Home > Publishing Schedule > Looking into 2018

Looking into 2018

First off, I can announce a few publications on the 17th of January. We will finally have Grandmaster Repertoire 2A – The King’s Indian and Grünfeld out. When you have produced as many books as we have, a certain repetitiveness can creep in, but I have to say with this book, I am truly excited. It is really a Class A opening book. The amount of new ideas and the imagination of them is quite impressive. Boris Avrukh is still the king.

At the same time, we will also release the paperback version of Thinking Inside the Box. This is of course my own book; and will probably continue to be my seminal work. I will leave it to others to judge it. I have been pleased with the feedback I have received from strong players in private, but I will have to let you take my word for it.

Also, we have reprinted Python Strategy. It is always nice to see books about the less flashy greats of the past do well. It helps that it is a good book, of course.

Looking a bit further ahead, we have a collection of essay on the middlegame by Slovakian grandmaster Jan Markos called Under the Surface nearing completion of editing. I am predicting a March publication.

The same will happen with the first title by double Olympic gold medallist, American grandmaster Sam Shankland, titled Small Steps to Giant Improvement in Chess. This is a book about pawn play. We are putting a “pawn goes to moon” cover together to justify the title. Sam is at an event in St Louis in the beginning of March, where we are hoping to have a pre-release lecture happening. The book will be widely available one to two weeks later.


Also hopefully out in March will be Playing 1.e4 – The French and the Sicilian. Do not listen to the cynics. A lot has happened, and John and Andrew are working non-stop completing this book, not looking sideways for anything or anyone. Nikos and I are assisting too. As always with John’s books, this one is an ambitious team project. Are we talking 700 pages? Not sure. Maybe more even.

Further down the line we have Michael Rioz with Grandmaster Repertoire – The Queen’s Indian Defence, which he says he will hand in before the end of the year. We also have a book on the Taimanov Sicilian with only two minor chapters needed to be written.

Waiting in our inbox for an available editor, we also have the next book from grandmaster Axel Smith. This one is co-written with another Swedish grandmaster, Hans Tikkanen. Some of you may remember that Tikkanen means “woodpecker” in Finnish. This is why Axel has previously talked about The Woodpecker Method, which is also the title of their joint venture.

I am hoping April as the release month for these three books. And no, this is not the final cover, but a small sketch I made and sent to our graphic designers as an initial direction of travel. There has been some changes to the concept already; just thought maybe one or two of you would be amused by my poor drawing skills…

We have other titles planned. A few classics. A book from Boris Gelfand towards the end of 2018. Hopefully a book or two from Negi (we are pushing him) and then I am writing on a few books, as always. I know this is not a complete 2018 list, but for December, for us, this is pretty good.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:
  1. Lucifer
    December 7th, 2017 at 10:37 | #1

    Great news though GM2A will come only after Christmas!

  2. Remco G
    December 7th, 2017 at 10:54 | #2

    Solid list!

  3. Johnnyboy
    December 7th, 2017 at 11:02 | #3

    Interesting list and Playing e4 volume 2 in June hopefully

  4. Paul H
    December 7th, 2017 at 11:20 | #4

    Did something happen to the Ehlvest book?

  5. Franck steenbekkers
    December 7th, 2017 at 11:40 | #5

    Who is the writer of the Taimanov book

  6. Vittal
    December 7th, 2017 at 11:54 | #6

    Any hints on when Yusupov’s Revision and Exam 2(Beyond the basics) and 3(Mastery) would be launched in 2018 🙂

  7. Matt
    December 7th, 2017 at 12:13 | #7

    Just want to correct, Jan Markos is Slovak GM. Other than that very nice list!

  8. Ray
    December 7th, 2017 at 12:17 | #8

    Great line-up, and I’m especially looking forward to Sam Shankland’s book on pawn play!

  9. James2
    December 7th, 2017 at 12:36 | #9

    That sketch is great! The woodpecker looks like he is on drugs though with those eyes….


  10. Jacob Aagaard
    December 7th, 2017 at 12:44 | #10

    I know, just tired. Sorry.

  11. Jacob Aagaard
    December 7th, 2017 at 12:44 | #11

    I still have not recovered from the Fat Boys breaking up 🙁

  12. Pinpon
    December 7th, 2017 at 12:47 | #12

    Great news !
    Hopefully the QID book will include fresh analysis on Polugaevsky Nh4 ! ( since Alphazero seems to like it a lot and had crushed S8 with it )

  13. Johnnyboy
    December 7th, 2017 at 14:16 | #13

    i’m of two minds whether John should read the new Dismantling the Sicilian- if he reads it he will go back and look at lines he has previously covered and it will be even more state of the art. Downside is we won’t see it till xmas 2018. All in all I think you need to cross it off John’s xmas list…

  14. Frank van Tellingen
    December 7th, 2017 at 15:30 | #14

    Looking forward (foremost) to John’s book. The first part cleared up a lot of things that I was either too lazy to find out in the past or ignorant about (since my last theory-update was around 1994). The first book was very informative and a very helpful starting point for my preparation (recently I got his antidote against the Portugese Gambit on the board, which gave me a nice advantage on the clock and a good position). Just very curious what he will recommend against the Sicilians, having already bought and read Negi’s books, but it won’t hurt to have more options.
    Happy New Year to John (and Andrew).

  15. Ray
    December 7th, 2017 at 15:48 | #15

    @ Johnnyboy:

    Wat struck me in Dismantling the Sicilian 2nd Edition is that it’s quite concise. If you subtract the illustrative games and general chapter introductions, you end up with less than 300 pages repertoire. Which is quite good, considering it deals with main line Sicilians.

    But of course John’s book will also cover the French, which is also quite some theory, even of he recommends the Tarrasch rather than 3.Nc3.

  16. John Shaw
    December 7th, 2017 at 16:08 | #16

    Johnnyboy :
    i’m of two minds whether John should read the new Dismantling the Sicilian- if he reads it he will go back and look at lines he has previously covered and it will be even more state of the art. Downside is we won’t see it till xmas 2018. All in all I think you need to cross it off John’s xmas list…

    Too late, I already have this book. I have no doubt Max Illingworth has done an excellent job, so I will check it for sure. But it will not slow me down, as there is not so much overlap with our plans. I cannot give any more details than that.

  17. John Shaw
    December 7th, 2017 at 16:14 | #17

    We have put up an excerpt for Boris Avrukh’s “King’s Indian and Grunfeld – Grandmaster Repertoire 2A” at the following link:


    We took into account feedback that some would like the excerpt to give a more detailed idea of the lines covered. See what you think.

  18. James2
    December 7th, 2017 at 17:23 | #18

    @John Shaw
    That abridged variation section at the end is what I think many people were looking for.

    I think perhaps some people thought that in prvious excerpts you’d see the contents section and then a few pages on a line that would be 9th choice for good opponents. At least this way one can go away and explore the upcoming lines on your own and then go and see what Avrukh suggestions when you have the book.

    It almost gives some hooks to hang the actual lines on before you read the book. It is like memory. The more you know about something, the easier it is to remember new information about it when you already know something about it.

    Thanks John.


  19. James2
    December 7th, 2017 at 17:25 | #19

    @John Shaw
    The only question now is in Chapter 4, Line E does Avrukh recommend 10 Nh4!? ? I’m thinking he will!


  20. James2
    December 7th, 2017 at 17:29 | #20

    Ooops, I’f I’d read page 4 of the excerpt I would have seen he does….

  21. Mark
    December 7th, 2017 at 17:45 | #21

    @John Shaw
    I think that you have done a great job with the excert. It covers everything i would want to see (barring the rest of the book 😉 ). I dont understand it when publishers only show a contents page – knowing how the chapters themselves look is important, as is knowing the lines the book covers and getting to read the introduction helps understand what the intention with the book is.

  22. December 7th, 2017 at 18:25 | #22

    @ Jacob/John Shaw

    Many thanks for listening to previous blogs on an improved insight into the contents of QC opening books. The abridged variation section in Avrukh’s 2A is excellent…thank you

  23. Isolani
    December 7th, 2017 at 18:30 | #23

    Any chance the Taimanov book will cover both the 5…a6 and the 5…Qc7 move order? Or just Qc7 as all previous repertoire books?

  24. Johnnyboy
    December 7th, 2017 at 20:35 | #24

    Really like the abridged index. I’ve taken a punt in the dark with some qc books not knowing what I’m getting. Mostly very pleased I did but still wavering about a few titles. Any chance of a retrospective abridged index for roiz nimzo and key concepts books in particular? Sure other readers may have titles they would like an abridged version of… Anyone?

  25. Jacob Aagaard
    December 7th, 2017 at 21:46 | #25

    No hints from Artur 🙁

  26. Jacob Aagaard
    December 7th, 2017 at 21:49 | #26

    I will take a punch at this one and say no. We are looking forward only. But Nikos has made a small video on the Marin book on the Pirc Defence, which we will put up tomorrow.

  27. Jacob Aagaard
    December 7th, 2017 at 21:55 | #27

    I think it is Qc7 only

  28. vassilis
    December 8th, 2017 at 07:36 | #28

    Is there any plan for a second book by Rios in pawn structures?

  29. Johnnyboy
    December 8th, 2017 at 12:38 | #29

    @Jacob Aagaard
    ok- worth a try- must be a lot of extra effort but definitely holding back on a purchase for those two titles

  30. Lucifer
    December 8th, 2017 at 13:18 | #30

    Looking forward to see GM2B in 2018!

  31. Siddhartha Gautama
    December 8th, 2017 at 16:47 | #31

    John Shaw :
    We took into account feedback that some would like the excerpt to give a more detailed idea of the lines covered. See what you think.

    This is excellent!

  32. Leon Trotsky
    December 8th, 2017 at 19:48 | #32

    Are the coverage of the Benoni and others in GM2C?

  33. John NS
    December 9th, 2017 at 05:05 | #33

    @John Shaw

    Thanks John for a great extract that gives you a very good idea of the contents.

  34. David
    December 9th, 2017 at 13:46 | #34

    I have liked the excrept but I would have preferred to see the full index to have a concrete idea of what he reccomends against every black line instead of just seeing what black lines are, which I already know. The abridged index is not enough in my opinion.

  35. Chris
    December 10th, 2017 at 18:40 | #35

    David :
    I have liked the excrept but I would have preferred to see the full index to have a concrete idea of what he reccomends against every black line instead of just seeing what black lines are, which I already know. The abridged index is not enough in my opinion.

    If give everything in an excerpt, why should you buy the book…

  36. Chris
    December 10th, 2017 at 18:45 | #36

    My woodpecker would be worse, Jacob 😉

  37. Alpacino34
    December 10th, 2017 at 22:05 | #37

    it would be nice to cover, Benoni again, because, with the sacrifice of quality, the black achieve a fantastic game. Otherwise, I think best of all about your publishing house, also Avrukh.

  38. Jeff Hall
    December 11th, 2017 at 04:16 | #38

    Book suggestion:


    An instructive book aimed at club players examining highly instructive games from Alpha Zero’s incredible 28-0 wipeout of Stockfish 8, including the Game 3 “Immortal Zugzwang Game”.


  39. Ray
    December 11th, 2017 at 12:48 | #39

    Jeff Hall:

    Great game by Alpha Zero!

    No the wait of for the first (QC?) opening book based on Alpha Zero’s insights 🙂

  40. Ray
    December 11th, 2017 at 12:49 | #40

    Sorry, the last sentence was meant as “Now the wait is for…”

  41. Jacob Aagaard
    December 11th, 2017 at 18:01 | #41

    Let’s call it a tie…

  42. Jacob Aagaard
    December 11th, 2017 at 18:03 | #42

    @Jeff Hall
    I am curious if the Stockfish team allowed this match. I doubt it. As I understand it, Stockfish was deliberately diminished; no opening book and on a inferior processor.

  43. Panu Laine
    December 11th, 2017 at 20:13 | #43

    Great new books coming, fantastic! I can’t wait. Just wanted to point out … Tikkanen is “a little woodpecker” in Finnish. Great title regardless. Greetings from Finland.

  44. Jacob Aagaard
    December 12th, 2017 at 05:00 | #44

    @Panu Laine
    Thanks for the correction. That explains a lot 😉

  45. Vittal
    December 12th, 2017 at 10:15 | #45

    How is the woodpecker book structured ?
    a) Intended elo for the audience
    b) Number of practice exercises

    This would help me to:
    a) Align my expectations when I hold the books in my hand.
    b) Go through appropriate tactics books(Nunn, Chess tactics from scratch) till March before I dwelve into the woodpecker in April.
    c) know whether your Everyman calculation and Quality chess calculation can be used post Woodpecker.

  46. Jacob Aagaard
    December 12th, 2017 at 12:09 | #46

    We prefer not to go into details until we have sent the books to the printer.

  47. Frank van Tellingen
    December 12th, 2017 at 20:58 | #47

    Most important, is it an african or a european woodpecker?@Vittal

  48. Leaf
    December 12th, 2017 at 21:55 | #48

    Dear Jacob,

    Do you have any plans for a book on Sicilian Kan in the future … ?

    And why this opening is not popular in top level … ?


  49. Jacob Aagaard
    December 13th, 2017 at 18:32 | #49

    Anand tried it in the match against Carlsen and got killed, but maybe it is not that bad. We do not have any plans, as we have a Taimanov book coming relatively soon.

  50. Jacob Aagaard
    December 13th, 2017 at 18:33 | #50

    @Frank van Tellingen
    I don’t know.. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhh

  51. Pinpon
    December 13th, 2017 at 20:59 | #51

    Are you the legendary Monty Python Holy Grail black beast of Aaarrggghhhh ?

  52. Seth
    December 14th, 2017 at 02:09 | #52

    There are some that call me…Tim?

  53. Franck Steenbekkers
    December 14th, 2017 at 12:49 | #53

    Can you tell us who is the writer of the Taimanov book?
    Do you have intention to write other books about great players (like the super books about Tal

  54. Jacob Aagaard
    December 14th, 2017 at 14:12 | #54

    @Franck Steenbekkers
    We will soon. I am not sure why we have not announced it. Maybe we should get a cover first.

  55. RYV
    December 14th, 2017 at 16:54 | #55

    @Jacob Aagaard
    If the taimanov book is a GM rep serie, you just have to get 2 or 3 background color for the usual cover design. Should not be too difficult…

  56. Jacob Aagaard
    December 14th, 2017 at 17:44 | #56

    And a photograph!

  57. Vittal
    December 15th, 2017 at 06:21 | #57

    The way I have been working on my chesss since the last few months:
    From Yusupov’s Orange books I identify the chapters that come under each of these sections (Tactics, Endgame, Middlegame) and then go through the corresponding chapter in the below books:
    – Tactics(Martin Weteschnik, Chandler, Gormally, Nunn)
    – Endgame(Jesus de la villa)
    – Strategy(Nimzo’s – My system & Grooten’s book)
    Once I have understood the chapter, I go through Yusupov’s chapter and see if I am able to understand his examples along with his explanations. If not, I go through the chapters from the above books again and then go through Yusupov’s examples. Once I feel that I have understood his examples, I then take the tests. I have been getting good results using this approach.

    There are few sections where I need your advice:
    1) I have been struggling with Calculation of Variations. The book recommended for this section is Dvoretsky’s school of chess excellence. I am struggling with this book. Please suggest me some books for me to work on my calculation aspects.
    2) For Opening – Yusupov has suggested – Catastrophe in the Opening by Neishdat. This book is not available at my place. Could you suggest some alternative.
    3) Henceforth, I also plan to start spending 10-15% of my study time on Openings. Could you suggest openings for both white and black that would help in my understanding of the game(Open and Closed games) and also give me a good foundation.

