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My Secret Weapon: 1.b3

by  Wesley So

Price Euro 34.90
Minimum: Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, Windows 7 or 8.1, DirectX11, graphics card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 14/Fritz 16 or included Reader and internet access for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel i5 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 10, DirectX11, graphics card with 512 MB RAM or more, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet access for program activation.

The chess who likes to avoid long memorizing of moves but prefers his opening knowledge on more logical sense of understanding.
Often there are tricky transpositions to genius Grandmaster Wesley So reveals in a very instructive way of understand the secrets of the move 1.b3,maybe one of the most interesting opening systems available to the modern player of today.
This is the perfect choice for the player reversed openings as the Nimzo or Queens Indian but this is all well explained as how to make advantage of  the powerful white bishops.
All material is covered in nine heavy loaded video files,tree plus an extra database from over 140 entries.
A fine example of play is: Fischer,Robert James - Tukmakov,Vladimir B [A01]
Buenos Aires Buenos Aires (1), 19.07.1970
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.c4 Nf6 4.e3 Be7 5.a3 0-0 6.d3 d5 7.cxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qd6 9.Nf3 Bf5 10.Qc2 Rfd8 11.Rd1 h6 12.h3 Qe6 13.Nd2 Nd7 14.Be2 Kh8 15.0-0 Bg6 16.b4 a6 17.Rc1 Rac8 18.Rfd1 f5 19.Na4 Na7 20.Nb3 b6 21.d4 f4 22.e4 Nb5 23.Bg4 Qf6 24.dxe5 Nxe5 25.Bxc8 Rxc8 26.Rd5 1-0,Karsten Müller wrote in his book Bobby Fischer: Fischer plays the whole game in the spirit of the hyper modernists, and shows that he is a universal player.
Video running time is two hours and 50 minutes.
Conclusion: Grandmaster Wesley So presents here a detailed coverage of the move 1.b3!

My Black Secrets in the Modern Italian
by  Wesley So

Price Euro 34.90
Minimum: Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, Windows 7 or 8.1, DirectX11, graphics card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 14/Fritz 16 or included Reader and internet access for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel i5 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 10, DirectX11, graphics card with 512 MB RAM or more, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet access for program activation.

The great Wesley So talks to his college  IM Oliver Reeh, explaining his personal experiences as Black in the Modern Italian, a opening that looks so innocents but is
loaded with deadly traps!
This all is well explained with 10 video files,tree and a extra database of 157 entries!
Pleas see how the young Jorden van Foreest handles this opening: Van Foreest,Jorden (2557) - Lorparizangeneh,Shahin (2449) [C54]
Moscow Aeroflot op-A 15th Moscow (4), 04.03.2016
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0-0 Nf6 5.d3 0-0 6.Nbd2 d6 7.c3 a6 8.Bb3 Be6 9.Bc2 h6 10.h3 Re8 11.Re1 Ba7 12.Nf1 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.Ng3 Qd6 15.Nh4 Qe7 16.Nhf5 Qf6 17.Qh5 g6 18.Nxh6+ Kf8 19.Qf3 Qxf3 20.gxf3 f5 21.d4 exd4 22.Bb3 Na5 23.Rxe6 Rxe6 24.Bxd5 Re1+ 25.Nf1 Rd8 26.Nxf5 Re5 27.Bh6+ Ke8 28.Ng7+ Kd7 29.Be4 Rh8 30.Bf4 Re7 31.Bg5 Rxg7 32.Bf6 Rgg8 33.Bxh8 Rxh8 34.cxd4 Rxh3 35.Ne3 Nc6 36.Kg2 Rh8 37.d5 Ne5 38.f4 Bxe3 39.fxe5 Bf4 40.e6+ Kd6 41.Bxg6 Be5 42.Bf7 Rh2+ 43.Kf3 Bxb2 44.Re1 Bf6 45.Kg3 Rh6 46.Rb1 Bh4+ 47.Kg2 Rf6 48.f3 Rf5 49.Rxb7 Rxd5 50.f4 Rb5 51.Ra7 Ra5 52.Kh3 Bf2 53.Ra8 Be3 54.Kg3 Ra4  55.f5 Bg5 56.Bh5 Ra3+ 57.Bf3 Be7 58.Rg8 Rxa2 59.Rg6 Ke5 60.Rg7 Bd6 61.Kg4 Rh2 62.e7 Rh8 63.Kg5 Bb4 64.Bc6 Bd2+ 65.Kg6 Rh6+ 66.Kf7 Rf6+ 67.Kg8 1-0.The grandfather of Jordan was a very strong player too,and there is even a book from him: “Een hulde aan Jhr.Dr.Dirk van Foreest door Lodewijk Prins,Tijdstroom Lochem 1942.But his grandfather preferred in his time the good old  Evans Gambit!
Video running time is a little over 3 hours.
Must say that the analyses from Wesley So are from a very high level of play!
Conclusion: Wesley So provides the user here with a innocent looking but deadly weapon!

