Playing the Trompowsky – and winning

December 18th, 2014 1 comment

The dream of getting a crushing position while still in one’s opening prep is an uncommon occurrence these days, at least at GM level. Most GMs are too well prepared to be caught so readily.

England’s Jonathan Hawkins will be awarded the GM title the next time FIDE does such things, and he is usually excellently prepared, but he had a rare opening accident recently against Hikaru Nakamura in the London Chess Classic Rapidplay.

H. Nakamura – J. Hawkins
London Chess Classic Rapidplay 06.12.2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.e3 c5 5.Bd3


5…Nf6 was Avrukh’s recommendation in Grandmaster Repertoire 11 – Beating 1.d4 Sidelines.

6.Bxe4 Qxb2?!

The dubious sign was Richard Pert’s verdict in Playing the Trompowsky.


This “gives White huge amounts of play for the exchange,” said Richard. This game certainly supports that view.

7…Qxa1 8.Nf3 e6 9.Bb3 Nd7

A novelty, I believe, but it changes little. The game Richard quoted was 9…cxd4 as in Stefanova – Grobelsek, Croatia 2003.


White is way ahead on development and the black queen is in trouble.


A better try was 10…Be7 but Black is in trouble anyway.

11.exd4 Bb4 12.Qd3 Qb2 13.c3 Be7 14.Bc1 Qa1 15.Qc2

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Busy busy busy

December 15th, 2014 37 comments

I am sorry that I do not have the time to write a proper blog post today. I have been working till 2am quite a number of nights in a row in order for our books to get sent to the printer before Christmas. Sadly this does not mean early January publication, as they are shut for a few weeks.

The following four books will most likely be released on the 4th of February:

Negi: 1.e4 vs. the Sicilian 1 (360 pages)

Flores Rios: Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide (464 pages)

Kotronias: Mar Del Plata 1 (320 pages)

Kotronias: Mar Del Plata 2 (300+ pages)

Furthermore we are preparing reprints of Playing the French, Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation (more about this next Monday) and of course the 10th anniversary hardback edition of Learn from the Legends.

Right now I am typesetting the first Kotronias book, which will be proof read from tomorrow morning. There is really some incredible chess in this book (which deals exclusively with the 9.Ne1 main line KID). One position I looked at a few moments ago was this one, arising after 25.Rxd7:

Here I will skip the details, but just give you the main line Vassilios has analysed:

25…Rg6!! 26.Bg1! Nxd7 27.Bb5 Rxa7 28.Qc2! Rb7 29.Bc6!? Rc7! 30.h3! Nxg2! 31.Qxg2 Qh6 32.Bb6 Nxb6 33.axb6 Rc8 34.b7 Rb8 35.Nd3 Rg5 36.Ra1 Rh5 37.Bd7! Rxb7 38.Be6† Kg7

Despite having played optimum moves in the last sequence, White is still struggling badly.

Review of Forward Chess app by IM John Watson

December 12th, 2014 24 comments

The website The Week in Chess is an invaluable resource for chess players looking for recent games and reviews. Mark Crowther (‘Sir Mark’ if the Queen does her duty) has spent over 20 years running TWIC.

Recently on TWIC, IM John Watson reviewed various ebook formats. Since Quality Chess books are on Forward Chess I was particularly interested in his view of FC. The verdict was highly favourable. Some of the highlights were:

“Several things distinguish this App and make it essential to know about. First, it has an imbedded analytical engine (Stockfish) which analyses the current position… More importantly, the Forward Chess App lets you make your own independent moves/analysis by tapping on squares of origin and destination, and then you can turn on the imbedded Stockfish engine to analyse those moves…

The other outstanding thing about ForwardChess is its selection of books. They put out ebook versions for a large number of chess publishers…

This is clearly an App that a chess book lover should download and browse through.”

The full review can be read here.

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Tiger and Soviet Chess Primer – plus a Judit Polgar Trilogy Special Offer

December 10th, 2014 18 comments


Today is the official publication day of The Modern Tiger and The Soviet Chess Primer. Some websale customers may already have their copies, so do tell us what you think.

