Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko

December 15th, 2018 No comments

My girlfriend gets upset with me whenever I claim to be old. She does not remember the fall of the wall at all, while I remember the Iran hostage crisis. I cry about the death/retirement of Rock ‘n Roll, while she sees it as a genre of Classical music, as I see Mozart, Gershwin or Charlie Parker. 
A decade ago Yusupov told me he participated in the European Championship and played eleven GMs between 2500 and 2600 of whom he had never heard at all! This was his “I am from the past” Epiphany. 
I have lots of them these days and honestly I enjoy them. I like the way new chess publishers are trying new things. As the old fart I am, I like what we do best of course, this is why we do it this way. But I really like that things are moving forward.
Yesterday I was made aware of two videos by GM Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko, whom I honestly still thought of as 21 years old. Actually, he is 32 and has three beautiful children, as the internet informs me. But thank you for Michael to making me aware of these videos, they are very complimentary to me.
The first one deals with the method of the three questions in a tactical setting, with a position I first saw in Byron Jacob’s wonderful little book Analyse to Win, but there were a small mistake, which was the justification for me including it in Excelling at Chess Calculation, with some chat.

White to play

The second position is more positional in nature and comes from one of his own games.

White to play


This one is a bit harder and I have to confess that I got it wrong! But it is all very logical and instructive.

Overall this first visual encounter with Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko was been a total pleasure for me. Not so much because of the nice recommendation of the three questions, but more because of the clarity and high level of his explanations of the positions. If you are looking for a private trainer, I think he teaches on Chess.com, which apparently is not just about Puzzle Rush… You can find him on Facebook here.

Woodpecker in Ethiopia

December 12th, 2018 1 comment
Woodpecker in Ethiopia 

We received the above photograph and the email below from Michael Schimmer of Frankfurt, Germany:


“For a three weeks’ adventure trip to Ethiopia I wanted to take with me ONE paper book – a chess book of course.


The book should have:
a) decent paper
b) decent cover sides
c) decent binding
considering I would use it in a tent or in some wild spots…

I came up with The Woodpecker Method, as I loved Pump Up Your Rating from Axel Smith.

And yes, The Woodpecker proved itself worthwhile. Usually we chess players praise first and by far foremost the content, but here I want to praise paper and binding as well. Very good job!

The attached picture was made 3600+ meters above sea level in the Simien-Mountains – and the book survived later on 100 meters below sea level as well without visible problems.
Keep on working on good content AND on good paper/binding – both is much appreciated.”

Thanks Michael! So if anyone was wondering if you could do your Woodpeckering 3600 metres up a mountain in Ethiopia, then the answer is yes. I am sure Axel and Hans would approve.

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The Electrifying Elephant Gambit

December 10th, 2018 59 comments

First of all, check out the fantastic cover design for this book!

We have received a number of draft chapters from our Danish friends Michael Agermose Jensen and Jakob Aabling-Thomsen, the Elephant enthusiasts – that is, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5. They are doing excellent work and I can see the finished book having a ‘Mayhem-in-the-Morra-esque’ effect, whereby people realize the gambit is much better than its reputation.

Having seen snippets of the work, I have not been able to resist experimenting with the Elephant every now and then. I tried it in two rapid games against lower-rated opponents, both of whom accepted the gambit. I went slightly astray in the opening (the relevant chapters have not been delivered yet, so I had to rely on my own guesswork rather than the authors’ expertise) but won both games after some adventures. Perhaps more significantly, I played the Elephant in two local league games against guys in the 2250-2300 range. Both of them were too fearful of the Elephant’s tusks to accept the gambit pawn, and opted for a more timid line involving an early queen exchange. In both cases I equalized quickly and pressed for an advantage, eventually eking out a win in one game and settling for a draw in the other.

Obviously I won’t be playing the Elephant in every game, but so far it has been a delight to get it on the board and force my opponents to think hard at such an early stage. What do our blog readers think? Can you see yourself adding the Elephant to your repertoire as a 6,000 kg surprise weapon?

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Remembering Playing 1.e4

December 6th, 2018 13 comments

If you want to know your opening repertoire well, you need time to memorise it. Some of it will make a lot of sense and some of it will be concrete, but counter-intuitive. Sometimes a line a tempo down is no worse, for example.

I just played a blitz game where I successfully remembered all of John’s analysis on the Alekhine, but ran out of time… As online blitz games have no relevance for the real world, I am still pleased by being able to get all the way to +-. After this I missed mate in four and lost on time in a totally winning position. But who cares…

The main reason I remembered the line, was because of an attractive shot in this position (did not really happen). Often these types of anchors and little nuggets of information helps us remember what comes before.

