Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Chess Reviews: 233

ChessBase Magazine #158
The new issue of ChessBase Magazine is packed full of all the usual features, from tournament reports to opening surveys, middlegame tactics and endgame strategies.

The headline item this time is undoubtedly the coverage of the World Championship battle between defending champion Vishwanathan Anand and challenger - and overwhelming favourite - Magnus Carlsen.

Daniel King's video reports on the title bout are the top highlight of the issue. His polished style of delivery is tailor made for this sort of video coverage. His videos never outstay their welcome but they do a wonderful job of describing the salient moments of each game.

Coverage of the title match permeates other areas of the magazine too. Indeed, every phase of the battle is placed under the microscope.

The opening of game 9 (Nimzo-Indian, 4 f3) is analysed  by Lev Gutman. Anand developed a strong-looking attack in that game, although Carlsen seemed - ultimately - to have an answer to everything thrown at him by the defending champion. Gutman believes there was an early improvement that may have caused Carlsen more problems.
Anand vs. Carlsen
Anand's 13 Ra2 is the move I suspect most would play here (to swing the rook across to e2, in preparation of the e3-e4 push). However, Gutman prefers 13 Rb1 and offers a correspondence game (Napolkov vs. Bauer) as evidence of White's potential (although White played inaccurately and Black drew fairly comfortably).

 Dorian Rogozenco analyses some interesting moments from game 5.

Carlsen vs. Anand
 Carlsen has just played 45 Bh7. The position is heading for a draw, but Anand's dubious reply - 45 ...Rc1+?! - started a gradual drift to a painful and pivotal defeat. Rogozenco shows the simple improvement 45 ...Ra1!, attacking the a-pawn. Now 46 Kb2 runs into 46 ...Ra2+ when the white kingside pawns become easy targets and 46 Bg8+ Kc6 47 Bxb3 is met by 47 ...Rxa3!, utilising an important pin and keeping the draw well within reach.

Discussion of the fifth game is continued by Karsten Mueller, who is in his element as he demonstrates improvements in Anand's disastrous rook and pawn endgame technique.

Carlsen vs. Anand
There is only one way for Black to draw from this position and that is with 51 ...Re2!, with the sample line 52 a4 Rxe5 53 Kc4 Kc6 54 Rh6+ Kb7 55 a5 Re4+ 56 Kxc5 Re2 with a book draw. The point is that Black's king will deal with the a-pawn and his rook will keep the h-pawn under lock and key.
In the game, Anand stumbled with 51 ...Ke6? 52 a4 Kxe5 53 a5 Kd6 54 Rh7! and Black's pieces are suddenly unable to coordinate to stop the rook's pawns; his king is ''in the middle of nowhere'' and it is up to the rook to try and stop both the a-pawn and the h-pawn. A fruitless task; Carlsen won quickly from there.

It's the simplicity of the explanations I like. There's no fuss, no attempt to show off. The commentators get straight to the point and the lessons leave a lasting, uncluttered impression.

Other top events are given thorough coverage too. The European Team Championship and the World Team Championship. The stars were in action: Aronian, Kramnik, Nakamura, Adams et al.

The full list of opening surveys included in issue 158 - together with a free sample - can be found here.

As usual, ChessBase Magazine offers a very impressive array of top quality material at a very affordable price. An essential purchase!

No comments: