Another three months have gone by, so it's time for another issue of the Chess Informant. The current issue, #126, hot off the press, covers events from September-November of 2015, and the text portions rightly place a heavy emphasis on the World Cup (won by Sergei Karjakin in a dramatic final over Peter Svidler, in case anyone has forgotten; both players thereby qualified for next year's Candidates' tournament). As usual, I'll offer an overview of the issue.
We'll begin with a review of the standard, old-school features: a big chunk of games (201, the seemingly official quantity nowadays) which are presented in the Informant's traditional way, with symbols and without natural language. (That said, that number is slightly misleading, in that quite a few of the games are repetitions/"translations" of games given in the text-based sections. There's a good news/bad news aspect to that. The good news (if you've purchased a digital version of the Informant) is that those games can be easily incorporated into your database programs, which is very convenient. The bad news, obviously enough, is that there's some duplication in what you've paid for. There are also the standard sections on combinations, endgames and studies (with nine of each), plus a re-presentation of the best game and the best novelty from the previous issue.
Now to the text-based material, which comprises more than half of the volume - 180 pages out of 348. Once upon a time it seemed like a gimmicky change to the Informant, but now it's a major strength of the volume. As noted above, the current issue focuses on the World Cup, but not everything relates to that event.
First, there's Alexander Morozevich's "Midnight in Moscow" column, which takes a look at the ...a6 vs. a4 pawn advances in Benoni structures and asks who benefits from their insertion. Morozevich shows one of his many creative ideas with the black pieces, and shows how it has developed over the past several years.
Next, Pentala Harikrishna ("The New Romantics") looks at four games (one from the World Cup) in which imaginative calculation was the necessary ingredient in a player's winning a won game.
Ernesto Inarkiev asks the question, "How many games should a chess professional play in a period of one year?", and after briefly surveying old thoughts and recent data concludes that there is no one sensible conclusion to be drawn. He recently played in four back-to-back events (five if you distinguish the World Rapid and the World Blitz championships) in a 29 day period, starting with - you guessed it - the World Cup. Despite the fatiguing schedule, Inarkiev's results did his rating no harm, and overall he even seemed to benefit from the daily grind which kept him in form.
Next is Mihail Marin's very well-received column, "Old Wine in New Bottles". There may be no "wine" that's older in chess than the weakness of f7 (or f2), and it can be found in vintages as recent as the World Cup final between Svidler and Karjakin. Marin shows three games where tactics involving f7 and/or f2 come into play, and shows some classic examples as well, plus another game from 2015 that could have become a classic.
Swedish GM Emanuel Berg ("Mirroring") continues his thematic columns in which he looks at an opening variation from both perspectives, showing first a white success in the line followed by one for Black. (At least from a theoretical standpoint; the results need not be 1-0 and 0-1.) The variation in question this time is the increasingly popular Ruy variation 6.d3, starring a pair of games from the World Cup.
Karsten Mueller ("Endgame Strategy") looks at 12 endings (from the World Cup and the World Rapid Championship) with various material distributions; it's more a survey than a thematic column.
From here on out it's all about the World Cup. Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Alexander Ipatov, Bassem Amin, Rafael Leitao, S.P. Sethuraman, Sam Shankland, and Sandro Mareco all look at their highlights (and sometimes their lowlights) from the event; and Leitao also looked at games from other matches that caught his eye. Michael Roiz looks at several especially tactical games from others' matches, and Sarunas Sulskis also looked at some very complicated battles featuring some of the top players.
In sum, another winning issue - highly recommended.
(Ordering information here.)