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Quality Chess Newsletter – books, analysis and authors in action

Dear Quality Chess Reader,

We have two new books on the way – both would be aptly described as instructive and entertaining.

The title of Mihai Suba’s book is Positional Chess Sacrifices and that describes the lively content well – the Romanian GM has won the British Chess Federation’s Book of the Year prize for a previous book and we hope this one will be equally well received.

The Alterman Gambit Guide – Black Gambits 2 completes GM Boris Alterman’s 3-volume instructional series. Black Gambits 2 covers and explains various gambits that Black can unleash after 1.e4 e5. Lines covered include the Marshall Attack, Traxler variation and even the splendidly named Frankenstein-Dracula variation.

Both books will be sent from Quality Chess on the 16th of April, so shops will have them from the 17th and 18th.

Quality Chess has a new British Champion in our ranks – GM Colin McNab is the British Solving Champion. In second and third place were grandmasters Jonathan Mestel and John Nunn, who are both former World Champions in solving. A true-but-sounds-false story is that one of Colin’s first contributions to Quality Chess, while proofreading, was spotting a mate-in-one the editors had overlooked – presumably this was not much of a challenge for Colin.

Readers may be interested to follow some of our authors who are in action over-the-board. The immensely strong European Individual Championship features almost 200 GMs including “our” Vassilios Kotronias, Sabino Brunello, Matthieu Cornette and Mihail Marin.

At the end of this month Jacob will compete in the Danish Championship.

The chess file this month (pgn and pdf) contains analysis of topical openings, as usual, but also a couple of mind-bending puzzles from Colin’s solving victory.

Regards,
John Shaw
Chief Editor
Quality Chess

Categories: Authors in Action, Newsletter Tags:
  1. James
    March 22nd, 2012 at 11:28 | #1

    Just wanted to say I’m really looking forward to Nick Pert’s book on the Slav defence, I have his Killer Endgame DVD’s and they helped me improve greatly.

  2. TonyRo
    March 22nd, 2012 at 15:05 | #2

    Thanks for the newsletter, and the catalog. Looks great guys!

  3. John Dowling
    March 23rd, 2012 at 11:30 | #3

    Every Quality book I have bought has been great except the pages keep falling out. Is this problem going to be fixed on future books?

  4. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2012 at 13:07 | #4

    @John Dowling
    I have to say that this is not a common problem. We had some problems in late 2009 when the printer we use had bought a new machine. It was operated incorrectly and 2-3 books suffered from this problem in moderate quantities. As I recall it was GM5 especially which had this issue.
    I have not heard any complaints in the last year and more, and before then we only had problems with our first two books, where we changed printer subsequently.

  5. March 23rd, 2012 at 15:20 | #5

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @John Dowling
    I have to say that this is not a common problem. We had some problems in late 2009 when the printer we use had bought a new machine. It was operated incorrectly and 2-3 books suffered from this problem in moderate quantities. As I recall it was GM5 especially which had this issue.
    I have not heard any complaints in the last year and more, and before then we only had problems with our first two books, where we changed printer subsequently.

    I had written to QC about very bad creasing I found in a section of GM vs Amateur. I never had a reply, so maybe the QC (quality control) issues aren’t all being documented properly?

  6. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2012 at 16:46 | #6

    @Neil Sullivan
    Hi Neil, I understand that this is not meant as a criticism, but I don’t think e-mails to us are usually lost. I checked my archives and I found only three e-mails from you, all unrelated to this. I am not sure what went wrong, but I can assure everyone – we ALWAYS reply. If not, it did not get to us.

  7. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2012 at 16:48 | #7

    And with over a quarter of a million books in print, I am sure that there will be issues somewhere. It is unavoidable. But I doubt it is a 1000 copies with issues. And clearly the majority will be from the same 2 titles, from 2009, as explained above.

  8. Paul
    March 23rd, 2012 at 17:11 | #8

    I guess I buy about 90% of QC books (though have not read them all cover to cover). I had the problem with pages falling out on one of the Marin books (thing the first English book-GM3, but may have been GM4 or GM5) and also more recently on Grandmaster vs Amateur.

