The Yusupov Challenge

I have personally taken up a challenge after reading an interesting article. It is my goal to read 100 books this year. 50 novels and 50 non-fiction books. I used to be an avid reader, but lately I have been caught up in too many things and maybe watched a few too many TV-shows on Netflix. Every second novel must be what we call a “serious” novel. At least!

In that connection, I propose a reading challenge for those who wants to improve their chess, but have never really gotten around to it. The Yusupov challenge.

Artur Yusupov has written 10 volumes in his series of training material for those starting at 1200-1800, wanting to get to 2200+. They cover more or less everything and received the first ever Boleslavsky medal from FIDE, when they started handing them out. And not without competition. Kasparov was in second place and Dvoretsky in third.

Your goal should be to read one book per month. There are 25 chapters in each book, making it a total of 250 chapters. They take maybe 10-20 minutes to read, after which there are 12 exercises, which should take you 20-40 minutes to go through. Some of you might want to spend more time per chapter, but the point stands. You can do six of them a week and make it easily. In a year, you will have learned an immense amount about chess.

Which order you should read the books in

When we acquired the books, we originally only planned to publish one from each series. We all make mistakes. For this reason, the order which the books are intended to be read is not entirely obvious. The order is:

Build up Your Chess 1, Boost Your Chess 1, Chess Evolution 1 – the orange books (Fundamentals series)

Build up Your Chess 2, Boost Your Chess 2, Chess Evolution 2 – the blue books (Beyond the Basics series)

Build up Your Chess 3, Boost Your Chess 3, Chess Evolution 3 – the green books (Mastery series)

The newest book, Revision & Exam 1 should probably be read last.

So, the order to which I suggest you read the books is:

Spring – The Fundamentals series

March: Build up Your Chess 1

Boost Your Chess 1

Chess Evolution 1

Summer – Beyond the Basics series

Build up Your Chess 2

Boost Your Chess 2

Chess Evolution 2

Autumn – Mastery series

Build up Your Chess 3

Boost Your Chess 3

Chess Evolution 3

Winter – Revision time

Revision & Exam 1

If you are up for it, sign up below.

  1. FredPhil
    February 27th, 2017 at 09:22 | #1

    Way longer than that to do all correctly for me. I ‘ve tried to begin Twice or Thrice . I don’t think I can do one per day

  2. Jacob Aagaard
    February 27th, 2017 at 09:28 | #2

    @FredPhil
    I believe anyone can. But yes, it will take a bit more time for some than others.

  3. James2
    February 27th, 2017 at 10:10 | #3

    Hi Jacob,

    I have a quick question for you. If I was a 155 BCF player, would it worth starting off on the orange books or would it be possible to go straight into the blue books? I wouldn’t want to miss out on anything, but then again it will take a lot of time (and money) to go through the first level? I think I know what the answer will be, but I wanted to ask anyway.

    Thank you.

    James

    • Jacob Aagaard
      February 27th, 2017 at 10:46 | #4

      My recommendation is to go through the orange books first. It will be easier, so it makes it easier to build up a habit of doing six chapters a week. It will also get you on a roll with solving.

  4. Karl
    February 27th, 2017 at 10:31 | #5

    What’s good for John’s book should also work for me es well: I will finish the orange books in Spring 2018, the blue ones in Summer 2019, … 😉

    • Jacob Aagaard
      February 27th, 2017 at 10:47 | #6

      ha!

  5. JB
    February 27th, 2017 at 10:32 | #7

    Aha, well I’m finally onto the last of the 9 main series books… and i’d say the time scale of about 1hr/chapter sounds about right (perhaps a bit less for the 1st three and quite a bit more on the last 3 in my case) + definitely has my recommendation if anyone is planning to give it a go. In my case i have been slowly averaging about 1-2 books/year though so it’s taking quite a while ;-).

  6. Dachs
    February 27th, 2017 at 10:48 | #8

    @James2: This translates to someting like 1800-1900, right? I am rated 1920 or so, so my experience with the orange books might be helpful. I found that while some chapters are just a nice refreshing exercise (simple tactics, endgames in my case), others were really challenging and hard (for me: positional chapters; I was surprised about that). My guess would be that it’s similar for everyone of that playing strength. (I think it was also mentioned somewhere in this forum that the German original titles – indicating that the orange series is for <1500 players – are hugely misleading.) I definitely didn't regret working through them! With the (sujectively) easier chapters, one per day was no problem, although sometimes it took me more than "20-40 minutes" to solve the exercises;)

  7. Dachs
    February 27th, 2017 at 10:51 | #9

    ps: Just started the blue ones. Good challenge now in every chapter:)

  8. James2
    February 27th, 2017 at 10:54 | #10

    @Dachs
    This is great advice, thank you for taking the time. I have resolved to start on the orange series as you (and Jacob) mention.

    Thank you Dachs.

    James

  9. James2
    February 27th, 2017 at 10:58 | #11

    @Dachs
    If you have the time, could you let me know which openings are recommended or white and which ones for black in the second series of books please?

    Thank you.

    James

  10. Upmate
    February 27th, 2017 at 11:08 | #12

    @Aagaard

    Where will you recommend to start with a FIDE rating 2100.
    From scratch or?

  11. Bernhard
    February 27th, 2017 at 11:41 | #13

    I will go for it! My ELO is now 1704 and I hope it will rise after this.

  12. Ulrik Larsen
    February 27th, 2017 at 11:51 | #14

    I am in!

  13. FredPhil
    February 27th, 2017 at 11:51 | #15

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @FredPhil
    I believe anyone can. But yes, it will take a bit more time for some than others.

    OK, I ‘ll give it another try, but I think I’ll cut sometimes chapters in two, or take days off. Time is a problem for me. Little is better than nothing.

    Another question: Why is there specific opening preparation in this sort of books? I don’t undertand the point.

  14. Ray
    February 27th, 2017 at 12:00 | #16

    I already finished the whole series except Revision & Exam 1, but I was thinking about doing it a second time. Do you think this would be useful or can I better spend my time on other things?

  15. PaulH
    February 27th, 2017 at 12:24 | #17

    Jacob-what is your view on Yusupov’s assertion “You absolutely must play through all the examples and all the variations on a chessboard” (bolded in the introduction of the books for emphasis)?

  16. Steve
    February 27th, 2017 at 12:35 | #18

    There is no way I can spend an hour on chess study, 6 days a week, unless I give up playing. Two days per week, maybe building up to three later. So I will take three years, but I will accept the challenge on that basis. My question to Jacob is, am I losing out by going more slowly, apart from the obvious fact that it will take longer to get there?

  17. Paul
    February 27th, 2017 at 12:37 | #19

    I am two books in but, I will still take up the challenge!

  18. pabstars
    February 27th, 2017 at 12:48 | #20

    Ray, have you done the Grandmaster Preparation series?

  19. MarkyMark
    February 27th, 2017 at 12:54 | #21

    Challenge Accepted

  20. Ray
    February 27th, 2017 at 13:06 | #22

    No, not yet (except for one chapter of Positional Play). But I made quite a lot of mistakes especially in the chapters on strategy and positional play, so I was doubting if I have really digested the material of Yusopov and am ready to move on to the next level…

  21. James2
    February 27th, 2017 at 13:16 | #23

    @PaulH
    I agree with that. You remember things much better when you physically move the pieces. E.g. going through the Vancura rook ending would be much better seeing it happen on the board than just reading and seeing pictures in a book.

    James

  22. Kassy
    February 27th, 2017 at 13:45 | #24

    10-20 minutes to read the chapter, while playing the moves on the board(as rec’d in the books) and doing what-if analysis and actually spending 5 minutes looking at the position(or until you solve it) is just simply impossible unless you are already a 2300 player.
    The time frames are much longer than Jacob suggests for a 1700s-1800s player, even in the orange series.
    My quickest, easiest chapter was maybe 40 minutes for the whole thing(basic pawn endings). ADmittedly if I hadn’t played over the positions that I already knew and didn’t write down my answers(once again, ignoring the rec of the book), I could have gone through it in maybe 15 minutes total.
    But to average 45 minutes a chapter at the B/A level is just not realistic. Expect far closer to 1.5-2 hrs at the A/B level for the orange books. They get harder from there.
    However, that said, they are excellent books and if you put in 1.5hrs-2/night for a year into them, you will almost surely be much better.

  23. Dachs
    February 27th, 2017 at 13:59 | #25

    @James2
    Hi James,

    in my view, openings are not at all the focus of the series. Yusupov writes that these chapters are just examples of how to work with openings, stressing that you should chose openings that suit your style, study model games / players etc.

    In book Blue 1 it’s the (Spanish) Four Knights with White and the Petroff with Black (and I don’t have the other two books yet), but not extremely deeply analyzed (one chapter each). In my opinion, if you really want to play this, you will look into other books anyway, and if not, you will still learn a thing or two;)

    Dachs

  24. Jonathan Bryant
    February 27th, 2017 at 14:24 | #26

    Well for once I find myself ahead of the curve – I started this on January 24th.

    FWIW (elo 1800s, ECF equivalent 1900s) for book 1 I read 6 of the 24 lesson chapters inside 30 minutes (mostly tactics and endgame themes) and did 7 chapter tests inside 45 minutes (nearly all tactics).

    The whole book took me 61 hours and 15 minutes to complete – so at the suggested rate per chapter that’s two months.

    Of course, I could skim the chapters quicker. 10 took me over an hour and 1 nearly 2.5 hours (Positional Play most likely to occur here) and focus on the tests which would save some time. Im not sure that’s the best way to use the books for me though.

  25. Jonathan Bryant
    February 27th, 2017 at 14:29 | #27

    Incidentally, I’ve just completed a weekend tournament in Bristol. My general level of play – if not results definitely much improved by the Yusupov work.

    All I need is a chapter entitled: Not Tossing Away Games For No Good Reason Then Going On Tilt And Blowing The Next One As Well

    and that will be results sorted too.

    Anyway, work on book two starts as soon as I get home tomorrow.

  26. Ray
    February 27th, 2017 at 15:08 | #28

    I.m.o. there is only one objective measure of level of play, and that’s results (reflected in ELO rating) :-). I also have the feeling that my general understanding of chess has increased by training, but somehow it doesn’t reflect in my results. So rationally speaking that’s a waste of time and maybe I could better spend my time on chess psychology, fitness, mindfulness, etc…

  27. Jacob Aagaard
    February 27th, 2017 at 15:24 | #29

    @PaulH
    I disagree entirely. I also disagree with his rating bands, which are obviously wrong. But the material is fantastic.

  28. Jacob Aagaard
    February 27th, 2017 at 15:25 | #30

    @Ray
    I do think going through it again can be very useful. It depends if it has all gotten a bit easy for you or not, I would think. It is what is called the woodpecker method; see Pump up your Rating.

  29. Jacob Aagaard
    February 27th, 2017 at 15:27 | #31

    @Kassy
    Everyone is different. I personally think very slowly as well. Others think faster, and worse 😉

  30. Jacob Aagaard
    February 27th, 2017 at 15:29 | #32

    @Ray
    If you have a big weakness that is sabotaging your game, working on understanding will not bring results. But once you come past this problem, your understanding will pay off.

  31. chess25652
    February 27th, 2017 at 16:12 | #33

    I’m an 1800-1900 player. I originally started with the first blue book, then bought the orange revision/exam and expected it to be easy. It’s quite difficult (on average I get about 60-65% of the points), and given how many strong players recommend starting with the orange books, I have to consider following this program seriously.

  32. Csaba
    February 27th, 2017 at 16:16 | #34

    What do I do if I finished the first two orange books a while back but still want to do the challenge? Pretty sure if I don’t sign up I won’t do anything, lol. Maybe orange 3+blue 1 spring, blue 2+3 summer, god help me winter?

  33. February 27th, 2017 at 16:19 | #35

    I am in Jacob!

    Nowadays I do not play OTB chess, but I play FICS Tournament League (I have played about 240 games so far in a 6-year period). My rating is in the range of 2040-2080 (FICS standard) and I feel I have a lot of holes in my game. Anyway I want to give it a shot and sign up for “The Yusupov Challenge”. I bought the last Yusupov’s book 2 months ago and I have got all of them!

    If I can reach 2200 at FICS (playing standard games) it will be a very clear sign that Yusupov’s great books changed (improved) my chess skills. And it is not really important if I could work all of these in one year time or it will take me much longer. The most important is to have fun and enjoy the process… and in the meantime improve my knowledge.

    It would be great if every chess reader (player) could share how much time was needed for him (her) to finish each of the book. This way we could compare our results and see what are the changes.

    Thank you very much for the Yusupov Challenge! :). Short time make is a way harder to finish!

  34. Jacob Aagaard
    February 27th, 2017 at 16:22 | #36

    @Csaba
    This is an important question. Start on the third book. Keep the timeline. End at the end of October.

  35. James2
    February 27th, 2017 at 16:25 | #37

    I have ordered the first orange book this afternoon. It will hopefully be here by the end of this week and I will let you know how I found it. Therefore, I am signing up for the process.

    James

  36. Boki
    February 27th, 2017 at 16:38 | #38

    I am in !

  37. cfh64
    February 27th, 2017 at 16:45 | #39

    I’m halfway through the second orange book, but I’m definitely in for this challenge, although I think that the suggested time-per-chapter would be a bit tight for me too.
    Jacob, you are saying that the 12 positions on each test should take us 20-40 minutes, but that’s also in disagreement with Yusupov’s recommendations (1-2 hours for each test or even more if you get stuck). Do you recommend a time-limit for each kind of position (1-star, 2-stars, 3-stars)? I mean, tactics tests are of course a bit more straightforward (either you solve them to the end or you don’t), but for positional chapters, I can get lost very easily and think a lot of time because there’s no clear target to reach. I guess that in order to adjust to your 20-40 minutes, we shouldn’t use more than 1-2 minutes for 1-star problems, 3-4 for 2-star problems and 5-8 for 3-star positions… is that right?

  38. Kassy
    February 27th, 2017 at 18:31 | #40

    Argument about time it takes to do a chapter for an A/B player aside(it’s longer than Jacob thinks), I am in.
    I’m near the halfway point in book 3 of the orange series so I’ll just finish early. By my rough calculation(and counting revision as 3 chapters=1 chapter of others which seems to be what Jacob is talking about above) I’ll be done in Oct.
    That is quite the pace. Be tough to get much of anything else done chess-wise but if this is the broad education suggested, than we’ll give it a go.

  39. February 27th, 2017 at 19:27 | #41

    Challenge Accepted!

  40. Jonathan Bryant
    February 27th, 2017 at 20:20 | #42

    @Jacob

    If we’re doing this – albeit at difference paces – can we have a regular series of blog posts so that we can check in and discuss how we’re doing and whatnot.

    Could the last Monday of every month be Yusupov Monday? A Yusupov study group of sorts. I think that would help keep motivation up when the going gets tough.

  41. Amit
    February 27th, 2017 at 21:21 | #43

    Ok. I am in. I am not going to buy any more QC books unless I finish the Yusupov series. I have all 9. My Tsundoku levels are already very high and Jacob’s challenge is going to please my wife much more than me 🙂

  42. Csaba
    February 27th, 2017 at 22:03 | #44

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I was kinda worried you would say that, OK! Sign me up.

  43. Kinghartattack
    February 27th, 2017 at 22:22 | #45

    Thank you for the challenge. Count me in!

  44. Matt Phelps
    February 28th, 2017 at 00:54 | #46

    OK. I’m in! I am a USCF rated 1700 player that’s never really taken any time to improve. Lots and lots of books, most never opened more than a few times. I even already had the second orange book from way back. A chapter a day I can do.

    Onward to 1800! 🙂

  45. Wayne Hatcher
    February 28th, 2017 at 04:39 | #47

    Ok, I’m in……….sounds like a good disciplined study…..all 10 books!

  46. McBear
    February 28th, 2017 at 07:38 | #48

    Coincidentially I’ve recently started revising the first of the blue books. So I will complete this book first and then go back to the Orange books. I hope I will be able to do the first orange book in March nevertheless to keep up with the proposed schedule. The proposed challenge motivates me to do all of them this time. In the past I always stopped studying one book. Good idea!

  47. McBear
    February 28th, 2017 at 07:39 | #49

    stopped studying “after” one book

  48. Tubbygold
    February 28th, 2017 at 07:56 | #50

    Hi Jacob – Excellent idea, I´m in.

  49. Frank
    February 28th, 2017 at 10:17 | #51

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Hi Jacob,

    is there any difference between doing it with the German version and the QC version?

  50. David
    February 28th, 2017 at 10:26 | #52

    Currently I have 2210 in Elo. Do you have a similar challenge for the GM-prep series? (Have already done Positionaly Play and own Calculation and Strategic play and will buy Endgame play any day now.)

  51. Csaba
    February 28th, 2017 at 11:11 | #53

    @David
    Hi David, actually Adhiban recently wrote on facebook that he had some trouble even with one of the blue books (the “easiest” blue book), so maybe you could do this challenge too? (I am 1700, I don’t have any idea what it’s like to be your rating, so feel free to ignore this advice)

  52. Csaba
    February 28th, 2017 at 11:12 | #54

    The exact quote by GM Adhiban is

    “In the first test that I solved I got totally bullied! I could hardly get the passing marks! It was a complete eye-opener and shows that the book was of high quality.

    I brought back my highest level of concentration and then scored full marks in every chapter! It was indeed great fun to solve the book.”

  53. MaxiS92
    February 28th, 2017 at 11:15 | #55

    Count me in. Aside from doing “Build up 2” completely when it first came out in Germany, I never really finished the others after getting the QC prints for lack of motivation (started similar projects a few times though).

  54. February 28th, 2017 at 11:39 | #56

    Time for me to start studying seriously again. I’m in.

  55. David
    February 28th, 2017 at 13:09 | #57

    @Csaba
    It is true that I probably would miss 10 or 20 % in the higher Yusupov books (Beyond Basics and Mastery), but as Aagaard writes himself: “the best level of difficulty is 110-120 %”. Therefore the GM-prep books.

    When, for instance, I solve Positional Play, I usually score 4-5 /6 correct exercises. This book has been estimated to be good for at least 1800, but it feels just slightly too easy for me. I do feel more sure of myself after having worked through most of it, though.

  56. Hamish
    February 28th, 2017 at 15:16 | #58

    Is there an equivalent suggestion for ~2100 FIDE (ambitious, at least once my degree is over!)

  57. Niall Doran
    February 28th, 2017 at 15:36 | #59

    I quite like the idea of doing a book a month, especially as I’ve done 2.5 books in probably as many years! However I think that powering through a chapter a day is only really possible for the tactical chapters, as you already know what to look for in the exercises.

    For the endgame chapters, there are often very concrete positions that must be learnt by heart, notably positions with fortresses. For me, these positions require a lot of repetition to learn, much like learning vocabulary/grammar in a foreign language. Very rarely do we learn a new word by seeing it once, or even loads of times in quick succession, if we never see it again. If I tell you that ‘Kamelåså’ is the Swedish word for ‘chair’, will you remember it next week? Probably not. If you work in a Swedish furniture shop and see the word every day, you will probably remember it though!

    Regular revision would seem to be the only way to go, and to this end I’ve actually created Chessbase files with the different positions, classed by endgame chapter, so that I can go over stuff I have doubts about.

    For strategy based exercises, very often I have to think long and hard about the position, trying to figure out what is relevant, whether to break in the centre, play a defensive move, play a quiet king move etc. as there are no hard and fast rules. This is a lot harder than the tactical chapters where you know you have to sac something on f7 or whatever. From what I’ve seen on different forums, most…

  58. Niall Doran
    February 28th, 2017 at 15:37 | #60

    From what I’ve seen on different forums, most people find the strategy chapters to be a lot harder than the rest of the books. Also reading through the full answer, which is sometimes a sizeable chunk of a full game with lots of annotations, takes more than 5 minutes!

    So for me, the times given by Jacob are excessively optimistic, whereas the times given by Yusupov (2 hours for the lesson plus two hours for the exercises) seem a good average.
    So I’m going to accept the challenge anyway, but halving the number of chapters to three a week on average, considering that when I’m on holiday or playing chess, I won’t be able to study!

  59. McBear
    February 28th, 2017 at 16:23 | #61

    Niall, I agree with you that you need more time for the strategic and Endgame chapters. On the other hand, every other chapter deals with tactics. And according to my experience, you can do these fairly quickly. For instance, after work I manage to solve a tactical chapter and read the introduction to a positional chapter. On the next day I can then do the exercises and so on. There are days on which I can’t study at all but there are also weekends and days off. All in all, it won’t be easy but I guess therefore it is a “challenge”.

  60. Boz
    March 1st, 2017 at 01:41 | #62

    Six chapters of Yusupov a week is pretty aggressive. I actually did the very first book on that pace several years ago when I had some time on my hands (due to a furlough at work). I found the book worked best when I worked on Yusupov’s chapters side by side with some of the explanations found in other books. It’s an ideal way to integrate your chess library and force yourself to go through some of the untouched but worthwhile books you may own. So, 1-1.5 hours can easily turn into 2.5 hours. I’d love to try the others that way but I’m not sure when I’ll have that kind of time.

  61. Mike Hehir
    March 1st, 2017 at 02:28 | #63

    Starting the Challenge tomorrow!

  62. Jacob Aagaard
    March 1st, 2017 at 11:55 | #64

    Obviously people should be allowed to make their own challenge. Just make it concrete so you know if you are keeping it or not!

  63. Milan Hruby
    March 1st, 2017 at 18:26 | #65

    Challenge accepted. Starting right now!

  64. March 1st, 2017 at 20:25 | #66

    Count me in!

  65. Frank
    March 1st, 2017 at 21:00 | #67

    Challenge accepted, start now.

    I guess a very big problem will be how to handle playing open tournaments without loosing track of the schedule. I will play three open for sure, probably four or five.

  66. Boki
    March 1st, 2017 at 22:31 | #68

    First day over. First chapter is rather easy, still missed one defence so 14/16 points

  67. Remco G
    March 1st, 2017 at 22:32 | #69

    My own challenge will be to finish a chapter per week. So far I’ve done up to chapter 7 in the second book; so half that book done in five weeks (start of april), all of that in eighteen weeks (about the second week of july). Then the third orange book in the second half of the year.

  68. Csaba
    March 1st, 2017 at 22:55 | #70

    OK just about passed chapter 1 today (13 points, 12 passing); I hope I will do better once I get warmed up. But does the challenge still work if I fail several of these chapters? I mean, sometimes I give an honest try to a position and I simply don’t see the move. If I sit and think about every position without any time restraints, that is: a) going to take a lot more time per chapter than 1 hour and b) not quite game conditions (you don’t have someone sitting on your shoulder telling you “you have a win here! take as much time as you want”). Maybe too specific a question but I think others also potentially have this problem.

  69. Peter
    March 2nd, 2017 at 00:29 | #71

    What a nice idea, i’m in with the german books. I just turned 56, my ELO mostly between 2200 and 2250. So i am curious, will there be a positive effect even for the older, a little worn out brains? I will let you know.
    And thanks for your wonderful books

  70. pabstars
    March 2nd, 2017 at 06:47 | #72

    Csaba, I’m sure that doing the exercises will improve your play significantly, also when you don’t pass tests. I find some of his chapters on endgames very difficult and just trying to solve the exercises and afterwards seeing the solutions will be an eye-opener!

  71. Csaba
    March 2nd, 2017 at 09:04 | #73

    I mean it’s hard to believe that doing 1 chapter a month, say, but getting perfect scores for it, would be better for me than 1 chapter a day but failing the tests half the time (after giving them a fair crack). 🙂 Is there anyone else who started with the third orange book like me?

  72. David
    March 2nd, 2017 at 09:41 | #74

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Jacob, would it be suitable to do a woddpecker with some of the GM-prep books?

  73. Jacob Aagaard
    March 2nd, 2017 at 10:09 | #75

    @David
    I am never sure if it makes more sense to do new exercises or to do Woodpecker. It is an interesting concept. No science exists on it, of course. I don’t know.

  74. Geoff
    March 2nd, 2017 at 10:38 | #76

    I am in. Starting from orange books.

  75. Alan
    March 2nd, 2017 at 13:55 | #77

    I’m going to commit to all ten books beginning with orange. I’m 59 from Houston and a perennial 1800 FIDE. Even getting to 2000 at my age would mean a lot. I am an active player so I will keep posting my progress.

  76. Pinpon
    March 2nd, 2017 at 18:39 | #78

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Maybe discipline is the key word to improve ?

  77. Stefan
    March 2nd, 2017 at 20:19 | #79

    Hi Jacob,
    I will take the challenebge and order all nine books (ths special offer), but please without any shipping rate as I live in germany which is still part of the EU , and there are no plans for an germanexit.

    All the best to you, I really love quality chess books

    Stefan

  78. Jacob Aagaard
    March 2nd, 2017 at 21:53 | #80

    @Pinpon
    No. Habits. If you survive on discipline, you can only do so for 4-6 weeks.

  79. Jacob Aagaard
    March 2nd, 2017 at 21:53 | #81

    @Alan
    Thank you. I look forward to hearing about it.

  80. Jesse Pinkman
    March 3rd, 2017 at 07:10 | #82

    One “procedural question”. What is better: using a physical chessboard or reproduce the lines in your favourite software?
    I think Yusupov would answer “physical”, but is there a great difference between the two methods?

  81. Hesse_Bub
    March 3rd, 2017 at 08:16 | #83

    @David
    I believe in the Woodpecker. In other sports, or even in chess opening training, you repeat, repeat and repeat to get the learnt knowledge into your subconcusioness. You have to give your brain some time to digest the information.
    Last year I did the woodpecker with Tacticmania. 5 Chapters in a row. Writing down which tactics I solved correctly, then again. If I had a tactic right both times it was finished, otherwise after the next five chapters the same tactics was solved a third time. Well, some I even had to solve a fourth time… Sometimes wondering “I already worked upon this tactic?”.
    Anyway I miss in Jacobs suggestion and the whole discussion time for repetion.

    A point that is related but may be worth a blog entry by Jacob is the topic planning of training. I train for marathon as well. I use, of course, a training plan, always based upon the notion “marathon day minus week 1, 2, ….12”. In some weeks I have to run more in other less, sometimes more long jogs or more sprints. I think you get it. You may buy a plan for some money or you may download decent plans for free. However, I never saw this kind of plan in any chess literature.

    So going back to the main topic how could we use the Yussupov series under consideration of a smart training plan?

  82. Reyk
    March 3rd, 2017 at 10:04 | #84

    Hesse_Bub :
    @David
    I believe in the Woodpecker. In other sports, or even in chess opening training, you repeat, repeat and repeat to get the learnt knowledge into your subconcusioness. You have to give your brain some time to digest the information.
    Last year I did the woodpecker with Tacticmania. 5 Chapters in a row.

    How much time did you spend on one session? Which intervals did you have between two sessions?

  83. pabstars
    March 3rd, 2017 at 11:50 | #85

    @Hesse_Bub: Off-topic, what is your marathon goal and where are you going to run it?

  84. Hesse_Bub
    March 3rd, 2017 at 12:53 | #86

    Pabstars: I already run some marathons in the past. Next one will be Salzburg May 7, running hopefully below 4 hours.
    This means as well I will have some test competitions before to get the feeling.

    In chess speak: My spring highlight is Karlsruhe Grenke Open over Easter. Before I play team competition “fully out of training” and even a minor open “out of training”. But how do we as chess player prepare for a major competition?

    Reyk: around two months time between each intervall.

    Having a

  85. pabstars
    March 3rd, 2017 at 13:50 | #87

    Hesse_Bub, good luck with the Salzburg marathon. If you want to enhance your chances of going sub-4, I can recommend Berlin and Hamburg marathons which have some very fast routes and some very enthusiastic spectators.

    I think that the preparation for chess tournaments may depend on your strength and how much you train on an everyday basis. If you are strong and play razor-sharp openings, you probably need to take a deep look at your repertoire. Otherwise solving a lot of tactical exercises will keep you on the alert I suppose.

  86. Mario
    March 3rd, 2017 at 14:02 | #88

    is the woodpecker method a kind of overlearning ¿? its better complemented with a nap
    This is an interesting article on the subject https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-power-of-overlearning/?WT.mc_id=SA_FB_MB_NEWS

  87. Csaba
    March 3rd, 2017 at 14:18 | #89

    @Jesse Pinkman
    I think I will mostly do through the positions and solutions with a tablet as it’s easier to go through variations. For solving the tests, I go through the diagrams quickly (some are obvious just from the page) and set the rest up on a physical board. Jacob just replied that he doesn’t believe in the physical vs computer distinction and it really saves some time to use some computer assistance (for moving the pieces I mean!!).

  88. Bulkington
    March 3rd, 2017 at 15:00 | #90

    Hey Quality-Chess-Team, what are you doing right now on that nice Friday afternoon ? I hope you are drinking a bottle of champaign and celebrate that ingenious booster for the Yusupov books. Next we all do the Kotronias-KID-competition… :-).

  89. worldchampion93
    March 3rd, 2017 at 15:39 | #91

    challenge accepted!

  90. Jacob Aagaard
    March 3rd, 2017 at 16:47 | #92

    @Bulkington
    John is working. Andrew and Colin travelling to the 4NCL. I am T-total and on the way to the gym for the second Hiit Circuit training of the day (was awoken at 5.30 am by Sagar Shah, so squeezed in an early session) and then off to a concert, me and six ladies. No idea how that happened, but I am sure I will enjoy it!