For those unfamiliar with the new books, The Modern Tiger is by the same author as “Tiger’s Modern” and on the same topic, but ten years later and twice as big.

The Soviet Chess Primer is less obvious to explain. Yes, it starts with the very basics (so suitable for adult beginners) but then the level goes upwards quickly. So it’s a witty instructive read for everyone from beginners to grandmasters. A weird-sounding claim, but true.

Check out the excerpts for Tiger and Soviet if you haven’t already.

Polgár trilogy

In addition we are making a new special offer on Judit Polgar’s superb trilogy. All three hardcover books are now priced at €24.99 which would normally make it €74.97 to buy all three. Except, as a special offer, we will only charge €59.99. And free delivery (to EU people). Plus, since it’s almost Christmas, we will add a free book of your choosing from the usual list.

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Taking it easy

December 8th, 2014 37 comments

When I was young I took chess way too seriously. I would cry when I lost some games and I would start to doubt my whole existence. I remember one game where I was playing for an IM-norm against a player I have 11.5/13 against, including a quick draw in 1989. You guessed right – the loss was in the game where I was playing for the norm.

This lifetime score might not fully reflect the difference in level between us, but it does reflect the difference in me once I was in a demanding situation. I froze. Too much emotion, no space left for chess in my system.

I see the same happening from time to time with students, but as a lot of our action is online, I mainly see a lot of this stuff on the tennis courts. Some of the guys I play with behave well under all circumstances. Some behave appallingly. Especially when they miss a shot.

What I have noticed is that their play disintegrates from this moment. Giving yourself space to be disappointed might be good, but the shouting and shooting balls in the fence and so on, is not only a pain to people around you, it makes you more likely to lose the next shot.

Read more…

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Where did the idea come from?

December 5th, 2014 No comments

Ankit Rajpara, a young Indian grandmaster, won surprisingly against Arkadij Naiditsch in the first round of the big open in Qatar.

Early in the opening he came up with a funny manoeuvre in order to open the h-file. Later on he sacrificed a piece in order to penetrate in the self-same h-file and win the game.

Naiditsch (2719) – Rajpara (2494)
Doha 26.11.2014

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0–0 Bg6 7.Nbd2 Nf5 8.c4 Be7 9.g4

9…Nh6 10.h3 Ng8 11.Ne1 h5 12.Ng2 hxg4 13.hxg4 dxc4 14.Nxc4 Be4 15.f3 Bd5 16.Nce3 c5 17.Nf4 Bc6 18.d5 exd5 19.Nfxd5 Bh4 20.Kg2 Bg3!?

Read more…

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Basque – Scotland match

December 3rd, 2014 No comments

A Scottish team travelled to Basque country at the weekend for an exhibition match. Here’s my second game from the match. The opening is of some interest, as I achieved the (almost) impossible feat of improving on an Avrukh recommendation from Grandmaster Repertoire 2. True, Boris’s move gives a clear advantage, and the whole variation should obviously be avoided by Black, but it still feels like an achievement.

Andrew Greet (2442) – Inogo Argandone Riveiro (2415)
Basque – Scotland match (2), 29.11.2014

1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 c6 7.Nc3 Qa5 8.e4 Qh5

Black has chosen a rather dubious variation.


As given by Boris. I could faintly recall his recommending this move instead of the more common 9.e5 dxe5 10.Nxe5, but did not remember any other details. Still, with a healthy space advantage and the queens off the board, the position is not difficult to handle.

9…Qxd1 10.Rxd1 Nbd7

Avrukh’s main line is 10…e5 11.d5 when White keeps a plus.


Seizing space in the centre. From a positional point of view this was an easy decision, but it was necessary to spend a bit of time calculating the consequences of Black’s next move.


This seems like a principled reaction, but it leads to far greater problems.

12.e5 cxd4 13.exf6 exf6

Read more…

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Simplicity is Key

December 1st, 2014 25 comments

This week I just wanted to give a little reminder to those who might be maximalists and not wanting to give up material in order to convert an advantage. I know it is a quick and boring blog post, but then the other guys have promised to put a few things up as well.

Filippov – Saric, Croatian League 2014

Black to play and win

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