The Chess Informant has had some ups and downs in recent years - happily, more of the former than the latter - and I'm pleased to report that the 121st(!) volume of the series retains the positive momentum of the last issue. Here's the current summary, based on the e-version (which I recommend for those with chess software that can handle PGN files):
1. The best game of the previous volume (Karjakin-Aronian from the Candidates, in case you were wondering).
2. The best novelty of the previous volume (Kramnik-Karjakin from the Candidates. In both cases Karjakin was the victim.)
3. An ECO-style update of theory based on the aforementioned novelty.
4. A series of relevant games in that same opening variation.
5. A theoretical article by Alexander Morozevich, this time on the Advance Caro-Kann line 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.Bd3.
6. An article by US grandmaster Sam Shankland, presenting some of the highlights (and occasional struggles) from his great performance at the Tromso Olympiad, where he won his first 7 games on his way to an undefeated 9/10.
7. The "Magnificent Seven" - seven players from the Tromso Olympiad annotate a total of 24 of their games. Both here and after the Shankland article, there are entries with the full score of games referred to in the players' articles.
8. Wesley So's Olympic diary. So wasn't there as a player, as he was still in the process of switching from the Philippine to the U.S. chess federation, but he did show up in Tromso as the U.S. team's coach. He annotates 11 games from the event, as well as offering a recap of what took place every round. Again, it's followed by the full score of the various game references included within his main games.
9. Alexander Ipatov's recap of Magnus Carlsen's triumphs in the world rapid & blitz championships in Dubai. (With added games afterwards, as usual.) Ipatov analyzes 10 games from the double event, including five of Carlsen's.
10. Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant looks at a similar rapid & blitz event for women played in Khanty-Mansiysk. There are nine games, plus the usual tack-ons.
11. Vasilios Kotronias concludes his magisterial series on the 2.c3 Sicilian, examining both 5...d6 and especially 5...e6 in reply to 1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nf3.
12. The traditional focus of the Informant: a series of games (and occasionally game fragments) annotated with language-less symbols. There are 308 in all. For those who haven't seen any of my recent reviews of Informants, all of the previous material has plenty of English-language text. For a long, long time the chess material in the Informant lacked text, but that hasn't been the case for some years.
13. The tactics section: Even here, there is now text in the solutions. It's like the Informant has founds its way to Oz, and now everything is in color.
14. Endgames: Once again, with text! Both this section and the one before have nine puzzles apiece for the reader's solving pleasure.
15. Endgame studies: Nine more, but with no text.
I'm sure the Informant editorial staff will continue to tinker - hopefully for the better - but I like the current product. It has stuck to its original mission to present the important games from the period it covers (approximately the middle of this year), but it has a nice mix of text-based articles and opening theory too. My preference, which I've mentioned in previous reviews, would be for a bit less of an attempt to appeal to regional tastes (e.g. with the articles by Shankland and So, even though I enjoyed both and thought they were well done) and maybe a bit more theory or something of a more universal and less local appeal. All the same, I'm happy to recommend the Informant to serious players everywhere.
More info, including purchasing information, here.