Home > Authors in Action, Publishing Schedule > Jacob’s training books back on track…

Jacob’s training books back on track…

We had a editorial meeting Wednesday and I suggested, based on the likely spring publication of Playing 1.d4 vol. 1+2 and Playing 1.e4 vol. 1+2 that maybe my immediate attention should be to complete my quite advanced work on my four training books. As a starting point my personal goal will be for these books to be finished for publication on the 31st of July – which indeed is my birthday.

I have worked hard on these books for many years by now and have used them extensively with pupils and friends, some of them already solidly anchored at the top of the rating system and others on their way there. My most consistent cooperation has been with Sabino Brunello from Italy. When we started working Sabino was about to get the IM title. Yesterday he passed the 2600 mark in live rating for the first time and as I am writing he has an advantage against Nigel Short. I am hedging my bets by writing this before things might turn! Anyway, here is his great performance from yesterday:

(board 9) Sargissian,Gabriel (2683) – Brunello,Sabino (2581) [A00]
Gibraltar Chess Festival 2012, 26.01.2012


1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Nxg6 hxg6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Bd6 10.h3 Qe7 11.c5 Bc7 12.f4 Ng8 13.b4 a6 14.e4 dxe4 15.Nxe4 Ndf6 16.Ng5 Qd7 17.Bc4 Ne7 18.Be3 Nf5 19.Qd3 Rd8 20.Rad1 Nd5 21.Bxd5 Qxd5 22.a4 0-0 23.Nf3 Ng3 24.Rfe1 Qf5 25.Qxf5 Nxf5 26.Kf2 Rd5 27.g4 Ne7 28.Rb1 Rd7 29.Ne5 Bxe5 30.fxe5 Nd5 31.Bd2 f5 32.exf6 Nxf6 33.Ke3 Rfd8 34.Bc3 Nd5+ 35.Kd3 Nxc3 36.Kxc3 Rxd4 37.b5 R4d5 38.Kb4 axb5 39.axb5 e5 40.Ra1 cxb5 41.Kxb5 Rc8 42.Rac1 Kf7 43.Rc2 Ke6 44.h4 Ra8 45.h5 Ra3 46.hxg6 Rd4 47.Kb6 Rb4+ 48.Kc7 Ra6 49.g5 Rc6+ 50.Kb8 Kf5 51.Rf1+ Kxg6 52.Rd1 Kxg5 53.Rd6 e4 54.Rxc6 bxc6+ 55.Kc7 e3 56.Kxc6 Kf4 57.Kd5 Kf3 58.c6 Rb8 59.c7 Rc8 60.Rc3 Kf2 61.Rc4 g5 62.Rc6 e2 63.Rf6+ Ke3 0-1

  1. James
    January 27th, 2012 at 19:31 | #1

    Can we please have more info on these training books? Will it take someone from beginner to Fide master or higher for example? I’ll be buying them regardless of course. Also Sabino had a great draw today against Nigel Short, who the day before had demolished Mamedyarov’s Breyer in quick fashion.

  2. Abramov Anjuhin
    January 27th, 2012 at 19:45 | #2

    Well this was my dream and this dream comes true 🙂

    Please launch them in the Summer!

    I hope that your books shall help me to knock down an Elo 2300 bar 🙂

    Keep going fast and strong 🙂

  3. Michael
    January 27th, 2012 at 23:11 | #3

    Great news!!!
    I am really looking forward to Playing 1.d4 Part 1&2 seeing as it is really hard to find up to date books on playing against the Indain Defenses, unless you play the fianchetto…Of course I do not know what Lars will suggest but I hope some aggressive lines that follow the rep in Playing the Queens Gambit, Or another way you could say playing 1.d4 with a punch!

    4 training books by this summer would be amazing and I am sure a very welcome edition to all our QC collections…Do I get to use my three questions in planning?…

    Best of luck!!!

  4. mikeel
    January 27th, 2012 at 23:58 | #4

    Good luck on this project.

    Finally got Chess Evolution 5–it will be sad to see QC not do these books anymore–the depth of analysis is incredible. I fear this series will disappear.

