Latest book reviews of 1 February 2004

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
Chess Books
Chess Informant issue 88
380 pages
Price GBP 18.00

Chess Informant covers as always an excellent collection games and analyses from chess events that where held between June 1st and September 2003.
Between these events you shall find for example Dortmund 2003 which was surprisingly  won by Bologan and the Informant reader can now study for the first time all the novelties and secrets  that  for example  GM Victor Bologan from Moldova played so successfully  in this strong  cat.XVIII(2695} tournament.
Besides the best game of the preceding volume went this time to Ju.Polgar – Berkes Budapest 2003,the most important theoretical novelty
goes to Svidler – Macieja Germany 2002, which covers by the way in this Informator a fine theoretical openings survey from the famous Cvetkovic with the played Kan variation {1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Be2 Nf6 8.0-0 Bb4 9.Na4 Bd6 10.g3}  mentioned in the Informator language  as the ECO B49 opening.
This heavy loaded issue carries around 490 analysed games with contributions as usual from a selection  best players of the world and interesting enough no other magazine has ever managed to create so far this high level of creativity.
The best of Chess Informant goes this time to the creative GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic  {born 1950} who was ranked third in the earlier eighties but strange enough never qualified for the Candidates.
Included in this book is a fine collection combinations and endings from Ljubojevic & Informator 88!
Conclusion: A  must for every ambitious chess player!
Learn chess tactics by John Nunn
Gambit Publications Ltd.

160 pages
Price $ 19.95
ISBN 1-901983-98-6

Learn chess tactics is a pleasant written step by step tactic course specially written for chess players who understand or just have managed to learned the preliminary basics of our royal game.
Ever heard of  discovered attacks  where the fork manages to create two threats at the same time? Well than study chapter two carefully these nine pages and 26 exercises give an excellent start for a good understanding.
Must say the whole book   is instructively divided in a systematic way of handling all kind of tactics where the first five chapters of this book deal  with the most basic tactics in chess as forks and pins.
The following seven chapters cover more advanced topics but for some it can still be very difficult  to understand why a chess professional resigns if he or she is only a few pawns  behind, as for example Stone – Nijboer Den Bosch 1999  {page 29}where white suddenly  resigned on move thirteen with only one pawn down!
Conclusion: An excellent work to learn all kinds of basic checkmating patterns!
Logical Chess move by move Irving Chernev
Batsford Ltd London
256 pages
Price $ 21.95
ISBN 07134-8464-0

This famous move to  move book has been reprinted several times but it stays one of those fine classic works where every move from these 33 highly instructive games is explained by detailed text annotations
The game collection in this book are all pre war games and it starts with a famous “Giuoco Piano” played by Scheve and  Teichmann where the author takes us back to Berlin from 1907 where black goes for 4….Qe7 which belongs to one of the oldest defences against
the move 4.c3 and was already mentioned in the Göttingen manuscript from 1500 and later in the nineteen century even recommended by a English player called Lewis.
In this book you shall find no evolution of modern chess play but more general chess principles based on players from that time.
Modern players of today have a broader and more subtle understanding of the chess game but if you want to understand the most important aspects of the game please take up this classic beauty from Chernev!
Conclusion: Every move in this book is explained by detailed annotations!

Find the checkmate by Gary Lane
Batsford Ltd London
176 pages
Price $ 21.95
ISBN 07134-8861-1

One of the best ways for a chess player to improve is simple  by just studying tactics and you don’t have to work out trainings lessons to improve your tactical skills no just take up this  enjoyable written work and work throw these careful selected positions.
Some of these “puzzles” are really obscure as mates in endgames which overcame the great Donner when the Dutch Spanjaard suddenly played in the following position:
White: King h2,Ra6,a7 Bishop e6,pawn g2 & h5.
Black: King f4,Re5,Ra1 and pawns on a4 & g5   1…Rh1!+  and after 2.Kxh1 Kg3 and the threat of mate by ….Re1 can not be stopped.
A lovely mating pattern that is even copied by a silicon monster called by  P.ConNers against the former woman’s world champion Chiburdanidze at Bad Worishofen 2002,a game that made once headlines but also chapter one with one move wonders is a great enjoyment on it’s self.
Gary Lane has related the total scores to a rating performance where a highly score could indicate talent but to solve 25 puzzles in 60 minutes is not a very easy task.
Conclusion: A very enjoyable written puzzle book!

