Bestsellers: The most popular ChessBase DVDs of the '10s

by ChessBase
6/18/2020 – The first version of ChessBase (the database) was launched in 1986. Much has happened since then! The company has developed a wide array of products for chess fans and professionals. For those looking to improve their game, training with DVDs has become a useful and comfortable way to learn. In this article, we give you a glimpse of what's available by listing the bestsellers from the past decade — the 2010s.

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The best-liked from our Shop

If you want to learn a bit more about the origins of ChessBase, you can read/listen to a couple of interviews with co-founders Frederic Friedel and Matthias Wüllenweber. Frederic talked about various topics including the genesis of the company on Ben Johnson's Perpetual Chess podcast, while Matthias gave an interview to American Chess Magazine last year.

In the beginnings of the company, Garry Kasparov was a key figure in the development of the database, as he encouraged the founders and endorsed ChessBase for free for ten years. He also recorded five video series

But he was not the only strong player who recorded video series. A number of elite stars and well-known instructors have recorded DVDs for us! In this small recap, we list the series that were appreciated the most by our customers — one per year, since 2010 until 2019.

2010 - Power Play 12: The Hedgehog by Daniel King

One of the most popular commentators in the world of chess presents a counter-attacking system for those looking to spring out from behind the barricades.

Description: Karpov was one of the first great exponents of the counter-attacking Hedgehog, Kasparov was also a great devotee and Kramnik and Anand are also experienced users. This DVD not only gives you specific theoretical advice on the main Hedgehog lines, but also looks at general strategy for both sides. Whether you play with White or Black, this DVD will help your game. Throughout the DVD, specially selected positions will enable you to test your understanding of the subject. The Power Play series is suitable for anyone looking to improve their chess, but also provides ready-made lessons and exercises for a trainer.

Video running time: 5 hours.

2011 - The Catalan by Viktor Bologan

A pupil of top Moldavan trainer Vecheslav Chebanenko, Bologan has extensive experience as a trainer. He is thorough and professional, but also knows his audience — he really focuses on improving the results of his students.

Description: The Catalan is one of the most solid openings for White. It forms part of the large and strong fianchetto family in which White builds his strategy mainly around the bishop on g2. The current DVD covers all of Black’s replies to the Catalan, some of which can even transpose to other openings such as the Tarrasch System and the Queen’s Indian. The author’s idea is to help White against all classical setups for Black. It would make little sense to mention all the strong players who include the Catalan in their repertoire. Suffice it to say that the Catalan rules!

Video running time: 5 hours and 29 minutes

2012 - How I became World Champion by Garry Kasparov

No introduction needed. One of the best players in the history of chess gives a first-hand account of crucial events from his career — which is to say, from the history of the royal game.

Description: From 1985 to 2000 Kasparov kept the title, defending it against Anatoly Karpov, Nigel Short, and Viswanathan Anand, until he finally lost it to Vladimir Kramnik. But even as an ex-champion Kasparov dominated the international chess scene and was first on the FIDE ranking list until he withdrew from tournament chess in 2005. Garry Kasparov recounts how he made it to the top in the years 1973 to 1985. His model for selecting the games is Bobby Fischer and his book "My 60 Memorable Games" — like Fischer, Kasparov did not only select games he had won. 

Video running time: 5 hours and 45 minutes

2013 - Attacking with the Benko Gambit by Alejandro Ramirez

A prolific chess writer and commentator, Ramirez has also been part of Fabiano Caruana's successful team of seconds. In this DVD, he showcases his opening knowledge in one of the most double-edged yet playable systems for Black.

Description: Throughout the years, it has become difficult for Black to find active and promising prospects against 1.d4. White players are usually looking for a stable, solid and permanent advantage to torture their opponents with. The Benkö Gambit offers Black the possibility, at the cost of a pawn, to shatter these ideals and to be the one who is in the driver’s seat as he takes a quick hold of extremely important strategical advantages — superior development, better piece prospects, easier play, clarity of plan, sounder pawn structure, among others!

Video running time: 3 hours and 44 minutes

2014 - The golden guidelines of endgame play by Karsten Müller

Few players have devoted as much time to the study of endgames as Müller has. A Hamburg resident, he has been a huge contributor of knowledge for our company. The last of an unmissable series on endgames looks at well-known principles and features the author's incredible attention to detail.

Description: Rules of thumb are the key to everything when you are having to set the correct course in a complex endgame. In this final DVD of his series on the endgame, our endgame specialist introduces you to the most important of these rules of thumb. The first part deals with general guidelines such as “activate the king”, “the rook belongs behind passed pawns”, “do not rush”. This DVD forms the final part of Karsten Müller’s series on the endgame, which already belongs to the classics of endgame theory.

Video running time: 7 hours and 27 minutes

2015 - Power Play 22: A Repertoire for Black with the French Defence by Daniel King

It is no coincidence that Danny King has gained the reputation of being one of the best chess instructors in the world. He ably communicates his ideas and shows his passion for the game. In this Power Play DVD, he looks at the solid French Defence.

Description: The French Defence is one of the most reliable openings against 1 e4. The solid central pawn chain protects Black’s king and provides the basis for counter-attacks on both wings. On this DVD Grandmaster Daniel King offers you a repertoire for Black with the French. Based around ten stem games, all White’s major lines against the French are covered. This is an interactive DVD. At key moments in the games Grandmaster King pauses and puts you on the spot. 

Video running time: 5 hours

2016 - MasterClass Vol. 7: Garry Kasparov

Four experts analyse what is it that made Kasparov such a dominant player for so many years. Dorian Rogozenko, Mihail Marin, Oliver Reeh and Karsten Müller cast light on four important aspects of Kasparov’s play: the opening, strategy, tactics and the endgame.

Description: Kasparov was far ahead of his time in the employment of new electronic aids: computers and database programs. His numerous encounters with the pragmatic Karpov saw the collision of two quite different playing styles, styles in which these two players were far and away the best in the world. In addition to these matches, Kasparov also contested many tournaments and always appeared with the same mind-set: win games and tournaments!

Video running time: 9 hours

2017 and 2018 - The London System with 2.Bf4 by Simon Williams

A presenter like no other in the chess world, the “Ginger GM” has made a name for himself by consistently spreading the idea that chess does not need to be a boring enterprise. He always finds the most dynamic, attacking alternatives even in the most unexpected variations.

Description: Why bother learning hundreds of complex variations when you can play a simple yet deadly opening – the London System with 2.Bf4. Over the last couple of years nearly all the world’s elite grandmasters have been employing the London System, and on this DVD Simon Williams shows what we can learn from their practice. The “Ginger GM“ takes a look at all the latest developments whilst teaching you all the basics that you need to know in order to play this opening with success.

Video running time: 7 hours and 16 minutes

2019 - Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol.1-3 by Fabiano Caruana

The current world number two and latest challenger for the World Championship crown takes a deep dive into one of the most popular openings out there. A likeable character, Caruana patiently showcases his knowledge in over 16 hours of video content!

Description: In a total of three volumes, Caruana examines all Black replies after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. The world’s number two not only shows very concrete lines, but also outlines general approaches depending on the demands of each variation. How can White keep track of the manifold solid closed set-ups (e.g. the Breyer)? What’s the best way to defuse the risky Schliemann-Jaenisch Gambit? Which transitions to the endgame against the Open Variation are particularly unpleasant for Black? What are the guiding threads to follow against the Berlin Defence? Epiphanies guaranteed!

Video running time: 16 hours and 20 minutes

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