Gustafsson: Politician's Simul in Berlin + product review

4/10/2011 – Last Wednesday the Hamburg Representation to the German Government in Berlin invited politicians to take part in a sixteen-board simultaneous exhibition given by the German GM Jan Gustafsson. Prizes for the best players: Jan's recently recorded training DVDs that provide a complete black repertoire against 1.e4. Here's a five-star review by GM Hedinn Steingrimsson.

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Politicians' Chess Simul

Last Wednesday the Hamburg Representation in the Federal Government in Berlin invited chess playing politicians to take part in an event featuring a sixteen-board simultaneous exhibition given by GM Jan Gustafsson.


The simul has just begun, the players – MPs, Secretaries of State, Embassy officials
wait for the grandmaster to make his first move


GM Jan Gustafsson in action, accompanied by MC Dr Hajo Schumacher


A team of advisors was available for the players: WIM Sarah Hoolt, GM Raj Tischbierek,
and WFM Stefanie Schulz, watching the games in the background


Mizumoto Horii, Second Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, needed no help


But how about Katrin Werner, Member of Parliament?


Hajo Schumacher, author and publicist, interviews Sarah Hoolt


A special guest: actress, singer and author Vaile Fuchs,
who is still looking for investors for her latest album


Hajo asks MP Katrin Werner about her position and her chess enthusiasm


At the end of the event there are just two boards left. Final score: 15½-½ for the GM


Jan Gustafsson with the sponsor Sebastian Blom (right), the chief editor of the magazine
Politik & Kommuniktion Sebastian Lange and the winner of of one of the prizes.


The prizes are two Marshall DVDs by Gustafsson and one Open Games DVD, the
winners aren Mizumoto Horri of the Japanese Embassy, Ralf Seibicke, head of a
State Finance Ministry and Ronald Schwarz of the German Foreign Ministry


Jan Gustafsson: Impressive depth and surprising originality

Jan Gustafssson: Black repertoire against 1.e4 Vol.1 and 2

Review by GM Hedinn Steingrimsson

In this DVD GM Gustafsson presents the rest of his recommended repertoire against 1.e4, which is based on 1…e5. In the first DVD the popular Marshall gambit of the main line Spanish was analyzed in great depth. The recommendations are based on GM Gustafsson´s own repertoire. This DVD thus covers quite many variations, the Kings Gambit, lines where white plays Nc3, lines where white plays Bc4, lines where white goes for a quick d4 and also lines where white plays the Spanish, but does not go for the mainline to name a few.

For his first DVD, I gave GM Gustafsson the highest possible marks, or 5 out f 5 stars. I especially liked his ambitious interpretation of the opening, aiming for a win with black, his independent and original interpretation of the latest theory and the high quality, clarity and great depth of his analysis. I also liked his presentation, which I found instructive, well organized and to the point.

Being a mainline, the Marshall gambit has been analyzed very deeply, and the theory of the sidelines, which are covered here, is obviously not quite as deep. This together with the fact, that the topic of this DVD is very broad, perhaps unsurprisingly has led to a bit less depth of the analysis that are presented on this DVD. The other strong points of the first DVD, however, remain. In this DVD, I especially like the ambitious, original and highly up to date interpretation of the opening.



Surprisingly many opening theoreticians, which analyze the 1. e4 e5 lines for black set themselves the goal to present a solid repertoire for black, where the aim is the get a playable position. They don’t try too much to punish white for reckless play in the opening, like is the case for example in literature on the Sicilian. GM Gustafsson, however, interprets 1…e5 very ambitiously and tries to prove an advantage for black against various dubious gambits and generally to find ways for black to play for a win. He has obviously given the recommended variations a lot of thought and in many cases his recommendations are quite original and not the same lines as are most often played or recommended elsewhere.

He backs his recommendations quite convincingly with concrete variations and arguments. The presentation is as before quite good and generally GM Gustafsson uses the time of his audience very efficiently. I especially liked that description of the general strategy has been improved compared to the first DVD. GM Gustafsson presents the theory in both English and in his mother language German. I liked the German version a bit better. GM Gustafsson speaks very good English, but seemed for some reason to be a little bit less relaxed and confident in the English version. This is something that I think he could work on and will no doubt improve with more experience.

The bottom line:

This DVD gets 5 out of 5 possible stars. I liked the first DVD a little bit more than this one, because the depth of the analysis files there was slightly more impressive. In this one, however, the recommended lines are chosen very carefully and in general GM Gustafsson´s recommendations present black with more possibilities to play for a win, than other work that I have seen on these openings. I highly recommend it. I hope that we will see many more DVDs from GM Gustafsson. For future DVDs, my preference would be to cover not too many variations in each DVD and to focus more on depth than breath.

Sample videos

The prices is €32.90 incl. VAT, €27.65 ($38.21) without VAT for customers outside the EU. Both volumes together cost €59.90 (€50.34 or $69.56 without VAT for Customers outside the EU) instead of €65.80 when ordered separately. Clicking any product above will take you to the shop where it can be ordered.

Previous reviews

GM Jan Gustafsson: The Marshall Attack
08.01.2011 – "German GM Jan Gustafsson is one of the top experts on the Marshall. He is a very strong player with a reputation as a theoretician and analyst. Aside from this, it emerges on the DVD that he has a tremendous sense of humor, enabling him to make a rather entertaining presentation from the countless long lines in the Marshall Attack." Chess Cafe review by Carsten Hansen.

GM Jan Gustafsson: The Marshall Attack
29.10.2010 – "I gave it full marks, five out of five," writes reviewer GM Hedinn Steingrimsson about his colleague's new DVD. Jan Gustafsson is a leading expert on the Marshall Attack, especially in the attacking lines where Black plays uncompromisingly for a win. "This might very well be the best opening DVD that ChessBase has produced," says Steingrimsson. Review with video samples.

Gustafsson's Marshall Gambit: best chess opening DVD ever?
28.02.2011 – "Maybe!" says Dennis Monokroussos. "If you play the Marshall Gambit you would be insane not to buy this disk, even if you're a grandmaster. Gustafsson is one of the world's absolute experts on the Marshall, and in the intro clip he says he's going to tell the viewer everything he knows. Yeah, right! Then you watch the DVD and realize that – gasp! – he might be telling the truth." Review.

Gustafsson's Black repertoire against 1.e4: The Open Games
19.03.2011 – A couple of weeks Dennis Monokroussos raved about the first volume in the series, in which German GM Jan Gustafsson presented a very detailed Marshall Gambit repertoire. It was the best DVD on chess openings he had ever seen. "Vol. 2 doesn't quite live up to that ridiculously high standard, but it's excellent as well and certainly worthwhile for 1.e4 e5 players," Dennis writes. Here is his review.

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