  91. Andrew Catanese
    March 3rd, 2017 at 17:02 | #93

    Challenge accepted!

  92. The Doctor
    March 3rd, 2017 at 18:09 | #94

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Working on Playing 1.e4 I hope!!!

  93. Csaba
    March 5th, 2017 at 20:20 | #95

    I hope I’m not spamming but I just failed my first test, that was quick (lesson 5). I just needed 1 point more! I hope I’ll manage to avoid these close calls in the future.

    Should we open a “Yusupov challenge thread” somewhere, or is this an OK place? I feel like if we keep posting about our progress that might be helpful/motivating.

  94. Jacob Aagaard
    March 5th, 2017 at 21:08 | #96

    @Csaba
    I will routinely come with new Yusupov Challenge posts. Please write on them. Please support each other guys!

  95. d.
    March 6th, 2017 at 19:59 | #97

    I’ve asked this in the past, but again to plea — it would be *amazing* to have these books on the ForwardChess app. Since this is an expensive task for QC, I’d happily contribute to a kickstarter or similar crowdfunding effort to help make this happen, and I’m sure many others would as well.

  96. Jacob Aagaard
    March 6th, 2017 at 22:00 | #98

    @d.
    The problem is that we do not have the rights to do this and Artur does not like the idea. So it is a complete no-go.

  97. Boki
    March 6th, 2017 at 22:07 | #99

    Did ch 5 today. Was difficult to Start doing as i was tired after work, but still forced myself. Will be much harder in the following weeks

  98. March 8th, 2017 at 22:38 | #100

    I will give it some consideration. Alas, I currently have only Chess Evolution 1. Either I must read them in the wrong order, or I must wait. I’ve ordered Build Up Your Chess 1.

  99. Gerry
    March 9th, 2017 at 04:53 | #101

    Csaba:
    Lesson 5 of which book?

  100. Csaba
    March 9th, 2017 at 07:00 | #102

    Gerry :
    Csaba:
    Lesson 5 of which book?

    Book 3 (Chess Evolution 1). I managed to fail Lesson 6 as well by one point!

  101. Gerry
    March 9th, 2017 at 07:26 | #103

    I started at Book 1 a long time ago and am only on Ch. 7 of Book 2 now. I am not doing the challenge as 1) I do not have that capacity for work and 2) I don’t think doing them fast would be any good to me. I do what I can when I can.

    I don’t know your rating but have you thought about going slower? My scores for book 2 are way down from Book 1 but I am passing. Worried when I get to Book 3….

    Still some beautiful stuff in those books.

  102. Csaba
    March 9th, 2017 at 08:41 | #104

    My rating is about 1700 (I am exercising great restraint and will spare you the lecture of “my rating is XXX but…”) and yes, going slower would, in principle, help. But the thing is, unless I stick to a schedule, going slower would mean not doing anything at all (I bought the books in 2012!!). One book a month is certainly faster than I’d like, but I think it will be a good thing to keep up with others and compare etc.

    I don’t want to get too much into my motivation or lack thereof but I will say that right when I went through the first book, my chess improved a lot and I had a great season that year and the year after that. Post hoc non ergo procter hoc, scio, scio, but I do think it was one of the main reasons. My goal is to get to 2000, kind of lofty given how poorly I’ve been playing lately, but it’s a rounder number than 1900, so there.

  103. Jacob Aagaard
    March 9th, 2017 at 10:38 | #105

    @Gerry
    Define your own challenge please. What I am asking for is that you get a consistent regiment of training and follow it. Your own pace, your own goals, your own style. It is creating the habit of a little all the time that I am really pushing for.

  104. Matt Phelps
    March 9th, 2017 at 14:01 | #106

    Update: I got book 1 (and 3; I already had 2) on March 3rd and am already trough Chapter 5. Spending about 30-40 minutes on each chapter. To save time, I’m not using a physical board, and I’m not keeping track of points scored in the test positions at the end of the chapters. I’m just trying to solve the puzzles, and if I don’t get it within a minute or two, I look up the answer.

    This is my own personal theory of solving puzzles: If you don’t recognize the pattern right away (within a minute or two), go ahead and look up the answer and try to “burn in” the theme. The point of tactics puzzles (to me anyway) is to expose yourself to the pattern so it becomes “automatic”. Calculating is a different skill, I try to work on that by playing, and analyzing games without a computer. Anyway, I’m only a 1700 player so take this with a massive grain of salt :).

    Jacob, what do you think of my approach?

    Good luck everyone!

    -Matt

  105. March 9th, 2017 at 15:15 | #107

    @Matt Phelps
    A _lot_ of the value I got from the Yusupov books was in doing the necessary calculation after I already identified the tactical pattern. A lot of the problems took me well over a minute or two.

  106. Gerry
    March 9th, 2017 at 15:40 | #108

    Matt,
    I think you might be treating this like a tactics book. Forgive me as you did not ask for my opinion but I think the value will come from doing them on the board and writing down the variations (and I am not great at this.) So much of the book is not tactics. Good luck.

    P.S. how do you add the “@username” and does that individual then get a message saying to commented to them?

  107. McBear
    March 9th, 2017 at 16:04 | #109

    @Matt Phelps

    Matt, in my opinion you would gain more from the books if you really did the “hard work”. Because that’s like in a real game, you see a tactical motif or have a vague idea what the outcome should be like but you have to figure out the details to see if you can make it work. I notice this sometimes when I go through the books that I find the first move but then there is a hole in my lines or I calculate two lines of the solution correctly to the end but I fail to calculate a third line because I did not consider this resource for my opponent. In a real game such things can be fatal, of course.

  108. Matt Phelps
    March 9th, 2017 at 17:34 | #110

    @Gerry
    This is a good point. So far, the material has been almost all tactics. I do expect to spend more time on the strategical topics.

    However, my main point is still that I feel time is wasted trying to work out all the “if he goes here, I go there” calculations when you are trying to learn a particular tactic or strategical concept. I think that masters and above “calculate better” than us amateurs because they have more patterns in their head where they don’t *have* to calculate; they just “know it.” I’m trying to get more of those into my aged, addled brain and I find it more rewarding to do it this way. As I said, I do calculation as a separate exercise.

    I appreciate all the alternate opinions though!

    -Matt

  109. Oreo.Y
    March 10th, 2017 at 03:01 | #111

    I had a quick question for Jacob. I have the Yusupov series and i go through 2 chapters a day , I just wanted to know if this pace makes sense or will i benefit from doing 1 chapter a day ( cause many people do 1 per day ) . Thanks.

  110. Gerry
    March 10th, 2017 at 05:18 | #112

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Thanks for the books Jacob. I am trying to do a little study as often as possible but for me it is slow. For some strange reason I cannot study other chess books any more. But these are different as they force me to solve problems. I keep score so it becomes a challenge so I keep coming back to it.

  111. Csaba
    March 10th, 2017 at 06:55 | #113

    I think not scoring yourself is a bad idea. In fact I score myself instantly (or 3-4 exercises at a time) and it always gets very exciting towards the end! Maybe not how it’s supposed to be used but it definitely makes it a lot more fun. Or frustrating, depending on how well I did.

  112. Csaba
    March 11th, 2017 at 10:06 | #114

    Passed the last 3 in a row! I’m behind schedule (I’ll have business trips in the end of the month so I’m aiming for 1 chapter/day until the 24th) by 2 chapters but the plan was to recover everything in the weekend. I can’t believe I’ll be done with half a book just like that.

  113. Trefor
    March 12th, 2017 at 14:10 | #115

    Just started Build up Your Chess, Book 1 – I think my current grade equates to around 1950 but I intend to do all 10 books in order. Due to ill health I have had retirement thrust at me a few years too soon, but that does mean I have more time on my hands to do something that I hope will be enjoyable instructive and beneficial. It would be nice to push my rating above 2000 even at my age

  114. Jean-Marc
    March 20th, 2017 at 16:06 | #116

    I’m a bit late, but I’m OK for the challenge !
    I already began to read the first volume.

  115. pabstars
    March 21st, 2017 at 09:50 | #117

    My status in the Aagaard Challenge:

    Calculation: I have finished most of the exercises in the chapters Candidate Moves and Combinational Vision.
    Positional Chess: I have finished the exercises in the first 3 chapters (72) and done the first 6 in the 4th and final chapter.

  116. Gerrie
    March 24th, 2017 at 10:27 | #118

    I’m up for the challenge! Finished first book end of february, now half way through boost your chess 1.

  117. Call Perez
    March 25th, 2017 at 22:47 | #119

    OK, I’m in too! I haven’t played any OTB chess for a few years and don’t have a rating, but I’m planning a return to the board this year so it’ll be interesting to see how far I can get with the help of the Yusupov books.

    I’ve finished the first in the series and have just started on the second, so I’m still on schedule for now. Let’s see how long I can keep it up…

  118. Jarkko
    March 28th, 2017 at 07:23 | #120

    Very interesting challenge although I think I need more time for the material to sink in and also for the exercises. I’m currenty working on with the first book. Also I have failed 3 / 17 chapters and I wonder should I do these chapters again after I have finished the book – I probably will. My national OTB rating is 1685 and I think that the difficulty of the first book is definitely right for me.

  119. KevHun
    March 28th, 2017 at 10:50 | #121

    I am accepting challenge from the first book onwards. Its pretty clear that each chapter will take more than an hour for me, but its clear that the exercises are well worth doing and I seeing the impact on my game already.

  120. Csaba Daday
    March 29th, 2017 at 05:25 | #122

    OK I have only two chapters left out of my first one (Orange 3). I am fully expecting a 0 for the Mate in 3 one but looking forward to tackling QvR! With my current “knowledge” I’d always draw with the queen and lose with the rook.

