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The Woodpecker Method

We have sent off the Woodpecker method to the printer on Wednesday. We have to unscramble our brains and work out what that means regarding the publication date, especially after a personal change with our printer, meaning some things have to be relearned there. But it is coming and it is coming soon. The final page count is 392 pages, but as you should go through it many times, by design, it is much more than this!

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  1. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    June 22nd, 2018 at 09:18 | #1

    Hello,

    Can you please tell us what kind of potions for solving will be in the book, and how many of them.

  2. Andrew Greet
    June 22nd, 2018 at 09:37 | #2

    Exercises are split into three sections: Easy (222); Intermediate (762); Advanced (144) for a total of 1,128 test positions.

    Readers are instructed to start from the beginning and solve an appropriate number of exercises (the authors explain how to determine what number is right for you), before repeating the cycle a number of times. If it works as planned, you will finish the process a far better tactician than when you started.

  3. Jacob Aagaard
    June 22nd, 2018 at 10:51 | #3

    I would love if there was a potion that improves your tactics! As it is, consistent work is sadly needed :-). But we all have auto-correct on our phones of course ;-).

  4. Thomas
    June 22nd, 2018 at 13:57 | #4

    How about an excerpt?

  5. John Shaw
    June 22nd, 2018 at 14:11 | #5

    @Thomas

    The excerpt is available now at the following link: http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/ebooks/WoodpeckerMethod-excerpt.pdf

    Printing will maybe take slightly longer than we had originally hoped. So our best estimate of a publication date is August 1.

  6. CK
    June 22nd, 2018 at 14:19 | #6

    Excellent, will this be available on ForwardChess sooner than a week before publishing?

  7. John Shaw
    June 22nd, 2018 at 14:22 | #7

    CK :
    Excellent, will this be available on ForwardChess sooner than a week before publishing?

    No, it will be on Forward Chess just one week before our Woodpecker hardcovers arrive at the chess shops on August 1. So 25th July on Forward Chess.

  8. Ray
    June 22nd, 2018 at 15:04 | #8

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Very much looking forward to this book! I love solving tactics exercises, so to me it doesn’t feel like hard work 🙂

  9. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    June 22nd, 2018 at 17:49 | #9

    It certainly would be beneficial to have woodpecker method also on:

    – key strategic/positional positions

    – key endgame positions

    So lets call tactics a volume 1 🙂

  10. RYV
    June 22nd, 2018 at 22:46 | #10

    are any books on chess puzzle suitable for the woodpecker method ?

  11. Leon Trotsky
    June 23rd, 2018 at 07:18 | #11

    I thought QID was next for publishing, or is it second after Woodpecker ?

  12. Tom Tidom
    June 23rd, 2018 at 11:28 | #12

    Is it a coincidence that all books (co-)authored by Axel Smith have a cover with a yellow background?

  13. ShadowBoB
    June 23rd, 2018 at 12:27 | #13

    Chessable would be a perfect platform for this type of book! Have you guys considered selling your books on that site? thanks for all your hard work!

  14. Jacob Aagaard
    June 23rd, 2018 at 14:05 | #14

    @Ray
    Thus the word consistent!

  15. Stigma
    June 23rd, 2018 at 14:41 | #15

    Is the main point of this new book well-selected positions for drilling, or will the method also be fleshed out in more detail? I was wondering if there really is much more to say about it than what’s already in “Pump …”(which is a great book). Some discussion of why we shouldn’t just use the similar but scientifically derived method of “spaced repetition” would be useful.

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    June 23rd, 2018 at 14:52 | #16

    @Stigma
    There is a 30 page introduction before the exercises.

  17. Michael
    June 23rd, 2018 at 17:12 | #17

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    Maybe you could consider using the Woodpecker Method with the puzzles in other QC books, for example Positional Play?

    I did the Woodpecker Method with the puzzles in Positional Play and just the orange books of the Yusupov series over the last couple of years, and it resulted in an ECF grade jump of approx. 15-20 points (after having a stable grade for approx. 5 years).

  18. Michael
    June 23rd, 2018 at 17:14 | #18

    That said, it still would be great to have a Woodpecker Method vols. 2 & 3 with positional/strategic and endgame puzzles!

  19. Nikos Ntirlis
    June 24th, 2018 at 06:45 | #19

    I can say that many if your questions are answered by Axel in the video posted!

  20. Thomas
    June 24th, 2018 at 08:52 | #20

    Nikos Ntirlis :
    I can say that many if your questions are answered by Axel in the video posted!

    Unfortunately the sound is to bad to understand much.

  21. Leaf
    June 24th, 2018 at 11:04 | #21

    What is the relationship between Quality Chess Puzzle Book and The Woodpecker Method … ? Which book should be done first … ? Or it doesn’t matter, these two books can be done in any order … ? Thanks …

  22. Jan
    June 24th, 2018 at 11:20 | #22

    €32,99 for a tactics book? Protecting specialized shops again or?

