ChessBase Mgazine 116: Stars comment on top events

by ChessBase
2/23/2007 – The new issue covers the historic match Kramnik vs. Deep Fritz 10 and the Tal Memorial from the end of last year. World class players like Shirov, Radjabov, Leko, Gelfand, Van Wely comment their masterpieces and focus on the latest trends in opening theory. More than two hours training on the DVD. Order it now or read this overview with sampler.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Buy it now...

Anyone who thought that the world championship match between Topalov and Kramnik would outshine all other chess events of the year unexpectedly found they had to think otherwise. The “Man vs. Machine” match between freshly qualified World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and Deep Fritz was a major event. In this issue you will find all the games, annotated by Youth World Champion Arik Braun and / or the GMs Lubomir Ftacnik and Karsten Müller. At the same time chief programmer Matthias Wüllenweber in a video interview gives some interesting insights into the inner life of Fritz. Has Fritz its own style? Which strengths and weaknesses of the programme came to light in the course of the match?
The second tournament highlight in this issue is the Tal Memorial in Moscow. That tournament, with its glittering array of participants, finished with three players tying for first place with the same number of points, leaving no overall victor. Peter Leko, Boris Gelfand and Alexei Shirov annotate games for you and explain their ideas and strategies. This DVD once more contains a total of more than 5 hours of chess training in Video-Format. In addition, there are 14 up to the minute opening surveys by renowned authors and grandmasters.

The Hamburg grandmaster Karsten Müller starts off in his introductory video by presenting a few of the highlights of this issue and by giving you an overview of the other training material on the DVD.

World Chess Challenge 2006: Vladimir Kramnik - Deep Fritz

This time the duel “Man vs. Machine” ended 4:2 in favour of artificial intelligence. At first glance, that is a clear result. But the course of the duel and above all that of the early games shows another picture and grounds for hoping that we have not yet experienced the definitive “Man vs. Machine” match.
The first game, in which Kramnik’s obviously meticulous preparation was seen in action is put under the microscope here both by Arik Braun and Karsten Müller. Right click on the link under the diagram, in order to play through the game with Braun’s comments or else start Müller’s analysis of the exciting endgame in Video-Format. Our Endgame expert from Hamburg shows in his contribution where exactly Kramnik left the path to victory in this first game and how he could have notched up the whole point with a technically perfect continuation.


Kramnik,V - Deep Fritz 10 (1)
Position before 18...Kf8?

Deep Fritz 10 - Kramnik,V (2)

The second game also went at first the way the World Champion intended – right up until the moment when he had a blackout and the one-move mate on h7. In the video interview, Fritz programmer Matthias Wüllenweber looks back on the evaluations and the state of matters within the Fritz team after the first two games. The programmers were concerned above all with one question: why was Kramnik always playing rapidly in the opening and by doing so letting the opposing team know that these were exactly the variations he had prepared against Fritz? Click the video link (only in German language) -, to learn the surprising explanation for this, and let Matthias Wüllenweber and his partners in the interview, Oliver Reeh and Rainer Knaak, demonstrate and comment on the 2nd game.
The match programme had the third day down as a rest day, one which was obviously needed more by the Fritz team than by Kramnik. In the first two games, Kramnik’s clever choice of openings had enabled him to achieve a long-term advantage. So the day before game three, the Fritz team were looking for a way to improve on the opening book – and such a way was found. The result: for the first time in the match it was Kramnik who was out of his preparation relatively early and was obliged to experience how Fritz took a long-term initiative as a result of a strategic pawn sacrifice. In the video (only in German language) Wüllenweber, Knaak and Reeh comment on the decisive moments in the game, from the opening preparation through to Kramnik’s drawing defence executed with the skill of a world champion.

Kramnik,V - Deep Fritz 10 (3)

Deep Fritz 10 - Kramnik,V (4)
Position after 11.Ne3

In the fourth game, on account of the Fritz team’s choice of opening, 1.e4 was played for the first time. Kramnik chose the Petroff Defence, but in what followed he had to concede a palpable initiative to Deep Fritz. But, as was the case in the first two games, here also he managed to exchange the queens early on and to bring about an open position.  However, as in the previous game, Deep Fritz took over the initiative and even with reduced material on the board put Kramnik under pressure. But step by step, Kramnik once again managed to equalise the game thanks to his precise style of play. After more than five hours of play the game finally ended in a draw. This game too has been annotated by Arik Braun (click on the game link under the board) as well as in Video.
The fifth game was characterised by the fact that it was the last time in the match that Kramnik would have the advantage of the white pieces. Once again the course of the opening – this time a transposition of moves led to a Nimzo-Indian Defence – was favourable for Kramnik. The queens were exchanged as early as move 12 and White had a slight advantage on account of his bishop pair. With the move 17.h4 Kramnik indicated that he would be doing all in his power to decide this game in his favour. Subsequently there arose a highly interesting struggle, typified once more by the constellation of bishop against knight. But with the help of its knight and various tactical threats, Deep Fritz managed to keep Kramnik permanently busy and at the end it managed to force a draw by repetition of the position. Wüllenweber, Knaak and Reeh focus in the video (only in German language) on the decisive moments in the fifth game. 