  121. pabstars
    March 29th, 2017 at 09:54 | #123

    @Csaba: I don’t know if this is any comfort but in my chess club we have had a grandmaster train us several times this season. He is very strong in the endgame but he told us that his results were like this: With Queen vs rook he has drawn 2 games being the strong side and lost 1 being the weak side 🙂

  122. Csaba Daday
    March 29th, 2017 at 17:06 | #124

    As long as you don’t lose your queen to a skewer in my book that’s a win lol.

  123. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2017 at 19:52 | #125

    @Matt Phelps
    I dislike it intensely. I think you should train concentration.

  124. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2017 at 19:53 | #126

    @Oreo.Y
    One of my personal students did it faster than that and gained 600 points. But he would have gone up anyway. He started with them rated 1500, he now has a few GM scalps under his belt.

  125. Dewi
    April 1st, 2017 at 20:03 | #127

    I am in, sort of. I’m starting late and would require about 3 hours per chapter, but I have a head start having already worked through book 1 and half way through book 2 (in 6 months). I can’t keep the one chapter a day pace, but I will try and stay ahead of the pack, and maybe speed up to a chapter a day as you close in. I have also roped in a couple of my chess club friends into a structured training programme. We are going to start at the third book of level 1, doing one chapter a week. Add that to my headstart and a chapter a week as i continue through book two and I might just make level 2 at the same time as you guys. For info I am about 1600 national grade and about 1500 FIDE. I’ll post updates here occasionally and keep an eye for your motivating posts :). Anybody who wants to share a motivating email or join our chess club plan more closely, email me delynlocks(at)gmail.com

  126. Jacob Aagaard
    April 4th, 2017 at 03:15 | #128

    @Dewi
    The main point as far as I am concerned is consistency. Make a plan that is achievable and challenging as well. A good balance. Something you can see through to the end. And then use your discipline to get going for those first difficult weeks, until you got the momentum. If the speed picks up, great, if not, don’t worry. I am a slow thinker, but slow and steady and get you far.

  127. Oreo.Y
    April 9th, 2017 at 07:51 | #129

    Thanks Jacob

  128. Dewi
    April 9th, 2017 at 10:42 | #130

    Ha, well i have managed two chapters since my post, so you lot doing the challenge are going to be closing rapidly :))

  129. Gerry
    April 9th, 2017 at 19:40 | #131

    @Dewi
    I am not taking the challenge per say as I am working at a snail’s pace for over a year now. I am at chapter 9 in book 2.
    I would say if you could keep doing 2 chapters per week consistently that is very good.

  130. Csaba
    April 10th, 2017 at 06:41 | #132

    I’m still here although I skipped the final exam of the first (or third) book. Working on the first blue book, some of the chapters are impossible, some almost trivial. Anyway, I decided to go through the tests in order (1-2-3-..12) and to spend max 5 minutes/exercise to make it more like an IRL game. Of course I do spend up to 30 minutes sometimes in real life but I wouldn’t have 6 hours/test.

  131. Gerry
    April 10th, 2017 at 14:51 | #133

    What kind of chapters are you finding very difficult in the blue book?

  132. Dewi
    April 10th, 2017 at 22:47 | #134

    @gerry. I am up to chapter 14 book 2. And i have a day off wprl tomorrow so aiming to get a couple done then.

    It’s taken me about 7 months to get this far, and book 2 feels harder than book 1.

  133. Gerry
    April 11th, 2017 at 04:31 | #135

    @Dewi
    Just starting Ch. 10 of Book 2 and my scores have dropped more than expected compared to Book 1. Obviously worried about what the future books will be like score-wise but I like (most) of the material a lot.
    I don’t seem to get a lot of the themes in my OTB games yet but sometimes I do in online blitz and it can be a beautiful thing.

  134. steve
    April 12th, 2017 at 16:30 | #136

    will be starting this challenge from now. im 136 ecf at moment

  135. Csaba
    April 13th, 2017 at 11:26 | #137

    @Gerry
    Sorry, I missed that that was a reply to me! There was a chapter on “Candidate moves” where I got maybe 10% of the possible points (I guess a bit more but not by a lot!) , one on the endgame (just called “General endgame principles”) and I think one on the centre? Of course this can be a bit of an issue about me rather than the book, but it can also be that the chapters that have relatively unassuming titles (less of a hint) are harder to solve. Still, reading through the solutions is very instructive, I don’t mind much if I don’t get good grades. Although ceteris paribus I like passing!

  136. jeremy
    April 14th, 2017 at 19:46 | #138

    I’m almost finished the second book and couldn’t think of better motivation to get through them all. Thank you Artur and Jacob for putting together such great materials!

  137. Gerry
    April 15th, 2017 at 01:19 | #139

    @Csaba
    Thanks. Those kind of chapters are quite.

    My scores were about an average of 82% for book 1 and are dropping into the high 60s for book 2. Any numbers from others?

  138. April 15th, 2017 at 11:13 | #140

    @Gerry
    For the five books I’ve done: 85.3%, 78.5%, 81.0%, 64.7%, 60.1%.

  139. Csaba
    April 15th, 2017 at 15:06 | #141

    My numbers are hovering around 90-110% .. of the passing grade. lol. On a very good day, I am within 1-2 points (or rarely, above) the “good mark”. I think I could get to “good” if I followed Yusupov’s timeline rather than Jacob’s (much like “I think I could be 2000+ if I blunder checked every move” lol – probably true, but immaterial). Not a knock on the Challenge at all, mind you, as I know that I take years and years per book if I look for the ideal time (2-3 hours, weekend afternoon, well-rested but not yet tired) for each chapter. Thanks a lot for creating the challenge, and I’m sure I’ll get better at solving these both from the book and over the board.

  140. Karl
    April 17th, 2017 at 06:27 | #142

    When you have the skills for 2000 or 2100 and more, i hope you rush through all that easy material in the orange books.

    For me with a very established rating around 1750 FIDE and really bad calculation skills some chapters are very hard. I had divided the chapter 9 “The use of traps” test into two smaller tests with each 6 positions and tried more than one hour each, one on thursday evening, one on friday. The result was 10/24 – not passed.

    Then after a short break i looked at the first diagram in the text of Ch. 10 “stalemate combinations”, worked through the whole chapter and solved the test with 15/20 – good. That all took me about another one and a half hour including build up some positions on the wooden board.

    My individual pace will never-ever be fast as Jacobs original challenge (1 book per Month). Jussupow planned the material as one-year course. You had around two weeks for each chapter. I want to do at least one chapter each week now. With the easier tactical chapters i think two chapters each week must also be possible. So the task was to set something personal challenging.

    So my personal task is to solve two chapters every week!

  141. Thomas Peterson
    April 17th, 2017 at 15:03 | #143

    I am in too! I have been doing about 50 tactics problems on CT-Art for the past few years, but I still have not studied any other aspects of chess except for basic opening play. I will attempt one chapter per day, and then post my results after I complete each of the three series. Thank you for the inspiration, Jacob.

  142. Thomas Peterson
    April 17th, 2017 at 15:06 | #144

    Obviously, I meant “50 tactics problems per day on CT-Art…”

  143. Dewi
    April 17th, 2017 at 21:36 | #145

    Well i have managed three fresh chapters and to resit three that i failed earlier during the easter bank holiday weekend. Which puts me properly and ready to go at chapter 17, boost your chess, fundamentals. The second book. I’m going to try and get to the end of the book by may 1st. Then sometime in May I will sit the end of book exam. My chess24 rating has risen from 1500 to 1812 since picking up where i left off in book 2. Though admittedly I am putting in more effort in my chess24 games, no rum whilst playing, setting them up on a board, etc etc.

  144. Jacob Aagaard
    April 19th, 2017 at 09:47 | #146

    @Thomas Peterson
    You are welcome.

  145. lindokuhle
    April 19th, 2017 at 17:49 | #147

    hi , im lindokuhle from south africa. i jus started this challenge too. i just want to know if its okay to skip all the tactical chapters in the first book if im also working on another puzzle book? they seem easy compared maybe to john shaw’s puzzle book.. and also want to know if its advisable to do maybe 5chapters a day…since i have all time.

  146. Jacob Aagaard
    April 21st, 2017 at 11:33 | #148

    @lindokuhle
    This challenge is about you defining it and sticking to it. As you want it, as it works for you. It is about community, about motivating each other. Not about criticism and standardisation of people’s approaches. There is a main challenge, and then people can define their own. I think most people do.

  147. croflash
    April 21st, 2017 at 13:31 | #149

    After slugging for the past three months and switching between books here and there, I decided to give the challenge a go and finished the first book of the orange series today (85.5 percent overall). I did 18 chapters the past two weeks (rated around 2000 at age 29), which is definitely possible if you insist on doing it. I guess if you have a lot of time and motivation (obviously your playing strength matters as well) you can even do two chapters a day. Most exercises in the first book weren‘t too difficult, but the most important thing is that they force you think while continually getting concrete and immediate feedback. This is true regardless of your playing strength and shows me once more that you need to get involved in order to reap some benefits. Watching passively may give you some new ideas, but unless you can put those patterns into pratice, it doesn‘t matter much. Nobody would come to the conclusion that passively watching a football game will improve your fitness or make you a better football player. I want my brain to overwrite some old, not so stellar patterns and replace them with better ones. This takes practice and repetition. If you have been doing it wrong before, the brain needs some time to let the new patterns sink in and adjust.

    So, yeah, after lurking on this blog for a long time, I believe Jacob is right about his general approach to chess. Constantly forcing yourself to think and deliberate pratice is the best way to improve. The only caveat…

  148. croflash
    April 21st, 2017 at 13:31 | #150

    … is that I have got the books in German. To make you guys feel better though, I‘m also working through John‘s first book of Playing 1. e4 😉

  149. James2
    April 21st, 2017 at 14:20 | #151

    Hi John,

    To supplement Croflash’s second post (#150) I wanted to ask you if we might hope for (expect?) volume 2 of Playing 1 e4 before the beginning of September this year? The new season starts around the end of September and I was really hoping to have your book for then (probably like lots of others).