ChessBase Magazine issue 182
February/March 2018
ISSN 1432-8992
Price Euro 19.95

System requirements
Minimum: Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, Windows 7 or 8.1, DirectX11, graphics card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 14/Fritz 16 or included Reader and internet access for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel i5 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 10, DirectX11, graphics card with 512 MB RAM or more, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet access for program activation.

The main tournament files is good for 916 entries and where a small 44 of them are more than excellent analysed!
A fine example of this all is:
Sutovsky,Emil (2683) - Caruana,Fabiano (2799) [B19]
Douglas IoM op Douglas (6), 28.09.2017
This game was played in round six of the magnificent and extremely strong Isle of Man tournament. We were both on 4/5 - hardly a surprising result for Fabiano, and very decent for myself. Still I had no reason to rest on my laurels, especially while you don't get any laurels with +3 score in an Open tournament, even as strong as the one we were playing. Both of us were in a fighting mood - I had White, and a very good record in our classical encounters before, whilst Caruana is Caruana, and he was possibly feeling - it is a good chance for him - after all, what could be a better pairing than to face an ambitious but objectively weaker player?
1.e4 c6 A rare choice for him, but I managed to guess it correctly. The Caro-Kann might sometimes be boring, but according to Kasparov - there is no better weapon to meet a musketeer, who is out for a big tussle. Not sure I still qualify for D'Artagnian, but there is also Porthos with the similar body build, and the famous motto "I fight because I fight"... 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Cunning choice. I usually opt for 3.e5, but I was sure that Fabiano would be well-prepared there, and opted for a more solid move. So far. 3...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 e6 [7...Nd7 is the main one, but the move made by Caruana is not only possible, but leads to potentially sharper positions.] 8.Ne5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Nd7 11.Bf4 Another move here is 11.f4 - but I had tried it once against Eljanov - without any success, and knew that Fabiano would be ready to meet it. After the bishop's move, my opponent started thinking for the first time in this game. 11...Qa5+ [11...Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Nf6 is also possible, but Black usually tends to include ...£a5+ in these setups, as long as White has to reply with c2-c3.] 12.c3 Ngf6 And here he thought for even longer. The main theory is 12...¤xe5 13.¥xe5 ¤f6, when Black usually equalises with precise play. But Fabiano either wanted to provoke me, or he simply thought there is no point to allowing my bishop to e5 - and after due consideration made the inferior move, which leaves White with more options. 13.0-0 [13.Nc4 Qd5 14.0-0 was another, option, but 13...£d8 was a move I didn't like, hence I decided not to force the matters so far and to complete my preparations, as Black can't release the pressure.] 13...Be7 [13...Nxe5 14.dxe5 would favour White - that's why they take on e5 before developing the knight from g8.] 14.Nc4! And now it's time to ask the black queen about her intentions. 14...Qd5 [14...Qd8 15.Nd6+ Bxd6 16.Bxd6 is not as bad as it looks, but White is better here, even if the engines are not over-enthusiastic. But that's a kind of +0.25 I will take any day. Any time. Against anybody.] 15.Ne3 Too impatient. A simple 15.¦fe1 would be better for White, and even significantly better, if we ask its majesty. But I thought 15.¤e3 is a nice idea - if he goes back to a5, I can repeat once and then consider other moves, and if he goes to b5... 15...Qb5 16.c4 Qa5 [16...Qa6 is stronger. I thought 17.¦ad1 followed by eventual d4-d5 (possibly after removing the queen from exchange) is very good for White, however engines suggest Black is holding here. Not that I am entirely convinced, but probably it is correct. The move made by Fabiano seems logical, and the queen on a5 looks nice, but here I have the powerful continuation which I had in mind before playing 15.¤e3.] 17.b4! Qd8 Played after a prolonged thought. Objectively it might be not the strongest, but other possibilities seemed more dangerous for Black: [17...Bxb4 18.c5 0-0 19.Rab1 looks just lost, but even if Black can survive somehow, it is not human to opt for the line.;
17...Qxb4 18.Rfb1 Qa4 19.Rxb7 looks very unpleasant;
