If you want to get better, you've got to study master games, it's as simple as that. And what could be better than studying the games of the former world champions? Add a free version of Chess Assistant with carefully designed test positions, and you've got all the material you need to do the job.
In a previous article, I talked about some of the features of the Famous Players collections released by Convekta. Their latest offering in this series is a CD on former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik.
This CD is up to the quality standards set by the Capablanca, Lasker and Tal CDs. Like these other offerings, the Botvinnik CD offers a well-annotated game collection (about 1100 in all), photos, tournament cross tables, and training questions. The games are painstakingly annotated, with a level of detail not found in any other program of this type. For instance, in the position shown below, we see that white has just played 19.Nd1!, with the idea of transferring the knight to g5.
Because a lite version of Chess Assistant is included, you get access to the chess tree, playing engines, annotating facilities, etc.You even have the ability to print out games if you want to.
Photos, cross tables, biographical information, and notes are all placed in the classifier for the main database. The classifier is organized in a tree structure, by date and tournament, and is slightly visible on the right-hand side of the screen shot.
The training questions included with this CD are not for beginners. Most of the exercises are a bit on the difficult side. I think that most players below about 1600 ELO will find them too difficult. Players above this level will certainly be challenged. The quiz categories are quite varied, since Botvinnik was such a good all-around player. In addition to combinations, there are also a fair number of tests dealing with his positional play.
Like I said, this CD is similar in format to others in this series. This and the Capablanca CD are my two favorites at the moment. I think this is because there is a relative dearth of good game collections for both of these players, at least in the western chess literature.