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Modern Chess Openings: Sicilian Defense
keywords: Sicilian, Opening, Kalinin, Reference, MCO, ECO
Robert Pawlak
Monday, May 03, 2004

The user interface on this program is identical to the one used in the French Defense CD that I reviewed previously. Of course, the primary difference is that this latest opening CD deals with the Sicilian defense. So I won't spend much time discussing the user interface for accessing the material on the CD, and will instead concentrate on the contents.

First, let's tackle the easy part, and look at some important statistics. This CD contains:

  1. An opening encyclopedia for the Sicilian, consisting of 79 heavily annotated game fragments. This database contains what most people refer to as "Theory", and contains masses of variations, with evaluations.
  2. A Theory and Practice database that contains 689 annotated games; the annotations are of the Informant type, with language less symbols used to represent words. All the annotations in this database were created by actual humans :-).  And while this database appears to have been checked with Shredder 7.04, the results are only available in the form of CAP data. This database also contains instructional articles that cover the main ideas in the Sicilian (these are written in English - note: they may be in other languages as well). Furthermore, there are 54 quiz positions that reinforce these ideas.
  3. A database of 50000 games, some of which have comments made by human players (1000 or so games). While the corresponding database on the French CD was blunder checked, this one was not.
  4. An integrated chess tree that shows statistics from the 50000 game database, along with human evaluations of the opening moves.

This CD is quite comprehensive in terms of its coverage. Not only will you find the most popular variations, like the Najdorf, Dragon, and Scheveningen, but you will find some of the not-so-mainstream, but popular variations as well, including the Closed, c3, and Sozin attack. The latter seemed to be a fairly popular choice way back in the days when I was playing this opening. Here is the total list of variations covered:

Closed c3
Bb5 Dragon
Maroczy bind Chelyabinsk
Paulsen Scheveningen
Boleslavsky Sozin
Richter-Rauzer Najdorf

Each of the above classifier entries also contains a number of subvariations. What you won't find  in the Theory and Practice database are some of the permutations of the above (for example, you won't find a specific text article on the accelerated dragon, but there are some accelerated games in the larger games database). So rather than list every single variation on the CD, I've put them in a couple of CSV files showing the ECO codes covered in the two game databases. You can download these here.

[classifier for rare]

In addition to the above variations, there is also a "Rare" category, and I've taken a screen shot showing the variations that it covers, along with the corresponding number of games. As I mentioned in my French CD review, the material is very easy to access, because of the classifier shown above. And it goes without saying that you always have a browser pane available to help navigate among the open games, theoretical articles and quiz positions.

[Informant codes]

One thing I neglected to mention in my review of the French CD, is a fairly minor thing, but it is helpful to those not familiar with Informant-style notation. There is a summary page within the main classifier for the Theory and Practice database that contains a nice key to all the informant symbols that are used for annotating the games. This helps make the CD a bit more friendly for beginners.

My impression is that this CD has a little bit more material than the French CD, which is what I would expect, due to the greater number of variations that need to be covered. Both have about the same level of detail, and represent very good references for players of the black and white pieces

Please see this link for more information from Convekta.

Copy Protection

The program must be installed from the original CD, but you will not be prompted again for the CD (no invasive copy protection schemes). English, German, French, Spanish, Italian are all supported.

 







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