Contents of ChessBase Magazine 110
By Frederic Friedel
You can read this edition of ChessBase Magazine by inserting the CD in the drive, starting ChessBase 9 and then clicking on the drive letter in the directory on the left. You will see icons of the databases and files contained in CBM 110.
You can right-click the window with the icons and use "View – Details” (or press Ctrl-D) to get a different view of the files and folders:
This view allows you to sort the list according to title, number of games, the format and the location. Ctrl-I takes you back to the icon view, where you can also sort the files by right-clicking an empty area on the database window and using "Sort symbols”.
If you are using the special "ChessBase Reader” provided on the CD, this will automatically load the multimedia report from the Magazine. In the Reader you generally use the menu "File – Open – Database” (or Ctrl-O) to select databases on the CD in a Windows file selector.
The Reader will automatically present you with the multimedia report. This is dedicated to the "2nd People vs Computers Chess Team Match” that took place in Bilbao last November. The city of Bilbao in the north-west of Spain hosted a team of three former FIDE world champions: Alexander Khalifman, who won the title in Las Vegas in 1999; Ruslan Ponomariov who took it in 2002; and Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who unexpectedly won the title in Tripoli in 2004, beating Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov and Adams in the process.
Former FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman
The computer opponents were the following three machines:
Hydra, the hardware project that is being developed in Abu Dhabi, is currently installed on 32 processors of a 64 processor array. Each processor has a special purpose hardware enhancement, a super-fast FPGA chip that executes a critical part of the search and the end node evaluations. The entire system runs at around 1.5 million nodes per second. Why only 32 processors, we asked Dr Donninger? "Because Hydra was optimised for that number," he replied. "I originally defined 'any number of processors" to equal 32. But now we are rewriting the program to make it equivalent to 128." So there is a lot of opportunity to make Hydra even faster and more dangerous.
Deep Junior was running on a very fast dual core AMD machine, located in California (why there? Amir Ban: "Because the weather is so good."). Junior was consistently searching at over six million positions per second on this machine. Both Hydra and Deep Junior were connected to the playing room in Bilbao via the Internet.
- Fritz 9: This was the latest build of the new Fritz 9 program engine, which the authors named "Fritz Bilbao". The program is written by Frans Morsch and Mathias Feist, and the latter operated the machine in the match. Mathias brought a notebook from the ChessBase office, but when he discovered that Frederic Friedel’s Dell Inspiron with its 2.0 GHz Centrino and 750 MB RAM was about 15 percent faster he confiscated the www. chessbase.com editorial computer, installed the new engine on it and used it for the games. Fritz ran at around 1.6 million positions per second on this machine.
The other two world champions: Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Ruslan Ponomariov
The multimedia report contains lots of pictures and extensive texts by the President of the International Computer Games Association David Levy accompanying the four tournament rounds.
Note that if you start a video clip directly from the CD (they are in the directory CBM110mm.avi) it will be replayed in your media player. When you start them in ChessBase 9 or the Reader it will appear in a board window, together with the chessboard. This is because the interview partner can theoretically move pieces on the board to explain what he or she is doing. This does not happen in our Bilbao sequences. If you want you can "undock” the video window and maximise it to get the best possible effect.
Grab the separation bar (two horizontal lines) above the multimedia frame and drag it off the board window. This will cause it to "float”, and you can resize it like any other window to get the optimum quality on your screen. Double-clicking the blue bar at the top of the floating window will redock it in its original place in the board window.
The main database CBM 110
The database icon labelled "110 CBM” is the one that contains the main body of games. To start or open this file you should double-click the icon (or click it and hit Enter, or right-click the icon and click "Open”). This will bring you to a navigation text that allows you to open various other files.
Clicking any of the entries will open the corresponding database in a new window, a practical way to start them. To get to the games of the main database click on the "Games” tab at the top of the navigation window of CBM 110.
The games list shows 1759 entries, of which three are text reports (one is the navigation window we have just seen above). 513 games contain analysis and variations, many by top experts in the field.
To see who has annotated games in CBM 110 click on the "Annotator” Tab at the top of the games window. This will produce a list which can be sorted according to the annotators or the number of games analysed. If you click a name you will get a list of the games which were analysed by this expert to the right. Double-clicking on any of these games will load it for replay.
Click on the "Tournament” tab to get a list of the tournaments on the CBM 110 CD. You can click on any of the categories in the title bar to sort the list alphabetically, according to place, date, type, nationality, category, number of rounds, number of games and whether the tournaments are complete or not.
Note that you can search for a tournament by typing one or two letters of the tournament name into the search box at the bottom left. This is not so relevant here, because the number of tournaments is manageable. But in a very large database it is invaluable. If you do not know the exact name of the tournament you can click on "Filter” at the bottom and type in a part of it.