  5. Michael
    January 28th, 2012 at 01:11 | #5

    Very impressive play!!! From Brunello in the Gibraltar Chess Festival 2012

  6. Gilchrist is a Legend
    January 28th, 2012 at 04:24 | #6

    Quite good play. I remember I played Brunello in the World Youth Chess Championship in 2005 and he has improved very much since then. Improved much more than I have…

  7. Michael
    January 28th, 2012 at 06:38 | #7

    Hey Jacob,

    Will all 4 of your Training books be released at the same time?

  8. Abramov Anjuhin
    January 28th, 2012 at 07:18 | #8

    Michael :
    Hey Jacob,
    Will all 4 of your Training books be released at the same time?

    Yes indeed my friend Michael! I suggest to you Jacob that for the hardbacks you make a special set box for all of us “GM’s to be” 🙂

  9. Jacob Aagaard
    January 29th, 2012 at 09:22 | #9

    It is definitely the plan to to release all of the books at the same time. I am thinking of making it a box set only, even, giving the chess specialists the chance to sell the books individually if they want.

    I have still not decided if it should be four or five books.

    A lot of things are still not clear on the promotion part of the project, but what is clear is that the books will come out when ready.

    I am inclined to use Abramov’s title.

    We have plenty of training books for the lower and mid-level. A new version of Chess Tactics from Scratch, Chess Lessons, the Yusupov series and so on. For the high level we only really have Practical Chess Defence and to some exercises from the Attacking Manuals.

  10. Waldorf
    January 29th, 2012 at 11:49 | #10

    @Jacob Aagaard
    So which fide rating class will your books refer to?

  11. Jacob Aagaard
    January 29th, 2012 at 14:11 | #11

    Those aspiring to get titles, from WIM for GM.

  12. Andre
    January 29th, 2012 at 21:27 | #12

    Making it a box set only sounds like a crazy idea because it sets the entry barrier too high. Of course there are all kinds of neat marketing things one can do with a handful of simultaneously released books and a box set.

    One I think you should think about, because it’s nearly free:
    Find an attractive chess or QC related picture, divide it in 5 parts and print one part on the spine of each volume. All 5 books together will show the full picture when standing on the shelf next to each other. The box set will even show it when in shrink wrap.

  13. FM To Be
    January 30th, 2012 at 00:17 | #13

    Nice idea Andre 🙂 If the books are as good as they sound I would buy the boxset anyway, but I agree that it would be better to offer it as separate books as well.


    What areas will your books cover?

    Will it be a subject/area per book or will it be mixed like Yusupov’s?

    They reminded me of “School Of Chess Excellence” or “School Of Future Champions”, any word on this?

  14. Barry
    January 30th, 2012 at 07:51 | #14

    I’m really excited about these upcoming books. They sound great. I would imagine that it’s easier to sell them individually, but since I’m planning to get all of them, box set would work for me.

  15. floh
    January 30th, 2012 at 10:15 | #15

    will there be a German translation of the four training books? For not-native-speakers it is not easy to get every little detail of Jacob’s kind of writing.

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    January 30th, 2012 at 10:16 | #16

    I disagree with the box set idea – as I am sure a lot of chess retailers will be happy to sell the volumes individually; and I would release the paperback a year later or so. But not at all decided.

    The picture idea is great. If you don’t mind, I might actually use it!

  17. Jacob Aagaard
    January 30th, 2012 at 10:22 | #17

    @FM To Be
    Unlike Dvoretsky’s books, these will be less articles and also fully computer checked. Obviously Mark’s books were checked when they came out, but in the positional books we found many mistakes (Sabino and I). When I told Mark he told me he already knew and that times had just moved (read engine ability) and that the books were great when published. I would extend this to that they are great now as well. I prefer his books for Russell, but all of his books are masterpieces.