  58. Frank van Tellingen
    December 15th, 2017 at 08:36 | #58

    I don‘t know what your tactical ability is, but when you have just taken up chess, you can improve the most if you train your combinational vision first. For that purpose the step methode (in my opinion, I am not a shareholder) is excellent, step 2-step 6 take you through all kinds of basic tactical motives, simply adding a ply each time you go up a level. And Nimzowitsch is a very very good writer and his explanation of profylaxis and blockade and pawn structures are very interesting, but also pretty dogmatic when it comes to his system, so watch out and don‘t believe everything he writes. (@Vittal

  59. Vittal
    December 15th, 2017 at 09:11 | #59

    I have not played a rated tournament, but I have been able to understand Weteschnik’s chapters on second reading.
    I plan to complete and revise the orange(yusupov) books and then play my first tournament.

  60. Johnnyboy
    December 15th, 2017 at 13:41 | #60

    Jacob Aagaard :
    And a photograph!

    hope you sacked the heretical minion who did the semi slav book cover the ‘wrong way round’ before you make the same mistake twice

  61. Jacob Aagaard
    December 15th, 2017 at 14:08 | #61

    1) Try Excelling at Chess Calculation, which points forward to Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation later on.

    2) Alterman’s Gambit Guide gives an insight into violent openings. Maybe this was something. If you send us an email on salesgroup(at)qualitychess.co.uk we may offer you a deal if you get all three ;-).

    3) It really depends on which openings you want. If it is 1.e4 e5 with Black, we have a good book in Playing 1.e4 e5 by Ntirlis.

  62. Stigma
    December 15th, 2017 at 20:05 | #62

    I like the look of the GM2A excerpt; need to buy that one when it comes out.

    I wonder about chapter 17: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c5 4.dxc5! But if Black wants to play …c5 he can also delay it one more move: 3…Bg7 4.Nf3 c5. Does that just transpose to this chapter? Or does White go 5.d5 to be covered in an upcoming volume on the Benko and Benoni?

  63. Stigma
    December 15th, 2017 at 20:09 | #63

    Sorry, that should have been 3…Bg7 4.Bg2 c5.

  64. RYV
    December 15th, 2017 at 20:28 | #64

    i didnt notice that this was the only one with black on front side…. well it is not so bad.
    Maybe it is time to try a side view ?!

  65. John Shaw
    December 15th, 2017 at 21:54 | #65

    Johnnyboy :

    Jacob Aagaard :
    And a photograph!

    hope you sacked the heretical minion who did the semi slav book cover the ‘wrong way round’ before you make the same mistake twice

    The Taimanov GM Repertoire cover will have a cover position photo from White’s side, so we have this potential crisis under control.

  66. John Shaw
    December 15th, 2017 at 21:57 | #66

    Stigma :
    I like the look of the GM2A excerpt; need to buy that one when it comes out.
    I wonder about chapter 17: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c5 4.dxc5! But if Black wants to play …c5 he can also delay it one more move: 3…Bg7 4.Nf3 c5. Does that just transpose to this chapter? Or does White go 5.d5 to be covered in an upcoming volume on the Benko and Benoni?

    It just transposes. White takes on c5 on move 4 or 5, to avoid tricky Benko lines. I know that sounds mysterious now, but Boris explains it all in the book.

  67. Stigma
    December 15th, 2017 at 23:56 | #67

    @John Shaw: Thanks. Not that mysterious: I’m guessing it’s connected to Black not having to play …Bxa6 early on in that move order to the Fianchetto Benko, so he can try moves like …Bf5 and/or …Nxa6 instead.

    But perhaps the real mystery is how dxc5 brings an advantage! Will be interesting to read.

  68. Vittal
    December 16th, 2017 at 07:28 | #68

    Jacob Aagaard :
    1) Try Excelling at Chess Calculation, which points forward to Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation later on.
    2) Alterman’s Gambit Guide gives an insight into violent openings. Maybe this was something. If you send us an email on salesgroup(at)qualitychess.co.uk we may offer you a deal if you get all three ;-).
    3) It really depends on which openings you want. If it is 1.e4 e5 with Black, we have a good book in Playing 1.e4 e5 by Ntirlis.

    Thanks for your reply and have already placed my order for the Calculation book you recommended.
    I know very little about openings…but what I would like is to start learning one positional(like d4) and one open game(like e4) from both white side and black side, that will help me understand chess better both from positional and tactical perspective. I am not so attracted about fancy openings and also do not want to spread my time over too many openings and only once I reach a 2000+ rating, I would focus on widening my opening study.

  69. Jacob Aagaard
    December 16th, 2017 at 09:32 | #69

    Explain please 🙂

  70. Paul H
    December 16th, 2017 at 18:15 | #70

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Ah he is very eagle eyed. This is the only black repertoire you’ve done where the picture of the chess board on the cover has a photo from the black side of the board. All the others are from the white side. Which perhaps makes more sense as it matches the diagrams inside.

  71. Jacob Aagaard
    December 17th, 2017 at 01:49 | #71

    @Paul H
    I do not want to say what we call this in Denmark, as it is rude. But it is something like mountain out of an anthill… We liked the photo better that way around and went with it. What I do not understand is where the damage is 🙂

  72. Steve
    December 18th, 2017 at 10:38 | #72

    Happy Christmas and have a fantastic New Year guys.

    In regards to Michael Rioz’s forthcoming book on the Queen’s Indian, is he handing this in at the end of 2017 or 2018 please?

  73. Johnnyboy
    December 18th, 2017 at 13:34 | #73

    Used to be the party line to have it from black side.. Marins black repertoire and the original semi slav too but nothing recently… this must have slipped through the gap. I’m only jesting though Jacob I’d rather have quality analysis rather than diagram from the black side in the big scheme of things.

  74. Jacob Aagaard
    December 18th, 2017 at 15:26 | #74

    Hopefully over the next few weeks

  75. Jacob Aagaard
    December 18th, 2017 at 15:41 | #75

    I try to be creative for the covers, but I really care more about the quality of the books too… Covers help selling the books, but overall promotion is overrated for a small market I think; quality and reliability is worth more.

  76. Johnnyboy
    December 18th, 2017 at 16:10 | #76

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I may have my slight disagreements about what I would prefer compared to you Jacob, but never had to complain about the ‘quality’ of the work in quality chess yet…

    PS any feedback about that supposedly ‘busted’ line in the Botvinnik semi slav as yet?

  77. Steve
    December 18th, 2017 at 16:42 | #77

    Excellent. Thanks Jacob. It will be one for the purchase list.

  78. Jacob Aagaard
    December 20th, 2017 at 11:34 | #78

    I do not know which line it is 🙂

  79. Steve
    December 20th, 2017 at 12:27 | #79

    Given how great the GR covers look with photos of nice wooden sets and given how easy it is these days to embed photos in text documents, would it be possible to replace diagrams in chess books by photos of a proper board and set? For readers this would be a good compromise between just looking at the diagrams and setting everything up on a board. I know it would help me to see things more fully. Or perhaps it would be prohibitively expensive? They would probably have to be a bit bigger than the usual diagrams.

  80. Thomas
    December 20th, 2017 at 13:02 | #80

    OMG. NO!

  81. Steve
    December 20th, 2017 at 14:14 | #81


    Try Forward Chess instead!

  82. Jacob Aagaard
    December 20th, 2017 at 14:56 | #82

    So many people would hate and it would cost quite a lot of time to do photo shoots of a position instead of just copy/paste from ChessBase.

  83. Johnnyboy
    December 20th, 2017 at 15:44 | #83

    @Jacob Aagaard
    On this I’m 100% behind you Jacob. My favourite videos on Youtube of games have a digital diagram of the board position as well as the camera view of the board. Pawns get hidden behind major pieces and if the definition isn’t good enough you can’t tell if its a king or queen sometimes

  84. Doug Eckert
    December 22nd, 2017 at 04:15 | #84

    Best holiday wishes to everyone at the QC staff and all the great posters. Look forward to a great 2018.

  85. David
    December 22nd, 2017 at 12:12 | #85

    Any plans on a book on the dutch? The leningrad?

  86. James2
    December 22nd, 2017 at 13:45 | #86

    Hi all,

    Just a quick one on the upoming Taimanov Sicilian book if I may? Will it start 2..e6 or 2..Nc6 and will all of white’s anti Sicilians (e.g. 2 a3, 2 Nc3, 3 c3, etc) up to the main lines be covered also?

    Thank you.


  87. Ray
    December 22nd, 2017 at 14:25 | #87

    I wonder what would be the point of that, since Kotronias has just recently written an excellent tome on the anti-Sicilians?

  88. James2
    December 22nd, 2017 at 15:10 | #88

    Don’t know. Thought I’d ask Ray. There you have it.

  89. The Doctor
    December 23rd, 2017 at 08:12 | #89


    Well maybe a Taimsnov player would like to reply 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6, which gives us a whole host of different Anti-Sicilians.

    I felt the Closed/GPA lines in BTAS were more biased towards Najdorf/Sveshnikov/Dragon players

  90. The Doctor
    December 23rd, 2017 at 08:19 | #90


    I don’t think the lines v GPA/Closed given in BTAS fits in well with a Taimanov players repertoire. Would be nice if they did some Bonus Chapters like in 1.d4 d5 and in The Flexible Sicilian on a Repertoire for 2…e6 players after White plays 2.Nc3 then 3.f4/3.g3/3.Nf3 etc.

  91. Ray
    December 23rd, 2017 at 10:41 | #91

    I agree this would all be nice, but still I see higher priorities for books on important openings that have not been covered yet by QC. Easy for me to say of course, since I don’t play the Sicilian myself 🙂 .

  92. Dextro53
    December 23rd, 2017 at 13:32 | #92

    The Christmas 2018 Wishlist!:
    GM repertoire

    1st priority:
    Leningrad Dutch- Marin
    Scotch opening- Hopefully by Negi. He has done a video for this on chessbase but theory has progressed fast
    Buy Lopez
    Guico Piano

    Completion of d4 series by Avrukh

    2nd Priority:
    classical Sicilian

    A book by Gelfand on the opening

    A book on engine management/ opening preparation/ correspondence chess by Nikos

  93. Manfredo
    December 23rd, 2017 at 13:41 | #93

    My 1st Priority would be: QGA ( e.g. Rep for Black)

  94. Frank van Tellingen
    December 23rd, 2017 at 14:27 | #94

    But why not Nikos QGD-repertoire first? And then the other one later, so you can vary a bit? @Manfredo

  95. Dextro53
    December 23rd, 2017 at 14:38 | #95

    Yes of course the petroff and Queens gambit accepted.

  96. Thomas
    December 23rd, 2017 at 15:09 | #96

    There’s not much happening in the Petroff.
    Neither on the board nor in opening developments.
    With some decent books around not much need for another one.

  97. Dextro53
    December 23rd, 2017 at 15:19 | #97

    No, there’s been a lot going on with lots of top players playing it recently. Furthermore, almost all the elite Chinese players are using it as their main opening against e4.

  98. Franck steenbekkers
    December 23rd, 2017 at 15:25 | #98

    One of you wishes will come true

  99. Tom Tidom
    December 23rd, 2017 at 19:23 | #99

    Dextro53 :
    No, there’s been a lot going on with lots of top players playing it recently. Furthermore, almost all the elite Chinese players are using it as their main opening against e4.

    That does not necessarily make it an interesting topic for a book. From Black´s point of view, how do you make life interesting after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Qe2 Qe7 6.d3 ? That may be good for a professional but not for me as an amateur. Of course that´s only my personal view. There may be others who look forward to playing something like that.

  100. Leaf
    December 23rd, 2017 at 23:05 | #100

    Dear Jacob,

    Your Stonewall book is great, do you have any plans to update it … ? It was written last century, can we have a 21st century version Stonewall … ?


  101. weng nian
    December 24th, 2017 at 00:37 | #101

    I know it is only a wishlist but Jacob has already mentioned that Gelfand does not wish to write an openings book. So I think that is one wish that Santa/St Nick will not fulfil. There may also be a bit confusion. IMHO Gelfand may not be an opening theoretician. I think it is his long-time second, Israeli-russian GM whose name I cannot remember right now, who should be asked to write the opening books. But a number of opening theoreticians usually refuse to write books.
    BTW, GM Shaw et al’s book is a white repertoire based on the Scotch, why ask for another book on the Scotch?

  102. Thomas
    December 24th, 2017 at 06:52 | #102

    @Tom Tidom
    You’re right. And even if you find that positions somehow *interesting* there’s still no big development since Sakaev’s excellent book. You can even use the old Jussupow book, or use the one by Cohen.

  103. Jacob Aagaard
    December 24th, 2017 at 08:56 | #103

    I did! But Everyman did not want to publish it, so it is only out in German…

  104. Leaf
    December 24th, 2017 at 11:26 | #104

    That is good, will QC publish the English version … ?

  105. Jacob Aagaard
    December 25th, 2017 at 06:17 | #105

    I only had the foreign language rights for it. Sorry.

  106. Johnnyboy
    December 25th, 2017 at 10:47 | #106

    Happy holidays to all!
    My 2018 wishlist
    More books aimed at the club player rather than 2000 + players whether it be opening middle or endgame
    Emphasis on understanding positions rather than variations (nikos new book good example)
    If we are to get more opening books we need greater bias towards getting edge as white… John and Negi’s books will plug the gaping hole for white e4 players when they appear
    How to train tips
    Book on fun tragedy and beauty in chess… Van Perlo book and Blunders and Brilliancies good examples of this.. We love a good blunder and amazing moves, crazy positions to try on a friend down the club always a winner

  107. Xavi
    December 25th, 2017 at 11:26 | #107

    Any book chosen to be published by QC team would be a good option for sure, given their quality standards.

    Personally I would like a Dutch Leningrad book for Black (if Malaniuk one is somewhat outdated, I don’t know if it is).

    Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone

  108. Joeri
    December 30th, 2017 at 11:27 | #108

    Any estimate when Avrukhs GM REP 2B comes out in hopefully 2018?
    I got the hardcovers 1A and 1B for Christmas. Couldn’t be happier 🙂

  109. John Johnson
    December 30th, 2017 at 11:58 | #109

    I don’t know that the Malaniuk book is outdated, didn’t think Leningrad (or should it be St Peters post USSr) theory changed that much.

  110. Daniel Riesner
    December 30th, 2017 at 15:37 | #110

    When can we expect the book from Roiz about the Queen’s Indian?

  111. The Doctor
    December 30th, 2017 at 19:12 | #111

    @John Johnson
    In that case maybe we should rename the Yugoslav attack the Serbian, Croatian, Bosnia and Herzegovinan, Slovenian, Kosovan, Montenegro and Macadonian attack!

    Got a nice ring to it!

  112. Jacob Aagaard
    December 30th, 2017 at 21:24 | #112

    I hope so too.

  113. Jacob Aagaard
    December 30th, 2017 at 21:24 | #113

    @John Johnson
    I think his book focuses on 7…Qe8, when 7…c6 is the main move. Maybe someone can correct me if wrong?

  114. Dextro53
    December 31st, 2017 at 01:36 | #114

    @Jacob Aagard
    There are multiple moves after move 7 in main line Leningrad. There is 7…Qe8, c6, Na6, Nc6, and e6.

  115. TD
    December 31st, 2017 at 07:18 | #115

    I think the main move has shifted from 7…Qe8 to 7…c6. See also the new Kindermann DVD (in German).

  116. Bebbe
    December 31st, 2017 at 11:14 | #116

    The main move is 7.-c6. Svidler and Kamsky use it. The most dangerous against 7.-Qe8 is 8.Re1, Qf7 9.e4.

  117. Thomas
    December 31st, 2017 at 11:34 | #117

    With Nepomniashchi, Le Quang Liem or Duda playing 7.-Qe8 that might be another main move.

  118. Bebbe
    December 31st, 2017 at 13:42 | #118

    Yes 7.- Qe8 is another main move, but 7.-c6 is currently more popular.

  119. Dextro53
    December 31st, 2017 at 21:23 | #119

    Magnus Carlsen recently crushed Jan Gustaffson, who is 2650, in a blitz game with the classical.

  120. December 31st, 2017 at 22:32 | #120

    I think 7…Qe8 is the most popular in general but the old 7…c6 gained its popularity back recently, while dodgy 7…Nc6 is also played a lot with not too bad results.
    I’m not a theoretician but I played the Leningrad Dutch against many GMs and I think 7…Qe8 8.Re1 is not a problem unless someone discovered something new over the game Mamedyarov – Grischuk, Baku 2014.

  121. Jacob Aagaard
    January 1st, 2018 at 00:03 | #121

    I do think this is one of the more interesting openings for Black these days!

  122. Ray
    January 1st, 2018 at 13:36 | #122

    Imo Malaniuk makes a convincing case against 8.Re1 Qf7 9.e4. Almost all of his lines end in “0.00” and I haven’t been able to find anything convincing for white.

  123. Ray
    January 1st, 2018 at 13:38 | #123

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I fully agree – all the more reason for Gm Rep book on this opening 🙂

  124. Ray
    January 1st, 2018 at 13:38 | #124

    By the way, happy new year everybody, and looking forward to another great year of QC chess books!

  125. James2
    January 1st, 2018 at 14:31 | #125

    Happy New Year to you Ray and all at QC.

    Looking forward to the new 2018 pdf catalogue…..and also to see what Avrukh recommends against 1..d6 in GM Rep 2B (I didn’t like 2 g3 but might be the same) and also to see if he stays with the fianchetto against the Benko.


  126. BigTy
    January 1st, 2018 at 22:35 | #126

    If there is going to be a Leningrad book, I’d really like to see 7…c6 given as the main recommendation because 7…Qe8 seems to be the more popular choice in the literature (Malaniuk, Kindermann, etc.).

  127. Dextro53
    January 1st, 2018 at 23:23 | #127

    I prefer the Leningrad move on move 7 that gives most winning chances/ sharpest positions. Not sure what that move is though!

  128. Moshe Rachmuth
    January 3rd, 2018 at 02:00 | #128

    What a wonderful list and I still HAVE to buy the one by Marin and the Ntirilis from 2017. When you push Negi please tell him I love his writing and analysis which helped my chess a lot and I look forward to him completing his 1.e4 repertoire.

  129. Daniel Riesner
    January 3rd, 2018 at 15:28 | #129

    When can we expect from Roiz about the Queen’s Indian?

  130. Jacob Aagaard
    January 3rd, 2018 at 16:36 | #130

    @Daniel Riesner
    Hopefully in the spring. I am hoping it is Andrew’s next editing job after Playing 1.e4.

  131. James2
    January 3rd, 2018 at 18:31 | #131

    Hi Jacob,

    Very much looking forward to Playing 1 e4 volume 2 (I think everyone is). I hope to be holding it in my hands before your company’s fiscal year end in just short of 3 months….. Will this be a reality!?


  132. Jacob Aagaard
    January 4th, 2018 at 05:34 | #132

    Who knows. I f…..g hope so! I got bills to pay…

  133. James2
    January 4th, 2018 at 09:58 | #133

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I’ll hope so to! I really enjoyed Playing 1 e4 and I’m sure the next volume will be just as enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the recommended lines on the Sicilian (e.g. perhaps 9 0-0-0 or 9 g4 in the Dragon, and who knows what against the Najdorf and Sveshnikov.

    Thank you Jacob.


    • Jacob Aagaard
      January 7th, 2018 at 22:52 | #134

      You are welcome.

  134. The Doctor
    January 4th, 2018 at 10:21 | #135


    Jacob already said it said it will be 6.f3 v the Najdorf

  135. James2
    January 4th, 2018 at 13:17 | #136

    @The Doctor
    Oh good. Thanks

  136. Leon Trotsky
    January 4th, 2018 at 20:09 | #137

    GM2B says on the website “Published 17 January 2018” but is out of the Coming Soon section and now in “Openings”. Is it early published, or what happened?

    • Jacob Aagaard
      January 7th, 2018 at 22:54 | #138

      2A is published 17 January. 2B, we will see…

  137. Leon Trotsky
    January 4th, 2018 at 22:59 | #139

    Does Roiz have a future book on what to do after 1. d4 Cf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 for Black ? Or at least what would someone play here if they follow his book on Nimzo and future book on Queen’s Indian ?

  138. Frank van Tellingen
    January 5th, 2018 at 10:28 | #140

    Looking at John’s own games, it is more likely to be an Anti-Sicilian…but Negi’s books give you a lot of good info on the Open Sicilians, so you could already buy those (volume I, II and III) @James2

  139. james2
    January 5th, 2018 at 10:35 | #141

    @Frank van Tellingen
    I have them thanks. Also it has already been stated that it will be open sicilians in volume 2.


  140. Tom Tidom
    January 5th, 2018 at 13:05 | #142

    @Leon Trotsky
    Regarding the Catalan I think both Ntirlis (4…dxc4) and Pert (4…Bb4+) offer interesting solutions for Black in their repective books. I see no real need for a third suggestion by another author.

  141. Daniel Riesner
    January 5th, 2018 at 18:43 | #143

    @Leon Trotsky

    I think it would be consistent to play 1.d4 nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ with the roiz Repertoire.
    I think Roiz will recommened this line in his new book about the queen’s indian.

  142. Ray
    January 6th, 2018 at 08:16 | #144

    @Daniel Riesner
    Why would a possible transposition to a Bogo-Indian be consistent with a Queen’s Indian repertoire? Wouldn’t it be more logical to play the Bogo in the first place then?

  143. Tom Tidom
    January 6th, 2018 at 08:54 | #145

    Indeed, 3…Bb4+ makes no sense in the context of a Queen´s Indian repertoire. The best fit seems to be 3…d5 and then choose one of the decent options on move 4.

    Of course, if Black is happy with a completely different structure he can also offer a transposition to the Modern Benoni with 3…c5.

  144. Jacob Aagaard
    January 8th, 2018 at 00:18 | #146

    I have said this before, but am happy repeating it. Roiz is close to finishing a book on the QID. He had hoped to finish it for January first, but is a bit delayed. This is not a big issue, as Andrew will be helping John for the next few weeks. Meanwhile Roiz will play a tournament or two before returning to the last few variations in the book.

  145. RYV
    January 8th, 2018 at 13:46 | #147

    Anything new about sicilian Najdorf and Taimanov gmrep ?

  146. Thomas
    January 8th, 2018 at 14:29 | #148

    RYV :
    Anything new about sicilian Najdorf and Taimanov gmrep ?

    Or the long desired Classical?

  147. Ray
    January 8th, 2018 at 16:15 | #149

    @ Jacob Aagaard

    I’m very much looking forward to the QID book by Roiz – his book on the Nimzo is very good i.m.o.!

  148. Bebbe
    January 8th, 2018 at 16:38 | #150


    You are probably right. I played a recent internet Blitz were 8.Re1, Qf7 9.e4, fxe4 10. Nxe4, Nc6 11.d5, Nxe4 12.dxc6, Nc5 13.Be3. Here I played 13.-Qxc4 which is probably bad (I lost the game). Instead Malaniuk recommends 13.- b6 and he thinks the chances are equal.

    Even 8.b3 is critical. The best move is probably 8.-e5 but it is very tactical, one slip and it is over. 8.d5 and 8.Nd5 is not so dangerous in my opinion.

  149. Bebbe
    January 8th, 2018 at 16:41 | #151


    See my answer above to piongu. Yes, black seems to equalize with accurate play.

  150. Bebbe
    January 8th, 2018 at 16:47 | #152

    The Leningrad Dutch almost always leads to entertaining play. The games are extremely dynamic and it avoids boring stuff like London and torre.

    It is also highly practical, and flexible.

  151. James2
    January 8th, 2018 at 17:04 | #153

    Will you ever get it though, with all of the variety on moves 2, 3, etc, etc. Dangerous gambits and other things as well as the mainlines. I found a line I think Eric Lobron has played/plays that wan’t in the Chess Stars Dutch book by Malaniuk and the other guy. I can’t remember it off the top of my head so I will have to dig my notes out I’m afraid…


  152. James2
    January 8th, 2018 at 17:09 | #154

    I meant Lobron from the white perspective, to add more detail from the white perspective and it wasn’t a mainline.

    Also, how about just 1 d4 f5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bg5. Yanvarjov has a good score with this and you won’t get a Leningrad anyway. Also it is viewed in a positive light in Gambit’s book on the Stonewall from way back when….. (2008 I think).


  153. McBear
    January 8th, 2018 at 17:17 | #155

    @Bebbe: According to my experience, these Nf3+Bg5, Nc3+Bg5, London, and what have you – tries of White are even more boring when playing the Dutch. For me this was a reason to go back to 1…d5 and to try to play Nikos’ book. These attempts are by no means better for White but I’ve found it very hard to play for a win against some of these lines as at least one pair of minor pieces gets exchanged and the black structure is less fluent with the pawn already on f5. I’ve got the opinion that until recently every amateur followed the GMs and played the fianchetto Main Lines with White or sharper souls played dodgy gambits which is both a lot of fun for Black but I’ve got the impression that they know play more and more “system openings” against everything and with the Dutch I find as dull as dishwater to play for instance against Nf3+Bg5. But just my two cents …

  154. Jacob Aagaard
    January 8th, 2018 at 20:06 | #156

    Nothing different over Christmas, no.

  155. Jacob Aagaard
    January 8th, 2018 at 20:09 | #157

    Even less…

  156. Jacob Aagaard
    January 8th, 2018 at 20:10 | #158

    Maybe 2…d6 is a superior move order then, to have Nbd7 on Bg5 in the future!?

  157. James2
    January 8th, 2018 at 20:39 | #159

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Ah, yes. That looks like a good move order. I might have noting better than playing 3 g3 and going into a fianchetto. The only thing is I now wouldn’t have the opportunity to play some lines with Nh3/Nf4 and h4.

    I might try 1 d4 f5 2 Nf3 d6 3 g3 Nf6 4 Bg2 g6 5 0-0 Bg7 6 c3 0-0 7 Qb3+ e6 and 8 Ng5. I’m not saying it is any better than the main lines but it is something to play. There are obviously options for black from the 3rd move onwards.


  158. Bebbe
    January 8th, 2018 at 21:33 | #160


    In fact I get it a lot both in classical games and in online blitz. The gambits are mostly god for black and fun to play.

  159. Bebbe
    January 8th, 2018 at 21:41 | #161


    The anti-Dutch are mostly fun to play with sharp lines, lots of opposite side castling.
    More fun than Torre, colle, zukertort and London.

    Just my opinion, you can have your opinion and I respect it.
    It is a matter of style.

  160. Bebbe
    January 8th, 2018 at 21:46 | #162

    @Jacob Aagaard

    The problem is 3.Nc3. I don’t mind 2.Nf3, Nf6 3.Bg5, e6 4.Nbd2, d5

    The Leningrad player must be prepared to play stonewall structures as well. Besides it gives variety and broader strategic understanding. See Malaniuks book for further details.

  161. January 8th, 2018 at 22:06 | #163

    Bebbe :
    Even 8.b3 is critical. The best move is probably 8.-e5 but it is very tactical, one slip and it is over.

    Yes, 8.b3 is a bit problematic. I lost two important games in St Petersburg in 2016 against GM Jumabayev and GM Huzman. Theoretically 8.b3 e5 should equalize but I agree with what you said about it.

  162. January 8th, 2018 at 22:17 | #164

    McBear :
    @Bebbe: According to my experience, these Nf3+Bg5, Nc3+Bg5, London, and what have you – tries of White are even more boring when playing the Dutch.

    I completely disagree. Nf3 and Bg5/Bf4 lines are not dangerous at all. I believe the position is much more dynamic than a normal Torre/London or whatever so whenever I know my opponent plays some “system opening” I go for a Dutch. There’s no symmetry, not many pieces are being exchanged etc.

    Jacob Aagaard :
    Maybe 2…d6 is a superior move order then, to have Nbd7 on Bg5 in the future!?

    In some lines premature …d6 is inaccurate. For example when White goes for a quick b4 it’s good for Black to have option to play …c6 followed by …d5 or …Nc6 b5 Na5 and some …d5 might be important move then as well.
    One interesting game is Wojtaszek-Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee 2015.

    The only line I would recommend quick …d6 is 1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 as 3…g6 runs into 4.h4 but here White has commited his Knight to c3 which doesn’t match the plan with quick b4.

  163. Jacob Aagaard
    January 9th, 2018 at 18:52 | #165

    I learned something today 🙂

  164. January 9th, 2018 at 19:58 | #166

    Is Roiz going to consider the AlphaZero lines in his QID book?

  165. Jacob Aagaard
    January 10th, 2018 at 09:00 | #167

    @Alex Relyea
    They won’t be relevant.

  166. James2
    January 10th, 2018 at 16:04 | #168

    Hi all at QC,

    I wanted to ask if there was any more informaton on Negi 5? For example, when is a realistic hope we will be holding it in our hands (Aug-Sept 18 perhaps?). I just wanted to guage how far off we were.



  167. Jacob Aagaard
    January 10th, 2018 at 16:08 | #169

    We are pushing, but he is also a full time student. This is the entire story 🙂

  168. James2
    January 10th, 2018 at 16:25 | #170

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Give me his number and I’ll push him!!!! :0p

    Thanks Jacob.


  169. James2
    January 10th, 2018 at 16:53 | #171

    Where are we with the Pirc book? I’ve noticed that some people have raised some issues (me included although mine was a minor line) with transpositions to lines to be avoided on some lines involving the placing of the dark squared bishop. I know an update on this is in the works.

    What I wannted to know is what is the opinion of any Pirc aficionados outh there?


  170. Ray
    January 10th, 2018 at 17:41 | #172

    I guess you could call me a Pirc afficionado 🙂 – I don’t like one of the lines mentioned on this blog in the 4.Be3 variation with f3 and 0-0-0 for white. It is rather a passive line for black (as pointed out on this blog), where black plays …d6-d5 and has a knight on h7. I have looked at it for a while but it doesn’t look that attractive for black i.m.o. The optimal move order gives me quite some head aches – Kornev recommends an early …Bg7, but this is also better for white according to Marin (white plays Bh6 and later 0-0-0 with a pleasant space advantage). According to Kornev it’s equal, but again black can not do much but wait. So the question is, what is then the right move order for black? Can he avoid the position with the knight on h7 or is there no need to worry?

  171. Ray
    January 10th, 2018 at 17:43 | #173

    PS: maybe black should ook for an improvement earlier on, e.g. on move 1, by playing 1…e5 :-). After all this is the move he often wants to play in the Pirc anyway…

  172. James2
    January 10th, 2018 at 17:53 | #174

    Agreed Ray!

  173. Thomas
    January 10th, 2018 at 18:28 | #175

    I had also hoped the book would give me confidence to play the Pirc, but it doesn’t.
    The line you mentioned hasn’t a clear solution. The Austrian Attack with c5 can also be a tightrope ride. And the omission of 3.Nd2 doesn’t impress me either.

