Latest book reviews of 1 January 2023

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
           John Elburg

Chess books

Checkmate! Great Champions and Epic Matches from a Timeless Game by Ben Graff
White Star Publishers
208 pages
{size 29x25 cm}
ISBN: 9788854418691

Ben Graff author of  The Greenbecker Gambit,2019 takes us this time in a fascinating journey in this beautiful produced big volume book throw
the history of 16 players who have been officially recognized as champions of the world.
All presented with fantastic photographs and eye catching diagrams.
The great Max Euwe has a special place in the gallery of champions, not perhaps as one of the very best titleholders, but as Ben Graff describes the player who has the most in common with the chess playing person in the street.
Included is a chapter on the Queen's Gambit and the fictive Beth Harmon but our author comes with real great woman chess players as Vera Menchik,Nona Gaprindashvili and Judit Polgar.
But there is more as great matches,included The Match of the Century-1972 and the super read on Artificial intelligence.
It was the codebreaker Alan Turing who made a huge contribution to the development of chess computers,writing a program based on Shannon's work that could play a full game.Turing tried to simulate the program,following its rules algorithms first in a game against the wife of a student,which has been unfortunately lost to history.
Interesting enough the chess computers went throw the years  from too weak to too strong!
Again with a lot of  unknown computer chess history and  fantastic photographs where many of them where new for me.
Included is a impressive bibliography and a collection of uncountable photos!
Conclusion: A truly gift for every chess lover!   

                                                                                                                 Chess DVD's

ChessBase 17 - program only

System requirements Minimum: Desktop PC or Notebook, 4 Threads, 8 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 64bit, DirectX 10 graphics card with 1 GB RAM, DVD ROM drive (when ordered by post), Internet access to activate the program, ChessBase Cloud and updates.
Recommended: intel core i7 or AMD Ryzen Processor with 8 Threads, 16 GB RAM, Windows 10/11 64bit, DirectX 11 graphics card (or compatible) with 1 GB RAM or more, DVD ROM drive (when ordered by post), full HD Monitor and Internet access to activate the program, ChessBase Cloud and updates

The new ChessBase 17 is not only faster and more eye catching but is overloaded with novelties so as: New data format: fewer files, more functions, more comfort, more speed.Engine analysis renovated: Variants are automatically verbally annotated, forced continuations are recognized, “buddy heuristics” for greater search depth!Pearl search: Find spectacular games instantly! Beautiful games are marked in the database list.Optimised program interface: high-resolution 2D board, faster graphics.New clearer search mask: material & positional searches simplified, immediate feedback on expected results.Intelligent position input: when setting up pieces, you are shown the games where those positions occur.Dozens of detail improvements for improved usability, e.g. automatic loading of the last edited game.Control via One-Drive: all database paths can be set in the options dialogue. Newly structured game notation: with intelligent folding and symbols.Modern integrated browser for all database texts.More insight: Visualisation of attack correlations (optional).Dark Mode: darkened program interface
 Retrieve games according to openings, players and tournaments; generate tournament cross tables and full graphic statistics of players or openings; “Similarity search” shows all games with similar pawn structures, sacrifice patterns, endgame positions, etc.; “Let’s check”*: access the world’s largest database of in-depth analysis (more than 200 million positions); “Instant Analysis”: Any unannotated game is analysed almost without delay immediately on loading (optional). “Assisted Analysis”: as you enter a game, whenever you click on a piece an evaluation is produced for all its possible target squares; “Tactical Analysis” will annotate game, inserting commentary, variations and diagrams, before strong moves or errors, into a game or an entire database. It will also point out combinations, played in the game or missed, tries, attacks, initiative, and of course the latest in openings theory; Cloud analysis: you can analyse positions simultaneously with several engines from on di©erent computers running in parallel; “Deep analysis”: generates an analysis tree that changes dynamically, as with time weaker variations are dropped; automatic analysis jobs for correspondence games; “Replay Training”: Playing through a game with the notation hidden and automatic training questions with tips for each individual move. Extended reference search for openings shows increase/decrease in popularity and typical recurring endgames; merge games on the fly into an opening tree; Repertoire recommendations for every move with a single click; generate a dossier containing all available information on a specific player from the database; Preparation for opponents with recognition of their weaknesses; generate a comprehensive openings report with main and critical lines, plans and most important games.But there is even more a lot more: Urgent news about recently played innovations; Search for characteristic tactical positions in an opening variation single click publication of games on the Internet; Improved search mask with tactical motifs and examples for manoeuvres and material distribution; Completely new search booster for patterns and plans; print games in superb quality with diagrams and multiple columns; Crisp new 3D boards thanks to raytracing technology; automatic update of your local reference database with the weekly installments of games (one year); access to the ChessBase online database with over eight million games*, mobile access with the ChessBase Account.
Technical improvements :Then there are many technical improvements that generally improve the program, such as: a new faster data format, with fewer files and no search booster - which overcomes limitations of the CBH format; and a fine-tuning of the database paths that solves conflicts with the Documents directory and OneDrive, so you can smoothly manage your databases outside the standard Windows directories.Interactive search mask and much more:The smart inputting of positions is of direct chess significance. You place a few pieces onto the board, and immediately see in which games of the reference database this position fragment occurs. By clicking on a game, you can save yourself the rest of the inputting. The new search mask is also more interactive: if you enter a search criterion, the number of games in the database for which it matches is immediately displayed.Analysis in natural language :However, the interpretation of an engine variation in natural language is groundbreakingly new. It is often a challenge for many players to imagine what is actually happening based on just an engine variation. You see the best move, the rating, and that's it. ChessBase 17 describes in words what the variation entails:For example: In a super-sharp position, a complex variation has the strange rating "0.00". ChessBase 17 would then add "perpetual check" or "repetition of the position" and the situation would become clear. Material changes are vividly described: "White wins the queen for rook and knight"; "Black loses two pawns"; and even "The position is simplified into an endgame R+B vs R+N". There are also exciting statements like: "White gains a dangerous passed pawn on e6"; or "White sacrifices a bishop"; "Black has an attack"; "White gets the majority on the kingside"; "Both kings are insecure"; and "Manoeuvre Nd2-f1-e3-d5" etc.Such assertions clarify the motives behind a position. If you want to understand even more of what the program means by these hints, simply move the mouse over the move indicated and the position appears on the main board. Clicking on a move copies the variation up to that move into the notation, which hen simplifies the commentary.
Conclusion: Must have program!

Mega Database 2023

System requirements (Minimum): Desktop PC or Notebook, Windows 10, 8.1, 2 GB RAM, and Fritz 14, 15, 16, 17 or ChessBase 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and DVD drive for DVDs / for Downloads no DVD drive required.

The new ChessBase Mega Database 2023 is the  most important chess database with over 9.75 million games{9796248 games and 580734 more games than issue 2022}and  all played between 1475 to 2022 and all in the best possible quality.
It holds more than 110,000 annotated games, Mega 2023 contains the world‘s largest collection of high-class analysed games.
Further more there is enlarged tournament menu, interesting to mention is the direct access to all the games of all the World Championships that ever where played.
But there is more as a direct aces to all Top Tournaments, with Games, CrossTable and more, plus a player lexicon for download with over 600,000 player names and more than 40,000 player photos but again this only works with ChessBase 16 and 17.
Pleasant to read are the tournaments text information’s, and it only takes seconds to find the games of your next opponent! The repertoire overview shows you which lines your opponent likes to play and statistics reveal eventual weaknesses in his or hers repertoire.
There is also a direct access to Top Tournaments, Games, CrossTables and more,  plus a player lexicon for download with over 600,000 player names and more than 40,000 player photos again only with ChessBase 16 and 17.
Included is a Mega database search booster in the installation files but again it is only nice for the owners of a latest ChessBase program.
The new Mega Database menu makes it very easy to prepare for your games, to search for tournaments, to find annotated games or to access all the games from a special player.
Train like a Grandmaster! Prepare for your opponents with ChessBase and the Mega Database 2023.
Conclusion: A must have ChessBase product!

ChessBase Magazine issue 210 Extra
December  2022

ISSN 1432-8992
Euro 12,99
System requirements:
Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3), DirectX9 graphic card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 12/Fritz 13 or included Reader and internet connection for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel Core i7, 2.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, DirectX10 graphic card (or compatible) with 512 MB RAM or better, 10