    The four exercises volumes are divided like this:

    * Positional Play (this is for players under 2400 I would say. Above 2400 it would not do everyone good).
    * Strategic Play (this is harder and I have used these exercises a lot with Sabino and a 2650 friend)
    * Endgame Play (will include both tactical and positional endings)
    * Chess Calculation (will include exercises in all the thinking techniques, although I struggle to find some good exercises for Traps. I sought Mark’s advice on how to organise this book and it is based on an old idea of his)

    Finally I have been asked to write a 128 page book on how to train chess. This would make up the final picture.

  18. Jacob Aagaard
    January 30th, 2012 at 10:23 | #18

    Almost certainly not. But I think you should be able to understand it if that is your level of written English.

  19. John Pugh
    January 30th, 2012 at 11:45 | #19

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I find this project very exciting. Could you clarify the difference between positional play and strategic play?
    Many Thanks

  20. Jacob Aagaard
    January 30th, 2012 at 12:04 | #20

    @John Pugh
    Yes. Positional play is reacting to basic positional aspects of the position. Say, take with the f-pawn on g3 in order to open the f-file with attacking ideas (in fxg3 scenarios). It is a level above “taking towards the centre” like a zombie following general ideas, applying them everywhere (do such people really exist?).

    Strategy is planning. It is complicated operations with positional gains. Strategy can be setting up an attack or going from a middlegame to an advantageous ending. In general strategy includes calculation, while positional play requires less deep analysis, but mainly shows understanding of positional values.

  21. Patrick M
    January 30th, 2012 at 18:50 | #21

    @John Pugh

    Jacob is probably going to nail me for trying to illustrate his response since he’s a pro and I’m an amateur, but I think the following game I had this past weekend in Round 4 of a 5-round tournament illustrates both items you are talking about. I don’t claim it to be the same quality as a GM game, but it makes the basic point. I’ve got Black here in Jacob’s “not so favorite” opening (based on previous discussion):

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg4

    This is somewhat of an unusual move. I took Lakdawala’s idea from a different line about not being so cooperative to White about gaining the Bishop Pair so easily with 6.Bg6. I am forcing White to advance his kingside pawns, with the intention of trying to prove those pawns to be too far advanced and weakening to White’s position later. This, like Jacob said, is reacting to a basic positional aspect, or simply put, Positional Play.

    Continuing: 7.Qb3 Qb6 8.h3 Bh5 9.g4 (First mission accomplished) Ng6 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.g5 Nh5

    Possibly a slight error in positional play. 11…Ng8 intending …Ne7 and …Nf5 might be better, but I went on the basis that to keep the Knight locked out, he has to leave his pawns along, and hence keep his Bishop out, so to me it was a tradeoff of useless pieces. He activates his Bishop, I activate my knight. Again, simply positional play. Not really Strategy.

    Continuing: 12.c5 Qc7 13.e4 Nd7 14.exd5 exd5 15.Ne2 b6 16.Qe3+ Be7 17.b4 a5 (White is likely going to lose a pawn in most lines here) 18.b5 bxc5 19.bxc6 Qxc6 20.Ba3

    Now, Black is up a pawn, but does have some pressure to deal with on c5. of course, he can’t move the c-pawn here as then he’s mated. Here’s where strategy came into play. I realize I’m up a pawn. I’m looking for a favorable case of going for an endgame. By playing 20…Qe6, I’m looking to eliminate the Queens, and if he moves off the e-file, I am the one putting the pressure on the e-file. However, it gets deeper. Clearly White doesn’t want to just take and solidify my d5 pawn. However observe what happens in the game:

    20…Qe6 21.Bg2 cxd4!

    This pawn capture virtually forces simplifaction. The only way for White to avoid losing material is to trade both the Queens and the Bishops. The elmination of these dark-squared bishops opens up f4 for the Black Knight, and it’s going to be virtually impossible to dislodge that Knight. Black is probably winning at this point.

    22.Qxe6 fxe6 23.Bxe7 Kxe7 24.Nxd4

    Regaining the pawn and remaining only 1 pawn down, but the damage is done. d5 is now defended, the Knight is ready to come in to f4. Black’s strategy now is to control the open files on the Queenside while White’s h1-rook will have trouble getting out. Notice that Black’s one real weakness on the board, the doubled and isolated g-pawns, are hard for White to put any pressure on while Black controlling the center with his pawns and rolling down to the 2nd rank with his rooks.

