Let a 2800 Elo player be your opening tutor: Wesley So!

by Sagar Shah
2/2/2018 – ChessBase has video tutorials with the world's best grandmasters. Be it Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Nigel Short, Viktor Korchnoi, everyone has recorded Fritztrainers with ChessBase. Continuing this legacy of products with outstanding quality, we are proud to launch two DVDs by Wesley So. This is an amazing opportunity to learn 1.b3 with white and Italian with black from a player who has a live rating of 2799.3! | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Opening package: 1.b3 and Black Secrets in the Modern Italian Opening package: 1.b3 and Black Secrets in the Modern Italian

Wesley So published two new opening DVDs: 1.b3, the so called Nimzo-Larsen-Attack, for White and his black secrets in the modern Italian. Get them in a package and save money!


More than the moves, the whole approach!

The Tata Steel 2018 was dominated by Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri. But Wesley So performed admirably! With a rating performance of 2834, he scored +3 and gained 7 Elo points. That pumps up his rating to 2799.3! It goes without saying that he will cross 2800 once again, a feat which he had achieved at the London Chess Classic 2016, becoming only the 12th player in the history of the game to cross that magical figure.

One of the key elements of Wesley's success is his phenomenal opening preparation. He works meticulously on his openings and has even put seasoned champions like Anand, Carlsen, Giri and others in trouble in the first phase of the game. It would be such a pleasure to learn about how to play different openings from him. With this aim in mind, ChessBase recorded two DVDs with him when he was in Hamburg towards the end of 2017.

More than the moves, I would say it is the approach that is priceless. How does a top player think when he sees a specific position, how does he assess it, how does he study the opening lines? All of this can be seen in these DVDs.

Oliver Reeh and Wesley So

Oliver Reeh and Wesley so from the Modern Italian FritzTrainer

IM Oliver Reeh is the host of the DVD. I think having a knowledgeable player who is well versed with the training techniques is a good partner for a top player like Wesley. He is able to ask those questions to the elite grandmaster which can be useful for the student and get very useful answers from the player.

1.b3 for white

1.b3 coverThe first DVD that Wesley recorded is 1.b3 for White. Says So:

"This opening has seen a lot of appearances at top level these days. Players like Richard Rapport, Baadur Jobava have been playing it quite a lot with success. When I was preparing against Baadur Jobava with the black pieces against 1.b3 at the World Cup, I realized that it was not such an easy opening to prepare against."

Some call it the Nimzowitsch-Larsen opening, but Wesley likes to call it simply 1.b3.

Black responses to 1.b3

To 1.b3, four responses from Black are analyzed 1...e5, 1...d5, 1...c5. and 1...Nf6

A classic example

One of the biggest adherents of the move 1.b3 was Bobby Fischer. Here is one game that just about every student should know:

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.c4 Nf6 4.e3 Be7 5.a3 O-O 6.Qc2 Re8 7.d3 Bf8 8.Nf3 a5 9.Be2 d5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Nbd2 f6 12.O-O Be6


Ulf Andersson in 1971 By Verhoeff, Bert / Anefo via Wikimedia Commons

Ulf Andersson in 1971 | Photo: Verhoeff, Bert / Anefo CC BY-SA 3.0 nl via Wikimedia Commons

Fischer found the brilliant and the amazing concept starting with 13.Kh1! The idea is very deep. White wants to play Rg1! and then launch an attack with g4-g5! A powerful plan indeed. Fischer won the game in brilliant style. Here's the entire game with some light analysis:


