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Quality Chess Newsletter – Scottish Champion, global book prize and two new books

 

Dear Quality Chess Reader,

We start with a news update that is all about Jacob. A few weeks ago he became Scottish Chess Champion. Then shortly after that he won FIDE’s Boleslavsky Medal (pdf link) for best author. Jacob had previously won almost every other major chess book prize for which he is eligible – including awards from the English Chess Federation, ChessCafe and the Guardian newspaper. No other chess author has won all these prizes. Jacob is the winningest chess author in the world (my old-fashioned spellchecker objects to one of those fine words).

We will publish two new books in September – Playing 1.d4 – The Indian Defences by GM Lars Schandorff and How I Beat Fischer’s Record by GM Judit Polgar. The former is the second half of Schandorff’s complete repertoire with 1.d4. The latter is the first of three books by the greatest ever woman player. We are more than usually excited by this book. The content is remarkable – personal, instructive and fun. This is a big hardcover book, but we have made the price the same as a normal paperback.

Most of the Quality Chess office – Jacob, Colin and I – will be leaving in a couple of weeks to play in the Istanbul Olympiad. Jacob has prepared assiduously throughout the year with various warm-up tournaments and is in fine form. Colin and I will do our best.

The chess file (pdf or pgn) covers a range of topics. For example, there are some games from the Scottish Championship, including one where GM Colin McNab followed some 1.c4 analysis by Mihail Marin all the way to a winning position. Also, in the recently published Mayhem in the Morra, some readers mentioned two lines that could have been covered but were not. Neither is especially common, but we have analysed them anyway, so Morra fans will be ready for just about anything.

Regards,
John Shaw
Chief Editor
Quality Chess

Categories: Newsletter Tags:
  1. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    August 15th, 2012 at 17:11 | #1

    @ FRENCH DEFENCE

    How is GM Berg progressing with “GM Repertoire – The French Defence vol.1” and “GM Repertoire – The French Defence vol.2”? Can we have some more information, please!

    When will be out and have will go along with “Playing the French”? When can we expect this book? Thx

  2. John Shaw
    August 15th, 2012 at 17:55 | #2

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT

    The book is progressing, but it is too early for details about dates – sorry.

  3. S_Lock
    August 15th, 2012 at 20:33 | #3

    What? Nonsense! We need you to release the entire thing in a free pdf file.

    Right away.

  4. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    August 16th, 2012 at 06:58 | #4

    @ ERROR FOUND 🙂

    Yet another one in: Playing 1.d4 – The Queen’s Gambit by Lars Schandorff!

    In chapter 8: Minor lines – The Triangle Variation, after move 8.Rb1!? on page 299, Scandorff writes:

    “…However, note that due to some new ideas for Black, my main recommendation is the line covered in Game 74.”

    WRONG: it’s game 75 where he recommends 13.c5!?.

    John, make proofreaders suffer 🙂

  5. Raffie
    August 17th, 2012 at 13:31 | #5

    I can’t wait for Schandorff new book!

    I recently bought the book Chess developments: the Pirc of Everyman chess (I like these books) and I thought about your ‘Cutting edge’ books. What happened with this serie? I liked the in dept analysis and novelties.

    Btw I studied the g3 system of the Modern Benoni and compared Avrukh’s book with Chess developments the Modern Benoni. In most cases Chess developments refers to Avrukh’s book and didn’t change the evaluation. In 2 cases, Chess developments tries to improve on Avrukh but it seems wrong.
    -In the mainline with 12…Nh5!? Chess developments tries to improve the variation with 15…Ne4 (seems logical) but after 16.Qc2 f5 (maybe 16…Qe7 is better) 17.a5 white seems to have a small advantage.
    -In the variaton with 9…Re8 and 10…b6 Chess developments tries to improve with 15…a6 ! (it must be ?) of Wojtaszek’s game after 16.Rxa6 (instead of 16.bxa6) Rxa6 17.bxa6 b5 18.e5! white is almost winning