    24…Nf4! 25.Bf1 (A miserable square for the Bishop) 25…e5 (Driving the Knight back) 26.Nf3 Rab8 27.Rd1 Rhc8 (Another aspect of positional play is understanding the importance of various areas of the board. The pressure on the h3 pawn is not as critical as owning the two open files.) 28.a4 (Too little, too late. White tries to block the b-file, and pressure the d7-knight to try and loosen the e5 pawn, and Black’s pawn center overall) 28…Rb2 (The start of another strategic transition to an even simpler endgame) 29.Bb5 Rcc2 30.Nd2 Nc5 31.h4 (What better does White have?) 31.Ncd3+ (Eliminating a set of rooks and knights, winning a second pawn, and based on White’s choice here, the other 2 minor pieces come off as well) 32.Bxd3 Nxd3+ 33.Ke2 Nxf2 34.Kxf2 Rxd2+

    Seeing that he is completely busted in the R+5P vs R+3P ending, White resigned. The a-pawn is likely going to drop as well.

    This gave me a score of 4 after 4 rounds, and I drew round 5 to tie for first place 4-way.

  22. Seth
    January 31st, 2012 at 01:34 | #22

    @Jacob Aagaard
    The mention of a fxg3 recapture brought back pleasant memories of a game I played last year. 🙂

  23. Andre
    January 31st, 2012 at 03:35 | #23


    Sure, go ahead!

    Such spine pictures aren’t that unusual. Disney use them for their Donald Duck Pocket Books since the mid 80s.
    From Wikipedia:
    “Spine-assembly pictures

    Since the same issue as full-color was introduced, the pocket books also feature pictures of Disney characters on their spines, a feature especially appealing to collectors as these pictures make it instantly apparent if an issue is missing when the pocket books are lined up on a cupboard. The first spine-assembly picture ran from 1987 until late 1991/early 1992, since then each spine picture (usually) spans a year (= 12 issues).”

  24. Jacob Aagaard
    January 31st, 2012 at 09:55 | #24

    My wife has the complete series of Farscape on Video (old school). They do the same. I have seen it many other places as well, of course. The thing is that you have to think of using it too…

  25. Jacob Aagaard
    January 31st, 2012 at 13:58 | #25

    Obviously I made a new blog post out of this topic.

  26. February 1st, 2012 at 17:41 | #26

    Dear Jacob

    I would like to write a few words about your project – publishing these 4 or 5 books: as a series of books for players 2000+ (or different level?).

    I have a few questions regarding your great idea:
    1) Are you planning to write about chess endings in the practical view? (I mean – only the most practical ones).

    2) Did you decide if these books are with the “staircase approach” (I mean – the level of difficulty is increasing) like Yusupov’s series? (basic, fundamental, mastery). For example: do you consider to design (arrange) the material according to known (teaching) rule: from simple to complex?

    3) What is the expected number of pages (in all the books). Do you think it will be 4 (or 5) books total 800-900 pages or something else? Are these books (if 200-250 pages) printed in hardcover or normal (soft cover)?

    4) “128 page book on how to train chess”… – will it be additional book to the series or you are planning to “divide” it to all the books? (for example: in each one of the books – 25-30 pages on training advice)

    5) Do you plan to give in the end of every chapter (book?) something like “checking tests or puzzles” (regarding the chapter)? And what about the idea of making “overall test” in the end of every book? (containing every aspects discussed/explained). Do you like that idea? It is superb shown in IM Khmelnitsky books – Mr. Jacob: are you ready to use that concept?

    6) Did you consider writing these books with another author (co-author)? Or you want to me it (that project) by your own? I think consulting other authors (and books/articles) might be very helpful and important (in overall quality of the work!).

    I will be glad if you consider answering my questions (ideas). I have just started to save money to these books – I keep my fingers crossed! Good luck and enjoy the process of creating these (amazing) works! :). Your experience as an author and QC motto quarantee that they are (will be) great books!
    PS. If you do not mind, I will use your response (that one and the previous one) to publish (at my blog) some more info about that project. Thanks a lot!

