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Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.7 - Dynamic Catalan

Many young top-players are opting for the trendy “Dynamic Catalan” where, against the triangle or semi-slav structures, White can sacrifice a pawn to gain immediate initiative. This sacrifice can lead to long term positional advantage, but often White can unleash dangerous threats upon the black king with a central pawn break.

Many games will become attacking adventures for White, with various opportunities to sacrifice material and create stunning threats. The “Dynamic Catalan” can be your choice of opening - if you are willing to take the game into your own hands from the very beginning; and with this video course, you will add a sharp weapon to your repertoire. The author GM Ivan Sokolov has been on the white side of the “Dynamic Catalan” in many top-level games, against players such as Caruana and Vallejo Pons, and “felt comfortable playing it: space, initiative, safe king.”

  • Video running time: 4 hours 48 minutes
  • With interactive training including video feedback
  • Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play “Dynamic Catalan” positions against Fritz on various levels

This is what is delivered:

  • Fritztrainer App for Windows and Mac
  • Available as download or on DVD
  • Video course with a running time of approx. 4-8 hrs.
  • Repertoire database: save and integrate Fritztrainer games into your own repertoire (in WebApp Opening or in ChessBase)
  • Interactive exercises with video feedback: the authors present exercises and key positions, the user has to enter the solution. With video feedback (also on mistakes) and further explanations.
  • Sample games as a ChessBase database.
  • New: many Fritztrainer now also available as stream in the ChessBase video portal!

That's what the FritzTrainer App can do for you:

  • Videos can run in the Fritztrainer app or in the ChessBase program with board graphics, notation and a large function bar
  • Analysis engine can be switched on at any time
  • Video pause for manual navigation and analysis in game notation
  • Input of your own variations, engine analysis, with storage in the game
  • Learn variations: view specific lines in the ChessBase WebApp Opening with autoplay, memorize variations and practise transformation (initial position - final position).
  • Active opening training: selected opening positions are transferred to the ChessBase WebApp Fritz-online. In a match against Fritz you test your new knowledge and actively play the new opening.

Even more possibilities: Start FritzTrainer in the ChessBase program!

  • The database with all games and analyses can be opened directly.
  • Games can be easily added to the opening reference.
  • Direct evaluation with game reference, games can be replayed on the analysis board
  • Your own variations are saved and can be added to the own repertoire
  • Replay training
  • LiveBook active
  • All engines installed in ChessBase can be started for the analysis
  • Assisted Analysis
  • Print notation and diagrams (for worksheets)

Muestra de vídeo


  • Introduction
  • Dynamic Catalan
  • Catalan vs. Semi-Slav / Triangle pawn structure
  • Game 1: Lysyj - Lupulescu
  • Game 2: Giri - Morozevich
  • Game 3: Esipenko - Kacharava
  • Game 4: Nakamura - Lendermann
  • Game 5: Kramnik - Giri
  • Game 6: Sokolov - Vallejo
  • Game 7: Sokolov - Bok
  • Game 8: Deac - Berkes
  • Game 9: Sokolov - Caruana
  • Exercises
  • Description
  • Exercise 1: Esipenko - Kacharava
  • Exercise 2: Esipenko - Keymer
  • Exercise 3: Espienko - Kacharava
  • Exercise 4: Sokolov - Caruana
  • Exercise 5: Sokolov - Caruana
  • Exercise 6: Deac - Berkes
  • Exercise 7: Lysyj - Lupulescu
  • Exercise 8: Sokolov - Bok
  • Exercise 9: Salem - Niemann
  • Exercise 10: Nakamura - Lendermann
  • Exercise 11: Salem - Gusain
  • Exercise 12: Gelfand - Steinberg
  • Exercise 13: Giri - Morozevich
  • Exercise 14: Nakamura - Lendermann


If White combines the moves characteristic of the Queen’s Gambit with the fianchetto of his king’s bishop, the result is the Catalan Opening. Although the setup had also been encountered earlier, it did not get a name until 1929 after a tournament in Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia. Today the Catalan enjoys great popularity at the highest level, with both Kramnik (2006 in Elista) and also Anand (2010 in Sofia) scoring extremely important victories with this system with White in their WCh matches against Topalov.

A characteristic of the Catalan is that the bishop often exerts very strong pressure on the h1-a8 diagonal from g2. But the price to be paid is that the c4-pawn is not so well protected as in the Queen’s Gambit – in many variations White even offers to sacrifice this pawn. Black has above all a fundamental decision to take, whether to take the c4-pawn with his d-pawn early (mostly on move 4) or later (mostly on move 6) or whether he prefers to support his centre with ...c6. Should Black decide to go into the Open Catalan with 4...dxc4, then 5.Qa4+ with the immediate recovery of the pawn is considered to be relatively harmless, since after 5...Nbd7 6.Qxc4 the position of the queen on c4 can be exploited for the quick development of the queenside by 6...a6 7.Bg2 b5 8.£c2 Bb7. Black will get in ...c5 without problem and achieve equality.

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