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Video Review by Sam Collins

Sam Collins

I’ve got the flu. The glorious Irish weather has thoroughly soaked me and eliminated my capacity for hard graft, thus dumping my in front of the television. What better time to review The Knockout Nimzo video (Bad Bishop, 100 minutes, R.R.P. £19.99) by GM Tony Kosten?

I’ve expressed my views on chess videos before. They’re enjoyable and often instructive, but are a very limited medium for conveying chess information. The contents of a video in text form would amount to little more than a large article or a pamphlet. So beware… no matter how good the video, you’re probably not going to learn very much from it.

Having mentioned these reservations, it’s time to talk about this particular video, which is pretty good. Its presenter is one of my favourite authors – the hallmarks of Tony Kosten’s writing have always been clarity, objectivity and pragmatism, resulting in excellent opening books on the Nimzo, Najdorf and Philidor (he went through a nasty spell of writing TWO books on the Latvian [1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5?], which I assume contained some flawed analysis since they contained hundreds of pages on an opening which only deserves ten for a comprehensive refutation) and a very readable effort called ‘101 Tips to Improve Your Chess’. Despite being uncomfortable in front of camera, once into the actual analysis Kosten is a confident presenter and works well with a video format.

The video deals systematically with the Nimzo, covering relative sidelines (4.f3, 4.a3 and 4.Bg5) before devoting several games apiece to 4.Nf3, 4.Qc2 and 4.e3. His main recommendations are 4.Nf3 b6, 4.e3 b6 and 4.Qc2 d5, and the video provides an excellent introduction to the ideas of all these lines, though of course stronger players would need a little more theory before feeling fully confident in essaying the variations. One of the nice recurring features of Kosten’s work is that he isn’t shy in telling readers/viewers that they must remember a particular move, or that a given variation requires detailed analysis, a refreshingly candid approach which should save a lot of tears in the long run. His selected games are highly thematic, and all of the main Nimzo ideas (ganging up on c4, kingside attacks with …f5 and …Rf6, quick breaks with …d5 and …e5 etc.) are touched on in his coverage. Some of his late middlegame analysis is sloppy, but all of the opening stuff seems fine.

Bad Bishop have produced yet another high-quality video. If you like chess videos, I can recommend this one. I really can’t stress enough, however, how little even the best chess videos can teach – for players over 2000, certainly, there’s little alternative to whipping out those nasty books and rolling up one’s sleeves.

My Assessment: * * *

Other reviews by Sam Collins

Review 1: Play the Open Games as Black, by John Emms
Review 2: The Human Comedy of Chess: A Grandmaster’s Chronicles by GM Hans Ree & Storming the Barricades by GM Larry Christiansen
Review 3: Open Ruy Lopez by Glenn Flear
Review 4: Main Line Caro-Kann by Neil McDonald
Review 5: Offbeat Spanish by Glenn Flear
Review 6: Excelling at Chess by Jacob Aagard
Review 7: Can You Be a Positional Chess Genius? by Angus Dunnington
Review 8: The Grunfeld Defence by Nigel Davies
Review 9: The Best of Chess Cafe
Review 10: How To Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire by Steve Giddins
Review 11: The …a6 Slav by Glenn Flear
Review 12: Starting Out: The Ruy Lopez by John Shaw
Review 13: Knockout Nimzo (video) by Tony Kosten
Review 14: My Great Predecessors by Gary Kasparov

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted