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Nakamura – The Verdict

Apologies to those of you who were waiting anxiously for the result of last week’s poll. Perhaps due to the Easter holidays, I forgot all about it.

It’s all ancient history now, but the question was: How do you interpret Nakamura’s “j’adoube”?

Poll-Nakamura

As you can see, by a 59-40 margin, the voters went for ‘dodgy’. I voted for ‘heat-of-the-moment slip’. And in my quiz answers I predicted Nakamura would be first to win a game and finish as top American. So it appears I am 0/3 about Nakamura.

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  1. Steven S.
    April 1st, 2016 at 03:11 | #1

    I have zero doubt that Naka’s behaviour was highly indicative of someone who absolutely knew what he was intending to get away with. While I sympathise with losing your one shot for the next 3 years of trying to challenge Magnus it was not to be. Having said that I think it is a little sad that Karjakin is not nearly as strong as several other top 15-20 in the workd of whom Vishy was probably best suited. His play with black was atrocious and more than a little suspicious. How the cookies crumble. Anyhow, Karjakin has had a great young career and has made great strides recently. Best of luck to him but I think Magnus will, in all probability, defend his crown.

  2. Thomas
    April 1st, 2016 at 06:34 | #2

    Steven S. :
    Karjakin is not nearly as strong as several other top 15-20 in the world

    All fools’ day?

  3. Jacob Aagaard
    April 1st, 2016 at 08:32 | #3

    Winning the World Cup, Norway Chess twice and now the Candidates. Yeah, he is certainly weaker than all those guys he repeatedly ended ahead of…

  4. Wallace Howard
    April 1st, 2016 at 09:19 | #4

    “Karjakin is not nearly as strong”

    You should mention that to Magnus Carlsen, who predicted Karjakin would win the Candidates.
    Oh yeah, and he won the candidates.

  5. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    April 1st, 2016 at 10:53 | #5

    ### suggestion for Nikos’ new book ###

    Dear Nikos and Jacob,

    I’m very very impressed with latest book “Playing 1.e4 e5 – A Classical Repertoire” by Nikolaos Ntirlis. I can’t describe my admiration with words.

    Nikos, just like Tony Rotella, is a real proof that an amateur can write better book than a GM!

    So I, just like the all around the globe crew, would like to see a successor of this book, namely a “PLAYING 1.d4 d5 – A Classical Repertoire” based on Queen’s Gambit Declined (Lasker Defence, Tartakower-Bondarenko or even The Tarrasch) 🙂

    Jacob, you should cherish your author with all your heart cause he is a real jewel in today’s opening books authorship.

    Nikos, congratulations again.

    May I also suggest that Quality Chess founds a donation poll for Nikos (who wants to donate for his work) and in that way to give him boost for future projects.

    Also, I would happily see Nikos paired with Rotella on King’s Indian 🙂

  6. Steve S.
    April 1st, 2016 at 11:06 | #6

    @Wallace Howard
    I don’t mean in any way or shape to belittle Karjakin who is a world class player BUT he has, until quite recently, routinely NOT been in the top 10 list for YEARS. He may have occasionally spotted up but has never maintained such a lofty position. It is even now questionable if he can stay there for any length of time. MVL for example has repeatedly made the top 8 or 9 and really should have been allowed to play the Candidates as he has had more impressive recent outings at least performance wise. If any of you REALLY believe he has a realistic shot, perhaps you can place a wager on Karjakin. Magnus has oh, only about 100 more ELO but world’s more experience fighting the most elite opposition which literally includes a list of at least 7 ex world champions. Indeed, don’t tell Magnus.

  7. garryk
    April 1st, 2016 at 12:21 | #7

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT

    Please, don’t mix Rotella and Ntirlis. Rotella’s repertoire is completely busted, I haven’t check yet but I hope Ntirlis has done a better job.

  8. Ray
    April 1st, 2016 at 13:14 | #8

    @garryk
    I want ‘Kasparov on the King’s indian’ – can you please get on with it?

  9. Thomas
    April 1st, 2016 at 14:15 | #9

    @Steve S.
    Karjakin entered the top ten in 2010 when he was just 20 years old and maintained a peak rating of 2760 in 2010, 2788 in 2011 (#4), 2785 in 2012, 2786 in 2013, 2786 in 2014, 2766 in 2015 and 2779 today.
    Before you start bashing him you should consider the facts.

