I’m back with a review, but it is not a book. Yes, you read it right. After a long time, I got back to reviewing and it happens to be a chess DVD! Let’s get started..


DVD Category : Fritz Trainer Basics
DVD : Strengthen Your Chess Foundation
Author / Presenter: Nisha Mohota
Running Time: 6hours 5 minutes
Aimed at : Tournament Player
Indian Price: 999/- (Download version)
Normal Price: 29.90 Euros

Blurb:  On this DVD I show and explain elements of chess strategy and tactics every player should know. I offer guidelines to steer you through the opening, show basic endgames, help you to understand fundamental pawn structures, and explain principles and patterns of attack and defense. But to play successfully, theory is not enough. It also helps to know a bit about chess psychology because even the strongest players make mistakes. It is important to know how to deal with errors – errors of your opponent and errors you make. Throughout the DVD I try to highlight two of the most important elements of chess: the process of decision-making and how pawn structures shape the position and help you to find the right plans. Finally, I talk about ‘beauty’ in chess – after all, this is what attracts me to the game.”

• Video running time: 6 h 05 min (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Including CB 12 Reader

System requirements: Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3), DirectX9 graphic card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 12/Fritz 13 or included Reader and internet connection for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel Core i7, 2.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, DirectX10 graphic card (or compatible) with 512 MB RAM or better, 100% DirectX10 compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet connection for program activation.

When a friend records a DVD, curiosity knows no limit! In the introduction, Nisha shares her intriguing story of her cards-to-chess shift and makes it clear that she is going to cover some practical aspects and leave you with a few tools by the end of the DVD.

Nisha Mohota makes it clear that she is going to focus on practical aspects in the DVD and not trouble you with openings!

From a learner’s perspective, I am amazed by the flow of the DVD. It felt like being a part of a story that kept teasing you with what’s next?  I am sure that I’ll be able to plan topics for my students in a much better way, thanks to the contents.  It starts with to err is human and ends with a beautiful game that shows that we are all capable of mistakes and brilliant moves! Such a cinematic touch 🙂


I liked the survival tools discussed in the DVD. The difference between an amateur and a master is that amateur is bogged with the immense possibilities and the master focuses on the essence. On your journey to getting better at chess, you will learn techniques that can help you in EVERY game.

According to Nisha, C C T stands for Checks, Capture and Transfer.
She recommends keeping this acronym handy as it might help you in a lot of positions. Considering checks, captures and piece transfers may make your job of finding a good move easier.

Candidate Moves:
The concept is simple, but hardly taught in the beginning in chess circles. With this DVD, you can re-frame your basics and get better by knowing concepts like candidate moves. Look at a few options before choosing your move. You never know what you might miss. As lasker put it so well ‘When you see a good move, look for a better one’.

Pawn structures:
In the heat of the game, it is easy to forget about the pawn structures. But, refreshing the basics of pawn structures can aid you in need.  In this DVD, Nisha talks about the nuances associated with knight and a pawn :

Knight construction

The pawn on g6 restricts the knight on g3. This awareness can lead you to making better decisions on the board.

If I had refreshed a few structural nuances before this event in Moscow, I may not have made the following error:

Black to play
Black to play: Savitsky – Niranjan, Moscow Open 2017

I played 32…g4? and made things difficult for my knight after 33.h4 Qb6 35. 34.g3 Ng6. After the game, my opponent told me that this pawn construction favors white. Of course, I knew. But, I missed the nuance. So, there it is! Refreshing basics can save points.

One bad piece can make the whole side bad!

She says Pawn structures are very important. They tell you a lot – where to attack, to attack or not to attack and also makes you aware of the weak and strong squares.

Chess also has the Shakespeare element, folks!


The highlight of this DVD is that it covers topics that have not been covered before in a DVD format at this level. For instance,  the tendency of transpositions,  the psychological aspects,  game attitudes (keep fighting) and some survival tools for the tournament player.

As far as the test positions are concerned, I loved this study by Horwitz!

White to play


Answer:  1. Bc2+ Ka5 2. b4+ Ka6 3. Kc6 Ka7 4. b5 Ka8 5. Be4 Ka7 6. Bf3 Ka8 7. b6 cxb6 8.

And this example in decision making:


White to play: Decide between 1.Ke3 or 1.Ke5

She ends the segment on interactive positions with words that hold true to every chess player It is important to pay attention to your opponent’s possibilities.

I’ll not spoil the position for you; I recommend watching the DVD to compare your answer 🙂

Chess is vast and it is impossible to cover everything in six hours. Still, I feel that Rook vs rook endings could have had more examples and would have made this complete toolkit a little better, as one cannot rely only on the positions discussed in the DVD. I understand that the DVD dealt with vast range of topics, but it left me longing for more rookish endgames! It would have made the task of learning rook endings for my students easier.

Who should watch the DVD?
*Players who want to improve their understanding of the basics
* Chess enthusiasts who want to enjoy chess for a few hours
* Coaches : The DVD carries a lot of instructive material which could be used by coaches to train students
* Players that have problems with understanding structures

Chess-In-Schools program is being implemented in some parts of India. If the DVD becomes available in a YouTube Format, some schools could play it in their chess period on a projector as well.

What could have been included?
Every aspiring player wants to know how to work on the game! Isn’t it? It would have been very good if the author also shared the specifics of working on the game at the initial level. Learning to fish could benefit a lot in the long run 🙂 Let’s hope she comes up with another DVD.

Final word:

Nisha Mohota’s Strengthen your chess foundation is a jolly ride to basics that enriches your chess thinking habits, improves your theoretical knowledge and leaves you with practical tools to apply in your games.

I believe that the DVD has a lot of potential and might help a lot  of players who have played few tournaments. ChessBase could consider uploading videos on their YouTube channel at Indian costs, just like the movies work. A lot of chess crowd rushes to Facebook on daily basis and sharing YouTube links of some segments might help in increasing the visibility of the DVD. This might also work for those who don’t use laptops. A lot of Indians are used to Android phones and this might comfort them!

Note: If some positions or videos do not appear properly, watch them using Chessbase Reader.

About the Author: 


Nisha Mohota started playing chess as the age of seven. She became India’s youngest WIM in 1995 and India’s fourth WGM in 2003. Since February 2011 she is a full IM – her highest ever Elo rating was 2416.

Nisha has represented India in 25 countries. Her accomplishments include qualifying for the 2001 and 2008 Women World Chess Championships as well as playing for India in 2004, 2008 and 2010 (Women) Olympiads. She won the Indian National Women Premier title in 2005.

Nisha’s first love, chess, helps her continue her other passion: writing, photography and travelling. She also loves to learn foreign languages and has a diploma in Spanish, which she wants to master in future! She is employed with Oil India Limited (OIL), a petroleum company, as a sportsperson

An article about the DVD in The Telegraph newspaper

I thank ChessBase for giving me an opportunity to review the DVD.