While the Informant used to be the most predictable publication in chess, the good folks in Serbia have been experimenting with its format over the past few years, and notwithstanding the occasional misstep the trend has been a favorable one. The heart of the publication, as always, is a big chunk of recent games annotated without words but with lots of symbols, and the traditional sections with combinations and endgames are there as well. There is also a section on endgame studies - this has been around for quite some time - and likewise the tradition of re-presenting the best game and the best theoretical novelty from the previous issue has continued as well.
All of that is more or less in the original languageless format of the publication, but for some time now a huge chunk of the issue comes with English language commentary in addition to moves and symbols. Here's what we have this time around:
1. A review of the Carlsen-Anand match by Ernesto Inarkiev. He examines, in whole or in part, games 1-4, 6, 9 and 11.
2. An article by Alexander Morozevich on the Old Indian line 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5, entitled "Avoiding the Saemisch by a less travelled road". I'm a big fan of his articles he has done so far, and while I liked Garry Kasparov's columns for the Informant I think that Morozevich's columns are a big improvement.
3. Next comes an article by Ivan Sokolov, "Topalov's Comeback", in which he takes a look at six games and game fragments from Topalov's recent praxis on his way back to membership in the 2800 club.
4. Mihail Marin's "Old Wine in New Bottles" column has been a staple of the Informant for some time now, and deservedly so. This time around he takes a look at the double bishop sacrifice, not only showing the old classics Lasker-Bauer from Amsterdam 1889 and Nimzowitsch-Tarrasch from Saint Petersburg 1914, but a slew of new examples as well.
5. Wesley So has another column, "Back to the Midnight Sun 1", wherein he has a look at some theoretically important games from the Tromso Olympics.
6. Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant's "Back to the Midnight Sun 2" also spotlights the Olympiad; in particular, the women's section.
7. Most of the remaining sections deal with opening theory, starting with an article by Sarunas Sulskis on 1.b3, looking mostly at 1...e5 with some examination of 1...d5.
8. Emanuel Berg has a new column, "Mirroring", in which he will first take a look at a variation as an advocate of one color, and then as the advocate for the other side. This time around he's first advocates White's cause in the Berlin ending before switching to Black's side.
9. A short break from openings: Karsten Mueller's "Endgame Strategy" column focuses on a (rightly) well-known idea, the principle of two weaknesses.
10. Back to theory. First up, Eduardas Rozentalis takes a close look at the Moscow Variation line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3. It looks like he thinks that Black can equalize in one of the sidelines, but in his main line and in almost every alternative along the way he seems to believe more strongly in White's chances.
11. In the next theoretical survey Robert Markus advocates for Black in the Fianchetto King's Indian line 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.e4 c6, looking at both 9.Be3 and 9.Rb1.
12. Finally, there's part 4 of Vassily Kotronias' very long and detailed repertoire for Black against the 2.c3 Sicilian.
My advice is that the Informant is a wise purchase for serious tournament players rated 2000 and up, for most correspondence players and for ambitious young players rated at least 1800. Product info here.