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Chess Middlegame Collection Review
keywords: Middlegame, Kalinin, Encyclopedia, Tutorial
Robert Pawlak
Saturday, March 25, 2006

Convekta's bundle of middlegame CDs should keep one busy for quite some time. With 2300 instructional games/fragments as well as 2600 exercises, it constitutes a formidable instructional tool. This collection comes on a total of 4 CDs in a single jewel box. Each CD contains one middlegames program.

The purpose of these four CDs is to give a player some idea of typical plans and ideas after opening play has finished. And it stands to reason that there will be some commonality with software that discusses opening ideas, such as the recently reviewed Openings Instructor. As such, there is a very slight overlap between these programs and Convekta's opening software in terms of the concepts that are discussed. 

The following openings are covered on the CDs: Ruy Lopez, Two Knights' defense, King's gambit, Italian game, Evans gambit, Scotch, Petroff defense, Sicilian defense, French defense, Caro-Kann defense, Scandinavian defense, Pirc-Ufimtsev, Dutch, Miscellaneous Queen's Pawn openings, Alekhine's defense, Queen's-Indian defense, Queen's gambit, Queen's Gambit Accepted, Slav defense, Modern Benoni, Gruenfeld defense, English defense, King's Indian defense, Nimzo-Indian defense, Reti opening, Old Indian defense, Catalan, Benko Gambit and other miscellaneous openings. All in all, this is a pretty comprehensive list.

The format of these programs is generally as follows: First there is some instructional material in the form of annotated games and fragments. The annotations for the instructional examples have a mixture of informant codes and English text explanation (Spanish is supported as well). The user is encouraged to go through these examples before tackling the subsequent test/quiz positions. There are also typical positions provided as well, these can be played out against the built-in chess engine, if one desires.

While the GUI used for these programs is nearly identical, the organization of the CDs varies slightly. For instance, middlegames I has a section on play in typical pawn structures, and Middlegames II has a separate section on typical plans. In the other CDs, this material is mixed in, and not in a separate section. Additionally, prospective purchasers need to be aware that sometimes openings are spread across several CDs, so you might have to search between them to find the material that you're interested in.

I've reviewed all these programs at one time or another, and so I'll simply refer you to my past reviews. Note that some of the links below will take you to my old site.

Middlegames I

Middlegames II

Middlegames III

Middlegames IV

Want more information? Check out the ChessOK website.







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