    Thank you for your help.

    James

  150. Csaba
    April 23rd, 2017 at 11:38 | #152

    OK, I just finished chapter 20 from my second book (first blue book). I was struggling with a cold for the last week or so and got pretty dismal results on most tests. I hope I’ll find some time to redo them (at least looking through the solutions) at some point. I will try doing them first thing in the morning in the future, as my working hours are flexible and I have no family to take care of. 1 1/2 hours should be OK both for the chapters and for my schedule. I can combine working on chess and.. some of the morning activities, let’s leave it at that.

  151. weng nian
    April 23rd, 2017 at 14:17 | #153

    World No 1 woman player recommends the Yusupov books for beginners
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEB4dZ7c8xs
    at around 4:40 ……

  152. Jacob Aagaard
    April 24th, 2017 at 16:26 | #154

    @Csaba
    We do not recommend reading our books in the shower.

  153. Csaba
    April 24th, 2017 at 17:42 | #155

    lol! I guess I’ll have to read some QC books on Forward Chess on my waterproof phone in the meantime. :p

  154. Karl
    April 26th, 2017 at 06:50 | #156

    Now i’m in my 7th chapter in the 3rd week, that’s fine for me and my plan. Maybe i will set my mark to three chapters each week.

    I have one “not passed”, one “passed” and four “good”.

    In the past i got too much frustrated by getting 1 of 3 points because of missing some sidelines and by too advanced chapters that time. So i stopped in the middle of the second book. But i improved overall and the orange series seems to be the right stuff for me by now. I will also do the three blue ones from my bookshelf.

    Working with that good material also leads me back to other good and well selected tactic books with human solutions instead of doing some random computer generated stuff.

    @Jacob Aagard: Thank you very much! Your challenge pushed me to start working on chess again after a long time on wasting time on improvement killers!

  155. Subtle
    April 26th, 2017 at 20:15 | #157

    By accident I started this exact thing, at just about the same time.
    I have just finished book 1.

    Then I started the wrong book 2, I started the “next” Build up your chess series; the blue one. Man, it’s quite a jump in difficulty!

    Reading this blog made me realize I need to pick up Boost your chess 1 now.

    I wish it was possible to do this on ForwardChess. I know Artur is against it. However, in the blue books (which await me) there are so many long, long lines. And long, long analysis variations. All that needs to be played through, and that’ll take ages to move manually. Even downloading a pgn isn’t too helpful cause you gotta click all the analysis, too…

  156. mike
    April 27th, 2017 at 08:05 | #158

    Hello,
    My fide rating is about 1650, and I have read the first 6 books (3 orange + 3 blue) and the orange Revision & Exam in the last 1,5 year. In paraller I also read Botvinnik’s “100 games”, and de la Villa’s endgame book.
    Since I have realized that my positional/strategic play is inferior to tactical, I decided to review again all the positional/strategic chapters from the 6 books.I have already finished the 3 orange for a second time, and I am reading the first blue again.

    My comments:
    1.The books are objectively the best tool for a chess player who doesn’t have a trainer.
    2.I think that the solutions in positional/strategic chapters need more comments. In many exercises there are moves that seems to be “equal” (by Stockfish) with the ones pointed out by Arthur. However, they are not mentioned in the analysis in the solution section. At least for me (~1650 rating) it’s not clear why they do not reserve at least 1 point.
    3. Revision & Exam 1 is much more difficult from the 3 orange books

    @Jacob
    Would it be helpful for me (~1650 rating) to start the first green book or it would be too difficult?

    Regards,
    M.

  157. Csaba
    April 27th, 2017 at 16:10 | #159

    I beat my own record in Chapter 23 in the first blue book (“Improve your pieces”): 0 for the first 9 problems in a row! Yes I was not picking very good plans overal and anyway I was in a bad shape, but still 0 points was a bit harsh. I think the point is to try to understand his reasons for his solutions when it comes to the positional chapters but try not to take the zeroes too seriously.

  158. Gerry
    April 30th, 2017 at 17:28 | #160

    I know the scores on chapters don’t relate to a rating but I try hard to get questions right and get a good score. I found the exercises and answers in 9. The Use of Traps poorly laid out. Sometimes you had to guess a bonehead move the opponent would make first. Did not find that helpful.

    Would be much better if the exercise said something like Black played 1…Re4 and then ask you to continue.

    Working on Ch. 12 in Book 2 in my Multi-Year Project ™.

    Karl :
    When you have the skills for 2000 or 2100 and more, i hope you rush through all that easy material in the orange books.
    For me with a very established rating around 1750 FIDE and really bad calculation skills some chapters are very hard. I had divided the chapter 9 “The use of traps” test into two smaller tests with each 6 positions and tried more than one hour each, one on thursday evening, one on friday. The result was 10/24 – not passed.
    Then after a short break i looked at the first diagram in the text of Ch. 10 “stalemate combinations”, worked through the whole chapter and solved the test with 15/20 – good. That all took me about another one and a half hour including build up some positions on the wooden board.
    My individual pace will never-ever be fast as Jacobs original challenge (1 book per Month). Jussupow planned the material as one-year course. You had around two weeks for each…

  159. steve
    May 11th, 2017 at 13:17 | #161

    Hi ive been going through the first book trying to supplement it with analysing master games but what is best way of doing this gtm or playing through alot of games quickly

  160. Csaba
    May 12th, 2017 at 07:45 | #162

    Yikes, I’m only on lesson 6, gotta try to speed up. It’s painful, messing up so many “blue” exams, but the last two were pretty easy. Especially the chapter on the “bridge building” in rook endings (inter alia). I wonder it it’s purposeful, the insertion of a few “gimme” chapters for encouragement, or if this is my natural variance in (lack of) skill?

  161. Dennis K
    May 12th, 2017 at 15:05 | #163

    steve :
    Hi ive been going through the first book trying to supplement it with analysing master games but what is best way of doing this gtm or playing through alot of games quickly

    I’m not quite qualified to answer this, but I will just note that both answers have been given by strong players/teachers. Purdy swears by gtm (guess the move), Silman recommends playing through a lot of games quickly (to get the patterns into your head). I prefer Purdy’s method, but who am I? Maybe Jacob will break the tie. 🙂

  162. Jerry Snitselaar
    May 13th, 2017 at 03:27 | #164

    Silman recommends both methods.

  163. Jacob Aagaard
    May 14th, 2017 at 20:58 | #165

    I personally prefer working slowly. There is some science behind creating the right habits by being in control of what you are doing. I do not think you learn anything from simply guessing and you learn rather little from playing things through quickly. This is what I do with all my students, strong or weak. The stronger ones can keep the concentration going for longer, but I still hope for some effort from the less strong.

  164. steve
    May 14th, 2017 at 21:40 | #166

    tnx for the reply

  165. May 15th, 2017 at 04:28 | #167

    Jacob you are an excellent writer.

    I am rated around 1200 FIDE, and my soul wants [cries] to get past 2000 FIDE rating.

    Now I know the shortcut to cross 2000+ FIDE rating very easily [Mr. Yusupov’s 9 Masterpieces]

    I have one query.

    What would happen if an amateur by chess rating and mature person by age [34 yrs old] tries to go through 3 excellent GM series book of yours i.e. Positional Play, Calculation, Endgame Play.

    Where would my rating go from 1200 if I read them religiously.

    I will give the reason why I want read only these by giving my own logic.

    POSITIONAL PLAY:
    I have seen other positional good books saying ask these questions like king safety, pawn structure, threats, etc etc to take a positional decision.

    But you are saying it requires only 3 questions and that is easy to ask and answer in every position, compared to remembering many questions for an amateur player.

    Of course for an good chess player with lot of patterns in mind, it might come automatically, but for an amateur players mind, it would make it more difficult to keep many things in mind. We more often are always in look out for mating the opponents kings for some reason.

    We amateurs always look like fearless warriors moving pieces all over the board [with no real threat to experienced players]

    CALCULATION:
    At the end of the day, I feel it’s all about candidate moves.

    For choosing a good candidate move I read talking to yourself about the plan would help.

    I…

  166. Gollum
    May 15th, 2017 at 11:40 | #168

    @Thippesh

    I can reply: You will get incredibly frustrated and will abandon them or either you will just try to solve them more or less randomly and get the same result.

    I am at 2200 and I am suffering endless pain with endgame manual (damn rook endings! and I’m only in the challenging chapter). Calculation may be a tad easier, but there is no way a 1200 can get more than an exercise or two right. Lastly, positional play is the easies one IMO, but will give tons of trouble to a 1800…

    Go to Yusupov. He covers basically everything that will be useful at your level.

  167. Jacob Aagaard
    May 15th, 2017 at 14:17 | #169

    @Thippesh
    Gollum is right. It will not help you.

  168. May 15th, 2017 at 18:39 | #170

    @Gollum
    Oh ok I got it.
    Thanks a lot.

    Will start with Yusupov books.

  169. Pinpon
    May 15th, 2017 at 21:02 | #171

    ?! – Don’t forget to play games against opponents of your ( hopefully improving ) level . Never seen anyone gaining elo points without playing .

  170. Jacob Aagaard
    May 16th, 2017 at 07:41 | #172

    @Pinpon
    Study the career of the president of the ECU and you may learn something.

  171. Boki
    May 16th, 2017 at 08:24 | #173

    Gone is the Prize for ECU-Book of the year…

  172. Pinpon
    May 16th, 2017 at 08:45 | #174

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Right . There are a few exceptions ( btw not mentioned by Yussupov in his books)
    Reminds me of ( good ? ) old time .

  173. Jacob Aagaard
    May 16th, 2017 at 12:41 | #175

    @Boki
    Ah well. I have plenty of handshakes with crocks to show :-).

