New: Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol. 3 + Vol. 4 by Ivan Sokolov
Ivan Sokolov is well-known for his stunning attacking games. Most of them originate from middlegames, so no wonder he wrote various books about this topic. Now he continues his video series at ChessBase and presents further tools for a better chess understanding with the hedgehog and dynamic pawn structures. Not only as a player, but also through his work as a trainer of various top players, Sokolov knows how to make complex topics understandable through instructive examples. Start improving your understanding of the middlegames now! Vol. 1 Dynamic Pawns and Vol.2 Practical Play released last year, now you can get Vol. 3 The Hedgehog and Vol.4 Dynamic Pawn Structures - Part 1. Photo: ChessBase
Understanding Middlegame Strategies: Vol. 3 - The Hedgehog by Ivan Sokolov
Throughout my playing career I have found the Hedgehog (with both colours) one of the most difficult type of positions to master. With White (the side with more space) there is always a danger to overextend oneself (or miss your opponent’s pawn break). While playing Black (the side with less space) there is always a danger to mistime your pawn break, or simply to not get counterplay and be overrun.
The complexity of those positions is best illustrated in a Kasparov-Kramnik game – with both players allowing seemingly “obvious” mistakes. Charbonneau-Anand is another good example – a player of Anand’s stature landing in a terrible position, then missing his good attacking prospects. The game result was one of the biggest upsets of 2006 Chess Olympiad. There are different types of Hedgehog positions - many of them coming from the English opening where the White bishop is fianchettoed. In this video course I consider the “basic Hedgehog” pawn structure; like the one coming from the Kan Sicilian for example.
Choosing the right plan at the right time is the key here - the ensuing positions are full of dynamic possibilities. I endeavour to show the most common (and a few less common!) plans for both sides and try to pinpoint typical mistakes and motifs. The basic aim of this video is to improve understanding of these complex positions and to help tournament players score better! For those who haven’t recently done any calculation training, there is the Calculation Training Booster. After all, every chess brain needs regular stimulation, as you don’t want to become a lazy player - avoiding calculating critical variations or simply failing to calculate properly.
In this video course, twenty-nine examples with multiple questions are presented in the interactive format, which is ideal for a range of playing strengths. Step by step you will be taken through the complex positions, in which you will have to get the most out of it for both sides. Calculation is not only about finding the right move, but also anticipating your opponent’s ideas. Therefore, several times you will be challenged to find the best defensive resource, and also to refute your own wrong answers.
The type of exercises are comparative to earlier video courses in the Calculation Training series, just with all the examples taken from more recent games. So, there’s plenty of new training material to challenge yourself with!
• Video running time: more than 5 hours (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
Understanding Middlegame Strategies: Vol. 4 - Dynamic pawn structures – Part 1 by Ivan Sokolov
Isolated pawn structures can obviously come from many different openings. In this video course I have picked up isolated pawn structures coming from the classical Tarrasch defence D34; for which a considerable part was inspired by the games of Garry Kasparov.
I believe studying the classical Tarrasch isolated pawn structures (and related pawn structures) to be an excellent way to improve understanding of those types of positions. Choosing my games selection, I wanted to show typical plans for both sides based on high level instructive games.
Hanging pawns in the centre can come from different (though usually 1.d4 systems) openings. “Hanging pawns in the centre” structures are difficult to master because a good feeling for the “transformation timing” is needed! Sometimes those “transformations” are pawn-break related, unleashing dynamic power; while sometimes they are related to taking space and not being bothered about surrendering central squares. I have tried to show typical plans aiming to improve the viewer’s knowledge, and also practical play level.
Sicilian Rauzer double f-pawn structures are fashionable nowadays and are seen at all levels. Dynamic timing is everything! Most of the time, temporary pawn sacrifices are an essential part of this “dynamic timing”.
While it is difficult to give exact set of rules here, typical ideas do repeat themselves and I have tried to show these in this video course. Studying this video course should greatly improve the viewer’s handling of these dynamic positions! As with all my other video courses material here is predominantly aimed at improving players and tournament players.
• Video running time: 5 hours 30 minutes (English)
• Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play key pawn structures against Fritz on various levels
Minimum: Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, Windows 7, DirectX 11 graphic card with 256 MB RAM, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 14/Fritz 16 or included Reader and internet access for program activation.
Recommended: PC Intel i5 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 10, DirectX11, graphics card with 512 MB RAM or more, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, (DVD-ROM drive) and internet access for program activation.
Minimum: MacOS "Yosemite" 10.10
About Ivan Sokolov
Ivan Sokolov is a Dutch chess Grandmaster and author of popular chess books. He was Yugoslav champion in 1988 and Dutch champion in 1995 and 1998. For more than two decades he has been on of the elite players and has beaten many of the strongest players in the world.