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Three Excerpts



We have uploaded three excerpts for the three books that should be published on May 30.

Excerpt link for Jaan’s Ehlvest’s Grandmaster Opening Preparation.

Excerpt link for Playing 1.e4 – French Defence & Sicilian Sidelines.

Excerpt link for Playing 1.e4 – Sicilian Main Lines.

Note that both Playing 1.e4 excerpts include abridged variation indexes. But Ehlvest’s book does not, as that book is all about words and explanations, not variations.

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  1. Thomas
    May 8th, 2018 at 17:25 | #1

    Loking at the excerpt of Ehlvest’s book – the Karpov- Korchnoi match was in 1974, not 1975….

  2. Paul H
    May 8th, 2018 at 17:31 | #2

    On the Ehlvest book I’m also curious what the “Opening Reportoire for Women” represents. QGD?

  3. James2
    May 8th, 2018 at 18:06 | #3


    I had a quick one. In the French book, in what chapter is 11..Qc7 covered in the Tarrasch. It looks like it would have to be in Chapter 5, section D. Is that right?

    Thanks John.


  4. Frank van Tellingen
    May 8th, 2018 at 18:39 | #4

    John already answered this question under the other post@Paul H

  5. Seth A.
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:07 | #5

    I see that the English Attack with Qf3 is covered against the Taimanov. 😀
    I would have loved to see a bit more about the Najdorf though…

  6. mn
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:15 | #6

    Any chance you could leak which 10th move is recommended in the Dragon, and which 12th in the French Tarrasch with 3…Nf6/11…Qc7 – ?


  7. mn
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:15 | #7

    What are the odds of you leaking which 10th move is recommended in the Dragon, and which 12th in the French Tarrasch with 3…Nf6/11…Qc7 – ?


  8. mn
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:16 | #8

    (sorry for the double post – i didn’t think my original comment had gone through :s)

  9. James2
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:40 | #9

    12 h3 is quite new and has been scoring well over the last few years….

  10. James2
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:43 | #10

    Sorry for the additional post, but I pressed enter at the wrong time in post #9.

    I wanted to add that 12 Nc3 a5 13 Re1 0-0 14 h3 is also quite good. I hope it is one of those two against 11..Qc7.


  11. JB
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:43 | #11

    Seems to be missing a line against 2…Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 in the abridged index unless I’m missing something

  12. James2
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:45 | #12

    Isn’t that line meant to be not so good beacause of 6 Nxc6? It might be given in the notes.


  13. JB
    May 8th, 2018 at 19:58 | #13

    James2 :
    Isn’t that line meant to be not so good beacause of 6 Nxc6? It might be given in the notes.

    Yes Nxc6 seems to be the way or black ends up playing d5 in one move and has been move ordered out of the maroczy. Even if its not the best line it should be covered. Can’t see it being too obscure to not be covered so maybe in the text but not the abridged.

  14. PaulH
    May 8th, 2018 at 21:50 | #14
  15. Topnotch
    May 9th, 2018 at 02:20 | #15

    @ John Shaw

    I was really excited when I saw the abridged index for Playing 1.e4 – French + Sicilian Sidelines, especially Chapter 9, as the line recommended there 12.Bf1!? is one that I used to play regularly and would like to start playing again. Sadly the following continuation dampened my early enthusiasm for 12.Bf1!?:

    1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 11.Re1 Qc7 12.Bf1!? Bd6 13.Nf5 Bxh2+ 14.Kh1 Kf8 15.Qd4 exf5 16.Qxf6 h6! 17.Qd4 Bd6 18.Bc4 Be6! 19.Bxe6 Re8 20.Qd5 Qe7 21.Qxf5 Qh4+ 22.Kg1 Qh2+ 23.Kf1 Qh1+ 24.Ke2 Rxe6+ 25.Qxe6 Qxe1+ 26.Kxe1 fxe6 27.Be3 Ke7 =

    Optically the final position looks a smidgen better for White, but in reality this endgame is a relatively easy draw for Black. Surprisingly this has not yet occurred in OTB tournament play, but it has in correspondence chess and unsurprisingly was comfortably drawn every time. This line is fairly forcing and I have been unable to find any meaningful improvements for White.

    I sincerely hope you have succeeded where I have failed, as I would love to make this line my main Tarrasch weapon of choice again.


  16. John Shaw
    May 9th, 2018 at 09:18 | #16

    Thomas :
    Loking at the excerpt of Ehlvest’s book – the Karpov- Korchnoi match was in 1974, not 1975….

    Very true. I am annoyed I missed this in proofreading, as I know very well it was 1974. But I also know how to spell “first” and yet the non-word “frst” once appeared in one of your books. After all these years I should be used to missing errors, as it always happens to some degree, but it’s freshly annoying very time.

    Anyway, thanks for pointing it out Thomas. We can fix the Forward Chess version, but too late for the book.

  17. John Shaw
    May 9th, 2018 at 09:21 | #17

    JB :
    Seems to be missing a line against 2…Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 in the abridged index unless I’m missing something

    We do cover that line, and I am not giving much away by saying 6.Nxc6 is our move. Just a paragraph or two is enough to deal with it.

    It’s just a minor line, and not big enough to make it into our abridged variation index. It is there in the full index in the book, but just as a brief bracketed mention.

  18. JB
    May 9th, 2018 at 10:57 | #18

    John Shaw :

    JB :
    Seems to be missing a line against 2…Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 in the abridged index unless I’m missing something

    We do cover that line, and I am not giving much away by saying 6.Nxc6 is our move. Just a paragraph or two is enough to deal with it.
    It’s just a minor line, and not big enough to make it into our abridged variation index. It is there in the full index in the book, but just as a brief bracketed mention.

    Thanks John. Chucky used to play it so not entirely frivolous. What do you recommend against 2..d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 early pawn moves rather than Nf6 eg 4…e6/a6 or g6? Just play Nc3 and they probably need to play Nf6 or is it better to make the most of this move order and play c4?

  19. John Shaw
    May 9th, 2018 at 15:01 | #19


    In general, when we can go c2-c4 against a Sicilian line, we go c2-c4 (just one or two exceptions).

    And I agree that the 5…g6 is line is not absurd, but after White takes on c6, Black needs to take back with the d-pawn and allow a queen exchange on d8. White is only a little better, but he needed to show very little effort to gain that edge.

    I know there are other chess questions above, but I think the excerpts give quite a lot of info. Also, I need to get back to emailing the dozens of people I have been stalling with “I will get back to you when Playing 1.e4 is finished.”

  20. Seth A.
    May 9th, 2018 at 15:40 | #20

    @John Shaw

    I know I am asking a lot, but it is possible to give a vague hint about your recommendation in the Najdorf English Attack after 8…Be7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 Nbd7? 😀

  21. Andrew Greet
    May 9th, 2018 at 16:18 | #21

    @Seth A.
    We attack on the kingside. The g-pawn will be involved, in the not-too-distant future.

  22. Thomas
    May 9th, 2018 at 16:59 | #22

    @Andrew Greet

  23. Pinpon
    May 9th, 2018 at 18:49 | #23

    @John Shaw
    Another small typo in the excerpt ( p21 : stronger then ) but it won’t prevent me to buy that book !

  24. Seth
    May 9th, 2018 at 19:54 | #24

    @Andrew Greet

    Beautiful response.

    Signed, Seth (with no letter A)

  25. Raul
    May 9th, 2018 at 21:26 | #25

    I’m slightly surprised by 6.f3 agianst the classical. I used to play this a lot from the blackside and felt that 6.Bg5 was the only try for a theoretical edge (and a good try at that).

    The Elvest excerpt looks very promising.

  26. Frank
    May 9th, 2018 at 22:10 | #26

    Well, f3 is easier to learn, more positional and if you know your stuff, you can get a pleasant middle game with White, I would say. Besides that, Negi already wrote an excellent book on 6.Bg5. @Raul

  27. Seth A.
    May 10th, 2018 at 10:31 | #27

    I looked at f3 against the Classical for a bit, and it can be a great weapon, and it is much easier to learn. There are also lots of new ideas to be tried in that line as well, so it is definitely a good practical choice.

  28. Raul
    May 10th, 2018 at 15:00 | #28

    I agree. 6.Bg5 comes with a large theoretical overhead so if they can make 6.f3 work it would be a great practical solution.

  29. Frank
    May 10th, 2018 at 18:15 | #29

    O well, in the end chess is (for all we know) a draw, so in the end it comes down to skillful play.@Raul

  30. JB
    May 10th, 2018 at 19:34 | #30

    Very interesting that from being a sideline less than 5 years ago the Qf3 Taimanov has been chosen as the main line for white by 3 major sicilian books now. Illingworth and Kotronias already showed some very new ideas so looking forward to see what John has seen after standing on the shoulders of these giants.

  31. Matthew
    May 17th, 2018 at 12:57 | #31

    Looking at the Ehlvest excerpt, he makes the point about looking at the evolution of openings. I have never understood why opening books don’t take this route. I recall an old book by Jansa for Batsford “Dynamics of Chess Strategy” that presented his recommendations by describing how various lines evolved (I am thinking of the line vs Sveshnikov in particular). Wouldn’t this future proof opening books by giving a point of reference as theory moves on?

    It also means that an author can validly present a line that was theoretically equal but with thoughts about where/how improvements might be found (that fitted with the evolution of the opening).

  32. Ram
    May 17th, 2018 at 14:01 | #32

    Hi Jacob,

    Can we expect a book on Reti from quaility chess in near future? Could you give us an expected publication date for Sicillian Taimanov?


    • Jacob Aagaard
      May 18th, 2018 at 05:45 | #33

      No to the Reti and we do not come with dates in our own pace, because we want them to be truthful. We have just finished a big project, now we will breathe.

  33. Nestor
    May 17th, 2018 at 18:18 | #34

    Mihail Marin’s QC book on the Spanish from Black’s perspective is written like that. One of my favourite chess books.

  34. Jacob Aagaard
    May 17th, 2018 at 18:44 | #35

    Our Najdorf lines are a bit like that.

  35. May 19th, 2018 at 20:01 | #36

    I’ve quickly looked through these blogs but haven’t seen anything (could have simply missed it) regarding when we are likely to see an excerpt from the Queens Indian?

  36. Jacob Aagaard
    May 19th, 2018 at 21:13 | #37

    As always, when it is sent to the printer. The book is not done and we do not make promises of dates we are not 100% on. It is next on the list.

  37. Pinpon
    May 20th, 2018 at 19:13 | #38

    Any news from Boris’s third opus ?

  38. Jacob Aagaard
    May 20th, 2018 at 20:06 | #39

    I have been busy. We have done a lot of work on it.

  39. Kev
    May 23rd, 2018 at 01:26 | #40

    Hi all,

    Is the release date for Playing 1. e4 of May 30 for the Hardback version, Paperback version or both?

    Kind Regards,


  40. John Shaw
    May 23rd, 2018 at 12:17 | #41


    For both ‘Playing 1.e4’ books, May 30 is the publication date for both hardcover and paperback.

    For ‘Grandmaster Opening Preparation’ May 30 is the publication date for hardcover only.

  41. TonyRo
    May 23rd, 2018 at 12:21 | #42

    So ‘Playing 1.e4’ on Forward Chess…today then? 😉

  42. Paul H
    May 23rd, 2018 at 12:47 | #43

    They are there….at least on iOS.

  43. mn
    May 23rd, 2018 at 14:49 | #44

    Are they? I don’t see them.

  44. Pinpon
    May 23rd, 2018 at 17:26 | #45

    All of them on IOS ( IPhone , not IPad yet )

  45. JB
    May 23rd, 2018 at 18:39 | #46

    Anyone downloaded the FC version yet? I’m waiting for the physical copy on order. I thought it was going to be £15.99 on android but instead a very reasonable £13.99 – so thinking of buying an electronic copy as well. Waiting on the first reviews before I do…
    The interesting Nd5!? sac in the Kan excerpt is a good omen methinks…

  46. Ray
    May 25th, 2018 at 14:06 | #47

    Does anyone know why these books aren’t available for the iPad yet? I really need them!

  47. The Doctor
    May 25th, 2018 at 14:54 | #48

    I’ve got them on mine

  48. James2
    May 25th, 2018 at 15:01 | #49

    @The Doctor
    Wjhat are your first impressions please (my physical copies will arrive next week hopefully)?

    As a specific, what is recommended against 11..Qc7 in the main line Tarrasch (C06)? The abridged index doesn’t actually even mention it.

    Thank you.


  49. The Doctor
    May 25th, 2018 at 15:58 | #50

    12 h3

  50. James2
    May 25th, 2018 at 16:22 | #51

    @The Doctor
    Yes! That was my suggestion on one of these blog threads months and months ago!


  51. The Doctor
    May 25th, 2018 at 16:40 | #52

    Yes it recommends 12 h3
    Initial impressions are good but I haven’t looked at the content in great detail. For me a MASSIVE plus when buying QC books is the brilliant editing and ease of use.

    To contest one book I use a lot The Richter-Rauzer Reborn (I use this in conjunction with GN Rep Dragon 2) is great in terms on content and analysis but an absolute nightmare to navigate through

  52. James2
    May 25th, 2018 at 17:07 | #53

    @The Doctor
    Yes I agree with you in terms of navigation.

    I must say, I have also found Chess Stars books easy to navigate too when using the index at the back of their books.


  53. AliceB
    May 26th, 2018 at 20:19 | #54


    Both books are very good. But, after 2 years, we awaited little bit more? 🙂
    Most of chapters are inspiring and creative, but Sveshnikov (B33) and Najdorf chapters looked mainly as summary todays knowledge about them.

  54. Ray
    May 27th, 2018 at 10:44 | #55

    Isn’t that a bit quick to conclude? I can’t imagine you have studies the whole book already and know ‘today’s knowledge’? Unles you’re a strong GM of course, but than this book wasn’t written for you.

    My first impression is quite positive. Of course there alway by variations which I wouldn\t have chosen myself, but that’s just the nature of repertoire books in general. For e.g. the English Attack is just too much theory for me to memeorise, so I stick to 6.h3 against the Najdorf. but that’s just a matter of taste i.m.o., since both lines are just equal if black knows his theory.

  55. JB
    May 27th, 2018 at 11:56 | #56

    I guess it’s how it compares to the competition. Negi was great for explanation as well as some serious new theory and I was very impressed how many new ideas were in such a comparatively slim new Dismantling book. Looking forward to seeing myself but have to admit to being worried that it took so long that some of it has become outdated since it was written.

  56. Sam
    May 27th, 2018 at 12:22 | #57

    One of the biggest surprises for me came in the Accelerated Dragon chapter. The recommendation (in the main line) was a completely new concept to me and hasn’t received much practical testing yet but it looks extremely promising.

  57. AliceB
    May 28th, 2018 at 09:59 | #58

    Sveshnikov – main line Giri-Shirov Hoogoven 2014, but 22…g5 (in game was played 22..f5) 23.Qh5 f6 24.Ng2+/- looks great for white (Shaw) – but it was played in bunch of games – only in my DB is result +1 =18 -0, for example

    [Event “EU/TC11/sf2 ICCF rapid”]
    [Site “”]
    [Date “2017”]
    [Round “”]
    [White “Willigen,Jan Willem van”]
    [Black “Blitsko,Boris Mikhailovich”]
    [Result “1/2-1/2”]
    [Eco “B33”]
    [Annotator “”]
    [Source “”]

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5
    a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 O-O 12.Nc2 Bg5 13.a4
    bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5 15.Bc4 Rb8 16.b3 Kh8 17.Nce3 g6 18.h4 Bxh4 19.g3
    Bg5 20.f4 exf4 21.gxf4 Bh4+ 22.Kf1 g5 23.Qh5 f6 24.Ng2 Rb7 25.Nxh4
    gxh4 26.Qxh4 f5 27.Qxd8 Rxd8 28.Ne3 fxe4 29.Bd5 Rc7 30.Ke1 Bb7
    31.Rc4 Rdd7 32.Be6 Rd8 33.f5 Ba6 34.Rxe4 Ne5 35.Nd5 Rb7 36.Kf2
    Bd3 37.Rd4 Rf8 38.Ne3 Rc7 39.b4 Rxc3 1/2-1/2

    Najdor with 6.f3 e6: do you think, that the last word in this line is game Timmerman-Florin email 2009

    [Event “corr ICCF Olympiad 17 Final ;Fernschach2016”]
    [Site “”]
    [Date “2009”]
    [Round “”]
    [White “Timmerman,Gert Jan”]
    [Black “Serban,Florin”]
    [Result “1/2-1/2”]
    [Eco “B80”]
    [Annotator “”]
    [Source “”]

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Qd2
    b5 8.f3 Nbd7 9.g4 b4 10.Nce2 h6 11.O-O-O Qc7 12.h4 d5 13.g5 hxg5
    14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Bxg5 e5 16.Re1 Bb7 17.Nf4 N5f6 18.Bh3 O-O-O 19.Nde6
    fxe6 20.Nxe6 Qd6 21.Qe2 Re8 22.Rd1 Bd5 23.Nxf8 Rexf8 24.Qd3 Kc7

  58. AliceB
    May 28th, 2018 at 10:00 | #59

    Even so, in these chapters “novelties” moreless dissapered (its very hard to find them in these days) and it looks like these chapters were written by someone else than Shaw

  59. Jacob Aagaard
    May 28th, 2018 at 10:14 | #60

    John wrote the Sveshnikov, I wrote the Najdorf draft and he added to it. And no, I do not think this is the last word, because top players go for these lines all the time. And if you read the book with a bit more kindness, you will see the attitude proposed against this line and why and see that this is just one out of many options. But if you want forced advantage for White against the Sveshnkov and Najdorf, you are playing the wrong board game.