  6. Jacob Aagaard
    August 17th, 2012 at 14:06 | #6

    @Raffie
    We tried to get various people to do Volume Three of the Cutting Edge, but to be honest they were not great sellers (despite being excellent books). We have to provide what people want, but do it in a way that keeps us interested. Definitely a challenge – and a bigger challenge than what Everyman has been doing for the last decade with copying other people’s concepts. (I actually do not really mind this, we all borrow from each other to a great extend, it is just an easier path at times – easier=boring for me personally…)

  7. Terje Karlsen
    August 18th, 2012 at 19:22 | #7

    I just want to thanks Quality chess for living up to their name! They seem to noticed that the customer is the most important thing. I bought (amongst others) Mayhem in the Morra, and now they give the missing line here in this newsletter for August. However; I subscribed to this newslwetter some weeks ago , and I assumed it would come automatic and directly to my email. But that didnt happen. Anyone know how to fix this on this site? Thx in advance 🙂

  8. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    August 19th, 2012 at 16:31 | #8

    In only 10 days, working 3 hours each day, I managed to go trough all bold moves in “Playing 1.d4 – The Queen’s Gambit” by Lars Schandorff. To round my work two days ago I managed to play in a blitz tournament where I tested my new White repertoire in practice. What a mayhem 🙂

    I’m looking forward to study “Playing 1.d4 – The Indian Defences” also.

    Has anyone gone trough the book like me? What are your experiences?

    For me it’s a just top-notch book!

    PS I hope to see “Play the French” very soon 🙂

  9. Konstri
    August 20th, 2012 at 09:16 | #9

    I’ve gone through the book like you did. Only the bold moves and reading the commentary of Schandorff.
    It is a truly excellent book. I have played a very small blitz tourney too. Got two stonewalls and one a6 slav with g6 with white. Although I lost the last game I like the play and middlegame positions the rep gives me.
    I played Marin/Kosten c4/g3 english before this, which is good and theoretically less demanding, but it is less direct knifeonthroat style.

    I am going to check out black’s most frequent replies vs d4/c4 and go in deeper from there.

  10. Jacob Aagaard
    August 20th, 2012 at 09:23 | #10

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    Good to know you did well!

  11. John Shaw
    August 20th, 2012 at 11:30 | #11

    @Terje Karlsen

    Hi Terje,

    I shall ask our tech expert to check all new subscribers are added correctly to the newsletter list.

  12. Terje Karlsen
    August 20th, 2012 at 21:32 | #12

    Thanks John.

    Would be nice to get it automaticly…

    Although I guess I learned to follow the threads on this site in the future anyways 🙂

    Best regards.

  13. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 21st, 2012 at 21:24 | #13

    With regards to Playing the French and Schandorff’s two 1. d4 repertoire books, what is the rating range for these books? I am around 2300 FIDE and the Grandmaster Repertoire books were good for me, as well the Grandmaster Guide books. Or are both series about the same rating level?

  14. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 22nd, 2012 at 07:10 | #14

    Also I did an internet search for the French book and this was in Google search:

    http://www.vanstockum.nl/boeken/schaken/gb/playing-the-french-aagaard-jacob-ntirlis-nikolaos-9781907982361/

    I suppose that might be very general information so far, it says 288 pages and publication date of 20/11/2012. I suppose the cover will be on the QC website soon, I remember in the small QC brochure the cover looked similar in design to Playing the Queen’s Gambit 2nd Edition.

  15. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 24th, 2012 at 02:15 | #15

    I am not sure what a big book is considered, or a small book, but I do not think most would mind a 500 page book 🙂

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    August 24th, 2012 at 09:26 | #16

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    What happened here is that they picked up on the existence of the book on our US distributors list and translated the dollar price. Just ignore it.

  17. Jacob Aagaard
    August 24th, 2012 at 09:27 | #17

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I would. 500 is more than I want to do; 288 is a big Everyman or NIC book. To me the idea length for a book is 304 pages, but really 224-400 is fully acceptable.

  18. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 24th, 2012 at 19:59 | #18

    I have the hardcover version of Playing the Queen’s Gambit 2nd Edition in front of me right now, and it seems a book of good size, so if Playing the French is that size that is good too. Also I have my copy of GM2 nearby, maybe it was a long book to finish, but it was a good book for we purchasers to read.

  19. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 24th, 2012 at 21:32 | #19

    I like the new paper (the paper that started from GM6) also, hopefully the paper stays the same for all upcoming books.

