CBM 219: Abdusattorov shines

by Nagesh Havanur
6/5/2024 – ChessBase Magazine offers a window to the world of professional chess. Our columnist, Nagesh Havanur, takes a look at our latest issue, CBM 219. 217 games from the Prague Chess Festival and the American Cup 2024, 12 opening surveys, 3 opening videos, 6 demo lectures and several exercises for training. Annotators include Nodirbek Abdusattorov, R Praggnanandhaa and David Navara, among others. The icing on the cake is a special feature on Fabiano Caruana with 26 annotated games. | Photo: ChessBase India

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The Prague contest

When the FIDE Candidates’ Tournament concluded with the phenomenal victory of 17-year-old Gukesh, there was one little disappointment. Abdusattorov wasn’t there. He would have mounted a challenge to the rising Indian star. The rivalry between the two young talents is too well-known to our readers here to need elaboration.

Among other things, this issue features Abdusatttorov’s victory in the Prague Chess Festival. He won with a score of 6½ out of 9 ahead of experienced campaigners like David Navara and Richard Rapport, not to mention the three Indian talents, Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh and Vidit Gujrathi. In this issue he annotates his game with Parham Maghsoodloo:

Aronian wins the American Cup (Open)

Ever since Aronian settled in the USA, he has found a life ideal for his creative spirit. As he does not try to win every chess tournament, he is free from the anxiety of finishing at the top. It’s one of the reasons why he performs so well in tournaments. In March, he won the American Cup, eliminating Sevian, Caruana and Wesley So one after another. Here is the decisive game between him and Wesley So:

Incidentally, Robert Ris analysed this game on the ChessBase News Page:

Alice Lee wins the American Cup (Women)

There was also a women’s section and both the Main Event and the Elimination Rapid were won by 14-year-old Alice Lee ahead of veterans like Irina Krush and Nazi Paikidze. The decisive round between the finalists, young Alice Lee, and the experienced fighter, Irina Krush, was a dramatic battle:

The final phase of the game saw an enjoyable commentary by Yasser Seirawan and his team:

All the games from the American Cup 2024 may be found in this issue. I would have liked to see a detailed report here with annotated games.

A Caruana Special

This issue has a special feature on Caruana with a selection of 26 annotated games. The opponents include Gelfand, Vachier-Lagrave, Nepomniachtchi, Duda and Firouzja, among others. I would have liked to see a game or two against Carlsen with whom he contested a whole world championship a few years ago.

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana | Photo: FIDE

Opening videos and surveys

There are 3 opening videos in this issue:

In the first video, Nico Zwirs draws attention to new trends in the Italian Game 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.c3 d6 6. Bg5 (C54)

In the second video, Christian Bauer presents analysis of the Marshall Gambit of the Slav Defence, 1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c6 4.e4 (D31), with a recent game, Abdusattorov-Erigaisi, Qatar Masters 2023.

In the third video, Felix Blohberger offers a commentary on a rare line in English Opening that occurred in a recent game, Gukesh-Navara, Prague Masters 2024, 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.e3 Nc6 4.Qb3 (A25)

Take your pick.

What is more, there are as many as 12 opening surveys ranging from the Ruy Lopez to the Reti. Here I would make a special mention of the articles on the Ruy Lopez Anti-Marshall Variation (C88) by Krisztian Szabo and the Semi-Slav Botvinnik Variation (D44) by Evgeny Postny. The first of them deals with a variation that was also seen in Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi, World Championship Match 2022:

The second article deals with a more complex area of opening theory. Here we have room only for a sparkling miniature in one of the lines:

Besides opening surveys, this issue has standard features on tactics, strategy and the endgame. Here I would make a special mention of the section “Excelling in Endgames”, in which Karsten Müller offers a demo lecture on pawns versus knight endings. This section also offers a column called “Readers write”, in which we find contributions by experts like Charles Sullivan and Zoran Petronijevic.

Last, but not least, we have Jan Markos’ demo lecture on active defence. Practical advice for the tournament player.

Summing up

The main database of the issue has games, of which 11 are deeply annotated. There is much else in this DVD that deserves to be explored. Apart from the players I have already mentioned, the commentators include David Navara, Praggnanandhaa and Abhimanyu Mishra, among others. It may be noted that there are more annotated games in the opening and training sections of this issue. Well, practice makes perfect.


Abdusattorov scored 7 points out of 11 (+3, =8, -0) in the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2023 and finished 12th in a field of 114 players in the qualifying event for the Candidates’ Tournament held this April. He was unbeaten, but dogged by tough, fighting draws.

ChessBase Magazine 218

Tata Steel 2024 with analyses by Wei Yi, Firouzja, Giri, Pragg, Vidit and many more. Opening videos by Jan Werle, Daniel King and Mihail Marin. 11 repertoire articles from Alekhine to the King's Indian and much more.


Prof. Nagesh Havanur (otherwise known as "chessbibliophile") is a senior academic and research scholar. He taught English in Mumbai for three decades and has now settled in Bangalore, India. His interests include chess history, biography and opening theory. He has been writing on the Royal Game for more than three decades. His articles and reviews have appeared on several web sites and magazines.
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