  10. David
  11. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    April 1st, 2016 at 15:15 | #11

    garryk :
    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    Please, don’t mix Rotella and Ntirlis. Rotella’s repertoire is completely busted, I haven’t check yet but I hope Ntirlis has done a better job.

    Dream on!

  12. Ray
    April 1st, 2016 at 15:54 | #12

    @David
    Wasn’t this ghost-written by Keene?

  13. Ray
    April 1st, 2016 at 15:56 | #13

    @Steve S.
    I wouldn’t bet on anyone but Carlsen

  14. Steve S.
    April 1st, 2016 at 17:49 | #14

    @Thomas
    I don’t think it is fair at all to say I am bashing Karjakin. As I stated he is a world class player but to my knowledge he has never consistently stayed even in the top six. Imagine any of your favourite sports (soccer, baseball, basketball, American football, etc. or even golf. Yes, let’s take Golf. Until Tiger Woods had his injuries, back issues, swing issues after his ridiculous escapades he was easily the most dominant player on the planet. Imagine saying that another player who was almost never consistently in the top 4 slots would beat him! It is just ridiculous and almost impossible to imagine such a scenario. This is all I am saying. Also I don’t know where you culled your data. Karjakin has indeed been occasionally in the top 4 (back in 2011 5 years ago) so yes , on paper he is super strong, I get it. But he has routinely struggled to ever crack the top 3 or to win major events against the likes of Kramnik, Carlsen, Topalov, Vishy, etc. Maybe he will get lucky this year. Svidler is on record saying something to the effect that he was initially looked upon to be Russia’s new Super GM future Champion of the World but that his career just slightly slowed down with issues cracking the top 5 consistently. I don’t know he tended to (like Giri) not be able to convert certain games that were winning. Look, the point is, Wesley So is roughly as strong as Karjakin if not slightly stronger. Same for MVL. Same for Naka (though I…

  15. Steve S.
    April 1st, 2016 at 17:54 | #15

    @Steve S.
    I don’t like Naka’s approach to serious classical chess at times. Giri is perhaps stronger than Karjakin as most would agree and yet, again a perfect example, he struggles at times to convert the win. Magnus is a machine and will continue, like Tiger in his heyday, to dominate all-comers and challengers until a bigger, badder, faster chess machine comes along. Magnus is the Kasparov of today. I think this championship is almost drama free and it is easy to pick Magnus as the eventual winner. But, we shall see.

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    April 1st, 2016 at 19:10 | #16

    To say that Wesley So or MVL is as strong as Karjakin is frankly speaking a complete misunderstanding of the rating system. Jonathan Rowson once told me that he considered rating to work in zones of 25 points, which I think is fair. So yes, Karjakin is in the same area as Kramnik (no. 2) and/or Topalov at no. 16. in the World.

    But would you seriously say that MVL is a much better player than Grischuk? Or Gelfand? Rating seems to indicate so, but then it was only 3 years ago that Gelfand was one of three players that won three top events in 2013. The two others were Kramnik and Carlsen.

    MVL, Wesley So, Giri, Harakrishna, Li Chao, Mamedyarov are all in the top 20, but I cannot remember anything significant they have won. I am sure I must forget something Giri has won, because he is incredibly strong.

    Karjakin won Norway Chess twice in front of everyone, he was second in the last Candidates and close to winning it as well as winning the World Cup and now the Candidates. In a different rating system he would be miles above those other players, but we have a system that puts the same importance to a league game in Belgium, as a game in a World Championship match.

  17. Jacob Aagaard
    April 1st, 2016 at 19:11 | #17

    The system is of course generally fair and does reflect reasonably well on playing strength. But there is something about being able to reach peak performance at the crucial moments, strength of character, which really matters.

    In football, if you look at the 1993 World Ranking you would find Norway at number 4 and Denmark at number 6. Denmark had just won the European Championship, which was one of the freakiest things I have seen in my life. But they did not manage to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, and in the 1996 European Championship, we were humiliated.

    Denmark did do really well in 1998, made it to the quarterfinal, where we lost 3-2 against Brazil in the most memorable match I have ever watched.