White to play. What is the strongest continuation?

Find the game here.

Free ‘Book of the Month’ – December and January

December 3rd, 2018 17 comments

We are continuing our special 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 Judit Polgar’s superb trilogy, then we send Judit’s 3 books in hardback, plus one free extra book.

The previous default option on the free book was Carlsen’s Assault on the Throne. For December and January we will switch the default option to GRANDMASTER VERSUS AMATEUR. 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
POSITIONAL CHESS SACRIFICES
REGGIO EMILIA 2007/2008
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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The Afek Masterpiece is finally out

November 28th, 2018 24 comments

Wow, we worked a lot on this book. I spent a decade pressuring Afek to write this book. We even had a contract that he asked to get out of. But finally it is here, the book I dreamt of. This is an obvious candidate from Quality Chess for book of the year.

I know that studies is not to everyone’s taste. What I like about Afek’s creation is that they both have the beauty of studies and the game-like feel I enjoy. Actually, Afek included a study we made together, based on my analysis of a game by a young Carlsen.

If you want to test yourself, I have a small problem for you here.

White to play and win (move 3 of a study)

You can find the solution to this problem in the last example of the PDF excerpt.

Quality Chess Academy 2.0 ready for registration

November 26th, 2018 6 comments

Hi guys!

Kallia has updated our website for the academy and it is now ready to receive registrations. At the first camp we had 11 participants, as we had put in a rating barrier of 2300. In the second camp, there will be no rating requirement to participate. We will have a few classes going on at the same time, so they all will be at an appropriate level for everyone. GM Ramesh has already agreed to join me at the camp and Boris Gelfand will be invited if we hit 30 participants.

The camp works well for GMs and for amateurs. GM Adhiban benefitted from the camp (or so he says) and won a tournament in Croatia right after, pushing his rating to 2694, preparing him to be only the 5th Indian player to cross 2700 (after Anand, Harikrishna, Sasikiran and Vidit). The other GMs were very positive as well.

Out of the 11 participants, 10 gave us 9/10 or 10/10. I think 6/10 or 7/10 is more appropriate. We knew we were beginners and we made a lot of small mistakes. The idea with a small camp was to learn before we invite a lot of people for 8-14 May 2019.

Here is a small video we did for ChessBase.in about the camp.

The positional challenge | Quality Chess Academy by GM Jacob Aagaard

At the Quality Chess Academy 1.0 which was held in Crete, Greece from 9-14 November a lot of strong GMs gathered to be trained by Jacob Aagaard and Boris Gelfand. There were different types of training sessions for the players. One of them was positional chess where the players were urged to ask the three questions:1. Which is the worst placed piece?2. What are the weaknesses?3. What is my opponent's idea?Once you ask these three questions you tend to understand what's going on in the position and find the right move. In this challenge GM Jacob Aagaard and GM Arizmendi Martinez pose you with a position from the game Eljanov vs Grischuk. You have to take ten minutes on your clock and find the best move for Black. Can you play like how Grischuk did?

Posted by ChessBase India on Sunday, 25 November 2018

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Avrukh’s final 1.d4 volume: 2B

November 23rd, 2018 37 comments

 

Any 1.d4 players in the house? If so, you may be interested to know that I am currently editing the final volume from the Doctor of d4 himself, and our original Grandmaster Repertoire author, Boris Avrukh!

As most of you know, the original volumes 1&2 (published in 2008 & 2010 respectively – how time flies…) have been revamped into the newer and upgraded volumes: 1A The Catalan, 1B The Queen’s Gambit, 2A King’s Indian & Grünfeld and finally volume 2B will complete the series. This final volume is subtitled “Dynamic Systems” (though I want to rename it “Dynamic Defences” – any opinions?) and will cover the Dutch, various Benoni systems not already covered in the series, the Benko & Budapest Gambits, and anything else which did not feature in the previous volumes.

So far, I am impressed by the vast number of improvements Avrukh has made over his previous work. This is not the time to give away any big novelties, but I can tell you there’s a useful change of direction in an important Dutch line, which I was able to use to good effect in a recent tournament game. I was also surprised when I started working on the Benko Gambit chapters and saw that the Fianchetto (which I have never been a great fan of against the Benko) has been replaced by the traditional main line of 6.Nc3 followed by e2-e4, Kxf1 and so on. After a panic-stricken few minutes of scouring the previous volumes for unwanted Fianchetto Benko transpositions (of which there are none, thankfully!), I am convinced that this is another excellent change.

To sum up, if you are a fan of Avrukh’s existing 1.d4 works, you will love this one too. With that being said, I will get back to editing it…

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