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Modern Chess Openings: Slav Defence

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Title: Modern Chess Openings: Slav Defence Authors: Kalinin
Language: English German Italian French Russian Spanish Published: 2005
Publisher: Convekta Ltd. Homepage: http://www.convekta.com
Price: € 26,00
System requirements: 128 Mb RAM, Hard Disk 200 Mb of free disk space, Windows 2000/NT/ME/XP, CD-ROM drive.
Reviewed by: IM Jovan Petronic Date: 11/12 2005

Modern Chess Openings Slav Defence

The CD comes wrapped up in a colorful box, with the installation CD and a 39-page instruction booklet. A slightly over burned 719 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

The installation process takes only a couple of minutes, and does not require a restart. The optional online registration makes you eligible for standard announcements about new versions or upgrades.

Remark:
Convekta recommends a 1GHz CPU, 256 MB or more RAM, 1 GB of free disk space, Windows 2000/NT/XP, Super VGA graphics with 16 bit colours and 1024x768 screen mode. I do not advise installing the program on weaker machines, although Convekta’s essential requirements are far below the recommended ones.

Also, a sound card is recommendable, as the program features include a variety of sound effects. A wide display screen is helpful, too. Full installation of the program is around 168 megabytes only, CAP data included.

 

2. Six languages are supported!

Remark:
The CD box title (as the website’s CD intro) mentions “only” five available languages: English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. Russian, although supported, seems to be missing from the box cover, but not from the beautifully designed CD label.

 

3. CAP (Computer Analysis Project)

CAP (Computer Analysis Project) data is included as a free and optional add-on.

Remark:
When inserted into the CD drive, an automatic launch offers installation of the program and an optional installation of CAP data (3.000.000 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, opening new frontiers in computer position analysis. One should not get too distracted with this professional innovation, but concentrate more on mastering the Slav Defense.

Below is an example from the main screen, with visible CAP data information, among other details:

Here, you can find enough statistical information to last a lifetime!?

 

As usual, Convekta products come with an excellent built-in help file, offering extensive support for a novice user. Below is an example of help on the “Split Mode” function.

4. Interface

The interface is a database management system named "Modern Chess Openings". It is an abridged version of Chess Assistant 7.

Remark:
As an abridged version, with literally hundreds 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.

 

5. Playing engines Crafty and Dragon are included

Remark: These engines are more than strong enough for the average user, yet a professional trainer or player may wish to challenge Convekta’s evaluations with a more powerful one, within the program itself.

 

6. Theory and Practice database

The Theory and Practice database includes commented games and those illustrating typical features, methods and principles of play in the selected opening.

Remark:
The overview starts with an introductory explanation of the basic International ECO Code System signs and symbols.

The Theory section is divided into six chapters, starting with the essential Karlsbad pawn structure and ending with today’s most popular 4…a6 variation, named here after the famous coach and theoretician V. Chebanenko. The Karlsbad section, for example, features 26 textually annotated fragments, giving a simple introduction to the most important elements, including historical data.

It is essentially well organized with examples taken from (grand)master game practice, enjoyable for reading for all. The Practice section offers a great deal of data, very well annotated and analyzed. Each section has an introduction, followed by full games from selected master practice.

71 example Test database is included.

White to play! This one was very enjoyable to solve. Some tests contain multiple questions as well, amounting to possibly over 200 tasks for solving. There is also a possibility of adjusting many different test options, prior to starting the challenge.

 

7. Sample Games database

A sample games database is included as well, featuring 50.000 selected full games.

Remark:
A lot of games contain brief annotations, merged games and CAP data information. I did a quick check to find 127 games in the Slav defense played by Gary Kasparov, 159 games of Anatoly Karpov and even – 14 of my games, among many others! The last game featured is only four months old, giving the user a pretty up-to-date informative package. Convekta emphasizes that more than 500 commented grandmaster games are included!

Below is an illustrative example of one famous Kasparov’s recent (2003) loss, with useful additional data provided:

Would Kasparov have lost this game, if this CD was available at the time of the game played, I wonder? The CAP data suggests Black went wrong pretty early!? Don’t worry about some font misinterpretations in the screenshot, as the PC I used for reviewing, had Greek Windows installed.

 

8. Database

The standard Convekta database with Master Evaluations is included as well. It is of invaluable help in determining position evaluations, when uncertain. An abridged version of the Direct Tree is included as well.

9. Opening Encyclopedia

 An Opening Encyclopedia © Chess Assistant ends the major highlights. It is divided into thirteen major sections:

All sections include a detailed theoretical overview, seemingly done very, very well.

As any classical Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, Convekta’s version offers multiple choices (as seen above) for Black.

As in any good opening such as the Slav, many positions contain more than one equally good possibilities, and one can choose an individually appropriate one (positional or tactical). For an opening this size, this may prove to be a good (and of course – time consuming) choice.

A new feature enables the user to modify the material on the CD.

Conclusion:
Convekta offers it’s users an exceptional CD, featuring a basic and advanced overview of one of the most popular openings (defenses) practiced by Grandmasters and World Champions. It is not restricted to mastering the defense as Black only, but offers a perspective from White’s angle as well. All users will benefit from studying this CD, without any doubt. Be, however, prepared for months of enjoyable study!? Brief instructional textual approaches bring the novice Slav Defense user a step closer to understanding the moves being played.

The new Encyclopedia does not aim to challenge sometimes oversized book encyclopedias, instead offers a brief overview of the most important lines, enough to get a very good start and the opening equalization aiming towards an advantage. The Slav Defence is essentially a gigantic opening, with which this CD tackles more than well enough.

After approximately 4 hours of browsing (typing included), I evaluate it as highly recommendable study material and recommend it to FIDE instructors, FIDE Trainers and players FIDE rated 1700 and above and/or above 13 years of age, on the average. As an opening choice against 1.d4, the Slav Defense is recommendable for - all!

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