  9. March 23rd, 2012 at 17:38 | #9

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Neil Sullivan
    Hi Neil, I understand that this is not meant as a criticism, but I don’t think e-mails to us are usually lost. I checked my archives and I found only three e-mails from you, all unrelated to this. I am not sure what went wrong, but I can assure everyone – we ALWAYS reply. If not, it did not get to us.

    No worries. I had sent it to info@qualitychess.co.uk as I could not find any general contact e-mail on your site. As it didn’t bounce back, I assumed it had been received.

    I’d be happy to forward it to you.

  10. March 23rd, 2012 at 18:43 | #10

    Neil Sullivan :

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Neil Sullivan
    Hi Neil, I understand that this is not meant as a criticism, but I don’t think e-mails to us are usually lost. I checked my archives and I found only three e-mails from you, all unrelated to this. I am not sure what went wrong, but I can assure everyone – we ALWAYS reply. If not, it did not get to us.

    No worries. I had sent it to info@qualitychess.co.uk as I could not find any general contact e-mail on your site. As it didn’t bounce back, I assumed it had been received.
    I’d be happy to forward it to you.

    Lest anyone be left with a wrong impression, GM Aagaard was very quick to write me a courteous e-mail to understand the issue. Is there another company in the whole world, let alone the chess publishing industry, that would show this much interest in a customer’s concerns? I don’t think there is.

    To my way of thinking, it’s indicative of the emphasis they place on selling a great product and caring about what the customers think. It’s just another reason to love Quality Chess!

  11. Gerry
    March 23rd, 2012 at 19:54 | #11

    Off topic here, I know… but do you still deliver most of the older books from your catalogue if I order on your website?
    Especially the one from Esben Lund and Brunello’s Spanish gambits? (…and do you consider the latter one outdated or still ok for someone who is not afraid of updating it with latest database material?)

  12. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2012 at 21:04 | #12

    @Neil Sullivan
    Thank you Neil. As I already explained to you in private, somehow the e-mail did not reach us. We always answer and we take responsibility for our product satisfying our customers. It is not that cheap after all.

  13. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2012 at 21:05 | #13

    @Gerry
    All our books are still in print with very minor exceptions. Basically Grandmaster Repertoire 6 is currently being updated and the same with Playing the Queen’s Gambit. So we allowed them to run out. The rest of our books are in print.
    I certainly consider Sabino’s book to be relevant today. The lines probably hold up better than we expected when the book came out.

  14. Patrick M
    March 23rd, 2012 at 22:21 | #14

    Jacob Aagaard :@John Dowling I have to say that this is not a common problem. We had some problems in late 2009 when the printer we use had bought a new machine. It was operated incorrectly and 2-3 books suffered from this problem in moderate quantities. As I recall it was GM5 especially which had this issue.I have not heard any complaints in the last year and more, and before then we only had problems with our first two books, where we changed printer subsequently.

    I can tell you from my experience, the hardcovers have never had an issue, including GM Rep 5 and GM Rep 6. All of my hardcover books are intact. The only book of mine that has had any remote issues is The Berlin Wall. The pages don’t come out, but the lamination is separating from the rest of the cover.

    However, if you look at the Reviews of some of the books on Amazon.com, GM Rep 6 more than 1 has reported that issue, one review and another in the comments to that review. I also know someone in my home town that just recently bought GM3, and asked me maybe 2 weeks ago if I have experienced problems with separating of pages, and I told him that I haven’t, but that I get the hardcover books. Some of the thinner ones, especially under 300 pages, you have to open them in the center and flip forward or backward to get the book to stay open, but if you do it that way, you can view the very early or very late pages without any problem, and I have yet to have a page fall out.

    My suggestion to those that experience this issue: Get the hardcovers for those titles where they are available. It’s only the softcovers that I’ve heard about that problem.