This heavy loaded ChessBase Magazine does not only come with a overloaded game file from over 43000 games, plus extra lucky bag from 39 entries, plus nearly one hour smashing training video files from the experts Robert Ris and Mihail Marin.Najdorf and King’s Indian with h4.
But first as all ways an example of play: Firouzja,Alireza (2778) - Aronian,Levon (2759) [C50]
Sinquefield Cup (3.3), 04.09.2022
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.h3!? Toying with all the Italian move orders is a great hobby of many of the contemporary top players. 5...0-0 6.Nc3 White is trying to confuse Black with the move orders. I assume 6...d6 7.Na4!? is the point, trapping the c5 bishop for a trade now. Instead, Levon decides to be first with the bishop-trapping. 6...Na5 Very risky, allowing some crazy 7.Nxe5!? complications, but played instantly, putting a lot of pressure on Alireza. It appears that Levon was prepared even for this! 7.a3 A safe option, since 7.Nxe5 can lead to a mess. 7...Nxc4 8.dxc4 d6 Maybe more practical would have been 8...Re8, anticipating the pin with Bg5. 9.Bg5 Black still has to deal with a very serious question, the nasty pin. Suddenly 7.a3!?, although timid looking, turned out to be a very poisonous idea, that Levon (very understandably!) may have well missed during his prep. Judging by the time spent, Alireza has been improvising at this point as well. 9...Be6 A natural inclusion. 10.Qd3 h6 11.Bh4 g5? The most direct approach, but it seems that it allows a very dangerous piece sacrifice. I guess it is easy to miss a detail down the line and also Black probably didn't see a clean solution to the problems at this point. [11...c6! 12.g4 b5! creating a mess is proposed by the computer.] 12.Nxg5! This tempting sac often doesn't work, but here it does so perfectly. 12...hxg5 13.Bxg5 Kg7 14.f4! Alireza is on the attack! 14...exf4 15.Ne2! A powerful intermezzo, one that Levon has clearly missed or underestimated when going for this line. Black doesn't have an acceptable defense at this point, as White mobilizes on the kingside. 15...c6 16.b4 Be3 17.Rf1! No castling chess. Black collapses, as the blockade of the f-file falls. 17...Kg6 18.h4 Bxc4!? Desperate, but the only way to fight on! 19.Qxc4 d5 20.Qb3 Now the material is even and Black's king is in a significantly more danger. Still, some conversion is required. 20...Re8 21.Bxf4 Bxf4 22.Nxf4+ Kh7 23.0-0-0 White's king gets to safety. 23...Nxe4 24.Ne2 A little modest. 24.Nh5!? and the brutal 24.Nxd5! would work better, but I had noticed Alireza very often resorts to such approach in this kind of situations. 24...Nd6 Black had to keep the knight centralized and defend the f7 pawn by some other means- such as 24...Qe7. 25.Qd3+ Kh8 26.Qd4+ Kh7 27.Ng3 The knight gets rerouted into the attack again. 27...Qb6 28.Qd3+ Kg8 29.Nf5! Trading the knights accelerates White's kingside play and the attack is decisive. 29...Nxf5 30.Qxf5 Qe3+ 31.Kb1 White has a significantly safer king and that decides the game. 31...Qe6 32.Qf2 The last retreat before deciding the game with Rd3-Rg3 rook lift. 32...a5 33.Rd3 axb4 34.Rg3+ Kf8 35.Rf3 Kg8 There was no defense at this point. 36.Rxf7 Rxa3 37.Rf8+ Kh7 38.Qf7+ A clean finale, as Black loses a rook in the endgame after 38...Qxf7 39.R1-xf7 Kg6 40.h5+! intermezzo before going 41.Rxe8!. 1-0.
And for all lovers of the Latvian Gambit: Brodowski,Piotr (2463) - Jones,Daniel (1924) [C40]
Titled Tuesday intern op 27th Sep Early INT (1), 27.09.2022
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5 e4 4.Qe2 Qe7 5.Nd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 c5 7.Nb3 d5 8.d3 exd3 9.cxd3 Nc6 10.Bf4 Bxf5 11.0-0-0 0-0-0 12.h3 d4 13.Nb5 Qxe2 14.Bxe2 a6 15.Na3 Nd5 16.Bh2 Re8 17.Bf3 Ndb4 18.Bg4 Bxg4 19.hxg4 Nxa2+ 20.Kb1 Nab4 21.Nc4 Re2 22.Bg3 b5 23.Nb6+ Kd8 24.Na8 Be7 25.Nc7 Kd7 26.Rhe1 Rxe1 27.Rxe1 Nxd3 28.Rd1 Ndb4 29.Rc1 c4 30.Nxd4 Nxd4 31.Rd1 Bc5 32.Be5 Nbc6 33.Bxg7 Rg8 34.Bxd4 Nxd4 35.Nd5 Ke6 36.Ne3 Nb3 37.Nf5 Rxg4 38.Ng3 Bxf2 39.Ne2 Re4 40.Nc3 Re3 41.Rf1 Be1 42.Kc2 Bxc3 43.bxc3 Nc5 44.Rh1 Re2+ 45.Kd1 Rxg2 46.Rxh7 Nd3 47.Rh6+ Kd5 48.Rd6+ Ke4 49.Rd4+ Ke3 50.Rf4 Nxf4 0-1!
Conclusion: Smashing material!