CBM 146 – 'a wonderful product'

2/15/2012 – "As usual, ChessBase Magazine offers a huge amount of material on diverse aspects of chess," writes Shaun Marsh in his chess blog. He picks out moments from the games of the London Chess Classic and the Tal Memorial, praising the style and humour of commentators like Carlsen and Kramnik – "a refreshing change from the 'I was winning all the way through' type". Review.

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ChessBase Magazine Volume 146

As usual, ChessBase Magazine offers a huge amount of material on diverse aspects of chess. I always like to read the editorial by Andre Schulz in the printed magazine. It's the sort of thing one can easily overlook, but it's always well written and thought provoking. This time there is considerable – and well deserved – praise for Malcolm Pein and his efforts to create one of the world's best chess tournament.

‘When, three years ago, Malcolm Pein staged for the first time the London Chess Classic, he got everything correct right away and was at least two steps ahead of other tournaments as far as presentation was concerned.’

Top tournaments covered in issue 146 include Reggio Emilia (won by Giri, ahead of an all-star 2700+ cast); the European Team Championship (a fabulous success for Germany, achieved on 11.11.2011) and the Tal Memorial (won by Carlsen, just ahead of Aronian on tiebreak). Needless to say, all of the games are given and some have fine annotations.

The report I most enjoyed was on the aforementioned London Chess Classic, partly because it brought back great memories; I was present for most of the 2011 tournament.

Kramnik’s impressive winning performance was very professional (beating the four English players and drawing with everybody else). Audio streams from the London post-mortems are included, covering all of the rounds (and nearly all of the games). Weighing in at approximately 15 minutes each, these represent a considerable body of work. It's a pleasure to hear the top players talking about there games. There are written annotations too and they illuminating, particularly when contributed by the players themselves.

Short-Kramnik

Kramnik played 19 …d5 here, with the comment: 'Now the bishop on b3 is out of play for the rest of this game, and Black simply starts exchanging pieces, since all endings are won for him now. 19 …a5 is strong according to the engines, but the text move is the one any human would play without thinking.' It is good to hear that even super-GMs play different moves to the engines' top suggestions!

Short-Kramnik

Later, after an exchange of rooks on e8, the bishop endgame was reached and Kramnik showed his humour: 'In practical terms Black is playing a two bishops versus one ending. I am particularly strong in such endgames :)'

I enjoyed reading the honest annotations of Carlsen too, which were quite revealing at times.


Carlsen-Gelfand, Tal Memorial

12 Bb3. 'I thought about this one for a while. Just a waste of time really, as I realised pretty early on that I wanted to put my bishop on b3 here, and that I most likely was not going to change my mind.'

Carlsen-Gelfand, Tal Memorial

'I was pretty sure that I did not have an advantage here, objectively speaking, but I was fascinated by the unusual nature of the position, so I was nevertheless pretty excited.' 1-0 (38). I found both of the above comments to be a refreshing change from the 'I was winning all the way through' type.

There are 1255 games in the magazine's database. It’s good to see so many games by the top players. Anand (17 games), Kramnik (17), Morozevich (16), Ivanchuk (26), Carlsen (17), Nakamura (27) Aronian (25). Despite the strange politics which continue to haunt chess, the level of activity at the top end appears to be very healthy at the moment.

It can be good fun to play through games with a chess engine bubbling away in the background. There are usually many improvements to be found...

Korchnoi-Cheparinov, European Team Championship

37 …Rxh4+ 38 gxh4 Qh3+ 39 Kg1 Bd4+ 40 Rf2 Qg3+ 41 Kh1

Korchnoi-Cheparinov, European Team Championship

41 ...Bxf2? (41 …Kf8!) 42 Qe8+ Kg7 43 Qe7+ Kg6 44 Qxd6+? (44 Qe8+ draws) 44 ...Kh5? (44 …Kf7! and the Bishop will eventually block the Queen checks) 45 Qe5+ Kxh4 46 Qe7+ Kh3 47 Qh7+ Qh4 48 Qd3+ Qg3 49 Qh7+ draw.

The usual magazine features are all present and correct. The popular opening surveys cover:

  • English 1 c4 c6 (Carlstedt)
  • Old Benoni (Stohl)
  • Classical Dutch (Schipkov)
  • Sicilian 4 …Qb6 (Grivas)
  • Sicilian Marocy 7 …Ng4 (Kritz)
  • French Advance (Moskalenko)
  • Ruy Lopez, Bird’s Defence (Marin)
  • Ruy Lopez, Cozio Defence (Kuzmin)
  • Tarrasch Defence (Breutigam)
  • QGD 5 Bf4 (Postny)
  • Nimzo Indian 4 Qc2 (Schandorff)

...and there are three in the Chess Media Training format:

  • French Winawer 7 Qg4 0-0 (Kritz)
  • Nimzo Indian 4 Nf3 (Mikhalchishin)
  • London System (Lilov)


ChessBase magazine 146 is, like its predecessors, a wonderful product.
Posted by Sean Marsh at 09:03


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