  23. Jacob Aagaard
    June 24th, 2018 at 16:16 | #23

    We have kept the same prices on our books for about 14 years. Learn from the Legends was €25.99 in 2004. We have decided to increase our pperback prices to €27.99, which is still cheaper than NIC, Thinkers and Gambit. The hardcover edition comes first, yes not Amazon or other discount shops before we publish the paperback edition. This is in everyone’s long term interest. Without the specialist there is no chess books.

  24. Joseph
    June 24th, 2018 at 20:54 | #24

    On the formatting side – I see that most QualityChess books have coordinates on the diagrams. Given that most QC books are for advanced readers – do most people still find coordinates helpful? Or is that just the way things are laid out in your Indesign documents/publishing system?

  25. Leaf
    June 24th, 2018 at 23:39 | #25

    Dear Jacob,

    Could you tell us what is the relationship between Quality Chess Puzzle Book and The Woodpecker Method … ? Which book should be worked first … ? Or it doesn’t matter, these two books can be done in any order … ?

    Thanks,
    Leaf

  26. Jacob Aagaard
    June 25th, 2018 at 07:17 | #26

    @Leaf
    If you want to do Woodpecking, start with The Woodpecker Method.

  27. Andrew Greet
    June 25th, 2018 at 09:16 | #27

    Tom Tidom :
    Is it a coincidence that all books (co-)authored by Axel Smith have a cover with a yellow background?

    With Axel’s first book, Pump Up Your Rating, we went for bright colours but we had no special reason for choosing those colours other than we liked how the cover looked. But since Pump sold well and received a lot of praise from readers and reviewers, it seemed logical to keep the same colour scheme for e3 Poison and Woodpecker to make the most of the positive associations with Axel’s previous work. Hopefully anyone browsing a chess shop or bookstall will know from the colours alone that this is an Axel Smith book and therefore something worth checking out.

  28. CK
    June 25th, 2018 at 09:31 | #28

    I always thought it had some connection to Sweden, or a inside joke referring to Ikea or something.

  29. Egis
    June 25th, 2018 at 13:56 | #29

    It would have been much better to have Black at the bottom in positions with Black to move. Do you expect that all players will be setting up 1000 positions several times on the board? LOL

  30. Frank van Tellingen
    June 25th, 2018 at 14:19 | #30

    I guess they expect you to visualize the position.@Egis

  31. Andrew Greet
    June 25th, 2018 at 14:36 | #31

    @Egis
    This is similar to the argument that we should have black at the bottom of diagrams in black repertoire books. We understand that some people would prefer it that way, but we have our house style and for diagrams this means white stays on the bottom side. It shouldn’t matter anyway, as this type of training is just as much about being able to spot ideas for the opponent as for yourself.

  32. Andrew Greet
    June 25th, 2018 at 14:39 | #32

    Also I should add that the question of whether to solve from the book or using a board and pieces is an important topic in itself, and the authors discuss the pros and cons of each approach in some detail in their introduction. For some people, a combination of the two may well be best.

  33. Bulkington
    June 25th, 2018 at 15:00 | #33

    @Egis
    The Forward Chess version of the book allows you to swap the colours of a diagram. If I am not mistaken. Personally, I prefer electronic versions for puzzle books, I find it easier to handle.

  34. cyberhound
    June 25th, 2018 at 15:13 | #34

    I always solve from White’s side even when it is Black to move. My rationale is gives me practice analyzing the the other person’s threats.

  35. Tom Tidom
    June 25th, 2018 at 15:50 | #35

    @Andrew Greet
    Thanks for the explanation. Makes a lot of sense.

  36. Egis
    June 25th, 2018 at 16:56 | #36

    Andrew Greet :

    Then some White to move positions shall be reversed too :))

    After reading the excerpt – what was the original book Alex and Hans were using in their training? Was it mentioned in Pump…?

    @Bulkington
    Thnx for mentioning the e-version. Personally I prefer real books, though will suggest to others for convenience.

  37. Pinpon
    June 25th, 2018 at 17:05 | #37

    @Andrew Greet

    Maybe but i think there is a bias when you always solve positions with white at the bottom side of the board : it makes the process harder/slower with the other side !

  38. RYV
    June 25th, 2018 at 18:42 | #38

    @Pinpon
    there is an excellent puzzle book by Blokh where each position can be solve from white and from black side with white on bottom of diagrams. It is a good way to train on tactics for you .. and also spot tactics for your opponent

  39. Leaf
    June 26th, 2018 at 03:30 | #39

    Dear Jacob and Andrew,

    Is there any chance that QC will publish an updated version of Accelerated Dragon by Dr. Greet … ? It was a good book 10 years ago … Could you please update it and even make it a grandmaster repertoire … ?

    Thanks,
    Leaf

  40. Andrew Greet
    June 26th, 2018 at 09:21 | #40

    @Leaf
    Thanks for the kind words. But no, there will be no update of this book. Among other reasons, I haven’t played the Accelerated Dragon for many years so there are better things I could write about, if I was inclined to write another book.