    I looked on 365chess.com, and I saw a game this year from the Limburg Open that was in the line 3…Nf6 Tarrasch with 11…Qc7, Advance Variation in a 2009 game with the system 4. c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. a3 Nh6 7. b4 cxd4 8. cxd4 Nf5.

    Then I saw a game from 2011 in the 7…cxd4 Winawer; could it be possible that these are the lines in the GM French Repertoire? I also saw a game from 2007 when he played the Winawer system 6…Qc7/7…f5 against Kritz. If I remember correctly also the brochure showed GM French Volume 2 had Winawer on the board design of the bookcover. I wonder if it will be two systems, one main and one alternative, or two main Winawer systems.

  20. Terje Karlsen
    August 25th, 2012 at 00:44 | #20

    Hope not Gilcrist

    Those variations are not fully thrusthworhty, are they?

  21. Terje Karlsen
    August 25th, 2012 at 00:46 | #21

    Speaking of these lines:

    “Then I saw a game from 2011 in the 7…cxd4 Winawer; could it be possible that these are the lines in the GM French Repertoire? I also saw a game from 2007 when he played the Winawer system 6…Qc7/7…f5 against Kritz”

    Terje

  22. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 25th, 2012 at 03:31 | #22

    7…cxd4 is the Poisoned Pawn Variation, is that not the main line of the Winawer?

  23. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    August 25th, 2012 at 07:59 | #23

    @Gilchrist is a Legend

    Gilchrist, if you want top-notch analysis then get Vitiugov’s “The French Defence Reloaded”. It’s state of the art written by Russian heavyweight filled with Elo 2733 🙂

    By the way, regarding your comment about “Playing the French” by Ntrilis & Aagaard and that most of us would not mind having a 500 page book, I can just say YES 🙂

    But Jacob thinks that’s 500 pages too much and he compares Quality with Everyman and NIC books. Such comparison is utterly wrong cause you have to compete with better than yourself, and not with those publishers weaker than you. Many people think that NIC’s latest book on French named “The Modern French” failed presenting database dump. Just check chesspub forum for details.

    Why not include in “Playing the French” more explanations and useful guidance for Black players? Aren’t we talking about Grandmaster Guide? Who cares about page numbers, we want a “bible” and I can pay even 50 euros for “my” hardback. Jacob, are you following me 🙂

    After reading Schandorff’s “Playing 1.d4 – The Queen’s Gambit” in the Slav chapter I remembered with enthusiasm very well, just when Black prematurely plays …Bg4, this: “We say thanks” 🙂

    PS Gilchrist is a Legend, you seems to be strong player. What’s your Elo?

  24. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 25th, 2012 at 08:59 | #24

    I am approximately around 2300 ELO, as I mentioned at some point on this blog, with rating having fluctuated often in the past 5 years, I am anticipating this book especially since I plan to play the French more and I have enjoyed all QC books that I have read. I do not think that is a strong ELO, as that is not IM even. I play Najdorf usually, and French occasionally, but I wish to increase my frequency of playing the French, especially after reading Playing the French.

    But regardless, I have Playing the Queen’s Gambit by Schandorff, which if I remember correctly, is slightly more than 300 pages? I do not have a ruler to measure, but if I make a very approximate estimation, my hardcover copy is probably around 1,5 cm from one cover to the other, and this is a good size. I think it would be good also for the Playing the French book to have explanations of a high level as well as excellent analyses, which I am sure it shall have.

    But however many pages the book will have, my primary hope currently is that the book be published before the end of this year 🙂

  25. Terje Karlsen
    August 25th, 2012 at 10:35 | #25

    @Gilchrist is a Legend

    Well, I thought that new ML by far was 7…0-0. But historically you are right of course. And the line with 6…Qc7 7.g4-f5 doesnt score near to what black usually does and deserves its bad reputation, in my humble opinion.
    Don`t get me wrong; nothing would be better if someone could get the poisoned pawn really playable again! 🙂

    Terje

  26. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 25th, 2012 at 22:01 | #26

    Well I did not know that, but I usually would play 7…0-0 instead of 7…Qc7/7…cxd4 in the Winawer since I prefer solider, quieter positions in the French. It would be interesting if Berg covered 7…0-0 in some form in the French GM Repertoire Volume 2.

