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Scammers love Marin

A helpful reader from the USA told us a fine story. While searching the web for one of our books an advert appeared on the edge of his screen offering Volume 2 of Marin’s 1.c4 series for an absurdly low price plus free shipping and all sorts of other too good to be true freebies. A suspicious spouse saved the day by suggesting a search of the website’s name for any fraud warnings. Indeed, it was a scam that ropes the unwary into paying monthly fees they didn’t know existed.

Our reader makes a great point: “I didn’t notice other chess books. They somehow know how eager the public is for it… What fabulous proof of Marin’s great work!”

Internet fraudsters – we thank you for your support.

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  1. Jeremy
    June 22nd, 2010 at 23:01 | #1

    Interesting and not surprising considering Marin’s fabulous work. 🙂

  2. M.A.S.
    June 24th, 2010 at 10:52 | #2

    This is bugging me for a while and I just have to get this off my chest. I feel Marin is overrated as an author!

    In writing his two books on 1…e5 (“Beating the Open Games” and “A Spanish Repertoire for Black”) he didn’t use relevant sources like “Play 1 e4 e5!” and the “Chess Advantage in Black and White”. Most other authors of opening repertoire books use relevant sources like this. Here are just two minor examples that come to mind of where “Beating the Open Games” could have been better if he had referred to “Play 1 e4 e5!”. 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 c3 Nf6 4 d4 exd4 now he gives the mvoe 5 e5 a “?!” but if he has referred to “Play 1 e4 e5!”, he would have been that 5…Nd5 is simply fine for Black. 1 e4 e5 2 f4 Bc5 3 Nf3 d6 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Bc4 Nc6 6 d3 Bg4 7 h3 Bxf3 8 Qxf3 now he says 8…Nd4 is innacuurate due to 9 Qg3 but again if he had referenced “Play 1 e4 e5!”, he would have realized that 9…0-0 is fine for Black. Also, when doing his 2nd edition of “Beating the Open Games”, he didn’t use the new relevant source “Dangerous Weapons: 1 e4 e5” where improvements were given for White in the lines he recommends against the Max Lange Attack and Center Game!

    About Marin’s volume 1 on the English, English expert John Watson has said that Marin reccomends the most boring lines and sometimes tries to give some technical reason on why White is better in equal positions, and even though he devotes a lot of pages to …c6 lines, he is pretty weak on these lines!

  3. Jacob Aagaard
    June 24th, 2010 at 12:35 | #3

    I don’t really care about John Watson’s opinions on the lines Marin has chosen in the first book – I found them deeply inspiring. That is the magic of taste – it is personal.

    About BTOG 2nd edition I think you misunderstand exactly what was done – it was in principle a reprint, but some things were missing and we added them in. We did not go through the book line by line. To criticise us as if we did is pointless.

  4. Patrick
    June 24th, 2010 at 18:02 | #4

    In response to M.A.S.:

    First off, your first example, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 and your questioning of the first source giving 5.e5 a “?!” and then Davies giving 5…Nd5, all that does is “CONFIRM” the “?!”, not counter it. It’s White’s move that he is saying is dubious, and Black is the one that’s fine. So what’s your point?

    Second, you have to take Nigel Davies’ repertoire books with a grain of salt. He distorts his assessments. The only line of his that I can say I agree with his assessments is in the Vienna, 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Na5. I have destroyed many players with this line, including those rated 200 or more rating points above me. However, while 4…Bc5 in the Scotch may be “simpler” than 4…Nf6, it’s not as simple as he makes it out to be. Same thing goes for the KGD with 2…Bc5 (another line I have a good record against, but not because of his subsequent recommendations).

    Davies is notorious for over-rating the lines he recommends. When you write a book on the Alekhine where Black wins about 80% of the games, a book on the Grunfeld with a score in the upper 50’s to low 60’s for Black, a book on the Veresov claiming White is better in all lines, and a book on 1.e4 e5 where Black wins at the ratio he does here, and make it sound like it’s all so easy, you have to watch out about what he says.

    I have the books “Play the Semi-Slav” (Quality) and “Winning with the Stonewall Dutch” (Gambit), and they are also a Black Repertoire books. However, the authors have many games in there where White wins. This is reality. They will explain where Black went wrong, but they won’t cloud the mind of the reader, giving the reader the impression that Black should score 95% with the Semi-Slav or Stonewall Dutch.

    That’s one major difference between a good repertoire book (“Play the Semi-Slav”) and a marketing scheme (“Play 1.e4 e5!”).

    My repertoire changes quite a bit, but my defense to 1.e4 has been fairly consistent within the last 3 years, primarily answering with 1…e5 (which lines I play within the open games have changed). Of the books I’ve read recently on 1.e4 e5, which includes Marin’s book on the open games, Cox’s book on the Berlin, The book on the Zaitsev published by Gambit (I think it’s “The Ruy Lopez as Black”), Davies’ book on “Play 1.e4 e5!”, and the recent book by everyman “Fighting the Ruy Lopez” (dealing with the Marshall Gambit and Anti-Marshall), Davies’ book would be on the bottom of the rank list.

