kind permission of American Chess Magazine

Lets play cat and mouse!

by GM Vassily Ivanchuk

Vassily Ivanchuk went all the way to the 5th round of the World Cup, where he was stopped by eventual overall winner, Levon Aronian. On this journey, he managed to eliminate such players as Kramnik and Giri. However, from an aesthetic point of view, Ivanchuk believes the following game should grab our attention. After two draws he played the first tie-break game against an opponent from Kazakhstan. It was a cat and mouse play, where his white-squared bishop first had a heroic defensive role and then ultimately led a brutal counter-offensive on the very same flank.


Issue preview

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Edition: Winter 2017/2018 
Cover: Magnus Carlsen 
Pages: 156

Contents of this issue

ChessBase in ACM #5

Fresh Leaves from the Bookshelf

Carsten Hansen is a FIDE Master and chess enthusiast residing in Bayonne, New Jersey. He has written twelve books, mostly on openings, the most recent The Sicilian Dragon — move by move (Everyman Chess 2016). From 2000 to 2014, he wrote the book review column, Checkpoint at You can find his blog on all areas of chess at

Strike first with the Scandinavian

Strike first with the Scandinavian

Seven years ago, French Grandmaster Bauer wrote probably the best book ever on the Scandinavian with 2...Qxd5 and 3...Qa5. The present DVD features the same opening but presented in a different format with Bauer actually talking us through the moves and the game references. There are a total of 31 videos covering main lines as well as the lesser variations where White tries to sidestep the principal paths. Bauer also gives an introduction and a conclusion. The presentation is rounded off with 13 interactive test positions where the viewers can try their hand at solving the positions. This is a good way of rounding off a study of the opening as it ensures that the viewer has understood the basic concepts and critical ideas behind Black's opening.

However, despite the obvious quality of this DVD, I did get the impression that the French GM is not entirely comfortable with speaking in English which though perfectly understandable makes his presentation rather less enjoyable to watch than, for example, the other DVD-ROM from ChessBase that we discuss below. The DVD is also available in German and also French — which I expect has a much smoother flow than the English version.

Master Class Vol. 8: Magnus Carlsen

Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen

This Master Class series has so far featured world champions Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov, Capablanca, Tal, Alekhine, and Lasker. Now we have coverage of the play of the present title holder, which is divided into the following segments: Contents/Introduction, Openings, Strategy, Tactics, Endgames, Short Biography and then an examination of the crosstables of tournaments in which he has participated.

In the openings segment, Huschenbeth draws some surprising conclusions which had not previously occurred to me — but the way the German grandmaster argues his case is convincing.

Mihail Marin hosts the Strategy section and it is revealing to hear how genuinely puzzled he is with Carlsen's handling of chess strategy, comparing him to some extent with Fischer but nevertheless finding his approach quite unique. In the examples under consideration he several times uses the expression "a mysterious move" which reinforces why Carlsen is such a difficult opponent. I found myself enjoying this section more than any of the others and the incorporated tests break the monotony of passively watching Carlsen crush his opponents one after the other!

The Tactics section is taken care of by International Master Oliver Reeh who, incidentally, also handles this department in ChessBase Magazine. The examples are well-chosen, instructive and interactive.

The Endgames section is presented by Grandmaster Karsten Mueller — one of the world's leading endgame specialists. He has uncovered a number of really instructive and interesting examples, although sometimes I feel that Mueller rushes through the material too quickly and that's a shame. As is his custom, Mueller provides analysis to show the relevance of the lines of play under consideration, but for the average student this is high-level stuff and not always easy to follow. I feel the instructive value of Mueller's presentation would be considerably stronger if he devoted more attention to explaining the endgame concepts and the motifs he is discussing.

Of the four presenters, only Reeh speaks flawless English, whereas the others occasionally misuse or mispronounce words. Nevertheless the lessons can be understood without too much effort.

Overall, this is an effective way of learning about the featured champion, whilst receiving high-level instruction by means of high quality material. So if Magnus Carlsen is your favorite player or you just want to learn more about his methods, then this is a good place to go.

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