Kramnik,V - Deep Fritz 10 (5)


Deep Fritz 10 - Kramnik,V (6)
Position after 25.e5!


But even more than he did in the previous game, the World Champion went all out and risked everything in the sixth and final game. With Black he chose the Sicilian Defence, Najdorf Variation, one of the sharpest and most ambitious replies to 1.e4. Such fighting spirit gained for Kramnik much sympathy in the world of chess and the deepest respect of his grandmaster colleagues as well as that of the Fritz team. And in fact, Deep Fritz at first found it hard to achieve favourable coordination for its pieces. But in a complicated middlegame, the computer did manage to regroup its pieces (see the introductory video to this DVD). With a surprising and tactically precise pawn advance in the centre, the machine suddenly managed to conjure up almost from nothing a dangerous kingside attack, which finally brought it a decisive material advantage. Wüllenweber, Knaak and Reeh discuss in the video part 3 (only in German language), for example, which of Fritz’s moves fit in with a human understanding of chess and at which points in this final game the programme possibly went beyond the horizon of human understanding.

Shirov, Leko, van Wely, Radjabov, Gelfand & Co annotate their best games

There was another trial of strength between man and machine at the beginning of December in Florence, this time between Teimour Radjabov and the top Israeli programme Deep Junior.  The 19 year old player from Azerbaijan played according to his temperament with White, namely uncompromising attacking chess and entered into an interesting tactical duel with the computer.  The former Youth World Champion proved an absolutely well-matched opponent until shortly before the end of the game. He did not lose the point in this rapid game until it reached a complicated endgame. Radjabov annotates his ambitious stand-up fight in detail on this DVD here:
Radjabov,T - Comp Deep Junior


Garry Kasparov analysing with Boris Gelfand

The high-ranking field in the Tal Memorial constituted another high point of the chess year late on in 2006. 10 players from the absolute world élite met in memory of the “Magician from Riga”, who would have been 70 years old on the 9th of November, and of course they were there to play chess. Even  Garry Kasparov once looked in for a few hours. He had run into Peter Leko and Alexander Grischuk close to his flat and they had reminded him that the Tal Memorial Tournament was taking place in the Moscow Central Chess Club, only a few streets away. Peter Leko, Alexei Shirov and Boris Gelfand have annotated games from Moscow for this issue.
In the fourth round, Leko surprised Gelfand with his very opening move 1.d4 and then introduced an innovation 15.Qf5!?, which according to his evaluation opens quite new avenues for the presently fashionable variation of the Slav Defence. Click Leko,P - Gelfand,B to replay the game with commentary by the later joint winner of the Moscow tournament.
For his part too, Gelfand profited in his game against Svidler from successful opening preparation. Following a new idea by Khalifman, he played 12.e5! (see diagram). In his analysis, the Israeli top grandmaster underlines the rôle of the black bishop on c6 in the dynamic developmental possibilitites for both sides. Whilst Black is forced into a more passive setup than in related positions, White can provoke weaknesses in Black’s position by the advance a2-a4.

Gelfand,B - Svidler,P
Position after 12.e5!

Click here to start the video !

Another highlight of this issue is represented by Shirov’s analysis of some of his own games from Moscow and the Bundesliga. The videos published in this DVD will also appear in the months to come within new Fritztrainer DVDs. We are publishing them here in advance on account of the topicality of the games.
In Moscow Shirov decided to take up against Gelfand the discussion of the Slav Defence started in the WCh match between Kramnik and Topalov. In view of the fact that Gelfand had then been one of Kramnik’s seconds, Shirov admits that that may not have been wisest of decisions. In his video-analysis Shirov goes into the most varied attempts which White can make to achieve a tangible advantage over Black. The judgment he has to make on his game against Gelfand is just as sobering as his evaluation of White’s chances in general.