Sample video from this series

Contents of the DVD

  1. 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.c4 Nf6 4.e3 Be7 5.a3 0-0 6.d3/Qc2 - Analysis [11:13]
  2. 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 g6/d5 - Analysis [18:02]
  3. 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3/Bb5 - Analysis [20:30]
  4. 1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Nf6 3.e3 e6/g6 and 2...Bf5/Bg4 - Analysis [20:26]
  5. 1.b3 c5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 and 2...d5 3.e3 - Analysis [20:03]
  6. 1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 b6/c5/d5 and 2...b6 - Analysis [26:33]
  7. 1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nf3 d6 6.d4 Nbd7 and 5...d5 6.c4 c6/e6 - Analysis [14:34]
  8. 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 d6 3.e3 Nf6 4.d4/c4/g3 and 3...c5 4.d4 cxd4 5.exd4 exd4 - Analysis [16:41]
  9. 1.b3 d5 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.Ne5 Bf5/Bh5 and 2.Bb2 Bg4 3.h3/f3 and 2.Bb2 Nf6 3.Nf3 Bf5/Bg4 - Analysis [22:28]

Modern Italian from Black's perspective

I was one of those players who used to hate 1.e4 e5 with black. Mainly for the symmetry. I used to hate that both the players would develop their pieces to the most natural squares (Nf3-Nf6, Bc4-Bc5 and so on). I think it was a big breakthrough for me when I started studying 1...e5 in response to 1.e4. It's really a solid opening, so your results in chess improve, but at the same time there is always scope for new ideas and creativity even in simple positions as the example below shows. What would you play as Black here?

So vs Ding

Wesley So vs Ding Liren, World Cup 2017

So vs Ding

Ding Liren and Wesley So during their World Cup match | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Creativity can exist any and everywhere! Black moves his queen to a7 and puts pressure on the f2 point. Also, the queen would stand pretty well on b6.

So's move in the Italian

 Ding played 9...Qb8!? Replay the entire game in our full report

Sample video from this series

Contents of the DVD

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5

  1. 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 a6 6.a4 d6 7.Bg5 - Analysis [25:25]
  2. 4.0-0 Nf6 5.d3 0-0 6.a4 d6 7.c3 a6 8.h3 Ba7 - Analysis [32:34]
  3. 4.0-0 Nf6 5.d3 0-0 6.a4 a6 7.c3 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 - Analysis [13:33]
  4. 4.d3 Nf6 5.0-0 0-0 6.h3 d6 7.c3 a5 8.a4 Be6 - Analysis [20:08]
  5. 4.0-0 Nf6 5.d3 0-0 6.h3 d6 7.c3 Ne7 8.Re1 Ng6 - Analysis [23:06]
  6. 3...Nf6 4.d3 h6 5.0-0 d6 6.a4 g5 7.Nc3 Bg7 and 6.c3 g5 - Analysis [11:41]
  7. 4.0-0 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 a6 7.Bb3 Ba7 8.Re1 0-0 - Analysis [24:59]
  8. 4.d3 Nf6 5.c3 d6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Re1 a5 8.Nbd2 Be6 and 5.0-0 0-0 6.h3/Nbd2 - Analysis [14:45]
  9. 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 0-0 6.Bg5 d6/h6/Be7 - Analysis [18:43]

A win over Anand

Shortly after recording the DVD, Wesley had a chance to put his work into practice, employing the line against none other than former World Champion Viswanathan Anand in the final round at the London Chess Classic! Here's the game annotated by Wesley himself in the current issue of ChessBase Magazine!


ChessBase Magazine 182

Enjoy the best moments of recent top tournaments (London, Grand Prix Palma, European Teams) with analysis of top players. In addition you'll get lots of training material. For example 12 new suggestions for your opening repertoire.

Combo offer

If this is a repertoire for you, why not purchase both the DVDs in a combo?

Both DVDs in combo

Available for €62.90 if you purchase both video series in a combo

On a personal note

Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal with Wesley So and Lotis Key

I have been quite lucky to have known Wesley from close quarters and have conducted many interviews with him. Of course, he is a tremendously strong player, but more than that I respect him as a human being. A thoroughly kind and wonderful person, he has absolutely no superiority complex that you usually associate with a top chess player. I met Wesley and Lotis for the first time at the opening ceremony of the Qatar Masters 2015 and very soon we became great friends. If you go through the DVD you will realize some of the things that I have mentioned above about Wesley as a person.

I wish him good luck for the Candidates 2018, and hope that he is able to win the event and challenge Magnus Carlsen.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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