ChessBase Magazine 113 – A great step forward for all chess enthusiasts

9/15/2006 – early 20 years ago ChessBase Magazine started on a floppy disk. The new vol. 113 is the first to come on DVD, packed with three and a half hours audio and video training with top players like Anand, Kasimdzhanov and others. ChessBase Magazine now also comes in a fully new design and conception. Order it now, or read this review.

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Review by William Frost


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In it's inception, this magazine was contained on a floppy disc ( do we still remember floppy discs?.) In it's infancy this was mostly a collection of topical games, with some annotations. Nonetheless, this was an innovation and for the first time made available considered annotations and articles in a form that we could digest on our P.C's. Shortly thereafter, CDs made their appearance and ChessBase were not slow in realising the potential  of a greatly increased media capacity together with an expansion of diversity of presentation, including videos.  The issues of CBM's 111 and 112 for the first time used videos as the main platform on which to present the various sections. 

CBM 113 goes one step further and expands the video presentation even further. So much has the content expanded that only a DVD is capable of dealing with the increased volume of content.. So much more information can be delivered by the spoken word than by a written description, and I would venture to suggest that a verbal explanation has a more lasting impact.  It is so easy to click the mouse when reading a lengthy account of the benefits of 1.e4 and pass on to the next move, but one can't really ignore a spoken explanation.  

Now to the content of CBM 113  

There is at least three hours of absorbing videos introduced, in a laconic manner, by Grandmaster Karsten Müller, an acknowledged endgame expert.  But his expertise does not finish there, his explanations of complete games can glue you to the seat in front of your computer.   

The contents listing of the DVD are very user friendly and lead one easily into the article that most attracts. The most important section is a presentation of all the games of the Turin Olympiad with annotations by a variety of grandmasters and a video introduction and commentary by Yasser Seirawan.  Unfortunately, Yasser has difficulties with the technical equipment, but this does not detract from his penetrating analysis of the various games that he examines.  Perhaps it would have been better if he had recorded in the ChessBase studios where the art of video presentation has been perfected.  

148 teams entered the Mens Olympiad and CBM 113 have a database of 3838 games played.  Of these 83 are well annotated.  Olympiads always produce interesting games, mostly because amateurs and professionals are thrown into the same conflict and this can result in upsets and instructive games.  The Turin Olympiad is no exception. 

Another important tournament held in 2006 was the M-Tel Masters, played in Sofia during May which figured six of the highest rated players in the world, including the FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov.  Once again, he put in a fast burst in the finishing straight to win by half a point over the rejuvenated Gata Kamsky.  All the games are included here with all but two fully annotated.  In addition Mikhail Marin provides an authoritative survey of the tournament openings.  

Rustam Kasimdzhanov, FIDE World Champion of 2004, describes in great detail his game against Vassily Ivanchuck from the Olympiad, and this gives an intriguing insight into the manner in which a grandmaster thinks and prepares his moves.   

As if this is not enough, CBM 113 give a considered examination of opening nuances that have occurred over the last two months in the Dutch, Sicilian, Scotch Gambit and London System.

If you have trouble with double rook endings then close study of Karsten Müller's endgame section will undoubtedly help. Again, this is presented in a video format that makes the techniques crystal clear. Other well tried and popular articles have been retained.  Peter Wells continues his erudite expositions on strategy and Oliver Reeh presents twenty three highly entertaining combinational examples one of which is the following :


Position after 21...Rc7

Here, in a game Berkes - Pazos, Olympiad 2006, White to move brought off a very fine combination to win.  Can you spot it?  

As is usual with combinations it is not necessarily the moves that are actually played that are intriguing, it is the many variations underlying that give a beautiful effect.  The moves that finished the game are given below.*

Many elderly players, such as I, will remember Danny King's articles in  Baruch Wood's "Chess" where he invited readers to calculate the next move played in selected games.  Well, as a an innovation in CBM 113, Danny re-appears here in a similar series to test your powers of calculation and positional perception.  Just one tip, if you want to eliminate either the German or English narrative, go to ChessBase/Fritz/Options and in Languages make both languages either English/English or German/German or whatever language you wish to use.  

In yet another database there are a further 221 games, 18 of which are fully annotated by Anand, Erenburg, Kritz, Tiviakov, and Macieja.  Mihail Marin takes a look at an interesting opening idea formulated by Romanishin.

If you are left reeling by the volume of the contents outlined above, then if I add that there is a further database of 7,139 correspondence games, this will bend you mind another ninety degrees!  

CBM 113 is a "great step forward" for chess enthusiasts and no doubt ChessBase will find further refinements to polish this product.  If you have ever had doubts on the magazine, now is the time to reassure yourself that subscription will give you one of the best buys available today.  There are 6 issues of the magazine annually. Further information is available on
www.chessbase.com/shop. 
If you do not have a ChessBase program, there is no need to worry.  The DVD has a built-in facility that allows all the contents to be viewed in much the same manner as would be presented by ChessBase or Fritz.

*In the position given above Pazos was confronted with 22.e6, fxe6, 23.Bxd5 g6 when after 24.Rxe6, he resigned."


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