Publisher: Chessbase, 2012, DVD + Booklet

The focus of this issue consists of two top tournaments with diametrically opposed formats: the "Zurich Chess Challenge" saw the encounter of Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian in a friendly match consisting of six games and ending, when you consider their closeness in strength, in a 3:3 draw. The European Championship in Plovdiv, on the other hand, was once more a giant tournament with far over 300 participants, including 180 grandmasters. Here there was a sole winner in Dmitry Jakovenko (title picture) with 8.5 out of 11. The new European Champion is, along with Kramnik, Karjakin, Bologan, Shirov, Inarkiev etc. one of our star authors. You will also find on the DVD 13 openings articles, which cover the usual wide spectrum: from the Dutch via the French Winawer to the topical "Westphalia Variation" in the Queen's Gambit. That means something for everyone!



Grandmaster Karsten Müller shows you in his video introduction all that is waiting for you on the new DVD. From the most important games of recent top tournaments, via exciting articles on opening theory (both in classic and in video format) to his own endgame column and the popular "trap" by Rainer Knaak.


Tournament highlights

The most spectacular moments and and the most important games are presented to you by GM Dorian Rogozenco in his highlights video. In this issue, e.g., Fressinet-Akopian and Jakovenko-Fressinet from the ECh as well as the two wins in the match between Kramnik and Aronian.

Kramnik-Aronian 3:3

Zurich Chess Challenge 2012

The friendly match between ex world champion Vladimir Kramnik and the second placed player in the world ranking list Levon Aronian was the best of chess entertainment and also showed all that one can expect from a duel of this class: spectacular victories, a little theoretical duel (the subject: the "Berlin Wall") and a series of hard-fought draws. The final result was also in tune with the friendly atmosphere of the match: both of these top players could be satisfied with 3:3. At the press conference which followed, Kramnik showed himself satisfied with his play and with the match. Aronian's conclusion was slightly more self-critical: he thought he had been "a bit too emotional" and that he had often evaluated his positions too optimistically. But he too had a positive spin on things: "I learned a lot and the match was a great experience".

Kramnik - Aronian (3)
Position before 13.Bxc7

The most spectacular game was in the third round Vladimir Kramnik himself has annotated it in detail. In view of his first-round defeat the Russian player felt himself under some pressure and chose after 1.e4 e5 The Scotch Four Knights Game. Aronian's 5...Bc5 thwarted his opponent's preparation (Kramnik: "I had something in mind") and with 9...d5 he poured oil on the flames. Then, only a few moves later, the Armenian had to give up his queen for three minor pieces. In the turbulent position on the board on the left, Kramnik continued with 13.Bxc7. In the subsequent complications the ex world champion always knew what was going on and finally managed to level the match. Click on the link under the diagram and play through the game with Kramnik's analysis!
The other games from Zürich:
Runde 1: Kramnik - Aronian (annotated by Igor Stohl)
Runde 2: Aronian - Kramnik (annotated by Leonid Kritz)

Runde 4: Aronian - Kramnik
Runde 5: Kramnik - Aronian

Runde 6: Aronian - Kramnik
(annotated by Igor Stohl)

Dmitry Jakovenko
Undivided tournament victory

European Championship Plovdiv 2012

Although this year again the European Championship with 350 participants from the ECU was played as an open tournament, the quality was astonishingly high. Almost a third of the players had an Elo rating of 2600 or more. This enormously even level of participant led to the leader board changing at the end of almost every round. One round before the finish it was Laurent Fressinet who was leading, but he was defeated by Dmitry Jakovenko, who won the tournament with 8.5 out of 11 and a lead of half a point over his pursuers.

Rakhmanov - Jakovenko
Position after 10...g5

The new European Champion has selected two games from Plovdiv to analyse on the DVD. The decisive game Jakovenko - Fressinet from the final round as well as the twists and turns of his highly exciting draw Rakhmanov - Jakovenko. In this game, which is of theoretical importance for the Slav Defence Exchange Variation with 6...Bf5, Jakovenko found new resources for Black. The 28 year old Russian went for the sharp continuation 10...g5 (diagram) 11.Bg3 h5 12.h3 h4 13.hxg4 hxg4 14.Nd2 Kf8. A good choice, which promptly secured for him a slight advantage. But then he missed an important nuance and he needed three “endgame miracles” to save the draw.

