Reports | January 14, 2009 22:54

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ChessVibes Openings - What's hot and what's not?...that's one of the tag lines we're using for, tatatataaaaa... ChessVibes Openings. What? Well, that's our brand new, very first premium product and we're launching it right here, right now! Interested in opening theory? Don't wanna wait for books and magazines? Want to receive the latest novelties in your mailbox every week? Well, read on!

What's hot and what's not?

Which openings are hot in top level chess? Which are not? Receive the latest opening novelties right in your mailbox with ChessVibes Openings, a weekly PDF magazine (+ PGN!) covering the latest openings news, co-authored by International Masters Merijn van Delft and Robert Ris and published by ChessVibes.

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So... what do I get?

ChessVibes Openings - What's hot and what's not?Every issue consists of a ZIP archive file, including both the PDF Magazine and the accompanying PGN file. The PDF consists of three pages (A4 size) with the following contents:

  • What's hot? A round-up of this week's important opening developments, with statistics about the frequence and score of the week's most important opening novelty (page 1)
  • What's not? Which openings are not recommended at the moment, according to the top players? And why not? (page 1)
  • Game of the week Each week you'll find the theoretically most important game analysed by our two IMs, with a detailed survey of the opening phase. (page 2)
  • This week's harvest Four more new important opening ideas from this week (page 3) revealed and described. (page 3)
  • Opening expert Every week an opening expert is covered. Examples from the first two issues: Teimour Radjabov (King's Indian with Black), Alexey Dreev (White: Nimzo-Indian; Black: Caro-Kann and Slav). (page 3)

Ehm... can I have a look?

Yes you can! Below are the first two issues which you can download for free!

ChessVibes Openings #0 - click to download!

  • ChessVibes Openings 0What's hot? A round-up of the most important opening developments in 2008, with statistics about the frequence and score of Topalov's amazing novelty 12.Nxf7 against Vladimir Kramnik, at Corus 2008
  • What's not? What changed in the Sveshnikov Sicilian? Why were the Nimzo- and Queen's Indian less played in 2008?
  • Game of the week As arguably the most spectacular game of 2008, our two IMs cover the game Topalov-Kramnik, Wijk aan Zee 2008, with extensive annotations.
  • This week's harvest What were the four most important opening ideas from 2008? The 0 issue answer this question!
  • Opening expert Teimour Radjabov and the King's Indian.

ChessVibes Openings #1 - click to download!

  • ChessVibes Openings 0What's hot? A round-up of the first week of January 2009, describing the most important opening developments, statistics about the frequence and score of Almasi's 13.Nxb5!? against Ni Hua, in Reggio Emilia.
  • What's not? This week many Maroczy's were played, but did they change the theoretical verdict?
  • Game of the week Our two IMs cover the game Almasi-Ni Hua, which turned out to be decisive for this year's Reggio Emilia tournament.
  • This week's harvest Coverage of the four most important opening ideas from the first week of 2009, including the Najdorf with 6.Be3/8...h5 and the Symmetrical English.
  • Opening expert Alexey Dreev (White: Nimzo-Indian; Black: Caro-Kann and Slav)

Latest issue: #2, January 14, 2009

Today's issue contains the latest opening developments from the second week of January 2009.

  • ChessVibes Openings 2What's hot? All you want to know about the Sicilian Dragon with 9.Bc4, and Black's alternatives after 12.Kb1.
  • What's not? Why isn't the Rossolimo Sicilian that dangerous? Well, have a look at Dreev's excellent answer to the lazy approach of "3.Bb5 and 4.Bxc6 against almost anything"!
  • Game of the week Aroshidze-Vocaturo, Mediterranean Ch (Antalya) 2009 was a fantastic battle in the Sicilian Dragon in which Black went for 12...Re8. Soon thereafter he came with a spectacular novelty. The game is deeply analysed by IMs Van Delft and Ris.
  • This week's harvest Other lines that are covered are the Sicilian Rauzer, the Sicilian Rossolimo, the French Rubinstein/Burn and the Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch Defence.
  • Opening expert This week's opening is expert is Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek, who surely knows what he's doing with Black in the Najdorf and the Benoni.

