Holiday gift ideas

by ChessBase
12/20/2017 – Searching for something to give to a loved one (or perhaps a treat for yourself!) this holiday season? Here are a few ideas from us, ranging from edifying to edible! Whether you're looking for stocking stuffers, or something digital (for the procrastinators among you), we've got you covered.

Fritz 16 - He just wants to play! Fritz 16 - He just wants to play!

Fritz 16 is looking forward to playing with you, and you're certain to have a great deal of fun with him too. Tense games and even well-fought victories await you with "Easy play" and "Assisted analysis" modes.


What to get for the chess fan who has everything?

'Tis the season to be jolly, enjoying a game of chess over an eggnog or mulled wein ('glühwein' as they say in Germany, roughly translated as 'burning-wine'), and generally taking it easy, as we wind down 2017.

Since the December holidays are largely about eating, we'll start of with a dessert idea:

Chess chocolate cake

Chocolate is always a winner, and we kicked off the holiday season in November with a feature on a chess cake that you too can make!

Molds for the chess pieces and squares, are available from Amazon.

For the last minute Christmas shoppers and Hanukkah gift-givers among you, here are a few small ideas that might suit the occassion...

Stocking stuffers

From the edible to the wearable, here are some smaller items for your chess-fan friends and family:

If you were an avid follower of the Grand Chess Tour series of tournaments, there's GCT apparal on offer from the Q boutique in St. Louis:

Need something smaller still? How about some chess-themed cufflinks!

Chess pawn and knight cufflinks

Are you more inclined to a knight or a pawn?

On the pawn and knight theme, try a pair of pocket-sized books for a quick chess fix:

One Pawn Saves the Day and One Knight Saves the Day by Sergei Tkachenko, are from the publisher of "The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein", which we reviewed in October.

The concept is simple, but fun. Each page features a short study in which a lone pawn figures prominantly in the story. 

For instance, here's study No. 2:

One Pawn Saves the Day

You can "save the day" for your technically inclined gift recipient too — the books are now also available on the Forward Chess app in an interactive formate with built-in chess engine.

Best sellers for the holidays

Of course you may want something more educational or are just in a rush, with no time for shopping...or shipping. These bestsellers from more than a thousand products in the ChessBase Shop are all avaialable via digital download, for near-instant gradiciation...and your edification!

Fritz 16

Playing against an engine is now fun once again. A host of features, including "Assisted Analysis", which gives you discreet visual hints as you move, and emoticons, which show Fritz’s mood, are there to help you. Even with little knowledge of chess, you can enjoy many an exciting game, and more importantly, victory, against Fritz. Fritz doesn’t come up short when it comes to playing strength either: the new multiprocessor engine was developed by star programmer Vas Rajlich ("Rybka") and is up there with the global elite.

Fritz 16 - He just wants to play!

Fritz 16 is looking forward to playing with you, and you're certain to have a great deal of fun with him too. Tense games and even well-fought victories await you with "Easy play" and "Assisted analysis" modes.

ChessBase 14 Mega-Pack

ChessBase 14Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. The Mega-pack is the best value as it includes a whole host of the best ChessBase has to offer, wrapped up in once convenient (digital) package:

  • ChessBase 14 Program with access to the Live-Database (8 million games)
  • Mega Database 2018
  • CBMagazine subscription for a full year (6 issues)
  • Database-Update-Service through end of 2018
  • Full year Premium membership for playchess and for the ChessBase Accounts

You'll recognize ChessBase Magazine even if you're not a subscriber from the weekly endgame and tactics columns in News.

We've also posted a number of articles on the myriad uses of the Mega Database.

And of course it includes...

ChessBase Premium Account

A ChessBase account is your gateway to all of our web apps — online version of our most popular software and tools.

Web apps icons

Learn more at

Among the many benefits of a Premium account, you'll gain access to the entire archive of shows — such as the Power Play Show with Daniel King, Simon Says with Simon Williams, The Weekly Show with Lawrence Trent, and Endgame Magic with Karsten Mueller — which are streamed live for free here on the News page, but only available on-demand for Premium members.

Houdini 6 PRO and Komodo 11

Winner of the recent TCEC "superfinal" competition, Houdini is now de facto chess engine world champion. But both engines are incredibly strong, and complement each other, such that most professionals consult both.

Houdini 6 Pro

Houdini 6 continues where its predecessor left off, and adds solid 60 Elo points to this formidable engine, once again making Houdini the strongest chess program currently available on the market.