  60. Jacob Aagaard
    May 28th, 2018 at 10:18 | #61

    And we know that those of you who are deeply into the theory already have the other books on this topic, so we saw no reason to repeat 6.Bg5 or 6.h3. We could not avoid some repetition, it is the same game after all, but we tried to be practical for those who will have only these books and useful for those who know a lot everywhere. But in the end, our goal is to produce results in otb games.

    Regarding Andrew and I contributing chapters. This has never been a secret. I wrote Scandinavian and Caro-Kann for the first book. Not sure what Andrew did, I just helped out. For these ones I did some French, as did Andrew, and the Najdorf mainly. I worked a lot on many lines. Nikos did research and initial suggestions on just about everything. John’s books have always been a team effort and I see nothing wrong about this. He is the main in charge of them at the end and if he did not like something, we were told to change it.

  61. Ray
    May 28th, 2018 at 10:46 | #62

    @ Jacob Aagaard

    Thanks for your comments – I fully agree with the chosen approach. Indeed everybody knows a forced advantage for white nowadays is not realistic against all of black’s mainstream openings. I think all we can ask for is a playable position with chances to outplay white, preferably playing for two results. And as also pointed out more than once in the books, correspondence chess is a totally different game than over-the-board. E.g. I can’t imagine anyone is seriously expecting that Negi (“even him!”) is going to proof even the slightest edge against the Berlin.

  62. Ray
    May 28th, 2018 at 10:50 | #63

    Evidently I meant “outplay black” 🙂

  63. AliceB
    May 28th, 2018 at 14:09 | #64

    @ Jacob Aagaard

    Thank you for your response.

    I didnt expect refutation of Sicilian defence, but awaited fresh ideas with some food for thought – this is what I like on the chess books.

    There is no important who did what chapter, when it was stated, that everyone helped to John finish books, but as reader I noticed that these chapters (maybe Dragon too) which are very extensive part chess theory looked differently than others – they are quite boring, read them is not so big fun as others (compare with any chapter from first book Playing 1.e4 – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 and Minor Lines)

    When I thought little bit about concept all 3 books, some sense had include Adam’s g3 against Najdorf (as similar setups are used against Rubinstein french, Phillidor etc.), but this is only my idea.

    I think that booth books are very good and I am looking forward for new books!

  64. Jacob Aagaard
    May 28th, 2018 at 14:19 | #65

    I think in this line, you skipped to the last of 3-4 options for White and concluded that this was the try?! There is plenty of independent work and ideas in the first 2-3 options. Regarding boring: I will take no offence 🙂

  65. JB
    May 28th, 2018 at 15:25 | #66

    Think the QC team need a little slack-QC books are pretty reliable- I’m sure it will be great just not sure how great it is going to be. John’s KG book was amazing, thought he took a slight dip with e4 vol 1 but hoping he’s back on track for 2 and 3.
    personally I’m not worried like AliceB if a game reference is oldish as long as it is the best line. This line seems to have caught at least 3 players out recently but was first played at least 12 years ago as far as I can see so a 2006 game reference is not ‘out of date’. https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-polish-championship/03-Bartel_Mateusz-Sadzikowski_Daniel
    Similarly you have to be careful with quoting ‘percentage wins’ data as the past may not necessarily be relevant for the present- a massive win/draw percentage line just needs one good defensive/attacking move to be found to make GMs shelve it or take it up as a winning try even if the ‘ statistics’ do or don’t look promising ALso engine evaluations are shakey as 0.00 may refer to position that only a comp can draw rather than an impregnable fortress, child’s play with an increment or perpetual. That’s why i’m relying on the QC team to shed a little light in the darkness. They’ve yet to really let me down as a regular purchaser.

  66. Thomas
    May 28th, 2018 at 16:02 | #67

    There’s an book by Efim Geller in the pipeline? Wonderful news!

  67. Jacob Aagaard
    May 28th, 2018 at 16:05 | #68

    The line in reference was one where we suggested various options. AliceB referred to just one of those; probably the least interesting.

    There is a lot of 0.00 in the Najdorf where Black has scored poorly in correspondence chess. I am not worried.

    But I also do not want to say there is an advantage, when it is more murky than that.

  68. JB
    May 28th, 2018 at 16:52 | #69

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I think the f3 against the najdorf and classical and for the dragon lines where black doesn’t push d5 immediately is wise. Roughly same structures and plans eg push g4. Helps have some consistency in strategy across the repertoire whereas the Bg5 against najdorf and classical sicilian very different beasts and often f4 played instead

  69. IJK
    May 28th, 2018 at 16:52 | #70

    When its all about creating winning chances, I think it would be interesting to recommend 3.Bb5 Systems against the Sicilian, based on the fact that in the rossolimo practically no recent book recommends the strongest reply 3… g6 (I also think this will not happen in near future). Against 2… d6 its may not such a critical approach from a theoretical point of view, but I think that its also pretty difficult for black to equalize OTB with only half decent theoretical knowledge. That said I must admit that such a recommendation wouldn’t fit so well In the complete Playing 1.e4 repertoire.

  70. Frank
    May 28th, 2018 at 20:28 | #71

    „The Application of Chess Theory“, Geller‘s translated game collection, was pretty good too (an understatement, games like his against Mecking in the Spanish are jems of dynamic strategy). I am sure you can get it somewhere online. @Thomas

  71. Thomas
    May 29th, 2018 at 04:12 | #72

    I think it will be the english translation of his posthumous 2017 book “Shakhmatnoie Tvorchestvo” – but that’s just my guess.

  72. Frank
    May 29th, 2018 at 05:13 | #73

    I should have known you were better informed than I :)…but it would be absolutely great. Great games by a great player. @Thomas

  73. Ray
    May 29th, 2018 at 05:55 | #74

    @ Thomas

    Where did you get the information about a Geller book? Maybe it’s hidden somewhere in this thread, but I obviously missed it. By the way, great idea to publish a Geller book!

  74. Thomas
    May 29th, 2018 at 06:02 | #75

    I received my hardcover books yesterday. QC was so kind to add then 2018 catalogue (!) to the package <>>.
    There are some more surprises to be found there…

  75. Ray
    May 29th, 2018 at 08:56 | #76

    @ Thomas:

    Since the new catalogue unfortunately is not yet on the website, could you please enlighten me?

  76. Thomas
    May 29th, 2018 at 09:21 | #77


    We already knew about the Elephant Gambit.
    A book by Abeln on Anand’s preparation could be quite interesting.

    Gelfand III, Woodpecker, Aagaard, and some more…

    A new publishing schedule would be fine as tomorrow the “coming soon” section would be rather empty.

  77. May 29th, 2018 at 12:10 | #78

    @ Jacob/John:

    We will have a class with Axel Smith on his Woodpecker book in august. What are the chances that the book will be published by then?

  78. John Shaw
    May 29th, 2018 at 12:39 | #79

    Ray :
    @ Thomas:
    Since the new catalogue unfortunately is not yet on the website, could you please enlighten me?

    The 2018/19 catalogue is available now on our website at the following link http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/ebooks/2018-QualityChess-catalog.pdf

  79. Cowe
    May 29th, 2018 at 14:54 | #80

    IMNLFNt…coming soon!

  80. David
    May 29th, 2018 at 15:40 | #81

    Thanks for the Catalog. Can you give some more details on the Geller and Tal books?

  81. Ray
    May 29th, 2018 at 16:55 | #82

    @John Shaw
    Great, thanks! Keep them coming 🙂

  82. Jacob Aagaard
    May 29th, 2018 at 17:42 | #83

    Not like this, no. But in time, we will.

  83. The Doctor
    May 29th, 2018 at 18:10 | #84

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Nothing on the Najdorf book then?

  84. Andre
    May 29th, 2018 at 19:30 | #85

    Frank :
    „The Application of Chess Theory“, Geller‘s translated game collection, was pretty good too (an understatement, games like his against Mecking in the Spanish are jems of dynamic strategy). I am sure you can get it somewhere online. @Thomas

    It’s a wonderful games collection, but it needs to be carefully checked with the engine. Geller as a player was a maximalist, but he quite often overlooked tactical details in his annotations.

  85. Gollum
    May 29th, 2018 at 20:18 | #86

    A matter of technique? What is that? I need to know!

  86. Leon Trotsky
    May 29th, 2018 at 22:05 | #87

    Is there choice for shipping with tracking number from this website shop ?

  87. David
    May 29th, 2018 at 22:19 | #88

    Any plans on a Nikos book about 1.c4 c5? Or repertoire against 1.Nf3/1.c4 in general?

  88. Ray
    May 30th, 2018 at 06:46 | #89

    I’m especially looking forward to the Elephant Gambit 🙂

  89. Jacob Aagaard
    May 30th, 2018 at 08:37 | #90

    @Leon Trotsky
    Write to salesgroup @ qualitychess.co.uk and they will sort you out. It is not the same costs, but it is possible.

  90. Jacob Aagaard
    May 30th, 2018 at 08:37 | #91

    @The Doctor
    Slow progress

  91. Jacob Aagaard
    May 30th, 2018 at 08:38 | #92

    No comment 😉

  92. Cowe
    May 30th, 2018 at 10:40 | #93

    Against 1.c4 it’s nice to play a defining move such as 1…c5 or 1…e5, as you may be move-ordered if you try to reach your usual system vs 1.d4. But with 1…c5 you play in White’s court, guess it’s a good option if you are yourself an English Player, for others it’s simpler to play 1…e5, and it’s often more annoying for Black. But against 1.Nf3 there is no such limiting move, your answer depends on what you play against 1.e4 and 1.d4. QC has a book by Mikhalevski covering all such options, Beating Minor Openings.

  93. Cowe
    May 30th, 2018 at 10:48 | #94

    edit: 1.c4 , 1…e5 more annoying for White 🙂
    As a rule of thumb, you should play 1…e5 from time to time even if it’s not your main answer to 1.c4, just to deter peole who play 1.c4 on occasion.

  94. James2
    May 30th, 2018 at 17:26 | #95

    Hi all at QC,

    Having glanced at the catalogue, I was dismayed to not see mention of NEgi 5 anywhere. Does that mean we shouldn’t hope for it before mid 2019? (I know the young man is busy!)

    Thank you.


  95. Pinpon
    May 30th, 2018 at 17:34 | #96

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Would be nice to have a chapter about fortresses and practical tips on how to destroy them in less than 120 moves ?

  96. Michel Barbaut
    May 30th, 2018 at 20:27 | #97

    Could we have more precision about publishing ? i.e is the Elephant Gambit book wil be published in 2018 or 2019 ? And will we have some surprise ont mention in the catalog ?

  97. Topnotch
    May 31st, 2018 at 04:06 | #98

    Michel Barbaut :
    Could we have more precision about publishing ? i.e is the Elephant Gambit book wil be published in 2018 or 2019 ? And will we have some surprise ont mention in the catalog ?

    You want precision about publishing dates but couldn’t even bother to be precise in the wording of a three line post.

    Erratum: is the Elephant Gambit book will be published.

    Erratum: will we have some surprise ont mention

    Congrats on giving me an instant headache.

  98. Ray
    May 31st, 2018 at 06:11 | #99

    @ James2

    Maybe books on 1.e4 are jinxed and this is the next headache project.

  99. Michel Barbaut
    May 31st, 2018 at 07:54 | #100

    My God ! Ok, I was in a hurry, I’m guilty.
    Or may be I write like I play 😉 so let QC books help me !

  100. Jacob Aagaard
    May 31st, 2018 at 08:42 | #101

    The leaflet are the books we feel certain about. Negi has been awfully quiet lately.

    @Michel Barbaut
    I can lie, but eventually you will be cross with me.

    May 31st, 2018 at 11:22 | #102

    Shaw wrote:

    ” 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5!?

    The Elephant Gambit certainly has shock value. Perhaps the greatest shock of all is that it is not such a bad move.

    After 3.exd5 the old main line with 3…e4 is a viable gambit. In my main lines, White keeps his extra pawn, but Black has decent activity. I believe Black has not quite enough compensation, but the Elephant Gambit is far from refuted.“

    It’ll be interesting to see what will new book offer new 🙂

    May 31st, 2018 at 11:27 | #103

    Authors are:

    Aabling-Thomsen, Jakob – Dennmark – IM – Elo 2379

    Jensen, Michael Agermose – Dennmark – Elo 1999

    May 31st, 2018 at 11:49 | #104

    Regarding upcoming chess classic by Efim Geller “Killer Chess” I must say that I don’t like the title nor the cover.

    Chess should be promoted as a game, not like a MMA fight. Word’s like “kill, killer” are in trend with American use of strong words. No wonder they have every few days riot kills in schools…

    Just remember Chess Stars book “Kill K.I.D” how many controversies did it have…

  104. Tom Tidom
    May 31st, 2018 at 12:04 | #105

    Lots of interesting books out lately and more to come 🙂

    Regarding the title “Killer Chess” for once I agree with Le Bruit Qui Court. Isn´t there something less sensational… :-\

  105. John
    May 31st, 2018 at 12:30 | #106

    What a pity to see an angry bear, I looked forward to some angry lads showing their fists on the front of the cover, like on a very cheap self-defense training dvd.

  106. Thomas
    May 31st, 2018 at 13:09 | #107

    @LBQC @TomTidom

    Concerning Geller you are right.
    He was a wonderful player not a mass murderer.

  107. Ray
    May 31st, 2018 at 13:52 | #108


    Paraphrasing the NRA, ‘words don’t kill people, guns kill people’ . But seriously, maybe a less controversial titel could be chosen (though I don’t take any offense myself). However, I seem to remember that the first amendment also applies to book titles , so basically anything goes.

  108. CK
    May 31st, 2018 at 14:30 | #109

    Let’s say it looks unusual next to the existing classic titles, and I guess it would have had more merit if the discussed title about the science of chess strategy would have been about that title; Soviet Dynamic Strategy by Geller for instance.

  109. Topnotch
    May 31st, 2018 at 15:00 | #110

    Chess is a game of war between two armies where pieces get sacrificed/killed with the overall aim to kill the opposing King. The King is dead, long live the king, tactics by its very nature is violent, combinations are violent. Chess was used in ancient times by emperors to teach their sons elements of War. Gambits are violent, that is why amateurs love them, indeed it is what attracted many of us to chess in the first place. We love sharp, aggressive, violent play and would rather the dull as dishwater Berlin Defence be banned from tournament play lest it KILL chess not to mention the upcoming World Championship match where we will no doubt be subjected to plenty of it.

    Grow a pair, get over yourselves and accept that Kill in the title of a chess is not only acceptable, it should be blase for those that play the royal game.

  110. JB
    May 31st, 2018 at 15:00 | #111

    Jeez we are getting a bit too PC here. Tony Rotella and his Kalashnikov book will be next in the ‘firing line’. Indeed why not relabel the whole variation something dull and excessively safe eg ‘I play the marshmallow Sicilian…’. Dragons are quite dangerous too and don’t even think about playing the bayonet attack in the KI.
    Some other chess books are equally outrageous https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/01/elephants-tigers-kill-one-human-day-india-growing-population/
    so you might need to rebrand the Modern Tiger and new Elephant Gambit asap.
    I thought the very point of chess was it was a symbolic bloodless and casualty free wargame – the very antithesis of Call of Duty and Fortnite.
    I must be wrong- I’ll never take off another chesspiece in anger again and will resign at move 1 forthwith in case it offends anyone.