17...Qa4! probably the strongest. Now White has several tempting options, but there is no decisive breakthrough. However the queen on a4 is just out of the game, so Caruana's decision to get it back is fully understandable.] 18.d5 Nf8! Brilliant defensive resource. White can obtain a huge advantage here with the most precise play, and I knew it was a case, as the logic of chess simply requires that, but working out the exact sequence turned out to be an insurmountable task. 19.h5! The first step is correct. Restricting his knight, sacrificing a pawn is correct, but when he reroutes the knight with 19...exd5 I didn't find the only way to obtain a winning position. No surprise - it was very difficult one.
20.Nef5 [20.Rad1!! Ne6 21.Be5 0-0 22.Ngf5! was the way, and I briefly considered it - as well as another dozen of options, but it was nearly impossible to understand, that it is precisely here, when all the lines work - the main one being 22...Bxb4 (22...Re8 I wasn't sure about a move of this kind - looks like White has nothing better than a total exchange, but 23.cxd5! cxd5 (23...Nxd5 24.Bxg7!) 24.Bxf6! Bxf6 25.Nxd5 Kh8 26.Qc4! Rc8 27.Qg4 and White's domination secures a decisive advantage.) 23.cxd5 Nxd5 24.Qb3!! Bc5 25.Nxd5 cxd5 26.Rxd5 Qg5 (26...Qb6 27.Qg3!) 27.Nxg7! Nxg7 28.Bb2 Qg4 29.Rxc5 and White should be able to convert it, although the technical part won't be easy. Now, how was I supposed to find it? Not quite clear to me.
I have loads of seemingly good and very good possibilities on move 20. No Kotov theories work here. Each candidate move requires a lot of time to calculate and access properly - how to deal with that even given the fact that the clocks are not ticking anymore? No answer. I think the art of choosing a move in a complex position like that deserves a separate book. But who would write it? It is much easier to assign 100-200 puzzles, to check them with the computer, to meat it up with some words, and to deserve the appreciation of thousands. Much easier than to deal with the really deep topics. Well, that is how the invisible hand of the market works. So, we are left with our modest ability to calculate, evaluate and rely on our intuition... But there is a good side of it - imagine we were playing a game, where everything can be explained, learned and memorized?] 20...Ne6 21.Be5 0-0 22.Nxh6+ This looked good, although I didn't see a win here. And there is no win. White plays logically, but Black is in time to parry all the threats and equalise. Move 20 was really the turning point. 22...gxh6 23.Nf5 Ng7 Human choice. [Another option is 23...dxc4 and here I planned 24.Qc2! with the killing threat of ¦ad1. Too good to be true. He can't play ...£d3, as the bishop on e7 is hanging, but after the only move a) 24.Nxh6+ Kg7! 25.Nf5+ Kh7! subtle one - I was sort of proud seeing it during the game. Now 26.Qb1 (26.Qc2 Qd3) 26...Qd3 leads to a big advantage for black, who returns a piece but liquidates to a very good ending.; b) 24.Qg3+ Kh7 25.Rfd1 Nd5 and there is no mate, and no piece.; 24...Ng4! 25.Rad1 Nxe5 the simplest (25...Qe8 26.Ba1!! now it looks very bad for him, as 26...¥f6 loses to 27.£c4, but the computer suggests Black can hold with 26...¥g5!! Maybe.(26.Bb2 Bf6! now my queen has to protect the bishop, hence there is no better way than 27.f3 Ne3 28.Nxe3 Bxb2 29.Qxb2 Qe7 and Black holds) ) 26.Rxd8 Bxd8 27.Nxh6+ Kg7 28.Nf5+ and here the brave 28...Kf6 leads to a dynamic equality or a draw after 29.Nh4! Bc7 (29...Kg7 30.Nf5+ Kf6) 30.Qf5+ Ke7 31.Re1 Rad8 32.Rxe5 Bxe5 33.Qxe5 Rd5 34.Nf5+ Kd7 35.Qf6 c3! 36.Ne3 Rxh5 37.Qxc3=] 24.Nxh6+ Kh8 25.Nf5 There was another option: [25.Qf3 but I noticed 25...¤d7 (all other moves make little sense, although Black should not lose after 25...dxc4 as well) 25...Nd7 26.Bxg7+ Kxg7 27.Nf5+ Kh8 28.cxd5 and stopped around here, not trusting my compensation. Correct judgment - even if Black has still to play a couple of good moves to consolidate. 28...Bxb4 very cool. 29.dxc6 bxc6 30.Qxc6 Nf6 and White will suffer.] 25...dxc4! Strong one. I saw that I regain a piece there, and was under the illusion - it would be good for me. But in fact it is just equal. Fabiano made the decision to take on c4 very quickly - kudos to his intuition, as this is the only way to keep the balance, although during the game it was not evident. It has to be said that I also relied largely on my intuition while sacrificing a piece. The attempts to supply it with the concrete lines were partly successful, but I can't really say I controlled it all. Well, I could pretend I did - but you'd better don't trust those commentators who claim they saw it all from the beginning!