  5. M.A.S.
    June 24th, 2010 at 18:22 | #5

    I meant he gives 4…exd4 a ?!

  6. Unownasofyet
    June 24th, 2010 at 20:40 | #6

    Actually Patrick, Fighting the Ruy Lopez is actually quite good and is an excellent way to start out with the Marshall. I use it myself and it works beautifully. There probably are a few flaws (it’s unavoidable in an opening book – especially one on the Marshall), but none really stick out and the lines are pretty well planned for such a short book.

  7. Patrick
    June 29th, 2010 at 21:25 | #7

    Unownasofyet :Actually Patrick, Fighting the Ruy Lopez is actually quite good and is an excellent way to start out with the Marshall. I use it myself and it works beautifully. There probably are a few flaws (it’s unavoidable in an opening book – especially one on the Marshall), but none really stick out and the lines are pretty well planned for such a short book.

    Never said “Fighting the Ruy Lopez” was a bad book. It’s the “Play 1.e4 e5!” that I don’t think is very good. The only line that has done wonders for me is 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Na5. I play the 2…Bc5 against the King’s Gambit, but it’s Marin’s book that seems 1000 times better than Davies’ book.

    However, that said, Black can’t truly avoid a Bishop’s opening with 2…Nf6. In reality, 2…Nc6 is a better move. I had a game (granted, I won) that started 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.a3, and Davies give you nothing. With Marin’s book, there are certain lines of the two knights that he recommends, but the main repertoire is 3…Bc5 against 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4, and with the early …Bc5, a3 seems silly.

    If the Marshall Gambit were my style, I’d have spent more time on the “Fighting the Ruy Lopez” book. Trust me. I’d also be looking at the book that came out that covered the Marshall, Schliemann, and that new gambit with 10…d5 in the main line.

    One thing I am noticing is that as I age (mid-30’s right now), my game is getting more positional by the minute, and that while I used to go for all those wild wacko lines, like the Botvinnik Semi-Slav (as Black predominantly), 1.Nc3 as White with lines like 1…Nf6 2.g4 (the Tubingen Gambit, with the sidewards colon [umlout?] over the U as it’s German), or the Latvian Gambit, I have taken on more of a very positional game, namely 1.c4 (and 1.b4 for about 2 years prior to that), the Guioco Piano instead of the Two Knights as Black, The Berlin instead of the Zaitsev, the Stonewall Dutch instead of the Leningrad (10 years ago) or the Semi-Slav (2-3 years ago), and looking at switching to the Nimzo-Indian, which I played for about a year in 2003.

    Are there tactical lines I would still like to play? Yes, but you can’t force them. I played the French for the majority of my first 10 years of tournament play. Problem is, while I have destroyed higher rated players in the MacCutcheon and the Alekhine-Chatard attack (via declining with 6…c5), and had very good results with the everyday “classical” (i.e. 6.Bxe7 Qxe7), you can’t force it, and higher rated players would destroy me with the Advance with 6.a3, Tarrasch, or Steinitz while lower rated players would play garbage like the exchange, or Advance with 6.Be2 (Advance I played the more agressive 5…Qb6 line), and I’d lose because I tried too hard not to draw, while lower rated players that played 3.Nc3 or the Tarrasch against me would usually get destroyed. There is no real “draw line” in 1.e4 e5, and my record with Black with 1…e5 is astronomically high (somewhere around 70%, or even the low 70’s).

    The Marshall Gambit is perhaps another, but I don’t like Black’s play in the Anti-Marshall lines, not to mention how much I hate the exchange variation. You might wonder why I’m playing the Berlin if I hate the exchange. There’s a BIG difference between White having that pawn on e4 vs e5. With it on e4, White’s majority is easier to mobilize than with it on e5, which virtually forces an eventual f4 (unless White sacs with e6), and Black can aim to control g4 to prevent the advance by White and hence have a “not so mobile” majority.

    It’s amazing how what I thought was boring chess 10 years ago is now what I prefer to play. Aging does more than just give you wrinkles!

  8. Jacob Aagaard
    June 30th, 2010 at 09:21 | #8

    I would not cover 4.a3 either. At some point you have to say that chess is a game to be played. However, to flunk Marin for not including a source like Davies is silly. Davies published a Catalan book 6 months after GM1 was out, without a reference. Obviously this is because it just took a long time to get through Everyman’s production line, but if you want to be just, you should flunk it too. I prefer the position of not flunking either book – I don’t know the Davies book very well, but I am sure he did what he considered a good job with it, and I don’t want to disrespect this in any way.

  9. M.A.S.
    July 10th, 2010 at 17:59 | #9

    In response to Jacob Aagaard: Well, you didn’t make it clear at all that the 2nd edition of “Beating the Open Games” was just esentially a reprint to fill in some missing lines. If Marin had used relevant sources like Chesspublishing.com and The Chess Advantage in Black and White in the first place, there would have been no need for a 2nd edition reprint to fill in some missing lines! For example, if he had used Chesspublishing.com, he would have seen that 10 Qd2 is a line in the King’s Gambit Declined that deserved to be analyzed in the book. Also, if he had used the Chess Advantage in Black and White he would have seen that 6 Qb3 in the Evan’s Gambit deserved to be analyzed in the book.

    In response to Patrick: I know Davies repertoire books aren’t perefect but Marin’s book still could have been better if he had referenced books like “Play 1 e4 e5!”. Instead his bibliography is full of books like “Akiba Rubinstein: Uncrowned King” which aren’t nearly as helpful in writing an opening repertoire book.

  10. M.A.S.
    July 10th, 2010 at 18:04 | #10

    Also Jacob Aagaard, GM1 wasn’t out yet when Davies was writing his book on the Catalan so he wasn’t able to reference it. Sources like The Chess Advantage in BLack and White and Play 1 e4 e5! were definately out when Marin was writing his book so he should have referenced them.

  11. M.A.S.
    July 10th, 2010 at 18:07 | #11

    Also Jacob Aagaard, there is a lot in “Beating the Open Games” that could be improved. Any chance of a 3rd edition at some point?

  12. Patrick
    July 12th, 2010 at 16:21 | #12

    In response to Jacob, I wouldn’t cover 4.a3 either if I wrote it, but I also wouldn’t make claims that 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 completely dodges the Bishop’s opening, and forces a transpostion either, like he claims.

    Marin is more accurate in that it’s harder to dodge transpositions after 2…Nc6 compared to Davies’ claim of White unable to dodge transpositions after 2…Nf6 in response to 2.Bc4.

    The point wasn’t that I would expect 4.a3 to be covered in a book.

    Davies makes a lot of these types of errors. I have a lot of his books, and would assess the same types of errors in many of them. They would include:

    – His treatment and claims against 3…c5 in the Veresov
    – His claim that White should play 4.Nf3 first against attempts at a transposition to the French by Black from the Veresov, and then actually try to claim White can get an advantage from it when it’s truly no better than equal at best. If he had acknowledged that this gets White no more than mere equality, but involves less theory to memorize, fine, that would be a true assessment.
    – His claims in the Trompowsky after 7…d5 in the 2…Ne4 3.Bh4 variation.
    – His claim that the reason he chose 4…Bc5 instead of 4…Nf6 in the Scotch was simplicity. Neither line is “simple” by any stretch. You want simple, play a symmetrical French.

    Davies is not the only one guilty of this. Many authors try to claim an advantage when it clearly isn’t there, or claim forced transpositions when they truly aren’t forced, and I truly mean not forced, as in, there are other “legitimate” choices as opposed to “legal but bad” choices.

    My theory is that Davies does this to market his books. Claim advantages that aren’t really there. Of course, you probably thing every author does that. Not true!

    There were 2 books recently published on 1.b4. The one by Everyman is the weaker of the 2 books. The other book published about a month later, don’t recall the authors, but it’s the massive 300+ page book where 1.b4 is played and shows the shadow of an orangutan. Read the introduction to that book. It even states from the get go, White has no advantage! It’s an equal game that White hopes to outplay Black in a middlegame where he is more familiar with the concepts than Black is. THAT’S THE TRUTH! The same can be said for the Veresov. It’s playable. White’s not worse. But neither is Black. Admit the fact, and acknowledge that you are trading away your small advantage that you get for playing openings like the Open Sicilian or Queen’s Gambit as White, and in return, you get a playable middlegame where you hope that your consistency of playing the opening will cause you to understand the typical middlegame ideas better than your opponent does. Don’t claim advantage White! (Are you listening there Nigel?)

  13. Jacob Aagaard
    July 16th, 2010 at 19:41 | #13

    We cannot cover every source and we will not ever say that we can. We try, and fail. There are definitely authors and books which we don’t buy and don’t check. We have checked some of Davies’ books, and others we have not. He is not my favourite chess author, nor is he one of the bad authors, of which there are some.

    I don’t think we care about every opinion on every minor line by every author. What we care about is our authors having a serious look, and not just quotes fritz after three seconds (which is more common than one could wish in our industry). On this basis people can choose to buy our books, or not. We will of course get it wrong often, especially when we edit and publish more than 10,000 pages a year, three people, but we work with high quality as the only aim and don’t cut go for misleading evaluations in replacement for serious work.

    About Marin’s book – maybe it was not clear enough – I tried to make it so. Sorry.

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