  111. Jacob Aagaard
    May 31st, 2018 at 15:25 | #112

    Regarding the Killer Chess. First of all, I think the title is not that bad, but it was not our intention that this was 100% certain to be the title. We wanted to do as with the Kotov book and ask for suggestions. This has been positive in the past. I apologise I have been poor with upkeep of the blog, but I have been poorly in general. Actually, I was forking seriously ill for close to four months. I am OK now, just unfit. So, maybe will do a blog post about this.

  112. kutlu hasan
    May 31st, 2018 at 19:13 | #113

    Aha woody he woodpecker is on the way !!

  113. The Doctor
    June 1st, 2018 at 08:30 | #114

    Well the cover to the Taimanov book reveals one thing!

    The move order is 2…e6/4…Nc6 (as given in The Most Flexible Sicilian) rather than 2…Nc6/4…Qc7 (as given in the Taimanov Bible).

    I just hope that it appears soonish (preferably before September, so I can swat up before the new season starts).

  114. The Doctor
    June 1st, 2018 at 11:15 | #115

    Is it me or is the paper in the new Playing 1 e4 books a bit thicker?

  115. John Shaw
    June 1st, 2018 at 11:45 | #116

    The Doctor :
    Is it me or is the paper in the new Playing 1 e4 books a bit thicker?

    Not just you. We moved to a heavier, even higher quality, paper at the start of 2018. Jacob mentioned it in a blog post: http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/blog/6348

  116. The Doctor
    June 1st, 2018 at 11:52 | #117

    @John Shaw

    It’s much better quality! Just when I thought you books couldn’t get any better ?

  117. TonyRo
    June 1st, 2018 at 14:07 | #118

    JB :
    Jeez we are getting a bit too PC here. Tony Rotella and his Kalashnikov book will be next in the ‘firing line’. Indeed why not relabel the whole variation something dull and excessively safe eg ‘I play the marshmallow Sicilian…’.

    I 100% sign on sight-unseen to write a book that has “Marshmallow Sicilian” in the title, I don’t care what it’s about. But seriously, regarding the titles, don’t we have real things in this world to be pissed about?

    Pamphlet looks amazing guys, keep up the good work!

  118. Jacob Aagaard
    June 2nd, 2018 at 07:03 | #119

    Every opinion is very welcome. We want to improve always, so please keep the debate going!

  119. JB
    June 3rd, 2018 at 16:32 | #120

    John et al

    Had the 2 books since Friday and really impressed on first read through the Sicilian main line. Some ideas such as castling queenside in the accelerated dragon new to me and I applaud your choosing different lines from eg Negi to give you 2 weapons of choice.
    Couple of wee queries
    a) 2…e6 d4 cxd4 nxd4 Nf6 Nc3 d6 Be3 Be7 is covered but if black plays 6…Nc6 and we try to stick to our repertoire with 7. f3 is ..Be7 (transpose to p337) or ..a6 (to p360) forced or can black try to push d5 or try something different. Indeed would it be better to miss out f3 and play say Qe2 instead as Vishy has done?
    B) more seriously in the English attack main line when they push 8…b4 you recommend the knight going to a4 but after 8…Nbd7 9.g4 h6 10.0-0-0 b4 you retreat it to e2 but what about b4 on move 9? Which is the better square for the knight? Nce2 seems slightly more popular but still lots of games with Na4 and Stockfish seems to like the idea of Nd1-f2. 10. Nce2 h6 0-0-0 takes us back to game 37 but with 10 Na4 h6 it probably wont transpose to the 9.Na4 lines covered in Games 32 and 33 as g4 push has already happened. As you admit there isnt an advantage in the Game 37 line should we take the opportunity to play Na4 or is this out of the frying pan into the fire?

  120. Leon Trotsky
    June 4th, 2018 at 04:48 | #121

    @The Doctor
    I will be happy if Queen’s Indian arrives before September 😀

  121. Jacob Aagaard
    June 4th, 2018 at 07:42 | #122

    @Leon Trotsky
    Me too. And I am optimistic.

  122. Leon Trotsky
    June 4th, 2018 at 08:41 | #123

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Well we are in June now, and it looks like Woodpecker and QID are the next pair published.

    Hopefully August is not too optimistic 😀

  123. Th Doctor
    June 4th, 2018 at 10:06 | #124

    @Jacob Aagaard
    What about the Taimanov book before September maybe??

  124. Jacob Aagaard
    June 4th, 2018 at 15:32 | #125

    @Leon Trotsky
    Unlikely to be out as a pair. Woodpecker will be next and on its own.

  125. Topnotch
    June 4th, 2018 at 16:39 | #126

    JB :
    John et al
    Had the 2 books since Friday and really impressed on first read through the Sicilian main line. Some ideas such as castling queenside in the accelerated dragon new to me.

    Would this be castling queenside for White or Black? or even better would it be possible to provide the moves to the line in question.

    Thanks and regards,


  126. Thomas
    June 4th, 2018 at 17:01 | #127

    Pages 264 to 266….

  127. The Lurker
    June 4th, 2018 at 17:42 | #128

    At first, I thought the name “Killer Chess” was not really up to the level of seriousness I have come to expect from QC. But now that PC nancy boys are actually being offended by the title, I say keep it. Not only that, put an AK-47 in the bear’s paw, and have him biting off the heads of bunny rabbits!

  128. JB
    June 4th, 2018 at 18:44 | #129

    It’s the 5.c4 Bg7 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Nc3 0-0 8 Be2 d6 9 f3! Move order instead of short castling. In some lines queenside is better than kingside castling though still in the minority of lines

  129. Jacob Aagaard
    June 4th, 2018 at 20:56 | #130

    @The Lurker
    I like where you are coming from!

  130. Topnotch
    June 5th, 2018 at 02:43 | #131

    JB :
    It’s the 5.c4 Bg7 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Nc3 0-0 8 Be2 d6 9 f3! Move order instead of short castling. In some lines queenside is better than kingside castling though still in the minority of lines

    Thanks JB,

    I only found one game featuring 0-0-0, that was Dreev vs Kovchan (2008).

  131. Thomas
    June 5th, 2018 at 07:50 | #132

    @The Lurker
    To me that’s not a question of PC. A publisher can name his books anyway he wants.

    What I don’t like about it is that the book ends up in a line with all that crap from other publishers with similar names.
    I simply don’t care for all the rubbish how to smash, nuke or kill my opponent.
    I think a book about/by Geller deserves a better place than the rummage table.

  132. Jacob Aagaard
    June 5th, 2018 at 07:58 | #133

    I do not see a discussion about taste as being PC either. However, I do want those critical of our titles to also see that titles and covers make a difference in catching people’s attention. We cannot publish books without doing at least something that will get people to read them. And in this, liking the title is far less important than paying attention to it. I have bought many books where I hated the title. But the title caught my attention.

    Having said this, we will go for a different title and I think we got it down with help from you guys.

  133. Ray
    June 5th, 2018 at 14:36 | #134

    It’s an established fact that the most irritating adds are the most effective sales-wise. The same might be true for book titles?

  134. Topnotch
    June 5th, 2018 at 15:17 | #135

    Ray :
    It’s an established fact that the most irritating adds are the most effective sales-wise. The same might be true for book titles?

    This is only true in some cases. My opinion is that Quality Chess has built up such an impressive reputation over the years with the quality of its work thus far, that chess players will invest regardless of title. Nevertheless its testament to Q.C’s vision of excellence that they are paying attention to all details including inviting feedback and suggestions on book titles. To my knowledge no other Chess publishing house is this interactive with its customer base. Indeed Q.C’s work is so highly regarded that people who normally wouldn’t take a second look at a book promoting the Blackmar Diemer Gambit for White, may now have to re-consider.

    Kudos to Quality Chess management and staff.

  135. Patrick
    June 5th, 2018 at 16:00 | #136

    Jacob, are you saying that covers and titles are a huge driver of sales when it comes to chess books? I would think it would be different for Chess than for Fiction. If I am looking for a book on the French Defense, why would it matter if it shows a close-up of a pawn on e6, or a dog and a cat playing against each other where the dog’s paw pushed the Black pawn to e6?

    Does this mean that a chess book with a cover similar to James Patterson’s “Swimsuit” would draw more sales than a chess book on the same topic with a cover similar to James Patterson’s “Crossfire” because of the male dominant audience?

    If so, that’s sad!

  136. Jacob Aagaard
    June 5th, 2018 at 16:15 | #137

    Obviously the audience is different and you have to signal differently. But how many people are searching the Internet right now for a new book on Efim Geller? It is clearly not going to sell in big numbers, we all know this. We think it is worth doing, not for commercial reasons, but for chess culture. We would undoubtedly be better of trying to milk people with some nonsense, but we just like going to work too much to start publishing books we do not find interesting. Still, we do want to sell the books we do publish, or we would have to change our strategy on content :-(.

  137. Patrick
    June 5th, 2018 at 16:37 | #138

    And what you just said is part of why I wonder about these big pushes of looking for titles and covers of books like one on Geller. I’m sure you figure a book on Geller or other odd ball topics would be mainly purchased by those that already visit sites like this one or one of the competitors sites, like New in Chess or Everyman. So it would seem that titles and covers would be irrelevant, and you could make the book solid black and the same sales would occur.

    However, a book like Chess Tactics from Scratch, where the average Joe chess player that isn’t familiar with these specialty sites yet would do a search on Chess Tactics, or Chess Openings, the The French Defense, on a place like Amazon as opposed to specialty chess sites, and focusing on attraction and appeal of covers to those books would seem to be more the driver than these lower sale books. For example, I think the cover to Tacticmania is brilliant, figuring that kids from sites like chess.com, after asking on the forums how to get better and people respond to read tactics books, a cover like that one would attract a child, tween, or teenager almost immediately!

    Sure you publish the lower sales books for chess nuts like myself, but I’d just come up with a title and cover and call it a game for books like that and spend the extra time on the book titles and covers that actually will draw larger sales, right?

  138. Pinpon
    June 5th, 2018 at 17:39 | #139

    Agreed . But what about new customers ?

  139. Thomas
    June 5th, 2018 at 18:08 | #140

    I think finding a good cover and finding a good title is part of making a really good book.

    I really own quite a lot chess books, but for example I especially like that Gelfand books, not only for their content, but also the physical books, title and so on.
    I probably would have bought them anyway, but for some books this really makes the difference.

  140. Patrick
    June 5th, 2018 at 18:43 | #141


    I guess to each their own. I have about 400 books, and the content to me is what matters, not the cover. But hey, maybe Jacob can get back in the tournament circuit and up his rating by 300 points. All he has to do is figure out which opening he hates facing most, let’s say the French, and which opening he crushes every time he faces it, let’s say that’s the Petroff.

    They write two books, one on the French, one on the Petroff. The book on the French has 80-year old convicted rapist Bill Cosby’s picture on the cover. The Petroff book has the hot swimsuit model Kate Upton’s picture on the cover. Now everyone goes and buys the Petroff book and Jacob then faces these players and crushes them!

    Bill Cosby or no Bill Cosby, I’ll still take the book on the French!

    Speaking of Jacob, I see that he is coming west across the pond and giving a lecture at the club I play at next week. Definitely looking forward to it!

  141. The Lurker
    June 5th, 2018 at 19:42 | #142

    Thomas :
    @The Lurker
    To me that’s not a question of PC. A publisher can name his books anyway he wants.
    What I don’t like about it is that the book ends up in a line with all that crap from other publishers with similar names.
    I simply don’t care for all the rubbish how to smash, nuke or kill my opponent.
    I think a book about/by Geller deserves a better place than the rummage table.

    I think that anyone in the market for a book on Geller would know that QC doesn’t publish crap, no matter what the title.

    As another poster has pointed out, chess is a martial metaphor. That’s probably part of the reason mostly geeky males are attracted to it. It allows them to express their male aggressive instincts in a way that won’t get their teeth knocked out. For Christ’s sake, the word checkmate comes from either a phrase meaning “the king is dead” or “the king is helpless” (i.e. about to be dead), depending on what etymology you believe. And we don’t capture pieces; that’s a euphemism. Shogi captures pieces. We kill them, and throw their dead corpses from the field of battle! We sacrifice our peasants, soldiers, advisors and even queens to win! The game is one big metaphor for violence, like it or not.

    Call it PC, or call it taste. When one’s “taste” is so refined that one feels compelled to point out the obvious fact that…

  142. The Lurker
    June 5th, 2018 at 19:43 | #143

    … Efim Geller was not akin to Andrei Chikatilo, as one poster did, I call it squeamishness. In a world with such people, it’s no wonder little boys get demonized for playing cowboys and Indians at school, while the school bullies get timeouts instead of corporal punishment. And it’s also no wonder some of those little boys grow up and start shooting up schools for real.

  143. Thomas
    June 5th, 2018 at 20:12 | #144

    @The Lurker
    No need for such an expanded defense. “Killer chess” simply isn’t a title associated with a good chess book.

    Beeing a French player myself I’d still wait for the second edition. I don’t want Bill Cosby at my home.

  144. Andrew Brett
    June 5th, 2018 at 21:54 | #145

    Congrats John (and team)on two great books- well worth the wait.
    Are you able to share a little more information on what the forthcoming book on technique will cover and what level it’s aimed at. Thanks

  145. Ray
    June 6th, 2018 at 09:01 | #146

    @ The Lurker

    “And it’s also no wonder some of those little boys grow up and start shooting up schools for real.”
    This is utter nonsense. The reason for all these school shootings is a culture in which violence is cultivated and guns are omnipresent. I’m looking forward to your proof that forbidding one’s child to play cowboys and indians leads them to killing their school mates.

  146. Ray
    June 6th, 2018 at 10:40 | #147

    @ Thomas

    I agree – the Cosy Show was one of the worst TV shows ever imo.

  147. Ray
    June 6th, 2018 at 10:41 | #148

    Freudian slip of the keyboard – of course I meant Cosby not Cosy 🙂

  148. The Doctor
    June 6th, 2018 at 11:33 | #149

    Regarding the upcoming Taimanov book, are you in a position where expand on what Black will play after 5 Nc3 will it be 5 Qc7 (as I’m expecting) it will he go 5…Nge7 or 5…a6.

  149. Jacob Aagaard
    June 6th, 2018 at 13:10 | #150

    @The Doctor
    We do not answer such question, but I will make an exception to point out that 5…Nge7 6.Nb5! looks entirely busted immediately.

  150. Topnotch
    June 9th, 2018 at 03:16 | #151

    Thomas :
    @The Lurker
    No need for such an expanded defense. “Killer chess” simply isn’t a title associated with a good chess book.

    Nonsense, just from my own library I could name “A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire” by GM Aaron Summerscale as an excellent book with an excellent title. The problem is that you take the term ‘Killer’ too literally in the context of chess-publishing, where it is used more as hyperbole to convey effectiveness or efficiency of something. Somehow I suspect no amount of explanation will quell your sensibilities, so I will not delve any deeper into this.

    Patrick :
    Jacob, are you saying that covers and titles are a huge driver of sales when it comes to chess books? I would think it would be different for Chess than for Fiction. If I am looking for a book on the French Defense, why would it matter if it shows a close-up of a pawn on e6, or a dog and a cat playing against each other where the dog’s paw pushed the Black pawn to e6?
    Does this mean that a chess book with a cover similar to James Patterson’s “Swimsuit” would draw more sales than a chess book on the same topic with a cover similar to James Patterson’s “Crossfire” because of the male dominant audience?
    If so, that’s sad!


  151. Topnotch
    June 11th, 2018 at 17:27 | #152

    Continuing from above:

    Paying attention to detail is an important element to sustained success in business and life, one of those details is aesthetics, if something looks or sounds nice or interesting we are naturally more drawn to it. No different with a Book cover and or Title, if it looks nice and has a catchy title we are more tempted to look inside. The expression that you can’t judge a Book by the cover is true, but for many the cover and title is the first thing that catches the eye and influences whether we delve further.

    In the case of Q.C, regular readers are aware of its excellent track record and thus may not be as influenced by a Catchy Title, but a new customer might, just as well he would be by the quality of the paper the work is printed on.

    It is clear to me that the Quality in Quality Chess is not just an arbitrary word, but a brand promise that incorporates all aspects of Chess-publishing from Cover to Content from responsiveness to feedback both negative and positive. Such attention to detail can only augur well for the future growth of the company.

  152. bebbe
    June 14th, 2018 at 14:35 | #153

    Regarding paying attention to detail in the analysis Kotronias is the most prominent in my opinion. Have finally taken the decision to use his KID repertoire. I think it will be worth the effort to learn this because in many of the lines like Mar del Plata the king is the target for black.

    Learning an extensive amount of theory is worth the effort if it gives good chances for an attacking win or if the opening can be used as a universal weapon (in this case against 1.d4, 1.c4 and 1,Nf3). Thats why I dont think learning the grunfeld, slav, triangle system or semislav which are also ultratheorethical is worth the effort.

