The unleashing of each new issue of ChessBase Magazine is an event for celebration in the chess ranks.
GM Short innovated early on against the pesky Petroff. Here, he has just played his pawn to a3, preparing b4. He developed a crushing position. 'I had Vladimir Kramnik's balls on toast', he says, and is very scathing about the way he missed several opportunities. Short has never been known to mince his words.
'A unique Dragon-Najdorf setup is what FM Lilov calls the core of the Sicilian Kan, which will guarantee you a strong and active position even late in the middle game, which will provide you with plenty of counterattack possibilities.'FM Lilov is another presenter for the ChessBase Fritztrainer range and here he makes a double-headed debut with a brace of DVDs.
The Sicilian Kan arises after the moves:
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6
It's a slippery system and one which suffers from - or enjoys - far less coverage than certain Sicilian variations.
The bulk of the material is covered in these chapters:
How to fight an early Nf3 and e5
Plan with b5 & Qb6 -Main Line with Bxe3
Plan with b5 & Qb6 -Deviations
Plan with Bd3 -d7-d5 idea
Plan with Bd3 -Drago-Najdorf setup
Maroczy Bind -Plan with Bc5
Maroczy Bind -Plan with Bb4
Maroczy Bind -Plan with Bb4 II
Maroczy Bind -Sacrifice on e4
Maroczy Bind -Plan against Bd3-h3
Maroczy Bind The Hedgehog Enhanced
Maroczy Bind -The Sacrifice on e4 for Black
General Plan No.1
General Plan No.2
The material is presented via illustrative games. The emphasis is on the explanation of key ideas, which is fine, but I did feel that the theoretical side of things was often quite weak.
As a presenter, FM Lilov has a good style. He has a soft, friendly voice and his speech is fluid. However, I believe both of his DVDs suffer from the old 'style over substance' problem. I think there is better to come from him.
'FM Lilov will teach you a plan for Black with a6, b5,Bb7, Nbd7 and c5, which is one of the best ways to meet White's Queen's Gambit.'
All in all, I came away from this DVD feeling rather disappointed. However, it could make an easy starting point for lesser experienced club players, new to the QGA, who would like to learn something about it. But they will have to do quite a lot of independent research to create a workable repertoire.
The back cover blurb for both of these DVDs has presumably lost something in translation:
IM Martin is, as usual, rather more to the point with his presentation. He offers substantial coverage of variations arising from 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Bxc6. Old Fischer favourites die hard but the Exchange Variation has never gathered as many fans as the frankly superior 4 Ba4. Yet 4 Bxc6 has a major selling point:
'A simple idea underpins the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Take all the pieces off and White wins the ending.'
He gives players of the Black pieces some sensible advise: hang onto the Bishop pair and keep well clear of the endgame.
The first illustrative game sees Larina Neto (rated 2464) beat Michael Adams (2703) - a good advert for the variation.
This is important, as essentially White's game plan is simply to get down to this sort of position, so it makes perfect sense to master the basic procedure of converting the advantage.
...all of Black's major options are analysed. They are:5...Qd6
There's also a bit of coverage for Black's alternative capture, 4...bxc6
This is the pick of the Fritzainer bunch this time around.