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MACA Book Review
The Scotch Game The Scotch Game
by: Nigel Davies

Price: $37.95
ISBN: 978-0979148224
Format: CD/DVD 5 hours
Publisher: ChessBase

Reviewed by: Chess Horizons Editor Mark Donlan
Recommendation: Recommended

GM Nigel Davies begins this DVD with an anecdote of how as a youngster he concocted an opening that began 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4. He began to investigate it a bit and discovered that it was called the Scotch Game, but that it was not recommended by theory because it gave Black free play for his pieces. So he moved on to openings such as the Ruy Lopez. It wasn’t until Garry Kasparov revised the opening and began playing it in world championship matches that its theoretical reputation was rehabilitated. Davies notes that to this day it is a major problem for Black as to how to meet the Scotch and that many strong players, such as GM Rublevsky, continue to keep it in their repertoire.

He notes that the Scotch is a very direct opening in which the pieces come into conflict quite quickly. Therefore, he finds it to be “quite a suitable opening at club level, because there is nice lively play” without the slow maneuvering of the Spanish. The problem is that the Scotch now has a “lot of theory attached to it,” which is “largely Kasparov’s fault, of course.” With the first part of this DVD he aims to present an “easy way to get on board the Scotch Game” by playing the Scotch Four Knights variation. On the second part he tackles the “enormously complicated” 3.d4 main lines, but warns that he “barely scratches the surface” because he could fill ten DVDs in order to cover everything.
Of the thirty-four video segments, fourteen are devoted to the Four Knights, seven to the Mieses variation, ten cover 4…Bc5, and one each is devoted to 4…Qh4 and 4…Bb4+. The running time is about five hours. Davies’s presentation makes the opening seem easy to play, although it is never that easy in practice. If you have an interest in the Scotch, this is a fine introduction. The DVD also contains the whole training course in audio-format for Pocket Fritz 3.
No additional software is needed to run the DVD as it comes equipped with the ChessBase 9 Reader that installs onto your hard disk. If you already have CB9 or one of the Fritz family playing programs, then you do not need to install the reader. The nice thing in this scenario is that if you have question concerning a move that isn’t covered, you can just click on Fritz for an answer. The system requirements are Pentium-Processor at 300 MHz or higher, 64 MB RAM, Windows XP/Vista, DVD drive, mouse, and soundcard.

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