Issue #2 is now available in our online shop!

What does it cost?

Singles issues cost € 1.00. After paying in our online shop (click the button below), you'll receive a secure download link of the ZIP file.

You can subscribe too! This way you'll receive the PDF Magazine and accompanying PGN files in your mailbox every week.

Six-month subscription: € 18 (that’s less than € 0.70 per issue!) - for price in $ click here
One-year subscription: € 25 (that’s less than € 0.50 per issue!) - for price in $ click here

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Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Ben's picture


Are you also going to offer payment via Ideal?


Peter Doggers's picture

Not yet, but working on it, Ben. Hopefully available in about a week's time.

Felix's picture

Ok, the layout looks quite nice, just the blue font can be a bit difficult to read, maybe just the titles should be blue and the little blue font can be dark grey?

And I've got a question :) : Why don't you give complete games in "this week’s harvest"? I'm not sure if I understood this concept :)

Also I would like to see more comments for a general understanding of an opening. Arne wrote a review about the a6 slav book by Bologan and expressed his wish for an explanation of opening lines so that you really understand the moves and strategies in the opening. I'd like to see such basics, too, when seeing the latest theory moves!

Anyway, I guess comments are useful for you as the concept is still young and some fine-tuning will be done in the next editions

Justin's picture

It would be really nice to have a look at issue 2, to get a fuller picture of the magzaine and how it reports really popular club lines like the dragon, other open sicilian lines, and the Rossolimo. What do you say Peter? I promise not to ask for any more issues.

Peter Doggers's picture

Well, that's why we only ask one euro, Justin...

filipe's picture

After a very fast glimpse at #0 and #1, i'm with Felix: more than knowing what has been played, i would be interested in understanding why those moves were done.

i understand that you are offering a magazine, not a book, but i guess readers are more interested in understanding rather than statistics.

if general topics about the variant were given, that would make "this week's harvest" more appealing. And the "opening expert" column could have some juice too.
Only the "game of the week" has material ( which, anyway, isn't about club level play) that can't be found in a database.

Peter Doggers's picture

"Only the “game of the week” has material ( which, anyway, isn’t about club level play) that can’t be found in a database."

Only partly true, but OK - for many it's handy enough to have somebody getting it out of that database and present it in a comfortable way, I guess. Anyway, keep the comments going; we're obviously interested in opportunties to improve!

Euwe's picture

Filipe, statistics can be very interesting, when put in the right perspective, especially for players who want to build or deepen their repertoire I suppose.

filipe's picture

well, sorry about my bad english.

What i meant was that besides the "game of the week" column - that i enjoyed very very much -, the other columns, which have very big potential, were limited to statistics (very well presented, i agree) or general information, what is a pity because i guess they could be more appealing.

Btw, i think that i could make myself more clear if i tell that i don't use any database, so everything there is new to me, ie, it's not a problem of getting the same material that i already have, but to understand and give some use to the information Chess Vibes is making available user-friendly.

Continue the great job you are doing. I enjoy Chess Vibes very much and sometimes i even translate some of the articles in my team's blog, so my younger chess mates - who are too young to read english - can access to your great news service.

iLane's picture

No PayPal, no party! :(

Peter Doggers's picture

No credit card either? Because with a credit card you can also log in at PayPal!

iLane's picture

Misunderstanding!! There is no PayPal logo on the page so I thought there is no such an option, but finally it appears at the checkout...

JM's picture

@ Arne Moll
Let me stress I was merely trying to explain Harry's criticism, as it was incorrectly interpreted in later comments. Moreover, I specifically mentioned I don't blame Chessvibes for following other chess publications in their presentation of statistics, as it has become a norm.
However, more information doesn't necessarily improve a decision making process. Similarly, the statistics provided might worsen the choices between moves made by chess players. Don't get me wrong, I do not want to fuss about it. It's only chess, so it's not really important. I do know some fascinating real life examples of the same principle. If you're particularly interested, let me know. I think it's more probable you just wanted to rebuke me for procrastinating ;-) .

