Review: ChessBase Extra 187

by Davide Nastasio
2/27/2019 – The Chessbase Magazine Extra packs a lot of content, useful for tournament preparation. It's an easy way to update one's own opening repertoire. There are videos to give us new ideas, and a new "lucky bag", with many top master level games. The quality of the annotations rival all top chess magazines, but the electronic format gives more space to the authors than the paper version, giving the readers plenty of material to study. Reviewer DAVIDE NASTASIO takes a look...

ChessBase Magazine Extra 187 ChessBase Magazine Extra 187

NEW: CBM Extra now comes with a "Lucky bag"! Peter Heine Nielsen comments on the WCh deciding games. Plus video training with Christian Bauer and Yannick Pelletier, and 53,900 new games for your database!


Extra useful, Extra fun

Chess is a sport...for the young. This is clear from the Top 100 list in which those over a certain age are quite rare, and clearly a minority. Yes, we can have some outliers like Anand or Ivanchuk, but the truth is: age makes a difference, especially when a game lasts several hours, and in the endgame, one must summon any and all reserves of energy. Hence, the need to train and prepare as much as one can, even if as an adult one surely other competing obligations.

Extra 187If you're serious about competing in tournaments you'll need to prepare, and that takes the right tools (ChessBase 15? Check!). One to consider is the subscription to ChessBase Magazine and CBM "Extra". The Magazine has generally 3-4000 games played by top players in top tournaments.

The Extra, by contrast, contains all the games played every couple of months by everyone. This means between 30,000 and 50,000 games which reach our computer on a regular basis. Actually, this latest issue, Extra 187, had over 53,000 games, so don't try to watch them all kids. Instead, smart studying would involve filtering them for our needs.

The first thing one should do about a week ahead of a tournament it's to look for games based on one's own opening repertoire.

So let's say someone plays the Pirc against 1.e4 then he could look for all the games played with the Pirc.

There are a few ways to do this. One is to click on filter go to advanced and insert in the ECO codes: B07-B09 that should cover all the games you need.

Filter for Pirc

Click or tap to enlarge image

But if one doesn't remember the ECO code, then another way is to open a board, play the moves 1.e4 d6 and then returning to filter click on the position tab and click on copy board. Now, one will see the moves played on the big board inside the filter mask.

Click or tap to enlarge image

Either way, I quickly go over the games found, and eventually make some notes on the most interesting ones, like the following:


Last week I learned more about the Bird-Leningrad thanks to the new DVD from IM Lawrence Trent. A good way to improve my knowledge of such opening is to check the latest games played with it. It turns out some big names used it quite extensively. For example, Anna Muzychuk used it in all her latest tournaments. Henrik Danielsen is a GM who has made the Leningrad-Bird his main weapon. The sample I chose has some pretty wild games, showing 1.f4 is a legit move to play if one wants to fight for a win!


Click or tap a game from the list to switch

There are also other important ways to parse through the games. One is to watch games where there is a big difference in rating — let's say more than 400 points — once more it's essential to learn how to filter the games in ChessBase 15, as it can give great benefits!

This issue of ChessBase Magazine Extra is special for its new layout and features. It's also the first to have the "Lucky Bag!" What is the lucky bag? It's a collection of 29 games, deeply annotated by top players. In his book "Applying logic to chess" writes at page 104: "Games collections are extremely useful to get an idea about how strong players think about the game..." Practically he says we can get a clear insight into the logic and thought patterns used by a top player at the board when we see many annotated games. And here we have tons of recently played games, annotated by top players, which give us that insight we need to grow as players.

The following one comes directly from the lucky bag! Take a moment to review the annotations, and to grasp the lessons one can receive from such collection of games.


But the Extra issue also has two videos in which two top GMs tell us specifically about their opening preparation. In this issue, we find Christian Bauer, who was part of his country's team at the Olympiad and who needed to win against another super strong team: Hungary. He details in the video how he won in this key game, thanks to his opening preparation.

GM Christian Bauer

The other video is by GM Yannick Pelletier who is teaching us about a great anti-London line. Obviously, I don't want to go into detail for any of the two videos, because opening surprises do work, and can make someone gain easy points. The point here is, we get two top GMs teaching us for over an hour about their opening preparation, and this is quite invaluable.

Are the surprises in this great issue of ChessBase extra magazine finished? NO! We are also treated to a brilliant game by Mikhail Tal, the 'Magician from Riga'. IM Georgios Souleidis created an amazing video presentation for a game surely many don't know, enriching our chess understanding. Totally worth every minute!

IM Georgios Souleidis

Final thoughts

The extra magazine is a source of chess information we need to have for thorough preparation — more than 50,000 games coming from over 400 tournaments, 30 of which had an average rating of over 2500! That's a lot of quality games. As usual with ChessBase Magazine, the Extra has videos on openings novelties, or new interpretations, which can help in being the unforeseeable player we need to be at our local weekend tournaments!

ChessBase Magazine Extra 187

NEW: CBM Extra now comes with a "Lucky bag"! Peter Heine Nielsen comments on the WCh deciding games. Plus video training with Christian Bauer and Yannick Pelletier, and 53,900 new games for your database!


Davide is a novel chess aficionado who has made chess his spiritual tool of improvement and self-discovery. One of his favorite quotes is from the great Paul Keres: "Nobody is born a master. The way to mastery leads to the desired goal only after long years of learning, of struggle, of rejoicing, and of disappointment..."


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