Small update

February 22nd, 2019 No comments

I have said this in a few comments in responses to various people. In 2018 I was ill for half the year and recovering for the second half. I am still in a worse state than exiting 2017. It has slowed us down a lot, as have other things. Life, basically.

But things are moving ahead and we are finishing a lot of books at the moment. Kotov – The Science of Strategy is going to the printer next week. So is Boris Avrukh’s – Grandmaster Repertoire 2B, the final book in the 1.d4 Saga. It will be a big book with 29 chapters.

Colin will return from holiday next week and put up some excerpts once the books are uploaded to the printer. Meanwhile I have a screen shot for you.

Chessable – Build Up Your Chess 1

February 15th, 2019 17 comments

Today is the publication day of Artur Yusupov’s Build Up Your Chess 1 on Chessable. Yusupov’s series was, I believe, top of a Chessable users’ poll as the books they most wanted to see on Chessable. So I hope they are happy to see it. As is normal on Chessable, a new release is introduced at a sale price that lasts just over a week. So if you are interested in this version, I suggest going for it soon.

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Chess960/Fischer Random

February 8th, 2019 55 comments

My friend GM Csaba Horvath once had dinner with Fischer in Budapest, after meeting him in the street. At some point during the dinner, Fischer asked him, “What do you think of ‘my’ chess?” (meaning 960). Csaba said: “I like it, but…” Fischer caught him off with a big grin. “No! No, buts!”

I received the friendly email below after my appearance on the Perpetual Chess Podcast.

I know he asks for my opinion, but I am more interested in other’s opinions. And I have also made this commitment not to defend any opinions in debates since taking up a post in FIDE. For obvious mental health related reasons :-).

I just listened to you on the perpetual chess podcast.

I really enjoyed it and realise that you’re experience in the chess world is vastly superior to mine and with that your perspective is greatly appreciated.

My intention is honest and sincere. I’m not about to post your reply on a forum and anything like that. I’m kinda wishing for the future of chess to be chess960 and was interested to hear your recent comment in the perpetual chess podcast. Genuinely interested, im too stoic to get upset by differing opinions but also believe these views and discussions to be extremely important to the future of chess.

I am extremely interested in getting your perspective on something that you mentioned regarding chess960 as ‘the Fischer random circus’.

During the podcast you also mentioned your preference for classical chess due to the ‘deep thinking’ aspect.

I have interpretted these 2 snippets as on the one hand you’re pro deep thinking yet anti chess960 (compared to classical chess). I hope I haven’t completely misrepresented your beliefs here, I’m just making conclusions following 90 minutes of listening.

So I guess my question is really:

Why do you on the 1 hand love thinking deeply and on the other regard chess960 as a ‘circus’. What am I missing that you are seeing?

I personally love chess960 because to me it is an excellent opportunity each and every game from move 1 to think hard with no auto-piloting in the opening. I mean you can’t just be a d4 player in chess960 you’d at least need to make an assessment first.

I actually find that I think deeper (in chess960) from move 1. To me it’s the deep thinking of chess that I love. In standard I have won many a game thanks to london system solely due to my opponent not being as familiar with it as me. But in chess960 I don’t get these opening edges (and vice versa) – to me that’s more pure chess than memorised lines bring to the board.

To me being given more variety of opening positions leads to more varied positions to assess which leads to more deep thinking.

But… classical/standard chess is sooo much more popular so I’m in the minority. So there must be something I’m missing. I think chess960 is like jazz whereas standard chess is more like classical music. Chalk and cheese as far as prep’s concerned.

The thing that I see commonly mentioned are ‘unbalanced’ starting positions as a reason against chess960. But as long as each player plays same position as white and black what’s the big deal? Or if that’s impractical then to be honest, it’s rather obvious that even at top level e.g. Carlsen v caruana that even a computers 2+ edge is often not even realised. So until humans improve considerably I don’t think these computer assessments on unfamiliar positions really impact the human results much. I think the human aspect would likely be the difference.

To me this is a matter of taste entirely. I also don’t like jazz too much. It is too rich and there is an information-overload happening to me when I listen to it. Which I do on rare occasions.

I like the tradition of classical chess. I like that I begin the game in the same position as Kasparov did. I like the patterns of openings.

All of Jason’s arguments are valid. To me it is a matter of taste. What do you guys think?

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Sam Shankland and “that” fortress

February 5th, 2019 19 comments

I have felt a need for a while to talk about the Giri – Shankland game. But obviously I do not want to give an inside story. Those are dull anyway, it is always the height of the ceiling or this and that. Because this was not about chess or chess understanding, as anyone who knows anything will know.