26.Qf3 Qd3 27.Qxd3 cxd3 28.Nxe7 Nfxh5 Now White has several ways to regain the pawn on d3, but I could not be really selective - being down to the last couple of minutes to reach move 40... 29.g4 Rfe8 Only move, but a sufficient one. 30.Rae1 Kh7! 31.Bxg7 Kxg7 32.gxh5 Kf6 33.Re3? [33.Nxc6 bxc6 34.Rxe8 Rxe8 35.Rd1 Rd8 36.Kf1 is just a draw, as I am in time to get to d2, but I panicked in a time trouble, and ended up in a bad endgame.] 33...Rxe7 34.Rxd3 Re5 35.Rf3+ [35.Rd6+ is still a fairly easy draw, but with my king exposed it seemed too dangerous to send the shielding rook far away.] 35...Ke6 36.Rh3 Rh8 37.h6 Rg5+ 38.Kh2 Rg6 39.Re1+ Kd7 40.Rd1+ Kc7 41.h7 Rg7 Finally we made it to the time-control. Is it lost or can White hold with the best play? I still don't have an answer. What I know for sure, that at some point I was losing, but Fabiano missed it. Did I miss the stronger defence - sure. Was it good enough to hold? I don't have an answer yet - probably I will need to dedicate a separate commentary/article to the ensuing endgame. Meanwhile I will just point out for you the critical junctures.
42.Rdd3! [42.Rd4 Rgxh7 43.Rxh7 Rxh7+ 44.Kg3 but I disliked 42...b5, and thought it might be useful to have the rook on the third rank there.] 42...b5 [42...Rgxh7 43.Rxh7 Rxh7+ 44.Kg3 Rg7+ (44...Rh5!? 45.Rf3 Rg5+ 46.Kf4 Rb5 and now I have both 47.a3 and 47.a4, and maybe both of them are sufficient to draw, but it could be that both of them are losing.) 45.Kf4 Rg2 46.Rf3 was the line I expected. Probably White should hold.] 43.Rdf3! Rgxh7 44.Rxh7 Rxh7+ 45.Kg3 Kb6 46.Rf6! Rh1 47.Rxf7? [47.f4! that probably was the way to draw. Not allowing the unpleasant intermediate check which happened in the game. 47...Rg1+ 48.Kf3 and when the pawn race starts my king will control the vitally important f2- and f1-squares.] 47...Rg1+! 48.Kh4 [48.Kf4 Ra1 49.Ke5 Rxa2 50.f4 Re2+ 51.Kd4 Rd2+ 52.Ke5 a5 and Black is probably winning.] 48...Ra1 49.f4 Rxa2 50.f5 a5 [50...Ra4 51.f6 Rxb4+ 52.Kg5 Rb1 is also winning as confirmed by the engines.] 51.bxa5+ Rxa5 52.Rf8 b4 53.Kg4 Kc7? Engines claim, that both 53...¢b7 and 53...¦a7 win - and that is true. It is just not very simple to understand why. No, there are no mysterious moves like it happens with 6-7 pieces tablebases, but the lines are still rather complex. That said, Caruana's choice is still far from the best, as White now has two ways to draw it. 54.f6 Kd7 55.Rc8! Nice one, but the simple 55.f7 ¢e7 56.¦c8 was also enough. 55...Ke6 Draw agreed. I enjoyed the game - although it left more questions than answers. And even after annotating it, it feels like some treasures remain hidden. I'd suggest to anyone working on rook endgames to take a close look on this ending - not waiting for my article to appear. After all, it is only your own work that really counts! ½-½.
A other hot item are the so called theory surverys as: Postny: Reti Opening A09 (Recommendation for Black)
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 Bg4,Ris: Benko Gambit A57 (Recommendation for White)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a5 5.Nc3 axb5 6.e4 b4 7.Nb5 d6,Papp: Sicilian B49 (Recommendation for White)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.a3 b5,Karolyi: French C02 (Recommendation for Black)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Ne7,Szabo: French C18 (Recommendation for Black)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5 6.b4 cxd4 7.Qg4 Kf8,Breder: Petroff Defence C42 (Recommendation for White)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Nbd2,Marin: Ruy Lopez C87 (Recommendation for Black)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 d6 7.c3 Bg4,Breutigam: Anti-Grünfeld D00 (Recommendation for White)
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Nb5,Schandorff: Anti-Grünfeld D02 (Recommendation for White)
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d5 6.c3,Kuzmin: Queen's Gambit D35 (Recommendation for Black)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 c5 and at last:Quintiliano: Catalan E05 (Recommendation for Black)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 b6
Other columns are Williams:Move by Move,Rogozenco:The Classic,Grivas:Fide training course,Marin:Strategy,Reeh:Tactics,Müller:Recent rook endings,Knaak:Recent opening traps and several Opening videos as Daniel King with Grand Prix Attack,Mihail Marin Queens Gambit and Lawrence Trent with the Italian game.
Included is a smashing booklet in two languages German and English!
Conclusion: This what every chess players needs to have on his or hers computer!