Mihail Marin: Power Strategy 1

by Davide Nastasio
5/13/2015 – Did you ever wonder why Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov or Vishy Anand need only seconds to find the right plans? Maybe because they studied chess strategy and classical games. With his DVDs on "Power Strategy" Mihail Marin helps you to do the same "with the expertise of a university professor who patiently explains difficult material in an easily understandable manner".

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A University Education

When I was in college I was frustrated with the education system because every year they would test us on what kind of learner we were (visual, auditory, or tactile), and then independently from the results they would just give us a heavy 2,000+ page book to read. I’m not against books, but as a tactile learner my brain is clearly dominated by movement, color, and geometric shapes. So, while one of the best books on the middlegame was written by Nimzowitsch, between his metaphors from a previous century and the translation, I wasn’t able to learn much from it. Yet I knew that one cannot go far without studying the middlegame and the endgame.

Thanks to the ChessBase Fritz Trainer system I can receive all the knowledge I need without opening a book, while at the same time engaging all my senses for learning. With the Power Strategy series of DVDs, Romanian grandmaster Mihail Marin “aims to demonstrate the importance of taking proven principles into account before choosing the direction of your over-the-board calculations.”

This first DVD focuses on development in the initial phase of the game and the wide range of situations in which developing moves are of the highest priority. Marin offers the viewer a kaleidoscope of games played by modern grandmasters across twenty video segments, along with an exclusive training database of fifty-five essential games that correspond to the themes presented on the DVD.

The database is quite interesting because of exciting games played by the best players: Tal, Nezhmetdinov, Fischer, Geller, and GM Marin himself. Viewers can also test their skills with many quiz videos featuring interactive feedback. In the section on general aspects, GM Marin shows the game Ivkov – Gheorgiu:

B. Ivkov - F. Gheorghiu

The black player, a strong Romanian GM, is punished for not developing. This shows us that the rules are the same for amateurs and professionals alike, and if one violates them, the opponent will win the game. Gheorghiu also made the mistake of attacking before finishing his development. As can be seen in the diagram, Black has still four pieces on the back rank, and it is already move seventeen of the game.

Marin presents games that had an impact on him as a player. He tells us to “find some games which are beautiful, and you will want to see them over and over.” I believe this is necessary in order to become a stronger player. The importance of his message is conveyed in his tone of voice, which wouldn’t come across so clearly if only written on the page of a book.

Marin shares a lot of chess wisdom throughout the DVD, including quotes from players the past. For instance, Rudolf Spielmann, the last of the romantics, in relation to the material value of a pawn compared to development, said “one pawn is equivalent to three tempi.” Marin’s deep knowledge of chess history is one of the things that I really like about this DVD.

Rudolf Spielmann

Of the four videos on the theme of punishing a deviation from natural development, I’d like to show a position that is really interesting from Fischer-Byrne, 1965:

R. Fischer - R. Byrne, 1965

Fischer just played Nxd4, thinking that he will be able to keep the enemy king in the center because the Be7 is under-protected. Instead Byrne answered with a move that left Fischer dumbfounded! The threat Nxc6 is not real, but Fischer was deceived into thinking that Black couldn’t castle!

Bobby Fischer playing at the Chess Olympiad 1960 in Leipzig

Another game of note was played between Timman versus Geller in 1973:

J. Timman - E. Geller

In this position White has just played 14.Bb5, trying to impede the development of the black knight. Is this a great move or not? In explaining the answer GM Marin tells the story of how Geller previously lost a game against Furman in 1970. Let’s remember that Furman was Karpov’s coach! Then Geller found an improvement: 14…Qb7. He told Spassky about this move, but he didn’t use it in his match against Fischer! Hence, with this game against Timman, Geller wins thanks to Qb7! This shows the importance of knowing the history of an opening line, and the ideas behind it, especially at the professional level.

(From left to right): Efim Geller, Anatoly Karpov, Semyon Furman

The three videos devoted to converting an advance in development were quite enlightening. Marin notes Steinitz' observation that while a development advantage can be temporary, it can also last throughout the game, up until the final victory. This made me think twice, because I always considered it just temporary. This simple statement shook the foundation of things I thought I knew, and made look at the games I review daily under a different light.

The next section of four videos is about developing sacrifices. The obvious role model for these games is Tal. The next-to-last section is entitled “how to catch up in development, ignoring minor threats,” and is comprised of five videos. The last section features two games on the theme “the tactical benefits of perfect development.”

Overall, I’m satisfied with Power Strategy 1. Marin performs with the expertise of a university professor who patiently explains difficult material in an easily understandable manner. With the aid of the many games provided, I’ve absorbed the ideas, and will be able to apply them to my own games. Products like this one allow amateur-level players to play far above their rating. I’d like to conclude the review with another pearl of wisdom: Marin, quoting Kortchnoi, states “in order to ignore the rules, you first must know them well.”

Viktor Korchnoi

Sample video

Mihail Marin: Power Strategy 1
From the opening to the middlegame

• Video running time: 4 hours 52 min (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Exclusive training database with 50 essential games
• Including CB 12 – Reader

€25.13 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU)
$28.03 (without VAT)

This DVD can be be downloaded directly from the Internet, that way sparing you the few days needed for it to arrive by post.

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Davide is a novel chess aficionado who has made chess his spiritual tool of improvement and self-discovery. One of his favorite quotes is from the great Paul Keres: "Nobody is born a master. The way to mastery leads to the desired goal only after long years of learning, of struggle, of rejoicing, and of disappointment..."


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