I was sitting in the cinema watching THE FAVOURITE with Kallia, telling her Sam had made a draw. Then five minutes later she said he had lost. I did not believe it. How can you lose this position? Sam’s manager, I and any idiot on the Internet was able to see that this was a fortress, whether or not they had read a New In Chess pocketbook or not. But Sam had indeed resigned in the position I had seen.

Of course you should be careful with such sweeping statements…


As the path to c8 suggested by Jan does not work out that well in practice…

I hope this example will be an encouragement to people that even GMs have bad days and that it does not define them. On the next two days, Sam beat Nepomniatchchi and Kramnik and finished the tournament on 50%, winning six rating points. After Kramnik’s retirement, organisers have received statements from the Indian and Israeli Federations, not to have Sam play with Anand or Gelfand in the last round, as losing to Sam can be a career ending experience, as both Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik can testify.
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Perpetual Chess Podcast

February 1st, 2019 10 comments

Jacob was on the Perpetual Chess Podcast, released this week. At Quality Chess we have finally gotten around to sponsor the podcast and we strongly encourage everyone else to give a little to continue this great free product.
Jacob spoke about a lot of things in the programme, some of which will be opened up for debate here on the blog next week, starting with the “960 circus?!” and the future of chess.
When you are interviewed, there is a temptation to hedge your bets and not give any opinions, but this does not make interesting radio and makes little sense to Jacob. So, he said what he was thinking. Others may disagree, but rather than thinking that is a personal issue, we will have a civilised airing of differences here on the blog.
Btw. The next Podcast will be on Game Changer, the chess publication of the year, if you are to believe the hype. This will certainly not be one to miss!

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Free ‘Book of the Month’ – February and March

February 1st, 2019 No comments

We are continuing our free-fourth-book offer – if you buy three books or more and live in the normal European Union zone (as defined by UPS – for example, they exclude some islands and remote areas) we will send you an extra book free.

Please note that if you buy a Special Offer and are in the EU zone, we will add one free book. For example, if a European buys the Special Offer on Tibor Karolyi’s excellent Tal trilogy, then we send the 3 Tal books in hardback, plus one free extra book.

The previous default option on the free book was Grandmaster versus Amateur. For February and March we will switch the default option to REGGIO EMILIA 2007/2008. But if you already have that book, or would prefer a different free book, then send us an email to salesgroup@qualitychess.co.uk with your order, asking to have it replaced with one of the following titles:

ATTACKING THE SPANISH
CARLSEN’S ASSAULT ON THE THRONE
CHAMPIONS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM
CUTTING EDGE 1: THE OPEN SICILIAN
CUTTING EDGE 2: SICILIAN NAJDORF 6.Be3
GRANDMASTER BATTLE MANUAL
GRANDMASTER VERSUS AMATEUR
POSITIONAL CHESS SACRIFICES
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – WHITE GAMBITS
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – BLACK GAMBITS VOLUME 1
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – BLACK GAMBITS VOLUME 2
SAN LUIS 2005
TACTIMANIA


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Mihail Marin on the Leningrad Dutch

January 22nd, 2019 28 comments

We have a book underway that I feel like announcing: a Grandmaster Repertoire on the Leningrad Dutch by Mihail Marin. When will it be published? No idea. As always, that depends on how smoothly the analysis and writing goes. And how wide awake our editors are.

This book will be a complete repertoire for Black starting after 1.d4 f5. In fact, Mihail will also offer some brief thoughts on other first moves such as 1.Nf3 and 1.c4 from a Dutch player’s perspective.

It’s early days to be mentioning this book, but a few readers have commented on this blog about their desire for a Leningrad Dutch book, so it feels right to say: “We agree, and we are working on it.”

Categories: GM Repertoire, Publishing Schedule Tags:

Pawn Play in Wijk aan Zee

January 16th, 2019 53 comments

Jorden van Foreest – Viswanathan Anand
Tata Steel Masters, 12.01.2019

With Sam Shankland playing in the elite Tata Steel event (and currently sitting on a respectable 2/4 with four draws), we can’t help but pay attention to some of the pivotal pawn moves being made in the tournament. When you see games at this level being won and lost due to good and bad pawn play, it makes you appreciate even more what a vital topic this is. Take the following example:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.c3 Qc7 6.h3 g6 7.Nf3 Bf5 8.Ne5 Nc6 9.Bf4 Qb6 10.Bxf5 gxf5 11.Nd3 e6 12.Nd2 Rg8 13.0–0 0–0–0 14.a4 Ne4 15.Rc1 Bd6 16.Bxd6 Nxd6 17.b4 Kb8 18.Qe2 Qc7 19.Qe3 Ne7
Black has a comfortable game but there was no need for White to self-destruct with his next move:

20.f3??
Van Foreest must have thought he could withstand the pressure along the g-file, but in reality this is much too weakening, as Anand expertly shows.

Read more…
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