  27. Tom Tidom
    August 25th, 2012 at 22:38 | #27

    While 7… 0-0 has been the main line for many years 7… Qc7 has made a comeback to respectability thanks to the line 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 cxd4 10.Ne2 Nc6 11.f4 dxc3 12.Qd3 d4!?.

  28. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 25th, 2012 at 22:53 | #28

    I remember seeing games of Berg playing the 7…Qc7/7…cxd4 lines instead of 7…0-0, but if the Poisoned Pawn Winawer is in the book, the theory would probably require many pages. 7…0-0 is solider and less sharp and could be more suitable, but I am not sure which line will be recommended.

  29. Jacob Aagaard
    August 26th, 2012 at 09:37 | #29

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Berg is writing about 3…Bb4 for sure.

  30. Jacob Aagaard
    August 26th, 2012 at 09:43 | #30

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    There are several reasons why a 500 page book is too much. There is the economic reasons; printing costs and postage costs. There is also the time factor regarding the editing. These things matters for the business side of our company.

    Obviously I care a lot about CHESS and about QUALITY and less amount money; we just need to survive happily and we can continue doing the work that makes it worth going to work every day.

    But 500 pages for me is just too much. When I look at a 500 page book with endless details, I get weary and think I should watch TV instead. (God only knows how I am going to make it through the song of ice and fire (page 18 in game of thrones so far).

    So, 400 for me is a good length for a big book. GM6 was the right length, GM1 as well. GM2 was too much for me, so when we had the same amount for the Grunfeld, we split it in two volumes.

    I think a 304 page book would not seem too much for many, so this is why I think this is the ideal length for GM Guide, which is meant to be inclusive – high level chess of course, but also presented in a way that does not scare anyone away.

  31. Jacob Aagaard
    August 26th, 2012 at 09:44 | #31

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    It should be so easily.

  32. Jacob Aagaard
    August 26th, 2012 at 09:45 | #32

    @Terje Karlsen
    As far as I know, the theoretical reputation is not worse than many other lines. With White I would much rather face 7…0-0, which I think looks dangerous for Black.

  33. Jacob Aagaard
    August 26th, 2012 at 09:45 | #33

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I have a feeling Emanuel will go for 7…cxd4.

  34. Jacob Aagaard
    August 26th, 2012 at 09:46 | #34

    But I really do not know! Andrew is the editor on this book. I am not really allowed to interfere, as we have our own book on the French and then the 1.e4 Rep afterwards!!

  35. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 26th, 2012 at 21:38 | #35

    There have not been many books with 7…0-0, so I was hoping for that line, but if 7…cxd4 is planned then that is fine. 7…0-0 8. Bd3 is the main line of 7…0-0, which seems interesting, but 7…cxd4 I feel one really must know specific details to play this confidently, especially against 2400+. Since the Winawer is given, the main line of the Winawer is 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3, but will Berg give two options for a main line such as Ftacnik did? Ftacnik analysed 6…Nbd7 and 6…e6 7. f4 h6 as two main lines for the critical Najdorf main line 6. Bg5 in GM6, so I was wondering if Berg would do the same. Any of those positional deviations on the sixth move by Black directly after 6. bxc3 instead of 6…Ne7 also seem interesting.

  36. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 26th, 2012 at 21:40 | #36

    If the French GM Repertoire is divided into two volumes, and in case both volumes have approximately 304(?) pages, then perhaps 100 pages to the 7…cxd4 line leaves approximately 200 pages left; maybe 150 pages for all deviations after 3…Bb4 and 4…c5, and space vacant for a line after 6. bxc3?

  37. Terje Karlsen
    August 26th, 2012 at 22:10 | #37

    According to my TWIC-base Berg earlier played the variation I mentioned above with: 3…Bb4 4.e5-c5 5.a3-Bxc3 6.bxc3-Qc7 7.Qg4-f5 (from 2005 to 2007) . But I suspect he has given it up, not that I know it.
    So if he is going for Poisonoed pawn, I think he will choose the well known move order trick with: 4…Ne7. This to avoid the rather boring (for black) variation 4…c5 5.Bd2!?. After 4…Ne7 5.a3-Bxc3 6.bxc3-c5 7.Qg4-Qc7 we are back in the ML.
    On the other hand, the variation with 4…Ne7 tak es away the opportunity to play what Moskalenko calls “The Black Queens blues “-variation with: 4…c5 5.a3-Bxb3 6.bxc3-Qa5!? 7.Bd2-Qa4. I think this maybe could be a second option variation which you are talking about Gilchrist.

