Latest book reviews of 1 January

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
Chess Books

ICCF Gold, 50th Jubilee Celebration edited by Pedro Hegoburu

376 pages
Euro 24,00
ISBN 0-9543752-0-3

Correspondence chess is largely the story of the ICCF which was established on March the  22 of  1951, a successor to the older ICCA and ICSB/IFSB.
These earlier correspondence chess organisations where  related to one person and well the brilliant chess pioneer and organiser  Hans-Werner von Massow the later president of the ICCF.
Nowadays the old fashion correspondence card which was usually over filled with exotic DDR or USSR stamps has made place for more modern ways from transmission as fax and E-mail but the love for playing chess at your own home has not changed either the kick when the post drops in, even I must admit the chess card had something special, not only the postman enjoyed it carrying it around  but for many former East Germans it was the only way to get in touch with western chess partners, sadly enough after the fall of the wall many retired chess players where not able anymore to pay the costs of the German stamps.
The original idea from ICCF Gold, 50th Jubilee Celebration book comes from the current President Alan Borwell, probably Mr.Borwell  would never had expected that it would become a such a loaded work from over the 376 pages and over filled with such excellent  contributions from nearly all the  national correspondence federations!
All of these  of these contributions cover besides the history of there local correspondence activities a imprecise collection best played  high level correspondence  games.
I could tell them all but it must be over the hundreds! {Many of these games carry  excellent annotations!}
The reader shall also find all kind of  special contributions as title lists, honorary members, crosstables, photographs, short biographies etc.

Conclusion: This is one of the most interesting chess books ever written about correspondence chess!

Taming the Sicilian by Nigel Davies
Everyman Chess    
144 pages
Price $19.95
ISBN 1-85744-301-2

Taming the Sicilian is a interesting written repertoire book from GM Nigel Davies based upon the fianchetto of the King’s bishop.
It makes no difference for the author if black goes for the Najdorf of the Sicilian dragon the bishop goes if possible of course goes to it save shelter on g2,sometimes as in the Sveshnikov white has to make other choices and here prefers the author
for the more aggressive set-up with 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.c3
but when white has the chance to develop his bishop on g2 you can count on it that it is going there
and in this case Nigel Davies is following the example game Geller – Arakhamia Aruba 1992 with 11…Bg7 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Nc2 0-0 14.Nce3 Be6 15.g3 b4 and now 16.Bg2.
For many these lines with the fianchetto of the king’s bishop are not so exciting as the Najdorf with the poisoned pawn variation but be aware it is not a easy task to memorise such complicated variations behind the board!
No than I would suggest if you want to study a very reliable repertoire against the whole  Sicilian defence than go for this splendid work from Nigel Davis.
Players as Fischer have enjoyed once considerable success with the development of the white fianchetto but again it is a matter of taste!
Conclusion : All together a very reliable repertoire book!

Multiple choice chess II by Graeme Buckly
Everyman Chess  
160 pages
Price $19.95
ISBN 1-85744-309-8

In the first edition of Multiple choice chess Graeme Buckly did scope more on the positional exercise skills of the player but this heavy loaded new Multiple choice chess II work  is nearly completely devoted to smashing attacks as
mating attacks, attack is the best forum of defence, a crossfire of bishops, rooks and pawns versus minor pieces and at last a instructive endgame chapter to test your endgame skills all at the hand of twenty heavy loaded chess games as for example the second match game of the 1985  Karpov - Kasparov world championship match.
Pleasant to mention that these games are all complete games so you don’t have to be afraid for ugly clippings from games.
Again the reader is invited to find the best move out a choice of four and if we see that level of games in this book I would say not a easy task to step in these footsteps!
Would like to suggest this work to players in the range 1900 – 2275.
Conclusion: A tough but very instructive multiple choice chess book.

Chess Informant issue 85
382 pages
Price £ 18.00

Chess Informant 85 is good for a careful selection of 492 annotated games and 471 game fragments from the most important events held between June  2002 and September of this year.
As always it start with the best game of the preceding volume and that game goes to Vasiukov – Van Wely Moscow 2002 and the most important theoretical novelties of the preceding volume to the great Marshall game between Ponomariov  & Anand, Linares 2002 excellent openings coverage  in the pleasant  ECO format by  the openings expert Sa.Velickovic!
Enjoyable are the selection combinations and endings from the  recent tournament practice and not to forget  tournament standings and important crosstables.
The best of Chess Informant goes  to the outstanding and creative GM Lajos Portisch.
Conclusion: Top  material!