Rocking the ramparts by Larry Christiansen
Batsford Ltd, London
256 pages
Price $ 22.95
ISBN 0-7134-8776-3

With Rocking the ramparts GM Larry Christiansen continues in the footsteps of his Gambit book Storming the barricades even that the publisher did a awful typesetting the large amount of attacking games and comments to these games make this work really superb.
There are literally thousands of devices, patterns, tricks etc but Christiansen prefers to learn the reader to develop a natural feeling for tactical positions.
The material is divided in eight different chapters and well The Art of attack ,Attack on the castled king, Kings castled on opposite sides, Sicilian –Opposite sides castling, Important motifs for the attacking player, Romantic opening thrill ides, Instructive combinations & inspirational attacks and last best some Larry Christiansen attacking games where the author honestly explains: Like most players I have gradually become more conservative or ‘mature ‘ in my play mainly because leaping into massive complications demands the energy and mental stamina of youth, but also because experience has led to greater respect for defensive resources.
Even that there is no players index there are certainly in this book around the 100 impressive played attacking  games and therefore I would like to suggest to the reader study these games carefully maybe as the author once did with the combination books from Reinfeld till the print was completely wore off!
By the way when you study the game Tal – Donner Wijk aan Zee 1968 page 214 take care because Christiansen misses  the saving 22…Nc4!{Tal,M - Donner,J [C18] Hoogovens Wijk aan Zee (12), 01.1968
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Nf3 b6 8.a4 Ba6 9.Bxa6 Nxa6 10.Qe2 Nb8 11.a5 bxa5 12.Ba3 Nd7 13.dxc5 Ne7 14.c6 Qxc6 15.0-0 Qxc3 16.Rfd1 Nc6 17.Bd6 Qc4 18.Qe3 Qe4 19.Qb3 Nb6 20.c4 Qxc4 21.Qa3 Qa6 22.Rac1 Rc8 23.Nd2 f6 24.exf6 gxf6 25.Qf3 Kd7 26.Qxf6 Rhe8 27.Ne4 Ne7 28.Nc5+ Rxc5 29.Bxc5 Nc4 30.Bxe7 1-0}

Conclusion: An excellent work to develop your tactical skills!
Dynamics of chess strategy by Vlastimil Jansa
Batsford Ltd, London
256 pages
Price $ 23.95
ISBN 0-7134-8608-2

Dynamics of chess openings lays between a opening and  puzzle book where you are invited to solve all kind of opening strategy questions based  on three major chess openings as the Ruy Lopez {with the Steinitz}Grüenfeld defence and the Sicilian opening.
The author does not cover in this work the latest Informator developments no he simple prefers a throughout understanding what you are doing behind the board and covers many useful tips and suggestions as what should be played for example against the so feared  Sveshnikov?
Here the author digs in some classic lines with a white bishop on g2 { 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.c3 Bg7 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Nc2 Be6 14.Nce3 Ne7 15.g3 Nxd5 16.Nxd5 0-0} 17.Bg2 where after Jansa black has a series of strategic opportunities and plans at his disposal but I have to disappoint the fans of the Sveshnikov  with the modern Novosibirsk variation with the move  10….Bg7  because this move order is not mentioned at all.
Covered is also the classical Scheveningen  where the reader can find besides some tests all kind of important principles and strategic instructions to develop a first understanding of this opening so I would certainly count this book as a road to mastery but please be aware that there is still a awful long way to go!
Conclusion: A very practical strategy book!

Play 1.d4! by Richard Palliser
Batsford Ltd,London
288 pages
Price 0-7134-8844-1

A complete white based repertoire book on the move 1.d4,covering all kind of interesting lines against all major openings as the Slav,The Queen’s gambit accepted {With 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.Qe2!?}The Queen’s gambit declined, The Queens Indian defence {1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Bd3,The Grünfeld defence, The king’s Indian defence {1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 e5 6.d5}The Benko gambit, The Benoni {1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.Bf4}The Dutch {1.d4 f5 2.Nc3}Modern and a small 28 pages on all kind of off beat lines as the Fajarowicz and Englund gambit.
The whole material is based on 41 heavy loaded example games where the reader is invited to one or other alternative openings system.
Personal I am afraid that there is not much future for these kind of computer generated chess books with a lot of database files but pleasant enough there is just enough text between the lines  to keep it  under the subject instructive.
Conclusion: A heavy loaded repertoire book on 1.d4!