    But to somehow think that Denmark was ever one of the six best football teams in the World is frankly laughable.

  18. Capodoglio
    April 1st, 2016 at 19:23 | #18

    I seriously don’t think we need to waste time defending Karjakin strenght, it’s not a case that Carlsen predicted his win… go check their direct encounter score as well, you’ll see it’s not an easy opponent for him either.

    That doesn’t mean Carlsen isn’t the favorite, but that would be the case with any opponent at the moment.

  19. Steve S.
    April 1st, 2016 at 19:42 | #19

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I would never, by any stretch of my fairly wild imagination, yet put MVL or Giri on the level of a Gelfand who has been a World No.2 and a consistent top class winner or challenger in all top level events for many, many years. That is where experience shows over youth. However I mention Naka, MVL, Giri have an approximately equal relative rating to Karjakin which is not even debatable. The reason we do not over weight wins is because, for one thing, a weaker or questionable pairings plus questionable format, can and often has presented winners that perhaps were not so deserving. Carlsen for example had been world number 1 in rating well before he ever won the World title. Also, while Norway Chess is a strong and fantastic event, frankly speaking wins there mean next to nothing if we are talking about future World Champions. Topalov won 2015 there after a quick, lifeless draw against Anand but to think he had a recent chance at actually winning the World title is ludicrous. I will give Karjakin a slightly better shot than Topalov whose best chess is clearly behind him sadly.

  20. Steve S.
    April 1st, 2016 at 19:52 | #20

    By the way I believe Giri’s 14 Draws in the Candidates 2016 is a new world record. If only he had a better sense and killer instinct for attacking, I am then sure he would pose a legitimate threat to Magnus.

  21. Pinpon
    April 1st, 2016 at 22:43 | #21

    Well , seems that MVL won a few Biel tournaments not so long ago !? I am not sure that Gelfand is stronger than So, Giri, MVL and other 2750+ . He was ( 2012) but i think it is no more the case . Oxygen is rare when you are 2750+ and it is much more difficult to gain elo points . But OK , when in a bad day , So, MVL or Mamedyarov can play ” terrible ” chess , not Giri .

  22. Jonas
    April 2nd, 2016 at 06:00 | #22

    garryk :
    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    Please, don’t mix Rotella and Ntirlis. Rotella’s repertoire is completely busted, I haven’t check yet but I hope Ntirlis has done a better job.

    Busted as in Negi offering an improvement on the lines Rotella gives or something else?

  23. Ray
    April 2nd, 2016 at 06:06 | #23

    I think this is a bit of a non-discussion. There’s no denying the whole top-10 is quite strong. And I’m not saying I’m a big fan of Karjakin, but he has won the Candidates and that’s what counts. Chess is a sport after all, where getting results at the right moment is more important than playing ‘correctly’ or ‘beautiful’. Whether or not anyone at the moment would have a chance of winning a match against Carlsen is a different question. I think nobody would deny Carlsen is the clear favourite against any opponent. I think the system is fair and the fact Karjakin won the Candidates means he scored the most points in that tournament and so he deservedly will play against Carlsen.

  24. neiman
    April 2nd, 2016 at 08:37 | #24

    “there is something about being able to reach peak performance at the crucial moments, strength of character, which really matters”
    Completetely agree with Jacob on this one, and I don’t think that Naka,Aronian (though he has won a world cup) or Giri
    will ever be able to play for world title, precisely for this reason.

  25. Steve S.
    April 2nd, 2016 at 08:45 | #25

    @neiman
    I wouldn’t be quite so quick to dismiss Giri. He is quickly proving that he can not be beat by the strongest Super GM’s in the World. If he can put together some attacking skills and schemes he could very well be the antidote to Carlsen. As well I think Caruana will only improve over the next several years. Naka still has chances though he needs to focus on sounder lines in classical chess in my opinion. Also So is coming. Wei Yi is also coming.

  26. neiman
    April 2nd, 2016 at 08:57 | #26

    @Steve :Yes Giri is still young, of course. Yet he is already among the best in the world by rating, and his incapacity to win a single “big” event says something -as not winning any game in the Candidates (only player apart Topalov).