  174. Pinpon
    May 16th, 2017 at 16:50 | #176

    @Jacob Aagaard
    No dubious draws for sure

  175. Thomas
    May 18th, 2017 at 17:13 | #177

    Hello Jacob, yesterday I received _Boost Your Chess 2_ in the mail, and in the back of the book I see information about the “Grand Master Preparation” series. My question is who will fill the gap between Yusupov’s series and yours? Who will provide the workbooks, manuals, and instruction for the daunting transition from Master to IM? Perhaps, yourself and GM Jussupow??

  176. May 22nd, 2017 at 12:16 | #178

    I am patiently going through Revision and Exam for the 2nd time. I combine with with reading King’s Indian Warfare which is my new favorite inspirational book. There are 49 main games but rather hidden is the generous number of introductory games and fragments at the start of each chapter. Looking forward to a possible series of Other ‘Warfare’ books.

  177. Jacob Aagaard
    May 22nd, 2017 at 20:35 | #179

    @Thomas
    It is a one step journey.

    @Michael Yip
    Yes, that would be nice.

  178. Thomas Peterson
    June 3rd, 2017 at 02:48 | #180

    @Jacob
    As it is a one step journey, we shall all participate in the Aagaard Challenge in one year!

  179. Thomas Peterson
    June 3rd, 2017 at 13:43 | #181

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I see that you had previously published an “Excelling at” series, as well as _Attacking Manual_ 1 & 2. Should we read these works prior to the GM Prep. series? If so, which ones? Also, what is the order of the GM series?

    Thank you in advance.

    I still have a very long road ahead of me with the Yusupov series, but I do love to plan ahead, and to pick up copies when I am able.

  180. jasper
    June 3rd, 2017 at 15:01 | #182

    @Thomas Peterson
    I think there have been some comments on this before on the blog.

    If you search on the site you should be able to find these or try this link Excelling at

  181. Thomas Peterson
    June 3rd, 2017 at 15:34 | #183

    @jasper

    Okay, thanks!

  182. Thomas Peterson
    June 3rd, 2017 at 15:51 | #184

    @jasper
    I found the thread. My exact question has indeed been answered before by GM Aagaard: December 2nd, 2015 at 21:52 | #14 Reply | Quote
    @saintex
    Excelling at Chess Calculation covers a lot of the ground in Calculation. It can be read, but is not essential.
    Attacking Manual 1 lays the ground for Attack & Defence, but is again not essential.
    Positional Play comes before Strategic Play, but is again not essential.
    Excelling at Technical Chess from the Everyman books is also worth working with. Otherwise I would stick with the Quality Chess stuff.

  183. Thomas Peterson
    June 3rd, 2017 at 16:11 | #185

    @Thomas Peterson
    …Calculation is the workbook for Excelling at Chess Calculation. Attack & Defence is the workbook accompanying Attacking Manual 1 and Endgame Play is a workbook for Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual and Excelling at Technical Chess.

  184. Gerry
    June 4th, 2017 at 06:35 | #186

    I scored an average of 82% in Book 1 and after 15 chapters in Book 2 my average is 71%. Wondering if others have similar experiences. I really like the chess in the books but am wondering what I will understand or get out of them when I get to Book 3 etc.?

    I am using Yusupov’s recommended approach for the exercises. Thanks for any thoughts.

  185. June 4th, 2017 at 13:15 | #187

    @Gerry
    My scores for the first five books (all I’ve done) are 85%, 78%, 81%, 65%, and 60%. I think I’m still getting something out of them; I might feel differently if and when my scores fall below 50%.

  186. Gerry
    June 4th, 2017 at 23:06 | #188

    @dfan
    Thanks. IIRC you crossed the threshold that I would like to cross so these numbers are pertinent to me. My numbers are a bit lower so I may struggle still to get there but I will keep trying and will also try a few more of these books. Maybe after the Orange Books I should take a break and study other things before trying the blue series?!

    Anyone else keep scores for each book? Again I realize there is a lot that goes into competitive chess and working through books may not translate into OTB improvement.

  187. Tim S
    June 5th, 2017 at 09:01 | #189

    I scored 90% on book 1 then skipped ahead to the first blue book. I’m 9 chapters in and averaging 77% so far. I may go back to the other orange books but thought it would be a more optimal use of my time to make it tougher. My FIDE is c.2100 if useful to know.

  188. Csaba
    June 5th, 2017 at 10:07 | #190

    I’m going to repeat book 5 (my 3rd in the challenge) in June. While I did go through it in May, a lot of the chapters I did very quickly/superficially and my chess seems to be getting worse as a result of sloppy calculation that I got into the habit of. I’m not complaining about the challenge though, it’s mostly a question of time management and motivation.

  189. June 13th, 2017 at 17:51 | #191

    @dfan

    Agreed. I think this is one of the unrecognized “secrets” of Artur’s methodology.

  190. Thomas Peterson
    June 18th, 2017 at 03:29 | #192

    @Jacob: What happened in the final of the last game Fenil-Aagaard? I couldn’t find the video from your phone.

  191. Jacob Aagaard
    June 18th, 2017 at 13:11 | #193

    @Thomas Peterson
    I won. Will see if I have it somewhere when I return from Greece.

  192. Thomas Peterson
    June 22nd, 2017 at 17:05 | #194

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Great, I look forward to seeing it. Everyone was having a great time there, and you had a fan in the crowd 🙂 It reminded me of when I played a few games against good Indian friend of mine, Pariyat, at his home -such a cozy atmosphere. Thank you for sharing the video it was entertaining and nice to see.

  193. Tony
    July 4th, 2017 at 14:13 | #195

    @Ray

    Ray, just for reference sake, what is your elo in FIDE. I wanna know the ratings of ppl whose completed the books

  194. David
    July 14th, 2017 at 11:01 | #196

    Jacob: how would you estimate the rating band of the green Yusupov books? Would you say 1900-2200 or would you estimate higher?

    Would you say that the GM-prep books “start where Yusupovs end”?

    What Queens gambit system will Nikos book d4d5 be based on?

  195. Jacob Aagaard
    July 14th, 2017 at 13:27 | #197

    @David
    Maybe 1800-2300. An important point is that you can actually learn over a great rating span.

    Yes, that’s what they are meant to be. The Yusupov books are really quite advanced in the far end.

    A lot of Kramnik, I think. Not my desk. Will be out September I think. Andrew could not finish it before Dundee, because of a back injury.

  196. Gerry
    July 15th, 2017 at 17:42 | #198

    How is it going everyone? I am on holidays atm so that is helping. When this started I was on Chapter 7 of Book 2. Now about to start Chapter 22. Averaging 71%.

    BTW there is one chapter in all books I am skipping – the Mate in x” ones. I hate them so much that if I have to study them to get better I will accept my rating where it is!

  197. Gerry
    July 30th, 2017 at 07:12 | #199

    Jacob:
    Looks like this is dying off or is getting hidden by all the comments about books. Is there anyway to make the Topic visible on the main blog page? Might get more responses then?

  198. Ray
    July 30th, 2017 at 09:19 | #200

    @Tony
    My FIDE rating is 2189 at the moment – down from 2220 two years ago 🙁 . But I keep telling myself my rating would have dropped more if I hadn’t studied the Yusupov series 🙂 .

  199. Gerry
    July 31st, 2017 at 16:53 | #201

    Ray, thanks for your post. I wish more would reply.

    One of your problems of course is you are at the high end of the scale. I remember 2 Masters talking one time and one called points at this level dog points. I wish you luck.

    Maybe it is something of a competitive nature that is stopping you moving forward. I feel this has hurt me over the years, not getting as much out of my knowledge at the board as I should. So I am thinking about the competitive aspects more as I move forward. Age is also not helping!

  200. Ray
    July 31st, 2017 at 17:18 | #202

    @Gerry
    I totally agree. That’s why I’m very interested in the psychological aspects as well. I really like the chapter on psychology in Jacob’s new book, and I also love Chess for Zebras. I’ve now started with the GM Training series, with book on Calculation. I’m trying to start a new habit, not setting my training goals too high (3 hours per week). Hope this helps, but for now I’ve decided to enjoy the process and not worry about my rating 🙂 .

  201. Pinpon
    July 31st, 2017 at 19:24 | #203

    Maybe chess improvement ( and rating ) is sort of ” punctuated equilibrium ” , the most difficult thing being to get out of one ´s comfort/ talent zone ( i.e. the level we get accustomed to for so many years – whatever it is )

  202. Pinpon
    July 31st, 2017 at 19:32 | #204

    Not finished TITB . Hopefully Jacob writes about rating glass ceiling .

  203. Jacob Aagaard
    July 31st, 2017 at 23:37 | #205

    @Gerry
    I will write a new post. Has been on the to-do list for a while.

  204. Jacob Aagaard
    July 31st, 2017 at 23:40 | #206

    @Ray
    I think enjoyment is a crucial part of enjoyment. Thank you for reminding me. I also think it is a crucial part of playing well.

  205. Gollum
    August 1st, 2017 at 06:57 | #207

    Ray :
    @Tony
    My FIDE rating is 2189 at the moment – down from 2220 two years ago . But I keep telling myself my rating would have dropped more if I hadn’t studied the Yusupov series .

    Curiously my peak was at 2228 three years ago when I had not studied any chess in some years and playing only in team events on the weekend. I then played a tournament and dropped 50 points so I decided to study chess seriously so that would not happen again.

    Now my rating is 2167 after having studied around 20 books. At this point I am sure it has something to do with psychology or lack of playing (I have been playing one tournament a year plus the team event) but I am confident that somewhere in the future my playing level will burst (for example last year I had a performance of 2300 over 12 games, so I know I am capable).

    According to Dvoretsky you cannot reasonably expect any improvement in your level before at least a year. I have spent three years now, so it has to be soon.

  206. Björn
    August 1st, 2017 at 14:19 | #208

    Or is it that the type of people that play in tournaments and team competitions is different (not necessarily stronger in one vs. the other)? I know a lot of people like myself that due to family commitments only/mostly play team events for their club, but no week-long (or 2 week) tournaments. I have the impression that that leads to chess that is a bit weak on precise calculation (and tries to compensate with experience, known/playing the same opening for a long time etc.). Perhaps you do best against such opposition?

