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International Supply Issues

You will have heard a lot about supply issues over the last two months. Containers stuck in China, shortness of cereal or chicken (OK – some of it is a purely UK/Brexit related issue) in the supermarkets and so on.

Now Quality Chess has been hit by supply issues, on two counts.

Firstly, there is a staff issue with our printer, which means packing and sending out books out has slowed down a bit. As a result, our two World Championship related books, Magnus Carlsen’s Middlegame Evolution by Ivan Sokolov and The Road to Reykjavik by Tibor Karolyi about Fischer’s Candidate matches and a lot of what came before, are delayed a week more again. One guy is packing several pallets on his own… The books will be out the 8th December.
(New in Chess cheekily put something similar to our long-announced title on the cover to the book by Jan Timman, published a few months ago. Just to make it clear that they stole the title from us, not the other way around. We don’t mind, being plagiarised in such a minor way by a competitor is flattery!).

Now a second issue has hit us. Our printer has run out of paper! With reprints and new books coming, we are needing 5 million pages of paper, and the printer is out… They were used to being able to order with short notice and simply missed the dangers of shortages and now our books will not be printed till January. It is hard to get a print slot till late December anyway, with supermarket catalogues being a big seasonal market in November/December that the printer cannot afford to pass on.

As a result, our next books will be out late February/early March. This should include Think Like a Super GM, A Matter of Endgame Technique, Analyzing the Chess Mind, and The Chess Alchemist.

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  1. Jopi
    November 15th, 2021 at 13:04 | #1

    Regarding Newinchess title plagiarism.
    It is not the first time they have done that. A cunning chess opening repertoire for black after Gambits book from Burgess, there was a book on Swindles in the work only to be published by Batford, but then suddenly there was Smerdon’s work (nothing wrong with Smerdon of course!). It is probable (Newinchess) business ethics, but I find it pretty despicable and I generally do not buy books of them that quickly for that reason. Good to hear that you think it’s flattering 😉 I hope Karolyi’s work isn’t as hurried as the one put out by Timman and deserves to be under the QualityChess banner.

  2. George Hollands
    November 15th, 2021 at 13:38 | #2

    It is of course a shame that we will have to wait longer for such excellent books…. but on the bright side, I will have time to save up for them and wont need to force the family to go without food for a week or so if I were to purchase on the originally intended release date.

    They thank you! 🙂

    Keep up the great work at QC – still a lot of books after these that I’m eagerly awaiting for!

  3. Paul H
    November 15th, 2021 at 13:41 | #3

    I heard on one of your books New in Chess gave the author the idea for the format and had a gentleman’s agreement if he ever wrote it he would publish with them. One falling out later, he went elsewhere and published with you….

  4. November 15th, 2021 at 16:49 | #4

    Maybe the books will be available through forward chess?

  5. Cowe
    November 16th, 2021 at 08:13 | #5

    Can’t you tell your printer to print banknotes instead of chess books? that would solve your shipping problem as well as maintaining your cash flow.
    I guess one problem with switching to Forward Chess is that you can’t maintain publisher and author income despite not printing on paper, plus losing some customer base. Can’t you partner with FC so that paperbook orders are served in electronic form, and then paper when available?
    Finally, if you must save paper and the choice is A/ stop making 500+ pages books or B/ pack in more text with smaller fonts, I vote for A/

  6. Jacob Aagaard
    November 16th, 2021 at 11:35 | #6

    @Cowe
    The problem is that we are missing 5 million pages. Not something you solve by making the font so small that half our readers cannot read the books…

    Regarding deals with Forward Chess. The books there are already much cheaper than on paper. It is already a deal.

  7. Jacob Aagaard
    November 16th, 2021 at 11:35 | #7

    The whole thing is tongue in cheek. Allard has told me they had THE ROAD TO REYKJAVIK as a working title two years ago. We had it even before then. It is an obvious title. Once we announced it, I think it is ours, but it is really not a big issue.