Learn from Bobby Fischers’s greatest games by Eric Schiller
Cardoza Publishing
224 pages
Price $ 14.95
ISBN 1-58042-120-2

A collection outstanding  Fischer games which are all specially analysed by Eric Schiller in a very easy way of understanding with a lot of text and simple to follow  annotations to the games. 
The aim from Schiller lays in clear explanations of the thinking behind all significant moves and I think that Schiller did succeed to put down a very attractive book for children and beginners of chess.
After Schiller Fischer is the greatest American player of all time but please don’t forget this honour goes certainly to Paul Morphy who was really  the strongest chess player of all time.
Technical seen Schiller does not offer the reader  with these 24 games anything new on Fischer and there for the reader could consider to go directly to Fischer’s own outstanding work his 60 Memorable games or Andy Soltis latest book Bobby Fischer rediscovered.
Conclusion: A simple  read on Fischer’s  best games.
Chess CD's

Chess Informant CD issue 88

Price GBP 18.00

Beside the printed book there is also this electronic version of the Informator with some extra’s as all  Informant 87 games  but than   without any annotations to the games.
The games of Informator 88 are well packed and the reader can choice to see them in the  Chess Informant Expert Lite reader or the well known Informant reader 2.1.
Seen that the Informant Expert Lite reader is not a full version so I prefer the Informant reader 2.1which does every thing that you can expect from a simple database program that even includes  a real  chess engine {Crafty 17.9 } and  some interesting utilities as  extra board, training mode search possibilities etc.
Where I would to remark the possibility to import complete ECO of chess openings in these readers as some of us have seen it as an extra supplement in Chess Informant 83.
All together is runs all very smoothly even on a older computer as for example a 300 MHZ machine but  I can imagine that many chess players shall prefer the new PGN databases from Chess Informant where the reader can use his favourite database program to read the latest Informator files.
Conclusion: It does everything and more to read all  the latest Informator games on your computer!
Modern Chess Openings French Defence
Convekta Ltd
Price $26.00

System Requirements IBM compatible PC 64 Mb RAM,Hard Disk 200 MB of free disk space,Windows 2000/NT/ME/XP/2003
Several languages supported.

Modern Chess Openings Sicilian Defence
Convekta Ltd
Price $26.00

System Requirements IBM compatible PC 64 Mb RAM,Hard Disk 200 MB of free disk space,Windows 2000/NT/ME/XP/2003
Several languages supported.

Two brand new openings CD’s from Convekta covering the French and Sicilian opening both made by the Russian Grandmaster Alexander Kalinin.
Seen the large amount of material that Kalinin managed to compress in these CD’s than I can really say that they are real competitors for the well known ChessBase openings CD’s.
First of all the French CD is good for 557 full annotated chess games where the author explains in a symbolic Informator language everything you need to know about this opening.
Besides these analysed games you shall find a heavy loaded database of  56137 extra games to play throw,6.200.000 analysed  positions the so called CAP data files  which is a super file with a unbelievable amount of evaluated chess positions.
But there is more as a abridged direct openings tree, the well known French based openings encyclopaedia and not to forget the famous Convekta test mode where you are invited to do some instructive exercises.
Kalinin does not always dig in these openings CD so deep as for example Kindermann & Dirr in there impressive book “Französisch Winawer “ but I can truly say it is a very impressive openings CD that covers more game information that any printed book.
{Interesting to mention is that a small extra of 10.000 openings games shall soon be avaible for download but this CA light version does not hold a update wizard so I would suggest do a registration and keep in touch with the side!}
The Sicilian CD covers around 689 excellent annotated games a database from exactly 50.000 Sicilian games,4200.000 CAP data files and the test file from over the 50 exercises simple to see if you have learned from these games.
Again a lot Sicilian chess moves which are all very pleasant covered as all these opening CD’s in a abridged version of Chess Assistant 7.0 that includes many interesting utilities as the full Chesss Assistant 7.1 for example viewing game as ECO table which is especially useful when you are viewing games with a large number of variations but be aware this light version has it’s limits as for example it is not possible to open new data files on your hard disk.
Conclusion: Two very impressive made openings CD’s!