    Terje

  38. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 27th, 2012 at 08:11 | #38

    I think any of those lines 6…Qa5, 6…Qc7 are fine, but two main lines would be quite interesting: 7…cxd4 as a main line, then 7…0-0 as the second main line, since 7. Qg4 carries a high importance as probably the main line of the Winawer. Perhaps this could have two objectives, repopularise both 7…cxd4 and the 7…0-0 line. I think there has been more coverage of 7…cxd4 recently compared to 7…0-0. I still believe 7…0-0 is a good line, and I would rather play this if I played the Winawer, in addition to 6…Qa5. Also two main lines has the advantage of attacking, tactical players to choose 7…cxd4, and solid, positional players can choose 7…0-0.

  39. Terje Karlsen
    August 27th, 2012 at 10:09 | #39

    Yes, Gilchrist, I see your point. 7…0-0 for “those days” and Poisoned pawn for “these days”. I think it is a little much to ask and hope for, however. One thing beeing the size of the book(s) that`s already been discussed. Another that Berg doesnt seem to have played this 7…0-0 variation at all. Regardig the move orders: 4…Ne7 vs 4…c5, Berg seem to have full confidence in the latter. So my humble guess is that he will revitalize somewhere in the poisoned pawn ML. And if we are lucky, he will give a second option like the “Black Queens blues” (would be lovely :-), or maybe his earlier pet line with: 6…Qc7 7.Qg4-f5.

  40. splinter22prime
    August 27th, 2012 at 20:19 | #40

    Today I’ve received the Second Edition of Playing 1.d4 and I must admit that I only had time to skip through it, but I until I have time to read it in more detail I’m kinda disappointed. I didn’t notice many changes and yes I wasn’t expecting that many updates but in some lines where it should have been done, it wasn’t. 🙁
    For example the main line in the a6-Slav. From what I remember in an analysis from CBM, was that the Qd2-Line is refuted, or am I wrong?

    Also I’ve noticed that the most changes where in the Anti-Moscow Chapter.

    I will come back with another comment when I had more time to examine the book.

  41. Jacob Aagaard
    August 27th, 2012 at 20:40 | #41

    @splinter22prime
    There are 100 pages of new stuff in there. This leaves 200 pages from in the past.

  42. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 27th, 2012 at 23:12 | #42

    A player of the French Defence should have a good choice with both books, Playing the French and GM Repertoires Vol 1,2 by Berg then–Steinitz, McCutcheon, 3…c5/4…Qxd5 Tarrasch from Playing the French and then Winawer, 3…Nf6 Tarrasch from GM Repertoire French. True it would be excellent to include two lines against 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3, since probably most players playing this line as White will have studied mostly the 7. Qg4 lines with 7…cxd4. I suppose the line with 12…d4 as mentioned above is likely, but I find these positions quite difficult to play for both sides.

    I do not know the Tarrasch line with 3…Nf6 too well, but I see the 11…Qc7 line much in Berg’s games. For Playing the French, I also am not very familiar with 3…c5/4…Qxd5 except for the main line with the Nxg7 and …Bxh2, I wonder if there will be some new lines in that chapter. I also wonder which line for the Steinitz in Playing the French, will it be 7…Be7, 7…cxd4, 7…a6, 7…Qb6. I see recently many games with 7…Be7, and to me this seems a likely choice. Then also McCutcheon either 7…Kf8 or 7…g6, or perhaps both choices.

    I wonder if there will be another book on 7. Qg4 0-0 in the Winawer though.