  174. James2
    January 10th, 2018 at 18:30 | #176

    Where is Negi 5 when you need it?!?!!!!! :0)

  175. Pinpon
    January 10th, 2018 at 18:34 | #177

    Haha ! So Pirc afficionados do exist . I had always believed the last one was Uncle Joe at my club ! ( just kidding )

  176. Ray
    January 11th, 2018 at 06:43 | #178

    @ James2

    You mean Negi will definitely bury the Pirc?

  177. Franck Steenbekkers
    January 11th, 2018 at 10:01 | #179

    I think Negi and also Avrukch are writers in the supercategory, but even here a lot attacks in there books can be neutralised

  178. Siddhartha Gautama
    January 11th, 2018 at 11:48 | #180

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Alex Relyea
    They won’t be relevant.

    Does this mean Roiz chooses the Ba6-Setup for his repertoire book?
    I was hoping he will close the “gap” Mikhalevski left in his book, when Mikhalevski saying positions will transpose to a Bb7 Queens Indian position

  179. James2
    January 11th, 2018 at 12:22 | #181

    No. I meant Negi will be providing a system against the Pirc and it would be interesting to see what he recommends against it. Nothing about ‘burying’ the Pirc.


  180. middlewave
    January 12th, 2018 at 13:30 | #182

    I think it is very very hard, in a book about such a flexible and non-forcing opening like the Pirc, to make sure one has covered all possible transpositions and move-orders. Therefore I don’t really blame Marin or the editors for the few small things he/they may have overlooked. It is the nature of the play in the opening in most systems (the lack of concrete clashes and the considerable flexibility for both sides) that creates the grounds for such oversights; nothing serious, IMO.
    In addition, QC has very often treated us with free PDF/PGN updates and additions to their books, and it may well be the case for the Pirc book as well in the near future; Marin has shown in the past his willingness to contribute in this way. So I don’t think all these minor quibbles should detract from the undisputed value of his book.
    On the other hand, responding to Thomas: I fully comprehend your lack of confidence in playing the Pirc, but I think it is 100% owed to the opening itself and not the book 😉

    • Jacob Aagaard
      January 13th, 2018 at 07:43 | #183

      I have said this often. There are 2nd tier openings, where Black will have to be more accurate to equalise, but can do it. Pirc, Tarrasch and so on. They require a higher level of preparation as Black, but on the other hand, your opponents will often not know what to do against them.

  181. James2
    January 12th, 2018 at 15:43 | #184

    Hi John,

    I’m sure we are all looking forward to your upcoming 1 e4 book. I’m interested to see what you recommend against the 3..c5 Tarrasch and also in the Tarasch mainline see if you choose Ngf3 or Ne2 lines (I think it will be Ne2). If it is Ne2 how far along the mainlines (e.g. with Bg5 after ..Bd6/Qc7) will you go!? I’m sure all of these questions will be answered soon.

    I hope you are finding the work rewarding (or at least used to……!)


  182. The Doctor
    January 12th, 2018 at 17:13 | #185

    @Siddhartha Gautama
    Excellent point, massive opportunity missed. I mebtioned this point jacob a while back!

  183. Jacob Aagaard
    January 13th, 2018 at 07:19 | #186

    @Siddhartha Gautama
    I did mention this to Roiz, but he did not feel those lines represented how he saw the opening.

  184. Thomas
    January 13th, 2018 at 10:57 | #187

    Jacob Aagaard :
    I have said this often. There are 2nd tier openings, where Black will have to be more accurate to equalise, but can do it. Pirc, Tarrasch and so on. They require a higher level of preparation as Black, but on the other hand, your opponents will often not know what to do against them.

    The perfect reason to publish a book on the Alekhine !

  185. Jacob Aagaard
    January 13th, 2018 at 12:16 | #188

    Third tier opening. No matter how much you try, equality is nowhere. But having said that I used to play this crap and has affection for it, so I would not necessarily say no if an author emerged.

  186. Pinpon
    January 13th, 2018 at 12:46 | #189

    Nataf maybe . He played the Alekhine and gave it up . But you absolutely need a super-dungeon to get the book written 😊

  187. James2
    January 13th, 2018 at 13:42 | #190

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Bortnyk and his brother play this sometimes.


  188. Thomas
    January 13th, 2018 at 13:47 | #191

    Robert Markus. Strong GM, writer and Alekhine player. 🙂

  189. Jacob Aagaard
    January 13th, 2018 at 15:22 | #192

    I would reply kindly to all their emails.

  190. Leaf
    January 14th, 2018 at 23:27 | #193

    Dear Jacob,

    Is Scandinavian second or third tier opening … ?

    Some junior students wish to use Bauer’s book to build a repertoire but worry about it is third tier opening and therefore they cannot achieve equality no matter how hard they try …


  191. Leaf
    January 14th, 2018 at 23:33 | #194

    And what about Petroff? Is it second or third tier opening … ?

  192. TonyRo
    January 15th, 2018 at 04:20 | #195

    I have been building up a set of notes on Alekhine’s Defense for a long time now, and have basically just determined that 4.Nf3 is tough to equalize against. To my taste the Miles is both a bit lame and not quite equal, but maybe the Kengis or 4…g6 with 5.Bc4 c6 is good enough. Against the 4PA there is really only one option, and against the Exchange the …cxd6 line with …Bf5 is quite nice, and is one of my highest scoring lines OTB.

    Would be very excited to see a QC Alekhine’s Defense book emerge. Previous literature is…just okay for me.

  193. Thomas
    January 15th, 2018 at 05:10 | #196

    You’ve got your notes, you’ve got the experience – go ahead!

  194. Ray
    January 15th, 2018 at 07:15 | #197

    @ Leaf

    I.m.o. the Petroff is absolutely a first tier opening. I would be interested to hear which openings qualify as first tier according to the QC team. Maybe this was already mentioned somewhere on this blog? My guess would be Najdorf, Ruy Lopez (especially Berlin, Breyer and Marshall), Petroff and Caro-Kann against 1.e4 and QID, Nimzo, Semi-Slav and Grunfeld against 1.d4. I am doubting how to qualify the French – is this a first tier or a second tier defence. I think first tier but I’m not sure.

  195. middlewave
    January 15th, 2018 at 07:23 | #198

    Agreed; in fact, one could very well argue that the Petroff still is THE first-tier opening, in purely theoretical terms!

  196. Steve
    January 15th, 2018 at 10:27 | #199

    I would love to see a book based on such a repertoire. I have played the Alekhine for more than 30 years (not all the time, of course) and I also like the lines you suggest against Nf3 and the Exchange. I am surprised at what you say about the Four Pawns, though. At my level (1950ish) anything is good against the 4Ps.

  197. Bebbe
    January 15th, 2018 at 11:11 | #200

    Sveshnikov, slav and Queensgambit declined should also be first tier.

  198. Bebbe
    January 15th, 2018 at 11:37 | #201

    Personally I only play second tier openings like Kingsindian, Leningrad Dutch and classical Sicilian. I Think they are more interesting than the first tier openings. These are figthing openings while first tier openings really aims to equalize the position.

    French, Dragon and sicilian kan are a second tier opening.

    Modern, Pirc, philidor, Owens, Dutch stonewall and Budapest gambit are third tier openings.

    Latvian, Englund, Elephantgambit are fourth tier.

  199. Ray
    January 15th, 2018 at 11:52 | #202

    @ Bebbe

    Thanks for adding these – I forgot those! Concerning your remark on 1st vs 2nd tier: in general that might be true, but I think it isn’t true for the Najdorf. I don’t think this opening aims to equalise the position. And neither does the Grunfeld i.m.o.

  200. Jacob Aagaard
    January 15th, 2018 at 12:53 | #203

    Maybe first!?

  201. Jacob Aagaard
    January 15th, 2018 at 12:54 | #204

    It is probably borderline. I think I did a decent job for Playing 1.e4 on this opening?!

  202. Ray
    January 15th, 2018 at 14:30 | #205

    @ Jacob Aagaard

    Which openings are you referring to in your two remarks above? The first I guess is the Petroff, but the second remark?

  203. TonyRo
    January 15th, 2018 at 14:47 | #206

    Steve :
    I would love to see a book based on such a repertoire. I have played the Alekhine for more than 30 years (not all the time, of course) and I also like the lines you suggest against Nf3 and the Exchange. I am surprised at what you say about the Four Pawns, though. At my level (1950ish) anything is good against the 4Ps.

    I think that if you’re qualifying it by implying that people will make mistakes, then indeed there are a lot of lines with reasonable practical value against the 4PA. I have not been able to make anything but the absolute main line work, and even there I think 10.Be2 has more venom than people give it credit for, and that Black needed some new ideas there.

  204. Jacob Aagaard
    January 15th, 2018 at 15:33 | #207

    Scandinavian. Sorry.

  205. Thomas
    January 15th, 2018 at 18:53 | #208

    I often start the game playing a first tier opening and turning it into a fourth tier opening some moves later.

  206. Leon Trotsky
    January 15th, 2018 at 20:00 | #209

    If Roiz is not planning to write on 3. g3, how would you think about playing in Benoni style with 3…c5 would complement his two repertoires on Nimzo and Queen’s ?

  207. Doug Eckert
    January 16th, 2018 at 00:39 | #210

    Or Cohen wrote a fantastic book on the Petroff in 2013. Sakaev another in 2011. I spent a year of my life trying to learn the Petroff. Black is probably equal in most lines or very slightly worse. There are a couple of issues with the Petroff. First, there is a huge amount of theory. Second, Black is just passive in many lines. The computer may say equal, but, the positions were very hard for me to play. In 7-8 games against players 2300 – 2500 my score was awful. As great as Cohen made the Petroff seem, all those players played the lines even he couldn’t make fun for Black. Ntirlis play 1…e5 book is easier to learn and the lines are much more fun for Black. Look at what happened to Caruana and Hou the last couple of days at Tata Steel. Kramnik drew all those Petroff games because he was brilliant at holding those positions. Kramnik hasn’t played it in years.

  208. BigTy
    January 16th, 2018 at 00:57 | #211

    All this talk of classifying the openings into a tier system interests me a great deal (for some unknown reason) so I have decided to make a tier system for both White and Black according to my own, well, opinion basically (take it with a grain of salt).

    For White, 1st tier openings are ones that greatly challenge Black, and even if he is able to equalize, he must be very precise to do so. 2nd tier openings are ones which are still potentially dangerous, but give Black more options to equalize, or at least err from theory without drastic consequences, though White should not end up worse. 3rd tier openings are ones where it is usually Black, rather than White, who is pushing for an advantage with precise play.

    For Black, I made 4 tiers. 1st tier openings are those which are often seen at top level, and challenge White to prove even the slightest edge. 2nd tier openings are very playable, and often give White a small edge with precise play, though Black usually has counter chances. 3rd tier openings are ones where White usually has multiple paths to at least a slight edge, if not a significant one. 4th tier openings are usually losing or much worse for Black with accurate play from White.

    Of course, since this is a theoretical discussion, we must assume that both sides play the best/most critical moves within the given openings.

  209. BigTy
    January 16th, 2018 at 01:13 | #212

    Starting with White:

    1st tier: Open Sicilians, Ruy Lopez, Mainline (3.Nc3) French, French Tarrasch, Classical Caro, Advance Caro, Mainline (3.Nc3) Scandi, Mainline (3.Nf3) Alekhine, 4 Pawns attack Pirc.

    QGD exchange, Catalan, and regular mainlines, Meran, 5.Bg5 Semi-Slav, Mainline Slav, Mar del Plata, Bayonette, Saemisch KID, Exchange Grunfeld, Russian System Grunfeld, 4.Qc2 Nimzo, 4.e3 Nimzo, Benko accepted with Bg2 set-up, Flick-knife attack or Modern Mainline against Modern Benoni, QGA 3.e4, Bg2 set-up against Tarrasch, Mainline Bg2 set-ups against Dutch.

    2nd tier: Most Anti-Sicilians; Scotch, Italian, 4 Knights game, etc.; French Advance, KIA, Exchange; Fantasy, Panov-Botvinnik, 2 knights Caro-Kann.

    Most D-Pawn Specials (minus Blackmar-Diemar), 2.Bg5/2.Nc3/2.e4 Dutch; Exchange Slav, minor lines against Slav, Semi-Slav, NID, KID, Grunfeld etc. (such as fianchetto KID, or 4.f3 Nimzo, you get the picture); Slow Slav, 1.b3, 1.f4, and 1.c4 without transposition to 1.d4 mainlines (I am still not sure if this should be 1st or 2nd tier).

    3rd tier: King’s Gambit (I know some will not be happy to see this in 3rd tier, but I need to be convinced otherwise), Blackmar-Diemar gambit, Smith Morra Gambit, French/Sicilian Wing Gambits, Danish Gambit, Grob, Orangutang.

  210. BigTy
    January 16th, 2018 at 01:30 | #213

    Now for Black:

    1st tier: Najdorf, Sveshnikov, and Taimanov Sicilians; Berlin, Marshall, Breyer, Zaitsev Ruy; Petrov, King’s Gambit Accepted; Caro-Kann (maybe this should be 2nd tier).

    QGD, Slav, Semi-Slav, Mainline Catalan, Grunfeld, Nimzo Indian.

    2nd tier: Most other Ruy defences, KGD/Falkbeer, French (should this be 1st tier?), Pirc, Modern; O’Kelly, Kan, Dragon(s), Kalashnikov, Classical, Scheveningen Sicilians; 2…Qxd5 Scandi (maybe this should be 3rd tier), Philidor (maybe this as well…).

    Chebanenko Slav, KID, Bogo, QID, Benko Gambit, Blumenfeld Gambit, Modern Benoni, Czech Benoni, QGA, Tarrasch, Dutch, Closed Catalan, …dxc4 Catalans where Black tries to hold the pawn, Old Indian.

    3rd tier: Bad Ruy defences (like the Bird); Lowenthal, Pin, 4 Knights, Basmann, Nimzowitch Sicilians; 2…Nf2 Scandi, Alekhine (probably the best in this tier), Owen’s Defence.

    Snake Benoni, Albin Counter-Gambit, Budapest Gambit, Schlecter Slav, Von-Hennig Schara Gambit, Chigorin Defence.

    4th tier: Borg, 1…b5, Englund Gambit, Elephant Gambit, Latvian Gambit, Fred.

    Obviously this is not comprehensive, so feel free to add any openings I missed. My apologies for any spelling, naming or classification errors in this opening nomenclature.

  211. Doug Eckert
    January 16th, 2018 at 02:55 | #214

    You have made an enormous effort here. Probably impossible. There are a lot of high level correspondence games now with the QGA and Black seems to hold fine. Hard to classify the QID as second tier since it has held the test of time for so long. Black side of Catalan, there are a number of different ways to play for Black that are hard for White to gain an advantage. I like most of your other choices for second tier.

    From a long time English player, 1 c4 second tier is harsh. Maybe right, but harsh. I look at the English / Reti a bit like the Italian, the transposition possibilities and requirements to understand a lot of different positions that are only slightly, but sometimes significantly from a strategic perspective make it very dangerous at a lot of levels. In today’s age of information, maybe that is all we can ask for from an opening.

