Review: Chess Informant 130: Knocker-Up

By Davide Nastasio

About a month ago I wrote the review of Issue 129, Big Cat, but it seems there is no rest for the weary!  This time, instead of writing a review, I’d like to share what I loved about this issue with my readers.  By the way, as always, we must congratulate the Informant guys because the graphics are stunning!



GM Sam Shankland


I will not mention anything of the boring article written by Sam Shankland, who reveals he was at a training camp in Norway with Magnus in preparation for the world championship, but he cannot reveal anything else.  He cannot tell us if he played training games with Magnus, if they analyzed middlegame positions, which kind, or something about Karjakin games.  With all due respect, for $39.99 one would expect real chess journalism instead of an analysis of the games from the world championship, which have been analyzed by everyone in every format (videos, chess sites, chess magazines, etc.) during the world championship. As a reader I was disappointed!

After all, as an amateur I don’t really remember the Najdorf up to the 30th move, and eventually if he couldn’t say anything on Magnus, and by contrast he could have said something about Karjakin (which strengths and weaknesses he found in Karjakin’s games, and so on).



GM Andrei Volokitin


Instead I began to read the article by Volokitin on his games at the Olympiads.   The following position comes from the game Volokitin vs. Fridman, 2016.  Black just blundered (but the situation was already bad for Black) with 22…Qe2.




Can you see how White checkmates in a few moves?

I found the following game by Volokitin quite interesting for the endgame.




We are at move 46.  White plays Rc6.  Now think on the position and imagine my amazement when Black played 46. … c2; and Volokitin commented “the decisive mistake….”

Here is the entire game, but try to analyze the endgame with a friend.  I discovered that Frank Johnson (coach Frank to his friends) is the BEST study partner for studying endgames!



Frank Johnson





The article Meeting Fire With Fire, by GM Hansen, wasn’t really interesting.  So I moved on to read GM Adams’ article. I remember that he had some interesting stuff in the previous issue, and in fact I found the following game–the longest ever!  This game is quite interesting for the resulting endgame. Obviously the point is that in order to play well and improve, one must learn to love the endgames.  Most games, at high level, finish with long endgames.



GM Michael Adams


If you want to learn more about this endgame, begin at move 39.  Play it against a computer, or a studying partner with Black to move. White just played Qd1 and Black needs to decide whether or not to keep the advanced pawn at d3:





And here is the 166-move game.  Let’s see if you play like Adams!




GM Aleksandar Colovic



GM Colovic penned a very interesting article entitled Carlsen vs. The Mortals.  In the article he shows some interesting games played by Carlsen at the Baku Olympiads in 2016.  The game I found quite interesting is the following where we see a GM beaten very easily in a few moves, nearly a miniature.  Colovic says Carlsen’s play is similar to Capablanca, the moves are easy to understand.  Still there is no way to stop the tragic fate which awaits Black!






By the way, this latest issue used the new training system by Chessbase, and the combinations were ready to be guessed, which was great!
Some were quite easy, like the last move of the World Championship match.  White to play and win:


carlsen_vs_karjakin (1)


Another combination is the one played by Caruana as Black vs. Hou Yifan, maybe slightly less famous but nonetheless the center of many videos in the main chess sites.

Black to move and win:





Here is the game for those who want to know how it ended!



Yifan vs. Caruana






The volume ends with the best game of the previous issue, and the best theoretical novelty.  I’ll show the best game because I also enjoyed it:



Well, we are at the end of this review.  I also enjoyed the endgame section, by GM Mueller.  On that, however, I’ll tell you more in another article!


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