With merciless alliteration, ChessBase has named Daniel King's latest addition to the Power Play series "Pawns, Pieces and Plans".  With this publication, the series is growing into a significant contribution to the exposition of the theory of the game of chess. With his normal exuberant delivery, Danny King takes us through the pros and cons of playing with and against the isolated queen's pawn together with a discussion on pawn tension in the centre, central passed pawns and pawn exchanges generally.  Again, as is the norm with the series, we are not merely listeners, he invites us to participate and test our own knowledge of these subjects with the aid of eleven quiz examples from master play. 

The questions surrounding the effectiveness or otherwise of the isolated queen pawn has been dealt with by many authors and lecturers without any firm pronouncement on the benefit or drawback of such pawn configurations.  Danny also has to admit that he is quite happy playing with the IQP and also happy to play against it.  His inspiration has been generated by the games of Anatoly Karpov and, of the fifteen lectures he delivers on this subject, eleven are devoted to the games of Karpov.

After admitting that it would take several DVD's to deal fully with the subject of the IQP, Danny examines the significant themes that are adopted in play for and against the IQP.  As an example, the first of these is the use of a pin and to demonstrate this he picks up a position from a game Kortschnoi - Karpov played in the 1981 World Championship (diagram left).  Here the IQP is pinned against the rook on d1 and the plan that Karpov adopted to exploit this was carried out in exemplary fashion.  This theme returns time and time again in actual play and is essential knowledge for players - as are the other themes presented on this DVD - who find that the openings they play regularly result in them playing against the IQP

When the IQP becomes a passed pawn another set of themes is presented.  Naturally, the most important here for Black is the blockade of the pawn and its attendant effect on other pieces in the white camp.  In five lectures, including two on the game Petrosian - Kortschnoi, 6th game of the Candidates Match of 1971, the manoeuvrings necessary to keep the passed pawn "under lock and key" - la Nimzovitch - are explained together with the consequences should the pawn break free by means of using the outposts at c6 and e6.  These examples are particularly instructive and are followed by further interesting examples of an isolated passed pawn arising from the pawn break ....d5 made by Black in the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian defence.  Here Danny waxes enthusiastically on the situations that can come about and in particular the game Nedev - Gajewski played in the ETCC tournament in Crete 2007 (diagram right).  Here White played 17.Rd2 and Black continued 17. ....Nc7 there then came 18.Bc4 b5 and Black generated a very fine mating attack.

There has been a slight change in format of the Powerplay series with this DVD.  The quiz positions form the first section and the answers are at the end.  The reason is that you are required to note your answers, play through the lectures and, on the basis of knowledge gained by playing through the DVD, assess whether you would change your answer before resorting to Danny's explanations.  In this manner you discover whether you have absorbed and benefited from the lectures.

The material put forward and the enthusiastic manner in which Danny King tackles the subjects, inspire one to search for similar examples and make all the series a must for coaching purposes.  Here there is five hours of lectures given in the ChessBase media system - five hours of sheer enjoyment and tutelage.  There are no doubt many more DVD's to come on this subject and anyone that finishes up with the entire series will indeed have a gem of chess tuition and wisdom.

The recommended price for this DVD is 21.99 and more details can be seen on the CHESSBASE WEBSITE.