|Title: Modern Chess
Openings 1… Nc6!?
|Publisher: Convekta Ltd.
|Price: € 26,00
requirements: 128 Mb RAM, Hard Disk 200 Mb of free disk
space, Windows 2000/NT/ME/XP, CD-ROM drive.
IM Jovan Petronic
||Date: 27/11 2005
Modern Chess Openings 1… Nc6!?
The CD comes wrapped up in a colorful box, with the installation
CD and a 39-page instruction booklet, along with Convekta’s latest
Chess Catalogue. A slightly over burned 717 megabyte CD contains a
lot of extra data, with demo versions of many previous Convekta
products and Internet Club support. Let's take a
closer look at the highlights from this CD.
1. Easy Installation and Online Registration
"Easy installation and online
registration. The installation process takes only a few minutes, and
does not require a restart. The optional online registration makes
you eligible for announcements about new versions or upgrades."
The online registration also asks for a serial number of the
product, which I was unable to find. Upon registration you instantly
receive a confirmation that the product has been successfully
registered and a special code number, for which I am still unsure
what it is for. The requirements for this CD seem to be pretty high,
with a recommended 256 MB RAM, 1 GB of free disk space and a 1GHz
CPU. I do not advise installing the program on weaker machines,
although Convekta’s essential requirements are far below the
I enjoy sacrifices in chess, not that much in HD space. The
program, however, did not take up that much. 332 megabytes seems OK,
having in mind that the CAP data took up nearly 76% (250 mb) of the
installation, not to mention the 25 mb Internet Club support. If
your “System Restore” is on, you can expect another 300 mb decrease
in free space.
2. Six languages are supported!
The CD box title mentions "only"
five available languages: English, German, French, Spanish and
Italian. Russian, although supported, seems to be missing from the
3. CAP (Computer Analysis Project)
"CAP (Computer Analysis
Project) data is included as a free and
When inserted into the CD drive, an automatic launch offers
installation of the program and an optional installation of CAP data
(6.200.000 analyzed positions). In the booklet manual, however, the
CAP data is said to have 15.000.000 positions analyzed! The CAP data
project is a revolutionary one, in my opinion, opening new frontiers
in computer position analysis. Nevertheless, it can be a major
distraction for reviewing the more important issue of studying the
1… Nc6!? games and annotations.
Additionally, using CAP data, you can venture into variations
outside of the 1… Nc6!? ones, such as, for example 1.e4 e5 2.d4 Qg5,
when the CAP evaluation gives White a +15, which can be pretty
confusing. A similar Queen blunder in an early stage gives a +156
Above is an example from the main screen, from the 1.e4 Nc6!?
Line, with the interesting CAP data information:
Interestingly enough, although computer evaluations favor White
in all the variations above, the human over-the-board results show a
remarkable percentage in many lines for Black, ensuring forever
interesting games to be played!
4. The interface
The Interface is a database
management system named “Modern Chess Openings”. It is an abridged
version of the spectacular Chess Assistant 7.
As an abridged version, with a lot of options to explore, many
features are unavailable for the user. In the manual, Convekta
recommends to it’s users to obtain the Chess Assistant program, if
wishing to use these. I do not have a definite opinion on - if the
unavailable options should be removed from the program, or remain as
5. Playing engines Crafty and Dragon are included.
These engines are more than strong enough for the average user,
yet a professional player or trainer may wish to challenge
Convekta’s evaluations with a more powerful one, within the program
6. The Theory Database
The Theory database covers
White’s main opening moves 1.e4 and 1.d4, and challenges them with
the recommended 1… Nc6!? The introduction contains 40 pretty well
annotated games, with text comments, too. It is followed by 238
sample annotated games from well chosen master practice, from the
1.e4 Nc6!? order of moves, and another 93 annotated games from the
1.d4 Nc6!? move order. Obviously, a lot of (good) work has been put
Some annotations contain merged (often annotated and always
evaluated!) master and other games, which lack an integration of the
players FIDE elo, assuming the users are familiar with the names and
the strength of the players.
