CBM 211: Battle of giants in Bundesliga


ChessBase Magazine (CBM 211) offers a window to the world of professional chess.  618  games (20 annotated)  from  Schah Bundesliga,  Meltwater  Tour Tounament and  the U.S. Championship. 12 opening surveys, 8 demo. lectures and several exercises for training. Annotators include  Loek Van Wely, Pavel Eljanov and  Luke McShane, Erwin L’Ami, Nikita Vitiugov, Nils Grandelius and Gawain Jones among others.

The icing on the cake is a feature on Misha Tal with 21 annotated games

Review by Nagesh Havanur

Three musketeers in Bundesliga

Among all chess tournaments in the world Schach Bundesliga is unique and it defies neat & easy description. It’s a big event,  with 16 teams vying for honours and the competition lasts months. At the time of writing Season 2022-2023 is in progress and OSG Baden-Baden & SC Viernheim are leading the table:

CBM 211
 (L)Nodirbek Abdusattorov  versus Markus Ragger Bundesliga (R) Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Jorden van Forrest
Photo: Stefan Spiegel/schachbundesliga.de/

 OSG Baden-Baden has dominated Schach Bundesliga for decades. But now who knows? Only time can tell. In this issue Pavel Eljanov, Loek  Van Wely and Luke McShane annotate their games (one each).

The following game sums up the extraordinary tension of chess that is played.

A fighing draw!

When I looked up the database in this issue  I also found games by  veterans, Shirov and Ivanchuk. Worth a look.

Magnus proves himself

This issue also includes games from the Meltwater Tour Tournament. Carlsen may not be defending his title in a world championship match. But he still wants to demonstrate that he is the best player in the world. In this tournament he  swept the opposition and came  ahead of Wesley So and others. However, in his individual encounters his rivals were not without chances. Take a look here:

Wesley So- Magnus Carlsen, Meltwater Chess Tournament, 2022

Caruana scores

This issue also includes all games from the main section of the U.S. Championship. Fabiano Caruana won the event with a score of 8.5/13 edging out Ray Robson half a point behind him. This time experienced players, Wesley So, Dominguez, Aronian, Shankland finished  a little below in the tournament table. However, there were few decisive encounters on top boards and I didn’t find the play very exciting in this tame contest.

Robert Ris takes a different view, though. He offers a “Move by Move” commentary on the encounter, Ray Robson-Wesley So from this Championship.

Photo:  Lennnnart Ootes/ ushesschamps.com/Saint Louis Chess Club

Here is the game:

Ray Robson-Wesley So, U.S. Championship 2022

 The U.S.Women’s Championship was won by Jennifer Yu  who won a fiercely fought  tie-break match from Irina Krush. Perhaps those games deserved to be included here.

A Tal Special

This issue also carries a special feature on Misha Tal with 21 annotated games, commentary on his play in middlegame and endgame. The opponents include such illustrious names as Botvinnik, Fischer, Spassky and Karpov, not to mention Beliavsky, Larsen, Hübner and Speelman, our own ChessBase columnist. This single feature merits more detailed consideration. Perhaps next time.

Opening videos and surveys

There are 3 opening videos in this issue:

The first offers  an introduction to the Scotch Gambit by Daniel King.
The second presents Ruslan Ponomariov’s  analysis  of a line in the Rossolimo System against the Sicilian reached by a slightly different move order (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5).
The third is a lecture on the Saemisch Benoni by Mihail Marin

 Take your pick.

What is more, there are as many as 12 opening surveys ranging from  the Sicilian to the Slav.

Riot in the Rossolimo

First, I would single out the analysis by Imre Hera on a rare variation in the Sicilian Rossolimo (B30). In his book, Coffeehouese Reperore 1.e4 (Quality Chess.2021) Gawain Jones states that this novelty is attributed to Nikita Vitiugov who played it way back in 2017.

Now there are some hair-rasing lines here and I am only offering a field map.

For starters, let us see the line, 7.Nd5!? d6.

Analysis of 7.Nd5!? d6 in the Rossolimo

What if Black plays the wild and violent 7…g5!? Here we go!

Young-Chronopoulos, corr.ICCF  2022

Fighting back in the Grünfeld

Second, I would draw attention to an important analysis by Petra Papp in the Grünfeld Defence (D97).

Russian System, Grünfeld Defence Challenged

What if White plays the dangerous 12.d6!? in this variation? Petra Papp offers a terrific correspondence game with brilliant annotations:

Ronneland-Roques, corr.ICCF email 2015

Besides opening surveys, this issue has standard features on tactics, strategy and the endgame.  I would single out Jan Markos’ demo lecture on the topic, “How to deal with opening surprises”. Practical advice for the tournament player.

Summing up

The main database of the issue has  618 recent games of which 20 are deeply annotated.There is much else in this DVD that deserves to be explored. Apart from the GMs I have already mentioned, the commentators include Nikita Vitiugov, Nils Grandelius and Gawain Jones

 among others.  It may be noted that there are more annotated games in the sections on opening theory and training.

Well, practice makes perfect.


  1. More information on Schach Bundesliga ma be garnered from their official site: https://www.schachbundesliga.de/
  2. As is known, Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the online Aimchess Rapid tournament  after        beating   GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a blitz tiebreak.

The database on Aimchess Rapid   Tournament in this issue is rather  incomplete.           The tournament  report on the news page shown below can help the reader  in finding the rest   of the games from the tournament: