Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol 1 - 9


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Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.1 - Dynamic Pawns

In this DVD we deal with different dynamic decisions involving pawns. The aim of this DVD is to arm club/tournament players with fresh ideas which they can use in their own practice.

I hope my selected material will inspire the viewer to take similar decisions in his/her own games. I have structured this DVD into 4 chapters: 1. Minor Sacrifices 2. Rolling Pawns 3. Allowing pawn islands 4. Dynamic ideas with g- and h-pawns Every chapter consists of model games displaying different aspects of the theme. The variety of games should give you enough insights to spot these strategies in your own practice.

• Video running time: 4 hours 50 Minutes (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Extra: Database with more examples

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.2 - Practical Play

In this DVD, I have selected the material aiming to improve the viewer’s middlegame decision making process and broaden his/her middlegame understanding in general.

I have structured this DVD into 4 chapters: 1. What to trade, what to keep 2. The king on f8 defends himself 3. Open file 4. Creating crises Every chapter consists of model games displaying different aspects of the theme. The variety of games should give you enough insights to spot these strategies in your own practice.

• Video running time: 4 hours (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Extra: Database with more examples

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.3 - The Hedgehog

Throughout my playing career I have found the Hedgehog (with both colours) one of the most difficult type of positions to master. With White (the side with more space) there is always a danger to overextend oneself (or miss your opponent’s pawn break). While playing Black (the side with less space) there is always a danger to mistime your pawn break, or simply to not get counterplay and be overrun.

The complexity of those positions is best illustrated in a Kasparov-Kramnik game – with both players allowing seemingly “obvious” mistakes. Charbonneau-Anand is another good example – a player of Anand’s stature landing in a terrible position, then missing his good attacking prospects. The game result was one of the biggest upsets of 2006 Chess Olympiad. There are different types of Hedgehog positions - many of them coming from the English opening where the White bishop is fianchettoed. In this video course I consider the “basic Hedgehog” pawn structure; like the one coming from the Kan Sicilian for example. Choosing the right plan at the right time is the key here - the ensuing positions are full of dynamic possibilities. I endeavour to show the most common (and a few less common!) plans for both sides and try to pinpoint typical mistakes and motifs. The basic aim of this video is to improve understanding of these complex positions and to help tournament players score better!

• Video running time: 4 hours (English)
• Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play key pawn structures against Fritz on various levels

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.4 - Dynamic pawn structures

Studying this video course should greatly improve the viewer’s handling of dynamic pawn positions! As with all my other video courses material here is predominantly aimed at improving players and tournament players.

Isolated pawn structures can obviously come from many different openings. In this video course I have picked up isolated pawn structures coming from the classical Tarrasch defence D34; for which a considerable part was inspired by the games of Garry Kasparov. I believe studying the classical Tarrasch isolated pawn structures (and related pawn structures) to be an excellent way to improve understanding of those types of positions. Choosing my games selection, I wanted to show typical plans for both sides based on high level instructive games. Hanging pawns in the centre can come from different (though usually 1.d4 systems) openings. “Hanging pawns in the centre” structures are difficult to master because a good feeling for the “transformation timing” is needed! Sometimes those “transformations” are pawn-break related, unleashing dynamic power; while sometimes they are related to taking space and not being bothered about surrendering central squares. I have tried to show typical plans aiming to improve the viewer’s knowledge, and also practical play level. Sicilian Rauzer double f-pawn structures are fashionable nowadays and are seen at all levels. Dynamic timing is everything! Most of the time, temporary pawn sacrifices are an essential part of this “dynamic timing”. While it is difficult to give exact set of rules here, typical ideas do repeat themselves and I have tried to show these in this video course.

• Video running time: 5 hours 30 minutes (English)
• Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play key pawn structures against Fritz on various levels

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.5 - Sicilian Rossolimo and Maroczy Structures

Understanding an opening doesn’t stop after the theory. It’s essential to understand ideas and structures connected to the opening moves. Furthermore, recognising mistakes by your opponent to gain an advantage is a key component of the middlegame. In this video course we’ll concentrate on Rossolimo and Maroczy structures in the Sicilian Defence. 

The Rossolimo gained popularity recently as it avoids Open Sicilian theory such as the Sveshnikov or Kalashnikov. In essence, we reach an English opening with colours reversed (1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 (or 2…Bb4) 3.g3 Bb4) being a tempo up. As with most colour reversed systems, now we have (as White) a comfortable position (the extra tempo counts after all!), but our aim also changes (as we are no longer happy with a ‘comfortable position’ but are aiming for an advantage). None other than Magnus Carlsen is playing this opening to a great extent, which is a key component of the selection on this video course. We mostly analyse plans after 3…g6 (followed by Bxc6 with both …bxc6 or …dxc6 recaptures) or 3… e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6. At first glance White has an ‘obvious advantage‘ in the Marcozy Bind: White has more space with Black not having clear counterplay. Danish chess legend Bent Larsen liked to play against the Maroczy Bind with Black and came up with many ideas that are still viable today. In this video course, my material is based on the Classical main-line Maroczy bind, I have pointed out the main ideas/positions both sides are aiming for and show surprising strategic mistakes (committed even in top-level games!).

• Video running time: 7 hours 20 Minutes (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Extra: Model games database & Training with ChessBase apps - Play key positions against Fritz on various levels

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.6 - Ruy Lopez Structures

Understanding an opening doesn’t stop after the theory. It’s essential to understand ideas and structures connected to the opening moves. Furthermore, recognising mistakes by your opponent to gain an advantage is a key component of the middlegame. In this video course, we’ll concentrate on structures in the Ruy Lopez Defence. 

Anatoly Karpov once said: ‘Understanding the Ruy Lopez is crucial to middlegame improvement in chess’. On this video course I opted for ‘Karpov Ruy Lopez understanding type lines’, the massive majority of the material coming from Chigorin, Breyer and Zaitsev variations. I have tried to give viewers a ‘crash course’ on typical middlegame plans, typical material imbalance ideas (and dynamics), types of positions White or Black should be happy about (or try to avoid!), while combining it (when I saw fit) with useful opening advice (advice based on my forty years’ experience playing and researching those positions). The course aims to improve the understanding of these types of positions to help the viewer to play better and to get better results.

• Video running time: 6 hours 25 minutes (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Extra: Model games database & Training with ChessBase apps - Play key positions against Fritz on various levels

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.7 - Dynamic Catalan

Many young top-players are opting for the trendy “Dynamic Catalan” where, against the triangle or semi-slav structures, White can sacrifice a pawn to gain immediate initiative. This sacrifice can lead to long term positional advantage, but often White can unleash dangerous threats upon the black king with a central pawn break.

Many games will become attacking adventures for White, with various opportunities to sacrifice material and create stunning threats. The “Dynamic Catalan” can be your choice of opening - if you are willing to take the game into your own hands from the very beginning; and with this video course, you will add a sharp weapon to your repertoire. The author GM Ivan Sokolov has been on the white side of the “Dynamic Catalan” in many top-level games, against players such as Caruana and Vallejo Pons, and “felt comfortable playing it: space, initiative, safe king.”

  • Video running time: 4 hours 48 minutes
  • With interactive training including video feedback
  • Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play “Dynamic Catalan” positions against Fritz on various levels

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.8 - French Winawer

The French is a complex opening and can lead to a wide variety of middlegames. The Winawer after 3...Bb4 is Black’s most proactive option, immediately weakening White’s pawn structure by doubling their c-pawns.

While Black gets to play against the weak square d4, White often gets attacking chances on the kingside and a space advantage. Structurally, this line can lead to closed positions after ...c4, or open and dynamic play by white’s structural exchange dxc5. “My game selection is aimed at explaining the most important plans of these strategically complex positions.” (Author GM Ivan Sokolov)

  • Video running time: 3 hours 55 minutes
  • With interactive training including video feedback
  • Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play “French: Winawer” positions against Fritz on various levels

    Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.9 - French Tarrasch

    In the Tarrasch variation, White seems to be doing great, but initial evaluations can be deceptive and Black certainly has trumps, creating complicated and fascinating positions.

    “The French´s household-name proponent is the legendary Victor Kortschnoj - arguably the best player to have never become world champion - so naturally, I have included a number of his games.” He played these positions in two of his World Championship matches in 1978 & 1981 against Anatoly Karpov - who many consider to be the most precise player against isolated pawns - not losing a single game. French middlegames are very rich and tricky to master, but with this video course you will gain a better positional understanding and learn precise strategic planning.

    • Video running time: 3 hours 52 minutes
    • With interactive training including video feedback
    • Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play “French: Tarrasch” positions against Fritz on various levels

Windows 10 or higher
Minimum: Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, DirectX11, graphics card with 256 MB RAM, (DVD-ROM drive), Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 14/Fritz 16 or included Reader and internet access for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel i5 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 10, DirectX11, graphics card with 512 MB RAM or more, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, (DVD-ROM drive) and internet access for program activation.

MacOSX
only available as download! Minimum: MacOS "Yosemite" 10.10

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