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Convekta's new CD on Nimzowitch's opening
keywords: Nimzowitch, opening, reference
Robert Pawlak
Saturday, May 28, 2005

Are you the kind of player that wants to take white into unfamiliar territory? If so, Convekta's new CD may be just what you're looking for. Indeed, think of how many times (as white), you've faced 1...Nc6 by black, and you'll recognize the potential of this opening. In the west, 1...Nc6 is known as the Nimzowitch opening.

This CD is patterned after the book title by the same name, but is a collaborative effort between GMs Alexander Kalinin and Igor Berdichevsky. It sticks to the familiar format of the other Convekta opening CDs, and contains about 5000 games, 300 commented instructional examples, and about 50 test questions. The latter uses Chess Assistant's training mode to test knowledge of key themes in this opening.

My opinion is that this CD will be most useful for players of the black pieces, since it is relatively rare that white will encounter this particular response to e4 or d4. Looking at Chess Assistant 8's hugebase reveals that ...Nc6 is played less than 1% of the time against either 1.e4 or 1.d4. So surely this is a good surprise weapon that few white players will be familiar with. And this brings up another point. The CD deals exclusively with 1.e4 and 1.d4 by white, and so could constitute about 80% of a "complete" repertoire.

The principal difference between this CD and previous Convekta offerings is the incorporation of the new opening tables mode. Previous CDs were crammed with theory that looked something like this screenshot from Convekta's CD on the French:

[old KID example]

As you can see, theory is presented much like you'd see it in book form. And while you also had the option of viewing the information in ECO table form, navigation was pretty much restricted to a "back" button, that would take you to the previous linked article (of course, this is more than you get a in a paper opening book). Likewise, theory could be modified in the above material, as could evaluations. However, the connection between the various commands for doing that type of thing were not necessarily clear. Now, here's what the new opening tables mode looks like:

[opening table view]

The benefit of this mode is that it offers better navigation, increased readability, and easy modification of the material on the CD. Also note that in comparison to a "normal" chess tree, much more information is available without extensive navigation back and forth through the tree. This is a real usability enhancement for opening study. It should also be noted that new evaluations and variations can easily be added to the existing theory so that the material on the CD is easily modified.

Of course, a determination of whether this particular opening is compatible with one's own style will have to be made on an individual basis. My objective opinion is that it will be very easy for white, by playing moves that makes sense according to good opening principles, to find him/herself in unfamiliar territory. Many of the resulting positions I would classify as unclear, with easy ways to go wrong for both sides.

In conclusion, this CD is best for those that want to steer their opponent into (hopefully) uncharted waters. While it is not a repertoire book, there is enough material here to give an 80% solution, or to provide a fall back opening, when your usual repertoire becomes a little too predictable.



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