  212. BigTy
    January 16th, 2018 at 04:06 | #215

    @Doug Eckert

    I was not sure about the QGA as I have not played the Black side of it, and only 3.e4 with White, though at my relatively low level Black often gets a really good game if he knows what he is doing (I prefer facing the QGD, Slav, or Semi-Slav to be honest, but maybe that just shows that I need to prepare better against the QGA). I have not played or studied the QID from either side, so I cannot say. I guess I was just going by the fact that I see much more 3…d5, with a transposition to the QGD after 3.Nf3, among strong players, but that does not necessarily mean the QID is inferior…

    While writing the 2nd tier openings part of my post, I kept thinking that this section could possibly be split into 2 sections, with a total of 5 tiers instead of 4. The English is one example of an opening, where it seems wrong to put it in the same category as the Pirc, but also in the same category as the Ruy Lopez and Queen’s Gambit. Maybe I am just biased as an 1.e4/d4 player, and not a 1.c4/Nf3 player, but I think an argument could be made to have tier 2 become two tiers (with openings like the English, KID, French in tier 2, and openings like the Pirc, Dutch, Benoni in tier 3), or even just to move the English and Reti to tier 1 based on their popularity and success in recent high level games.


  213. Doug Eckert
    January 16th, 2018 at 06:31 | #216

    There is a huge amount of judgement in this. I think your rational is very good.

    One thought on the opening trends. For many years, I never thought of Kramnik as a big thought leader in openings. But, think about the various openings that he played over the years that became hugely popular, Berlin, Petroff, Sveshnikov, and now the QGD. Its almost unbelievable the trends he set, very quietly. Ntirlis acknowledges his contribution to the QGD in his book Playing 1 d4 d5.

    As White, Kramnik is playing a lot of 1 c4 and 1 Nf3 these days with very creative ideas. I wish I had 10% of his creativity. For many years I viewed him as someone who almost understood chess too deeply and he gave draws when he should not. Yet now, he seems to be playing better than ever and his creativity is brighter than ever. Given his level of understanding, results and ability to set trends, anything he plays probably should be considered tier 1.

  214. Ray
    January 16th, 2018 at 07:18 | #217

    @ Doug Eckert

    I see your point on the Petroff. on the other hand, it also has some advantages: 1) Indeed it is a lot of theory, but if you know it well, you end up with equal positions almost everywhere. 2) You avoid a lot of theory as well, so I doubt if in the end the Petroff has more theory than all the white options after 2…Nc6 combined (I think not). 3) “More fun” may be a matter of taste. I agree some of the Petroff lines are rather dry / technical, but if you like endgames this can be fun. On the other hand, almost everyone seems to play the Italian with d2-d3 nowadays, which is also not to every black player’s taste. I would dare to say that the subtleties of this system are also quite difficult to learn; I have read several GM’s remark on this (e.g. MVL in a recent interview in NIC).

  215. bebbe
    January 16th, 2018 at 08:01 | #218


    Yes I agree that Najdorf and Grunfeld are exceptions and that black strives for the initiative in many variations. The practical problem with these openings are that there are many forced draws. I am not aware of any forced draw in the Leningrad dutch or the Classical Sicilian

  216. bebbe
    January 16th, 2018 at 08:10 | #219


    Great job in categorizing the openings. The big question is what to use this information for?
    It would be interesting to categorize openings according to how theorethical they are and to playing style. For instance: Which first tier opening for black against 1.e4 demands the least theorethical knowledge or is the most tactical? Thus we can have a table showing these correlations.

  217. Thomas
    January 16th, 2018 at 08:18 | #220

    Ray :
    I agree some of the Petroff lines are rather dry / technical, but if you like endgames this can be fun.

    I doubt if even the greatest endgame lovers have too much fun with a knight ending with symmetrical pawns right out of the opening.

  218. Ray
    January 16th, 2018 at 09:51 | #221

    @ Thomas

    Point taken 🙂 . On the other hand, the Scotch Four Knights is not that much more exciting. And Nikos’ main line in the Italian Two Knights with 4.Ng5 ends in a forced draw. If white doesn’t want to play chess, there’s not much you can do about it with black. I guess it’s a matter of philosophy: do you want to win with black or do you want to avoid losing? That being said, the Petroff probably isn’s the best choice for a GM against an IM. But neither is the Berlin Wall and a whole lot of other solid openings. In that case he can always play the Pirc of course 🙂 .

  219. Thomas
    January 16th, 2018 at 10:03 | #222

    I think we are trying too much to follow the top players and their no-risk-attitude. It kills too much creativity.
    I accept that I won’t ever understand all the subtleties of the Berlin – but then there’s no reason to play it.
    So many having played the Catalan and now switching to 2.Bf4 – even more solid. OMG.
    I still dream of someone writing a nice book on the Velimirovic-Attack.

  220. claretjames
    January 16th, 2018 at 11:02 | #223

    Thanks for the fantastic contribution to this interesting discussion! The one that interests me is the relative ranking of the French and the Caro-Kann for Black, noting that BigTy has questioned his categorisation of both of these openings, i.e. which is the “third best” reply to 1.e4? I think it is commonly accepted that the Advance Caro (tier 1 by BigTy) is a bigger challenge for Black than the Advance French (tier 2 by BigTy) and I feel less challenged as Black in the Exchange French than in the Panov Attack (both tier 2 by BigTy). And Black seems to have a wider choice of good replies against 3.Nc3/Nd2 in the French than in the Caro-Kann. But perhaps in the ultra mainlines against 3.Nc3/Nd2 the Caro-Kann is the more dependable if Black follows the best path? (not sure). As a modest player with the outlook of someone who tends in the main not to be pressured to win v. 1.e4 I think I would give a very slight edge to the French from my perspective, but close enough to put them in the same tier. But tier 1 or 2 is difficult, and perhaps the main replies to 3.Nc3/Nd2 would need splitting in the same way as Black’s Open Sicilian and Ruy defences to clarify this (I am not planning doing this!).

  221. Ray
    January 16th, 2018 at 12:01 | #224

    @ Thomas

    I agree. It is astonishing how risk-avoiding also the white players are nowadays. On the internet I get the London all the time against 1.d4, and against 1.e4 over half of my games is in the French Exchange… And these are 10 minute games! It seems everyone is just concerned with not losing any rating points rather than having an exciting game.

  222. Thomas
    January 16th, 2018 at 12:40 | #225

    Carlsen plays the Winawer poisoned pawn today – a sign of better times to come ?? 🙂

  223. Ray
    January 16th, 2018 at 14:45 | #226

    @ Thomas

    Wow, that’s great – one of my favourite opening lines 🙂

  224. Jacob Aagaard
    January 16th, 2018 at 16:23 | #227

    I have been planning on writing about this way down the line. I will purposefully ignore the way Bigty has done it (and have purposefully not read more than a few lines of it, as to avoid plagiarism on my own idea :-).

    I saw Doug’s comment and have to say that I do not find the English to be second tier, if White is ready to transpose into favourable 1.d4 openings.

  225. Ray
    January 16th, 2018 at 17:58 | #228

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Great, bring it on 🙂

  226. An Ordinary Chessplayer
    January 16th, 2018 at 22:50 | #229

    @BigTy – The Grob belongs in a tier all by itself.

    “… it comes closer to losing by force than any other first move.” — John W. Collins, “How the Chess Openings Got their Names”, Chess Life, July 1965 (Best of Chess Life & Review, volume 2, page 153).

    True that. I have played it many times myself, with excellent results, only because sheer terror kept me on high alert from move one.

    I think all tier systems are doomed from the start, because tier implies step-wise differences between classes of openings. The differences are more gradual, with the exception of the Grob.

  227. BigTy
    January 17th, 2018 at 01:18 | #230


    I am not sure if this information is useful for anything, other than to help very strong players make informed choices. I think that for most of us, playing a 1st tier or 2nd tier opening will not make much of a difference in our results, assuming we know how to play both of the openings. For example, my results with the Najdorf tend to be better than with the Sveshnikov, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Najdorf is a superior opening. Rather, I know the ideas better and find the positions easier to handle. Likewise, I probably do better on the Black side of the Modern Benoni than the Semi-Slav, but I would be laughed right out of here if I tried to argue that the Semi-Slav is inferior from a theoretical perspective. As for categorizing openings by amount of theory and playing style, I will leave that to someone else, as I do not think I have the knowledge to do so (especially amount of theory). I will say, however, that generally the higher the tier, the more theory the opening has — which seems pretty obvious.


    I agree, though I think the Catalan is a highly complex and interesting opening, which tends to be solid, though can also get sharp rather easily (like the Ruy Lopez against 1.e4). Thus, I am never dissapointed to see it in a high level game, unlike the London.


    Regarding the French/Caro debate, I really cannot decide which move I would rank higher. I think a common opinion is that the French is a better winning…

  228. BigTy
    January 17th, 2018 at 01:20 | #231

    Oops, I went over the character limit. Here is the rest:


    Regarding the French/Caro debate, I really cannot decide which move I would rank higher. I think a common opinion is that the French is a better winning try (if you can get past the exchange), while the Caro is better for not losing… However, these days with all the crazy lines in the Advance variation, and opposite side castling in the Classical, I think that it is not clear at all. If I had to rank one defense is giving better chances for equality from a theoretical perspective, I would say the Caro, but only because of the light square Bishop problem that Black often has in the French. Due to the inability to decide where to place these openings in the tier system, in my previous post I proposed dividing tier 2 into two separate tiers, with tier 1 being Sicilian, 1…e5, tier 2 being French and Caro, and tier three being Pirc, Scandi, Modern, etc.


    I have noticed this too, and it is frustrating. I probably get the London system after 1…d5 almost as often as 2.c4 online, and I wonder why I even bother studying Anti-Moscow Gambit theory if for every Anti-Moscow Gambit I get 20 Londons? After a while I quit playing the French partially due to getting the exchange variation in half my games as well (OTB it did not seem to be a problem, but online players of all levels seem to love the exchange with White). I guess I will always have the Dutch and Sicilian as part of my repertoire for…

  229. BigTy
    January 17th, 2018 at 01:21 | #232


    I guess I will always have the Dutch and Sicilian as part of my repertoire for this reason.

    @An Ordinary Chessplayer

    I embarrassingly have lost to the Grob in blitz on more than one occasion, even against weaker players. Perhaps that is just due to the fact that I cannot be bothered to really study it though (it seems like common sense moves should be sufficient). However, if you like, we can put it in tier 4 for White along with the Bong Cloud.

    I agree with you regarding the gradual differences between openings, and to classify them all within 4 or 5 tiers does not seem to do justice to the gradual differences between them. I for one have trouble putting the KID in the same category as the Benko, but I don’t believe it belongs with the Grunfeld either.

  230. Doug Eckert
    January 17th, 2018 at 07:09 | #233

    I view the Petroff like this. There are a pair of center pawns exchanged early in almost every line leading to more static pawn structures. Against 3 d4 Cohen gives 8 chapters and Sakaev 7. Against 3 Nxe5 Cohen gives 12 chapters and Sakaev 14 chapters. Both books are around 300 pages. Several of the chapters have long tactical sequences that both authors indicate a lot of deep memorization required. The Petroff pawn structures need to be of the type you like to play. If they are not, it is going to be a tough opening to play. I found it just was not my style.

    With 2…Nc6, there are more options, not only for White, but also for Black. The d3 systems in both the Italian and Spanish are very subtle. The opportunity to change the pawn structure for both sides creates a very interesting strategic battle. I also remember MVL’s comment about strong GMs not understanding it. That seems to create opportunity to strategically understand positions and create opportunities to out play opponents. Not easy, but an opportunity.

    I never thought I would play 1…e5 after playing the Sicilian for 28 years or so. It took me a year of work to convert and the results with 1…e5 have been encouraging. Other than a game or two, I have for the most part achieved good positions in most of my games. Living in St. Louis, the competition is shall we say strong. Against most lower rated players, I am having an easier time than I was…

  231. Bebbe
    January 17th, 2018 at 12:16 | #234


    I aggree that it is more important to know the ideas. Even the guys in Wijk are playing second tier openings.

    Regarding The French/Caro debate I think it can be hard to get a sharp game against 3.Nd2. If everbody played the advance variation and 3.Nc3 i would also play the french.

    The classical variation with opposite castling is of course sharp but a queen exchange is never far away. Besides I think that white is doing most of the attacking.
    In the classical french Steinitz variation there is also opposite side castling after 7-.cxd4 8.Nxd4, Bc5 9.Qd2, 0-0 10.0-0-0. But here the queens will stay and it is more a case of mutual attacks

  232. Bebbe
    January 17th, 2018 at 12:18 | #235

    The classical variation in the Caro-Kann with opposite castling is of course sharp but a queen exchange is never far away. Besides I think that white is doing most of the attacking.

  233. Ray
    January 17th, 2018 at 13:12 | #236

    @ Bebbe
    I think you are now addressing a different point than the question on which tier the French and Caro are in. The QGD has a lot of quiet variations without opposite castling, and nobody would dispute it’s a first tier opening.

    More on the content: whereas I also prefer playing against 3.Nc3 or the Advance, i.m.o. the Tarrasch French also has plenty of quite sharp variations after 3…Nf6. If you have a look at Berg’s tome, you’ll see piece end exchange sacrifices abound.

  234. claretjames
    January 17th, 2018 at 18:31 | #237

    @BigTy @Bebbe @Ray
    Thank you very much for the further contributions to the French/Caro Kann tier discussion. Those were the days 25+ years ago when (before 5.Ng5 came into prominence) the 4…Nd7 Caro-Kann could be the centrepiece of a simple and solid repertoire v. 1.e4, and it is hardly an exaggeration to say that the Advance Caro-Kann tended to be regarded as a sideline back then! Now I find playing the Caro-Kann as Black can be quite burdensome theoretically on a number of fronts, albeit I am sure much less so than the Sicilian and 1…e5, and I struggle a little to see the obvious “upside” to playing it compared to other defences.

  235. BigTy
    January 18th, 2018 at 00:10 | #238


    Some players would argue that the Caro-kann is the best choice if you need to play for a win at all costs against 1.e4. Why? Let’s look at the aternatives:

    Top tier Sicilians: tend to have a lot of long lines that lead to mass simplification, forced draws (like in the Nadorf PP), or opposite coloured bishop situations where both sides have mutual weaknesses (Sveshnikov). I am not sure about the Taimanov, though generally one could argue that very tactical variations are not suitable for playing for a win against a booked up opponent due to the reasons above, and the positions being too ‘solved’ in general.

    2nd tier Sicilians: maybe these are also a good choice, especially ones that are not so tactical and forcing (I am thinking of the Kan as a good choice, and the Dragon as perhaps not so good).

    1…e5 There is the whole problem of getting into one of those ‘Spanish torture’ positions, where Black just kind of defends without any real winning chances. Also, some lines have forced draws or are at least very forcing and deeply analyzed (Zaitsev, Marshall). White does not even have to play the Ruy, and can go for many lines which lead to a symmetrical pawn structure and early exchanges.

    French: exchange variation, though it is by no means a forced draw.

    Moden, Pirc, Alekhine, Scandi: maybe good in must win situations, but you are also increasing your chances of losing in my opinion — more so than with 1…c6.

  236. BigTy
    January 18th, 2018 at 00:27 | #239

    I am mostly a Sicilian player, but I play the Caro sometimes as well, and seem to get good results (though have not tried it in OTB tournaments). I know the ideas a lot better than the concrete theory, and that seems to be enough to get an imbalanced position where I can try to outplay my opponents (or get outplayed). I am only around 2000 strength though, so for stronger players, a more indepth knowledge of the actual theory is probably required. Here is my rational for why the Caro is a good winning try, and a good choice in general:

    – It is always going to be imbalanced: the pawn structure rarely ends up symmetrical, and often there are minor piece imbalances as well.
    – Not a lot of forced draws: there may be some in the sharp lines of the Advance variation, but Black has options and can avoid going into those lines.
    – Hard for white to kill the game: there are some lines in the classical which seem pretty boring, such as when white exchanges light squared bishops without pushing the h-pawn, but even here Black can play for a win because the pawn structure is asymmetrical.
    – less theory than other 1st tier openings: assuming we can agree on it being 1st tier, the Caro has a lot less theory than 1…c5 or 1…e5, though it still has quite a lot.
    – few minor piece problems: unlike in the French, the c8 bishop is rarely a problem, though sometimes Black lacks space for his kingside pieces in the Advance variation.
    – less popular than 1…e5 and 1…c5: this is…

  237. BigTy
    January 18th, 2018 at 00:28 | #240

    – less popular than 1…e5 and 1…c5: this is potentially an advantage as well, as White likely has less experience playing against the Caro than against 1…c5 and 1…e5, and probably invests less time in studying its theory.

    I could go on and on, though perhaps you are right in that if Black wants a solid game and does not like being attacked, then the Caro is probably not the best choice. In a lot of lines, I have come to see it as a counterattacking opening — much like the French and Sicilian. But if Black players can no longer count on the Caro for safety and solidity, then where should they look?

  238. Doug Eckert
    January 18th, 2018 at 00:56 | #241

    Where is the forced draw for White against 1…e5? Look at Aronion’s games. He is trying to win. Just at that level, well… Even in the 4 knights, there are imbalancing plans for Black that are not terribly risky.

    If I had to win as Black, I would probably play the Sicilian Kan. Second tier opening, but I can get a hedge hog position. I avoid Bb5 lines. There are a lot less forcing variations there. I just need something against 2 c3. I have not looked at that for a few years now to see what could work.

  239. BigTy
    January 18th, 2018 at 02:13 | #242

    @Doug Eckert

    I guess I phrased that wrong… I cannot think of a forced draw in the same way that they can be found in some Poisoned Pawn lines, other than the Nf3-g5-f3 repetition against the Zaitsev, though here Black has a chance to choose a different system if he wishes. I guess I wanted to say that some of the theoretically strongest lines, such as the Marshall and Berlin, are very deeply analyzed and tend to have a drawish tendency in high level games, though I am sure that at my level that would not be the case. In the closed Ruy lines, like Chigorin and Breyer, it seems like Black often has a tough time creating dangerous counterplay against White’s slow positional grind (hence the term Spanish torture), much in the same way White can play for 2 results (level depending of course) in the Catalan.

    I find I go through phases with 1…e5, where for a while I play it exclusively, and then not at all for a while. The thing I find annoying is not the Ruy, as I am happy to play the Zaitsev and have some back up ideas if White goes for the repetition, but rather lines like the Scotch gambit (if memory serves me right), where there seems to be a lot of early forced simplification (depending on what White does), leading to a rather symmetrical structure and sometimes right to an equal ending. Black should be happy here, of course, but I found that often these types of lines gave White fewer chances to err if he just followed the theory and played logical moves. Maybe…

  240. BigTy
    January 18th, 2018 at 02:18 | #243

    Maybe I just don’t know how to play 1…e5 right…

    As for the Hedgehog, I find it interesting, though it has never really been a part of my repertoire for either side, and something I have only entered ‘by accident.’ I studied the plans for both sides in Rios’ Chess Structures book, and it looks preferable for Black when compared to the Black side of an Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind, but my question is, if White sits tight and tries to just hold back all of Black’s pawn breaks, does Black still have good chances to win?


  241. Doug Eckert
    January 18th, 2018 at 06:59 | #244

    As I have gotten older, I have tended to look for more clear cut solutions. (Maybe that is why we lose strength as we get older.) Beating any strong player from near equal positions is going to be difficult irrespective of the opening. I am taking the approach that I want to know for certain my position is OK, then figure out what I can make of it. Sometimes it is just a draw.

    In the Scotch gambit, I am assuming you are referring to the position 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3 when everyone recommends 4…d5, the Capablanca defense and an equal ending is a logical progression. 4…Nf6 transposing to a Ponziani is an interesting option for Black. I have had the Capablanca ending twice in rapid games as Black and won both. Both players were in the 2100 ELO range. Certainly White is at least equal. But, the position is not dead.

    When I was younger, I hated these positions and did not find 1…e5 that interesting. I played 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 for the first time in a tournament game in February 2016. It has been an adjustment and an enormous time investment. I think the investment is worth it. I looked at my record, +7 -4 =3 in Classical games since 2016. All of the wins were ELO 2000 – 2150. The four losses were 2250 – 2530 ELO, 1 IM (Bregadze) 1 GM (Mirandi). The three draws were 2350 – 2500 ELO 1 IM and 1 GM (Fishbein). So, I have not yet beaten anyone really strong with it. But, I also did not lose or draw…

  242. Ray
    January 18th, 2018 at 07:44 | #245

    @Doug Eckert
    Of course there is no forced draw for white against 1…e5, but i.m.o. the Scotch Four Knights is quite dry – if drawing margin in the endgame line is quite high.

    @ BigTy
    If white is happy with a draw, he can play the exchange variation against the Caro-Kann. Here too the drawing margin is high if white is determined not to lose. In my experience the winning chances for black against the French Exchange are not lower than against the Caro-Kann Exchange. I.m.o. against almost every opening white can “kill” the game if he really wants to. As to your question where black should go to if he can no longer count on the Caro-Kann for safety and solidity: the Petroff comes to mind 🙂 . It was remarked on this blog some days ago that Caruana and Hou lost with the Petroff in Tata Steel, but those losses had nothing to do witht he opening.

  243. Thomas
    January 18th, 2018 at 08:02 | #246

    Ray :
    ….but those losses had nothing to do witht he opening.

    Hmmm. I’m not so sure. The positions might have been ok, but look at the large amounts of time used by black around move 15 in both games. That shows how difficult those positions are to play.

  244. Bebbe
    January 18th, 2018 at 09:17 | #247

    A fighting repertoire in the french with reasonable amount of theory could be:

    3.Nc3 Classical (the winawer is very theorethical with lots of sidelines) , 7.-cxd4 8.Nxd4, Bc5 with opposite side castling against Steinitz 4.Bg5, Be7 5.e5, Nfd7 6.Bxe7 (6.h4, h6), Qxe7 3.Nd2, Nf6 with 11.-0-0 instead of 11.-Qc7 (much less theory)
    3.e5, c5 4.c3, Nc6 5.Nf3, Qb6 6.a3, c4 (keeping lots of pieces)
    3.exd5 just play chess

    A fighting repertoire in the caro with reasonable amount of theory could be:

    3.Nc3/Nd2 classical with opposite side castling
    3. e5, Bf5
    3. exd5, cxd5 4.c4, Nf6 5.Nc3, Nc6
    3. f3, e6 4.Nc3, Bb4

    Which one do you prefer?

  245. Bebbe
    January 18th, 2018 at 09:27 | #248

    If choosing french 1.d4, e6 could be a practical option.
    Maybe the stonewall after 2.c4, 2.Nf3 and 2.g3.
    I think the stonewall is a low maintenance opening.
    The downside is that it is much less dynamic than its brother,
    the Leningrad Dutch.

  246. Ray
    January 18th, 2018 at 10:42 | #249

    @ Thomas
    Maybe you’re right – I’m not an expert on the Petroff, on the contrary. I don’t play it, but I do think it’s an intriguing opening.

  247. Ray
    January 18th, 2018 at 10:48 | #250

    @ Bebbe

    I have played both the Caro-Kann and the French, but in the end I prefer the French as a fighting opening. It’s so rich in both strategical and tactical idea. And very flexible due to the closed nature of the positions. Besides, many 1.e4 players don’t like the (semi-) closed positions from the French. I agree it makes sense to play 3…Nf6 against 3.Nc3. The Winawer is great, but too much theory you have to learn but almost never have on the board (e.g. the Posioned Pawn). I.m.o. Jacob and Nikos already gave us the perfect figthing repertoire in Playing the French 🙂 . I prefer the McCutcheon over 4…Be7. 3…Nf6 against the Tarrasch offers fighting chances, but my score in this line is horrible. I think 3…c5 is simply better and offers fighting chances as well in the line with …Qxd5. The white knight is then just misplaced on d2. In summary: I’m very happy to just follow the repertoire in Playing the French !

  248. Ray
    January 18th, 2018 at 10:53 | #251

    PS: 1.d4 e6 is great, since you avoid a lot of sidelines. I am in favour of playing 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 and go for a Nimzo. This is i.m.o. one of the ideal fighting openings. Very sound but plenty of opportunities to unbalance the game. And in this move order you avoid the Tromp. Of course there’s the Catalan, but Niko’s antidote is convincing and offers sufficient winning chances for black. That leaves only 3.Nf3. If you want a fighting option you can play the Benoni, but the Ragozin is also great. And I hope Roiz will also offer a fighting repertoire in his upcoming book on the QID!

  249. bebbe
    January 18th, 2018 at 11:49 | #252


    I think that you are right about that french is the better fighting weapon: too many exchanges in the Caro.

    We also agree that 3.Nc3, Nf6 is the way to go.

    What I dont like is Qxd5 against Tarrasch. There is an early queen exchange with slim winning chances for black.

    Your repertoire after 1.d4, e6 is much more ambitious than mine and requires a lot of learning. The stonewall dutch is almost theory-free compared to what you suggest. It is still a great fighting weapon even if objectively black is slightly worse. I only consider 1.d4, e6 as a second option to my leningrad dutch which avoids all the anti-dutch lines when I am not in a mood for those.

  250. The Doctor
    January 18th, 2018 at 12:20 | #253


    I’m very happy to just follow the repertoire in Playing the French !

    Agreed I do the same, a great book. Wish they’d do a Sicilian in the same style

  251. claretjames
    January 18th, 2018 at 12:37 | #254

    Many thanks to all for the further contributions to the French/Caro-Kann discussion. @BigTy, your points about the imbalance in the Caro-Kann are well made, and I don’t disagree. I think I am sort of somewhere in between you and @Ray on the Caro-Kann Exchange, I suppose that Black has prospects of minority attack style play. I had been looking at the statistics shortly before this tier discussion started, hence my interest. From a large online database, after 1.e4 e6 (or c6) 2.d4 d5, in the French the frequencies are 71% for 3.Nc3/Nd2, 16% for 3.e5 and 12% for 3.exd5 and in the Caro-Kann they are 44% for 3.Nc3/Nd2, 26% for 3.e5 and 27% for 3.exd5. (Rare moves account for the balance of 100%.) French then splits 42% for 3.Nc3 and 29% for 3.Nd2, Caro-Kann doesn’t really matter because 3…dxe4 is almost always played. This includes historical games, but I don’t feel the numbers are unrepresentative of current trends. I take from this that we are significantly more likely to get our mainlines in the French, but need to be prepared to fight more frequently on more fronts in the Caro-Kann. White has the fundamental 3.Nc3/Nd2 choice in the French, but otherwise it seems to me that Black is choosing the battleground in the French but White is choosing the battleground in the Caro-Kann….

  252. claretjames
    January 18th, 2018 at 12:43 | #255

    We can debate the merits of Winawer or Classical in the 3.Nc3 French, similarly in the Tarrasch, on top of which the Rubinstein Variation is also available against both White moves if Black wishes to choose this on move 3 on some occasions, but Black has these choices. Whereas in the Caro-Kann I think we are up to at least 3, possibly even 4, recent Black repertoire books all suggesting the Classical with opposite side castling?

  253. Ray
    January 18th, 2018 at 12:51 | #256

    @ Bebbe

    The queen exchange against the …Qxd5 Tarrasch is indeed a problem for black if he needs to win. But in practice it might not be so bad. In my experience the odds of getting this position in the first place are rather small. And besides, if white desperately wants to draw against the French, then why not go for the Exchange rather than the Tarrasch where he has to be ready for 3…c5, 3…Nf6, 3…Be7, 3…Nc6 (by the way also quite an interesting fighting option), 3…a6 and 3…h6 ? If in a tournament you can prepare against an opponent and know beforehand he will play the queen exchange, you can always specifically prepare a fighting response for that occasion of course.

  254. bebbe
    January 18th, 2018 at 14:51 | #257


    I have actually played this variation two times in classical games and in one of them the queen exchange occured but maybe it is not that common.

    Still, after 3.-Nf6 there is no real bailout for white.

    I agree that the MacCutcheon is a great fighting weapon, but it is much more theroethical than 4.-Be7, quite similiar to the Winaver with many sidelines.
    A great fighting line is 5.e5, h6 6.Bd2, Bxc3 7.bxc3, Ne4 8,Qg4.

  255. McBear
    January 18th, 2018 at 14:52 | #258

    I don’t recall who was the first person who uttered this statement: “In a symmetrical position, the better player will usually win.” I guess there is some kernel of truth in that statement. Maybe you will not always win against weaker players but if you are clearly the better player, you do not have to fear the French Exchange variation as there are still plenty of pieces on the board with which you can outplay your opponent.
    Sometimes I fear that somebody may go into one of those variations which exist for instance in the French Tarrasch Nf6 or Be7 which lead to a draw by repetition of moves or there are forced moves until the endgame with hardly any pieces left. But then I have to tell myself: which White player would prepare a line with 15-20 moves only to reach a draw once in a while. No amateur player …

  256. bebbe
    January 18th, 2018 at 15:15 | #259


    I agree that the forced draws are more fearful for the clearly better player than the French Exchange. Black can always break the symmetry to liven-up the game. There are lots of pieces. The better player will know what pieces that should be exchanged and those to keep.

    What forced draws exists in Tarrasch Nd2?

  257. Ray
    January 18th, 2018 at 16:11 | #260

    @ Bebbe,

    There are a number of forced draws in the main line with 11…Qc7 if white allows the exchange sacrifice.

  258. McBear
    January 18th, 2018 at 16:13 | #261

    @bebbe: I was thinking of a crazy line in the Nf6-Tarrasch with 12.Nc3 with 15…Ng4 in which both sides play computerish moves to reach an absolutely drawish endgame at move 31 for instance. I don’t want to give the full line in order not to encourage white players to play that stuff. Or for instance in the Bg5 line in Berg’s book there are also 1 or 2 lines in which White has to sacrifice stuff but can later secure a draw by repetition.

    In the Tarrasch with Be7 there is for example also a line with 5. Qg4 in which you may be forced to repeat moves at move ten, at least in the line I play.

    But I have never faced any of this in a game and I guess you can avoid such stuff if you really want to by choosing different lines, like the 0-0 line in the Nf6-Tarrasch you mentioned above.

  259. RYV
    January 18th, 2018 at 21:29 | #262

    Hi Jacob

    What about the book of Jan Elvhest on opening preparation ?
    also about volume 2 from MF Rios ?


  260. Jacob Aagaard
    January 18th, 2018 at 21:51 | #263

    It needed a few more things from the author which we have just received.

    Flores Rios has not sent us anything, but we are still hopeful he will remember us when we send the next royalty statement…

  261. BigTy
    January 19th, 2018 at 00:13 | #264

    @Doug Eckert

    I am familiar with the Capablanca Defence, but was actually thinking of a different line (maybe it is classified as part of the Two Knights Defence): 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qa5 9.Nxe4 Be6 10.Neg5 0-0-0 and White takes on e6, and already the tension in the centre seems to be gone, though the Queens are still on the board and there is opposite side castling, so maybe Black should be happy. If I recall though, Bologan gives some lines which lead to a rather equal ending (at work at the moment, so I cannot check), and I found in blitz at least that these kinds of positions were fine for Black, but could be hard to win because I wasn’t creating a lot of opportunities for White to go wrong… Objectively Black is fine and cannot complain, but positions that involve a lot of early trades in the center, thereby dissolving the tension, and which are very open, perhaps are just not to my taste. Maybe if I go back to 1…e5, I should play 5…Bc5 and allow White to play the Max Lange, as those kinds of positions are more up my alley, despite White’s good results when compared to 5…Nxe4.

