Daniel King: Test your attacking chess

by ChessBase
1/10/2014 – "Studying the ten games on this volume reminds me of working with an experienced chess coach," writes Glenn Mitchell. "GM King describes part of the game and then pauses for the viewer to decide on their next move. Coupled with Daniel King’s personal charm and you have a great training resource for the self-motivated chess improver." Review.

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An Interactive Coaching Session

Review by Glenn Mitchell

Power Play 20: Test Your Attacking Chess
by Daniel King
Fritz Trainer DVD, ChessBase,
Video running time: 4 hours 40 min. $34.37

The ChessBase Power Play series by GM Daniel King provides chess improvers with excellent instruction on chess tactics and strategy. There are now twenty volumes in the series, stretching back as far as 2006. The latest is Power Play Volume 20 – Test Your Attacking Chess.

Studying the ten games on this volume reminds me of working with an experienced chess coach. GM King describes part of the game and then pauses for the viewer to decide on their next move. The format of the new interactive system for the Fritz Trainer DVDs makes for a more immersive learning experience. Couple this with Daniel King’s personal charm and you have a great training resource for the self-motivated chess improver.

As GM King notes in the opening moments of the very first game – Kasparov v. Begun – strong chess players need to know how to execute an attack and how to sense when a successful assault on the enemy king is likely to be successful. This video will reinforce your attacking skills and give your helpful feedback on how well you have mastered the basics of attacking chess.

Viewers choose their move when GM King pauses the video. It’s gratifying on occasion when he replies that your move was stronger than the actual game continuation. If your move is reasonable but not the best, Daniel King is a supportive coach. After explaining why the move was not the best, he’ll smile (or sometime wince or roll his eyes playfully) and say something like, “So, not the best move there.” The viewer can then click on the “Try again” button and make a different move. You can also surrender and click the “Solution” button. GM King will then provide the correct answer.

If you do select a move that GM King considers to be better than the game continuation, you still need to click one of the two buttons to proceed. That’s a good feature, since viewers should see the clip that explains the game continuation even when they first choose a stronger move.

Reasonable move candidates get their own separate clip that discusses their merits. Select a move that is not worth serious consideration and instead a dialog opens with the message “That was not the right move.” Just click the OK button and choose another move candidate.

With each game, you get plenty of attacking chess practice. The viewer always takes the perspective of one side or the other for an individual game. GM King might stop the game on every move for a few moves or he might move quickly through several moves. It all depends on how fast the game developed.

You need to activate these new interactive Fritz Trainer DVDs. There doesn’t appear to be a limit on how many computers you can activate, although I’ve only tried activating this new format on three computers: one in my office, one at home, and another for my Windows Surface Pro.

The one nit I have experienced with this new format is that the video sometimes pauses for the briefest of instants. I have noticed this on all three computers I use and with all of the new interactive Fritz Trainers. This has not been an issue with the traditional ChessBase non-interactive DVDs. I am not sure if this is the copy protection or some change in their video CODEC. If you do not activate the DVD, the video will play, but instead of seeing the familiar game notation, you’ll see a warning that the video is protected.

The advertising says the DVD playing time is 4:40. I guess that comes from adding the times for the various clips. Unlike traditional ChessBase videos, you could end up seeing more or fewer clips. How many you see depends on how well you have mastered your attacking chess basics. The more incorrect move candidates you select, the more clips you will watch.

There are ten games to analyze on this DVD:

  • Kasparov-Begun
  • Sadler-Hawkins
  • Kjartansson-Fedorchuk
  • Popovic-Cvetkovic
  • Miladinovic-Kovacevic
  • Svidler-Ivanchuk
  • Kramnik-Fressinet
  • Hector-Rapport
  • Sanikidze-Ivanisevic
  • Norwood-King

Together, this collection of games provides the viewer with a broad range of positions to evaluate their chess understanding. In addition, there is a game database with fifty games to further test their attacking skills. Each game concludes with a recap of the important moves in the game and the ideas behind them.

If you’ve watched GM King’s Power Play show on Playchess.com or his tournament commentaries, then you know that he has a talent for explaining concepts in a way that is accessible to non-experts. If not, then you’re in for a treat. GM King explains the ideas behind the moves in each game, their weaknesses as well as their strengths, and he walks through important variations in a way that is not bewildering for the intermediate player.

As with all of his Power Play videos, the focus here is on practical advice. I’d say the Golidlock’s zone for this DVD is somewhere around 1700-1900 Elo, although other players can certainly benefit from his coverage of attacking chess. I strongly recommend this DVD for improving chessplayers. You might even want to start with Power Play Volume 2: Attacking the King and then test what you’ve learned with this latest Power Play DVD from GM Daniel King.

About the author

Glenn Mitchell, aka “Mitch”, is an avid chess player. Born in 1960, he loved chess in his youth, dabbling here and there for decades. About three years ago, his love for chess was rekindled and he’s determined to improve. Mitch is not a chess teacher. He recently started a blog, Improving Chess Player to share what’s been working for him and what hasn’t been much of help. What he hopes to provide is help and encouragement for other improving chess players.

Sample video

Power Play 20: Test Your Attacking Chess

By Daniel King

ChessBase PC-DVD
Running time: 4 hours 40 min
Languages: English
Delivery: Download or Post

Price: €29.90 – €25.13 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU); $34.15 (without VAT).

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