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Slav Defense Review
keywords: slav, opening, ECO, MCO, reference, Kalinin
Robert Pawlak
Thursday, March 09, 2006

Convekta's Slav Defense CD is another in a series of electronic opening encyclopedias. Previous offerings included CDs on the Sicilian, KID , ...Nc6 and French defenses. Over time, Convekta has both refined and improved the presentation of material on these CDs. And I think with this latest instructional software, they've managed to really hit their stride.

The GUI used to access the chess data is nearly identical to the one used for the ...Nc6 CD, and I would refer you to that review for more information. Note that this program also employs Convekta's innovative opening tree mode, which is discussed fully in the aforementioned review.

I mentioned that Convekta has continued to improve their opening CDs. The biggest improvement in this CD is probably the volume of English commentary that is available. I've chosen two examples taken from the material at random to illustrate what you can expect. One represents a fairly deeply commented game consisting almost entirely of informant symbols, and the other is lightly commented with only English text.

[detailed informant commentary]

[brief text]

This is not a repertoire CD, and is meant to be used as a reference for playing the Slav. As such, the coverage is fairly comprehensive. Many recent games are included from 2005, and so the coverage is quite up to date. Win/loss statistics are computed on the basis of approximately 50,000 games, including a number of which transpose into the Slav via alternative move orders (i.e. that don't start with 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6). The screenshot below shows which variations are covered by the CD:

[slav variations]

The CD is divided into two parts. One contains a database of model games that is accessed mainly via an openings classifier (although you can use any other database search you might want also) that lists important variations. I've show those in the screenshot above. Then there is second database that's organized in terms of typical pawn structures and important variation names (see screenshot below). It contains about 700 games and game fragments that discuss important ideas and opening concepts.

[theory and practice]

This screenshot shows an example of some of the variations that are examined following the gambit 5.e4 b5.

[gambit example]

It would be presumptuous of me to comment on the recommendations made by GM Kalinin. At a certain level of chess mastery a number of perspectives can be argued, and mere mortals can only stand on the sidelines and watch. Such is the case here as well. Let's just say that there are a great number of topical, commented games, and that the material is easy to access and view :-). More information on this CD is available at ChessOK.

Statistics: 500 annotated GM games, 150 instructional training exercises and 200 test positions..

Copy Protection: Must be installed from the CD, no refueling necessary. Occupies about 160 MB of disk space.

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