7. The Practice Database
The Practice Database
includes 50 test positions “illustrating typical features, methods
and principles of play”.
Can you find the best move for Black?
I chose the example above randomly, and decided to check out
the given solution, using the program’s built-in analysis engine
Dragon (sounds stronger than Crafty!?), additionally boosted by
manually increasing the Hash size from 8 (after installation) to 300
After 2 minutes (not recommended for complicated positions such as
the one above) of “thinking”, the engine did not seem to agree with
what Black played as his first move of the combination.
In another 2 minutes the Dragon did not seem to agree with White’s
move #10, judging the position as better for White:
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the game, as it was a demonstration of two (strong)
humans, not two computers striving for the perfect draw in 1000
8. Sample Games
A sample games database is included as well, featuring 5113 full
Of around 13.000 games available with the 1… Nc6 response,
this selection seems OK, with the last game being more than a year
9. Master Evaluations
The standard Convekta database with Master Evaluations is
included as well. It is of invaluable help in determining position
evaluations, when uncertain.
An Opening Encyclopedia © Chess Assistant ends the major
highlights. It is divided into two large subsections, depending on
White’s first move, 1.e4 or 1.e4. Here is a sneak peak of one of the
featured CAOE screens:
A new feature enables the user to modify the material on the CD!?
This standardized Chess Openings presentation is a must for
an easier grasp of new theory. It remains unclear from the example
above, how should Black proceed after 1,e4 Nc6!? 2.d4. Three choices
are offered, 2… d5, 2… d6 and 2… e5, the last one being evaluated as
the theoretically weakest response. The usual approach is that the
strongest line is the last one, but in this and other examples, this
is not the case.
Convekta offers the "resurrection"
of a seemingly forgotten defense. Browsing through the CD games
database, one is astonished to learn that 1… Nc6!? has been (successfully)
played by none other than: Nimzowitsch, Korchnoi, Larsen,
Petrosian, Portisch, Morozevich, Miles, Benjamin, Geller,
Gligoric, Dzindzihasvili, Svidler, Seirawan, Khalifman,
Ponomariov, Leko, Azmaiparashvili,, Speelman, Taimanov, Anand,
A six language support is exceptional, offering to
educate chess players and trainers world-wide. In the
"old" days, Bobby
Fischer had to study the Russian language, to be able to read
their advanced chess teachings.
Another interesting piece of statistics, when queering the
updated Convekta’s HugeBase (not included in this CD), is that
1… Nc6!? firmly holds 9th place as a reply to both 1.e4 and
1.d4. Top ten is acceptable in any sport, I believe. Moreover,
one might end up surprised that White’s main response after 1.e4
Nc6!? is not the obvious 2.d4, but 2.Nf3!? admitting the value
of the somewhat premature development of the Queen’s Knight.
Can 1… Nc6!? be refuted? No! All are welcome to try! In the
long history of chess, I can remind than not any opening
invented has been actually refuted. All are still in great
The title of the CD suggests a preparation for a defense with
Black pieces, but offers data for both sides, whether in Theory
or Practice. An ideal approach for the next version may be to
concentrate only on Black, with recommended single lines for all
White responses, as to minimize preparation time. Offering
various choices on how to continue with Black is appreciated,
yet impractical for a modern chess trainer/player, in constant
lack of adequate study time for the game we all love.
Two White starting moves are covered, yet 1… Nc6 may be even
more powerful against almost all other White’s opening move
choices, such as 1.c4, 1.g3, 1.Nf3, 1.f4, etc.
In the end, after approximately 5 hours of browsing (typing
included) - I can recommend the CD for FIDE instructors, FIDE
Trainers and players FIDE rated 1600 and above and/or above 12
years of age. I enjoyed it.