  43. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 28th, 2012 at 00:46 | #43

    @Jacob Aagaard

    How is the prospect of if in case Berg chooses 7…cxd4, a sideline system like Ftacnik did against 6. Bg5 in GM6? E.g., 7…cxd4 and 6…Qa5, 6…Qc7/7…f5, 4…b6, 4…Qd7, 5…Bf8 or one of those positional systems. As another poster noted somewhere above, I suppose covering both 7…cxd4 with 7…0-0 as the main coverage of the Volume II of the GM Repertoire might be excessive amounts of work, but it would be quite valuable to French players.

  44. caronov
    August 28th, 2012 at 07:19 | #44

    @Jacob

    I hope Playing the French would cover 2 set ups for the Steinitz(7…cxd4 and 7…Qb6) and would advocate the 3…c5 against the tarrasch.

  45. Jacob Aagaard
    August 28th, 2012 at 09:45 | #45

    @caronov
    I am not sure why you want to recommend 7…Qb6. White looks pretty good after 8.Na4 to me. The Vitiugov book was updated from the previous version, but got even worse! It is basically +4 straight out of the opening. I do not know of any good lines there. Do you?

  46. Nikos Ntirlis
    August 28th, 2012 at 11:39 | #46

    Also i don’t like 7…cxd4 for Black. In general, as we agreed with Jacob (we share the same room in Istanbul) we’ll do our best to offer 2 systems (or more?) in the major lines. Theoretical verdict is not so important for us. We have already put aside at least 4 or 5 lines in the two major systems (Steinitz, McCutcheon and Tarrasch) that have a good theoretical reputation but it seems to us that in practice they require delicate handling from Black. The …Qb6 lines in general against the Steinitz have both theoretical problems and practical ones as well. And believe me, i have tried to find an idea with Qb6 that works in the Steinitz and also in the …Nf6 Tarrasch in the past.

  47. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 29th, 2012 at 01:02 | #47

    @Nikos Ntirlis

    If not 7…cxd4, then does that indicate 7…a6 or (and?) 7…Be7 as the main option(s) in the book? I think 7…Be7 looks most interesting, were you considering this?

    And how do you propose two systems in the 3…c5/4…Qxd5 Tarrasch? I thought the main line was with …Bd6/Bxh2+ with some Nxg7/…Kxg7 line which is basically forced.

    Regarding the McCutcheon, I suppose the two lines are either 7…g6 or 7…Kf8 against basically any 6th move option, including 6. Bd2 (main line), 6. Bc1, 6. Be3. But I do not think either option is too different than the other.

  48. Nikos Ntirlis
    August 29th, 2012 at 12:03 | #48

    I think that 7…a6 makes more sense than 7…Be7. But i cannot rule out 7…cxd4 yet. There are ideas that need serious checking.

  49. Patrick
    August 29th, 2012 at 15:18 | #49

    Speaking as a MacCutcheon guru, and one that only plays the MacCutcheon at this point, no other line of the French as Black (via when White plays the Veresov: 1.d4 d5 [or 1…Nf6 2.Nc3 d5] 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 e6, answering 4.e4 with 4…Bb4), I can tell you that it’s not just an automatic 7…g6 vs 7…Kf8 vs anything.

    Maybe one of the new French books will coax me to taking back up the French as Black against higher rated opponents. Won’t do it against those 300 below me…they’ll just play the exchange. If Aagaard or Ntirlis wants to play the exchange against me, I’d be glad to take the draw, but I just got fed up with lower-rated players playing the Exchange or Advance with 6.Be2.

    In the main line MacCutcheon, you play 6…Bxc3 7.bxc3 and now 7…Ne4 intending to answer 8.Qg4 with either 8…g6 (my preference) or 8…Kf8 (Korchnoi’s preference)

    In the Janowski Variation (6.Be3, my favorite as White), Black has a third option. In addition to the 7…g6 and 7…Kf8 that you mention, there is also 7…g5 (not a real option in the main line). Here, White has some safer lines he can go with, but there’s also a line where White sacrifices his Queen, namely 8.h4 h5 9.hxg5 hxg4 10.Rxh8+ Bf8 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Ne2. I personally favor 7…g6 myself if I’m playing Black.

    In the 6.Bc1 variation, again Black has the third option, and in my humble opinion, this is the one time that Black actually should play 7…g5

    The lines with 6.exf6 hxg5 7.fxg7 are garbage, and as long as Black knows what he’s doing, equality is extremely simple to achieve, and White must play accurately just to draw.