  15. March 26th, 2012 at 01:20 | #15

    Dear Jacob and John!

    http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8025

    Kavalek in Huffington: The Road to Chess Mastery (26.03.2012)

    [Quote]
    Quality Chess has published various books by strong grandmasters. Artur Yusupov’s series Boost your Chess, Beyond the Basics and Chess Evolution, The Fundamentals are great training tools. Lev Psakhis’s Advanced Chess Tactics is a beautiful, witty sentimental journey into his past with a special tribute to the legendary attacker, the world champion Mikhail Tal.

    Grandmaster Versus Amateur, edited by Jacob Aagaard and John Shaw, is a great attempt by several grandmasters to map their paths to the grandmaster title. Their struggles and triumphs are vividly described and have instructive value. [/Quote]

    I think you might look at that ;). Jacob said you are never enough of compliments ;).

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    March 26th, 2012 at 09:17 | #16

    @Tomasz Chessthinker
    Indeed. ChessBase is one of the sites we are in full control off, but I must say I am deeply surprised to see that Yusupov’s series described as it is in this article. If you read the whole thing you could get the impression that it is not suitable for amateurs developing their game, when the opposite it true – it is maybe the most suitable product at all for this purpose!

  17. March 26th, 2012 at 22:28 | #17

    Jacob:
    Could you define a term “amateur”? There are MANY defnitions, but I have to say that most books are mostly to “pro-amateur” players. Do you agree? In my opinion an amateur is a player who is playing chess at his spare time and hardly ever practice (study) chess. Most amateurs do not break 1700-1800 level. And if you consider this definition you should not be suprised that GM Kavalek said, that “Quality Chess series i suitable for (very) strong amateurs”.

    By the way:
    I think it should be stressed (at your webstite below the pictures of the whole series) that these books are suitable for every interested and motivated players, who are able to work at chess – especially for players rated 1600+. It could help many people to feel how difficult are books in the Yusupov’ series :). It would be superb when you make an additional header (below every series) and write something like: “suitable for players 1500+”, “suitable for players 1700+”, “suitable for players 1900+” (depending which colour of the books). That way every player could choose most suitable books for his (or her). What do you think about this idea? 🙂

  18. Jacob Aagaard
    March 26th, 2012 at 23:09 | #18

    @Tomasz Chessthinker
    I define Amateurs to be players that cannot make any money from playing chess. In this case I definitely include FMs and to some extend would include IMs as well. It is not meant as a derogatory term or an evaluation, but as a technical specification of the level below grandmaster.

    The problem with your 1500+ idea is that we do not want to scare people away from buying our books. That simple. I think the Yusupov books are 1000-2300. Artur’s own description of Fundamentals being up to 1500 is nonsense. Many players far above this level know less than a third of what is in there and would be baffled by some of it.

    Generally I want to put something online about how to train and where to start. But time has eaten me like a cancer. In general that place is Yusupov. For those ready to move on, GM Preparation will soon be available.

  19. Patrick
    March 27th, 2012 at 02:35 | #19

    @Tomasz Chessthinker
    I think the other problem is that you can’t really define a rating for a book, per se. Most “Non-Grandmasters” are not “evenly-weak” in all areas of the game.

    Case in point:
    I’m rating roughly 2050, as is another player in the same city. He’s college age, I’m 36. His opening knowledge and endgame play make you wonder how he can possibly be an expert, but his middlegame play would make you think he was a master. For me, it’s just the opposite. My strengths are opening and endgame, my weakness is the middlegame.

    Therefore, 2 players with the same rating that live in the same area, which implies equal strength, are at completely different levels from each other at different aspects of the game.

    The only way that indicating an appropriate rating for a book would be useful would be if you had separate ratings for each aspect of the game, which would require all scoresheets to be submitted to the USCF or FIDE, and that would take way too long then to rate people, though it would resolve the unemployment problem in this horrible economy, having to enter all these games into computers and have computers come up with ratings based on games played. 🙂

  20. John Hartmann
    March 27th, 2012 at 02:37 | #20

    @Jacob Aagaard

    A blog post would be a great start for ‘putting something online.’ Nudge, nudge.

  21. Jacob Aagaard
    March 27th, 2012 at 10:43 | #21
  22. Jacob Aagaard
    March 27th, 2012 at 10:44 | #22

    @Patrick
    Well said. Nothing to add really :-).