    Just a personal opinion. I know many will disagree.

  153. Bulkington
    June 14th, 2018 at 15:07 | #154

    Hi bebbe, will you then abandon the Leningrader and replace it by the KID or are you maintaining both systems ? After all, also the Leningrader is a universal system.

  154. Bebbe
    June 14th, 2018 at 15:18 | #155

    Hi Bulkington,

    No I will keep the Leningrad dutch.
    My repertoire will be:

    White: c4, g3

    Black: Leningrad Dutch, KID, Classical sicilian

    I think it is good to have two defences against 1.d4, 1.c4 and 1.Nf3 since combined these moves are met more often than 1.e4.

  155. The Doctor
    June 14th, 2018 at 16:22 | #156


    If only QC would publish a book on the Classical Sicilian ?

  156. Bebbe
    June 14th, 2018 at 17:47 | #157

    @The Doctor

    Yes what a dream…

  157. JB
    June 16th, 2018 at 11:25 | #158

    Sifting through Sicilian main lines and highly recommend you also purchase Pavlovic’s 6. Be3 book to complement the chapters on the Najdorf/Scheveningen English attack. As the pavlovic title suggests it is very ‘Cutting Edge’ and a lot of the detail is lost in the Playing 1.e4 book. John may well be correct that a lot of lines may be dead in correspondence but OTB there are a lot of viable lines your opponent may play that aren’t even mentioned in the book and you’ll be on your own in a tactical mess that your opponent knows back to front. As it is another QC book not sure why this wasn’t mentioned in the text. I got a copy for less than a fiver new in the UK so well worth it-especially as a baseline to start from if something turns up in the future in one of the lines that have been dismissed

  158. John Shaw
    June 18th, 2018 at 15:26 | #159


    Hi JB, I cannot recall if it was Andrew or me, but one of us definitely checked ‘Cutting Edge’ for Playing 1.e4 , which is why it is in the bibliography. We decided there was nothing in Cutting Edge we needed to react to, as time and praxis has moved on a lot since then. We certainly didn’t think we lacked any detail that was in Cutting Edge.

  159. JB
    June 18th, 2018 at 23:55 | #160

    @John Shaw
    It’s a one volume work so I know you can’t put in everything but still think it is a bit too basic in such a tactically messy opening system. Depends on how much work you expect the reader to do I suppose- for example there’s no mention of Pavlovic’s main line with 15 …Qc7 in the 10…a5 English attack or the very natural move of 19..Nc4 hitting the queen (as Topa actually played)in the 14.a3 main line after Kasparov’s 19. Rh3 . I guess it really is busted after pinning the black queen with 20.Qc3 but placing your queen on an open file in line with your king on c1 and Rc8 coming could do with some concrete analysis- your reader has to work that out by him/herself. In that same line pavlovic devotes 7 sides of analysis after 19. Rh3 Nxa4 20. Bf2 which you cover with the single note 20…Be7 21. f5 Rc8 22.Be1. I have no doubt that at the great depths you did your research in that it is indeed winning but unfortunately all the analysis that shows and the sublines to get there is still on your pc rather than in the book- hence my recommendation that you buy the Pavlovic book as a starting point.Don’t think you should be shy to say ‘for further details see…’ especially when you are advertising an excellent book QC already has in its stable- as far as I know, although it is not a fully comprehensive English attack repertoire (the reason it didn’t sell so well??) it still provides the best book out there to…

  160. JB
    June 18th, 2018 at 23:56 | #161

    …. supplement your own. Khalifman needed 7 Volumes to cover the Sicilian and that was a while ago so no need to apologise that everything has to be covered!

  161. Ray
    June 19th, 2018 at 08:56 | #162

    @ JB

    A bit too basic?! You gotta be kidding 🙂 The Najdorf covers 140 pages, which is almost a third of the book. How much detail does one need? To my taste it is way too much detail for a ‘GM Guide’. As stated by the authors, it’s ‘moves, moves, moves’ with hardly any explanatory tekst added. In the Najdorf Scheveningen chapter there’s e.g. a double rook ending which goes all the way into table base territory. I have a similar feeling about the Sveshnikov chapter. It is stated that you need to meet these openings head-on, but in the end it’s all equal anyway, and I feel it’s playing too much into the black player’ hands, who are thriving on this chaos. Imo there are critical alternatives with far less theory, such as c4 instead of c3 against the Sveshnikov or 6.h3 against the Najdorf. These lines are played by world class players so they can’t be bad, and they are more positional. Anyway, it’s just my opinion of course, but I do think that this is more a GM Repertoire than a GM Guide. And I really liked a number of other chapter, such as the Dragon and Accelerated Dragon, so I’m just combining this with other repertoire books.

  162. Ray
    June 19th, 2018 at 08:58 | #163

    PS: I absolutely love the repertoire against the French!

  163. JB
    June 19th, 2018 at 13:19 | #164

    agree there are less theoretical approaches such as 6. h3 that could be covered with a couple of chapters but if you are going to choose the English attack as your mainline then you need depth. From my perspective i wouldn’t buy a standalone book on the najdorf english attack which runs to just 101 (not 140) pages (which is what you are getting here) as i wouldnt be sure you won’t be caught out in such a tactical opening. And I know its such a popular defence I’ll be facing the najdorf about as frequently as I would get the sveshnikov, dragon and classical combined

  164. Ray
    June 19th, 2018 at 17:05 | #165

    Then maybe we should conclude that the English Attack is not such a good choice for a GM Guide 🙂

  165. Jacob Aagaard
    June 20th, 2018 at 07:30 | #166

    The idea that you will be caught out with a 101 page repertoire behind me sounds very entertaining. The chances of getting caught out in a smaller repertoire with, say, 6.h3, where the theory is much less developed is infinitely higher.

    Besides, who is your opponents? The repertoire I put together on 6.f3 is great for 2600 level.

    But the main reason for 6.f3 is that 6.h3 has been done over and over again in other publications the last few years. We know that a lot of our readers buy not only our books, but the books of other publishers. 6.Bg5 was covered by Negi. We looked at 6.Bc4 and 6.a4 even, but neither very really attractive.

    I still think we made the right choice. Sure, some lines will not appeal to some people, but this is inevitable.

  166. Andrew Greet
    June 20th, 2018 at 09:19 | #167

    To throw some crass salesmanship into the mix, JB makes an excellent point about the merits of The Cutting Edge 2 as supplementary reading. (Indeed, we should really have made this point in the relevant chapters of Playing 1.e4!) See full details and list of contents here: http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/products/1/100/the_cutting_edge_2_-_sicilian_najdorf_6be3_by_milos_pavlovic/

    Although our English Attack coverage in Playing 1.e4 contains a lot of valuable information, it’s true that we didn’t include comprehensive analysis of every Black option (especially inferior ones), and the Pavlovic book does delve into certain lines in additional depth. It also offers some useful ideas in the Perenyi Attack (6.Be3 e6 7.g4), which could be a useful second repertoire choice for English Attack players.

    Cutting Edge 2 (and 1 for that matter) are still fine value at €21.99, but can also be obtained for free as part of our 3-book special offer.

  167. Thomas
    June 20th, 2018 at 10:33 | #168

    6.Bc4 … That would have been great!

  168. Ray
    June 20th, 2018 at 13:57 | #169

    @ Jacob Aagaard

    At my mediocre 2200 level, anything goes – no need for a 2600 level repertoire 🙂 . But like I said, I’ll gladly mix and match, I’m glad you offer variation compared to books already on the market so that I can make my own choices!

  169. JB
    June 20th, 2018 at 14:05 | #170

    @Jacob Aagaard

    I’ve already commented that I’m agreed that f3 was a good line to choose against the Najdorf so I’m not criticising the choice just the breadth of coverage.
    I concede a wrinkle on move 30 of heavy theory won’t appear in my games but although I’m a mere club player who plays a lot over the internet and certainly a long way from 2600 my experience is that I really would be ‘caught out’ by a similarly talented club player if I followed the ‘book’ line. I’d often have to think on my own (which may well be a good idea but a bit risky)- I guess that is why we buy these books so we have some idea of traps or missteps along the way.
    In my experience and thoughts
    1. if its a sicilian close to half will be a najdorf if you follow the main line as white so its certainly not a sideline you may never face
    2. najdorf like dragon players are very booked up about their pet opening- its usually just whether they choose e6 or e5
    3. the english attack is quite stereotyped in a way- both sides have a clear plan so in the …e6 line when the usual Be7, Nbd7, b5 and a possible h6 to hold up g5 appear in quick succession in almost every game I play its no surprise. As white how to best react to the more varied subsequent placement of rooks and queen when they move to the queenside and whether it is Bb7 or elsewhere are the details its still very easy to get lost in the detail or where to move Nc3 to (a4 d5 or e2) when…

  170. JB
    June 20th, 2018 at 14:06 | #171

    … it is hit with b4- a really good opening book will provide that.
    For example there is no indication in the book which square is best for the knight as early as move 9 in the book (6. f3 e6 7. Be3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. g4 b4) so I’m already ‘caught out’ on move 9 in one of the most played systems there are after a set of very natural moves that a 1600 let alone a 2600 player would play against me (please don’t tell me ..b4 isn’t natural when it is played extensively at move 8 and move 10).If that was an important league match I certainly wouldn’t find that ‘entertaining’ and I’ve already had to do my own work to plug that hole rather than relying on the text to do it for me- that’s what I pay QC the price of the book to avoid having to do
    4. if you think 101 pages are enough coverage (almost a third of the sammalvuo book with a lot of new theory since then) why do you publish such detailed books on other lines or indeed publish the cutting edge Be3 at all?

    I think of the English attack chapters as top of the range satnav route maps with the preferred direction to follow but you need the older paper maps (ie Cutting edge Be3) in case you get taken off the main roads- no shame in admitting that- even though it is the best 101 pages on 6. f3 out there it has its limitations and i seriously doubt a 2600 player would chose the book as his/her only source of theory.

  171. Jacob Aagaard
    June 20th, 2018 at 15:06 | #172

    30 years of experience disagree with your general argument.

    Concerning the actual line. Yes, it is a mistake it is not in there. 10.Nce2 h6 11.0-0-0 is of course a transposition to material in the book, but this should have been mentioned. And it looks to me as if this is the best move order for Black. So a very genuine mistake. Ntirlis and I are responsible.

    But for the general argument that we should have covered more stuff, or that somehow a book from quite a while ago we did on a similar subject somehow reflects on the chapters here, I do not agree with. I think you had one real and serious point and sort of got carried away and made a broader argument you are now defending, but which is a bit flimsy. What I care about is of course that I made an oversight. I tried hard not to, but this repertoire stuff is hard!

  172. JB
    June 20th, 2018 at 16:44 | #173

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Thanks for the reply. It’s still an absolutely brilliant one volume book on the sicilian but it naturally has its limitations. In the other lines the detail seems about right but in the sharper variations it’s more vulnerable. The choice of the qe1 dragon line cuts out the crazy yugoslav attack and the more positional line rather than doubling the f pawns in the sveshnikov help keep the level of detail right but it’s purely in the najdorf where I think you needed to beef it up a little. Which is all I said.
    I didn’t have any ‘general argument’ but only responded to your ridiculing that I would likely never be caught out following the book by showing a line we seem to both agree that could well happen and it may indeed be blacks best line. That’s the only argument I made so I’m not sure why this is taking it too far or making it ‘broader’ than what I stated.
    I don’t work with 2600 players so my comment about it not being suitable for this high level however is pure speculation I admit and I’m happy to take your word that it would be enough of a guide for them to go into battle in hindsight if you say so. I’d certainly feel I had a chance to trick them in the opening if that was their only knowledge.
    I’d still say ‘buy this book’ to readers but definitely still veer to Andrews position and say buy Cutting edge too. I’m sure the readers will appreciate having a couple of differing opinions.. I’ve had 30…

  173. Ray
    June 20th, 2018 at 16:45 | #174

    I’d like to add that encyclopedic completeness is not the idea of the GM Guide series (at least not as I understand it). That’s a key difference with the GM Repertoire series. Therefore, if anything, the amount of theory could have been less rather than more, if it were up to me (which it doesn’t 🙂 ).

  174. Jacob Aagaard
    June 20th, 2018 at 20:06 | #175

    There was no ridiculing in making my argument. And I think it is valid. And I would add that if you have strong knowledge of these pages, you would also have found this transposition. Which is not an excuse, it should have been in there.

  175. Topnotch
    June 21st, 2018 at 04:14 | #176

    I finally received my copies of the last two volumes of this epic trilogy, and so far I’m really enjoying my journey through the chapters on the French. I really like that the time was taken in many cases to explain why certain lines were chosen over others, and also that you clearly highlighted when providing specific antidotes to previously published Black repertoires. Tackling these published Black repertoires head on I suspect is an idea adopted from ‘Winning with the Slow (but Venomous!) Italian’, although if memory serves they devoted a whole chapter to it, and I do hope this becomes the standard for future Opening books, particularly Repertoire ones. The summaries at the end of the chapters are also well done and very useful in conveying the author’s overall impression of the objective strength and practical value of the lines presented , for both White and Black. The one thing I regret slightly, is that the cornerstones of your repertoire almost mirrors what I have in my own private files, and now you have spotted a very bright flood light on many of them before I have had the chance to reap the benefits. 🙂

    This post was not really intended to have been a review though, but rather to mention a line that wasn’t covered in your book and that your readers might appreciate being made aware of:

    1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 b5!?

    The above line is quite rare, but as ridiculous as it looks it scores rather well in the…

  176. Topnotch
    June 21st, 2018 at 04:19 | #177

    databases, and in fact could represent a nasty surprise for the unprepared Tarrasch player. This line dubbed the ‘Senegalese Sacrifice Variation’ by Daniel Lowinger in his book ‘Opening Originals’ is not a joke according to him, see the book for details. So forewarned is forearmed.

    Thanks again to the Q.C Team for what has been a very instructive and enjoyable read thus far.


  177. Jacob Aagaard
    June 21st, 2018 at 07:40 | #178

    No, it has nothing to do with a book on the Italian that we have had no reason to look at yet. We have done this since we started in 2004.

    I am not aware of Lowinger’s book. I think it is not surprising that when 1000 people look at a repertoire, a few additional lines spring out. Rather it is impossible to prevent.

    I will get Nikos on it.

  178. LG
    June 21st, 2018 at 07:43 | #179

    I really like the Tarrasch repertoire against the French, especially your lines against 3… Nf6, where I find the coverage perfect. Thanks!

    However, I was surprised by the small book bibliography about the French Tarrasch (less books than those mentioned about the Sicilian, which is only 10% of the book!). You neither mention the previous White reference repertoire book written by Tzermiadianos (Everyman, 2008), nor the complete coverage by Psakhis (Batsford, 2003) or by Pedersen (Gambit, 2005). It’s your choice, and if nothing is missing in your repertoire book, it becomes a rather irrelevant issue.

    Reading your chapters about the following new (for me) main line: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 11.Re1 Qc7 12.Bf1!? I first looked through chapter 9, and liked it, especially the coverage of both 13.Nf5 and 13.g3. My next step was to check what you advise after 10… Qc7, with the retreat 11.Bf1 being impossible. I didn’t find any mention of this move in your book. After being unable to refute this obvious (for me) move, I checked the previously mentioned sources about the Tarrasch. All of them mention this move! For Tzermiadianos, playing 11.Qe2 a6 12.Re1 ends up to a transposition in his repertoire (not yours, obviously!). Psakhis mention its use by GM Chernin, and states that it has proved very difficult for White to obtain an advantage, e.g. 11.Qe2 a6 12.Bg5!? with a few additional moves from…

  179. John Shaw
    June 21st, 2018 at 12:56 | #180


    Hi LG, I am glad you like the French coverage. I think your comment was cut off before you were finished.

    Re the bibliography: if I look at a book and don’t find anything relevant in it, I don’t always add it to the bibliography. I certainly know the Tzermiadanos and Psakhis books, but I presume I saw nothing relevant there if they are not in the biblio. I am not so sure I looked at the Pedersen book, but that could just be my shaky memory.

    I do cover the 10…Qc7 line you mention, but through a different move order. If you look at Chapter 8, page 220, the note with 9…Qc7 covers the line you are looking for. I mention it via the 6…Qd7 move order.

    Because the black queen can retreat to d6, d7 or d8, then maybe slide to c7 at various stages, there are many transpositional possibilities. I mention quite a few, but it seems impossible to mention them all. For your move order with 10…Qc7, if you defend the hanging c4-bishop with 11.Qe2 then you reach the coverage I mention above. No doubt I should have made this clearer in the book.