Many annotated games and an openings survey
of the ECh by Mihail Marin

In addition to the tournament winner, Viktor Bologan, Ernesto Inarkiev and Andrei Volokitin (three other highly placed participants in the ECh) have commented on their best games for you. And Gawain Jones too, who caught the attention in Plovdiv and for a time was in sole lead with 4 out of 4, has selected some games to analyse on the DVD.
Lupulescu - Bologan (Slav with an early...a6)
Matlakov - Bologan (Semi-Slav)
Inarkiev - Stojanovic (Paulsen Variation with 7.Qd2 b5)
Inarkiev - Sokolov,I (Ruy Lopez with 3...Nge7)
Volokitin - Zhigalko,S (Najdorf Variation with 8.h3)
Volokitin - Lenic (Caro-Kann Advance Variation with 5...c5)
Caruana - Jones,G (King’s Indian Sämisch)
Zoler - Jones,G (King’s Indian with Nc6)
In addition to all that, there is GM Mihail Marin who has studied more than 70 annotated games from the European Championship and in his opening survey he presents the most important innovations and trends.

Jakovenko - Karjakin
Position before 38...d3

Sergey Karjakin successful with the double fianchetto

Sergey Karjakin was the top board who led his team Tomsk 400 to victory in the Russian Championship in April. His 5.5 out of 7 constituted one of the best performances in the tournament and included a series of remarkable games. On the DVD Karjakin annotates his victory with Black over the new European champion Jakovenko. This extremely interesting game was not decided until the ending, when in the position on the board Karjakin offered to sacrifice his passed pawn with 38...d3. Play through the game with the comments of the top grandmaster and let him show you whether White should accept the sacrifice.

Video analysis

Alexei Shirov analysiert

On this DVD Alexei Shirov offers you three analyses in video format, including his game against Luke McShane from the top Bundesliga match against Werder Bremen. The English player chose in 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 an opening which as a side variation is also really interesting for amateur chess. In his video analysis Shirov shows the best way for Black to achieve equality in this opening. His explanations on the subject of how to approach a game after a strategic pawn sacrifice are equally instructive - for this is an area in which even grandmasters occasionally make mistakes!

Sergei Tiviakov:
"It was a very easy win for me."

Sergei Tiviakov: How I defeated the world champion

Vishy Anand's last competition before the WCh match in May did not quite look like that of a world champion. In the final round of the chess Bundesliga he was forced to concede defeat to Sergei Tiviakov with Black. Tiviakov analyses the game in which the naturalised Dutchman also turned after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 to 3.Bb5+ and went on to deliver a model game on the subject of "the weak d5-square". In doing so he picks apart the world champion's play.

in the position in the diagram what must White play to secure the draw?
You will find the answer in the endgame column

From the opening trap to the endgame study

Training in ChessBase Magazine starts with the very first moves and includes all the phases of a game of chess. The 13 up-to-date openings articles with their numerous ideas and suggestions for your own repertoire can be found above in the links. This time Rainer Knaak's Opening Trap (including its Fritztrainer video) contains a trap in the Semi-Slav (D46). You will also find in video format openings articles by Alexei Shirov (French Winawer), Leonid Kritz (Sicilian Paulsen) and Andrew Martin (French Steinitz). These videos can be found in the column Opening videos. Peter Wells' subject in his Strategy-column is called: "Harmonious positions". In Daniel King's long-running favourite Move by Move it is a game in the Ruy Loez which is up for discussion. And in the Tactics (subject: mating alert in the h-file) and Endgame columns (subject: bishops of opposite colours) Oliver Reeh and Karsten Müller have once more brought together for you the best from recent tournament practice.

Opening Surveys


Marin: King’s Indian Torre Attack A48

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 0-0 5.c3 d6 6.e4 Nbd7


In the second part of his series on the King’s Indian Torre Attack Mihail Marin deals with the move 6...Nbd7, preparing ...e5. But less pressure is exerted on d4, so White can choose the moment to release the tension. Black barely equalises.

