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Review of Chess Informant 125 Enigma - By CHESS Magazine

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Published in December issue of London-based CHESS Magazine (www.chess.co.uk)

Review by IM John Cox

Good, Old Informator

IM John Cox was pleasantly surprised when he recently opened his first copy of Chess Informant in many a year

I actually hadn't realised Chess Informant - or Informator, as they used to be when I last noticed them in 1983 or so - were still publishing. I assumed their style of annotation went the way of the dinosaurs once everyone had TWIC and chess engines.

Well, I might have been right about the style of annotation, but while I wasn't looking, boy have they reinvented themselves. What you now get is 13 articles, covering in all about 200 pages, written by GMs. To list them should give you the idea - Morozevich on new theoretical paths (here a sharp method against the Fort Knox), Colovic, Sulskis and Roiz on various aspects of the Sinquefield Cup, Harikrishna on the New Romantics, Marin on old games showing themes reflected in modern ones, Rios on Carlsen's recent wobble, Sokolov on four young Chinese stars, Arakhamia on giant- killings, Berg on the h3 King's Indian, Müller on rook vs bishop endings, the late Walter Browne on two instructive recent Sicilians, and Kotronias on the c3 Sicilian (this is part seven of a series, which together must constitute a pretty comprehensive coverage, I should think). All of them except Kotronias, Morozevich and Müller comprise basically (brilliantly) annotated games.

Without picking out any one of these. I'll just say that each one of them is excellent, and there's no Informator-style annotation in sight -in fact, each one is astonishingly well-written considering the whole thing is in English and none of the above is a native speaker. Morozevich stands out particularly in this regard; in fact I would say his writing is absolutely astonishing if it hasn't been translated, but no translator is listed and if there was one he or she has done an exceptional job. The chess material is also wonderful, and really showcases the astonishing richness of modern chess. I would go so far as to say that this section, considered as a magazine covering top-level chess, knocks every other one I've seen into a cocked hat.

In addition there is a cut-down section of 200 or so annotated games (and this includes the games from the articles - annotations still old-style, but the games rather better chosen than they once were), the traditional best game and novelty from the last issue, a few combinations to solve (minus the customary implausible Cuban confections I recall from the 80's, which is welcome), some endings, some studies selected by Yochanan Afek, and a list of tournaments and crosstables. These sections I could take or leave; the value is in the articles.

A subscription is available for both the digital and print versions (it comes out four times a year). I believe New In Chess Magazine, which would be the obvious competitor, is is pretty comparable in cost and I suspect rather less material, but in a more varied style and, of course, a more frequent fix. The choice would be a matter of taste and NiC is also very fine, but to cut a long story short, I'm actually going to subscribe to Chess Informant after receiving a single review copy.

IM John Cox in December 2015 issue of CHESS magazine; www.chess.co.uk

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