  180. Pinpon
    June 21st, 2018 at 17:14 | #181

    Seems there are new functions available in the blog ( Archives and the likes ) or am i mistaken ?Very much appreciated !

  181. JB
    June 21st, 2018 at 20:13 | #182

    Jacob Aagaard :
    There was no ridiculing in making my argument. And I think it is valid. And I would add that if you have strong knowledge of these pages, you would also have found this transposition. Which is not an excuse, it should have been in there.

    ‘The idea that you will be caught out with a 101 page repertoire behind me sounds very entertaining’ sounded like ridicule to me but maybe I’m being oversensitive. And if a club player like me can easily find this omission another equally untalented club player can also find it and play it against me- the point I was trying to make about being ‘caught out’.
    Nevertheless even though I liked the new Dismantling the Sicilian the Playing 1.e4 book beats it hands down and after giving up playing the English attack in the early 2000s I feel ready to dust it off and give it another go after reading the book. It’s a pity that 9…b4 instantly move orders you out of 2 of the 3 options you give in that mainline of Ch 10 (a3/Rg1 or 0-0-0) is a bit of a flaw though

    • Jacob Aagaard
      June 22nd, 2018 at 09:00 | #183

      Not everything said with a light-hearted tone is nasty 🙂

  182. LG
    June 22nd, 2018 at 07:02 | #184

    @John Shaw

    Thanks for your reply. FYI, the end of my previous comment was cut off, but it was almost finished anyway. Indeed, p.220 covers the line I discussed. I also noticed that you pay a lot of attention to different Black’s 6th to 9th move order (p. 218 – 225) and about the necessity for White to delay the Nb3 move, and/or to play the a4 move. It seems you and your team must have spent a lot of time on this part. Congratulations again!

  183. John Shaw
    June 22nd, 2018 at 09:18 | #185

    Pinpon :
    Seems there are new functions available in the blog ( Archives and the likes ) or am i mistaken ?Very much appreciated !

    Yes, I believe our friend Jesse made the improvements while making sure our blog follows the law on readers accepting cookies.

  184. Carlos Hemmers
    June 22nd, 2018 at 15:41 | #186

    Hello John,

    I was looking at the Sicilian Main Lines book. On page 404 the game Stocek-Neverov starts with 1.e4, c5 2. Nf3, d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3, a6 6. f3, but in the variations as alternatives to 7 …, Be6 we see a lot of 8. f3. It is obvious Be3 is meant but maybe for a future reprint this could be corrected.

    Kind regards,

  185. Leon Trotsky
    June 23rd, 2018 at 03:10 | #187

    I thought that QID was next to be published? Or is that the next one after Woodpecker?

  186. Ray
    June 23rd, 2018 at 06:25 | #188

    I’m currently going throught he chapter on the Taimanov. In line B251 13.Qe1(!) is recommended, stating that white has nothing special after Kotrionias’ and Semkov’s suggestion 13.Qe2!? However, after 13.Qe1 they give 13…Nf6!?, after which 14.Qe3 Ng4 15.Qe2 transposes to 13.Qe2!? 13…Nf6!? was not mentioned in your book. This seems odd to me, since Kotronias and Semkov make a big point of this. It seems that white does not much in this line.

  187. James2
    June 24th, 2018 at 09:02 | #189

    Hi Jacob,

    I don’t know if you have enough information at this point in time, but can we hope to be holding in our hands Avrukh’s book 2B before 2018 is out?

    Thank you.


  188. Jacob Aagaard
    June 24th, 2018 at 16:11 | #190

    I am optimistic

  189. James2
    June 24th, 2018 at 17:49 | #191

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Great! Makes me so too!


  190. Bebbe
    June 26th, 2018 at 05:52 | #192

    Are there any plans for an update on Avrukhs Grunfeld GM 8 and 9?
    Or do you have plans for a new grunfeld book?

    Is the grunfeld too theorethical and tactical to be a practical choice for non-professionals?

  191. Bebbe
    June 26th, 2018 at 06:02 | #193

    What would you play against a booked up 2500-2600 GM playing d4? Grunfeld, KID, Stonewall dutch or the Leningrad dutch with 7.-c6 and why?

    What would you play against a booked up 2500-2600 GM playing e4? Najdorf, Dragon or Caro-kann and why?

  192. NikosNtirlis
    June 26th, 2018 at 08:50 | #194

    You play your normal stuff

  193. Andrew Greet
    June 26th, 2018 at 09:08 | #195

    Bebbe :
    Are there any plans for an update on Avrukhs Grunfeld GM 8 and 9?
    Or do you have plans for a new grunfeld book?
    Is the grunfeld too theorethical and tactical to be a practical choice for non-professionals?

    There are no GM 8/9 updates currently planned. Remember Avrukh is still working on GM 2B (1.d4), so we should allow him to finish that before asking about anything else.
    I wouldn’t say the Grunfeld is unsuitable for non-professionals. It’s certainly not for everyone; but if a player enjoys that style of game then he should go for it.

  194. Andrew Greet
    June 26th, 2018 at 09:12 | #196

    Bebbe :
    What would you play against a booked up 2500-2600 GM playing d4? Grunfeld, KID, Stonewall dutch or the Leningrad dutch with 7.-c6 and why?
    What would you play against a booked up 2500-2600 GM playing e4? Najdorf, Dragon or Caro-kann and why?

    Opening preference is a personal choice, so I don’t understand the point of this question. It’s a bit like asking people to share their favourite colour.

  195. Frank
    June 26th, 2018 at 09:50 | #197

    Not that I have tha much experience here, maybe 10 times or so, but I agree with Nikos. Either you get a nice position (i.e. survive the opening phase) and make life hard, or you learn a lot about a certain line. However, preparation is necessary, so good luck with that.@Bebbe

  196. Bebbe
    June 26th, 2018 at 09:58 | #198

    @Andrew Greet

    Thanks for the reply, I understand that Avrukh is very busy.
    I think the grunfeld is interesting but very demanding.

    Regarding opening preferences I think there are openings that are objectively better than others.

    Nikos and Andrew,

    I agree, but if you play two openings like Leningrad Dutch and Grunfeld my opinion is that it is wisest to use the Leningrad against lower rated players and the Grunfeld against 2600 GM:s if the level of preparation in both is assumed to be equal. The reason is the the Leningrad gives better winning chances and the Grunfeld is objectively better. I disagree that is like favourite color.

  197. Bebbe
    June 26th, 2018 at 10:13 | #199


    Is it really enough to “survive” the opening phase?
    Surviving is like white stands somewhat better.
    If white can press and black is passive this will most probably end up badly against a 2500-2600 GM.
    The goal should be to be equal or to have an unclear position.

  198. Andrew Greet
    June 26th, 2018 at 11:00 | #200

    Yes, some openings are objectively better than others. Nevertheless, there are myriad factors such as your playing style, experience and knowledge of those openings, playing style and experience of the GM in question (maybe he has extensive experience facing the Grunfeld but not so many games against the Dutch) and so on. So ultimately the answer to such questions will always depend on the specific situation and opponent.

  199. Bebbe
    June 26th, 2018 at 11:27 | #201

    @Andrew Greet

    I agree that there are a myriad factors to take into account. I am mainly a tactician so the Leningrad dutch and Grunfeld are both suitible for my playing style. I also hate symmetry.

    When we put together our repertiores we do not know our future opponents. Thus we shall chose something that fits us but also gives some flexibility against different kind of opponents.

    For me as a tactician I think it is wise to play tactical, assymetric, dynamic openings that are 100% sound (grunfeld, caro-kann (yes the caro can be very tactical)) and also dynamic fighting openings (Leningrad dutch, classical sicilian) (they are maybe not 100% sound)to be able to adjust to our opponents style, strength and prefered pet variations.

    What should be avoided for tactical players are more closed, static and symmetrical openings like french, stonewall dutch, slav, declined QG and Nimzoindian.

  200. Thomas
    June 26th, 2018 at 11:31 | #202

    No tactics in the French? God bless…

  201. Bebbe
    June 26th, 2018 at 11:39 | #203

    Ok I appologize,

    I was thinking of the exchange variation which is pretty dull and symmetric. The same for the Slav, I was thinking of the exchange variation. The Winawer poisoned pawn and Botvinnik variations are hardly without tactics:).

  202. Ray
    June 26th, 2018 at 16:47 | #204

    I have the feeling you’re being a bit dogmatic about this. If it where that simple, all tactical players would play the Najdorf against 1.e4 (objectively the best opening) and all positional players would play the Berlin Wall or Petroff. This being not the case, even at the highest level, already proofs there are many other factors that determine the choice of an opening. I would say: just play whichever opening you like most. And if that’s two different openings for different occasions: also fine. As to the level of opposition: there are plenty of strong GMs that consistently play so-called ‘inferior’ openings against strong opposition, with good results. Take e.g. Malaniuk, who has played the Leningrad all his life. Or what about the stubbornness of Sveshnikov? Objectively speaking the Advance French is not so good, but his score is over 70% against strong opposition. So on can also specialise and just understand certain positions better than anyone else. Good luck!

  203. Bebbe
    June 26th, 2018 at 17:28 | #205


    You are right.
    Yes it is a bit dogmatic. On my level it is enough with the Leningrad and classical sicilian.
    The Grunfeld and Caro-Kann can be a backup plan some years in the future if plan A doesn’t, work out or if I need variety.

    The Leningrad has given me good results and I enjoy it. The same is true for the classical Sicilian.

  204. Frank
    June 26th, 2018 at 19:30 | #206

    About the Leningrad, I think most 2500+-GM’s would be quite happy to see this and outplay you positionally before you get your counterplay in. The Gruenfeld does require a lot of knowledge but it does have a lot of forcing drawing lines, which your opponent might want to avoid. It might really help you if you have some strong novelty prepared, I guess most strong players would try to avoid the critical reply so as to avoid playing against your engine if they have not faced this before (you will know, because they will start thinking for some time) and chose a safe continuation. I guess that might give you some chances. Keeping things solid is important, besides that, I think you have nothing to lose, so good luck with your preparations. @Bebbe

  205. Pinpon
    June 26th, 2018 at 20:31 | #207

    It’s nice to have a repertoire against GMs but as i play 95% of my games against non-GM players , it seems more important for me to have a repertoire which can create problems to players whose rating is -200 / +200 around mine .

  206. Bebbe
    June 27th, 2018 at 06:08 | #208


    Thanks Frank!

    I agree with all this. This is really also how I have thought. You put it down nicely on paper.

  207. Bebbe
    June 27th, 2018 at 06:18 | #209


    I play around 15% of my games against GM:s. It is still possible to use the grunfeld against players in the rating intervall 2300-2500 (i am around 2400 myself) when a draw with black is ok. The Leningrad dutch can be used when the situation requires a win (even against GM:s).

  208. pabstars
    June 27th, 2018 at 12:21 | #210

    Being a 1. c4-player, it is a fantastic read with the 3-volume tomb covering 1. e4. All of the books give a super good understanding of loads of themes connected with the different openings. I really enjoy the English attack against the Najdorf, and this is very different from my usual slow fianchetto openings. I’m just worried that I could get addicted to playing 1. e4 🙂

  209. Pinpon
    June 27th, 2018 at 12:26 | #211

    The Gruenfeld is a very demanding opening but i think it is a great one if it suits your style and … have plenty of time .
    I am too old a player to play it . Life is too short ?

  210. Bebbe
    June 28th, 2018 at 10:28 | #212


    I think it suits my style, but unfortunately have not plenty of time.
    Anyway, what the heck I played it a lot 20 years ago and have been playing it as a surprise weapon and in blitz later. I will prepare with GM 8+9, a database and use it a bit and see if it works out. The worst that can happen is that I lose a couple of games.

  211. Thomas
    June 28th, 2018 at 11:40 | #213

    A serious question: Do you win, lose or draw only because of your openings?
    Reading your posts it looks like that.

  212. RYV
    June 28th, 2018 at 11:44 | #214

    Bebbe :
    What would you play against a booked up 2500-2600 GM playing d4? Grunfeld, KID, Stonewall dutch or the Leningrad dutch with 7.-c6 and why?
    What would you play against a booked up 2500-2600 GM playing e4? Najdorf, Dragon or Caro-kann and why?

    strange way of thinking . I say strange because i am just playing the opposite way. Against stronger player, first goal is not to be crushed , so i choose the solid option and try to secure a draw. That is playing 1..e5 on e4, N.I and QGD on d4, symetrical english and so on. Then if the game turn on the tactical side, why not but it is not something i am looking for at all cost
    Always look for sharp and tactical openings just put you out of 90% of chess. Most games are about positional weaknesses, winning a pawn, convert the endgame.
    ( i am not interrested in winning games but rather playing good games)

  213. Bebbe
    June 28th, 2018 at 12:06 | #215


    Of course not, then you have misunderstod me. The middlegame that is the result of the chosen opening tactical and strategical decisions in the middlegame and endgame determines the result. Since the opening choice matters I want to maximize the probability for a favourable result.

  214. RYV
    June 28th, 2018 at 12:12 | #216

    looks like you consider 1 win and 9 loss a better result than 10 draws

  215. Bebbe
    June 28th, 2018 at 12:23 | #217

    Not strange at all if you are in my shoes. Tactics is one of my strong points so I have better chances in this kind of play against GM:s. I am more afraid of getting “squeezed” in openings like the ones you are recommending. One of my weakneses is to defend rather passive postions without counterplay. I guess yor strengths is in stategy so then your choice makes sense for you.

    By the way I play the Marin english with white so I know a bit about postional weaknesses, winning a pawn and converting the endgame. I am less concerned with sharp theory as white since I almst alwas have an active game. Some of the lines I play is also geared towards the endgame after a sharp opening and middlegame, Leningrad dutch (active king, compact structure), Rauzer (bishop pair, active king), Grunfeld (no pawn weaknesses, a queenside pawn majority).
    The main thing for me is activity.

  216. Bebbe
    June 28th, 2018 at 12:28 | #218


    No, who does?

  217. Frank
    June 28th, 2018 at 13:14 | #219

    At a certain point, against certain opposition, opening preparation is necessary. @Thomas

  218. Ray
    June 28th, 2018 at 14:32 | #220

    If tactics is your thing, then why play 1.c4 and not 1.e4? The English is not the first opening that comes to mind when thinking about tactics. And from the black point of view, there are also more tactical openings than the Leningrad, e.g. the Modern Benoni or Meran / Botvinnik complex. Or the King-Indian of course.

  219. Bebbe
    June 28th, 2018 at 14:48 | #221


    I think 1.c4 can be tactical. Look at Marins analysis, very dynamic and tactical.

    The Leningrad is as tactical as the KID. The Benoni is of course very tactical and I have considered it. The Leningrad is universal which the Benoni is not. White can avoid the Benoni very easiliy

  220. RYV
    June 28th, 2018 at 18:08 | #222

    I think you make confusion between solid/positional and passive/defence.

  221. Douglas Eckert
    June 29th, 2018 at 03:04 | #223

    Bebbe: I understand you are much stronger than me, but, I think you are too concerned about drawn positions. Couple of comments. I work with a very strong GM, mostly him helping me, but, I provide some ideas the other way from my correspondence play. He made a couple clear points. All the strong players try to beat him in the GM tournaments when they have White. As a result, chances will arise and understanding where they are is critical. Therefore, for certain, that will happen in our games. Second, it appeared last weekend, I was going to get a final round pairing with White against one of his peers. That did not happen for obscure and I played a different GM. When prepping for the game, he was clear that this GM would not play a certain line he played repeatedly in two strong recent GM tournaments for reasons that I might play the draw. Rather, he showed me two variations where I might be slightly better, but, the imbalances would allow him to keep the game alive for a long time without taking much risk unless I suddenly started playing like Kramnik, which is unlikely.

  222. Douglas Eckert
    June 29th, 2018 at 03:14 | #224

    Bebbe: I wanted to add to my other comment that has not posted yet. My score against 2500+ players is awful. +5 -85 =25. In the 85 losses, probably 20 I was blown out via bad opening play. In the 5 wins, I won precisely 1 from an inferior position. The other 4 not straight from the opening, but, from an opening I simply understood strategically better and actually convert. In the remaining 65 losses and 25 draws, like Jacob has preached on here, my chances were there. That gives me a clear understanding where my problem is, tactics and critical positions. I had to be winning at least 50 or so of those games including a couple against exceptionally strong players, i.e. >2600+++. The statistics are sobering, its hard to admit you are not good at something. But openings, while not world class are not the problem….

