Mihail Marin: Power Strategy 2

by Davide Nastasio
5/20/2015 – In the first part of his "Power Strategy" series Mihail Marin had a look at the transition from opening to middlegame, focusing on the necessity, the art and the pitfalls of development. In his second "Power Strategy" DVD the Romanian Grandmaster, who is renowned for his historical knowledge and his passion for chess, explains how to handle static positions.

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Mihail Marin: "Power Strategy 2" - Review

In the last fourteen years GM Marin has become more involved in writing and coaching. He has written, or contributed to, more than ten books. GM Marin also reveals that this is the second DVD in a series of four about strategy! Power strategy 1 was based on the idea that there is a big difference on "what one would like to do..." and "what one should really do" in the game. Power Strategy 1 was mainly aimed at the opening phase, and its main theme: development, but it wasn't meant to teach opening lines. It was focusing on the struggle for development. Instead, Power Strategy 2 is deeply concerned with another important feature of the middlegame, the static positions. Practically GM Marin shows the strategic plans carried out in typical static positions.

 But what are the elements that GM Marin shows? Here a simple list:

Outposts (with all the ideas concerning such an element, for example how to fight against the piece occupying the outpost, and the pros and cons of an outpost. Or what "stable piece" really means, and how essential is that to the game).

The blocked center, and how the two players can confront it. White's mobile center, and when White has an advantage in the center. (In this case Marin says that Black has to block the center, and adopt a static approach).

Marin also examines the conflict between two static approaches, and of course also the conflict between static versus dynamic. As GM Marin reveals in this DVD, in Power Strategy 3 he will deal with Dynamic versus Dynamic approach to the game.

Tigran Petrosian knew a thing or two about good squares

One player who really knew how to put his pieces on good squares, where they were safe from enemy attack, while exerting strong pressure, was former World Champion Tigran Petrosian. Here's a fine positional game Petrosian won against Bent Larsen.


This is another fine example of Petrosian's positional skills, this time taken from a game Bisguier-Petrosian, New York 1954. Marin lucidly analyses this position, explaining the different elements and ideas one must consider to find the right move, and the reasons why Petrosian's move was good. Here's the game.

But the great merit of this example is not really related to the outpost, or to the fact that Marin asks us to find the best move in the position which is a good exercise, but has to do with GM Marin's fondness for educational quotes. Here Marin quotes Bronstein and his famous book about the candidates tournament in Zurich 1953 (if you don't have the book, please buy it right now!). When annotating the first game in his book, Bronstein explains how he had trouble to understand the concept of weak squares until he realized that being weak on the dark squares also meant that your white squares are vulnerable - and vice versa.

Well, I read Bronstein's book, I watched the game Bronstein commented, but, to be honest, I did not really understand what Bronstein was talking about. But when GM Marin showed the game on the DVD, I understood right away!

The DVD contains 16 videos, and a database of 51 additional games and tests. Practically every video is followed by numerous games and tests to better understand the material GM Marin presents.

This DVD uses the new interactice ChessBase training system, which I saw for the first time when I bought the ChessBase Master Class Vol. 2 on Mihail Tal. With the two buttons "solution" and "try again" Marin from time to time stops his lecture at critical moments and asks the student to find the next move. Depending on the move the student proposes, he will get a different feedback, with a different little video clip.

Now what do we get from this DVD? We get a GM showing us critical moments in classical masterpieces, asking us to take decisions, and to find the right move for one side, and then we get the ideas behind the evaluation of the position. Practically we see what GM Marin thinks when he sees a certain position.

When I watch the videos I also open the game file, and I begin to fill that game with written notes, with arrows, with colored squares, so that when I finish the video, I have created a kind of colorful map which will show me the important points of that game. Doing this exercise over and over brings us on the road to strategic mastery.

Now, I'd like to add one game, for the reader's benefit, but I'd like to warn you that to watch the game is not like following GM Marin's warm and nice presentation full of quotes.

As a possible criticism, one of the games used as example in the video Portisch vs Korchnoi, was played by Marin: Marin vs Ponomariov, 2012, this game wasn't in the database provided. So I had to look in my own Megabase 2015, and found it fully annotated, the source was Chessbase Magazine 152. Apart this little game mishap, I consider this DVD a must for those who are seriously interested in deepening their knowledge and understanding of strategy.

Sample video

Mihail Marin: Power Strategy 2
The Middlegame - Static positions

• Video running time: 4 hours 37 min.
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Exclusive training database with 41 annotated 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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