Reviewed by Paul Kane
Zdenko Krnic (editor-in-chief)
Chess Informant 99
Sahovski informator, 2007
Chess Informant 99 covers all the major chess events that took place between January and April 2007. This includes the series of elite tournaments held in Wijk aan Zee, Morelia/Linares, Poikovsky and Monaco, with the latter being notable for its unique format, a blend of rapid-play and blindfold chess. It includes the national championships that took place in Germany, Poland, Serbia, Armenia and elsewhere; and the 8th European Championship, held at Dresden in April, where Tkachiev won the men’s title and Kosintseva the women’s. There was the usual well-drilled platoon of international opens in the field during these months too. And there were also quite a number of rapid-play tournaments and matches; the late David Bronstein, a long-standing advocate of faster time controls, must be smiling beatifically, in Valhalla or someplace similar.
There is a rich chess feast to be found in each volume of Chess Informant and here we get 413 annotated games and game fragments, arranged by opening and occupying about 250 pages; these are the steak and chips, one might say. Dessert consists of a selection of the best combinations and endgames, 18 of each, and 9 superb studies. Coffee and mints, or “The Best of Chess Informant” feature, is devoted this time to Yasser Seirawan: a great contemporary (and home-grown too, not imported from Eastern Europe) American player. It includes the best of Seirawan’s contributions to previous volumes: his games, opening novelties, combinations and endings. Once more, this feature makes excellent use of the Chess Informant archives. Much of this Seirawan material is pure gold.
The 413 main games have annotations by Kramnik, Anand, Svidler, Leko, Ivanchuk and myriad others. Not only are these five named players all among the world’s elite; they have divergent styles and different approaches to chess. And the games, accordingly, reflect this variety. There are elegant positional triumphs, technical and occasionally rather dull wins (and draws), combinational brilliancies and the careful nurturing of a small advantage through to victory. We see top-flight chess in all its resplendent glory, cautious tedium and incidental beauty.
Chess Informant 99 is pretty much chockful of great chess, of information, instruction and entertainment. It pleasantly allows you to keep up to date with what the best contemporary players are doing and to feed your fix for current developments in opening theory as well. If you are at all serious about chess, you will want to own a copy.
About the reviewer:Paul Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org