  41. Andrew Greet
    June 26th, 2018 at 09:35 | #41

    Egis :

    Andrew Greet :

    Then some White to move positions shall be reversed too :))
    After reading the excerpt – what was the original book Alex and Hans were using in their training? Was it mentioned in Pump…?

    Personally I would always start by setting up each position, unless I spot the solution within a few seconds; either way, the orientation of the diagram made no difference. Once a few solving cycles have been completed, the benefit of memory will make solving easier and quicker in subsequent cycles, regardless of which colour is on this or that side of diagrams.

    And no the authors didn’t mention which books they used; I think it was a deliberate decision, as the actual choice of books was less important than the method itself. Personally, I have attempted some Woodpecker-style training before the 2014 and 2016 Olympiads, but mistimed it such that I only got through two to three cycles of solving. I still felt some benefit though. In 2014 I used Chess Tactics From Scratch and in 2016 I used Tactimania. But any similar exercises books would have been fine.

  42. Stigma
    June 27th, 2018 at 02:39 | #42

    Andrew Greet :
    In 2014 I used Chess Tactics From Scratch and in 2016 I used Tactimania. But any similar exercises books would have been fine.

    Interesting. Many would think these tactics books too easy for an IM. But I do the same thing myself sometimes, solving tactics sets that are supposed to be too easy for me, but then the goal changes from merely solving to speed: Seeing the solutions as fast as possible. There is a lot of practical value in being able to spot easy tactics instantly. Or any kind of pattern, not just tactics. It frees up time for deeper thinking and the really difficult decisions.

  43. Fortune
    June 27th, 2018 at 08:33 | #43

    Hi everyone,
    i doing the woodpecker method, should one write the solutions ( to compare them with the one on the book) only on the first circle of solving, or i should keep writing the solutions?

  44. Andrew Greet
    June 27th, 2018 at 09:10 | #44

    @Stigma
    Yes exactly – it would be a mistake to think of those books as not being suitable for players above a certain rating. My percentage score was pretty high (especially beyond the first cycle) but there were some exercises which I got wrong, and others which took me several minutes to solve correctly. But in general, one of the key elements of Woodpecker training is that most of the exercises should not be too difficult. Hans and Axel talk more about this in their introduction of course.

  45. Andrew Greet
    June 27th, 2018 at 09:17 | #45

    @Fortune
    Personally I always do this, although Hans and Axel didn’t, as they explain in the intro. So it’s a personal choice.

  46. Leon Trotsky
    June 27th, 2018 at 23:15 | #46

    Looks like 01.08.18 for Woodpecker. Hopefully QID in August 😀

  47. Juan Martinez
    July 5th, 2018 at 12:13 | #47

    First- Congratulations for the quality of the books. Is a good think that the quality in the name is a real aim of the publisher and not a commercial trick.

    Second- I read the same idea of the woodpecker book in a other book “Rapid Chess Improvement” by the la Maza. It’s obvius that the Woodpecker book is not a copy because is a original work that contains a selection of problems by good trainings and is an improvement and refinement over the other method. However I think that the la Maza deserves some chess recognition for his ideas.

  48. Andrew Greet
    July 5th, 2018 at 13:48 | #48

    @Juan Martinez

    Thanks Juan for the positive comments. Regarding De la Maza’s work, Hans does refer to it in the ‘Woodpecker History’ section. You can find it in the excerpt: http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/ebooks/WoodpeckerMethod-excerpt.pdf

  49. An Ordinary Chessplayer
    July 9th, 2018 at 15:54 | #49

    Congratulations to the new champion of Sweden.
    https://de.chessbase.com/post/schwedische-meisterschaft-runde9

  50. Andrew Greet
    July 9th, 2018 at 16:12 | #50

    An Ordinary Chessplayer :
    Congratulations to the new champion of Sweden.
    https://de.chessbase.com/post/schwedische-meisterschaft-runde9

    Thanks for letting us know – what an excellent result! It’s just a pity we’re too late to include this as part of his bio on the book cover.

  51. July 10th, 2018 at 15:32 | #51

    Hi. As a chess lover I’m looking for new videos of chess, so maybe I could embed the videos from your channel into Topchessvideos: a website where I pretend to collect not only great games (old and new) but especially content from real enthusiasts of the game, and having a blog and a youtube channel, I see you’re one of them!. Thanks in advance for your time 🙂

  52. July 11th, 2018 at 07:21 | #52

    I’m glad there’s a discussion as to whether to set up the positions on a board or not.

    I will pass on one tip to use with physical books. If you don’t want to get a board out and are solving from the black side you can always turn the book upside down. It doesn’t take very long to get used to the pieces being the wrong way up.

  53. Sunil
    July 12th, 2018 at 06:29 | #53

    392 pages – Expected Publication (hardcover) 25 July 2018

    Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-78483-055-7

    25th is getting nearer 🙂

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