Fritz & Chesster (for the kids)

Learn to think strategically, try out tricky mental exercises and master fun and exciting challenges — all with a generous helping of chess knowledge. These things and more await you on this unusual chess adventure that has already received great international acclaim. Start playing version 3.0 of Fritz & Chesster Volume 1 straight away and on any computer, laptop, tablet or iPad with Internet access and join Prince Fritz and his cousin Bianca on their journey through the rules of chess and many tactical motifs.

The 10 most popular Fritztrainer series in 2017

  1. Simon Williams: The London System with 2.Bf4
    "Why bother learning hundreds of complex variations and keeping up with the latest theory when you can play a simple yet deadly opening - the London System with 2.Bf4. In this DVD I take you through all the main ideas and setups that you need in order to gain a very exciting yet well founded opening game with the White pieces.
    Watch Simon Says on the latest theory in the London System...
  2. Vidit Gujrathi: The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2
    "The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Black’s play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether."
  3. Erwin L’Ami: The Dutch Stonewall - A fighting repertoire against 1.d4
    "When opening theory is growing exponentially, it is great to have an opening that is mainly based on ideas: the Dutch Stonewall! Players such as Mikhail Botwinnik and Magnus Carlsen liked this system, in which Black from the very first move fights for the initiative. On this DVD Grandmaster Erwin l’Ami, second of world class player Anish Giri, takes the viewer on a fascinating journey to show him the depth and attractions of this attractive opening. At the end of the journey you will have a new fighting repertoire against 1.d4!"
  4. Viktor Bologan: The Modern Pirc
    Viktor Bologan has played the Pirc all his life and explains why he likes this opening: “Strong Grandmasters, International Masters or amateurs often ask me what they should play with Black against 1.e4 if they want to play for a win. Sometimes I say ‘Just play your opening and play it good’ but sometimes you need to or want to get your opponent out of his comfort zone, out of his preparation.  I have played the Modern Pirc all my life and it has brought me a lot of success."
  5. Simon Williams: The Black Lion - an aggressive version of the Philidor Defense
    "Looking for an interesting, exciting, aggressive and flexible opening to play against 1 e4!? Then the Black Lion is just the opening for you! The Lion gets ready to roar after 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0–0 c6 – and now Black wants to attack with an early ...g5. This opening, first brought into the limelight by Dutch amateur players Jerry van Rekom and Leo Jansen, now gets the Grandmaster treatment."

  6. Yannick Pelletier: The Hedgehog - a universal system against 1.c4 and 1.Nf3
    The Hedgehog is a wily opening system characterized by a very particular pawn structure. At first glance, Black’s setup might appear somewhat passive, but looks can be deceiving!
    Read the review...
  7. Simon Williams: The Tactical Chigorin
    "Opening with the Chigorin shows your intention to play for a win right from the outset. After 2...Nc6 Black’s pieces fly into the game putting pressure on White’s position from a very early stage. This opening is ideal for the type of player who strives for an unconvential yet attacking game right from the start."
    Read the review...
  8. Viktor Bologan: Reti — A Repertoire for White
    "It is always fascinating when you, preparing for the game or checking an opening line, meet games dated from the beginning of the last century or even from the 1800s. Working on the DVD, I realized that the development of the knight to f3, followed by the attack on the centre with c4, was played by almost all great champions of the past. The most valuable investment into this opening was of course made by Richard Reti, who scored a couple of victories with it in the 1920s, but what would it look like without Capablanca’s games or Smyslov’s fine ideas?"
  9. Adrian Mikhalchishin: Pattern Recognition and Typical Plans
    "Studies prove: the more patterns you know, the better you play. On this DVD GM Adrian Mikhalchishin presents games of the World Champions of the past to explain typical patterns and strategic concepts of these games and to show how grandmasters apply these ideas today. Mikhalchishin offers a wealth of material that helps you to improve your games and teaches you the art of pattern recognition and analogical thinking – a key to success that helped the author to win many games and that will help you to win more games and play better."
  10. Charlie Storey: The Sniper
    "The Sniper – officially created in 2010 - has now been tested with success against top grandmasters and computer programs and still manages to ensure new and creative opening situations full of imbalance - and hence winning prospects for Black. DVD author Charlie Storey has used the Sniper, in conjunction with deep computer analysis, to help gain 145 UK Open victories and has seen his students employ it successfully in European Youth Championships."
    Read the review...

Girl playing chess at Christmas

She looks like she could use some help with her openings...

Whatever you choose, be sure to enjoy some time with family and friends!
Happy holidays from your friends at ChessBase!


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