CBM #162 – keeping up the high standard

10/28/2014 – "Jubilant Chinese players grace the cover of the latest issue if ChessBase Magazine," writes Sean Marsh and finds that the Chess Olympiad receives excellent coverage in this edition, with a plethora of annotated games and video presentations. He advocates reading GM Rainer Knaak's editorial piece on possible reasons why top seed Russia fails to win Olympiads. Marsh Towers review.

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ChessBase Magazine 162

Review by Sean Marsh

The jubilant Chinese players grace the cover of the latest issue if ChessBase Magazine. Their smashing success at the Tromso Olympiad was well deserved and Russia, the pre-tournament favourites, even managed to finish out of the medals leaving Hungary and India to take silver and bronze respectively.

The Olympiad receives excellent coverage here, with a plethora of annotated games and video presentations. The most enjoyable of the latter comes in the form of Daniel King's 'Game of the Day' features.

As usual, I recommend reading Rainer Knaak's editorial piece. The theme this time is an investigation into the possible reasons Russia – fronted by former world champion Vladimir Kramnik and still the top seeds – fail to win Olympiads. Rainer examines five percipient key points. It's a reminder that ChessBase Magazine doesn't just offer important, topical games – the written word is worthy of scrutiny too.

The other major highlight in this issue is the coverage of the Sinquefeld Cup, won by Fabio Caruana ahead of a stellar field that included Magnus Carlsen. This was a fabulous success for Caruana. Arguments will rage over the status of the event, from the historical point if view. Was it the strongest tournament ever played? Traditionalists will be appalled at the notion and will doubtless cite counter-evidence based on AVRO 1938 and other such classic events. I doubt Caruana will mind either way.

The ''secret'' of Caruana's success was simply to play moves of a consistently high level throughout every one of his games. His efficiency and desire to invariably head for wins instead of settling for draws will bring the inevitable comparisons to Fischer. Playing through the games via ChessBase, when one can easily summon numerous engines to world alongside the magazine's annotations, brings out the finer detail of the games. It's easy to explore alternative variations to see what could have happened. The engines usually refute – brutally – virtually every variation one tries, but the assessments also make one realise just how strong the world's elite players are, as the majority of their moves still skip through the engines unchallenged.

Here's a interesting sequence from one of the tournament's key games.

Is Black's e5-pawn really weak? The direct attempt to prove it so with 29 Nxe5 Nxe5 30 Qxe5 fails to impress after 30 ...Rxf2, uncovering an attack on White's queen by the bishop on g7. Caruana plays an altogether more impressive sequence.

29 Na5! Nxa5 30 Nxe5! Nb7 31 Nxg6! when he was able to start pushing his e- and f-pawns, with a building advantage (1-0, 50).

So, what of the World Champion? It was interesting to see Caruana exploit Carlsen's errors, starting with being able to achieve rapid equality as Black against the Bishop's Opening. Later on, the game was decided when Carlsen lost his footing under pressure.

31 Nh2? (31 Qh2 looks more passive and compliant, but it should last longer) 31 ...Rd1+ 32 Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33 Nf1 Qxf1+ 34 Kh2 Qg1+ 0-1 (due to the potentially dangerous e-pawn falling after 35 Kh3 Qe3+). As Carlsen didn't have the most successful Olympiad either, it all should encourage Anand in their forthcoming title match.

In amongst all of the regular ChessBase features there's the usual amount of thought provoking opening surveys. This time they cover the following:

  • Stohl: English Flohr-Mikenas Variation
  • Rotstein: Old Indian with 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nf3 c6
  • Antic: Benoni Fianchetto Variation 11.Bf4
  • Havasi: Modern Defence 4.f4 a6 5.Nf3
  • Krasenkow: Closed Sicilian
  • Postny: Sicilian Paulsen 6.Nxc6
  • Szabo: Sicilian English Attack
  • Müller: King’s Gambit à la Quaade – Part 1
  • Breder: Ruy Lopez Four Knights 4...Nd4
  • Kuzmin: Queen’s Pawn Game 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bf4
  • Marin: Nimzo-Indian 4.e3

Three surveys are presented as videos, namely:

  • Ftacnik on the Anti-Grünfeld: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3
  • Marin on Bird's Opening:1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 e6 3.e3 b6 4.f4 Bb7 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0
  • Shirov on the Reti: 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bg4 3.Bg2 Nd7

ChessBase Magazine 162 keeps up the high standard we have come to expect. I'm already looking forward to the next issue, which should dissect the Carlsen vs. Anand title match in admirable fashion.