  27. Jacob Aagaard
    February 1st, 2012 at 23:42 | #27

    First of all these are not text books, but exercise books. I will explain the concepts briefly and then give a lot of exercises for the reader to work with. The point is that this is the way you get better. By getting used to solve various problems, you improve your thinking.

    1) both concrete and positional endgame positions will be considered.

    2) no. Within each subject/technique, the exercises will be in increasing difficulty. It should be said that the positional book will be much easier than the strategic one.

    3) four books with 300 pages each, is my guess looking at the material.

    4) separate book on training concepts, methods and so on.

    5) a test at the end is quite common in books. The books are mainly exercises, but maybe a final neutrally weighted test? Have not ,are up my mind. The material always decide the form for me.

    6) the idea of a co-author for these books are not one I would consider. Why should I? I do not think there are anyone who can write better chess books than I, not the way I want them written. People’s taste might not be my style, but I write my books exactly as I imagine them from the beginning. They would be perfect if my chess level was 2790 :-).

    Finally. These books will be high level. In don’t want them to be ridiculously impossible, as I feel the Dvoretsky Analytical Manual is. I want humanity and not just computer lines (not saying Mark’s books is that – it is just more difficult than I would like. I am aiming at the what you could use in your work towards becoming a grandmaster. If you can do what these books will teach and you do not become a GM, I will have failed. Having said that, you might need to continue working with the ideas in order to get there. You need to master them to a certain degree to make the title…

  28. February 2nd, 2012 at 03:01 | #28

    Thank you very much for your answer. You have set your goal very high, but that should give your project (books) a positive energy and motivation for other players to make IM and GM norms very fast :).

    [Two passionate players talking…]
    “Jacob told that you have to make GM norm in 2 years of practise and studying these books”, “Yes, but I am just 3rd category (1600) player!”, “It does not matter – just study hard and one day you will be a GM” :).

  29. Jacob Aagaard
    February 2nd, 2012 at 09:08 | #29

    @Tomasz Chessthinker
    Obviously there is a long way from 1600 to GM, but it is a road all GMs have travelled. There are many ways to reach this goal of course, but the one I would travel would be starting with the entire series of Yusupov books. The greatest speed in the direction of the grandmaster title would be taken by working very hard to solve the exercises. Training is hard, because you have to push yourself. But it also works.

  30. February 11th, 2012 at 21:34 | #30

    From WFM to GM – a series of books written by Jacob Aagaard and Artur Yusupov sure path to success: Do you have a desire to earn the prestigious title of grandmaster?

    Wishing success and good luck writing desired chess books :). My tiny contribution to Your project Jacob! The above is the tile at my chess blog – I want to encourage people to get your books and practice chess – in a hope of obtaining their (chess) goals. Keeping fingers crossed… Tom!

    It is the specified link to the post in my chess blog:

  31. Jacob Aagaard
    February 12th, 2012 at 00:04 | #31

    @Tomasz Chessthinker
    I have a different title in mind, but you will be happy to learn that I got that from this blog as well!

  32. June 27th, 2012 at 15:30 | #32

    wish to know when “grandmaster preparation calculation” and “grandmaster preparattion positional play” will be available in america????….amazon do not report this titles even as “available soon” options…..

  33. Jacob Aagaard
    June 28th, 2012 at 08:55 | #33

    Amazon will only sell the paperbacks of these titles. They will be available somewhere in the spring 2013. If you want to buy the hardback, you can get them from Chess Books from Europe, ChessCafe and Chess4Less. USCF should also order them soon.

  34. Phil Irwin
    June 30th, 2012 at 07:02 | #34

    I picked up “Grandmaster Preparation Calculation” at a national tournament in Las Vegas here in the U.S. a couple weeks ago. I’m very glad it’s hardbound. Clearly it’s not going to be a quick skim through.

  35. Jacob Aagaard
    June 30th, 2012 at 15:44 | #35

    @Phil Irwin
    The hardbacks are really just a pre-publication; the real publication comes next year of all five books at once.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

 Limit your comments to