  207. Ray
    August 1st, 2017 at 16:09 | #209

    @Gollum
    Interesting indeed, and encouraging to see I’m not the only one with this issue 🙂 . I have a club rating of 2300 (over 26 games, with wins against several IMs and FMs), which is indeed far higher than my Fide rating. Anyway, like I said, I’ve decided not to worry about this anymore!

  208. Gollum
    August 1st, 2017 at 16:19 | #210

    @Björn

    I think that team events are a different beast, so maybe the players are not different, you are! I manage to prepare quite well for those, so it is rare for me to get surprise in the opening. Not being lost after 20 moves is good. It happened to me when I was young si maybe I can say I peaked in rating when I polished that part of my chess.

    On the other hand, I have a fine position out of the opening outside tournament competitions too (at least since I’ve decided to study chess more seriously) but in my last tournament I managed only a 2050 performance.

    The main cause I think is that I’m rusty. Studying a lot at home makes you slow because you ponder your moves slowly when at home. I had numerous good positions that I misplayed. That has happened a lot to me recently. I manage to outplay my opponents more or less consistently, but fail to finish them off. When I’ve been able to do it because I’m on form I had performances above 2300, but when I was not able to do so I would crumble. And each game after I failed to convert would be worse as I would put more pressure on myself.

    I would love to forget about it (and up to a certain point I’m able to do so). I try to look at my play and think if I’m satisfied with it or not as a measurement of my playing strength. On the other hand, the ultimate measurement is elo rating, and seeing how much time I sink into this, it sometimes is really frustrating to not rip the…

  209. Gollum
    August 1st, 2017 at 16:19 | #211

    …benefits.

    It is a shame only the last word got cut.

  210. Hard Truther
    August 1st, 2017 at 17:24 | #212

    I have been working the Yusupov series or almost three years now. I have done the first four books twice. Sometimes I did worse the 2nd time.

    My FIDE rating is about the same as it was 10 years ago.

    We are what we are.

  211. RYV
    August 1st, 2017 at 20:27 | #213

    The only ones who makes progress are people who play regulary. One or two tournaments each month (15 games). If you add one or two weeks of training work with books it will be better and faster….but first you need to play. I still believe That anyone can reach master level…but you have to give it full time.

  212. Ray
    August 2nd, 2017 at 11:14 | #214

    @ RYV:

    I think that’s a good point. Last season I played 16 games for my FIDE-rating, which isn’t a lot. With such a relatively small number of games statistics are not trustworthy.

  213. Ray
    August 2nd, 2017 at 11:15 | #215

    @ Hard Truther:

    That doesn’t sound like a suitable testimonial for the advertising blurb 🙂

  214. Gollum
    August 2nd, 2017 at 12:18 | #216

    @RYV

    I totally agree that a fundamental part of improving is to play, but I’m sure 15 games a month is just too much. For starters, it is just impossible at least where I live, there are not that many tournaments. And we can see that playing one of every two days is clearly a lot.

    But it has been said (I think it was Botvinnik) that you should play like 80 games a year (but my guess is that that figure was for a professional player). For non professionals I’m sure playing like 4 tournaments a years should suffice.

  215. The Doctor
    August 2nd, 2017 at 19:00 | #217

    30 per year is max I can do, would be interesting to hear how many games other players play per year.

  216. Hard Truther
    August 2nd, 2017 at 22:58 | #218

    @RYV: I play 100+ FIDE rated games per year (next you’ll claim I am playing too much– HA!)

    Everyone has a skill set ceiling. Period.

    The idea that people can continually get better and everyone could be Master is as silly as the concept idea of the ever expanding capitalist market place solving the world’s problems

    : pure fantasy//propaganda for selling

    The Yusupov books are great. Get them to someone rated 1600+ and younger than 16 years old and who also has burning desire to get good and they can really make hay.

  217. Ray
    August 3rd, 2017 at 05:57 | #219

    @ Hard Truther:

    Looks like you’re not in the Growth Mindset yet 🙂

  218. Thomas
    August 3rd, 2017 at 06:11 | #220

    Hard Truther :
    Everyone has a skill set ceiling. Period.

    I think that’s more a sign of stubbornness. Many chess player, especially with growing age, tend to believe that they KNOW how to play good chess, and there are simply some minor adjustments to be made to their play. They are also training that way.
    That won’t get them far. Not farer than the ceiling you mentioned.

    What I did in the last years was to reshape my way of thinking at the board. For me personally it worked out very well, gaining more than 150 ELO points at the age of 50+. At the moment I would think *the sky is the limit*. I’m playing about 60 to 70 games a year.

  219. Ray
    August 3rd, 2017 at 09:58 | #221

    @ Thomas:

    That’s interesting to hear. I am curious to hear in what way you reshaped your thinking at the board? What did you specifically do / change?

  220. Thomas
    August 3rd, 2017 at 12:03 | #222

    @Ray:

    I stopped seeing myself as an attacking player.
    For years I tried to play as active as possible. I often allowed weaknesses thinking I will fix them if I only get to play this and this and that. Most of it never happened and I was left with the weakness. I often hurried because of bad nerves. I seldom played prophylactic moves, seeing only my own attack. Searching for my Mona Lisa, Gufeld style.

    Today I learned to be patient, to improve little by little, improve my pieces. Look for the weaknesses, use Jacob’s three questions. I still have to improve my calculation, there are so many things I do not see. But overall it feels like a new level of chess. I still lose against most grandmasters, they are simply stronger than me. But today they have to work to get the point against me. And sometimes they don’t get it.
    Working hard at the board is probably the main thing for me. And trying to keep it simple, one move after another.

  221. Ray
    August 3rd, 2017 at 14:47 | #223

    @ Thomas:

    Thanks for your interesting story! I also see myself as an attacking player, but in my case I really think it’s true 🙂 . I have read the book by Lars Bo Hansen (as recommended by Jacob) to diagnose my style, and I’m fairly sure I’m intuitive and dynamic (just as Jacob). So now I’m working on my calculation skills, because I tended to be too shallow / sloppy in my calculations. And I’ll start with Positional Play (three questions) a few months from now. Just like you in the past I tend to neglect my opponent’s chances, and I guess the three questions in combination with really calculating (= seeing things you would otherwise not see) should help in fixing this. But I guess I can still be an attacking player with these weaknesses fixed 🙂

  222. Thomas
    August 3rd, 2017 at 14:59 | #224

    @Ray
    Depends on what you call an “attacking player”. I also try to play actively and try to mate my opponent. But just pushing all pawns on the kingside and waiting for the other side to get an heart attack doesn’t work, as I had to learn. Looking at the whole board and trying not to get over-optimistic helps a lot. And if an attack doesn’t succeed keep trying to win the bishop’s ending or something like that.

  223. RYV
    August 3rd, 2017 at 18:11 | #225

    Play safe, fix target & weaknesses, grab a pawn, exchange and sometimes win the endgame.

  224. KevHun
    August 27th, 2017 at 09:47 | #226

    Hi Jacob,

    I am near the end of the first orange book, and it is rapidly becoming clear that my calculating ability is less than perfect. Is there any mileage in working with your Calculation book rather than say the Yusupov book in other words boosting my calculating abilities first and then returning to the Yusupov series or would I be better off trying to combine both. Rgds.

  225. Jacob Aagaard
    August 27th, 2017 at 21:48 | #227

    @KevHun
    More and more I am thinking about writing another book on calculation soon…

  226. jose
    August 28th, 2017 at 05:15 | #228

    @Jacob Aagaard
    For a lower level too…

  227. KevHun
    August 28th, 2017 at 16:21 | #229

    Hi Jacob, comment re writing a new book duly noted, but in the interim, (and with respect to my bank balance 😉 ) would you suggest that I do go over to the GM Calculation book rather than continue with the Orange book, or just mix the two? I am rated around 1500, hence my interest in your reply.

  228. Pinpon
    August 28th, 2017 at 20:48 | #230

    There are authors who write it’s more important to calculate 3 or 4 moves accurately than to calculate deep variations . 80% true / 20% false ?

  229. Jacob Aagaard
    August 28th, 2017 at 22:40 | #231

    @Pinpon
    Maybe 90% true. The thing is, some that some variations will be longer, but you will only have 1-2 points of obstruction. The rest will be clean sailing and the moves will be obvious. How do we categorise such lines?

  230. Jacob Aagaard
    August 28th, 2017 at 22:41 | #232

    @KevHun
    No, please stay with Yusupov for the moment. Calculation is a very challenging book and I doubt you would enjoy it.

    You could read Excelling at Chess Calculation. It is not a bad book by any means. Dvoretsky liked it. But I think the stuff I wrote in Thinking Inside the Box is potentially more helpful.

  231. Stigma
    August 29th, 2017 at 01:37 | #233

    Perhaps there is still a need for an easier book on calculation for regular club players. I enjoy reading Kotov, Tisdall, Dvoretsky and Aagaard with their different views on the thinking process, but this is all quite advanced stuff.

    There are books by Beim, Soltis and Heisman on calculation that are less demanding, but I’m not sure I trust the latter two authors on this. Soltis sometimes gives inaccurate analysis and has even admitted that he doesn’t work with engines (though maybe he has finally converted?), and Heisman often seems to assume all chess thinking should be verbal and explicit.

  232. KevHun
    September 1st, 2017 at 18:01 | #234

    Hi Jacob,
    Thanks for the reply. I’ve got the old Excelling book and it is pretty good still. The Yusupov book is amazing. The refresher on endgames was handy to say the least and I’ve noticed an increase in my ability to defend. Rgds.

  1. June 4th, 2017 at 13:20 | #1
  2. June 4th, 2017 at 13:20 | #2
  3. June 4th, 2017 at 13:21 | #3
  4. July 28th, 2017 at 09:14 | #4

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