ChessBase Magazin 162 - Intro

ChessBase Magazin 162 - Video Intro by GM Karsten Müller

Watch a sample from the Olympiad-special for free!

Former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzanow shows his victories against Vladimir Kramnik and Arkadij Naiditisch in CBM 162

All Opening Surveys in CBM #162

Stohl: English Defence A18
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 d5 4.e5 d4 5.exf6 dxc3 6.bxc3 Qxf6

As Igor Stohl demonstrates, the Mikenas-Flohr Variation of the English Defence is really reliable from Black’s point of view, but at first there is a struggle for equality. Even Aronian, the greatest expert with the white pieces, came to grief when he played the variation with Black against Grischuk.

Rotstein: Old Indian Defence A53
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nf3 c6

According to the analyses of Arkadij Rotstein White cannot, just as he is unable to do with 4.f3 e5 (see CBM 161), lay claim to a simple advantage after 4.Nf3 c6. Above all, 5.Nh4 Bg6!? proves to be surprisingly playable for Black.

Antic: Benoni A62
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.a4 Re8 11.Bf4

The white bishop move is somewhat annoying for Black, since the natural developing move 11...Nbd7 is now excluded. In his article Dejan Antic analyses the two popular replies 11...h6 and 11...Nh5, but he believes that only the knight move offers certain chances for equality.

Havasi: Modern Defence B06
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 a6 5.Nf3

It is not at all rare to see this variation with ...a6. Gergö Havasi investigates above all 5...Nd7, since he has reserved the main variation 5...b5 for his next article. White should achieve a comfortable game with natural developing moves – developing the bishops.

Krasenkow: Sicilian Defence B25
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3

Michal Krasenkow thinks that the Closed Sicilian is very playable at amateur level. In his article he presents a repertoire for White, just as he played himself till reaching a playing strength of around 2400.

Postny: Sicilian Defence B46
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.0-0 Nf6 9.Re1 Be7 10.e5 Nd7 11.Qg4

The variation attracted the attention of Evgeny Postny because it was recently played by Fabiano Caruana – both with White and with Black. There is a trend away from 11...g6 to 11...¢f8. At the moment the variation appears to be under development and there are as yet no certainties.

Szabo: Sicilian Defence B90
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Nd5 Bxd5 10.exd5 Nbd7 11.Qd2 g6 12.Be2

The position in this diagram has been seen recently on several top level boards. The continuations 12...Bg7 and 12...Qc7 are up for discussion. As Krisztian Szabo shows, as well as a knowledge of variations one should also master a few tricks and manoeuvres.

Müller: King's Gambit C34
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3

In the first part of his repertoire for White with the King’s Gambit Karsten Müller acquaints you with his fundamental idea. It is a setup with Nc3, d4 and g3 and is called the Quaade Gambit (or the Quaade setup). It works excellently against Fischer’s Defence 3...d6 and Becker’s Defence 3...h6.

Breder: Ruy Lopez Four Knights C48
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4

The article by Dennis Breder focusses after 4...Nd4 on the reply 5.Ba4. It should be followed by 5...c6 and, as our author shows, in many lines Black can even hope for more than mere equality.

Kuzmin: Queen's Pawn Game D00
1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bf4

Alexey Kuzmin refers in his article to the games of Baadur Jobava, who has recently been employing this variation successfully. Jobava’s special variation comes after the most played move 3...Bf5 in the form of 4.f3 e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.h4.

Marin: Nimzo Indian Defence E53
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 b6 7.0-0 Bb7 8.Na4

The line with ...c5 is very solid and involves a substantial amount of theory, but Mihail Marin manages, starting with 8.Na4, to show how White can set his opponent problems and aim for an advantage.

Order ChessBase Magazine 162 here


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