DVDs

Seirawan0301 137DVDs are an important resource in modern chess. There is a large range of chess DVDs available on the market these days and this article provides guidance on which ones are the highest quality.

The Pro Chess DVD by American Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan is rather old now, but it is still a great watch. Seirawan in very good at describing concepts in an engaging way and covers a wide range of material in this DVD. However, if you are a Generation Y or younger, the old 80’s graphics and clothing might be distracting. See my full review of Yasser Seirawan’s Pro Chess.

ChessBase is the world’s most popular chess website. The DVDs it publishes are of the highest quality. They publish on a wide range of topics from openings and strategy to game collections. I have three favourites that will be excellent viewing for almost all levels of player. I mentioned Yasser Seirawan before. He has made a DVD with ChessBase called My Best Games, which looks at his incredible rise from the period 1975-1982. Though Seirawan is much older in this DVD compared to Pro Chess, he is still as lucid as ever. Incidentally, Seirawan recently came back to the competitive scene in July 2011, defeating active and higher rated grandmasters Judit Polgar and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the World Team Championship in China.

Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand is the current World Champion (at the time of writing). He is one of my personal idols because, not only is he one of the greatest talents in chess history (he is known for his lightning-fast calculation), but he is highly modest and chooses not to get involved in controversial ‘chess politics’. As such, he is universally liked by his professional peers. In two ChessBase DVDs, My Career Volumes 1 and 2, he discusses the start of his chess career, his period of rapid improvement, critical choices in his life, and extends all the way to his winning of the World Championship tournament in 2007. Since becoming World Champion in 2007, Anand has successfully defended his title in two one-on-one matches. The material in the DVD does get complex at times, so be ready to pause the DVD and turn on your engine to assess what is going on.

My final recommendation is a DVD by Soviet-born Spanish Grandmaster Alexei Shirov, consistently one of the world’s highest ranked players from the 1990s up until the time of writing, and well known for his explosive and original chess style. Some readers will already know of him from his popular book Fire on Board. If you are a fan of tactical chess, you will really find his DVD a treat – it is called Endgame Fireworks, and features some of Shirov’s most exciting endgames.

I have also given an overall review of ChessBase DVDs  in a previous article.

There are also a range of chess DVDs produced by other companies, such as Foxy Openings and Roman’s Lab. Foxy Openings are openings DVDs for club players presented by experienced coaches like International Master Andrew Martin. The DVD casing and the quality of the physical DVD can be a problem in some cases. If you order a Foxy Openings DVD, I suggest saving the DVD onto your hard drive or a portable hard disk as soon as possible. Despite these qualms, the quality of the presentations on Foxy Openings DVDs is quite high.

Roman’s Lab is a series of DVDs from American Grandmaster Roman Dzindzichashvili, teaching a variety of topics from specific openings to how a grandmaster thinks. Dzindzichashvili is well known on the American chess scene, having come equal first in the US Championship twice and being the coach of Grandmasters Gata Kamsky and Eugene Perelshteyn. Dzindzichashvili’s English is not the greatest and these DVDs won’t wow you with computer effects but, in general, Dzindzichashvili communicates some rather useful information.

For the most part, I don’t really like purchasing openings discussions from Roman’s Lab, because the material presented tends to become out-of-date quickly and, on a more general note, beginners should not really be worrying about cutting edge theory – leave that to the super grandmasters (those with FIDE above 2700)! One exception might be openings DVDs that recommend a complete repertoire, as beginners are often not very experienced in forming a watertight repertoire, rather preferring to play a random collection of lines and switching openings very often.

If you’re keen on purchasing chess DVDs, I recommend Wholesale Chess. They provide the highest quality chess products at the lowest prices (especially for US and Canadian players). They even offer to match prices with other chess websites! Even though I live overseas, this is where I choose to purchase chess goods.

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