  27. Ed
    April 2nd, 2016 at 10:49 | #27

    Jonas :

    garryk :
    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    Please, don’t mix Rotella and Ntirlis. Rotella’s repertoire is completely busted, I haven’t check yet but I hope Ntirlis has done a better job.

    Busted as in Negi offering an improvement on the lines Rotella gives or something else?

    First I have heard it is busted!
    Maybe Gary K is offering an April Fools Day joke? ?

  28. SimonB
    April 2nd, 2016 at 13:52 | #28

    @Jonas
    More nonsense from ‘garryk’. I discourage such belittling of people’s work in a forum. From some random tool on the internet, with no analysis. ‘On the internet, everyone is a dog’ indeed.
    I suggest QC should look at removing that comment – it is professionally maligning.
    I compared the two, and see nothing too scary in Negi. (While commending Negi’s work naturally – it is top class). Plug the software in, go through comparing the two texts, plug the brain in too, and it will be seen. I shared with the author.

  29. Jonas
    April 2nd, 2016 at 15:21 | #29

    @SimonB
    I couldn’t see any complete bust, which is why I asked. I agree with you.

  30. garryk
    April 2nd, 2016 at 17:31 | #30

    @SimonB

    Ok, then let’s make a correspondence game in a server of your choice. You’ll follow Rotella’s repertoire and then we’ll see if his repertoire is busted. Put your “moves” where your mouth is.
    Edited by JS, April 3.

  31. garryk
    April 2nd, 2016 at 17:31 | #31

    @Jonas
    something else.

  32. SimonB
    April 2nd, 2016 at 21:27 | #32

    @garryk
    Maybe I just don’t do enough yoga, but that suggestion seems physically impossible. And, with all due respect to aspects of my lower body, undesirable too.
    garryk – do calm down, grow up, be civil. There’s a good lad.
    Moderators…?

  33. garryk
    April 2nd, 2016 at 22:16 | #33

    @SimonB
    Come on…it’s a figure of speech…anyway you don’t want a game, do you?

  34. garryk
    April 2nd, 2016 at 22:17 | #34

    @SimonB
    And anyway you called my opinion “nonsense”…is this civil?

  35. Ed
    April 2nd, 2016 at 23:03 | #35

    Dictionary: Nonsense – “spoken or written words that have no meaning or make no sense”.
    @GaryK : Until you backup your claim that it is ‘totally busted’, then a reader on the forum like myself will think that it is nonsense. Some of us like myself have actually read the book which seems to me to be very good. However perhaps there is something we have missed. The author in this book appears to have placed a lot of hard work, effort and time into the book. A book should not be rubbished unless proof is shown accordingly. The claim you make that a book is ‘completely busted’ is pretty strong. Some may say disrespectful of the author. Perhaps you are right then I would congratulate your claim and thank you for alerting us to this but I seen nothing that has shown me otherwise. Please validate your statement and tell us why otherwise your claim would appear to have no meaning or make no sense.
    The great thing about this forum is that we can express our views (with only occasional censorship from moderator) however we should be able to support such a strong claim or view otherwise the claim or view will appear to have no substance and the reader will assume the claim or view to be nonsense.

  36. Steve S.
    April 3rd, 2016 at 02:19 | #36

    @neiman

    neiman :
    @Steve :Yes Giri is still young, of course. Yet he is already among the best in the world by rating, and his incapacity to win a single “big” event says something -as not winning any game in the Candidates (only player apart Topalov).

    Yes but Topy lost 5 games. Giri lost 0. I’m sure there is a corollary but I fail to see a meaningful one.

  37. Steve S.
    April 3rd, 2016 at 02:32 | #37

    @Steve S.
    Also Neiman I think he has won the Dutch Championship at least twice and his win of the 54th “Torneo di Capodanno” Reggio Emilia Super-Tournament with an average ELO of 2740 or so puts him at about the top of the performance mountain. I know he can win, he just has to work out some subtle issues.

  38. Ray
    April 3rd, 2016 at 07:03 | #38

    Maybe ‘completely busted’ is also just a figure of speech and garryk just means ‘white has an edge’ 🙂

  39. John Shaw
    April 3rd, 2016 at 10:04 | #39

    @garryk

    I edited a comment above. I do not want aggressive sexually-based phrases on a chess blog. As a general guideline, if you find yourself writing about someone else’s genitals, then stop.

    But big claims about chess analysis are OK, though they will only be taken seriously if you back it up with analysis. Garryk, it sounds like you are willing to give away your secrets in a ‘friendly’ correspondence game, so why not just your line here?

  40. garryk
    April 3rd, 2016 at 13:20 | #40

    @John Shaw
    Why I don’t give the line here? Honestly because if somebody calls my opinion “nonsense” I like to make him suffer during a game. Because if I post a line, somebody will find something that seems an improvement, then I bust that line and another line is proposed and so on. Only “On the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not last long.”, so let’s clarify the matter on the chessboard.

  41. PaulH
    April 3rd, 2016 at 14:38 | #41

    @garryk
    No one would ever buy or write a chess book if everyone shared your attitude on posting lines outside a game……

  42. AWIC
    April 3rd, 2016 at 22:02 | #42

    Regarding Denmark being ranked no. 6 in the world – who would you have ranked higher?

    Usually Brazil and Argentina are up there. Maybe the Dutch and the Germans (but Denmark had just beaten both). The USSR and Yugoslavia had just split up.

    The Football Elo rankings had them 7th so perhaps not so laughable?

  43. garryk
    April 4th, 2016 at 05:37 | #43

    @PaulH
    “my line” has been already played in the correspondence world…and I don’t write books…and I buy only Quality Chess books because I know they are not hiding anything and not believing blindly the computer assessment.

  44. TonyRo
    April 4th, 2016 at 06:05 | #44

    If garryk trashed the books of every author who’s 400+ page repertoire books had been improved upon in a place or two, then his collection would be small indeed. Thanks to LBQC for the original compliment, and sorry to QC – if I would have simply never put figurative pen to figurative page, this colossal waste of time would have never occurred. 😉

  45. Ray
    April 4th, 2016 at 06:44 | #45

    I think the first opening book has yet to be written which contains the Ultimate Truth. It’s absolutely normal that some lines are improved upon. E.g., I can easily give some lines from Negi’s books which have in the meantime been neutralised. I think garryk’s view is a bit too static – it’s an arms race out there 🙂

  46. k.r.
    April 4th, 2016 at 06:52 | #46

    Steve S. :
    @neiman
    I wouldn’t be quite so quick to dismiss Giri. He is quickly proving that he can not be beat by the strongest Super GM’s in the World. If he can put together some attacking skills and schemes he could very well be the antidote to Carlsen. As well I think Caruana will only improve over the next several years. Naka still has chances though he needs to focus on sounder lines in classical chess in my opinion. Also So is coming. Wei Yi is also coming.

    Why are You excluding Russian players? Karjakin won Candidate match. ThIS mean that he played better tournament than all the players You listed in your post.

  47. SimonB
    April 4th, 2016 at 07:56 | #47

    @garryk
    So now you are accusing the author of just following software lines too and of hiding stuff?
    Why the nastiness? Why the libel?
    Look, who are you? Are you any good? Good enough and critical enough to actually judge what you are reading?
    Name and rating. Title if you have one.
    It’s not on to hide and write cowardly abuse like this.

    Generally speaking, I found Mr Rotella’s book to be very impressive. I know this view is widely shared. A thorough and useful text. Offers a good balance of analysis and explanation. I write this as someone who has played the Kalashnikov for 25 years on and off, so it’s reasonable to suggest that I have a fair grasp of at least some of the opening. Not a great player, but an FM, so not all that terrible either.

    *Non-disclaimer – I have no involvement with Everyman or with any publisher.*

  48. garryk
    April 4th, 2016 at 08:28 | #48

    @SimonB
    Ok, let’s conclude we are not going anywhere with this discussion. You are asking for rating and title and I’m asking for a game, so let’s the readers judge who is more confident in his judgement of the variation.

    I’ve said that I feel QC is not ” following software lines and hiding stuff”, I said nothing about the other publishers. Can I have my opinion or do you want to impose your opinion on me?

    Regarding the Kalashnikov, it may be a respectable opening with practical chances but in my opinion it’s really naive to think it’s 100% correct. With this somewhat dubious openings, I appreciate a more honest approach where some edge for White is recognized than saying – Black is completely equal – that clearly can’t be true.

  49. Ray
    April 4th, 2016 at 09:38 | #49

    @ garryk

    “Some edge” already sounds quite different than “completely busted”. I’ll attribute the latter to youthful enthusiasm and congratulate you with your progressing insight.

  50. garryk
    April 4th, 2016 at 10:08 | #50

    @Ray
    Thanks for the compliment but I’m not young and I’m not changing my idea. Let’s see if I can explain myself. If you try to prove equality at all cost in an opening that cannot be completely equal, you find yourself filling hundreds of pages of computer assisted analysis trying to show +0.00 at the end of each line. That is a dangerous approach because many times behind +0.00 variation there is an unexpected improvement that refutes the entire line. It’s a big castle with fragile foundations. In fact I’m not claiming Kalashnikov is refuted, I’m saying it’s not 100% correct (White retains some edge) and Rotella’s repertoire, if followed entirely, gives White a winning edge (as shown in many correspondence games, check if you don’t believe me). Of course some improvements can be found for black, but then it’s not anymore Rotella’s repertoire and we go back to the original judgement, White has some edge.

    Just to be clear, other approach are possible and in my opinion more respectable

    – Negi’s approach. He says many lines are +0.00 according to the PC but he explains why practically white has every chance to win
    – Mikhalevski’s approach. He doesn’t try to sell the concept that the Open Spanish is 100% equal and honestly analyzes the best lines for White

  51. Ed
    April 4th, 2016 at 11:24 | #51

    A book review was done on Ntirlis’s book 1e4 e5 by
    GM David Smerdon
    Source: https://www.chess.com/blog/smurfo/book-review-playing-1e4-e5
    This book review is an opinion by a Grandmaster who states that he found “Overall I found the book thorough, high quality and surprisingly easy to read.”
    He also in his blog states: “I have to say, however, that Ntirlis does fall into one of the most common opening author traps in some of his non-Spanish chapters: He is too optimistic about Black’s chances.”
    So it may be that both the book by Ntirlis and by Rotella put a positive spin on Black’s position contrary to what was previously indicated by GaryK.
    GM Smerdon then goes onto to say: “And given this is a reportoire book for the second player it’s quite reasonable to allow some literary licence for the author to put a positive spin on Black’s positions, to a point.”

    But hey when I read a reportoire book I want the author to be passionate about the opening he is writing about. As GM Smerdon says “it is reasonable to allow some literary licence for the author to put a positive spin on Black’s position to a point.”
    Personally I think that there will always be a bias by an author when he writes about an opening. The author should be passionate and believe in the opening he or she is writing about, otherwise it would be very boring. For sure try and put some objectivity into the book, but there will always be some bias to a point in the subjective interpretation of…

  52. Ed
    April 4th, 2016 at 11:37 | #52

    …. of the position.
    No book will be 100% correct, for as time goes by there will be some minor
    Improvement found here and there. I am sure a minor improvement may be found in the analysis of either of these books. Whether it be in the objective analysis of the always evolving high powered computers and evolving software or by the very subjective analysis of the finer points of a position that a human can determine. But it would be SO WRONG to say that either of these books is ‘busted’.

  53. Ray
    April 4th, 2016 at 12:21 | #53

    @garryk

    I agree with most of the points you’re making here. Maybe it’s just a matter of wording – ‘completely busted’ doesn’t sound like a fair description to me if really you’re saying white has a small edge which in most correspondence games will lead to a win for white. Also, as e.g. Negi repeatedly pointed out, humans don’t play like a computer over the board. That’s why +0.0 may be a correct evaluation in correspondence chess, but in practice it may be impossibly difficult for black to defend (let alone remember all the variations up to move 50 or so). To be honest, I haven’t read Tony Rotella’s book on the Kalahsnikov, so I can’t say if he makes any outrageous claims about black’s chances. Personally, I’m glad we don’t have books only on the “100% correct” openings, otherwise we would be stuck with books on the Berlin Wall…

  54. Jupp53
    April 4th, 2016 at 13:55 | #54

    The fierce discussion about Nakamura could be added by his complaint about Karsten Müller’s book commenting his games. So for me Nakamura is a gifted person with some lack of self-confidence. In my eyes he’s a young man and there’s no problem to assume that he will still develop. I recommend as an agnostic John 8.7.