    I also agree with Ray regarding the Scotch Four knights. At my level it is usually not drawn, but that does not stop it from being boring… Some lines in the Scotch also lead to mass simplification early, though with some imbalances of course. The worst thing though is that I would encounter these kinds of openings more than…

  262. BigTy
    January 19th, 2018 at 00:14 | #265

    The worst thing though is that I would encounter these kinds of openings more than the Ruy Lopez, and when I finally got a Ruy, white would play some early d3 or d4 line, avoiding my Zaitsev. 🙁

    Am I asking too much by trying to play a highly imbalanced and exciting game with Black every game? Probably. However, despite what many people say about Anti-Sicilians being popular, I find that I get far more Open Sicilians as Black, and frequently the most critical lines like the 6.Bg5 Najdorf. Whether White knows how to play these positions after the first 10 moves or so is up for debate, but at least I am getting exciting and critical lines. With 1…e5 I almost never end up in a mainline Ruy.

  263. BigTy
    January 19th, 2018 at 00:38 | #266

    Regarding the whole French/Caro debate… I never found the exchange Caro to be drawish, and would often play a rather comfortable QGD type minority attack — except with Black, instead of White, but maybe for GMs the situation is different. My repertoire is based around Schandorff’s book, which seems to be quite combative, though I am not sure how much I like the well known endgame line in the Panov…

  264. BigTy
    January 19th, 2018 at 00:38 | #267

    When I played the French (and I will probably return to it at some point), my combative repertoire looked something like this, and I did well with it, though have not tried it in an OTB tournament. I used Moskalenko’s books as a guide:

    Exchange: if White plays an early c4, we give him an IQP and castle kingside and play against that, and if White plays Bd3,c3, 0-0 etc, we play Bd6, Nc6, Nge7, Bf5/g4, Qd7, 0-0-0, and f6 in some order, if permitted, giving a fairly interesting opposite side castling pawnstorm game.

    Advance: the typical setup with c5/Nc6/Qb6/cxd4 and trying to get the King’s knight to f5 to give some pressure to d4, while allowing White to trade his light squared bishop for it (as given in the Flexible French, sorry for the vagueness and lack of a name for this).

    Tarrasch: this line was always the biggest problem for me, and I do not do well with 3…Nf6, so I was experimenting with 3…Be7, though don’t have enough experience to say whether I like it or not.

    Mainline: Winawer Black Queen Blues (6…Qa5, usually going to a4 after). This line is interesting and cuts out a lot of White’s early sidelines. I have not looked in detail at Negi’s response to it, but in my experience it is quite playable for Black.

    I think this repertoire is fairly combative and non theoretical, but I switched away from the French because I got tired of seeing the exchange in half my games, and wanted some variety in pawn structures…

  265. Doug Eckert
    January 19th, 2018 at 01:04 | #268

    Nothing is perfect. But, in the line you quote, Ntirlis gave 8…Qd7 instead of 8…Qa5. The point being in the variations with RXe4+ and Nxd4, Black has the bishop pair for free after Nxc6 since Black can recapture with the Queen. Of course White is equal, but White has no chance at an advantage. If White allows Black to have the two bishops in the symmetrical position, what else could you ask for from the opening. A risk free run at someone.

    Sure, the Scotch four knights is awfully boring. A few points. First, Black can obtain the bishop pair for an impaired pawn structure. There are chances to try to win as Black. You can also play 5…Bc5. I think White has some chance for an advantage there. But, it keeps pieces on the board and provides some imbalance. Junior Tay also wrote an article in NIC YB 107 about just playing 5…Bb4 6 Nxc6 bxc6 7 Bd3 d6. Lots of lines where Black played h6 g5 against Bg5 and created kingside play.

    Of course you are correct White can play d3 in both the Italian and the Spanish. First, it is not an aggressive move. It leads to positions that both sides can play. Second, against the Sicilian, White can also play d3 in a closed Sicilian. The positions are not necessarily dramatically different in the style of play. But styles do matter. As you mentioned earlier, you have trouble playing the Slav as Black. Probably because you make a counter in the center too quickly with e5 or c5…

  266. Doug Eckert
    January 19th, 2018 at 01:09 | #269

    I have the same problem. Finding openings where the pawn breaks match your style and temperment probably make a 100 – 200 playing point difference in strength. The objective merits of the line may not matter that much if you just have trouble with that type of position.

    There have been several repertoire books recently that are focused on transpositions to d4 type openings. I agree with a lot of the comments on when to do it favorably. But, there are a couple transpositions that have been recommended where I am thinking, I play the English / Reti specifically so I never have to play that position…

  267. BigTy
    January 19th, 2018 at 02:07 | #270

    @Doug Eckert

    Thanks for the suggestions. I was a bit familiar with those ideas in the Scotch Four Knights, but must admit that the Ntirlis line with 8…Qd7 is new to me. I will look into that when I switch back to playing 1…e5 regularly. I should really give it more of a chance over the board, as there I think people would try for more of an advantage with openings like the Ruy, than they do online, but maybe that is not true. My only tournament game with 1…e5 was an exchange Ruy, which I won, though it had little to do with the opening.

    Of course White has a variety of quiet lines against the Sicilian, like the closed and c3 Sicilians, but for some reason my opponents rarely go for them (and I have faced them enough over the years that I generally have a good feel for the Black side). Even low rated players who probably have no business studying theory seem to play into an Open Sicilian, probably because they learned somewhere that it is White’s most challenging option, so against lower rateds I often get a very nice game with the Sicilian right off the bat, which encourages me to keep playing and studying it. Maybe if I got more Anti-Sicilians, and fewer Opens, I would start to feel discouraged, as has happened with 1…e5.

  268. BigTy
    January 19th, 2018 at 02:13 | #271

    Regarding the Semi-Slav, I am doing well with it online for the most part, though still have a lot to learn and relearn. It helps that I play both sides of it. I think my greatest weakness is actually very symmetrical positions, like the exchange Slav, where I often end up worse from a combination of trying too hard to make an imbalance, getting bored, and falling into some early Qb3 tactical stuff due to not knowing what I am doing. In general, though, I do much better in highly imbalanced than symmetrical positions, be they tactical or strategic in nature.


    I think after 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Black could still transpose into a Leningrad Dutch xmas tree variation, assuming you are willing to play that (personally, as a Leningrad player, I would take it over the Stonewall or Classical if given the choice).

  269. bebbe
    January 19th, 2018 at 07:20 | #272


    Thanks for the advice! I think your suggestions suits me better than the stonewall.
    The christmas tree is a good alternative to my normal dutch with Qe8.
    Alo this is a good way to aviod the anti-dutch variations.

  270. Ray
    January 19th, 2018 at 08:46 | #273

    Interesting discussion! Tome the big problem of playing 1…e5 is that indeed I almost never get a main line Ruy Lopez, whilse at the same time I have to remember a lot of theory for the odd case I do get it on the board. That’s just not practical to me. I also used to play the Semi-Slav and there I had the same problem: having to remember loads and loads of Meran and Botvinnik theory, while in practice I never got that on the board in a serious game. Most opponents play system openings like the London, or if I’m lucky, some anti-Meran line. That’s why to me openings where black can determine the battlefield early on are attractive. The French is such an opening against 1.e4 (except of course for the Exchange, but in a serious game I almost never encounter that – only on the internet), but the Caro-Kann as well. Against d4, the Dutch seems very practical in this respect. Otherwise against 1.d4 one just has to accept that the London is very popular and just prepare a good antidote to it (I really like Nikos’s recommendation because it is quite easy to learn). In the past I played the KID, but that has the same disadvantage as mentioned above: having to learn insane amounts of theory in the Mar del Plata, whereas I almost never encountered this in a serious game.

  271. bebbe
    January 19th, 2018 at 09:58 | #274


    I agree on your conclusions on what openings are practical and the reasons for why they are practical.
    The KID is practical in one way as it is universal and can be used against 1.d4, 1.c4 and 1.Nf3. In another way it is impractical since the lines that are the most interesting (Mar del Plata, Gligoric, Petrosian, Makagonov and Sämisch) are encountered rarely. Instead we are hit with all kinds of KID sidelines and London, Torre, Trompowsky, Veresov and Barry attack.
    The problem is that many of these lines are dangerous and require serious preparation.

    The task is much easier in the Leningrad Dutch (which has some KID flavor) and the mainline is met very often.

  272. Pinpon
    January 19th, 2018 at 11:20 | #275

    @ to French addicts : you should find interesting stuff concerning Qxd5 without Q in Luther’s book

  273. Mark
    January 19th, 2018 at 17:07 | #276

    I was going to throw out your name on here as someone who might do a good job in writing on this topic….

  274. Tom Tidom
    January 20th, 2018 at 07:49 | #277

    I doubt that Black has much chances to complicate the game in the Two Knights after 8…Qd7 because of 9.Nxe4 Be7 10.Bg5 0-0 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Nxd4 with complete equality.

    In my view Black should play 8…Qh5 aiming for the position after 9.Nxe4 Be6 10.Bg5 Bd6 11.Nxd6+ cxd6 12.Bf4 Qd5 with an unbalanced position where Black has scored well so far.

  275. January 20th, 2018 at 08:30 | #278

    @ e5-players

    if you desperately need a win, play the philidor counter gambit!

  276. Tom Tidom
    January 20th, 2018 at 09:28 | #279

    I´m not sure if 1.e4 e5 is suitable if one “desperately” needs to win. I´m more certain though that the Philidor Counter Gambit (which is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5?!) only leads to pain for black. I´m speaking from experience. 😉

  277. Siddhartha Gautama
    January 20th, 2018 at 09:45 | #280

    Regarding the Taimanov bokk, I am not sure if it has been asked before. Can we expect true Bb4 Taimanov variations or will we see Scheveningen style variations with Be7,d6 and a6 as well?

  278. Jacob Aagaard
    January 20th, 2018 at 10:11 | #281

    @Siddhartha Gautama
    99% sure it is pure Taimanov lines.

  279. January 20th, 2018 at 10:24 | #282

    @Tom Tidom
    no pain, no gain!

  280. Jacob Aagaard
    January 20th, 2018 at 10:39 | #283

    @Phil Collins
    No pain = no pain

  281. Tom Tidom
    January 20th, 2018 at 11:04 | #284

    @Phil Collins
    I disagree. Playing lines that are objectively just bad will do no good for your results and your chess in the long term. It´s a long time ago but I´m sorry now that I ever wasted time to make the Philidor Counter Gambit work.

    If one really wants to unbalance the game early on there are better ways to do this. Besides 1.e4 e5 I have Tiger´s Modern in my repertoire for that purpose.

    Also I think it´s worthwhile to play those equal positions that sometimes arise in the Open Games until the very end. It´s also better for your chess development.

  282. Jacob Aagaard
    January 20th, 2018 at 12:19 | #285

    @Tom Tidom
    Mamedyarov won a game that was going nowhere against Adhiban yesterday, but blowing up the position and taking so many chances he was at minus 3 or 4. We can always play bad moves to rock the boat :-).

  283. Ray
    January 20th, 2018 at 13:09 | #286

    I wonder how often ordinary amateurs like myself really “desperately” need to win a game anyway. The only occasions that come to mind are team matches where your game is of decisive important for the match result. But honestly, how often does that happen? And besides, that situation suffers from hindsight bias, because at the start of the match you don’t yet need to win desperately. Another situation might be if you have to win in the last round to win a tournament, but I have never been in such a situatin – I wish I had, and I would in that case also be perfectly happy with a second place 🙂

  284. RYV
    January 20th, 2018 at 13:33 | #287

    exactly !
    playing for a win at all cost happened very rarely. If so, avoiding opening where white has a forced draw might be OK…but only if your opponent does not need a win on his side.

  285. Tom Tidom
    January 20th, 2018 at 13:47 | #288

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Agreed. In practice these things happen.

    But playing an opening that is known to be really bad is nevertheless not a good idea, isn´t it?

  286. Bebbe
    January 20th, 2018 at 20:10 | #289

    What is blacks best line against the aljechin-Chatard?
    I think 6.-h6 and 6.-0-0 has the best reputation. How is black doing after 6.-c5 which was the choice in play the french?

  287. Jacob Aagaard
    January 20th, 2018 at 23:34 | #290

    @Tom Tidom
    It all depends. Does the opponent know why it is bad for example?

  288. Doug Eckert
    January 21st, 2018 at 05:16 | #291

    Play sound stuff where you might develop chances. Ntirlis, Roiz, Pert have shown the way. Tonight last round, needed a win for a prize in our Saturday 15 minute rapid in St. Louis. White, 2606 FIDE – Black Me (Not 2600 FIDE…) 1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 c6 4 Bb3 a5 5 a3 a4 6 Ba2 d5 7 Nf3 Bd6 8 Bg5 Be6 9 0-0 h6 10 Bxf6 Qxf6 11 exd5?! cxd5 12 Nc3?! (12 c4) Ra5. Black is already a lot better. Sadly I did not convert and only drew. Not Ntirlis line, but, a nice line that develops chances for Black.

    French is good, it keeps lots of pieces on, good understanding should prevail. Caro harder to develop chances, but, certainly sound. Sicilian if you have a great memory great. If you are older, talk to Yermolinsky. All first tier openings. Jacob, blowing up the position and being minus 3 probably works against me. But, probably not the recommended idea in a super tournament. But, very funny.

  289. January 21st, 2018 at 06:34 | #292

    @Tom Tidom

    Tony Kosten played it.

  290. Ray
    January 21st, 2018 at 07:32 | #293

    I don’t think theory develops atthe speed of light in the Chatard-Aljechin, so my guess would be 6…c5 is still ok. However, white has a slight plus after 6.Bxe7, as shown in Playing the French, so why not play the MacCutcheon instead? It gives much better winning chances for black.

  291. Tom Tidom
    January 21st, 2018 at 08:31 | #294

    @Phil Collins
    That doesn´t change the fact that it´s just a very bad opening. And you forgot to mention that he lost with it. Even Nakamura has tried it once and lost to someone rated 200 points less.

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Isn´t your slogan here proposing to play mainly, errhm, main lines, 😉

    I know you have also published some books on second tier openings, but these are still basically sound. That´s not something one can say about the Philidor Counter Gambit.

  292. Bebbe
    January 21st, 2018 at 10:12 | #295


    Objectively you are right. From a practical point there is much more to learn in the maccutcheon. I like the thematic ideals after 4.- Be7 which are similair to the Steinitz 7.-cxd4 8.Nxd4, Bc5.
    Yesterday I found analysis from Vallejo Pons were he advocates 6.-h6 against the aljechin-Chatard.

  293. Bebbe
    January 21st, 2018 at 10:44 | #296

    I saw on chess-stars that a new book on 1.d4, d5 2.c4, e6 comes out in februari.From the contents it is hard to figure out what Kornev recommends against 3.Nc3, Nf6 4.Nf3, Be7 5. Bg5, h6 6.Bh4, 0-0 7.e3. I hope it is the tartakower but judging from the page count it must be something else.