  223. Bebbe
    June 29th, 2018 at 06:29 | #225


    Yes maybe, but I think you understand that I prefer openings with activity and dynamic pawn structures. The grunfeld is a more active defense than the Lasker defence in the queensgambit.
    Dont you think the Lasker is more passive/defensive than the Grunfeld?

    Of course there are openings that are both solid/positional and active. The Nimzoindian, Queensindian and Caro-Kann comes to mind.

  224. Ray
    June 29th, 2018 at 06:29 | #226

    Seems like you want an easy way out – lots of tactics without putting a lot of time into it – good luck with that 🙂

  225. Bebbe
    June 29th, 2018 at 07:08 | #227

    Time is always an issue with a family and a job.

    I will put a lot of time on the Grunfeld, since it is necessary to be up to date to be able to play it sucessfully. I already did som pretty ambitious preparation on the Grunfeld in 2011 so I need to repeat that and lookup the latest.

    If I remember correctly there where some issues for black in the Russian system variation 7.-Nc6 8.Be2, Bg4 as was recommended by Avrukh. Vachier-Lagrave is playing 8.- e5 instead with good results. Probably this is the way to go.

  226. Ray
    June 29th, 2018 at 07:59 | #228

    I used to have a similarly ambitious repertoire with black (KID and French Winawer – Poisoned Pawn), but in my experience this was a huge waste of time, since the vast majority of white players nowadays tend to duck the critical lines and play whimpy systems such as the London. Or the French Exchange, which I get in over half of my French games on the internet. So I decided to adopt a more practical attitude, e.g. switching to Ntirlis 1.d4 d5 repertoire and Ntirlis & Aagaard French, and my results have improved a lot. Somehow it’s satisfying to beat white players on their own turf 🙂 . Nowadays, if I e.g. get a French Exchange, I play on until the last pawn has been exchanged. I have a good endgame technique, so I win a lot of these games.

  227. Bebbe
    June 29th, 2018 at 08:51 | #229


    Seems that we all have to find our own way. Stick to it if it works for you. I rather face the London than the exchange french.

    The KID is more ambitious than the Grunfeld I think.
    The Grunfeld is an equlizing opening. When I want to avoid wimpy lines I play the Leningrad.

  228. Bebbe
    June 29th, 2018 at 11:12 | #230

    @Douglas Eckert

    Thank you for the statistics you provided and the analysis.
    I agree that chess skills is the biggest problem when facing 2500+ players.
    Still if you lost 20 of these games due to bad opening play the impact of the opening is not neglible. Did you see any pattern in why you got thse bad openings?

    My own experience is that against 1.e4 my sicilian has held up well and I have won against (not to mention draws) many times against GM:s.

    Against the closed openings my main choice has been the KID that gave me decent results against players lets say below 2400. Against 2500+ players I have never won a game in the KID and have been badly outplayed right in the opening in quite many of these games.

    Obviously my chess understanding in the KID is not good enough to face strong opponents. Then some change needs to be done, so I switched to the Leningrad and have better results with it. Still havent played it against any 2500+ player. Had an interesting draw against a GM below 2500 though.

  229. Frank
    June 29th, 2018 at 16:22 | #231

    There are always some issues! Play the line if your opponent is likely to go for it and if you like this position. Besides that, you might have a look at Peter Svidler‘s excellent series on chess24, where he offers the Hungarian variation. Of course Doug is right, it is not the opening where you win the game, but you might definitely lose the game very easily there. Nevertheless, just tactics training (always sensible), might not help you to get rid of all the deficiencies needed to bridge the relative difference in strength, but then again, awareness of a sudden chance might very much be enhanced. Good luck anyway and of course, I guess many here would like to see the game. When is it due?@Bebbe

  230. Douglas Eckert
    June 29th, 2018 at 18:45 | #232

    I meant to finish up my prior note with opening are not the problem, but, tactics and critical moments clearly are. To some degree against the GMs its also maintaining vigilance at all times.

    On opening issues, mostly sharp Sicilians caused disasters. I am not too focused on that as I have fixed a lot of that. Also, for many years I have been a high level business executive and have played too many tournaments where my preparation did not exist and I played simply because I had time and the desire. I am retiring at age 54 on December 31 this year. So, that should give me more time. Even to go to Jacob’s training camps.

    Let me give you an example of no preparation. I was asked to substitute into the 2009 U.S. Championship after one of the players became ill. I had not played chess for 6+ years except 9 games against sub 2000 competition. I played 6 games. Two of which I was simply killed right from the beginning. In the remaining four games, I won 2 and lost 2 but, could have won all 4. None of the remaining 4 results had anything to do with the opening. Chances do come even at that level. A lot of times just because they are trying to beat you.

  231. Bebbe
    June 29th, 2018 at 20:15 | #233


    Here is my game against the GM I was refering to, I am black

    1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 d5 4. Bxf6 exf6 5. e3 Be6 6. g3 Nc6 7. Nge2 g5 8. h4 Qd7 9. Nc1 O-O-O 10. Nd3 Nb4 11. Qd2 Kb8 12. a3 Nxd3+ 13. Bxd3 c5 14. dxc5 d4 15. exd4 Qxd4 16. O-O-O Bxc5 17. hxg5 fxg5 18. Qxg5 Bxa3 19. Bc4 Qxc3 20. Rxd8+ Kc7 21. Qe7+ Bxe7 22. bxc3 Kxd8 23. Bxe6 Bc5 24. f3 Bf2 25. Bxf5 Bxg3 26. Rd1+ Kc7 27. Rd7+ Kc6 28. Rxh7 Rxh7 29. Bxh7 b6 30. Kd2 Bf4+ 31. Kd. Kd3 Kd5 32. Bg8+ Ke5 33. Kc4 Bd2 34. Bh7 Kf4 35. Kd3 Be1 36. Be4 Bf2 37. Kc4 a5 1/2-1/2

  232. Bebbe
    June 29th, 2018 at 20:23 | #234

    @Douglas Eckert

    I agree on that sensing the critical moment and take the right decision at the critical moment is far more important than the opening.

    Being tough mentally is of course very important and to not give in.

    Good luck with your playing after retirement!

  233. RYV
    June 29th, 2018 at 23:21 | #235

    The good new is change at FIDE president !
    hope this time it will bring something positive .

  234. June 30th, 2018 at 05:16 | #236

    QC has 2 1 e4 series: “GM-Rep e4” + “Playing e4”

    A third one is necessary: “Remembering e4” für old people!

  235. Phil Collins
    July 1st, 2018 at 11:47 | #237

    As far as I can see 3. Nd2 is a draw offer. If Black plays 3 dxe4 you can shake hands!

  236. Tom Tidom
    July 1st, 2018 at 15:31 | #238

    @Phil Collins
    Then 3.Nc3 is a draw offer as well?! What should White play? 3.e5, 2.d3 or not 1.e4 at all ;-)?

    More seriously, chess is a draw after all. But even in the French after 3.Nd2 dxe4 Black has to prove it.

  237. July 2nd, 2018 at 01:48 | #239

    @Phil Collins

    A draw? Only if white gets lucky! LOL!

  238. Phil Collins
    July 2nd, 2018 at 09:40 | #240

    @Tom Tidom
    To be honest – the starting position is a draw! Only people who did not study the game of chess are unaware of this fact 🙂

  239. Phil Collins
    July 2nd, 2018 at 09:41 | #241

    @Tom Tidom
    To be honest: the starting position is a draw. Trying to win is a waste of time! 🙂

  240. RYV
    July 2nd, 2018 at 11:28 | #242

    @Phil Collins
    No ! starting position is a white zugwang, so that white is trying to pass a move somewhere just not to loose the game

  241. Timotheos Lirindzakis
    July 3rd, 2018 at 07:28 | #243

    When will have an excerpt for Queen`s Indian by Michael Roiz?

  242. Jacob Aagaard
    July 3rd, 2018 at 07:40 | #244

    When the book goes to print, which is still some weeks away.

  243. James2
    July 4th, 2018 at 19:14 | #245

    Hi John,

    I was studying Playing 1 e4: Sicilian Main Lines this evening, and I had a query. I was playing through game 32 Lastin-Petrushin (p374) and I was using the board on ChessTempo and their database.

    I could not find the game listed on a search, and as I was playing through the game, the position after 12 h4 spewed up 5 games. Only one was listed in 2005 and it was Smirov-Petrushin in Voronezh.

    Admittedly the ChessTempo database is free, but I was wondering which database did you use and which is the correct game?

    Thank you.


  244. Sam
    July 4th, 2018 at 20:55 | #246

    Hi John,

    Thanks for an excellent three volumes. I have one query: in the 12…Nh5 variation of the English Attack, there doesn’t seem to be any coverage of 13…Qc7, which is Black’s most popular response. Is this an omission or am I missing something? Thanks.

  245. JB
    July 4th, 2018 at 21:25 | #247

    Chessbase has the game played at stepanov memorial in sochi 10.2005.guess chesstempo isnt as thorough as chessbase has 20+ games after h4 and thats not including corr games

  246. James2
    July 4th, 2018 at 21:38 | #248

    That’s great, thanks JB.


  247. James2
    July 4th, 2018 at 21:48 | #249

    When I checked, the number of games in the database ramped up after 13..Qc7. However, I think that if this is answered by 14 Nd5 Nxd5 15 exd5 and perhaps 15..Nb6 then we are there (or thereabouts) in the notes to black’s 15 move on pages 427 to 429.


  248. James2
    July 4th, 2018 at 22:26 | #250

    Hi John,

    I know there have been a number of threads requesting typos in some of your books, but in the most recent Playing 1e4: Sicilian Main Lines, on page 431 it says ” Now lets move on to the more challenging 13…Re8.” I think this should be 13…Rc8.

    This is just in case you were building up an errata schedule on this book.

    Thank you.


  249. John Shaw
    July 5th, 2018 at 12:10 | #251


    Hi James, JB already did a good job answering your database question, but I will add a little more. Keeping an up-to-date database is a vital part of our work on opening books, and one where Nikos is the expert. For example, in the position you mention after 12.h4 I count 26 games in our database.

    Correspondence games (or maybe I should say email games) are a vital part of it. In the long sharp lines, it is often email players who are testing the vital positions, as they do not have to worry about remembering the theory to reach the key positions.

  250. John Shaw
    July 5th, 2018 at 13:20 | #252

    Sam :
    Hi John,
    Thanks for an excellent three volumes. I have one query: in the 12…Nh5 variation of the English Attack, there doesn’t seem to be any coverage of 13…Qc7, which is Black’s most popular response. Is this an omission or am I missing something? Thanks.

    Hi Sam, as James2 was saying, if you meet 13…Qc7 with 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 then Black has nothing better than 15…Nb6 when 16.Na5 is the move I recommend. This is covered on page 427 in the variation that starts 14…Bxd5?!.

    All the possible move orders are undeniably confusing.

  251. John Shaw
    July 5th, 2018 at 13:21 | #253


    Yes, Rc8 not Re8. Thanks for that.

  252. James2
    July 6th, 2018 at 00:33 | #254

    @John Shaw
    Hi John,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my query. I appreciate it.


  253. Phil Collins
    July 6th, 2018 at 07:16 | #255

    Marin published a French repertoire vs 3 Nc3 and 3 Nd2. Where your repertoires meet he welcomes the exchange of queens and says Black is fine.

    I did not check Marins 4…b6 repertoire against the Winawer yet.I hope he knows the recommandation of Negi…

  254. Andrew Greet
    July 6th, 2018 at 08:50 | #256

    @Phil Collins
    Can you be a bit more specific about the Tarrasch line with the queen exchange?

  255. Thomas
    July 6th, 2018 at 09:13 | #257

    Marin covers the classical with 6.-cxd4 (7.Qe2+ Qe7 is the queen exchange)

  256. James2
    July 6th, 2018 at 09:17 | #258

    @Andrew Greet
    HI Andrew,

    Try this link to the Marin material, published in June 2018:



  257. Andrew Greet
    July 6th, 2018 at 09:35 | #259

    Thanks Thomas and James.

    I just checked the relevant ‘Playing 1.e4’ volume and was amused to see the following quote in the note to 7.Qe2+:
    “The only way to pose problems.” – Marin

    I’m sure Marin has done his homework for his French repertoire and recommended a sensible way of playing for Black. Still, if White isn’t satisfied with an early queen exchange and practical chances to exert pressure against the isolated pawn, then he probably should not be playing the Tarrasch in the first place.

  258. Phil Collins
    July 6th, 2018 at 12:34 | #260

    @Andrew Greet
    Marin improves the Hübner-Korchnoi game and shows the way to equality for Black.

  259. Phil Collins
    July 6th, 2018 at 12:37 | #261

    Compered to what Sielecki reccomands (The Exchange Variation) the Tarrasch is a better try to play for some advantage.

  260. Andrew Greet
    July 6th, 2018 at 13:31 | #262

    @Phil Collins
    You mean… the Tarrasch ISN’T a forced win for White? Well, we’ll just have to rewrite Playing 1.e4 then!
    Joking aside, if I was a Tarrasch player I wouldn’t care at all. Give me a simplified position playing against the IQP, and I’d be happy. White has the slightly easier game, and Black can no doubt hold with accurate defence. That’s chess.

  261. PaulM
    July 6th, 2018 at 19:38 | #263

    For all those who believe they can’t play any opening that doesn’t provide a guaranteed advantage, I invite you to pick the most boring opening you can think of, select a position just past the opening, and play it out against Stockfish or Komodo. See how hard it is to draw! The moral is if you play good enough moves you can win from virtually any position against almost any opposition (Magnus became WC using that approach), so you’re probably better off focusing on being able to make good moves once past the opening rather than finding the ultimate opening advantage.

  262. Tom Tidom
    July 7th, 2018 at 06:58 | #264

    So true.

    I do not care about an opening advantage with White or clear equality with Black. I´m just looking for a playable position where I have ideas how to continue.

  263. LG
    July 9th, 2018 at 07:33 | #265

    I’m currently looking at the Tarrasch French line with 9.exf6 Qxf6 10. Nf3 and then Bb4+ (page 148). You state it as illogical, and give the traditional main line 11.Bd2 Bxd2+ 12.Qxd2 … with a small advantage for White.

    In Tzermiadianos’ repertoire, the author has a lot of respect for 10…Bb4+ and gives a complicated line for White 11.Nc3 e5 12.0-0 to reach an advantage for White. I’d prefer to avoid such a complicated line and play 11.Bd2, but Tzermiadianos gives 11… 0-0 12.0-0 e5 13.dxe5 Ndxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 with approximate equality, as long as Black doesn’t take on d2. If White takes on b4, the knight will attack the d3 bishop, which cannot reach b5 with check as in your next line starting with 10…e5 11.dxe5 Bb4+ 12.Bd2 Ndxe5 13.Nxe5 Qxe5 14.Bxb4 Nxb4 15.Bb5+ with small advantage.

    I think Tzermiadianos has some point with delaying or avoiding the capture on d2 .One of the question is whether the exchange Nxd3 is good or not in this specific position. Do you have any comments on this line?

  264. Andrew Greet
    July 9th, 2018 at 09:04 | #266

    In the line given after 14.Nxe5 Qxe5, it would seem logical to start with 15.Nxb4 Nxb4 to draw Black’s knight away from the centre.
    My first thought then was 16.Nd4, as an exchange on d3 would give White a dream position playing against the IQP. Unfortunately, 16…Rf4! is a good reply.
    So instead 16.a3!?N looks sensible. Presumably 16…Nxd3 17.Qxd3 can be expected; and once again, if White is given time to establish the knight on d4 and consolidate, he will be more than happy. So, 17…Qxb2 looks critical, and then 18.Qxd5+ Kh8 19.Ng3 seems a bit annoying for Black, as it’s not easy to develop his bishop while preventing a rook invasion to c7. I’m sure it’s holdable but Black still has to make some decisions while White hardly risks anything.
    Of course, if a small edge in a simplified position isn’t enough, you could investigate the 11.Nc3 line.

  265. Topnotch
    July 10th, 2018 at 02:33 | #267

    @Andrew Greet, John Shaw, Jacob Aagaard and LG

    Hi All,

    I also have a query regarding the Tarrasch French line with: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Qxf6, which may become more popular at club level since the DVD release of ‘The Bulletproof French Defense by GM Fabien Libiszewski’ where this variation is recommended. Playing 1.e4 now continues 10.0-0 Bd6 11.Nf3 h6 12.Be3 0-0 13.Rc1 Rd8 14.Bb1Nf8 15.Qd2 Bd7 16.Bf4 Be8 17.Bxd6 Rxd6 18.Nf4 g5 19.Nd3!N intending 19…Nxd4 20.Nfe5 and f4 to follow with excellent attacking chances for a measly pawn. A couple things to note: 1) I totally agree with this assessment. 2) 19.Nd3! isn’t quite a novelty, it was tested in the Correspondence game Teeriaho, Tuomo (2362) vs Koehl, Rudolf (2271) Year 2014, and somehow Black miraculously managed to save a draw in that game. So far so good, however going back a bit, instead of 15…Bd7 Black has the annoying 15…Bb4 not mentioned in Playing 1.e4 which totally interferes with White’s dark squared strategy. Whatever White plays now black can reply with Bishop back to d6 and a3 anytime by White in this specific 14.Bb1 line tends to be a loss of tempo. The engines still think White is a little better after 15…Bb4, but to my human eyes its not so trivial to make steady progress here as White especially as his most effective and thematic strategy of trading dark squared bishops is difficult to organise.