    In the Steinitz, I’ve always found 7…a6 more of a “going for it” defense compared to 7…cxd4, which should get Black either equality or an ever so slightly worse position. Can’t speak for any other lines, like 7…Be7 or 7…Qb6. If memory serves me right, can’t White switch two moves around and avoid the 7…Qb6 line (or 8…Qb6 – I remember something about this in Byron Jacobs’s book on the French Classical back in 2001 from “that other publishing company”)?

    As for the Winawer, with my results as White against the Poisoned Pawn (and unfortunate results with Black as well), I find 7…cxd4 and the more common 7…Qc7, answering 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 with 9…cxd4, to be very dubious. The fact that my results with White against it have been very high just makes me think even more highly for White in the Poisoned Pawn. I think 7…O-O is sounder.

    In the Tarrasch, Gilchrist mentions 3…Nf6, not knowing a lot about it. Black’s main 11th move options are 11…Qb6 (which can also come from 7…Qb6 or 8…Qb6), 11…Qc7, and 11…O-O. The last leads to the typical exchange sac on f3 and typically a draw with Best play. 11…Qc7 is sound, but Black runs the risk of ending up with a passive position. White’s goal is to blockade the Black pawns on d5 and e6, and achieve positional domination. The 11…Qb6 line is probably the most dynamic of the 3 options, and there are times where White actually does have to worry about Black taking on b2 (of course, in other instances, it just loses for Black), but I can’t help but think that White has the upper hand with either 12.Nc3 or I think it’s 12.a3 (but it might be 12.b3, been a while since I’ve played this line).

    I think the real problem now-a-days with the Tarrasch is that Black can play 3…c5, answering 4.Ngf3 with 4…Nf6, leading to a transposition to the Korchnoi Gambit, which I don’t think is near as good as the main line Closed Tarrasch for White, or 4…exd5 exd5 5.Ngf3 (5.Bb5+ Bd7 is nothing for White) with the more modern 5…Nf6 instead of the old 5…Nc6. White seems to have problems here, and this is why I would never recommend the Tarrasch as White to anybody. Play 3.Nc3 or the Advance.

  50. Nikos Ntirlis
    August 29th, 2012 at 16:38 | #50

    In my 10+ years experience on the French Defense (games of mine and of my students) there was not a single case in the exchange variation where the games was “killed”. Draw after 3.exd5 is an illusion. You have to play decent chess for both colours. OK, in order to win you must understand some nuances, no doubt, but things are not simple at all. The same applies in the Exchange Slav. I have seconded a GM who played at the World Cup and had the exchange slav as his main weapon against the Slav. He didn’t have the chance to play it though. Please, dont get me wrong, i dont say that if White isn’t carefull enough and plays good moves won’t be able to draw, but if you know our recommended lines well then you definately have a fighting chance with Black. And i don’t go for opposite castling!

    Btw, today Jacob forgot the Scotch preparation (even then he got some edge at some point) but he seems that he will draw and give his team the win despite being in a somewhat uncomfortable situation right now.

  51. Nikos Ntirlis
    August 29th, 2012 at 17:00 | #51

    Nope, Jacob resigned. Too bad he missed an immediate draw (according to the machine, but it is natural that for humans sometimes these things are easy to miss).

  52. Gilchrist is a Legend
    August 29th, 2012 at 19:55 | #52

    I see 7…Be7 recently, especially in games this year, whereas I suppose 7…a6 and 7…cxd4 are the more established main lines. I am not very familiar with either of the latter, but I would prefer 7…a6 slightly. I have seen some games and it seems as if Black can organise a queenside attack against the 0-0-0, and the game will develop sharply.

    The Exchange Variation is one of the least worrying variations for me. I played a 2300 as well as a few 2100s a few years ago who played it against me and I won more easily than I did some of my games against 3. Nc3 and the Tarrasch. Probably the Exchange Variation for Black is only a psychological battle; one is scared not of the variation itself, but of drawing in an “unjustifiable” manner whereby someone at least 200 points lower will try to exchange all the pieces. But it simply is another variation. There are Najdorf variations that can terminate with drawish variations more than the Exchange Variation, albeit with computer analyses. I find it similar to how I play the Caro-Kann and Petroff to win and never draw; the calmer and sometimes symmetrical positions do not encourage me to draw, but actually encourage me to win as much as when I play the Najdorf.