New in Chess Year book issue 65
Interchess BV
234 pages
Price Euro 23,95 {Paperback} Euro 29.95 {Hardback}
ISBN 90-56911-102-3

This latest issue from New in Chess is filed besides the regular columns forum and Sosonko’s corner
with a excellent collection of 36 interesting openings surveys as “Another look at the Traxler Gambit 2 from
Maarten de Zeeuw with the old main line from Neishtad with 6.Bd5.
Interesting to mention is that the Traxler variation is better known in England and America as the Wilkes -Barre variation called  after a town in New England where a early game with this opening was seen.
Funny to mention is that when Estrin wrote his first work with Petrosjan on the Traxler he called it in his book the Traxler – Keres counter attack!
The collection surveys from New in Chess are nearly all written by experts for experts or for  those who want to become
one,as the Benoni defence by Michail Marin a nice follow up from his previous article on the Benoni
published in year book issue 63, but this time  the author concentrates on the more serious classical main lines with 7…a6 8.a4 Bg4 9.Be2 Bf3 10.Bf3 Bg7 11.0-0 0-0 12.Bf4 and Qe7.
Pleasant to mention are the remaining but so exciting gambit lines as the Return of the Siesta by the Dutch gambit expert A.C.van der Tak but the Budapest and Volga gambit are not forgotten either.
Conclusion: You shall find nowhere such excellent printed openings surveys!

Grand Strategy by Jan van Reek
Interchess BV
176 pages
Price  Euro 19,95
ISBN 90-74827-41-1

Two years ago I  had Jan van Reek his original Grand Strategy on my webside but pleasantly enough
New in Chess has decided to give it out as an expanded edition!
This work from Jan van Reek is a extraordinary analytic work based on the games from Boris Spassky.{The reader shall find a outstanding collection of 60 memorial Spassky games.}
For this work New in Chess did not only include new photo material {As some unknown photo's from  the young Kortchnoi and sleeping Fischer.}but also included an extra  sixteen pages excellent written autobiographical appendix on Boris Spassky!
Conclusion: A outstanding work!

Alekhine Nazi Articles
Publishing house Moravian Chess
Post box 101,77211 Olomouc 2
Czech Republic
44 pages
Price see above mentioned webside.

The much discussed nazi articles from Alekhine, translated and edited by Ken Whyld as the author explains  in the introduction to this small booklet of 40 pages the importance of the essays lies in the light they shed on Alekhine. For that reason it is desirable to see how the material appeared originally.
Interesting to mention is the  personal opinion of Ken Whyld about these embarrassing nazi articles, did Alekhine write them or not?
If I may continue with the words of Ken Whyld: My opinion is that Alekhine did write the essays.
There publications could have facilitated the approval of his visa to Portugal.
I believe that by inclination Alekhine was mildly anti-Semitic, and the climate of the time encouraged him to elaborate his views to an extravagant degree.

Chess CD’s
Pocketfritz 2.0
Price Euro 49.99

Installation requires a PC (notebook or desktop computer). Language of user interface and helpfile: English, Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch.

A completely new improved version of  Pocket fritz 2.0 a chess program that is special developed for the small hand palm computers,
did Pocket Fritz from last year only run under Windows CE Pocketfritz 2.0 has no problems to  run besides Windows CE  under the new Pocket PC 2002 software with the latest  processors as MIPS,SHG,ARM and Xscale.
Not only the pieces and board colours have had a face lift but the whole algorithms system from pocketfritz  has been improved.
Interesting to mention is that PocketFritz 2.0 is based on the famous Shredder engines from Stefan Meyer Kahlen of Germany.
The first pocketfritz had already a impressive  performance from 2505 in the chess classic of Mainz 2001
so we certainly can count some more points for PocketFrits 2.0.
New is that all the moves of the computer as well as hints and threats are displayed with eye catching coloured arrows, like the first pocket fritz it has a small board where you can even analyse in multi variation mode.
In the first version from PocketFritz is was not possible to delete or replace games from within the program no this all this all belongs to the past.
There is even a search function and where the program gives you mobile access to for example the impressive ChessBase Online database where you shall find over the two million chess games, where you can do all kind of searches.
With pocket Fritz you can play chess where you want and anytime you like for example you can study
your openings variations on your way to a tournament or cheat with it on a chess tournament.
Conclusion: The screen of a Pocket PC is for my personal taste to small and displaying extensively annotated games is not a  easy task but it is a amassing peace of toy!

Fritz 8
Euro 49.99

System requirements: Pentium PC, 32 MB RAM, Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, CD-ROM drive, mouse
With Windows XP it is possible to do a output of chat.

This version of Fritz8 is identical to the one  that Vladimir Kramnik  played in the famous Brains in Bahrain match
where Kramnik later claimed in a interview that it’s very strong,it’s very strong.But it depends on many things, especially the opening In some  positions, if it gets it’s position you can make a draw or you can loose,two choices but you can  never win.In some positions its 3000.Maybe you can suffer and make a draw,10 Kasparovs and 20 Anands wouldn’t help in these positions.
Indeed impressive talk but please don’t forget Fritz 8 was running on a eight –processor Compaq machine that
could calculate about 3.5 million moves per second.
But first of all what is new in Fritz8?
Chessbase has implemented a photo realistic 3D graphic chessboard,a paper like score sheet notation as well as new training and analysis functions where even the play visitors possibilities have been in improved.
Not only the openings book from 158 MB has been under revision but also the chatter CD which is now not only a extra CD but is also covers much more words so I found it much more enjoyable.{All together the extra Chatter CD is good for over the 229 MB.
Pleasant to mention that the openings book Fritz 8 power book is included on both CD’s.{Included is also a Hugh database of 500.000 games!}
The use of a 3 D card is recommended but not necessarily otherwise you have to make use of Microsoft’s Direct X which is included in the Installation CD of Fritz 8 but be aware it takes all together with the full installation of Fritz8 and the powerbook  a small 300 MB of your hard disk but I can insure you it is worth it!
The 3 D is impressive not only you can turn it up and down but also give it lovely shadow and light effects.
With a modern graphics card it is even possible to play “Bullet chess”and that is playing all your moves from your game in one minute.
The function deep positional analysis in Fritz has been deeply improved for instance you can set not only a time limit for the entire analysis but also can use different kind of engines so you shall receive a higher quality of analysis.
For example a combination of Shredder and Frizt8 is in my view one of the most interesting options because I get the
impression that Fritz 8 is much more tactical than Frizt 7 but funny enough it plays sometimes incredible computer moves as 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O a6 7. dxc5
7... Qxd1 8. Rxd1 Bxc5 9.Kf1 b5 10.Be2 Bb7 11.Nbd2 Nbd7 12.Nb3 Bf8?! indeed the same position as Kramnik – Deep Fritz where Fritz is angling for a draw by repetition but I doubt that any human chess player would ever play it,
but it is fun to get the same moves on the board as Kramnik – Deep Fritz and you don’t have to have a super computer like Deep Blue with over 200 processors!
The whole package of Fritz8 is very attractive not only the hand manual of 19 pages and the two Cd’s
but also all the lovely new invented  features that are included so as for the playchess server and new functions of the Frizt 8 program package as for example a beginners course from Björn Lengwenus.
Conclusion: With Fritz 8 you get a candidate world champion on your computer! 
Shredder 7
Euro 49.99

System requirements: Pentium PC, 32 MB RAM, Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, CD-ROM drive, mouse
When I removed Fritz 8 & Shredder 7 from my computer I had a registry problem with Microsoft’s Direct X
so I would suggest be careful when you remove these chess programs from your computer!

