Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daniel King's Powerplay Series: Like Steroids, But Legal

I'm about halfway through the first DVD in Daniel King's Powerplay series. I had viewed the second and third DVDs earlier this year, which deal with how to go about conducting an attack. I had found that the DVDs had a pronounced effect on my play, and that I had absorbed and retained a fair amount of the material.

I had postponed getting the first DVD on mating paterns, because I felt I had enough books on the subject and that I wouldn't gain that much from the DVD. After playing through much of the DVD, I realize...I was half right. Objectively, the material is "old hat". For example, the Greek Gift sacrifice is covered quite well in such works as Vukovic's Art of Attack in Chess, and Znozko-Borovsky's The Art of Chess Combination (both classics). I thought that the material on the Lasker double-bishop sacrifice was a bit skimpy as well. The videos are very enjoyable to watch, although in this first DVD there was some clumsiness early on as King figured out how the technology worked (aside: what does Chessbase have against editing?). Based solely on the content, however, I would think that the DVD was intended for beginners that hadn't studied mating patterns much (although the level of commentary indicates a more advanced target audience).

However, after going down to the chess club I found that once again King's DVD had planted ideas in my mind, and I had many successful attacks in my games. The Greek gift motif popped up in one of them, where I pushed h2-h4 to secure a g5 knight. Again, I found that although I was not consciously trying to be an attacker, or trying to force an attack where it wasn't justified, I was finding attacking motifs and applying them.

I feel that the DVD format, while perhaps delivering only a fraction of the information that a good book would, delivers that information more efficiently and more memorably. I've been highly satisfied with the other DVDs I've viewed (Ziegler's on the French Defense, and Muller's first endgame DVD). However, King's DVDs seem to have reached into my head and reprogrammed my brain. I feel like Neo from the Matrix....someone downloads a library into my skull and suddenly I know kung-fu.

The effect is pronounced enough that I may consider adding future Powerplay DVDs to my collection. Again, objectively the subject material (opening play; pawn structures) is adequately covered by book material I already have... but I'm left wondering if King has magic to work here as well.

I'll try to update this once I've finished the DVD. I also now have Muller's second and third endgame DVDs, and will likely review them at some point.


Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks for the review. Perhaps to save money I'll start with numbers 2 and 3 as well, and read 'art of checkmate' for the material in number 1 since I already own it.

Grandpatzer said...

BDK: The material in the first DVD is closer to select parts of Vukovic and to Znozko-Borovsky than to AotC, but I'd agree that DVDs 2 and 3 may be a better place to start for you.

AotC is a nice little book, nonetheless. If you really want to study mating motifs, one of my favorit books period is Tal's Winning Chess Combinations, if you can find it. I first found it in the University of Wisconsin library, so you could try searching your local libraries just in case. I forked over $55 for my current copy, so good luck if you find it for sale. If there's a better book on mates, I have yet to see it.

The material in the first DVD is closer to select parts of Vukovic and to Znozko-Borovsky than to AotC, however.

happyhippo said...

The irony of it all. I went through and reviewed that very same DVD just 2 weeks ago and the conclusion I got was roughly the same as yours. That is, the DVD was more targetted towards beginners who are unfamiliar with typical mating attacks and motifs.

One funny thing, I noticed how fast I lost the information in my head after watching the DVD but I still retain enough parts of it so that if the position presented itself on the board, I can work through it at breakneck speed (like what you mentioned, learning chess Neo-style). I have not looked back at the DVD since my review 2 weeks ago and I think the reason for the information still being stored in my memory was because of the clarity of the explanation (King knows how to communicate effectively) and the fact the visual presentation makes the ideas far easier to absorb.

However in some ways, I was a bit disappointed by King's presentation of material in that it was far less informative than it should have been. For a DVD that costs about $40, the price tag is a bit steep for a DVD and I'm not sure if it was money worth spending here.

Btw I have all 4 copies of Muller's Endgame DVDs and intend to review them when I get to it... at some stage on my blog as well. :)

I actually look forward to your reviews on them as well.

Cheers and thanks for your review.

transformation said...

thank you. i am on short shift, so please allow me this briefest comment, and note that i continue to always enjoy your blog. dk

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