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Best of Chess Informant - Garry Kasparov
About.com Rating : 3.5/5.0


The Bottom Line

(September 2006) CD 'The Best of Chess Informant - Garry Kasparov' by Chess Informant (Informator), published 2006. 'Meet the Greatest Champion of all times: Up Close & Personal. Foreword by Garry Kasparov: "We are all Children of the Informant". In four different formats (Chess Informant Expert, PGN, ChessBase and Chess Assistant)' [from the Informant site] Contains Chess Informant Expert (CIE) lite software (version 6.5), Kasparov software for CIE, and files for other formats.

Pros

  • Installation of the CD to a PC is simple and straightforward; CD not needed after installation.
  • Kasparov is considered by many to be the strongest chess player ever. The CD shows his prowess.
  • The functions are well organized and fun to explore.
  • Has almost 600 games annotated by Kasparov; 72 combinations, 68 brilliant moves, 63 endgames, more++
  • CIE clipboard function allows games to be exported to external PGN files.

Cons

  • About Kasparov the player, not about Kasparov the person. There are a few photos but no stories.
  • Not clear for whom this CD was conceived or how it can be used most effectively.
  • CIE is like a tabbed web browser, but less intuitive. Where to click? What happens on a click?
  • The documentation and help are minimal; there is no context sensitive help. You are on your own.
  • At least one function (Chess Oscars) goes to the Internet; it triggered firewall warnings.

Description

  • Note: This review covers only the CIE format, not the other three formats.
  • Foreward by Kasparov; 'Bio & Facts' career summary is database, not narrative, style.
  • '1193 published games, 595 annotated by Kasparov' means published and annotated by Chess Informant.
  • Selection lists group games with similar characteristics, e.g. same tournament or same opening.
  • Individual games and embedded annotations can be selected from lists and are easily scrolled.
  • Repertoire trees can be drilled down; statistics of opponents and openings can't.
  • Best games: 13 chosen by Kasparov, 100 by Informant; best game 1966-1996 has Kasparov audio.
  • Novelties: 124 by Kasparov; Theoretical surveys: 4 important variations practiced by Kasparov.
  • Play like Kasparov: combinations, excellent moves, attack, 'storming initiative', defense, more++
  • Rare Blunders and Misconceptions': 34 positions show that Kasparov also makes mistakes; note 'Rare'!

Guide Review - Best of Chess Informant - Garry Kasparov

Full disclosure: we are big fans of Kasparov. Many years ago, when it was not as easy to get chess data as it is today, we played through his games from the 49th Soviet Championship and marvelled at his daring play and sacrifices. We have our own collection of his games, every volume of his 'Predecessor' series, and several of his other books. Kasparov is a chess genius.

A proper review of the CD would separate two things: 1) the functions provided by the underlying CIE software, and 2) the features specific to the Kasparov module. Although it is not always obvious, we think we have a good grasp on which is which. In a nutshell, we think the CIE software, specifically the 'Lite' version delivered with the CD, is somewhat clunky, but we feel the same about most chess database software that we have tried. We also think the Kasparov specific features are very good.

Masters beat most players; grandmasters beat masters; super grandmasters beat grandmasters; and Kasparov beat super grandmasters. What can most players learn from Kasparov? Our answer is that you don't have to be a great artist to appreciate great art; ditto for chess.

The functions under 'Play like Kasparov' use 'CI Solver's Kit' technology; see our review of 'Anthology of Chess Combinations' for a description of this software which emulates solitaire chess. The 'Hint' button should be very handy for most players.

Most suitable for experienced players who want to study Kasparov's games.


 Related Guide Picks
• The Best of Chess Informant - Anatoly Karpov
• Anthology of Chess Combinations (3rd edition)
 Suggested Reading (offsite)
• Glossary: PGN
• Chess Book/CD Reviews