The big one in this edition is of course the FIDE World Championship in San Luis, which was won in truly incredible style by Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov, a point and a half ahead of Anand and Svidler. Topalov’s performance, with six wins and no losses, was a cool 2890. In the database 40 of the San Luis games have annotations. Here’s one little snippet:
"Anand had prepared the blow for his match against Kamsky ten years earlier,” writes annotator GM Igor Stohl, "and it hit the innocent Adams by ricochet. Adams realized he was trapped in his opponent's analysis, so after long thought he tries to disconcert White with an unexpected counterblow. However, his luck fails him – although it's very difficult to foresee, the text-move loses more or less by force: 23…Bxd5? (It was necessary to enter the wild tactical labyrinth with the consistent and materialistic 23…Nxe1). 24.Nxh6+!White invests more material. 24… Bxh6 25.Qxh6 Qxf2+ 26. Kh2 Nxe1 27.Nh4! Here Anand for the first time spent a few minutes, probably just to check his old homework. White spurns a draw and continues his attack‚ even though he is a rook down. 27…Ned3 28.Nxg6 Qxg3+ 29.Kxg3 fxg6 30.Qxg6+ Kf8 31. Qf6+ Kg8 32.Bh6 1-0.
The World Team Championship in Beer Sheva is a tournament you will not want to miss, although it doesn’t have a traditional category. If you generate a cross table (double-click in the tournament list) you will see that Russia won it very narrowly by half a board point, ahead of China, by actually defeating their closest rivals 3.5:0.5. It was a great victory for the Russians and very traumatic for the Chinese.
Chess is such a brutal game – Ni Hua after his loss to Morozevich
To access theory databases you must open the folder "Theory” by double-clicking it. You can also click on the links in the navigation report of the main database. There are seven openings articles in this issue of ChessBase Magazine.
A59: Benko Gambit
GM Alik Gershon looks at the 12...Ra6 line of the Benko Gambit, one of the most fascinating openings. As early as move three Black gives away a pawn, and doesn't seem to get anything sizeable in return... not right away, at least.
Over the years a way of play was developed where Black used to fianchetto his dark-squared bishop, put his major pieces along the a- and b- files and exert heavy pressure on White's queenside. The queen would normally go to a5, so as to put an additional pair of eyes on the c3 square. The move had its drawbacks, however, since the queen would usually come under attack from White's minor pieces (e.g Bd2 or Nc4).
It was then that a plan of putting the queen on a8, behind the rooks, made its appearance in the scene. And this will be the subject of this survey.
The line goes as follows: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 g6 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.Nf3 d6 8.e4 Bxf1 9.Kxf1 Bg7 10.g3 0-0 11.Kg2 Nbd7 12.Re1 Ra6.
It is only logical to put the queen behind a rook. It is the ABC of chess – the queen is of higher value, so keep it behind.
The added value of the queen being on a8 is even more intriguing. It can be extremely annoying along the h1-a8 diagonal, especially since the white monarch is currently placed there, and there are no light-squared bishops to interfere.
Alik Gershon’s conclusion at the end of his article: "All in all, Black is doing great in the 12...Ra6 lines, where to me the plan of Nb6-a4 is even more appealing than breaks in the centre (...e6/...d5). I even have a conspiracy theory that the recent gain in popularity of A58 (the line with 8.g3, keeping the light-squared bishops) and A57 - 5. b6 (giving the pawn back, but depriving Black of a chance to play his normal game) are very closely related to the line discussed in this database. Therefore, no matter with what colour you are planning to play this, it's advisable to take a look at other variations too... especially if the colour is not Black.”
The attached database contains 96 games, 18 annotated, 15 by the author especially for this article.
B21: Sicilian, Morra Gambit
The gambit Jerzy Konikowski is looking at arises after the moves: 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3!?
White offers a pawn sacrifice in order to obtain an advantage in development and space. Black can decline the sacrifice, e.g. by 3...d3, or accept it by taking on c3, which is the most usual course.
In his contribution, Konikowski looks at a variation in which the king's knight is developed to e7 and not to f6 as is usually the case.3...dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Nge7!?
Black is planning to organise his forces in the following setup: Ne7-g6, Bf8-e7, d7-d6, 0-0 and the queen, according to the situation, on a5, b6, c7 or e8. In the position in the diagram 8.Qd1-e2 is inaccurate, because Black has no problems continuing according to his plan and developing his Ne7-g6. Better is 8.Bc1-g5, to disturb the flexible development of his opponent's pieces. Black is now forced to clarify immediately the position of the white bishops by h7-h6 or f7-f6 and that is the main theme of my article.
Conclusion: On the basis of some of my own practical experience and analyses, I believe that the plan of developing by 7...Nge7!? promises Black a good chance of holding on to the gambit pawn and maintaining an advantage.