    Accordingly, I have come to…

  266. Topnotch
    July 10th, 2018 at 02:38 | #268

    Accordingly, I have come to the opinion that 14.Bb1 is not the most effective continuation here, but rather 14.a3! is, avoiding any darked squared interference, when there could follow 14…Nf8 15.Qd2 Bd7 16.Bf4 Be8 17.Bxd6 Rxd6 18.Ng3! [18.Qe3 is more popular and also good, but I prefer the text as played in Grandelius – Ivanov (Year:2017)] Black now played the thematic for this variation 18…Bg6 but after 19.Bb5! Be4?? 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Qxe5 22.f4 it was lights out 1-0, Sure, black could play better but he is always somewhat worse and even more importantly White’s position remains very harmonious and much easier to play. Regarding LG’s query, why not just play 10.0-0! (As favored by renowned Tarrasch experts Kotronias and Rublevsky) and avoid the issue of 10.Nf3 Bb4+ altogether.

    So Quality Chess Team and LG, what do you guys think.



  267. John Shaw
    July 10th, 2018 at 11:00 | #269



    Interesting Tarrasch points.

    First one: 10.0-0 or 10.Nf3. I take your point that 10.0-0 seems a more efficient move order, as it cuts out …Bb4+ lines. But my feeling was (and is) that I would love Black to play 10…Bb4+. In addition to Andrew’s lines above, I would also suggest 10.Nf3 Bb4+ 11.Bd2 0-0 12.Bxb4!? Nxb4 13.a3. After 13…Nxd3 14.Qxd3 or 13…Nc6 14.0-0 White has a comfy edge of exactly the type I seek with the Tarrasch. General point: is the better move order the one that limits Black’s options, or the one that gives him a chance to go wrong?

    In Topnotch’s line I am still happy with 14.Bb1 (with 14.a3 a similar size of edge, I think). 15…Bb4 can be met many ways; one option is 16.Nc3 (planning Bf4) and if 16…Bd6 then 17.Na4 heading for c5.

    The novelty-not novelty issue. That corr. game was not in our database when writing the book, but it is now.

  268. Paul H
    July 29th, 2018 at 12:20 | #270

    Carlsen- MVL at Biel today following John’s book vs Sicilian, albeit Magnus did not care for John’s nuance on playing Nd5 straight away.

  269. Paul H
    July 29th, 2018 at 12:36 | #271

    Magnus stuck now as John does not cover MVL’s …..a5 (a novelty according to the commentators)

  270. Jacob Aagaard
    July 30th, 2018 at 08:59 | #272

    This really is one of the most annoying lines :-). But 13.Rc1 would probably have been better.

  271. Ray
    July 30th, 2018 at 09:57 | #273

    About the French Tarrasch: as black I would just play the repertoire with 3…c5 as recommended by Nikos and Jacob. John himself admits that it’s just equal in the main line with 12Bf1!? if black plays the relatively rare move …Qb6!? somewhere (if I remember correctly). I was looking at this from white’s perspective and haven’t been able to find anything convincing for white in the line John gives. I would love to make 3…Nf6 work (because the positions are more interesting), but I just think it’s much easier for white to play. My own score with black after 3…Nf6 is absolutely horrible which fits to John’s observation that he has scored around 80% in this line 🙂 .

  272. Topnotch
    July 30th, 2018 at 19:18 | #274

    Ray :
    About the French Tarrasch: as black I would just play the repertoire with 3…c5 as recommended by Nikos and Jacob. John himself admits that it’s just equal in the main line with 12Bf1!? if black plays the relatively rare move …Qb6!? somewhere (if I remember correctly).

    That’s why from now on I’m playing the exchange French if only to frustrate the hell out of Black. Most French players hate this structure and the resignation of having to play for two results, loss or draw. Lots of strong White players have started going this way recently with good results, joining the hoards of theory challenged amateurs who have always played this way because its easy, straightforward and drives French players nuts. 🙂

  273. Ray
    July 31st, 2018 at 06:43 | #275

    @ Topnotch:

    I play the King’s Indian Attack for similar reasons 🙂 . By the way, I have never lost a serious game against the Exchange Variation. Maybe it’s a matter of mindset… I’m alway happy to face it, since I have an equal position from move 2. I very much like Nikos’ and Jacob’s recommendations to break the symmetry. But you are right, that most black players prefer to have a typical French pawn chain fight in which they can try to break up white’s centre. And since it’s all equal anyway, you might as well play the Exchange with white. One question though: doesn’t it bore you to death?

  274. Steve
    August 7th, 2018 at 20:19 | #276

    In the excellent Playing 1.e4: Sicilian Main Lines, I came across the following in the Kalashnikov chapter. On p.163-164, we have 8…, Nd7 9.Nd5, Nc5 10.0-0, 0-0 and on p.166, note to black’s 10th, we have 8…, 0-0 9.0-0, Nd7 10.Nd5, Nc5 reaching the same position. In the first case 11.Nbc3 is recommended, while in the second 11.b4 is suggested. In fact, in the first line, after 11…, f5 white could play 12.b4 when I don’t think black has anything better than 12…, Nxd3 13.Qxd3 transposing into the second line. The first line in the book continues 12.exf5, Nxd3 13.Qxd3, Bxf5 14.Ne4, while the second continues 13…, Be6 14.exf5, Bxf5 15.Ne4, so the only question is whether white would prefer the pawn on b2 or b4. I haven’t done any analysis, but intuitively I would prefer it on b2. I wonder if John has any thoughts.

  275. Steve
    August 7th, 2018 at 20:23 | #277

    p.s. in the chapter conclusion, it says about the first line “10.0-0, 0-0 11.Nbc3 will transpose to later lines”, which makes me wonder if the first line above should have been deleted but wasn’t. By the way, the last paragraph of these conclusions is a bit jumbled up. It gives 9…, Nd7 9.0-0 instead of 10.Nd5, then repeats 9…, Nd7 10.Nd5.

  276. John Shaw
    August 8th, 2018 at 14:31 | #278


    Between 11.Nbc3 and 11.b4 I would likely choose 11.b4 as more direct, but they seem roughly of equal value. I have a memory from my analysis that I needed to give two options there (adding the 11.Nbc3 one) as there is some move order where Black delays …Nc5 where White should develop with Nbc3 (as b2-b4 would hit fresh air), so I did not want us to get move-ordered out of our repertoire. Sorry that’s vague, but my memory is all vague these days.

    Thanks for pointing out the messed-up conclusion. As you suggested, it should read
    “After B322) 9…Nd7 10.Nd5 we saw various tries for Black, with one of the most solid and logical being 10…Bg5”

  277. Sam Hamkin
    August 9th, 2018 at 01:55 | #279

    Was the order 6.f3 b5 worth covering the GMRep/Sicilian Main Lines? Strong players such as Svidler, Topalov, Jobava, and Sutovsky have all played this way. Clearly 7.a4 is not as strong as it is via the 6.Be3 b5?! 7.a4 order, and if white plays the normal 7.Be3, black can get stubborn about delaying or omitting …e6 by playing 7…Bb7, 8….Nbd7-b6, etc…

    If I missed this coverage, my apologies!

  278. Topnotch
    August 9th, 2018 at 02:25 | #280

    Ray :
    @ Topnotch:
    I play the King’s Indian Attack for similar reasons . By the way, I have never lost a serious game against the Exchange Variation. Maybe it’s a matter of mindset… I’m alway happy to face it, since I have an equal position from move 2. I very much like Nikos’ and Jacob’s recommendations to break the symmetry. But you are right, that most black players prefer to have a typical French pawn chain fight in which they can try to break up white’s centre. And since it’s all equal anyway, you might as well play the Exchange with white. One question though: doesn’t it bore you to death?

    I used to consider symmetrical openings lines lifeless, but with the rise of the Berlin and Petroff defences I was forced to take a deeper look and discovered that maintaining equality in such symmetrical positions is not as trivial as once thought. Regarding the Exchange French it is very easy to drift into a bad position as Black, and White risk very little. Moreover White has many excellent strategical model games to study, follow and emulate that makes Black’s practical task that more difficult. There is also the plus that if White learns how to play the variation well it may also be used against the Petroff, that said, I wouldn’t advise that…

  279. Topnotch
    August 9th, 2018 at 02:27 | #281

    I wouldn’t advise that White players make the Exchange line, their sole weapon against the French but it is definitely worth having in ones repertoire.

    In my otb experience 90% of French Players hope for the Advance, dread the Exchange and fear the KIA, at least they used to fear the KIA until Bukavshin and Dominguez showed the precise piece configuration to completely neutralize it. Curiously and on a side note, Bologan recently this year released a DVD on the KIA for White for Chessbase but somehow failed to consider Black’s most effective setup as used by Dominguez , Bukavshin and also wunderkind Awonder Liang to frustrate Nakamura at the 2018 U.S Championhip.

  280. Ray
    August 9th, 2018 at 06:03 | #282

    @ Topnotch:

    I wouldn’t call the Berlin symmetrical, but I agree with your general point. The extra tempo can give a nagging edge to white and black needs to paly accurately. Regarding the ideal piece setup against the KIA: are you referring to the same line Nikos recommends in his book on Playing 1.d4 (in the Chapter on 1.Nf3)? He recommends to play …Qc7 followed by …Raf8 and playing the queen back to d8. It seems to give black easy play.

  281. Ray
    August 9th, 2018 at 06:04 | #283

    PS: if you’re indeed referring to this line, I’d like to point out that white can avoid it by starting wit 1.e4, because he can then play the line with Qe2 and 9.c4.

  282. Bebbe
    August 9th, 2018 at 06:46 | #284

    What is your opinion of the following variation in the Richter Rauzer (kozul variation)?

    6. Bg5, e6 7.Qd2, a6 8.0-0-0, Bd7 9.f4, b5 10.Bxf6, gxf6 11.Kb1, Qb6 12.Nxc6, Bxc6 13.f5, b4 14. Ne2, e5 15.Ng3

    Should black play 15.-Qc5 or 15.- h5? I do not have Negis book (Sicilian 3) so I dont know what is his verdict.

  283. Ray
    August 9th, 2018 at 07:55 | #285

    @ Bebbe:

    I don’t know a lot about the Kozul variation, but if I remember correctly Negi’s verdict was an advantage for white. I’m surprised you don’t have Negi’s book, because imo it’s essential reading for anyone who plays a main line Sicilian. Now your enemies 🙂 .

  284. Ray
    August 9th, 2018 at 07:56 | #286

    Sorry, typo – I meant ‘Know your enemies’ of course.

  285. Bebbe
    August 9th, 2018 at 08:35 | #287


    Yes you are of course right, I should really have Negis book.
    The problem is that it is already a bit outdated in the Kozul.

    Have mostly looked at recent games in this variation by strong players.
    Some prefer 15.-Qc5 and some 15.-h5.

    Still waiting for the QC-book on the classical sicilian with the Kozul covered…
    Or on a QC Leningrad Dutch book.

  286. James2
    August 9th, 2018 at 09:01 | #288

    Don’t worry pal. You can console yourself with the Elephant Gambit book while you’re waiting…….. :0)))


  287. Ray
    August 9th, 2018 at 11:58 | #289

    @ Bebbe:

    How do you know if it’s outdated if you don’t have te book? Negi Always has a lot of Original analysis, so you shouldn’t just base your conclusion on recent games.

  288. Bebbe
    August 9th, 2018 at 12:33 | #290


    Yes Super-GM-repertoire 1:Elephant gambit 🙂

  289. Bebbe
    August 9th, 2018 at 12:36 | #291


    You are right, I need to get it. Maybe I have to wait ten years for a good book on the classical Sicilian.

  290. Leon Trotsky
    August 9th, 2018 at 23:40 | #292

    If I had to play Siciliano, I would rather play Classical than Najdorf ¡

  291. Topnotch
    August 10th, 2018 at 01:31 | #293

    Ray :
    @ Topnotch:
    I wouldn’t call the Berlin symmetrical, but I agree with your general point. The extra tempo can give a nagging edge to white and black needs to paly accurately. Regarding the ideal piece setup against the KIA: are you referring to the same line Nikos recommends in his book on Playing 1.d4 (in the Chapter on 1.Nf3)? He recommends to play …Qc7 followed by …Raf8 and playing the queen back to d8. It seems to give black easy play.

    The Berlin line I was referring to is this one: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0-0 Fairly symmetrical pawn structure wise, and enough reason for me not to touch the Berlin as Black. Not saying black is much worse, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Regarding the KIA, I don’t have the Nikos book but the piece setup you laid out is indeed the one I was referring to and I should have guessed by the quality of Nikos other work that he would have found and settled on this exact line.

  292. Topnotch
    August 10th, 2018 at 02:02 | #294

    Ray :
    PS: if you’re indeed referring to this line, I’d like to point out that white can avoid it by starting wit 1.e4, because he can then play the line with Qe2 and 9.c4.

    I don’t play the French as black, but if I did I would probably choose the following line against the improved KIA: 1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Qe2 Nf6 4.Nf3 c5 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.e5 Nd7 9.c4 b5!? I think black has excellent play after this and as a bonus the resulting positions are fun to play.

  293. Ray
    August 10th, 2018 at 07:11 | #295

    Thanks for the advice! According to Gawain Jones (and Stockfish) white has an advantage after 9…b5!?, but I’ll have another look at it.

  294. Erik
    August 16th, 2018 at 11:36 | #296

    In Shaw’s Sicilian book are some mistakes in the Najdorf. In the start of the chapter is giving in the sidelines a few times 8. f3 but f3 is then already played and this have to be 8 Be3.

  295. Ray
    August 20th, 2018 at 07:40 | #297

    I was wondering if there is any chance of an update on the books we can expect this autumn? Any concrete publication dates in sight?

    Thanks for your reaction!

  296. Leon Trotsky
    August 20th, 2018 at 07:42 | #298

    I would think that Queen’s Indian is next to be published (?)

  297. Franck steenbekkers
    August 20th, 2018 at 08:33 | #299

    And the taimanov sicilian I think

    @Leon Trotsky

  298. Bebbe
    August 20th, 2018 at 10:35 | #300

    I think a black repertoire based on Gleizerovs and Ulibins games could be an idea for a book.
    It is french against 1.e4 and stonewall dutch (via 1.-e6 moveorder) against 1.d4.
    In the french they play classical with 4.-Be7, 7.-cxd4 8.Nxd4, Bc5 against Steinitz and 3.-Nf6 against the tarrasch.

    I think their repertoire is rather practical (Lazy?) and thematic. The themes and structures are very similar.

  299. Ray
    August 20th, 2018 at 10:58 | #301

    @ Bebbe:

    Isn’t the French part of such a repertoire already on the market? There have been many French repertoire books in recent years. If I remember correctly Vitiugov looked into 7…cxd4 against the Steinitz (not sure thoug about 8…Bc5), and Playing the French by Jacob and Nikos has excellent coverage of 4.Bg5 Be7. And 3…Nf6 was treated very extensively by Berg only a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, if it were up to me, there could never be too many books on the French, but I doubt whether there is a business case at this moment 🙂 . As for the Stonewall, I doubt whether there have been many new developments since Jacob’s excellent book?

  300. The Doctor
    August 20th, 2018 at 11:55 | #302

    Chess books come in waves of fashion where many books on the same subject come along at once. Seems it’s the Caro-Kann turn as around 3-4 books have come out recently on this. Also the QGD where it went for about s decade with nothing then Nikos wrote 1 d4 d5 then Chess Stars wrote 1d4 d5 2 c4 e6! And Thinkers wrote one too with a Nimzo Rep. Dutch doesn’t seem to ever have had the same close attention in Chess literature

  301. Bebbe
    August 20th, 2018 at 12:19 | #303


    I agree that the repertoire has been covered, but it is spread over a lot of books.
    The idea is to have the whole repertoire in one book. The closest is actually to combine
    A rock solid repertoire for black (by Eingorn) and Win with the Stonewall dutch.
    Still the analysis in Eingorns bok is not very deep and will not hold up at GM-level I think.
    Besides Eingorn covers 3.-c5 against the Tarrasch.

