Dorian Rogozenko’s Chess Classics – Review | So Good News


Well thought out

By Philip Hillebrand

Some time ago, GM Adrian Michalchyshyn released a FritzTrainer titled “How to Study the Classics”. He places great emphasis on pattern recognition in his work, giving examples of how he was able to successfully implement strong ideas in his tournament games by studying classical games himself. The FritzTrainer discussed here uses the same method. Former German national coach Dorian Rogozenko has long been responsible for the classical section of ChessBase magazine.

Those not familiar with the game are encouraged to expand and deepen their repertoire of ideas by studying the classics so that they can succeed in using comparative ideas in tournament play. Chess players and coaches call them classics because various maneuvers, tactical motifs, openings, and the like have proven their value and can be used in similar situations. Some of these ideas are nearly 250 years old, and it’s important to remember what they can offer for current tournament practice.

White’s last move was 14.c3-c4. Black’s positional advantage is already significant. It is important to maintain this advantage and prevent the opponent’s counterplay if possible. By playing the next pawn move, Black did just that. After 14…a7-a6The b5-square is controlled and the white queen is thus deprived of any hint of opposition.

This example is surprising for several reasons. On the one hand, the name Philidor may be familiar to chess lovers because of the technique named after him – a defense mechanism that shows how to build a fortress when the material is falling. Francois Andre Philidor perfected this technique many years ago, without engines, and that’s enough to show how powerful a player he is, even by today’s standards.

Moreover, Philidor coined the phrase “Royals are the soul of chess.” By this phrase, he expressed the view that whoever works these parts well will have objective advantages. With it, the first step was taken to positional chess, that is, romantic sacrificial attacks, which were considered a duty to attack despite the losses, became more and more secondary. In the example above, this means that the marginal pawn move was a preventive move—a topic that is still one of the most important ways of thinking for both the offensive and defensive players.

One of the most unusual final positions I’ve ever seen came from the next game.

To my taste, this position is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also shows that “mind wins over matter” in chess games. Such emergencies usually occur when one of the kings is not sufficiently secure. For example, a single knight can provide what is called a bulging cliff, i.e. a constellation where one unit alone can defeat an entire army, the diagram below is a constructed example of this, but is meant to underline what is being said.

Things look bad for White. On the one hand, he is materially inferior, and his king is afraid of any possible mating attacks. However, it is his move that can force mate in four moves with the help of a queen sacrifice.

This example also emphasizes the importance of initiative in chess, ie. which side can make serious threats that should be prevented in the first place? Often these situations are a pairing attack or a series of checks. When it comes to early initiative, you don’t have to be afraid of material sacrifices, and the current vice-champion, Jan Nepomniachtchi, who likes to play with initiative, occasionally turns to the King’s Gambit.

The following position comes from Adolph Anderssen’s famous 1851 “Immortal Game” against Lionel Kizeritsky.

Kara’s last move was 21…Kd8 and another good pair may be forced by means of a queen sacrifice. As in the parable of the grieving man, it’s a matter of taking the initiative when it matters most!

As a starting point, another famous play by Adolf Anderssen is also valuable.

A German math teacher sacrificed two of his body parts to attack his partner.

This wildly romantic era began in the late 19th century, when none other than the first official world champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, not only postulated his vision of chess, but put it into practice. He said, among others, that in order to make the most of these additional rooks, it is necessary to accumulate small positional advantages, such as a bishop pair or a better pawn structure.

The lesson was given to none other than Mikhail Chigorin, who often acted very romantically and liked to create big problems on the board. Wilhelm Steinitz recognized the weaknesses of this approach and played very consistently even by today’s standards, using a subdued color scheme.

Black’s last move shows the weaknesses of the a2-g8 diagonal and the weakness of the h7-square. Later, Steinitz made perfect use of these advantages of his position.

Wilhelm Steinitz also made significant contributions to the understanding of isolated pawns. In addition to the now famous idea of ​​”blocking, blocking and then destroying” such pawns (Aaron Nimzowitz), the first world champion showed that pieces can have a lot of power behind an isolated pawn.

Basically, this is another example of the importance of initiative, because if Black can stabilize his position, then he can be a little more comfortable due to the hidden weakness of the white pawn on d4. However, it still takes some time and this is when Steinitz sacrifices a positional pawn and ends the game very nicely.

There is also a legend about the game that Kurt von Bardeleben was so angry with the way the game was going that he walked out of the tournament hall without giving up the game after Steinitz’s brilliant moves.

All of White’s pieces are threatened, but a few skillful checks avoid Black’s lethal turn.

A kind of revelation at the time was Jose Raul Capablanca’s game against Aaron Nimzowitz:

Act was the last step 15.Qd3 and he seems to have a healthy extra pawn. However, the black pieces are very active, especially the g7-bihsop and rooks, which exert enormous pressure on the a and b-files. This concept was later expanded by Pal Benko and the Russian correspondence chess players along the Volga, and it is now a highly respected and feared weapon in the hands of the best player with black pieces.

Consequently, we adopted not only tactical tricks and common wisdom, but sometimes complete opening philosophies (comparable here to the Marshall Gambit in the opening of Spain, a pawn sacrifice for prolonged pressure).

I find the 1923 play by Friedrich Samisch and Aaron Nimzowitz very enjoyable.

Kara’s last move was 25…h6, and it’s hard to believe that White has no more constructive moves or plans, and is basically deadlocked with the full board and has given up. For those who want to know how this came about, the author offers a very instructive video of the entire game.

This is one of the important structural features of FritzTrainer. GM Rogozenco explains that it may be enough to explore fragments rather than the full game. By paying attention to patterns, one can recognize ideas, motifs, tactical strokes, or other important elements regardless of one’s desired holes.

FritzTrainer offers ten worth-watching training fragments, which the author carefully and conscientiously discusses at critical points. Another block consists of 33 games, each of which is discussed in a separate clip. These generally last between 10 and 15 minutes and, in addition to the instructional aspect of the game of chess, present the history of chess, chess culture, and the approach to playing chess (eg aggressive versus conservative).

The material was compiled over several years from excerpts from various issues of ChessBase. But this does not matter, because on the one hand, each individual video has its own high-quality content and provides excellent “raw material” for self-study through the careful compilation and structure of an experienced trainer.

Knowledge of classic games is not only of great value to the hobbyist, as world-class players also use the concepts of the old masters.

White’s last move was 22.g3 and Rubinstein unleashed a beautiful final, sacrificial attack. A variant of this game “double” was played between Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand at Wijk an Zee 2013.

Anand also mentioned Akiba Rubinstein’s play after the game, noting his two bishops, the g4-knight and the black queen on the h-file, in particular.


This FritzTrainer offers a lot. In addition to introducing and teaching skills useful for a tournament player, thanks to Rogozenko’s clips you will also gain insight into chess culture and its development, which will help you improve your game. The selected fragments and games are a very well composed potpourri and, in my opinion, just the right length for an effective workout.

The notes given do not include verbal commentary, only the so-called Informant style. Ideas and plans are clearly presented thanks to visual highlights (arrows and squares). This is nothing short of a disadvantage because, if it suits you, you can first read the notes, play the game, jot down your ideas and variations, and then compare with the clips.

It is also very useful to organize games/fragments according to themes. A single teachable feature of the game is rare, and if you’re looking for something on the topic of “bishop pairs”, “prevention” or “initiative”, you can quickly find it and train it specifically. !

I can recommend this FritzTrainer to any chess lover interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this fascinating game. For trainers alike, this collection is either a good foundation or addition to a repertoire of ideas to discuss with your protégé.

Chess Classics – Games You Should Know

As the author explains in the introductory video, knowing the classic games of the past will enrich your overall chess understanding and help you improve your own games.


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