The attached database has 40 games, most with annotations, and 12 special survey articles by the author.
B22: Alapin Sicilian
The basic position of the variation, which is examined by GM Dorian Rogozenko, arises after the moves 1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.dxc5.
The line starting with 5...Bg4 has always been one of the major weapons against the Alapin Sicilian. After the match Kasparov-Deep Blue, when the World Champion used it twice and achieved good positions with Black, the move 5...Bg4 became a real headache for 2.c3 aficionados. The problem for White is that in the main variation (6.Be2) Black usually gets good play against the IQP. That was the reason why in the middle of 1990s White players started to search for other attempts to fight for an advantage after 5...Bg4. Moves like 6.Qa4+, 6.Nbd2 and 6.dxc5 have been largely tested in practice. The latter became especially popular lately and will represent the subject of the present survey.
Conclusion: 6.dxc5 is an interesting option for White, which can lead to very sharp positions. The first player has many possibilities to fight for the initiative on the queenside and in the centre. In order to avoid troubles, Black must know very precisely what to do. In Variation A after 9.h3 Bh5 White's chances are slightly preferable, but the rare 9...Bf5 deserves attention. In Variation B both 10...Qc8 and 10...e5 offer mutual chances.
The attached database has 52 games, 30 with annotations, 18 by the author.
C06: French Tarrasch, Closed Variation
The topic of this database, produced by GM Evgeny Postny of Israel is the following opening variation: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ngf3 g6.
Black’s last move does not look too attractive at first sight. Black refrains from the principle but risky continuation 7...Qb6, choosing this somewhat strange looking way of development. One might also ask what’s the point of wasting another tempo for development and weakening the dark squares on the kingside, while there is a simple and natural alternative 7...Be7. In general the combination of the moves e7-e6 and g7-g6 for Black is considered strategically suspicious.
However, there are some factors in favour of this move as well: Black might develop his bishop on g7, where it will exert pressure on White's central pawns chain which might become very apparent after the f7-f6 thrust. Moreover, the move 7...g6 creates a barrier on the diagonal b1-h7 against White's light-squared bishop, which is well known as White's key attacking piece in the French Defence.
This variation appeared in practice for the first time in the late 1980's, but wasn't popular at all. Gradually it gained in popularity and now it's quite a frequent guest in modern practice. One of the main contributors to the popularity of the variation is GM Mikhail Gurevich - one of the best experts in the French Defence. Other GM's who use this variation as Black occasionally are E.Bareev, B.Socko, M.Ulibin and many more. From the White side you will find such famous GM's as LD. Nisipeanu, I.Smirin, JM. Degraeve and J.Benjamin.
Conclusion: For the present moment the variation is not considered to be completely reliable for Black. However, in concrete terms it has not been refuted, and Black has defensive and counterattacking possibilities in many of the lines. On many occasions, White has "overshot his mark" in his attacking attempts and suffered the obvious consequences. Concretely, the move 8.h4 is the one that sets Black the biggest problems in defence. However, anyone who plays the French Defence on a regular basis should be used to this anyway!
There are 77 selected games in the attached database, about 25% are annotated. The database includes all fresh practical material, up to December 2005. There is a deep opening key specially developed for this line.
C10: French Defence
This is the subject: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 c5.
GM Alexander Finkel of Israel writes: "After covering all other possible replies in previous issues of Chessbase Magazines (I started with an article on 8.Bxf6 and continued with the survey which included 8.Be3, 8.Bd2 and 8.Bf4) I have finally decided to bring to your attention a survey on the main lines (I should add one of the most popular lines) of the Rubinstein variation.
I started working on this survey with an impression that White is in some sort of a deadlock in his fight for the opening advantage. Surprisingly my intuition did not betray me this time and the first impression proved to be the right one! After exploring all of the lines in the variation with 8.Bh4 I failed to find a clear way to an opening edge. Of course it does not mean White should give up playing this interesting line, but proper preparation by Black should be enough to solve all the opening problems White may pose.
White has 8 (!) different replies to meet 8...c5, so covering them all was not an easy task, but hopefully I managed to put a finger on the most critical sub-lines and move orders in all of the variations.
Conclusion: White is in some sort of a deadlock in his fight for the opening advantage. It seems that in all main directions Black's position is rock solid. I would point out three most important lines in which White should come up with improvements to revive 8.Bh4. After 9.Ne5 Qa5+ 10.c3 cxd4 11.Qxd4 Bc5 12.Qf4 Bd6 13.Bg3 0-0 14.Be2 Nd7 15.Nc4 Bxf4 16.Nxa5 Bxg3 17.hxg3 Nf6 Black is slightly worse, but nevertheless he is very close to a draw. The same is true of the position arising after 9.Bc4 cxd4 10.0-0 Be7 11.Qe2 0-0 12.Rad1 Qb6 13.Nxd4 Qxb2 14.Nf5 exf5 15.Qxe7 Be6. As for 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Bxd7+ Qxd7 11.Qe2 Be7, Black seems to be doing fine there too.
