I review Daniel King's Chessbase DVD "PowerPlay 4: Start Right"

Jun 22, 2009, 12:36 PM |

Here we have yet another PowerPlay DVD, this time it's on opening play. It's clear to me now what kind of a player GM Daniel King is, he loves to attack all the time and idolizes guys like Tal for their initiative-seeking ways. As such he chooses openings which create attacking chances immediately. Oddly enough this has been more or less the opposite of my opening approach as I have tended to be a bit stodgy in my choices. I'm not a natural risk-taker and I'm far too lazy to calculate much of anything, so I've leaned towards a small positional advantage or perhaps some relaxed pressure.

That being said I really enjoyed this DVD as it made me look at the openings (and planning in general) in a totally different way. The theme of this DVD is speedy development and keeping (or grabbing) the initiative in the opening, so it forced me to stretch my weary brain to find moves that put the maximum pressure on immediately.

As usual the DVD is split into a lecture and a test-question section. There are 13 lectures, each with a theme like "quick development" or "sacking a pawn for initative" and all that stuff. He goes over games of Morphy, Hodgson, and Tal to show some of these ideas in action. Later on he goes over some opening lines that he has used that tend to encourage aggressive play. Things like gambit ideas vs. the Qc2 nimzo and aggressive variations of the Trompowsky.

The test questions are a bit different as he goes over complete games a lot of the time, asking you to find the best moves throughout the whole game. This was great for me, as again I tend towards a more straightforward, less aggressive style of chess so this made me look at different sorts of moves and actually calculate some aggressive lines. Good stuff!

I have one minor quibble with the presentation and that is the lack of video editing done by chessbase. A few times on the DVD GM King's voice gets pretty tired and he hacks and coughs (and slurps on water) quite a lot...a few minutes spent in an editing room could fix all that but chessbase seems to be too lazy. Oh well, minor stuff.

All in all a good DVD for those who need to get out of an opening rut and spice up their life.