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How many books in the Yusupov series have you read?

Last week’s poll question was “How many books in the Yusupov series do you own?” Top answer was ‘zero’ but next was ’10’. I find that hugely encouraging. My interpretation is that if you read one Yusupov book, you may be impressed enough to want to get all of them.

Continuing the current Yusupov theme of the blog, in a comment Steve suggested this week’s question: “How many books in the Yusupov series have you completed?”

Obviously giving a simple numerical answer does not tell the whole story, as some of you own none, some own them all. So saying you have read “zero” means very different things for different people. But I am still interested enough in the raw numbers, especially in how many have read them all. And we hope that this number will increase due to the Yusupov Challenge.

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  1. Kassy
    February 27th, 2017 at 18:32 | #1

    As noted elsewhere, I am in book 3 of the orange series.
    With a little luck and a lot of determination, I’ll be able to say 10 in Oct.

  2. FREDPHIL
    February 27th, 2017 at 19:31 | #2

    Zéro but i have all

  3. peter
    February 27th, 2017 at 20:16 | #3

    same goes for me …

  4. Todd Bryant
    February 27th, 2017 at 20:56 | #4

    Hi Jacob, are the Yusupov books worth reading at 21xx FIDE?

  5. Karl
    February 28th, 2017 at 07:11 | #5

    I am somewhere in the second brown (1500) book, but my last effort there was more than half an year ago. So it’s 1 out of 7.

  6. Dachs
    February 28th, 2017 at 09:34 | #6

    Three, currently working on the fourth book.

  7. Will
    February 28th, 2017 at 11:42 | #7

    @Todd Bryant
    Yep. I am close to that, and haven’t been finding all the exercises in the first book trivial by any means. I imagine I will find the later books extremely challenging.

  8. Jacob Aagaard
    February 28th, 2017 at 14:52 | #8
  9. Tobias
    February 28th, 2017 at 15:18 | #9

    I read the first book completely (1500 must be a practical joke by Yusupov, I’m 2100 and many chapters weren’t easy at all), and some chapters from most other books. In sum maybe 3, so I voted for 1-3.

  10. Dennis K
    February 28th, 2017 at 15:32 | #10

    I’m about halfway through the first book, so my answer is 0. However, I would like to comment on the difficulty as an authentic “1500 player” (my USCF rating has been between 1400 and 1600 for about 20 years now; this would probably correspond to a slightly lower FIDE rating). I have found the exercises in the book difficult, but not totally beyond my ability. I have passed every test so far, although some of those were just barely, and I often spent more time on a problem than Yusupov recommends. But I think his “<1500" qualification for the orange books is right on. He doesn't say they will be easy for players at that level, but I'm living proof that 1500 players can do it with enough effort. It challenges me and stretches me, but isn't that the whole point? How else are you going to grow and improve?

  11. Neimerc
    February 28th, 2017 at 15:43 | #11

    I am in chapter 22 of book three of the orange series, but my last effort was at the end of 2016.
    I have 5 books.

  12. Patrick
    February 28th, 2017 at 17:09 | #12

    Zero – I’ve been reading other books with many on the TBR.

    Those relevant to Quality Chess:

    Completed: Grandmaster Preparation books on Calculation, Positional Play, and Strategic Play. Practical Chess Defense. Chess Lessons. The Grandmaster Battle Manual. Mating the Castled King.

    Reading: Grandmaster Preparation Endgame Play

    TBR: Advanced Chess Tactics, Grandmaster Preparation Attack and Defense (and the last one if published).

    Next most probable buy: The Secret Life of Bad Bishops

  13. pabstars
    February 28th, 2017 at 22:09 | #13

    I’ve read all of them so I’m not going to do the challenge. Did them in 5 months. Superb books. Will do the Grandmaster Preparation books very soon (read them earlier on but the Yusupov books were more suited for my level). I have almost finished Chess Lessons which I almost enjoy even more than Yusupov’s books.

  14. Manuel
    March 1st, 2017 at 20:18 | #14

    Los tengo todos, no he trabajado ninguno, pero me apunto al reto. (Google translator: “I have them all, I have not worked any, but I get into the challenge.”

  15. Niall Doran
    March 1st, 2017 at 23:15 | #15

    @pabstars

    So what difference did it make to your playing strength?

