GM Lars Schandorff lecture in Edinburgh 30th October – 2nd November

September 30th, 2014 15 comments

It is with great pleasure that we can announce that Quality Chess author and National Coach of the Danish elite GM Lars Schandorff is coming to Edinburgh to give a 15 hour lecture on aggressive positional chess, with a starting point in the games of Bobby Fischer.


The lectures will take place in Edinburgh Chess Club on 1 Alva Street in the heart of Edinburgh. Attendance costs £80 for the full session and £50 for those aged 24 or less. Also those travelling from outside Scotland will get this discount.

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October 21st, 2014 5 comments

Noticed that Gelfand drew with Black against Giri, which has been a difficult opponent to him lately. And Caruana lost to Vachier-Legrave with White. Obviously there is a long way to go, but at the moment it looks to me as if Gelfand is leading the Grand Prix!

I continue to believe that age is less important than motivation and that the fact that people lose motivation as they age is what people usually speak about. Chess does not look younger to me than 50 years ago. And will probably look quite old by 2019!

Mamedyarov’s endgame technique is by the way under criticism after today’s game. What a shocker!

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Book of the Month October/November

October 21st, 2014 2 comments

We have not worked out our automated system yet (and it will take a while). So, at the moment we will do it like this:

If you buy three books or more and live inside the European Union (defined by UPS and not by bureaucrats in Brussels!) we will send you a free book.

As a starting point this will be CHAMPIONS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

But if you have it, or would prefer another freebie, please write an email to us with your order, asking to have it replaced with one of following five titles:


We will probably run it like this for a while, changing the freebies around a bit.

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Interim update

October 20th, 2014 11 comments

Just back from holiday in Legoland/Copenhagen. Time to write, write, write. So much to say, so bloody mute!

OK, regarding the publishing schedule. Sometimes things slide. Why? Can be a lot of things. A chapter having to be completely rewritten by the author? The chess being proved wrong in the book at a very late stage? An editor making poor choices? The author making poor choices and the editor deciding to leave them, then deciding to do the right thing and (re)fix them?

Many things like this happen.

We have one publication date to announce: Judit Polgar’s A GAME OF QUEENS will be out on the 5th of November. At the end of November, we will publish THE MODERN TIGER by Tiger Hillarp Persson, and Maizelis’ THE SOVIET CHESS PRIMER in our series of classics, as well as Mauricio Flores Rios’ CHESS STRUCTURES – A GRANDMASTER GUIDE. OK, maybe early December; the printer will decide and there is always a competition with Finnish and Swedish Christmas catalogues!

Finally, we are working hard on POSITIONAL DECISION MAKING IN CHESS by Boris Gelfand. He needs to return from three events before we can finish it. We are also working on the double volume on the MAR DEL PLATA variation by Vassilios Kotronias, Negi’s 2nd volume in his 1.e4 series and of course the never-ending struggle to get a full book out of John… We hope to have some of these out in January.

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No Fear

October 20th, 2014 2 comments

I spent the last 10 days on holiday in Denmark and have been thinking very little on chess (with the exception of looking up how Gelfand was doing in Baku), but going on the roller coasters with my oldest daughter (6 years old) made me think a bit about how flexible our emotions are.
Many times have I had the conversation with a young promising player, where I present my understanding about how to react to setbacks and disappointments.

The basic idea is this: negative emotions do not in themselves create anything positive.

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A Fortress Revisited

October 13th, 2014 8 comments

I am not a very technical person and I do not check how many people actually read the blog posts I write. I know that it is hundreds when I put up a new publishing schedule. We got about 300 votes for the Gelfand covers – and I would assume that most people voted, as it is so easy.

Obviously I like that my books have a greater readership than the free stuff, which probably has a lot to do with the effort I put into them (while the blog posts are meant to be contemplations and opening up for debates that will help me write BOX next year more than anything).

So I always get surprised when a really strong player says that he has read it. This is another case of this (based on this post).

Apparently I was not right when I believed that Black could maybe hold the fortress in this position:

 Giri – Kraemer, Germany 2014

111…Kg8? 112.Nd6 Rf6 113.Rc8+ Kh7 114.Rd8!

Black is in zugzwang.


Apparently White was winning all the same. The following interesting analysis was sent by email from GM Karsten Mueller, maybe the world’s leading authority on the endgame.


I foolishly speculated that Black was holding, but look at this:

112.Rc8+ Kg7 113.Rg8+!

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Looking for what you do not see

October 7th, 2014 9 comments

White to play and win in all three positions:

I have promised to write a bit about how it can be that a player can be close to 2650 and still “not be able to calculate”.

To most this sounds almost obscene, of course. I understand this, but if we agree on what this means, brick by brick, I will be able to illustrate it quite easily. In the process I will also take the chance to refer to my article in New in Chess Magazine, volume 6, out a few weeks ago. This article explains a central idea from the forthcoming Thinking inside the Box (which I am starting to feel brave enough to write).

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Jacob Aagaard Interview

September 30th, 2014 43 comments

Jacob was recently interviewed for the Spanish blog Un Andaluz y el Adjedrez. Here is the English version of the interview:

GM Jacob Aagaard

GM Jacob Aagaard

1) Can any person, and I mean ANY, get better at chess studying and competing, in your opinion? Do you think there is a limit, and not everybody is born to be a FM, for instance?

I am sure that there is a limit for some people. There is such a thing as talent for sure, but how important it is, is not really clear. Some minor tests have been done, but the research looking at people over a decade or more has not been done in a way that it can be statistically significant for chess. Not to my knowledge at least.

It has been done in music and the suggestion there was that the early talents did not do that well. The main reason probably being that it was too easy for them in the beginning and they never got into the habit of working hard…

I believe that there is no reason to set barriers to yourself. In principle everyone can learn everything. The question is how long it will take! Is it worth it. And so on.

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