It's time for another review of the Chess Informant, because a new edition has been published. This long-running periodical goes back to the great year of 1966, and has morphed from a bare games collection, some of which were annotated with languageless symbols, into a combination of a yearbook and a magazine. About half of each issue nowadays follows the old formula of wordlessly annotated games - about 200 per issue - but the other half (or more than half) comprises a series of high-level articles written in English. Each issue bears a close resemblance to its predecessor, but the editors are constantly tinkering, trying new authors and new themes every time.
Here's a summary of the contents of the 128th issue of Chess Informant. Let's start with the usual material. As mentioned above, there are 200 deeply annotated games, the overwhelming majority from (top) grandmaster practice. There are puzzle sections for combinations, endgames, and studies - nine of each. There are indexes, lists of the FIDE tournaments played in the relevant period (February-May of this year, 2016), and a re-presentation of the best game and the best novelty from the previous Informant. (The latter doesn't just give the game itself, but gives a small ECO-style summary of the theory of the line as a whole, revised to take the new novelty into account.)
Now for the variable sections. The Candidates Tournament is understandably the centerpiece of the issue, and it begins with a long article by super-GM Ernesto Inarkiev. He spends several pages offering a sporting, conceptual analysis of Sergey Karjakin's triumph, and then illustrates the analysis with a very close look at Karjakin's games from the tournament.
The next article is by GM Aleksandr Colovic, who offers a theoretical survey of the event. He goes through the tournament's contributions to the theory of the Slav, the Semi-Slav, the Queen's Indian, the English, the Ruy Lopez, and the Giuoco Piano.
GM Sarunas Sulskis then turns his attention to the European Championship, focusing especially on its convincing winner, Ernesto Inarkiev. (Author of the first article in the publication, mentioned above.)
Super-GM Michael Adams presents four of his games in the Ruy Lopez with an early d2-d3; two on the white side and two with the black pieces. Surprisingly, all four games were drawn, but all of the games were interesting and all - except for a short and fairly comfortable draw with Black against Jakovenko - all were full-blooded battles.
GM Mauricio Flores Rios covers the super-strong U.S. Championship, won by Fabiano Caruana ahead of Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So. He looks at no less than six of Caruana's games from the championship (including those against fellow super-GMs Nakamura and So) and one each by Nakamura and So. A little bonus: he covers So's spectacular win over Garry Kasparov from the Ultimate Blitz Challenge, held a few days after the Championship.
GM Surya Ganguly covers his victory in the Bangkok Open, and then GM Ivan Sokolov recaps the Dubai Open. Both events were quite strong, so while the events were short on super-grandmasters there was a rich ore of content to mine, and the authors are successful in doing so.
There was a world championship event during this period as well, and GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant recaps Hou Yifan's convincing victory over Mariya Muzychuk in their women's world championship match. Arakhamia-Grant also addresses Hou's frustration with FIDE's handling of the women's crown, and her (Hou's) intention not to participate in the next women's knockout world championship event this coming October.
GM Evgeny Najer writes about the ridiculously strong Russian Team Championship (Kramnik, Grischuk, Karjakin, Svidler, Jakovenko, Dominguez, Nepomniachtchi, etc.), and GM Sergey Rublevsky presents one of his own games from that event.
GM Mihail Marin's "Old Wine in New Bottles" column is generally placed much earlier in the issue, but the important thing is that it remains. This time he looks at the Sicilian Scheveningen structure, showing both contemporary play and echoes going back as far as the 1950s.
Finally, GM Karsten Mueller's Endgame Strategy column looks at zugzwang within five kinds of endgame: pawn endgames, those with a minor piece against pawns, endings where one side has an extra exchange, same-colored bishop endings, and rook endings.
In summary and conclusion, the book is a terrific resource for all serious players, especially for those rated over 2000, and diligent players over 1800 should get a lot out of it as well. Moreover, there's enough "talk" in the periodical that even somewhat lower-rated players can enjoy it as a summary of the events of the past few months. Highly recommended.
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