Review by Nagesh Havanur
I am writing these lines under the shadow of war. Life has not been the same for anyone since February 24. But then chess is an affirmation of all that is good and beautiful in our existence as human beings. It’s a reminder to us of what we need to bring back even as we think of those who have suffered and continue to suffer on account of this war. With this preamble, let me turn to the contents of this DVD. In the main it has games from the Carlsen-Nepomniachchi Match and also the traditional Wijk aan Zee Tournament.
Magnus overcomes a challenge
Often our view of a world championship is influenced by its outcome. Quite a fans lost interest in the match with the collapse of Nepomniachtchi in the second half. Perhaps the 6th game marathon (136 moves in all, setting a record!) alone redeemed it all.
Here it is annotated by Anish Giri. Recently I found the same game annotated by Sundararajan Kidambi on this page (see the link below this review). Perhaps both should be studied by way of comparison.
By way of record, I may mention that Nepo performed better in the recent Airthings Masters Tournament and he put up a credible fight against Carlsen in the Final. That confirms my belief that he is, by temperament, a tournament player, not a match player.
Winning again in Wijk aan Zee
Magnus Carlsen kept the competition at bay in Wijk aan Zee with a score of 9.5 out of 13. This was his 8th victory in 15 appearances. As he had missed the first prize in the last two appearances, it was imperative for him to win this time and he did it in style.
Photo: FaceBook/Tata Steel Chess /Lennart Ootes
Here is the clash with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov annotated by Peter Heine Nielsen in this issue:
Carlsen-Mamedyarov, Wijk aan Zee 2022
Mamedyarov, the sporting loser was full of admiration for this game. The 36-year-grandmaster from Azerbaijan found himself, the oldest participant in this tournament and jokingly asked, “Where is Vishy?” He played fighting chess and shared second place with Richard Rapport on 8 points a little behind Carlsen. In this issue he annotates his game with Praggnanandhaa.
Personally speaking, I found his first round clash with Daniil Dubov fascinating:
Dubov- Mameydyarov, Wijk aan Zee 2022
A “crazy” game worthy of both players. It’s a pity that Dubov had to withdraw on account of Covid-19 issues.
Among young players Jorden Van Foreest shone in Wijk aan Zee. In New in Chess Magazine Dirk Jan Ten Geuzendam wrote, “Spoiling for a win in every game Jorden Van Foreest was the most entertaining player in the field.”
Carlsen commented, “What can you say? For me both as a player and as a spectator his games have been pretty much the attraction. It has been great to see.” He was speakingfromexperience:
Carlsen-Van Foreest, Wijk aan Zee 2022
A fighting draw that both players enjoyed!
Caruana shines in Shamkir 2021
This issue also includes games from the Championships of Hungary and Ukraine. Importantly, there are games from 7th Gashimov Memorial Tournament won by Caruana after an Armageddon Tie-breaker with Richard Rapport. I think, this event got less public notice on account of the World Championship Match that finished in the same month.
The other players in this hard-fought event included Anand, Karjakin, Mamedyarov and Mamedov. The following game is full of cut and thrust:
Caruana-Mamedov, Shamkir 2021
Mamedov also happened to lose the blitz game here. He is an aggressive player, does not like to take precautions and some times loses:
Only the Armageddon game from the event is missing in this issue. I have included it here for the sake of completeness.
Caruana-Rapport, Shamkir (TB) 2021
Caruana played well here and then did badly in Wijk aan Zee next month finishing with
6½ points out of 13 (+3, -3 =7).
Curiously, all the losses were with White, uncharacteristic of his play.
A Levon Special
This issue carries a special feature on Levon Aronian. The Armenian Grandmaster (now based in the USA) has always been an artist at the chessboard and his sporting results have not been commensurate with his talent. This issue offers 19 annotated games from 1994 to 2021. They offer a very brief glimpse of his play seen over 25 years (the MegaBase alone has nearly 4000 games). Here is one of them:
Aronian-Carlsen, Norway Chess 2017
Opening videos and surveys
There are 3 opening videos in this issue. The first offers a lesson on the Tarrasch Defence by Daniel King.The second features a lecture on the Sicilian Taimanov Variation by Jan Werle. The third provides a lecture on the Flohr-Mikenas System by Mihail Marin. Take your pick.
There are as many as 12 opening surveys ranging from the Ruy Lopez to the Reti.
Caro-Kann players may check out a gambit line in the Advance Variation by Lars Schandorff. Players encountering the Reti Opening may take a look at a hair-raising line by Imre Hera:
A “crazy” idea in the Reti Opening (download pgn)
Besides opening surveys, this issue has standard features on tactics, strategy and the endgame.
The main database of the issue has 449 recent games of which 26 are deeply annotated.
The world championship games here carry a fine commentary by Wesley So, Luke McShane, Michael Adams and Rustam Kasmdzhanov
The Wijk aan Zee games have a commentary by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Peter Heine Nielsen among others.
Anish Giri figures as an analyst in both, annotating 6 games.
It may be noted that there are more annotated games in the sections on opening theory and training.
Well, practice makes perfect.
Prof. Nagesh Havanur (otherwise known as “chessbibliophile”) is a senior academic and research scholar. He taught English in Mumbai for more than three decades and has now settled in Bangalore, India. His interests include chess history, biography and opening theory. He has been writing on the Royal Game for nearly three decades. His articles and reviews have appeared on several web sites and magazines.
1) GM Sundararajan Kidambi annotated this game here:
So has Jan Timman in New in Chess Magazine (#1, 2022)
There are already two books on the Match
1)World Chess Championship 2021
Ian Nepomniachtchi vs.Magnus Carlsen
by Jerzy Konikowski / Uwe Bekemann
with the cooperation of Karsten Müller
(JBV Chess Books. 2021
2) Carlsen vs Ian Nepomniachtchi
by Daniel Gormally, Douglas Griffin, Goran Arsović, Igor Žveglić
(Chess Informant. 2022)
2) There is a detailed report on the 7th Gashimov Memorial Tournament here:
3)As of now, there is only one collection of games by Levon Aronian, and it’s in Russian:
Избранные партии Левона Ароняна (2015) by Vassily Emelin