Shredder 7 is based on the Shredder program that played in the computer world championship in Maastricht earlier this year and shared  a unhappy first place with Junior from Israel.
So we can speak for the first time from a vice champion but his performance is not less.
Don’t forget Shredder has won four computer championship titles, won at Jakarta 1996,Padaborn 1999, Londen 2000!
First of all what is the difference between Shredder 6 and this latest version Shredder 7?
The programmers of Shredder 7 claim a much efficient  search and can achieve speeds that are up to 50% faster than its predecessor.
Also it profits from many modifications in the evaluation function as it evaluates the relation of knight to bishop more precisely to the board position which makes Shredder 7 to one of the best endgame experts!
Pleasant is the use of single and multi processor systems but I am not sure if it really uses under Windows 98 the multi processor Shredder 7 sees the second processor but Windows 98 keeps working with only one!
Shredder 7 comes with the Fritz 8 interface and all the Fritz  8 utilities as the ChessBase play server  but if you wish you can also use the original Shredder interface that was developed by Stefan Meyer-Kahlen.{With his revolutionary
use of triple brain and the possibility  to make openings books for Pocket Fritz!}
You can configure the “engine” the module that calculates chess move – and change the program parameters to actually improve its performance in practical games. After “tuning” your Shredder you test the engine in Internet games played automatically on the ChessBase chess server.
This program comes with a special openings book that was prepared by  Sandro Necci and optimised for Shredder 7.
Shredder 7 comes with one CD and a handy Shreddrer  manual.
Conclusion : I tested a lot of endgame positions with Shredder 7 and I already can say it is a impressive chess machine!
{For example a endgame position from Zemljanski Y.1964.
White Kd1,Ba3,Bf7,Ng4 pawn h5
Black  Kh7,Qb8,Ng7,pawn b3
After 1.Bg6 Kh8 Fritz 8 likes to hang on 2.Bb2 but Shredder 7 goes for the saving 2.Nh6 Qf4 3.Nf7 Kg8 4.Nh6!

Mega Database 2003
Price Euro 154,90
Updates Mega 2003 from Mega 2002 Euro 49.90

The flagship from ChessBase there big Mega database with 2.3 million games or exactly 2312073
games where a small 50.000 of them carry some to excellent annotations.
The ChessBase Mega base the reputation of being the best filtered database but I still found  games that where never played as the Marshall game from Pope John Paul from Krakow 1938.
Don’t understand that ChessBase does not removed them because I complained about them
with the review of the Mega database CD from last year .
So it would not surprise me to see them next year again.
The opening key on this CD contains 54.000 key positions where the database gives you a direct access to the game
Included on a second CD is a fantastic made Player base CD with over the 15.000 entries and 14.000 photo’s!
Conclusion: The Rolls-Royce under the databases!

ChessBase magazine issue 91

Price Euro 19.95

Seen the match Kramnik – Deep Fritz I consider this issue 91 as one of the most interesting made ChessBase magzines from this year.
First of all it covers a excellent multimedia section about Bahrain from over a hour where you shall find for example a interesting interview with GM Nigel Short.
But the high lights are  the interviews  from Kramnik  and the “ Spiegel” where Vladimir compares his  match with Kasparov vs Deep Blue in 1997. He talks about the basic requirements and preparation strategy for his match against the machine..
The game collection is good for over the 1527 games where a small 484 of them are excellent annotated.
For example you shall find all the games of the match  Russia vs the Rest of the World besides the games
there are some interesting special sections on openings theory as the Paulsen B47, Najdorf with 6.Rg1 B90, Four Knights' Defence C47 and Jaenisch Gambit with C63.
The section ICCF Telechess from Morgado and Alvarez is again good for over the  7500 correspondence games!
Conclusion : Slowly these ChessBase magazines are just so important as the Informator files!

Chess Informant CD issue 85

Price £ 18.00

The electronic version of the Chess Informator see book review, interesting to mention is that there is some choice
in database programs that you want to use for the well protected  valuable Informator 85 files.
You can go for the well known Chess Informant reader 2.1 version or the new Informant expert Lite version
a eye catching database program with many interesting database features but it is me not complete clear why we don’t get direct on the Informant CD the full Informant Expert version.
Or do we have to pay extra for it?
Anyway I tried both programs but with the Expert Lite version you have to import all the former Informator’s and there free supplements and that is  quit a job!
On the cover from the CD there is the important registration number but it can easy get lost so I would prefer the former little more expensive covers!
The free supplement of this issue is only  Informator 84 in PGN.{And that is without comments!}
Conclusion: Both programs are excellent replacements for the book!