    On advantage of my suggested repertoire is that it is very thematic.
    I think there is a market for such a book if the analysis are good.

  302. Ray
    August 20th, 2018 at 13:03 | #304

    @ Bebbe

    But is there a lot to add to Berg’s analysis on 3…Nf6, I wonder? Of course in the meantime Playing 1.e4 has been completed, and 3…Nf6 didn’t seem to do that well for black. So obviously some improvements are needed. On the other hand, i.m.o. 3…c5 is clearly the best, most principled move against the Tarrasch. Even the combined QC team couldn’t find an advantage for white.

  303. Bebbe
    August 20th, 2018 at 13:10 | #305


    Yes there is since Berg covered 11.-Qc7 and Gleizerov/Ulibin prefers 11.-0-0.
    I agree that 3.-c5 is objectively the best move, no doubt about it.

  304. Ray
    August 20th, 2018 at 13:19 | #306

    @ Bebbe

    Aha, thanks for clarifying this. Then Play the French by John Watson would be another source (he gives 11…0-0 as a secondary line), but it’s already six years old I believe. And I guess Moskalenko also gives some analysis on 11…0-0 in The Even More Flexible French, but usually his analysis is rather sketchy for my taste.

  305. Bebbe
    August 20th, 2018 at 13:33 | #307


    Yes Moskalenko is not always objective. He is very enthusiastic and writes in engaging and entertaining way. I own the older version of The Flexible French were 11.-0-0 is also covered.
    Here he is definitely too scetchy and I am rather sceptical regarding his analysis.

    I dont have PTF4 so what is Watsons verdict of 12. Bf4? I think the exchange sacrifice after 12.-Bxf4 13.Nxf4, Ne4 14.Ne2, Rxf3 15. gxf3, Ng5 is now considered better for white.

  306. Ray
    August 20th, 2018 at 17:00 | #308

    Watson only gives 12…Nh5, which he thinks is equal, but John gives an improvement on move 15.

    Regarding 12…Bxf4 etc.: this also seems better for white after 16.Kh1! e5 17.Qb3! John’s analysis ends in +/- for white, which is a pretty clear advantage. So maybe you should reconsider playing this line with black. It may be schematic (though I don’t understand why 3…c5 would be any less schematic), but bad. Personally I have a really really bad score with 3…Nf6 against the Tarrasch so I switched to 3…c5. Even though emotionally I prefer 3…Nf6, because it feels ‘more French-like’. But in the end I do like to win games 🙂 .

  307. Bebbe
    August 20th, 2018 at 20:30 | #309


    You have convinced me that 3.-c5 is the way to go.
    What do you think about 4.exd5, exd5 5.Ngf3, Nf6.
    What is Johns conclusion of this line?

    I know you like 4.-Qxd5, but 4.-exd5 should also be okay.

  308. Ray
    August 21st, 2018 at 05:56 | #310

    I think 4…exd5 is definitely not okay – you can read all about it in Playing 1.e4 volume 2. Tis is no fun at all for black. Watson does not analyse 4…exd5 but recommends 4…Qxd5. In Playing the French it was demonstrated that black is perfectly fine. In Playing 1.e4 volume 2, John also admits white has nothing in a rarely played line for black (I believe …Qb6!? somewhere). I looked at it with an engine and found nothing for white.

  309. Isolani
    August 21st, 2018 at 12:39 | #311

    The Qxd5 lines presented in the book are precisely what will surely make me switch to the Tarrasch! A passive knight development I always dismissed!
    I don’t bother much about what is John final verdict on this or that line, nor what the engine says. I have no doubt somebody will improve on that one day anyway and a white advantage against a major opening can’t be very much.
    What I realized thanks to this book is that I enjoy very much that kind of positions while I still struggle ,after so many years, with the so called advantageous Steinitz with a good Knight Vs bad Bishop. Exploring John’s selection of lines and plans, with clear explanations is a real pleasure. The same for Be7 and some minor systems. I still need to put that in practice but for now…Congratulations Mr Shaw!
    I hope the cxd5 section will provide me the same pleasure. Since Kortchnoi matches I always thought black is OK. Yes it’s not fun so not much played anymore, but the isolated pawn as your only weakness seems very manageable. Let’s read what Mr Shaw(et al.) have to say!

  310. Bebbe
    August 21st, 2018 at 13:36 | #312


    So you think that 3.-c5 with Qxd5 is the only variation against the tarrasch that offers chances for equality. What about 10.- Be7 (instead of 10.-a6) in the mainline of the Qxd5-variation? Is it much worse than 10.-a6?

  311. Ray
    August 21st, 2018 at 14:56 | #313

    @ Bebbe

    I don’t know. I’m satisfied with 10…a6, so I didn’t bother to look into other lines.

  312. Patrick
    August 21st, 2018 at 17:26 | #314

    I disagree with Ray completely! As a long time French player, I can say that Black is perfectly fine after 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd4 exd5 5.Ngf3 Nf6!.

    That said, if you are in an absolute, must win situation where a draw might as well be as good as a loss, then maybe the line given in the previous paragraph isn’t the best, but if a draw will suffice, it’s an excellent line for Black!

    And it’s not like you will draw every game. This is not like the stupid Dragon that is for all intents and purposes figured out to a draw. It’s just that if White wants nothing more than a draw, it’s very difficult for Black to avoid it.

  313. Ray
    August 22nd, 2018 at 05:53 | #315

    @ Patrick

    To each his own…

  314. Bebbe
    August 22nd, 2018 at 15:22 | #316

    So what is the problem with the line 4.exd5, exd5 5.Ngf3, Nf6?
    The mainline goes: 6.Bb5+, Bd7 7.Bxd7+, Nxd7 8.0-0, Be7 9.dxc5, Nxc5
    Black is solid, but white has a tiny advantage due to the isolated pawn.
    Both white and black should be ok with this.

    In my opinion black has better winning chanses here than after 4.-Qxd5.
    I admit that 4.-Qxd5 is objectively better and supersolid although it requires
    more preparation than the variation with the isolated pawn.

  315. Bebbe
    August 22nd, 2018 at 15:47 | #317

    How is black doing in the French Tarrasch sidelines like 3.-h6 or 3.-Be7?

  316. Bebbe
    August 22nd, 2018 at 15:54 | #318

    Here is my wish list of QC books:

    1. Classical Sicilian

    2. Leningrad dutch

    3. Time efficient chess training/playing for ambitious and busy amateurs ( 40 min chess workout/day)

    4. Marin English update

  317. Ray
    August 22nd, 2018 at 16:37 | #319

    I suggest to do yourself a big favour and see for yourself in Playing 1.e4 volume 2… You should really have this book!

    Of course you can take on the IQP, but I think there is a general consensus at GM-level that it is not so great. But if you like defending and playing for a draw rather than two results, I guess it’s a great choice 🙂 . But it’s playable of course, I never intended to say it was unplayable. However I have the impression French players are generally more ambitious than just hoping for a draw. If you’re desperate for a draw there are better choices, like the Petroff or Berlin Wall.

  318. Pinpon
    August 22nd, 2018 at 17:19 | #320

    Here is my wish list of QC Books :
    – Gelfand’s book about technique
    – Jacob’s book about technique
    – “ My secret life in the dungeon “ ( John Shaw )
    – Shankland second book

  319. hasan
    August 22nd, 2018 at 19:44 | #321

    A book from a CC grandmaster would be nice how they prepare and so on…..

  320. Bebbe
    August 22nd, 2018 at 20:27 | #322


    I think you underestimate blacks winning potential in these isolated pawn structures.
    There are still many pieces on board.

  321. Patrick
    August 22nd, 2018 at 21:02 | #323


    I think part of the problem is he is taking what one opinion of one book (granted, a Quality Chess book) says for granted and treating it like Gospel.

    As you mentioned, after the moves 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Ngf3 Nf6 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 8.O-O Be7 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Nb3 Nce4, Black is perfectly fine. It is extremely difficult to get at the isolated pawn with the Knights the way they are, and I have played this exact position numerous times. I have lost with it once! In roughly 15 to 20 other games where I’ve played the Black side of this exact line, many deviating here on move 11, I’m roughly 50/50 between wins and draws.

    So for Ray to say that Black has no winning chances is ludicrous! If you can’t be satisfied as Black with a percentage in the low 70s in any line, you are playing the wrong game! The difference is that you have to be disciplined, and realize that if White is playing a very drawish line, you might have to accept the draw, which is why I draw about half the games in this variation, because I don’t force the issue and try to force a win when a win is not there. White can just as easily play a drawish line in the Najdorf, Gunfeld, Benoni, or any other opening normally thought of as being more dynamic.

  322. Bebbe
    August 22nd, 2018 at 21:29 | #324


    I agree on what you are saying and also think he simplifies a rather complex position based on one variation in one book. Also interesting to read that you have such an excellent store against this line. What is you choice against 3.Nc3?

    My thought was to use the french as a secondary option (I normally play the classical sicilian)
    My intended repertoire:

    3.Nd2, C5 4.exd5, exd5 5. Ngf3, Nf6

    3.Nc3, Nf6 4. Bg5, Be7

    3.Nc3, Nf6 4.e5, Nfd7 5.f4, C5 6.Nf3, Nc6 7.Be3, cxd4

    3.e5, C5 4.c3, Nc6. 5.Nf3,Qb6 6.a3, c4

    What is your opinion?

  323. Bebbe
    August 22nd, 2018 at 21:38 | #325

    And against 1.d4 using 1.-e6 as a secondary option ( I normally play the Leningrad Dutch) with the aim of playing f5 against C4 and Nf3 transposing to the stonewall dutch.

  324. Ray
    August 23rd, 2018 at 06:31 | #326

    @ Patrick, Bebbe

    I didn’t say at all that black has no winning chances! I only said that the general concensus among GMs (not just this one QC book) is that white is better in this particular case (so NOT for all IQP positions obviously). If white knows what he is doing he can play for two results imo, whereas I think it is difficult for black to create winning chances (as Patrick himself admits in his earlier post). I never said you can’t win from a worse position, but I personally wouldn’t base my repertoire on it. I think some strong GM (was it Petrosian?) once said that it’s easier to win from an equal position than from a worse position. Of course this line is playable (like I said before), but it’s a simple fact (not an opinion) that this line is not played at the top levels. I’d love to hear from you which strong GMs consistently play this against top opposition. But like I also said before, to each their own. If you like this line and it gives you good results, by all means keep playing it – no need to get emotional or personal about it. If Bebbe asks my opinion about a line I just give my opinion – nothing more or less. And I base my opinion on more than just one book.

    As for Patrick’s statement on the Dragon being worked out to a draw – well, there’s one ludicrous statement, especially in the light of his comments on the IQP French Tarrasch.

  325. The Doctor
    August 23rd, 2018 at 13:20 | #327

    Dragon is worked out as a draw ?.

    Can’t take anything you say seriously now!

  326. Ray
    August 23rd, 2018 at 14:10 | #328

    Just for the record: my score against the Dragon is 75% in about 20 games over the past 25 years. Not bad in an opening that has been worked out to a draw. Though this is strictly anecdotal evidence of course 🙂 .

  327. Patrick
    August 23rd, 2018 at 15:17 | #329


    Here’s what I mainly play as Black against 1.e4:

    1…e6 (95% of the time) 2.d4 d5 and then:

    3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 (4.Bd3 Bd6; 4.Nc3 Bb4; 4.c4 Nf6) Nf6 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.O-O O-O 7.Bg5 Bg4 8.c3 c6 9.Qc2 Qc7 10.Nbd2 Nbd7 11.h3 Bh5

    3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 (to avoid 5.Be3) 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.a3 and now I play both 6…Nh6 and 6…c4

    3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Ngf3 Nf6 and the line mentioned prior

    3.Nc3 Nf6 (on very rare occasion, I’ll play 3…Bb4, but usually it’s correspondence, not OTB)

    4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6

    4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 (6.Bc1; 6.Be3; 6.exf6?!) Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne4 8.Qg4 g6

    1…e5 (Roughly 5% of the time)

    2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 (3.Nf3 d5) d5

    2.Nf3 Nf6

    My score against the Dragon is something like 1 point in maybe 2 games. I am not an e4 player, and when I was, I played 5.f3 against 2…d6.

    I have gotten the Accelerated Dragon a lot, either via 5.f3 g6, via the English (1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.e4), or a number of more minor ways, like Black plays the Sniper, but I avoid the Regular Dragon like the plague!

  328. Bebbe
    August 23rd, 2018 at 21:07 | #330


    Nigel Short, Mikhail Gurevich and Boris Savchenko have played this line quite often.
    I appreciate that you give your opinion on lines. But your approach is that you always recomend objectively the best line. I on the other hand want to play a line that suits my style and give me points even if it is not the best line. Do not get me wrong. I would never play a clearly dubious line. Your approach is fine for cc but otb is another thing. But I like our chats. If we always agree it would be boring.

  329. Bebbe
    August 23rd, 2018 at 21:17 | #331


    I like your repertoire. If the french was my first choice against e4 I would also play Maccutcheon. But as I intend to use it as a second defence 4.-Be7 demands less preparation.

    Why is 7.-a6 so popular against the Steinitz? I like 7.-cxd4 8.Nxd4,Bc5 9.Qd2,0-0 10.0-0-0 with razor sharp play. Against 7.-a6 white usually castles kingside. Less entertaining I think.

  330. Ray
    August 24th, 2018 at 08:22 | #332

    I agree 🙂 . I’m indeed usually looking for the objectively best lines, but it should also fit to my style of play. But in the case of my French repertoire these two aspects luckily coincide, so I’m perfectly happy with 4…Qxd5 against the Tarrasch. I guess some people hate positions with IQPs (from either side) and others love them. It’s not that I just play solid openings by the way – I also play the Pirc and the Leningrad. But within a certain opening I tend to go for the most principled / critical lines. I play solid openings (French and Queen’s Gambit Declined, which go well together) against stronger opponents and the Pirc and Leningrad more against weaker opponents. By the way, the French is so flexible you can choose between solid and very sharp. E.g., against 3.Nc3 I play both 3…Nf6 and 3…Bb4 including the Poisoned Pawn.

  331. Bebbe
    August 24th, 2018 at 09:58 | #333


    I think our approaches are quite similar. You use Pirc as a sharp defence against e4 and I use the Classical Sicilian. Against d4 you use the quennsgambit declined as a solid defence and I use the Stonewall Dutch.

  332. Bebbe
    August 24th, 2018 at 13:09 | #334


    You are right about the French that it is very flexible and can be solid or sharp.

    As white I play the Marin English (c4, g3) which is mostly more solid than sharp.
    Still there are som really sharp variations too.
    However I consider to be flexible in the English (like you are in the french) moveorder and transpose to some sharp d4-variations like:

    1.c4, g6 2. d4, Nf6 (2.-g6 3.e4) 3.f3

    1. c4, Nf6 2.Nc3, g6 3.e4, d6 4.d4, Bg7 5.f3

    And also to the Mikenas attack:

    1. c4, Nf6 2.Nc3, e6 3.e4

    If I only play the Marin it will be too easy for my opponents to prepare.
    I think this is a good way to use the flexibilty that the English offers.

    What is your opinion?

  333. Ray
    August 24th, 2018 at 17:07 | #335

    I like the Mikenas Attack with white, but I wonder if black can avoid it with 1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5?

  334. Bebbe
    August 24th, 2018 at 17:21 | #336


    Yes, he can but I will only play it against the moveorder 1.c4, Nf6 2.Nc3, e6.
    Against 1.-e6 I will play 2.g3.

    On the other hand black can play 1.c4, Nf6 2.Nc3, C5 which will be answered with 3.g3, e6 4.Nf3 allowing the English hedgehog. I will play 7.Re1 against this.

  335. Franck Steenbekkers
    September 10th, 2018 at 16:57 | #337

    When Will the next new qc books be published

  336. JB
    June 9th, 2019 at 12:54 | #338

    Sicilian main lines still holding up a year on it seems… Sasikiran Artemiev brilliancy at Karpov Poikovsky Rd 3 yesterday was half baked in John’s kitchen before Krishnan finished it off. They followed Game 23 in the book but John has 14…Bd6? as an error but guess Artemiev out of book as spent 22 minutes here before playing it rather than …dxe4.
    Not bought the Dokjnas book to see if they could find any holes but they are recommending the early h5 line against the english attack which doesn’t seem too worrying

  337. Topnotch
    June 9th, 2019 at 21:31 | #339

    One year on the the Maroczy Bind Chapters still causing headaches for Black too.

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