  16. pabstars
    March 2nd, 2017 at 05:39 | #16

    @Niall Doran My rating is at it highest ever (2117) even though I’m almost 52 years old. I play far too few games but the rating increase has been nice, especially with my Danish rating. When I returned to chess in 2013, it was 1916, now it is 2077. Before the Yusupov Challenge in June, my ratings were 2050 and 2082. It is my goal to reach 2150 in 2017.

  17. Jacob Aagaard
    March 2nd, 2017 at 07:41 | #17

    @pabstars
    The interesting thing is of course what it will be in 1-2 years from now. Knowledge can be accumulated in a short period of times, but it will take a long time to benefit from it.

  18. pabstars
    March 2nd, 2017 at 09:57 | #18

    Jacob, yes but being forced to calculate more deeply by doing these types of exercises has an immediate impact 🙂

    I’m sure the Grandmaster Preparation series will give a jump as well!

  19. Jacob Aagaard
    March 2nd, 2017 at 10:08 | #19

    @pabstars
    I hope it will! Remember, when you get stuck in a chapter, go to the next. Each chapter starts “easy” and moves towards brain damage material at the end…

  20. March 8th, 2017 at 22:27 | #20
  21. Jacob Aagaard
    March 8th, 2017 at 22:39 | #21

    @Michael Yip
    Hi Michael, I am by no means good at solving. It took me about 12 seconds to solve it. I would not rate it as a hard exercise at all…

  22. March 9th, 2017 at 10:34 | #22

    Well you are a senior trainer and experienced GM and find/make training exercises for a living so you have a slight advantage over most people…

    But I like the book.

  23. Tom Tidom
    March 9th, 2017 at 17:54 | #23

    I saw the position in the review this morning and solved it blind on my way to work. It took me a little longer than 12 seconds but my rating is only 2250 :-). Honestly I don´t believe the position to be too difficult for the target audience. The underlying tactic is quite simple, isn´t it?

  24. March 9th, 2017 at 18:10 | #24

    I (2000 USCF) found a draw in a couple of minutes, if that’s all we’re looking for. It was largely a process of elimination. I find that that sometimes it’s necessary to switch from a game-position-solving process to a study-solving process with problems like these.

    I’ve only done a few chapters in Revision and Exam but I do think the problems are harder than in the original books, which makes sense if you’re expected to have already digested that material and are looking for problems to increase your mastery of it.

  25. Jupp53
    March 10th, 2017 at 05:34 | #25

    @Jacob Aagaard

    This is an experience I had at several subject areas. A master cannot judge how long a lower level player needs for a task. A professor cannot jugde how long a student needs for an article or a book.

    My Elo is 20xx and I needed about 10 minutes. I didn’t measure, but I estimated that more than half of the went into judging if there is more than a draw. The main line itself is not that hard. But I doubt about the half of 1600 Elo club players will solve this in 20 minutes.

  26. Jacob Aagaard
    March 10th, 2017 at 08:45 | #26

    @Jupp53
    I have plenty of experience. This type of thing; either you know how to solve such positions or you don’t. Someone needing 10 minutes as you are just as likely to not being able to solve it.

  27. pabstars
    March 10th, 2017 at 11:28 | #27

    I find that most of the exercises in Revision and Exam are much easier to solve than the one in the above discussion. Knights can be very tricky even for strong players where you have seen the most horrible mistakes with forks.

  28. Pinpon
    March 10th, 2017 at 15:29 | #28

    Not very difficult but it would be interesting to know what was your mind process . First i tried how the knights could mate and then calculated the variation

  29. Gollum
    March 10th, 2017 at 17:00 | #29

    The diagram position is easy (I’m at 2200). I spent most of my time thinking the pawns ran the other way, so was trying to find the mate. Once I realized how the diagram was set up, it was just a matter of looking how to stop the pawn (impossible), setting a fortress with 2 knights against queen (I do think this is possible without the b3 pawns, but with it I could not make it work), mate if the pawn promotes (impossible) or fork queen and king (3 moves deep).

    I downloaded the excerpt from revision & exam and get perfect grades easily, hence I did not buy the book based on it being below my level. Maybe the book has more than I realize, but then I fault the QC team for not putting an adequate excerpt of the work.