    The 2nd debate here is funny. As my popcorn is empty my personal verdict is: the best comment was by John Shaw explaining why he edited a comment. Normally the discussion here is on a higher level, isn’t it garryk? ;). What the heck made you use some rude words, if your point is easy to understand?

    And in case I’ll start playing the Kalashnikov the book of T.Rotella will be the first on my list, because there’s according to many comments and reviews good verbal explanation in it, something I really appreciate. Opinions differ about this. Avrukh gives more lines, Marin gives more explanations. De gustibus non est disputandum.

  55. Paul
    April 4th, 2016 at 16:00 | #55

    I find this entire situation rather humorous. I have read a lot of opening books. From Aagaards and Shaw’s older books to recent publications by Kotronias, Avrukh, Rotella and Marin.

    And here’s the point. I double and triple check every line. It takes me over a month a go through a book because I learned a long time ago that the the little ‘+’ and ‘=’ signs can be a bit deceiving. So I continue lines and work out options for both sides.

    Because of this personal insanity I have found improvements or equally good options not mentioned. In one case I found a move of equal value that, in my opinion, is easier to play. If you are unwilling to explore your opening in detail or willing to blindly follow someone else, you are already in trouble.

    In ending, I enjoyed Rotella’s book. I found a few things I didn’t like and changed them. But I do that with every opening.

    Also I remember an SOS article in NIC that the author claimed to find a nice refutation of Avrukh’s Catalan. I talked to Avrukh and he broke the line in about 10 minutes.

  56. Jacob Aagaard
    April 4th, 2016 at 18:52 | #56

    @Paul
    Avrukh is scary like that. It has happened a lot of times!

  57. Jacob Aagaard
    April 4th, 2016 at 18:56 | #57

    One story I remember is Kramnik telling Avrukh off for just suggesting the first lines of the computer. Avrukh told him to set up a position in the Catalan. Kramnik did. Avrukh proceeded to find all the “best” moves, or moves that were better than those by the computer. He is really astonishingly strong.

  58. Paul
    April 4th, 2016 at 19:56 | #58

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Yeah he is cool that way. Really incredible guy to work with. He has broke my opening repertoire 3 or 4 times already….

    If its not apparent I’m one of his students.

  59. PaulH
    April 4th, 2016 at 21:29 | #59

    @Jacob Aagaard
    When he gave his talk at the 2010(?) London Classic it was also apparent how modest he was….seemed genuinely worried the Grunfeld book which came out might be better in some ways than his.

  60. Reyk
    April 5th, 2016 at 10:28 | #60

    @Paul:
    “Also I remember an SOS article in NIC that the author claimed to find a nice refutation of Avrukh’s Catalan. I talked to Avrukh and he broke the line in about 10 minutes.”

    I would be really really interested in knowing how. We are talking about an early …Bd7, 0-0-0 for Black and 15…g5, right? We’ve discussed it with Jacob in a previous post and he said that he doesn’t know the details and recommended to study current games. But they give no evidence at all that the SOS recommendation isn’t sound – at least as far as I can see.

    Maybe, a newsletter entry would be nice?

  61. Paul
    April 5th, 2016 at 12:11 | #61

    @Reyk
    I will let Boris know. I remember that one thing Boris said that stood out was that he had no faith in the line for black because of whites two bishops. But this was awhile ago so he may have found a better line.

    If your interested I can post some of my file on it. But its not GM level.

  62. Reyk
    April 5th, 2016 at 15:28 | #62

    I’m definitely interested. All those lines are very concrete though …

    Here are the links to the old discussion:
    http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/blog/3733#comment-267045

    http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/blog/4148#comment-288727

    http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/blog/4148#comment-289044

  63. Paul
    April 5th, 2016 at 18:47 | #63

    @Reyk
    I actually like the 10. Nd2 line so most of my analysis is based on that. And as this is not a line I have seen in blitz or OTB I haven’t dedicated a lot of time to it. But I like the pawn sac options and the exchange sac is interesting and not immediately refutable. I’m a firm believer in the bishop pair in this position.

    From 14…Bd2 there are other options but it is limited to some extent. But requires more exploring and its such a rare line that I don’t spend much time on it.

    I posted it on a blog that way its easier to play over the lines. Interested in thoughts and I sure there will be some hate 🙂 lol: https://www.chess.com/blog/boardkeeper/catalan-line

  64. Paul
    April 6th, 2016 at 09:06 | #64

    @Paul
    Hey Reyk I did reply but its ‘awaiting moderation’ at the moment.

  65. Reyk
    April 7th, 2016 at 12:42 | #65

    Thx, I appreciate and will have a closer look for sure.
    Still this is not the answer I was hoping for, when you wrote:

    “I talked to Avrukh and he broke the line in about 10 minutes.”

    Avrukh writes in his book that 10.Nd2 first appealed to him, but he than chose 10.Qa4 and 15.b4. So when reading your comment I was hoping for some answer to 15.b4 g5 as this is Avrukhs recommendation.
    Don’t get me wrong: I like Avrukh’s books and have GM 1, GM 1A and the Grunfeld books. But the given line might be exactly an example for the situation Jacob (resp. Kramnik via Jacob) describes above, when Boris mainly analyzes computer choices for Black such as taking on b4, while the more human looking 15…g5 is not mentioned. It would be nice, however, if there was something after 15…g5 and the line stands. Right now I think it’s tough to find something.

  66. Reyk
    April 7th, 2016 at 12:43 | #66

    It might be a bit unfair to be even more critical about GM 1 as it is about 8 years old. But here are my problems with it:
    – Slav/Grunfeld: Boris mainly refuted himself in his books for Black regarding a small white adavantage. This is of course a special situation (writing for White and Black) and besides this it’s hard to find something against these anyway, but still …
    – King’s Indian/Panno: The endgame after the main line 8.Qd3 e5 is pretty much a draw (with Kg7 instead of Nd4 furhter down if I remember correctly; it’s in van Kampen’s video on chess24)
    – Tarrasch: I’ve played some of Boris’ lines here and did find them at least unpractical (especially some …Bh3 Bh1 maneuver). Of course I’m a patzer, but Boris already mentions in 1A that he recommends something else here (which doesn’t necessarily mean that his old recommendation is no longer valid – we will see)
    – Benoni: Boris improves his fianchetto line in 1A, but I still have my doubts whether the fianchetto as a whole can pose problems to the Benoni (as does GM Gustafsson)

    So I’m looking forward to the next books. But my impression is that Negi is at times more honest, when he writes that a given line may not be for an advantage objectively, but is a very good practical try.

  67. Reyk
    April 7th, 2016 at 12:46 | #67

    btw. as for the Benoni and Avrukh’s old book one of my games was selected by John to show the quality of Petrov’s book (which is also a shortcoming of the old Avrukh book):

    http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/blog/3540

  68. Paul
    April 8th, 2016 at 12:04 | #68

    @Reyk
    Broke might have been a bit rash on my part, so I apologize. What he did do was eliminate my worry about that line and help me to understand the position better.

    My reason for playing the 10. Nd2 line is anyone playing this line is aiming for Bosch line. This is not something they will have spent as much time on and gives me better practical chances.

    And I’m too am looking forward to the next book as I am hoping to improve on the Slav as well.

    Benoni: You might consider 4. Nf3 as an option. Its an Symmetrical English variation but black doesn’t get the same kind of play. It does lead to an equal position but with some nice chances for white. And as black has played e6 he is committed to a few less aggressive lines.

    (I’m comparing 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 4. Nf3 and 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3. The main line here is 3…cxd4 4 .Nxd4 e5!? 6. Nb5 d5 7. cxd5 Bc5 when its starting to get entertaining.)

  69. Reyk
    April 8th, 2016 at 19:58 | #69

    Thanks! From a practical viewpoint your suggestion against the Benoni move order certainly makes sense.

  70. Johnnyboy
    April 29th, 2016 at 11:44 | #70

    Good to see that Nakamura made good his j’adoube error by being a gentleman and not making a deal of Kasparov doing the same to him yesterday. Slightly disappointed purely because a Nak/Kasparov argument on touch/move caught on video would have been a real humdinger.

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