Having fun with the Mega (1)

by Johannes Fischer
12/16/2014 – Sure, with it's 6.1 million games the Mega Database invites work and research. You can prepare for opponents, find thousands of games played in the Najdorf or the Dragon, and check how 2700+ players treat the King's Indian, the Grünfeld, or the Sicilian. But you can also have a lot of fun. For instance, by enjoying the annotations of today's best players.

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Magnus Carlsen: World Champion and the player with the highest Elo ever reached

Maybe one day World Champion Magnus Carlsen will write a book about his best games. Or share his thoughts about them on a DVD or through a social media device not yet developed. For the time being the Carlsen fan can take a look at the 24 games in the Mega Database Carlsen has annotated. In a refreshingly direct, self-ironic style that reveals a lot about his games and his thoughts during his games. Here's one example:



Fabiano Caruana at the Sinquefield Cup

Fabiano Caruana, currently number two in the world, annotates 39 games in the Mega: very objectively, often pointing to mistakes and errors he or his opponent made that most people would just gloss over or not even detect. Here's his game against Ruslan Ponomariov in Dortmund 2014, which culminates in a brillant combination.


Anish Giri, 20 years young, number ten on the World's ranking list

Anish Giri is not only a brillant player, but also a witty and entertaining commentator. He annotates 24 games in the Mega. One example:


ChessBase author Loek Van Wely

 A particularly entertaining commentator with a remarkable sense is humour is Anish Giri's compatriot Loek Van Wely. Here's one example of his annotating style.


These are just glimpses of the instructive fun you can have with the comments of the many top-class annotators in the Mega. After all, 68.000 of the 6.1 million games in the Mega Database are annotated. If you imagine pressing two annotated games on one (very densely printed) page in a book you might want to start calculating how many books you would get. Many of them would be more than excellent and written by the best chess players of our time.

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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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