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Luther’s Chess Reformation

We had a great response to our request for help in naming Thomas Luther’s new book in English. There were the serious suggestions that may be worth using another day: Climbing the Chess Ladder (Matt Fletcher), From Pawn to Chess King (Jacob), The Grandmaster Code (Quine Duhem) and many more.

Then the jokers were on form: Thomas the Rank Engine (Tommy Barrett), Waste your Life Achieving a Devalued Title (I hope Depressed Cynic was joking), and one of my personal favourites How Thomaster Chess (Schtroumfechecs).

Others made links between our author Thomas Luther and Martin Luther, one of the major figures in the Protestant Reformation. As I understand it, Thomas is a descendant of Martin, so this makes sense. At first I just took the Martin Luther links as part of the joke category. But one title kept growing on us – Luther’s Chess Reformation. Even ignoring the historical connection, we like it. It’s unusual and it fits the book’s content. So our winner is… Bill. Congratulations Bill and thanks for your help.

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  1. Jupp53
    March 2nd, 2016 at 16:52 | #1

    Don’t forget: 2017 will be the Luther Jahr. 500 years reformation. 🙂

  2. Depressed Cynic
    March 2nd, 2016 at 19:25 | #2

    The winning title is really good, it quite lifted my spirits .

  3. Ray
    March 2nd, 2016 at 19:38 | #3


  4. Fer
    March 3rd, 2016 at 07:34 | #4

    Funny tittle, congrats Bill!

  5. Matt Fletcher
    March 3rd, 2016 at 13:59 | #5

    Congrats Bill, excellent title! Happy with my mention in despatches (dispatches?) – look forward to receiving my copy of “Climbing the Chess Ladder” sometime in the distant future…

  6. Douwe
    March 3rd, 2016 at 17:38 | #6


  7. Bill
    March 3rd, 2016 at 19:37 | #7

    I wish to thank everybody for the kind comments/compliments. Moreover, I wish to thank John, Jacob, Andrew, et al at QC for requesting assistance in the first place.
    It looks like I’ll be buying yet another book from them to add to my already way-to-large collection.

  8. Pinpon
    March 3rd, 2016 at 19:46 | #8

    Now , a book written by Bill with a foreword and a title by T. Luther will be great !

  9. Bill
    March 4th, 2016 at 04:23 | #9

    Which book should I begin with?

    My 100 Worst Defeats
    Groveling with the Queen’s Gambit
    The Sicilian Kan’t
    Smashed in the Simul
    Begging with the Benko
    1e4 Worst by Test
    Before the Loss, the Gods Have Placed the Endgame
    Sac, Sac, Resign

  10. McBear
    March 4th, 2016 at 09:36 | #10

    If you were able to find a Grandmaster/International Master in order to analyse your mistakes and categorize them (e.g. “greediness”, “too afraid of opponent’s threats”, “swapping wrong pieces” etc.), then this would not be a stupid idea at all. Yet, I am pretty sure that on the basis of a single amateur’s games alone, there will not be enough material to write such a book. But you could change that by playing lots and lots of torunaments… 🙂

  11. Thomas
    March 4th, 2016 at 10:58 | #11

    I’m glad to get the german version

  12. Antillian
    March 4th, 2016 at 11:59 | #12

    Clever title.

    But the big question is…..will chess Catholics buy it?

  13. pabstars
    March 4th, 2016 at 12:09 | #13

    @Antillian: Chess is our religion 🙂

  14. Matt Fletcher
    March 4th, 2016 at 13:02 | #14

    @McBear I had an idea (that would fit my ‘chess ladder’ title) of analysing sets of games between players at different chess ‘levels’ – say steps of 150 or 200 points at a time, starting from maybe 1400 (maybe slightly higher) and going up to GM (or higher).

    Two players one level apart (weaker player A, stronger player B) play a mini-match, maybe 3 games, the expected score being roughly 2-1 to B.

    A and B note down their thoughts during the game and afterwards the reasons why they think they won or lost. A much stronger player (say G) also analyses the games and notes the themes that helped B win. Then move on to B vs C, then C vs D etc.

  15. Grant
    March 5th, 2016 at 04:18 | #15

    While the title is certainly clever, I don’t like the Christian imagery which the title evokes and for that reason I don’t like the title. This would be the only QC title I have questioned and I emphasise that I have a high regard for the excellent books QC has produced and continues to produce.

  16. Shurlock Ventriloquist
    March 5th, 2016 at 04:55 | #16

    Misfire on the title.

  17. Ray
    March 5th, 2016 at 07:02 | #17

    Maybe to balance this QC’s next title should evoke Muslim imagery. Such as Mo’s Chess Movements?

  18. Thomas
    March 5th, 2016 at 09:53 | #18

    Take some some buddhist title.

    “Maybe you win in your next life.”

  19. Ray
    March 5th, 2016 at 10:52 | #19

    🙂 Or ‘Winning with Voodoo’, ‘Black Magic’ or ‘How I Became World Champion By Changing to a Paleontic Diet’.

  20. Douwe
    March 5th, 2016 at 19:05 | #20

    Atheist perhaps: No God No Glory.

  21. Jacob Aagaard
    March 5th, 2016 at 22:00 | #21

    Thomas is a decendent of Martin Luther and from the same city. I can promise that there is no religious content in our books and also no anti-religious content.

  22. SimonB
    March 5th, 2016 at 22:45 | #22

    Nice choice of title.
    Big book presumably – 95 chapters?

  23. Mike
    March 6th, 2016 at 03:46 | #23

    I am not religious and not only am I not offended by the title, I think it’s an excellent choice.

  24. Ray
    March 6th, 2016 at 07:30 | #24


  25. Phil Collins
    March 6th, 2016 at 13:07 | #25

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Therefore no Sniper bokk by Charlie Storey?

  26. Tom Tidom
    March 6th, 2016 at 13:11 | #26

    Isn´t the word reformation in the title a bit misleading? I am not aware that the well respected german grandmaster has found a new way to interpret chess, or did he? Or has he invented a new training method? Probably it´s just my limited command of the english language.

    So I will better buy the german version 😉

  27. TD
    March 6th, 2016 at 13:46 | #27

    @Phil Collins


  28. John Johnson
    March 6th, 2016 at 18:01 | #28

    Really a person with Christian beliefs could argue the title is flippant. Or maybe some people like to be offended.

  29. Anssi Manninen
    March 6th, 2016 at 18:41 | #29

    “Isn´t the word reformation in the title a bit misleading?”

    Many chess books have misleading titles like “Win with the X Opening” etc.

  30. Jacob Aagaard
    March 6th, 2016 at 19:29 | #30

    @Anssi Manninen
    That is actually not misleading: you win with the Philidor, even if the opening did everything it could to make you lose from the get-go 🙂

  31. Grant
    March 7th, 2016 at 04:20 | #31


    I still have slight reservations about the title but I can certainly see why a descendant of Luther’s might use such a title to market the book. I think it is better to avoid religious imagery- no matter how slight- but will respect your decision. I might even buy the book.

    Another possible title which hopefully might do the job is Luther’s chess renaissance- but your call.

  32. Shurlock Ventriloquist
    March 7th, 2016 at 17:26 | #32

    It’s weak and obvious cliched pun that is the real offense here.

  33. Jacob Aagaard
    March 7th, 2016 at 17:36 | #33

    @Shurlock Ventriloquist
    Anyone taking offense at what I do to my own things in my house shall not feel obliged to share that opinion.

  34. Ray
    March 7th, 2016 at 19:25 | #34

    I sometimes wonder how politically correct one can get – there just doesn’t seem to be a limit 🙂 . Maybe some people are offended by the racial imagery of the colour of the chess pieces as well. I personally object to the king being the most important chess piece, since I’m a republican. I.m.o. we should rename the king into president.

  35. Bill
    March 7th, 2016 at 22:08 | #35

    Would one who doesn’t like the title be termed a “protestant”? Or would s/he be better known as one who supports a counter-chess reformation?

  36. Thomas
    March 8th, 2016 at 04:51 | #36

    @Ray You’re republican? You should rename your king Donald.

  37. Ray
    March 8th, 2016 at 06:51 | #37

    @ Thomas
    🙂 Not a republican as in the US political party, but a republican in the true sense of the word = being in favour of a presidential system.

  38. MR
    March 8th, 2016 at 07:35 | #38

    A subtitle should be added to make it clear what the book is about. Enough good titles to choose from 🙂

    chess is supposed to be a though sport ! All of us chessplayers have experienced the pain and dissapointment of the hard work chess requires ! Unbelievable how some people get offended by a title ??

  39. Jacob Aagaard
    March 8th, 2016 at 10:42 | #39

    Good one

  40. Jacob Aagaard
    March 8th, 2016 at 10:42 | #40

    No, no subtitle will be added. It is a good thing that people do not know what a book is about. It inspires them to read the blurb.

  41. Richard Martin
    April 6th, 2016 at 19:59 | #41

    Wait a minute. Is there a serious argument about whether this title is appropriate or not? Last I checked, Aagaard can pick the title and if you don’t like it don’t buy the damn book. This is a chess book, what is up with all the religious talk? Do you people even read what you write?

  42. dfan
    April 6th, 2016 at 20:59 | #42

    “Wait a minute.”


    “Is there a serious argument about whether this title is appropriate or not?”


    “Last I checked, Aagaard can pick the title and if you don’t like it don’t buy the damn book.”

    Nothing has changed since the last time you checked; this is still the case.

    “This is a chess book, what is up with all the religious talk?”

    Indeed. In fact I think some people’s reactions can be summarized as “This is a chess book, what is up with the religious title?” I did not contribute to the discussion until now, but I concur that the title is a little weird, though not weird enough to dissuade me from buying the damn book.

    “Do you people even read what you write?”


  43. Ray
    April 7th, 2016 at 06:04 | #43

    Being a kabalist myself, I take offense at the use of numbers in the titles of Chess Books, so I’m really glad QC dropped the numbering of the GM Reportoire series. If only they could also introduce a different system of notation, e.g. “a.ed” instead of “1.e4.”

  44. Thomas
    April 7th, 2016 at 06:28 | #44

    Please check if this is approved by the flying spaghetti monster.

  45. Jacob Aagaard
    April 7th, 2016 at 06:37 | #45

    Thomas is a decedent of Martin Luther and from the same town. We needed a title that would attract attention (don’t we always). Any “controversy” about this book is welcome. Once people realise that a part of it deals with disability and chess, they will swallow their religious sensitivities 😉 I hope. I should say that it is a book about improvement, but Thomas is disabled and it would be odd not to feature it in the book that is partly about how he became a very strong player.

  46. Tom Tidom
    April 7th, 2016 at 08:05 | #46

    Jacob Aagaard :
    …a part of it deals with disability and chess…
    …Thomas is disabled and it would be odd not to feature it in the book that is partly about how he became a very strong player.

    This is something that always impressed me and makes me even more curious about the book.

    By the way, is this still in the writing process?

  47. Jacob Aagaard
    April 7th, 2016 at 09:05 | #47

    No, it is written. The German version is getting polished at the moment. Then it goes for translation.

    Yes, Thomas is slightly disabled. But there is nothing wrong with his head at all. He is not going to be a pole vaulter, but then I am not going to be a ballerina. I have never really given a hoot about his disability, but obviously I will let his own words define it.

  48. Martin Dixon
    May 2nd, 2017 at 22:24 | #48

    It is unfortunate that religious beliefs should somehow even enter this conversation. You can learn chess from anyone. And if they have information to share that you don’t know, why would you need to be in alignment with their personal views? Does a promoted pawn get resurrected? The game already has multicolored bishops and was perhaps invented in Persia. Moor’s Maxims would be a great title to counter Greco and the studious monks. But then, I digress…

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