09 December 2022

Shirov's SmartChess Videos

In last week's post, The SmartChess Saga (December 2022), I wrote,

Karpov's active involvement with the [SmartChess] site lasted about six months and was usually documented in an issue's 'Publisher's Message'. At the same time Karpov's participation was decreasing, that of another, younger link to Soviet chess was increasing. The February 1998 issue of SmartChess announced, "Press Release - 26th February 1998: Superstar GM Alexei Shirov signs contract with WWW Chess Superstore to make a series of instructional chess videos!"

I've already featured a couple of Karpov's SmartChess videos on my World Championship Blog, most recently in the post Boris the 10th and Bobby the 11th (December 2022). Here's one of the Shirov videos.

Shirov crushes Karpov: Ultimate Chess Battle - Amber 1998 (King's Indian Defense) (17:22) • '[Published on] Jul 12, 2012'

More accurate would be to say here's half of one of the Shirov videos. The clip is truncated just at the point where Shirov starts to gain an advantage against Karpov.

The screen capture on the left shows the categories of 'Chess Videos' listed on the SmartChess Catalog (archive.org -> smartchess.com). The Archive.org page is from 2005, making it one of the last versions of the catalog.

The first in the list is '_Garry Kasparov - My Story' (circled in red). The five titles available there correspond to the titles I listed in two posts -- Garry's Story (September 2011) and Garry's Games (October 2011).

The 'Shirov Collection' (also in red) expands to offer 'Shirov! (Best Endgames Vol.1)' for $33.95, 'Shirov! (Best Games - The Complete Set, Volumes 1-5)' for $139.00 [single volumes also are listed], and 'Shirov! (Shirov - Kramnik 1998)' for $39.95. I once discussed the third title in the list in a post Shirov on Shirov - Kramnik 1998 (January 2012).

Many of the videos featured in those old posts are no longer available on Youtube. They might have migrated to another channel or been removed for copyright infringement. The description on the Shirov video embedded above started,

Karpov begins with 1.d4 and Shirov responds with the double-edged King's Indian Defense. Karpov employs his preferred Fianchetto system and Shirov also goes with his pet line, the Panno Variation with 6...Nc6, 7...a6, 8...Rb8 -- intending to initiate counterplay on the Queenside before White is able to complete development and commence operations in the center.

The description also pointed to Shirov's Best Games and End Games - 6 Volume Set (ichess.net). The page summarizes all six videos in the set, where we learn that the 1998 Karpov game is part of 'Shirov’s Best Games: Volume 5'. Its 'Overview' mentions,

These DVDs were originally released in 1997, 1998 and 2000 for $25.99 each, but you can own the entire 6 discs set in digital form for only $17.95.

We also learn from the page that the videos were 'Originally Produced by Paul Azzurro'. That might be worth additional investigation but I've run out of time for this post.

No comments: