Deep Annotations from Norway
by Steve Goldberg
Chess Insider: Norway Chess 2014, by Chessdom, Figurine Algebraic Notation, Download, $16.95
The ten-player round robin event at the Norway Chess 2014 super-tournament took place in early June 2014. Chess Insider: Norway Chess 2014 offers in-depth analysis of eighteen of the forty-five game from the event via a downloadable bundle of PDF, PGN, and ChessBase files.
The ten participants, including the current world champion and two former world champions, are as follows:
- Magnus Carlsen
- Levon Aronian
- Aleksander Grischuk
- Fabiano Caruana
- Vladimir Kramnik
- Veselin Topalov
- Sergey Karjakin
- Peter Svidler
- Anish Giri
- Simen Agdestein
There are three parts to Chess Insider: Norway Chess 2014:
- Nine PDF files, one for each round. These contain a brief introduction to the round, followed by deep annotation of two of the games. The first game is always that played by Magnus Carlsen in the given round. The other game is selected from the remaining contests that round.
- The games of the tournament in PGN format.
- The games of the tournament in ChessBase format.
There is a separate PGN file for each round, and one other called “allgames,” which contains all of the games from the event. However, the annotations only appear in the daily PGN files, not the complete file.
The ChessBase databases also cover one round at a time, and contain the same annotation notes as the daily PGN and PDF files.
So the games of the tournament can be viewed any of three ways: by viewing the PDF files, by playing over the games with the PGN files, or following them by using the ChessBase files. The PDF files contain multiple diagrams, and are viewable from a tablet or PC or phone, etc. To follow along on an interactive board, the database files will be necessary. The round-by-round PGN or ChessBase files work well for the player wishing to easily see the moves of a given game on his screen. Either format also allows the viewer to play through the many alternative variations provided in the annotations. Again these are accessible from a tablet or PC or phone, etc.
Most readers will probably prefer the database options, but a player following along on an actual board and set can easily use the PDF file, either on his computer or from a print out.
Four of the nine PDF files (for rounds three to six) contain puzzles at the end, in which positions are provided and the reader is asked to find the proper continuation. Oddly, however, solutions do not appear to be provided in the next issue; instead one would have to consult the “allgames” database.
Although not every game of the event is annotated, eighteen of the forty-five clashes are included, again with two per round. The “allgames” PGN file provides a quick way to play through every game (albeit without the annotations) for those wishing to scan through the entire event.
The games are annotated in depth. The PDF files range from nine to nineteen pages each, averaging slightly more than fifteen pages per round, just to analyze two games. There is a good mixture of both textual explanations and detailed alternative variations included. For example, here is a screen shot of a portion of the database file covering the round three game between Grischuk and Aronian:
The games, annotated by the rotating group of GM Davorin Kuljasevic, IM Tihomir Yanev and IM Spas Kozhuharov, are a delight to play through. The reader can get a good feel for the ebb and flow of each contest, and the alternative directions it could have taken. Even better would have been for every game to be deeply annotated. But the two games from each round provide plenty of material for the interested reader to study and learn from.
This is the third such offering by the Chessdom group. The first covered the 2014 European Individual Chess Championship and the 2014 Candidates Tournament. The next reviewed the recently completed Gashimov Memorial event. Following Norway Chess 2014, the next Chess Insider publication is scheduled to cover the upcoming championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand.
The Chess Insider series is immediately intuitive and easy to navigate. There is no software to learn: just the PDF files to view or the database files to play through. I highly recommend Chess Insider: Norway Chess 2014 to all players past the beginner stage and eagerly look forward to their coverage of the second Carlsen-Anand match.
My assessment of this product: Great
Order Chess Insider: Norway Chess 2014
- Awful – Utter rubbish
- Poor – Inferior
- Uneven – Mix of good and bad
- Good – Worth buying
- Great – Above average
- Excellent – Everyone should own