Encyclopaedia of Middlegame III
Convekta Ltd

Price $ 29.00

System Requirements IBM compatible PC 32 Mb RAM,Hard Disk 50 MB of free disk space,Windows 2000/NT/ME/XP/2003

A complete other work from Grandmaster Alexander Kalinin is this middlegame course where the author explains in text and analyses 520 lecture games covering all kind of openings as the Petrov defence, Spanish game with the exciting Marshall and different Anti Marshall lines as 8.a4 & 8.h3,Scandinavian defence, Sicilian defence {Only with the Closed 2.Nc3 and 3.Bb5 variation}Grüenfeld defence, Queens Gambit accepted, Reti opening and some King’s Indian defences with the sequence of a set-up with 1.e4 e6 2.d3.c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.0-0 which was once even used by the notably Fischer.
Included on this CD is a special training course where a special Navigator {A powerful Interface} with a build in Engine {Crafty}that  leads you smoothly throw these 500 terrific made exercises..
Conclusion: A brilliant combination of strategy and openings theory!

Shredder 8
Price € 49.99
System requirements Pentium PC 32 MB RAM,Windows 98,ME,XP,2000,CD-ROM drive & Mouse

Slowly there is every year by ChessBase  a new upgrade from one or other chess playing program as Hiarcs9 & Deep Fritz 8 where the buyer has all kind of choices as from tactical think at Junior 8  till super positional  as  this latest version of Shredder 8 {Worldchampion computer chess 2003!}developed  by the German  programmer  Stefan Meyer –Kahlen.
The secret from Shredder strengths lays if you ask me clearly in his superior endgame understanding and for example if we take a look at a endgame exercise from the famous endgame expert  Kasparian which takes us all back to the dark years of 1946.
White Ka1,Rh7,pawn g6 and h3,Black Kd5,Rf3, where Shredder 8 plays directly the saving 1…Rg3!
I tested many endgame exercises from Dvotetsky’s endgame manual with Shredder 8 and of course with out the support of the endgame tablebases and it is astounding to see that this latest Shredder 8 engine  really solves all the endgame tests but some practical endgame game positions as the game position between  Spirdonav & Shamkovich from Polancia Zdroj 1970{ 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.g3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d5 5.Bg2 e5 6.Nb3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Bg5 Be6 9.e3 0-0 10.Nc3 e4 11.Nd4 Ne5 12.Nce2 Qb6 13.Nxe6 fxe6 14.Qd4 Nf3+ 15.Bxf3 Bc5 16.Bxf6 exf3 17.Qg4 Rxf6 18.Nf4 Rd8 19.Rad1 Bf8 20.b3 Rd6 21.c4 dxc4 22.Rxd6 Qxd6 23.Qxf3 e5 24.Qd5+ Kh8 25.Qxd6 Rxd6 26.Ne2 Rd2 27.Nc3 Rc2 28.Ne4 Rxa2 29.bxc4 Rc2 30.Rd1 Rxc4 31.Rd8 Kg8 32.Ng5 Rc6 33.Rb8 a5 34.Nf3 Rc7 35.Ra8 b6 36.Nxe5 g6 37.Nf3 Kg7 38.Ng5 Rc1+ 39.Kg2 Be7 40.Ra7 Kf6 41.f4 h6 42.Ne4+ Ke6 43.g4 Bd8 44.Rg7 Kd5 45.Kf3 Bc7 46.Rxg6 a4 47.Rg8 b5 48.f5 a3 49.Ra8 b4 50.f6 Ke6 51.g5 hxg5 52.Ra6+ Kf7 53.Kg2 Rc2+ 54.Kf1 Kg6 55.Nxg5 Kxg5 56.f7 Bd6 57.Rxd6 Rc8 58.Ra6 Rf8 59.Ke2 Rxf7 60.h4+ Kxh4 61.Ra4 Rb7 62.Kd3 Kg3 63.Kc2 b3+ 64.Kb1 a2+ 65.Kb2 Kf3 66.Rf4+ Ke2 67.Ra4 Kxe3 68.Rh4 Kd3 69.Ra4 Rb6 70.Ra8 Kc4 71.Ra4+ Kc5 72.Ra5+ Kc6 73.Ra4 Kb7 74.Ra3 Rb4 75.Ra5 Kb8 76.Ra6 Rb5 77.Ra4 Kb7 78.Rh4 Ka6 79.Rh8 Ka7 80.Rh7+ Rb7 81.Rh4 Rb6 82.Rh7+ Ka6 83.Rh8 Kb5 84.Ra8 Ra6 85.Rb8+ Kc6 86.Rc8+ Kd5 87.Rd8+ Ke6 88.Rd1 Ra5 89.Ra1 Rb5 90.Rh1 Kf6 91.Rh6+ ½-½}
