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    Entries in Informant 116 (1)

    Saturday
    May182013

    Informant 116: A Short Review

    It looks like the recent flurry of changes to the Informant have stopped for now, as the general structure of Informant 116 is essentially the same as that of Informant 115, which in turn followed the model from Informant 114. Following the links (just given) to my reviews of those periodicals may give a fuller picture of what these volumes contain; here I'll just offer some specifics about this particular volume and reiterate my usual conclusion.

    The current issue covers a five month period, from September 2012 through January of this year, and its essential core consists of 203 high-level, deeply annotated games (or game fragments - but partial games are comparatively few) from that time frame. The games are annotated using their rich symbol set, but without language. One of the major changes the past few years is that a large section of every Informant includes a considerable amount of content (in this case, roughly 120 pages) with English-language commentary and annotation. I'll elaborate on that in what follows.

    First, this issue sees the fourth installment of "Garry's Choice", in which he deeply annotates a game of his choosing in the Informant's time frame. Here he chooses an English Attack Najdorf, not only taking a careful look at the main game but also making reference to some of his games in that line and with relevantly similar motifs. As the games to which he makes reference are also included after the main game, with their original (languageless) annotations, it makes for a nice all-around lesson.

    Next up is Mihail Marin's "Old Wine in New Bottles", in which he considers exchange sacrifices to remove outposts. An obvious concept, you might say, and in many cases you'd be right. That it's not always quite as simple as following the textbook recipe is seen in the final game of his article, in which Marin himself failed to defeat a "World Champion" (his term!) - Ponomariov - by forsaking such an opportunity. Twice! His closing words are instructive: "I come to the conclusion that sometimes knowing the classic examples is not enough: you have to remember them at the right moment, even in the most severe time trouble". Very true, but as it's not given to us to know before the start of a chess game what we need to remember (aside from opening preparation), it's worthwhile every now and then to review even those themes we think we've mastered, so that we'll have access to them when it really matters.

    After this come annotated games by Dmitry Jakovenko, Sergei Rublevsky and Ernesto Inarkiev. All three have been over 2700, and all three are currently over or near that lofty mark.

    Fourth is "One Country", which includes a game apiece from four players from the same country - Greece, in this case.

    The fifth section, "CI Labs", has eight theoretical articles, covering the following opening lines: the Sveshnikov Sicilian (the 5...e5 one, not 2.c3), the Fianchetto Variation vs. the Taimanov Sicilian, the line 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.h3 vs. the Najdorf Sicilian, the Scotch Four Knights, the Steinitz Deferred (Ruy Lopez), Morozevich's 11...g5 in the Slav with 6...Nbd7, the Petrosian Variation against the Queen's Indian and the Classical Nimzo-Indian line 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Na6.

    "Rising Stars" showcases Dariusz Swiercz, who has the odd and impressive distinction of having first won the main World Junior Championship in 2011 (open to players under 20 years of age) and then coming back in 2012 to win the Under-18 championship! First he is profiled, and then he annotates two of his games.

    Finally, in what I assume is primarily an advertising arrangement, a column from the British Chess Magazine is also included. This issue's installment sees David Howell annotating Kramnik-Jones from London 2012.

    The other usual sections are included (combinations, excellent moves, endgames, studies, etc.), and the star of this issue's "mini-Informant" is Etienne Bacrot.

    That's what's there, and as usual I'm happy to recommend the volume. Even with the increasingly large sections including English text, it remains a periodical aimed at and most useful for stronger players - at least 1800-1900, in my opinion. If you're a reasonably ambitious player at or above that rating, it may not be an absolute must, but it is a good buy and worth your time - if you're not already swamped by all the other fine chess periodicals out there!