@Merijn van Delft
The point is that we think we can correctly estimate the value of statistics, while in reality this is actually quite difficult. Do you feel I wrongly believe that most of us unconsciously favour moves with a higher scoring percentage (in a regularing situation, not when it's obvious something irregular is going on, e.g. 100% score, only a few games played, easy refutation)? Alas, it's a huge discussion for a minor point. Good luck with the Chessvibes Openings.

Harry's picture

First to say: Nicely and well commented games! Go on!
But: From the 3 pages a half page (means 1/6) is - sorry, but I have to say that - rubbish. I mean the statistics. Even if one has to look on statistics (even 2500+) on opening lines very very critically they are somethimes useful or interesting. But only if they were right done! The unit % means nothing but 1/100. To measure a rate with this unit makes only sense if there are enough games! Example: There are only 2 games, one won by White, one won by Black. It makes absolutely no sense to say White won 50% in this case! This would mean he won the rate 0.50. Not 0.5 or 0.500, but 0.50. But what means he won a 0.01 rate of only 2 chess games??? Nonsense. Another one: Three people stand in a room, one child and two adults. What rate of childs do we have? 1/3 - nothing else! 33% = 0.33 would mean you could measure 0.01 of the three people. But this is very sarcastic if they are alive! If there are 300 games and White won 150 and lost 150 you could say White scored 50%! Because in that case the unit rate 1% = 0.01 would mean 0.01*300 games = 3 games. In case of only 4 games to say White made 2 out of 4 would be the right way, not 50% !! White can win 12 chess games or 2 or 1 or maybe a half one (draw) but not 1/10 game. This makes no sense but is used in an implicit way if you say White scored 50% in 4 games! This mistake is done ever and ever and ever and ever again in daily routine by many people!
You should definitely improve your statistics drastically! But don't worry, only some mathematicians recognize it - unfortunately.

Manu's picture

You explained it wonderfully , can i ask you a question? (asuming you are a mathematician)
In the film ¨a beautifull mind¨ about Nash ´s life they mention a market theory (or something like that ) which made him earn the nobel price .
It s in a scene when Nash talks about aproaching girls in a bar , ?? wonder if you can explain it briefly or point me to a not - so - dificult way to learn that theory.

Arne Moll's picture

@JM, if I understand you correctly, you would like to see the magazine have some kind of disclaimer which reads something like: "Warning! Contains statistics. Statistics in general and averages in particular can cause damage and disappointment when treated without due consideration." Well, perhaps this can indeed be arranged, even if it's really stating the obvious.

@JR. It opens fine with me. Why doesn't it open? What kind of message do you get?

Merijn van Delft's picture

Statistical analyses (diagrams on page 1) should aways be looked at in combination with chess analyses (game of the week on page 2) and of course the latter is by far the most important.
We just provide the data and assume that the average ChessVibes reader is a critical independant thinker who can decide for him/herself what the value of a certain statistic is.
Anyway, all discussion on the value of statistics is appreciated, ChessVibes is happy to stay in touch with its readers on all these matters.
We will indeed evaluate the content of Chessvibes Openings (keep sending feedback!) and finetune if necessary.
Thanks for your reactions so far!

xtra's picture

maybe an "odd opening" or "strange" section could be interesting and fun...the most unusual opening of the week, or just a look at an odd opening/variation. :-)

Hugo van Hengel's picture

Great initiative!

About the statistics: Everyone can read these statistics easily and make up his mind about its value since the number of games for each line is provided.

One thing: I prefer to have the diagrams in black and white instead of blue. When I make a print of the document, what I am used to do, the blue diagram on page 1 becomes rather vague.

Eric's picture

Harry: percentages are usually only meant as an efficient way of expressing numbers in a relative way. In that sense, they shouldn't be taken as anything else than fractions multiplied by 100. Suppose I won in half of my games; this would mean that the fraction of games I won is .5; in other words, I won 50% of my games, regardless of how many games I played. As long as the actual number of games played is explicitly mentioned, anyone can easily see what this percentage means in absolute terms.

I think you're taking percentages too literally, that is, you seem to be reading percentages strictly as 'one-hundredths'. But there's nothing weird or wrong about using percentages as an alternative to fractions. It's just a matter of interpretation.

Arne Moll's picture

Thanks for your reply, Eric.
In addition to this, if I understand Harry's post correctly, it implies that not only can chess and stastitics produce only 3 results ever (1, .5 or 0), since it's impossible to score something like .23 in a single game ... but (human) population statistics can only ever produce positive integers (as in average number of children per family) since no woman in the world gives birth to 1.4 children :-)

Matthijs's picture

Great initiative, Peter!

Harry's picture

@Manu: Mathematically it`s simple game theory I think. But he applied it to market theory (I'm not well versed in market theory) and this gave him the market nobel price. If you want to understand you have to study game theory.
@Eric: No. The point is: Most people think they do understand such colored bars, but they don't. In this case (1 or 5 games and %-scale, I think was Topalov's Nxf7 for example) they are not understandable - I mentioned why. But if you try to "read" them without thinking they are extremely mistakable! Saying "Oh this move A made 100% (really 1/1) and that one B only 50% (really 1/2). Thus move A is much better." is nothing other than to toss a coin only ONCE and say to all other people "This coin has ALWAYS had result A." without mentioning how often you tossed. Nothing more to say. It's just a matter of UNDERSTANDING calculation with rates.

Eric's picture

Harry wrote: "But if you try to “read” them without thinking they are extremely mistakable!"

Yes, well, that's the case with ALL statistics, isn't it?

guitarspider's picture

Suggesting people will look at the statistics and miss the game numbers RIGHT ABOVE THEM is ridiculous in my opinion. Especially because extremely high or low percentages are always suspect and people will have a closer look.

Eiae's picture

What a good idea! Good luck with it.

JM's picture

I think Harry means that providing scoring statistics for different moves in a position is misleading without an evaluation of the significance of the statistical difference. We may believe that we are able to use the number of games to guess accurately whether a difference is significant. In fact, we are mistaken in most cases. Thus, we're tricked into thinking that we can be reasonable certain whether move A scores better than move B, while in fact almost all of us cannot. Disinclined to believe me? Good! Be critical, test it for yourself. If you belong to the big majority of us, you'll be surprised.

Alas, almost all chess statistics are presented in this misleading way, so I don't really blame Chessvibes for doing the same. As far as i know, there is only one chess database program available that calculates in its tree view whether a statistical difference is significant. It's called ChessDB and it's free software. I don't use it anymore, though, as it's a bit buggy.

Ruben's picture

Statistiscs aren't misleading in my opinion. Statistics bring practical chances in view! Which is probably much more important at club level then an very precise and objective evaluation.

JM's picture

I must thank Ruben for actually stressing my point! Statistics do somewhat reflect practical chances, and that's exactly why they can be misleading.

If there's a one or a few top level games that cast doubt over an entire variation, this isn't automatically reflected in the statistics. We spot those top level games and can conclude the variation is dubious, no problem.

However, when things are less clear, we tend to judge moves on their scoring percentage. Can you honestly say that you've never (un)consciously favoured a move with, say, 58% score, compared to a move with, say, 55% score? I know I have. In many cases such a bias is completely unwarranted, as the 58% move is often not better than the 55% move at all. I'll refer to Harry's example: if you toss a coin and it's a head, that doesn't mean the chance you'll toss a head next time is greater than half. But unconsciously (and maybe also consciously) we argue: "58>55, so this 58% move will give me better practical chances". Misleading ourselves in the process...

JR's picture

Cannot open ChessVibes Openings n¬?0, is it possible to look anywere the starting issue? Many thanks.

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