with the saving move 61…Ra4 was a bridge to far to for Shredder 8,he simple prefers a natural looking but losing move{61Rb6? than Rf4!! 62.exf a2 63.Kf3 Kh5 64.Ra6 b3 -+ Dvoretsky's Endgame manual ChessBase 2003.}
Pleasant to mention is that Shredder 8 works on single and multi processor systems which saves you if you compare it with the two Fritz 8 packages a small 100 Euro!
Interesting to mention is that it is  possible to configure the chess engine and play around with it and test it even out  with other engines on the ChessBase internet chess server.
Shreddder 8 comes with a excellent written human openings book from  226 MB and a impressive database from around 500.000 games.
The installation from Shredder with the new install shield wizard went perfect only my Deep Fritz8 was later completely mixed up with Shredder 8!
By the way when I compared older  Shredder 7 with 8.0 on  the following position 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Bd3 c5 5.dxc5 Nf6 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Ngf3 Nb4 8.0-0 Nxd3 9.cxd3 Bxc5 10.Nb3 Be7 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 Bd7 13.e5 Ng8 14.Bg3 a5 15.Rac1 b6 16.Bf4 a4 17.Nbd4 Bc5 18.Nc2 Ne7 19.Bd2 Nf5 20.d4 Be7 21.Rfd1 than Shredder gives 7: 1) 21...Rc8 [ Shredder 7: 2) 21...0-0 22.Ne3 Nxe3 23.Bxe3 Rc8 24.Ne1 f5 25.Qa6 b5 26.Nd3 Rxc1 27.Rxc1 Qa8 0.32/15 ;
 Shredder 8: 1) 21...0-0 22.Ne3 Nxe3 23.Bxe3 Qe8 24.Ne1 Bb5 25.Qg4 f5 26.exf6 Rxf6 27.Nd3 Bxd3 28.Rxd3 Qg6 29.Qxg6 Rxg6 30.Rdc3 Rf8 31.Rc7 0.26/18 ;
 Shredder 8: 2) 21...Rc8 22.Ne3 Nxe3 23.Bxe3 0-0 24.Ne1 f5 25.Bd2 Bc6 26.Qa6 Ra8 27.Qd3 Rc8 28.Nc2 Bg5 0.38/17 ] 22.Ne3 Nxe3 23.Bxe3 0-0 24.Ne1 f5 25.Qa6 b5 26.Nd3 Rxc1 27.Rxc1 Qa8 28.Qb6 Qb8 0.32/15
So I may say there are  clearly big differences between these two Shredders!

Conclusion: An excellent made upgrade!

ChessMail issue 1/2004

Chess Mail Limited, 26 Coolamber Park
Dublin 16 Ireland
Basic Subscription 40 Euros.
{For eight issues.}

This first ChessMail issue from this year starts with an very extensive coverage of the correspondence career of the 8th World Champion Jorn Sloth covering around nineteen pages of this heavy loaded chess magazine.
The publication of this interview and retrospective means that ChessMail has now covered  except for Purdy and Ragozin the careers of all correspondence world champions!
ChessMail also has the aim to have an opening article and a historical article in each issue starting with “Extract from `Danish Dynamite` covering the Göring  Gambit.
The most interesting story from this issue is certainly CC champion was not a Soviet spy!
{The suspicion that a British correspondence chess champion from the 1940s spied for the Soviet Union was a big mistake!}
Others: Champions League news,News of top CC tournaments,Annotaed games by our readers etc.

Conclusion: : A must for every ambitious correspondence chess player!