In Shirov’s game as Black against Fressinet from the present Bundesliga season, both sides also followed for a long time a WCh game by Kramnik against Topalov (this time the round 12 game). Instead of Kramnik’s innovation 9...Bb4 Shirov chose – in ignorance of the WCh game according to what he says – the equally natural continuation 9...Bd6. In the Video Shirov not only demonstrates the decisive strategic and tactical moments in the game, but also gives to start with an all-embracing up to date evaluation of various basic setups in the Slav Defence.
In the Bundesliga match against Porz, which was played immediately after the Tal Memorial, Shirov was up against Rafael Vaganian and after only six moves in the Catalan opening, he was out of his opening book. In a Video which lasts more than half an hour, Shirov, as is his fashion, takes an extremely critical look at his play. In the endgame with queen and bishop against queen and knight,  Vaganian finally made a few inaccurate moves which allowed a conclusive attack on the king.


Shirov - Vaganian
Position after 28.Ba3

Shirov - Jakovenko
Position after 22.Bd2!

The latest word in opening theory can also be found in the game Shirov-Jakovenko from the Spanish Team Championships. Both players followed for a long time the game between  Kasimdhzanov and Ivanchuk which the young Uzbek analysed in CBM 115 in Video-Format and in which he introduced to top level chess the spectacular move 20.g4!. In his extensive video analysis Shirov explains, e.g., why he decided to play the rather rare 13.a4 in the Zaitsev Variation of the Ruy Lopez and demonstrates that even Jakovenko’s reply in the fashionable g4-variation hardly leaves Black any hope for equality in view of Shirov’s innovation 22.Bd2!. 

We also have another top level game with extensive annotations, this time between Van Wely and Bacrot in the current Bundesliga season. In the Anti Meran Variation of the Queen’s Gambit, van Wely came up with a partially unintentional innovation. The Dutchman’s memory was at fault when, wrongly imagining that he was still in his preparation, he quickly played the sharp 17.Rb4. According to the way the game went, he was obviously not wrong. In the position in the diagram he played 20.Nf5! and offered his opponent a poisoned and what was for Bacrot a too tempting exchange. Subsequently the Frenchman had to stand by and see his rooks become paralysed by the white knights on b6 and d6, and finally after a short and hopeless resistance he had to admit defeat.


Van Wely,L - Bacrot,E
Position after 20.Nf5!

  The  superfinal of the Russian Championships in Moscow in December last year saw an invasion of up and coming young Russian grandmasters. The average age of the players was only just 22, although the “old guard” was also represented at the start by three of its members Svidler, Rublevsky and Najer. Consequently there were three young players in the first three places: Alekseev, Jakovenko and Inarkiev. The latter has annotated two of his victories for this issue of ChessBase Magazine. The young Russian can look back on a fantastic year in 2006 (for example his victory in the tournament in Tomsk). In the January 2007 FIDE-List Inarkiev, with 2669 ELO points, occupies 35th place.

In the game Inarkiev,E - Najer,E the 21 year old Russian had first to defend against Black’s attack in a sub-variation of the Najdorf and with 17.Na1! he found an exotic looking but effective defensive move. He subsequently managed to fully draw the teeth from Black’s attack and transpose to an endgame with an extra pawn.
In the game against Nepomniatchchi too, Inarkiev demonstrated a knight manoeuvre which is worth seeing. In the position in the diagram he played 16.Ne4 (the knight is taboo on account of 17.Qxe4 with the double threat on h7 and a8) and finally positioned the knight effectively on d6.

Inarkiev,E - Nepomniashchy,Y
Position before 17.Ne4!

Kateryna Lahno from the Ukraine, only 17, but one of the strongest women in the world, and Parimarjan Negi from India, the youngest grandmaster in the world played a challenge match in New Delhi over the Christmas holidays. The “Amity Grandmasters Challenge” lasted 18 games, 6 games of classical chess, 6 games of rapid chess and 6 games of blitz. No matter how quickly they played, Lahno always came out on top. She won 3.5:2.5 in classical chess, 4:2 in rapid chess and 3.5:2.5 blitz, which meant a final score of 11:7. She has annotated for ChessBase Magazine the second round game, in which with Black she successfully initiated an energetic kingside attack. Click here -Negi,P - Lahno,K -, to play through the game with Lahno’s comments.

You will find further titbits in Chess Media Format, e.g. Karsten Müller’s endgame analysis, the “trap” by Rainer Knaak, Tactics by Oliver Reeh etc. in the relevant columns (see the column of Links at the beginning of this page).

The column New DVDs offers you in a few more video sequences in Chess Media Format a preview of some future Training-DVDs


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register