Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Chess Reviews: 211

ChessBase Magazine 152
There's little doubt about what represents the highlight of the new ChessBase magazine; it is definitely the coverage of the London Chess Classic. Magnus Carlsen won the event but he was pushed very close by Vladimir Kramnik.

Of particular interest are the 19 games presented with the audio versions of the post-match analysis, featuring the voices of the players themselves. On average, each post-mortem runs for 20+ minutes and they will surely stand the test of time as an important historical document. Nine of the London games have conventional annotations, provided by a variety of commentators. I always like to head first for the notes by the players themselves as they are often the most illuminating.

Here are two snippets which I found interesting.

Adams v Polgar
Adams looked to be in complete control throughout his smooth victory over Polgar, despite the latter making no obvious mistakes. According to Adams's annotations, the trouble started as early as the eighth move.

From the diagram, he played 8 Rd1 and adds the comment: ''This is the idea, I want to open the centre when my light squared bishop will keep a close eye on Black's queenside.'' Polgar replied with the natural 8 ...0-0, which Adams claims is already a mistake. ''From a practical and objective point of view, it was wise to try and impede my plan, as now the play becomes very one-sided. I had mainly analysed 8 ...Nd4! 9 Nxd4 cxd4 10 c4 in my preparation. After the knight moves away White will have a very comfortable Benoni but it's unclear if this is enough for an advantage.'' (1-0, 36)

Kramnik v McShane
This was a very impressive game by Kramnik. He now played 29 Ne3 ''which looks strong, but the computer found something simpler, as Kramnik explains: ''I was already looking for mate, not paying too much attention to the other side of the board, but in fact our silicon friend (enemy?) discovers a very nice geometrical motif instead: 29 b4! Qxb4 30 Rxd4 exd4 31 Qf4+ Kg7 32 Qxc7, winning.'' Later on, Kramnik admits to playing a move for surprise value with McShane's time almost out, ''hoping to win on time.'' It gave Black an unlikely resource which both players missed at the time, and the result wasn't affected. (1-0, 49) Nevertheless, it is encouraging for the rest of us that even the best players occasionally suffer from sloppy habits.

Elsewhere, there are reports on the FIDE Grand Prix (Tashkent leg, featuring Morozevich, Karjakin, Wang Hao...) and Bucharest (Ivanchuk, Topalov, Caruana, Nisipeanu) and plenty of games from other events (the main database includes 850 games in all).

As usual, the opening surveys present excellent and thought provoking analysis for the ambitious student. This time we are given the opportunity to find out more about the following lines:

Schipkov: English A31
1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d5 6.cxd5 Bc5 7.N5c3 0-0

Gormally: Pirc Defence B09
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Bd3 Na6 7.0-0 c5 8.d5 Rb8

Kuzmin: Caro-Kann B12
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h6 5.g4

Postny: Sicilian B30
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 Bb7

Langrock: French C01
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bd3 Ne7

Kritz: French C16
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Qd7

Breutigam: Trompowsky Attack D00
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 (d5)

Marin: Slav D16
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bg4 6.Ne5 Bh5 7.f3

Krasenkow: Semi-Slav D31
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+

Schandorff: Semi-Slav D44
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.exf6 Bb7 12.g3 c5 13.d5 Qb6 14.Bg2 0-0-0 15.0-0 b6 16.Rb1

Grivas: Grünfeld Defence D85
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+

A further three surveys are given in video format and these are:

Shirov on 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 h3

Kritz on 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 bxc6 5 0-0 Bg7

Bologan on 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e3 a6 5 Nf3 Bf5 

It's another very impressive edition of the ongoing magazine and one which should be of use and interest to players of all levels.

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