  294. Ray
    January 21st, 2018 at 11:15 | #297

    I think it’s not realistic to search for a black opening that is sound, gives good winning chances AND has little theory. For example, you can’t play the Leningrad Dutch just on ideas, it’s very concrete and in some lines (8.b3. 8.Re1, as already mentioned somewhere above) one error hives black a very bad position. Other openings rely more on ideas (e.g. the Black Lion), but those are simply third tier openings. Chess is just very concrete nowadays, and a lot of hard work – i.m.o. there’s no way around this unless you except an inferior position with black. With white it’s another story of course.

  295. Jacob Aagaard
    January 21st, 2018 at 11:42 | #298

    I will address this in a small blog post

  296. January 21st, 2018 at 18:24 | #299

    @Tom Tidom

    Paul Morphy played it successfully.

  297. BigTy
    January 22nd, 2018 at 00:10 | #300


    I completely agree with what you said about 1…e5 being impractical, due to never getting a mainline Ruy on the board, yet having to remember a bunch of theory on it. I kind of put it aside for that reason for the moment, as I mentioned before. I play the Semi-Slav currently as well, and am finding the same problem that you mentioned (too many Londons, and not enough mainlines), but I have a great antidote to the London, and rarely lose against it (White often is the one fighting to draw, though maybe not because of the opening, but the player) and having played so many Dutches over the years with Black, it is nice to have variety (I really like the Modern Benoni as well as a practical fighting weapon, but it does not solve the problem of systems like the London).

    Regarding the must win situation discussion. True, I am rarely in a position where I really must avoid a draw, but over the board I often play players several hundred points or more below me, and the idea is to get a position that is strategically or tactically complex enough where I can outplay them, or at least count on them to mess up somehow. This is easier to do on the Black side of a Leningrad Dutch, than an Exchange Slav, for example. Though that being said, lower rated players rarely play for a draw against me OTB, and I can usually count on having chances with any defence because White will try to win. It is just nice to play a defence knowing from the first move that White cannot easily kill…

  298. BigTy
    January 22nd, 2018 at 00:11 | #301

    It is just nice to play a defence knowing from the first move that White cannot easily kill off the game.

  299. Doug Eckert
    January 22nd, 2018 at 04:16 | #302

    We have all danced around the big issue, dealing with lower rated players, rather than the ‘must win’ game. You bring up the big point here. In all the openings I play, I want to understand where I can get an imbalance that gives me something to play for. Jacob is correct chess is a draw. We can’t run from that. The better a person’s strategic understanding of an opening, the better we can create imbalances on our terms. That is probably much more important than the choice of opening itself.

    Can you share the anti-London line or at least give a hint? I must face that opening at least once a tournament…

    Kotronias in the GM Battle Manual set out a long list of considerations. Among those, fighting for key squares, correct piece exchanges, semi-blocked positions with a space advantage and in static positions, play less forcing moves that give the opponent chances to go wrong. His advice argues against my choice of 1…e5. These points among other considerations he set out are good advice for the types of positions that we should strive for.

    I won’t argue with Ray and your arguments against 1…e5. I have made a big investment in this. In the U.S. where I grew up needing to score 4.5 / 5 in the weekend swiss tournaments to win, I developed an overtly sharp repertoire of second tier openings. When I played really strong players, they had a tendency to find the deficiencies quickly and sent me on my way. When…

  300. Doug Eckert
    January 22nd, 2018 at 04:16 | #303

    When I went into the 1…e5 investment, I felt it would strengthen my knowledge even if I never played the opening. I spent two years studying before I played it for the first time. The fragment I gave above from a game played just last night against a player rated 500 points higher than me would never have happened had I tried one of my old overtly sharp openings. The French, Caro etc. should achieve the same thing with sufficient knowledge. I just decided to try and focus on openings where I would not be conceding a space disadvantage from the first move.

  301. BigTy
    January 22nd, 2018 at 04:48 | #304

    @ Doug Eckert

    Great points, as usual. One reason that I played/studied (and will certainly return to at some point) 1…e5 was more for its benefits to my chess knowledge and development, instead of for results. That being said, my results were not at all bad, and there is something very satisfying about playing sound, logical chess, without ceding a space advantage or giving yourself a bad minor piece right off the bat. 1…e5 will probably always be the soundest move, from a theoretical perspective, which explains its popularity in high level chess. I think will start playing it again regularly, while keeping the Sicilian or Caro in reserve for those times when I need to win, or am up against lower rateds. I just hope to get more opportunities to play the Ruy, as it really is a wonderful and interesting strategic battle for both sides.

  302. BigTy
    January 22nd, 2018 at 04:50 | #305

    As for the London, I think what I play more or less matches Avrukh’s recommendation in his 1.d4 Sidelines book (I do not have it on me at the moment, and have not looked at it for a long time, so I cannot confirm this): 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.c3 Qb6! 6.Qb3?! (maybe Qc1 or Qc2 is better) c4! when taking on b6 gives us the open a-file and the straightforward plan of pushing the b-pawn, while 7.Qc2 runs into Bf5, gaining a nice tempo. If white develops the queen’s knight early, say with a 2.Bf4 move order (delaying Nf3), I think Black can play the same set up, minus the Bf5 trick (though …g6 to prepare it, and fianchetto the king’s bishop, looks good IMO). If you are a 1…Nf6 2…e6 player, then the London with 2.Nf3 can trick you out of being able to put the bishop on f5 or g4 (after 2…e6 White goes 3.Bf4 instead of 3.c4), but I think you can still play the c5/Nc6/Qb6 basic idea and be ok.

    I don’t really know any theory here, but have had the queen exchange line dozens of times in online games, and the other lines quite a bit, and although the queen exchange looks bad for White, he can follow up with a quick Na3-b5, trying to block up Black’s play and cause trouble on c7, though I think Black is still ok there with some care.

    Overall my results are quite good, and the few times I lost have had nothing to do with the opening. To say Black is better is probably pushing it though.

  303. Doug Eckert
    January 22nd, 2018 at 06:51 | #306

    The London has now become so refined it has been worked out that if White does not play Nf3, the line you give does not work. So 1 d4 d5 2 Bf4 c5 3 e3 Nc6 4 c3 Qb6 5 Qb3 c4 6 Qc2 Bf5 7 Qxf5 Qxb2 8 Qxd5 Qxa1 9 Qb5 and this has been worked out to a White advantage. If White plays Nf3, your line is great. If White does not do that, you need a back up. Thank you for sharing. I am looking for Nirvana.

    Take a look at these two games, Le Quang Liem – Andrew Tang 2017 and Shimanov – Popiliski 2016. Ntirlis gave some move order subtleties to potentially avoid this. I thought I had an idea that neutralized all of this. I had my chance against Shimanov in September. Game 90 + 30 second increment. He had more time on the clock when the game was over than when we started…I never got out of his prep and was killed. I put the game into my various programs, let it run for days. I don’t trust any of the analysis. When Liem gets back from Gibralter, I will try to get an answer from him whether I am in the ball park or just completely wrong. I am thinking the latter. Its not that the London is a killer, it is not. But, there are about 10 guys in St. Louis playing it a lot, that are very highly rated and they have worked this out to ridiculous lengths.

  304. Bebbe
    January 22nd, 2018 at 08:19 | #307


    I know that it is not possible play the Leningrad Dutch only on ideas.
    The variations you mentioned require deep preparation which I have done.
    Nevertheless my point is that there is much less to learn in the Leningrad than in KID.
    Both openings are second tier openings in my view and they are of equal value.
    Thus I chose the Leningrad.

    In fact there is one opening that is sound, gives godd wining chanses and has Little theory: Stonewall Dutch. It is played by MC beating 2700+ players, so it cannot be bad.

  305. Bebbe
    January 22nd, 2018 at 08:29 | #308


    “It is just nice to play a defence knowing from the first move that White cannot easily kill off the game.”

    I agree. That is exactly why the Leningrad Dutch is such a great practical weapon.
    No London, Torre or exchange variation.

  306. Bebbe
    January 22nd, 2018 at 08:49 | #309

    What is the most practical (and yet sound) way of meeting 6.Bg5?
    The amount of theory required to play against 6.Bg5 is the reason I have quit playing the Najdorf. If I find something which I like against 6.Bg5 I will start playing it again.

  307. Ray
    January 22nd, 2018 at 10:22 | #310

    @ Bebbe

    That strikes me as odd in the light of your comments on the benefits of the Leningrad – isn’t the Najdorf the most theory-heavy opening around? Aren’t there less theory-intense openings with similar benefits as the Leningrad against 1.e4? The Pirc comes to mind 🙂 .

  308. Bebbe
    January 22nd, 2018 at 11:41 | #311

    @ Ray

    I play the classical Sicilian which has similar benefits as the Leningrad Dutch although there is a more theory to learn.

    Yes the Najdorf is very theory-heavy. But I like the character of the play except in the 6.Bg5-variation. I am looking for something that gives attacking chanses against the white king.
    Previously I played the poisoned pawn, but it is only computerbased analysis these days were white is doing all the attacking.

  309. Bebbe
    January 22nd, 2018 at 12:18 | #312

    I hope QC will soon write a new Najdorf-book with something nice recommended against 6.Bg5 which gives black chances of attacking the white king.
    Then poisoned pawn (and delayed PP) 7.- Nc6, Gothenburg variation and polugaevsky, are ruled out.

    Is it possible to play 7.-Qc7 8.Bxf6, gxf6 9. Be2, b5?
    I know 9.Qd2, b5 is playable with the idea of playing the knight to d7.

  310. January 22nd, 2018 at 13:23 | #313

    if you want to have your theory on the board play the hickl/zude-d6-repertoire. it is solid but passiv.

  311. January 22nd, 2018 at 13:25 | #314

    there are no bad openings, only wrong opponents!

  312. January 22nd, 2018 at 13:49 | #315

    Why don’t you play the Scheveningen? Bg5-Sytems are bad. Theres attack is no problem for black – as far as I know.

  313. Bebbe
    January 22nd, 2018 at 15:00 | #316

    @ Phil Collins

    Why do you think there is no problem for black in the Keres attack?
    I think it is very dangerous and give white the advantage.
    Besides I cannot play 6.-e5 versus the English attack if I play the Scheveningen.

  314. An Ordinary Chessplayer
    January 22nd, 2018 at 19:53 | #317

    Doug Eckert wrote: “Kotronias in the GM Battle Manual set out a long list of considerations. Among those, fighting for key squares, correct piece exchanges, semi-blocked positions with a space advantage and in static positions, play less forcing moves that give the opponent chances to go wrong.” – Hedgehog for black fits that description. Maybe English for white.

    @qualitychess readers – “Chess is a draw.” I agree. If you don’t want a draw, there is a far smaller selection of “playable” openings, and in fact a far smaller selection of “playable” candidate moves in any random middlegame position. In the endgame avoid the draw at your peril. Back when I was still competing, my results improved greatly when I stopped playing to avoid a draw, and just played simple, classical, draw-allowing chess. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times a -200 Elo opponent played directly for a draw against me AND succeeded. Instead of worrying that an opponent “might” try to play for a draw, just play the opening that best suits your style. For me that is simple and classical. For you that might be tense, fighting, or even (gasp!) unsound gambits.

  315. BigTy
    January 23rd, 2018 at 00:13 | #318

    @ Doug Eckert

    Again, I am no expert on the Black side of the London, but in the line you give, I would probably play 6…Nf6 followed by 7…g6, to put the bishop on f5 that way. I am not sure if the Black dark squared bishop belongs on g7 or not in this set-up, but my results playing this kind of thing have been fine. It just seems like a normal position where the better player wins.

    @ Bebbe

    Dare I say great minds think alike (lol)? We seem to play the Leningrad for the exact same reasons.

    Regarding 6.Bg5 in the Najdorf, since taking the Najdorf up again a few months ago, I have been playing 6…Nbd7, following the analysis of Ftacnik in GM 6 (when I remember it). It seems very playable, and I quite like the pawn sac on the kingside for active play. Would I feel confident playing it against a very strong 6.Bg5 expert? Maybe not, but at my level it seems to have a fair bit of surprise value.

  316. BigTy
    January 23rd, 2018 at 00:14 | #319

    @ Ray

    The Najdorf is probably the most theoretical defence to 1.e4, but there are so many options for both sides, so I think there is a lot of room for both to choose less theoretical options. For instance, apart from 6…Nbd7 in the 6.Bg5 Najdorf, I also play the set-up with an early …h5 against the English attack, cutting out the most theoretical and forcing lines. Calling this a ‘lazy man’s Najdorf’ would be going too far, but when compared to some options that Black has (like the PP), it kind of is…

    Personally, at my level at least, I find the Sveshnikov much harder to play and more theory laden than the Najdorf. Black’s position seems so delicate in many lines, and one mistake often is enough to decide the game. Furthermore, in many lines, such as where White sacs a piece on b5, Black’s position is just so much harder to manage in a practical game, even if it is objectively fine. I really want to make the Sveshnikov work, but I am often scared to play it against strong opposition, for fear of them being booked up in the tactical lines. One could argue though that the Svesh is only harder because I have always taken a mainline approach to it, whereas in the Najdorf I am often happy to play sidelines. It could also be that the type of positions arising from the Najdorf just suit me better, regardless of concrete theory.

    @ Phil Collins

    Why the heck would I trade all my fun and interesting defences for that??

    @ An Ordinary Chessplayer


  317. BigTy
    January 23rd, 2018 at 00:15 | #320

    @ An Ordinary Chessplayer

    Great point. Many players, me included, worry too much about drawing against lower rateds, which rarely happens because of the opening.

  318. Ray
    January 23rd, 2018 at 06:53 | #321

    @ Bebbe

    Have you ever considered playing the Hyperaccelerated Dragon? That seems to give black dynamic play without being very theoretical.

  319. Bebbe
    January 23rd, 2018 at 09:11 | #322


    Yes I have considered the Hyperaccelarated dragon. The problem is Maroczy bind.
    There is a new book by thinkers publishing on this. What is the recommendation against the Maroczy?

  320. Ray
    January 23rd, 2018 at 09:35 | #323

    Yes, I have this book – I think it’s quite interesting. The author gives two recommendations against the Maroczy. One with …Ng4, in which he gives an interesting novelty, and one with the main line, which seems playable as well. The author maintains that the Maroczy is overrated for white, and the computer assessment is not accurate (similar to the KID, where the engines mostly give around + 0.4 for white, whereas it is perfectly playable for black). I’m considering giving this opening a try, since it’s not a lot of theory, it’s dynamic and most white players may find it not so easy to face (okay, you have put your pawns on e4 and c4, and now what?).

  321. TD
    January 23rd, 2018 at 09:38 | #324

    @ Bebbe

    The Simagin / Breyer Variation 7…Ng4 with 9…e5 and the Classical Main Line (with 15…e6).

  322. Thomas
    January 23rd, 2018 at 09:50 | #325

    @ An Ordinary Chessplayer

    I also agree. To beat lower rated opponents you need a good understanding of your positions and/or a lot of “sitzfleisch”. In my last tournament I had to go over the full time of 7 hours in more than one game but mostly succeeded.
    I don’t see any problem with openings allowing forced draws. Players that know these lines are usually strong enough that a draw would be no problem and on the other hand that they don’t want a draw against a weak FM like me. Weaker players mostly don’t know their openings good enough to get there.

    A different thing are lines like Berg’s in the Winawer, where he shows no alternative to the Rg6-Rg4 draw before move ten in the a3-lines. Any 1800-player can play that way.

  323. Thomas
    January 23rd, 2018 at 11:24 | #326

    Hmm. Niggemann has changed the date for “Playing e4 Vol.II” to the 15th of June. Grmmmpfff.

  324. Jacob Aagaard
    January 23rd, 2018 at 12:27 | #327

    They are just making it up. It does not come from us. I am more optimistic.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

 Limit your comments to