  53. Inopov
    August 30th, 2012 at 01:27 | #53

    Just out of curiosity, howcome Mr. Schandorff is not playing his recommended lines from his newly revised book lately (Politiken Cup and Olympiad rd 2)?
    I bought the book with the expectation that the suggested main lines will reliably give me an opening edge. Is there something wrong with the lines?

    • Jacob Aagaard
      August 31st, 2012 at 19:17 | #54

      Not at all. Lars has played a lot of his lines, but has continued studying the openings and found other ideas. We are not advertisments for our books and you will find that Lars actually plays his stuff much more than most authors. It is just not nice to tell your opponent before the game exactly what you are playing, when you do not know which lines you have to remember yourself. The game Rasmussen – Aagaard shows how this can turn out. This game was especially painful, because I really played badly and missed many ways to draw/defend the ending and only lost because of bad play. And now everyone thinks that there is something wrong with the line or that it is hard to recall for Black. Look at how I played here and you can see that my influence is the greater part.

  54. Terje Karlsen
    September 3rd, 2012 at 23:25 | #55

    Sorry to swear in your house… But as we all know, Watson resently released Play the french 4.
    I`m borrowing it from a friend and find a lot of lines interesting.

    But I just wondered; what will there be left for Berg to choose from in his upcoming project?

  55. Jacob Aagaard
    September 3rd, 2012 at 23:48 | #56

    @Terje Karlsen
    He goes 3.Nc3 Bb4 and 3.Nd2 Nf6, lines we will not touch.

    Regarding the Watson book; people will certainly compare all the French books once ours are out and then we will see their opinions. It is not something I dare comment on.

  56. Grant
    September 4th, 2012 at 00:50 | #57

    Looking forward to both of the French books and the Polgar book. What has happened to the Kings Indian book, the Open Spanish book and the Slav book? I appreciate there is no fixed date for publication but it does appear that there will be a long wait for the the Kings Indian book. Are these 2013 books?

  57. Gilchrist is a Legend
    September 4th, 2012 at 00:58 | #58

    I am slightly unclear on the publishing schedule as well, perhaps a “short-term” publishing schedule for all books until New Year’s Eve 2012 to clarify which ones are exactly due to be published for only 2012. I think it was said that October was likely for Avrukh’s book, with Schandorff’s second volume on Friday. But I am not sure about the two French books or GM6 Ed. 2. Or King’s Gambit 😀

  58. Arthur Nugent
    September 24th, 2012 at 01:53 | #59

    Hello,
    I read somewhere that John was recently released from a dungeon.Well put him back! The Kings Gambit has been delayed so much that I “eagerly” await another postponement.Perhaps the book will be ready in 2013? The last decent book on the Kings Gambit was 1992-Gallagher!
    We gambiteers have waited long enough!

  59. John Johnson
    September 24th, 2012 at 11:53 | #60

    I hope the Scots’ winter doesn’t freeze Nessie in the lock either/again.

  60. csaba
    September 24th, 2012 at 13:25 | #61

    You can always publish a book on ‘Refuting the King’s Gambit’ instead 😉

  61. Joeri
    September 24th, 2012 at 14:20 | #62

    Publication date from august 2009

    John Shaw: The King’s Gambit December 15, 2009

    Luckily I switched to 1. d4 😉

  62. Jacob Aagaard
    September 24th, 2012 at 15:36 | #63

    John is working on the King’s Gambit as we speak. Already we have 420 pages typeset (in the font size of Learn from the Legends; 10pt, compared to our now standard 10.5pt). Nessie is fat and joyful.

  63. John Shaw
    September 24th, 2012 at 15:47 | #64

    John Johnson :
    I hope the Scots’ winter doesn’t freeze Nessie in the lock either/again.

    “Loch”. Also, did you know that Loch Ness contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined? Who knows what’s down there.

    @Jacob Aagaard

    “Joyful” sounds a bit optimistic. “Tired and confused” is more like it. Do you know how many transpositions there are between 3…g5, 3…h6 and 3…d6 lines? Lots.

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