  23. kevin winter
    April 8th, 2012 at 18:39 | #23

    when is the Kings Gambit expected ?

  24. Guillaume R.
    April 16th, 2012 at 00:43 | #24

    The analysis of the game played by “amateur” was very instructive. It is good to see game with move who looks logical but are in fact positional mistake make thegame lost.

  25. Jacob Aagaard
    April 16th, 2012 at 22:57 | #25

    @Guillaume R.
    Thank you.

  26. Dennis M
    April 30th, 2012 at 15:20 | #26

    In the newsletter, Akobian’s 104-move loss in the Tarrasch to Mamedyarov is indeed an instance of torture. Aagaard offers it as an example of why Black should prefer 12…h6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.bxc4 dxc4 15.e3 Qa5, as offered in GM Repertoire 10. (Which is a very nice book.)

    However, when examining the line in the book it seemed to me that Black is destined to suffer against this White line pretty much no matter what, in part because there’s no clear way to resolve it. Sometimes Black will manage a draw and sometimes he won’t, but it’s not going to be much fun in any case – witness the recent game Rasmussen-Aagaard from the Danish Championship:

    [Event “ch-DEN 2012”]
    [Site “Helsingor DEN”]
    [Date “2012.04.06”]
    [Round “7”]
    [White “Rasmussen, A.”]
    [Black “Aagaard, J.”]
    [Result “1-0”]
    [ECO “D34”]
    [WhiteElo “2505”]
    [BlackElo “2522”]

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Nc3
    Nc6 9. Bg5 c4 10. Ne5 Be6 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. b3 h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. bxc4 dxc4
    15. e3 Qa5 16. Rc1 Rac8 17. Qa4 Qxa4 18. Nxa4 Be7 19. Nb2 Ba3 20. Rc2 Bxb2 21.
    Rxb2 Rc7 22. Rc1 g5 23. Rd2 Rd8 24. h3 Kg7 25. g4 h5 26. gxh5 Kh6 27. Bf3 f5
    28. Kh2 f4 29. e4 Rcd7 30. Bg4 Bxg4 31. hxg4 Rxd4 32. Rdc2 Rd2 33. Rxd2 Rxd2
    34. Kg2 Rd4 35. e5 Re4 36. Kf3 Rxe5 37. Rxc4 c5 38. Re4 Rd5 39. Re6+ Kh7 40.
    Re7+ Kh6 41. Rc7 Rd6 42. Ke4 Rd4+ 43. Kf5 Rd5+ 44. Ke6 Rd4 45. f3 c4 46. Rc6
    Kh7 47. Kf6 Rd5 48. Rxc4 Kh6 49. Rc6 Ra5 50. a4 Kh7 51. Rd6 Kh6 52. Re6 a6 53.
    Rd6 Kh7 54. Rc6 Kh6 55. Re6 Rxa4 56. Kf5+ Kg7 57. Kxg5 a5 58. h6+ 1-0

    I don’t know if Aagaard’s 22…g5 was a fingerfehler or not (he recommended 22…g5 vs. 22.Rd1, but 22…g6 vs. 22.Rc1 in his new book on the Tarrasch), but if even a strong player who has just put in a ton of work on the line is suffering still can’t reliably hold the endgame, then it’s tempting to think Black should look for another approach in general, at least against opponents who can be expected to know this line.

  27. Jacob Aagaard
    April 30th, 2012 at 15:56 | #27

    @Dennis M
    This is not really a fair description of what happened.
    Rather, Allan (and another player) tried to find holes in the book, but failed. So he played someting that hardly gave an edge at all, but something which we had identified as mildly unpleasant.

    But then you have to look at the player playing black. You write that “punt in a ton of work”, which is very far from reality. For this game I knew I should check my annotations on this line, but I simply could not force myself to do ANY preparation. My motivation to play the game (and indeed chess in general) was (and is) at record low levels. During the game I could not force myself to think and thus came up with this horrendous 25…h5? move. Even after this the position could be held, but I played really badly.

    Trust me, no other approach wuold have faired better in this game…

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