  30. March 10th, 2017 at 17:41 | #30

    My thought process (with a few false starts and dead ends cleaned up): 1) 1.Nc4 is the only way to prevent the Black king from escaping, which would likely lead to failure, so it almost has to be the first move regardless of whether there are clear followups; 2) After 1…b1=Q, I could fork king and queen if I lured his king to b5, otherwise I’m toast; 3) To do that I’d have to move my Na7 and also threaten mate or something so he has to move his king rather than his queen; 4) Whoa, does 2.Nb5 work?? 5) Check a few loose ends like 2…Qh7; 6) Done!

  31. Pinpon
    March 10th, 2017 at 20:16 | #31

    Not the topic but i was quite surprised by Gollum’s search of a Kn+Kn vs Q fortress as i only knew the ” false” fortress with black Nf6/Ng6/Kg7 but in fact there are many fortresses ! Learnt sthg today ?

  32. Gollum
    March 10th, 2017 at 20:28 | #32

    I learnt in De la Villa’s book about this kind of fortresses. I do not think it is necessary to know the correct setup, but just to have the notion that 2 pieces vs a queen is not a trivial win, that may well be a fortress somewhere.

  33. Pinpon
    March 11th, 2017 at 14:32 | #33

    Looked at Nunn’s Pawnless Endings : 229 reciprocal zugzwangs ( ! ) with Q vs 2 Kn
    By the way , i have never seen this ending in practice contrary to Q vs 2B

  34. Jupp53
    March 12th, 2017 at 00:46 | #34

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Jupp53
    I have plenty of experience. This type of thing; either you know how to solve such positions or you don’t. Someone needing 10 minutes as you are just as likely to not being able to solve it.

    So why did I solve it? And don’t underestimate my experience. Maybe you can judge this. But the average human high level expert cannot judge the problems of average players.

    One example: Ask a group of masters about the average level of club players. If they haven’t read it, they will give mostly much too high ratings, sometimes ridiculous estimations from 2000 up. When learning the game go/weiqui there’s the advice to play and analyze with someone being two grades better than you. This is because the difference is enough to teach something and near enough to understand the problems.

    Another example: Knowledge speeds the learning process. This is why experts 60+yo learn much faster in their area then students around 20yo. To get the content of an scientific article of 30 pages the a Ph.D. needs 30 minutes till an hour, a normal student after his bachelor degree in the master studies needs 30 hours. Ask this the expert. He will estimate around 2 hours for the student and not believe the 30 hours.

    There are several reasons in human information processing for this skewed perception. You…

  35. Jupp53
    March 12th, 2017 at 00:48 | #35

    … You can reduce this, but you cannot escape from it.

  36. krokohol
    March 12th, 2017 at 11:03 | #36

    @Jacob Aagaard
    A really strange thing happened to me. The post with the exercise crossed my way during my lunch break last week and i thought about Nc4 b1D in a relaxed mood for 2 minutes without solving. I was dissatisfied, went back to work and forgot about it. But when i awoke today, i KNEW the solution. Can’t say how many minutes it took to work out the solution in my dreams (not more than 8 hours), but i guess it has been the process that dfan explained.
    By the way, i have finished 4 books of the series so far.

  37. March 19th, 2017 at 10:59 | #37

    @Jacob Aagaard

    I think I have a good idea. Of course it is up to you if you want to use it and implement it.

    There are a dozen of people who signed up for Jusupov challenge. Maybe you could make a worksheet (or an additional sticked table/grid) with the names of the people and the titles and numbers of books? This way ALL of the people (readers of your great blog) could have an easy access to the results and the ambitious players could motivate themselves (and each other) to work hard even if it not that easy.

    The players who signed up could have fill the table or simply they could have been given the access to send the info that would be filled automatically (like the date/period of finishing the book and the number of hours they have devoted to finish each book).

    I hope you know what I mean. If you have any questions or would like to comment – just go ahead! Sometimes simple solutions may help people as they feel important and their results are visible to others as well (even for those who did not start/buy the books yet).

    Let me know what do you think of this idea. Thanks in advance!

  38. Jacob Aagaard
    March 20th, 2017 at 15:36 | #38

    @Tomasz Chessthinker
    Thank you, this is a great idea. I will talk to Colin about setting it up.

  39. stef
    May 2nd, 2017 at 12:00 | #39

    i know it is a difficult question. However I wish you told me: how much time do you need to complete a book by Yusupov? My schedule (having a normal life= work+spare time) is to complete one chapter/week. Actually I’m working on the second book (orange series). I own all 10 books.

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