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Matthew Sadler reviews (part 2)

Last week I put up a post referring to a positive review of Victor Mikhalevski’s Beating Minor Openings from GM Matthew Sadler in New In Chess magazine. In this follow-up post, we can proudly reveal that King’s Indian Warfare, by Ilya Smirin, received even higher praise, with Sadler going so far as to call it his ‘Book of the Year’ for 2016!

As you can imagine, the entire review is something of which we as the publisher, and especially Ilya as the author, can feel proud, and I wish I could quote the whole thing! However, the following snippets of Sadler’s review should be enough to give the general picture:

“… a truly fantastic book.”

“Any player looking to take up the King’s Indian should have this book thrust into his hands before he learns a single line of theory!”

“Smirin’s comments are a perfect balance of analysis and general advice”

The review also included a couple of game fragments taken from the ‘Kamikaze Rooks’ chapter. I smiled when reading Sadler’s preamble to this section, where he asks:

“Which lunatic would come up with these manoeuvres?”

Obviously we are delighted that the book has received such high praise; and we hope readers will find it the perfect companion to Kotronias’s epic King’s Indian repertoire series (the last of which I’m currently editing), with one author providing the creative inspiration and the other the theoretical recommendations.

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  1. The Doctor
    February 6th, 2017 at 17:14 | #1

    OK I’ll ask the obviously question.

    Is there any plans to do this sort of book with any other opening?

  2. RYV
    February 6th, 2017 at 20:02 | #2

    Congratulations for this award .
    I dont play KID but awarded book deserve to be read whatever the subject.

  3. Remco G
    February 6th, 2017 at 20:13 | #3

    Smirin’s book is indeed fantastic, great job! I was surprised to see very few reviews of it online.

  4. Doug Eckert
    February 7th, 2017 at 04:41 | #4

    I enjoyed this book a lot. The Doctor, that is a great question, can it be done on other openings. Jacob, I might suggest this. At one point, there was an idea to update the books, which was done for a while with analysis. Obviously, QC is not getting paid for that other than customer loyalty. After watching a few Vlogs, have you considered updating the books via DVD? I would think a couple things could be done. If after a year say 15 – 20 lines need updating. This could be done in 15 – 20 5 – 8 minute videos. The DVD could then also have a database of all the games from the original book, plus new games with very short comments explaining why the new games are included. There could also be an inspirational games section. I would think this could be accomplished by the authors with a lot less effort than the books. It could then be sold either via DVD or downloaded. It might increase revenues without the effort of a complete rewrite.

  5. Jacob Aagaard
    February 7th, 2017 at 07:52 | #5

    @The Doctor
    One can always hope.

  6. Jacob Aagaard
    February 7th, 2017 at 07:55 | #6

    @Doug Eckert
    One of the basic ideas in economics is of course that you could be spending your time doing something else. I understand the sentiment, but it does not include an income stream. This would mean general prices would have to be put up, which I don’t think would work. I am pleased to say that we are not quite starving artists anymore, but we still need to pay attention to the bottom line.

  7. Cowe
    February 7th, 2017 at 09:52 | #7

    @The Doctor
    The subject is the man, through the opening. I’d say it’s on par with Marin’s Learn from the Legends.

  8. Krokohol
    February 9th, 2017 at 06:37 | #8

    It’s a great book, and it made me pick up the KID again after 10 years, buy some Kotronias books and gain a positive score against even opponents without knowIng too much theory. But I have a minor point: though it is not a opening book, Smirin gives some insightful comments on the opening lines. To use these comments in opening preparation, a kind of opening index had been helpful…
    But I definetely support the idea of having more books of that kind.

  9. Jacob Aagaard
    February 9th, 2017 at 06:52 | #9

    @Krokohol
    KID: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10….

    Happy now 😉

  10. Doug Eckert
    February 9th, 2017 at 06:58 | #10

    Jacob, I would not suggest you do this for free and was not doing so. I understand from your comment on the other thread you are not a fan of the DVD or the download format. You explained your short medium concept. I get it. I was viewing this as a way to provide supplemental material to the books efficiently and to charge for it.

    You have developed a large devoted customer base. We all have interests in various openings or topics. I was thinking along the lines of either an update on a specific book. Alternatively, every six months produce a DVD that updates several books. Essentially a collection of vlogs on specific games or variations supplemented by a database of recent games. You obviously have a better idea than I do of the effort and cost to do this. But, I am thinking a high percentage of your customer base is interested. Chessbase is around Euro 30 for their DVD’s. If 60-70% of your customers are buyers, maybe that makes sense. Have a safe trip.

  11. Hard Truther
    February 9th, 2017 at 15:19 | #11

    Opportunity cost prohibitive.

  12. Krokohol
    February 9th, 2017 at 15:52 | #12

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Not really. If you had read the Luther book, you would have known that one should say precisely “E94” instead of kind of “KID”…

  13. RYV
    February 9th, 2017 at 16:24 | #13

    Don’t know if there is some restrictions using ECO codes, but yes it would be usefull to have the corresponding code of the lines analysed in opening books.

  14. Jacob Aagaard
    February 9th, 2017 at 19:46 | #14

    @Krokohol
    I did read it and parts of it I read in German. I want a golden star. However, we have not traditionally used the ECO codes for opening indexes. We always listen to feedback, but with this one we had decided in advance.

  15. An Ordinary Chessplayer
    February 9th, 2017 at 21:00 | #15

    RE: Doug Eckert’s idea. Maybe a single Forward Chess book “QC Updates” is the way to go. As I understand it, in Forward Chess the user pays once, and Forward Chess can deliver an updated “QC Updates” which the user then gets without paying anything additional. So “QC Updates” can be an append-only book. The TOC can be the original book titles, in order of their publication dates. Later you can draw a line under the last publication date, and start on “QC Updates II”. Older books *still* go in “QC Updates”, newer books go in “QC Updates II”. This implementation would be a “little” different because now your publish a book which does not actually appear in print, but a little the same because you already deal with Forward Chess. If you start the updates from a diagram in the original book, it might even boost sales of the originals.

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    February 9th, 2017 at 21:09 | #16

    @An Ordinary Chessplayer
    This would not work, as we cannot continuously update a Forward Chess book and the general sales are low on these still, so it would lose money in every which way.

  17. February 9th, 2017 at 22:31 | #17

    @Jacob

    I think Krokohol makes a fair point regarding some kind of variation index in GM Smirin’s Kings Indian Warfare. It’s a fantastic book and when looking at a variation of KID I also like to look at Smirin’s book to see if he gives any strategic inside into the variation/position….that is not easy to do without a variation index so with the book having both a Game Index and a Name Index perhaps the later could have been sacrificed for a variation index….

    Just a thought for the future and hopefully some useful customer feedback.

  18. Chris
    February 10th, 2017 at 04:27 | #18

    I do agree with both Michael and Krokohol on the opening index issue. For some reason Jacob seems to stubborn here as the same issue was already raised a while ago regarding his Attacking Manual books. Must be his Danish temper. But hey, it’s a minor issue and I resolved it by creating my own opening index.

  19. Jacob Aagaard
    February 10th, 2017 at 10:26 | #19

    @Michael
    We will discuss it internally when I am back from Tehran.

  20. An Ordinary Chessplayer
    February 10th, 2017 at 22:18 | #20

    I disagree about the openings index. I have always found printed openings indexes either inadequate (the variation type that omits too many alternatives) or outright dreadful (the alphabetical type by major opening name). So, I would *always* just make my own. Pre-computer days it was on index cards. Pre-database days it was in a word-processing document. Nowadays it is a pgn. This should be a part of the active learning process anyway. The only time I would refer to a book’s openings index is in the book shop. Once I buy the book, I never look at it again.

  21. Johnnyboy
    February 11th, 2017 at 10:50 | #21

    An Ordinary Chessplayer :
    I disagree about the openings index. I have always found printed openings indexes either inadequate (the variation type that omits too many alternatives) or outright dreadful (the alphabetical type by major opening name). So, I would *always* just make my own. Pre-computer days it was on index cards. Pre-database days it was in a word-processing document. Nowadays it is a pgn. This should be a part of the active learning process anyway. The only time I would refer to a book’s openings index is in the book shop. Once I buy the book, I never look at it again.

    Not a very ordinary chess player then… Have tried Forward Chess but wish I had the paper version instead…

  22. Joeri
    February 11th, 2017 at 12:08 | #22

    Just make a poll out of it. Personally I like an index in a game collection to see if a hero plays my opening or not. But I could live without.

  23. Jacob Aagaard
    February 11th, 2017 at 12:28 | #23

    @Joeri
    A game collection makes sense to me. But here it was the same opening all the time and we wanted to emphasize the patterns and ideas, not lines.

  24. Remco G
    February 11th, 2017 at 13:17 | #24

    Please don’t use ECO codes, in 25 years I’ve never been able to learn them. They may be useful to some group of people that are used to them because of a few publications that use them all the time, but I think that group is pretty small. ECO codes have no mechanism to change with the times either.

    Descriptive names are much better (possibly with a move, e.g. Mar del Plata 9.Ne1), and there are many subvariations in the KID that have names.

    I am surprised that there is an index of opponents in the book (I have never in my life used that) but not a variation index, although I don’t really miss it, it’s not an opening reference.

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