Schipkov: Dutch A88

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.d5


Thanks to a few games by Nakamura the move 7...c6 has been attracting some attention. Boris Schipkov too comes to a positive conclusion after his investigations: in the main variation, 8...e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 followed by 10...Re8, Black can do well.

Schandorff: Caro-Kann B12

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nd2 e6 5.Nb3 Nd7 6.Nf3 a6


For a while Black had difficulties with the white setup with Nd2 and Nb3. But with 6...a6 he prepares ...c5, without any possible disruption from a bishop check on b5. After 7.Be2 c5 8.dxc5 it is important to recapture on c5 with the bishop.

Kritz: Sicilian B38

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 b6 9.0-0 Bb7


The variation with 8...b6 is a speciality of Guseinov, and previously also of his compatriot Gashimov. White has to steer clear of various reefs, e.g. in the diagram 10.Qd2? Nxd4 11.Bxd4 e5! or 10.Rc1? Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bh6!, but precise play promises him an advantage.

Breder: Sicilian B90

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Be7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.g5 b4 13.Ne2 Ne8 14.f4 a5 15.f4 Bxb3


The bishop move which leads to the diagram is an interesting and as yet rarely played alternative to 15...a4, where theoretical lines stretch far into the middlegame. 16.cxb3 a4 17.bxa4 Rxa4 18.Kb1 is followed by the rook sacrifice 18...Rxa2!

Kuzmin: French C11

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qd2 Qb6


The move Qd8-b6 is not unusual in the French Steinitz, but in the move order examined by Kuzmin it has rarely been seen. Some things can be said in its favour, e.g. 9.Na4 Qb4! leads to a good ending.

Moskalenko: French C15

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.Qg4 Nf6 7.Qxg7 Rg8 8.Qh6


The move 4.a3 should not be under-estimated. The variation leading to the diagram is almost forced. Then Black has a greater choice of moves. Botvinnik always played 8...c5, but Shirov sees a strong white bishop pair and recommends 8...Rg6. Moskalenko likes a setup with ...Nbd7 and ...b6.

Anic: Two Knights Defence C55
1.e4 e5 2.
Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0


In this quiet variation of the Two Knights Defence White’s intentions are relatively clear: c3, Bb3, Re1, Nbd2 and a4. Darko Anic recommends for Black a setup with d6 and Nfd7. The ideas behind it: ...Bf6, ...Nc5, later possibly even d6-d5 too.

Breutigam: Ruy Lopez C96

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.h3 0-0 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Nd7 12.Nbd2 exd4 13.cxd4 Nc6


This variation, which leads after14.d5 Nce5 to a Benoni structure, bears the name of the German grandmaster Alexander Graf. Some lines are really sharp, something which many players of the white pieces are not really intending.

Postny: Queen’s Gambit Accepted D20

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 exd4 6.Nxd4


The move 5.Nc3 has been really popular recently. But the results of the analysis by Evgeny Postny are very satisfactory for Black; for example, he considers 6...Nd7!? to be playable for Black. Perhaps White must turn back to 5.Bd2 after all.

Krasenkow: Semi-Slav D31

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.e3 b5 6.a4 Bb4 7.Bd2 a5 8.axb5 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 cxb5 10.b3 Bb7


First of all, the author shows that in the Noteboom Variation Black need not fear the move 11.d5. Thereupon he examines the sub-variations which are possible after the main continuation 11.bxc4 b4 12.Bb2 Nf6 13.Bd3 Nbd7 14.0-0 0-0.

Stohl: Queen’s Gambit D38

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.e3 c5 8.dxc5


So far, the exchange 8.dxc5 has only been a side variation, but after the developments of recent months and above all the very recent game Jakovenko-Fressinet, Plovdiv 2012, for the first time Black is obliged to start looking for improvements.

Grivas: Semi-Slav D44
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.a4


6.a4 allows White to avoid the long lines of the Botvinnik Variation (6.e4). But does he also manage something of an advantage? On the positive side for White is the fact that there is no clear-cut equalising continuation for Black, and in some lines he really gets a small advantage.

Chessbase Magazine 148 (+DVD)