    I do think IN PRINCIPLE they should A) have announced their title earlier. B) not put it on the cover as a subtitle/description. But it is one of those principled discussions that Danes refer to as arguing over a millimetre. Since they put it on the cover anyway, I get the right to poke them :-).

    I know which book we are supposed to have received from them. Author and publisher fell out. Does this mean that the author is not allowed to write about himself? I cannot see it.

    There was another case where two authors signed contracts with us and then told us that they regretted not to have gone with NIC instead. We released them from the contract. Russell did something similar for us almost 20 years ago.

    When people ask me for advice, I always tell them that New in Chess is the best alternative to us, as a publisher. I certainly do not find them despicable. On the contrary, we have a lot of respect for them.

    The chess publishing industry in general is friendly competition. We work together and we compete. One publisher does not have this attitude and as a consequence fewer and fewer people want anything to do with them. Let’s not spend energy on this topic. They can do their thing in peace.

  8. Jacob Aagaard
    November 16th, 2021 at 11:46 | #8

    @Michel Hoetmer
    We have to respect the chess specialist stores and keep the pattern of having them out a week before paper release only.

  9. JB
    November 16th, 2021 at 11:54 | #9

    Though NiC rightly got hauled over the coals for their much plagiarised Shereshevsky Method I think QC or Tibor don’t have a copyright on ‘Road to Reykjavik’ as that phrase has already been much used- I know Danny King did a series of YouTube videos with that title many moons ago and the main title of Timman’s book was ‘The Unstoppable American’ (check out the cover- the Road to Reykyavik is not in bold and much smaller font).
    And I’d watch out from the Kotov’s estate’s lawyers when you publish Think like a Super GM if you’re going to get that picky. Time to chill everyone and enjoy the books instead.

  10. Mike t
    November 16th, 2021 at 12:04 | #10

    Glad to agree that you both you and NIC realise that it is an argument over nothing and is tongue in cheek. Perhaps you better agree in advance on your 50th anniversay Reykjavik titles.

  11. Paul H
    November 16th, 2021 at 13:42 | #11

    @Jacob Aagaard
    By keeping to the 1 week rule here, your customers are missing out on any Black Friday offers on Forward Chess. Which also does not seem fair. But realise you cannot please everyone.

  12. November 16th, 2021 at 18:38 | #12

    Must say it is a shame that printed books are going through these problems. It is much more enjoyable sitting in bed on a winters evening with a chess book and my 40 year old pocket set than it is with a computer!

    Secondly I have never brought anything from Forward Chess for the reason that when I’ve looked at the free samples I’ve always had trouble keeping the text and the diagram aligned on my screen which is extremely frustrating….so let’s hope the supply chain issues get resolved in the near future.

    Good luck QC and long may you prosper.

  13. Jacob Aagaard
    November 16th, 2021 at 21:58 | #13

    @Paul H
    Obviously we cannot sabotage our main customers, which is the chess shops 🙂

    @JB
    It is still on the front cover. I stand by everything I said above. It is nice of them to advertise our book on the cover of theirs…

    The think like a Super-GM is no transgression of Kotov’s book. Different topic and different title and different publication time. Which words are supposed to be copyrighted? Think? Either way, no book published in the Soviet Union before 1972 is under international copyright. I don’t know if Batsford paid for it. Many publishers did not pay for rights to Soviet books. The Soviets also did not pay foreigners. Fischer for example.

    Remember that Apple only got into trouble with Apple, once they moved into music. Technically, I do believe we have a point. Personally, I would not have done what they did. But the main point is that I am allowed to make fun of it. And I am clearly making fun of it and nothing more. And I am only taking the technicality of this seriously, because you do. If I had a real issue with it, I would have taken it up with NIC, not joked about it on the blog.

  14. Jacob Aagaard
    November 16th, 2021 at 22:00 | #14

    @Michael
    TRT will get more paper on the 10th January. There will be an obvious bottleneck issue then, so I think books may take 7-8 weeks to turn around, rather than the usual 4-5. I do believe they are ordered plenty of paper now, so the issue will not continue.

    And we do have two books coming out 8th December!