Maybe White should start looking for some less explored lines (like 9.Bd3 for example) to fight for the opening advantage, but at the moment I can not point out a single line in which White can get anything measurable out of the opening.
The attached database contains 138 games played in this line, 40 with annotations (15 of them exclusively for this database), and a very deep opening key.
D85: Modern Exchange Gruenfeld with 13...Bc7
The initial position of this database by GM Victor Mikhalevski arises after the following moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Rb1 0-0 9.Be2 Nc6 10. d5 Ne5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12. Qd2 e6 13.f4 Bc7 14.0-0 exd5 15.cxd5 Ba5.
The author writes: "In the very beginning, when this variation appeared in tournament practice, it was considered as anti-positional, and White tried to refute it. And indeed it looks weird to retreat with the bishop to c7, instead of the regular 13...Bg7, and then to come to a5. However, this idea, despite being risky, has a positional explanation. By bringing the bishop to a5, Black prevents the programmed advance c4 and thus makes difficult the development of the white queenside. Moreover, the c3-pawn becomes an object of attack in some lines. White's play is usually connected with either an attack on the kingside exploiting the absence of the black dark-squared bishop, or with an attempt to unpin the c3-pawn. Black's counterplay contains the development of the light-squared bishop to f5, usually after playing b6, Qf6 attacking the c3-pawn and Re8 trying to exploit the weakening of the e3 and e4 squares. This setup received a boost mostly thanks to the efforts and cooperation of the Beer-Sheva team players, of which yours truly was part, and was seriously tested during the St Petersburg-Beer-Sheva friendly matches in 1998-99. The rich possibilities for both sides attract many strong GMs including Alexander Khalifman, Zviad Izoria, Alexander Chernin, Alexander Shabalov as White; Emil Sutovsky, Boris Avrukh, Alexander Areschenko, Alexander Huzman, Alon Greenfeld, Mark Tseitlin, yours truly and many others as Black.”
Conclusion: In the last two years this setup has received a strong boost thanks to a number of new ideas. Though White has a lot of options and the bishop on a5 looks misplaced, the Beer-Sheva variation is still alive. The most challenging lines are 16.d6 and 16.f5, but White still has to look for improvements and thus many strong players add it to their opening repertoire as Black. So what about you?!
GM Mikhalevski has selected no less than 90 games for the current database, more than 33% of them are annotated. This database includes fresh practical material up to December 2005, including one game from the WCC in Khanty Mansiysk 2005! There is a deep opening key developed especially for this database.
The starting position for the variation being examined by GM Zoltan Ribli arises after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Ra7.
Black's rook move has become especially popular of late. By 10.Bd2 White was planning to play 11.Ba5, but after the waiting move10...Ra7 then 11.Ba5 would not be so good on account of 11...Nc6. And later the a7-rook can come into play along the 7th rank.
The author’s conclusion: This variation with 10.Bd2 Ra7 has been played quite a lot recently at a high level. The idea of the prophylactic rook move is quite interesting and if Black plays precisely, then White's advantage is tiny. In my opinion, White has chances of an opening advantage with the continuation 11.Rc1, whilst the best defence for Black is always in some way linked to the move Qa8.
The database contains 20 key games, all of them annotated.
Our endgame section is once more provided by GM Karsten Müller, whose annotations are both in German and in English. There are 36 instructive lessons extracted from topical games from the current issue of ChessBase Magazine.
Our strategy expert GM Peter Wells has entitled his article "Good” and "Bad” Pieces Revisited – their functions, and what we expect of them! "One of my aims,” he writes, "in delaying discussion of the bishop hampered by its own side's pawns is to home in on the related and practically extremely important case of restriction by the opponent's pawns.” Further subjects are a piece without purpose; the vulnerable piece; the classics live on – traditional 'good' and 'bad' in a contemporary setting; and some tricks to transform a piece.
GM Valery Atlas calls his tactical article "A General Without An Army” and writes: "Many games in the present tactical database illustrate the tragic fate of an insufficiently protected king facing a direct attack by overwhelming enemy forces. In such positions, according to Reuben Fine, ‘combinations are as natural as a baby's smile.’”
The database has been compiled by the ICCF and starts with six texts containing news and tables. After that there are over 2459 games from contemporary correspondence and email chess events.
This article, written by Johannes Fischer, is about the Dresden Chess Congress in 1926. There were only ten participants, but one of them was Alexander Alekhine, who went on to become world champion a year later. We must mention that Alekhine did not win this event. The honour went to Aaron Nimzowitsch, for whom this was perhaps the greatest triumph in his career (apart from his victory in Karlsbad 1929).