  15. Stephen Jiang
    November 17th, 2021 at 05:57 | #15

    Will “Analyzing the Chess Mind” be similar to the 3-volume “Lessons with a Grandmaster” (by the same authors) format?

  16. John NS
    November 17th, 2021 at 06:21 | #16

    Almost impossible to avoid partially plagarizing titles and you can play the ‘plagarized title’ game forever.

    There’s ‘The chess mind’ by Abrahams vs ‘Analyzing the Chess Mind’, ‘Secrets of Endgame Technique’ by Dvoretsky vs ‘A Matter of Endgame Technique’ and how many ‘Winning with the …..’ titles are there anyway.

    There are just too many common words used for chess book titles. I trust the reputable publishers like QC and NIC to do the right thing. Maybe I’m naive….

    Didn’t know about the rogue publisher, wonder who it is.

  17. Patrick
    November 17th, 2021 at 11:49 | #17

    Instead of waiting for the super slow shipments of paper, Jacob could take on a career change. Instead of writing chess books, he could be a lumberjack. Go manage trees, bring supplies to make paper, and another QC employee can operate their own paper mill rather than paying 3rd party paper mills a bunch of money! This approach would not only get you paper without having to rely on third parties, but it would save money too! We would miss Jacob doing lectures on the other side of the pond in Charlotte, but hey, gotta do what is best for the company he started up in 2004! Jacob the lumberjack! LOL!

  18. Paul H
    November 17th, 2021 at 12:26 | #18

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Ah you were just talking about the delayed December releases not going on Forward Chess until later. The delayed November went up this morning, where there is a small pre Black Friday promotion on top of the 15% discount on release. In case this was a mistake and they should only have been released on 1 December I bought the Carlson book and downloaded to iPhone.

  19. Stigma
    November 17th, 2021 at 17:01 | #19

    Judging from the actual description, Think Like a Super-GM looks a lot more like Jacob’s good old book “Inside the Chess Mind” on steroids than anything Kotov ever wrote. I suppose Jacob has allowed Adams and Hurtado to build on his original format so nobody needs to get in a fight over it. 🙂

    ” […] underlying patterns of how and why we misplay winning endgames are carefully investigated and explained, as well as how to avoid these mistakes in future.”
    Wow. A Matter of Endgame Technique really sounds tailor-made for me as I’m quite adept at throwing away winning positions!

    My chess library is too big already, but these two will be hard to avoid.

  20. JB
    November 18th, 2021 at 06:56 | #20

    John NS :
    Almost impossible to avoid partially plagarizing titles and you can play the ‘plagarized title’ game forever.
    There’s ‘The chess mind’ by Abrahams vs ‘Analyzing the Chess Mind’, ‘Secrets of Endgame Technique’ by Dvoretsky vs ‘A Matter of Endgame Technique’ and how many ‘Winning with the …..’ titles are there anyway.
    There are just too many common words used for chess book titles. I trust the reputable publishers like QC and NIC to do the right thing. Maybe I’m naive….
    Didn’t know about the rogue publisher, wonder who it is.

    Exactly….just focus on your own works and stop the territorialness and impression that anyone can ‘own’ chess phrases. There was no need to bring the whole thing up and ‘stole the title from us’ and ‘plagiarised’ are very strong words to use if it’s all a big joke. QC and NiC both produce great works but don’t let it turn into an Apple vs Samsung where the consumers don’t care about petty internal squabbles and focus on the excellent products you both are working on. You don’t have to pick.a.fight when there’s no beef to start with.
    Looking forward to Mickey’s book from a fellow 50+ chessnut though he may turn 51 before we get the paper version. 🤣

  21. Jacob Aagaard
    November 19th, 2021 at 11:22 | #21

    @JB
    I thought it was cheeky to put it on the cover. It could easily look to some that we took the title from their cover, when they know that we had announced our book with that title first. I understand that they had it as a working title, it is pretty generic. But unlike all the other examples, it is the same topic and the same publication cycle. But as said, I just wanted to make fun of it and anyone missing that have done so on their own account.

    Super-GM is a bit like Inside the Chess Mind. But it is a much deeper and broader work. Also much larger at 464 pages. It is Phil’s brain child, but in the end, it is mainly an Adams book, which is what excites me the most.

    Endgame Technique is essentially 6 books in one. It will be about 900 pages. I am typesetting the last chapter this morning. I think it is a good book. I included less than 1/3 of the material I had for it and still it became big. It covers areas such as fortresses and exchanges to a depth I cannot recall having seen elsewhere. If I am wrong, please notify me!

  22. Benjamin Fitch
    November 19th, 2021 at 19:40 | #22

    @Jacob Aagaard
    The endgame book sounds fabulous! Endgames are probably even trickier than putting in golf (and a book can’t help you much with that).

  23. Stigma
    November 19th, 2021 at 22:03 | #23

    900 pages of Endgame Technique! Are you still keeping that page count in one volume?

    Now I’m wondering if it’s all too advanced for me. In the endgame I’m far away from GM Prep level. Probably my “specialty” is allowing unncessary counterplay. So maybe I should look at something a bit more basic first.

  24. November 20th, 2021 at 06:04 | #24

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @JB
    I thought it was cheeky to put it on the cover. It could easily look to some that we took the title from their cover, when they know that we had announced our book with that title first. I understand that they had it as a working title, it is pretty generic. But unlike all the other examples, it is the same topic and the same publication cycle. But as said, I just wanted to make fun of it and anyone missing that have done so on their own account.
    Super-GM is a bit like Inside the Chess Mind. But it is a much deeper and broader work. Also much larger at 464 pages. It is Phil’s brain child, but in the end, it is mainly an Adams book, which is what excites me the most.
    Endgame Technique is essentially 6 books in one. It will be about 900 pages. I am typesetting the last chapter this morning. I think it is a good book. I included less than 1/3 of the material I had for it and still it became big. It covers areas such as fortresses and exchanges to a depth I cannot recall having seen elsewhere. If I am wrong, please notify me!

    Now I’m really excited!

  25. JB
    November 20th, 2021 at 12:18 | #25

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Jeezy peeps, 900 pages! You’ve probably needed to negotiate John’s dungeon timeshare for that so kudos to you. I can see a Playing 1. e4 split into two books scenario but think it will be worth it whatever the final format. I’ve done a Jonathan Hawkins recently and biased my study towards endings as they are almost guaranteed to turn up unlike your openings study and gives you confidence you can convert if ahead in material or hold if down so looking forward to the book. Make sure you hang on to Mickey and get him signed up for more Boris style- your engine wins hands down for tactics etc but for the strategic part Mickey is up at the top and is golddust compared to authors that spout engine lines (however accurate the engine line is) as it doesn’t help you make strategic decisions in your own games.

  26. James2
    November 20th, 2021 at 14:38 | #26

    Perhaps this is not the best thread for this query but I wanted to ask if we can hope for a black repertoire series by Jones to accompany his 1 e4 Coffeehouse books? I am a big fan of them and I think Jones is a very accomplished writer. I have enjoyed his white books very much this year.

    Thank you.

  27. Benjamin Fitch
    November 20th, 2021 at 18:40 | #27

    @James2
    I love the idea of a Coffeehouse-style Black repertoire. There are plenty of either “solid and thorough” Black repertoires (which I happen to like) or else Pub-style openings for the Black side where Black can get a great game by giving White two extra drinks (two-drink odds), but a repertoire suitable for a really good chess-friendly coffee establishment would be great.

  28. KevHun
    November 21st, 2021 at 09:42 | #28

    Benjamin Fitch :
    @James2
    I love the idea of a Coffeehouse-style Black repertoire. There are plenty of either “solid and thorough” Black repertoires (which I happen to like) or else Pub-style openings for the Black side where Black can get a great game by giving White two extra drinks (two-drink odds), but a repertoire suitable for a really good chess-friendly coffee establishment would be great.

    I have Coffee House 2 which is a great book. I would be in the market for a book like this for the Black side if only to liven up my otherwise dull but solid Black repertoire 😉

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