Author Archive

Negi against the Najdorf

November 7th, 2014 6 comments

Here’s a small preview of the next volume in Negi’s 1.e4 series, which you can either use as a “find the best move” exercise, or just follow for your own enjoyment. It comes from a line in the Poisoned Pawn.

Take a look at the following position, where Black has just answered 18.c2-c4 with 18…Qd5-c6, exploiting the pin on the white knight.

White has a big lead in development, but he is three pawns down, and must act quickly before Black organizes his defences. How would you proceed?

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Categories: GM Repertoire Tags:

Two games versus the Chigorin

September 4th, 2014 4 comments

On my way to winning the Largs congress this past weekend, I twice faced the Chigorin Defence against the Queen’s Gambit. I haven’t faced this too often, but I could remember the basics of Avrukh’s repertoire in Grandmaster Repertoire 1.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 dxc4

In the first round my opponent played rather passively with: 3…Nf6 4.Nf3 e6?! (4…dxc4 transposes to Greet – Wynarczyk) 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 White has a comfortable version of a QGD, as the knight on c6 is misplaced. 6…h6 7.Bf4!? (7.Bh4) 7…Bd6 8.c5N This logical move is a novelty, although it soon transposes to another game. (8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.c5 Qe7 10.Bb5 Bd7 didn’t seem too bad for Black.) 8…Bxf4 9.exf4 The doubled pawns are not weak, and the f4-pawn helps to clamp down on the centre. 9…Ne4 10.Qc2 f5? A positional blunder. (10…Nxc3 11.Qxc3 leaves White with a pleasant space advantage and the better bishop, but Black is solid.) 11.Bb5 Bd7 12.Bxc6 Bxc6 13.Ne5

White is already strategically winning. 13…0–0 14.f3 Nxc3 (14…Qh4+? 15.g3 Nxg3 16.Qf2+–; 14…Nf6 15.b4 White dominates the entire board.) 15.Qxc3 Be8 16.0–0 g5 17.Qd2 Kh7 18.Kf2 Rg8 19.g3 gxf4 20.Qxf4 Qg5 21.Qxg5 hxg5 22.h4 g4 23.fxg4 fxg4 24.Ke3 Bg6 25.Nxg4 Kg7 26.Ne5 Raf8 27.g4 b6 28.c6 a5 29.Nd7 Rxf1 30.Rxf1 Be8 31.Ne5 b5 32.h5 Kh7 33.Rf6 1–0 Greet – Parks, Largs 2014.

4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5

Avrukh’s recommendation. White makes a useful developing move before taking action in the centre.

After the game my opponent said he knew what to do against 5.d5 and 5.e4, but that he had not encountered the bishop move.


Black immediately goes wrong, but it is easily done, as this is a standard move in the Chigorin.

5…h6 6.Bh4 (Schandorff recommends 6.Bxf6) 6…a6 is the main line, with the point that after 7.e4 Bg4 8.d5 the black knight can go to e5. I couldn’t remember much more of Avrukh’s coverage, other than the fact that White continues with Be2 and takes back on f3 with the g-pawn. I reckon this is about as much theory as you need to know, unless you are facing a real specialist.

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Where Negi meets Schandorff

August 22nd, 2014 16 comments

Part of my job as the editor of Negi’s 1.e4 book was to check how his analysis matched up against other prominent repertoire books. In the case of Lars Schandorff’s “Grandmaster Repertoire 7”, I checked it but neglected to mention the point of divergence in the text. Here I will correct the oversight.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.0–0–0 Be7 13.Kb1 0–0 14.Ne4

This position is reached on page 39 of Grandmaster Repertoire 7.

14…Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Nf6 16.Qe2 Qd5 17.Be3

Schandorff focuses on 17.Ne5 as his main line. In the notes he mentions that the bishop move is “a bit more sophisticated, but it doesn’t threaten anything in particular.” Negi explains that the bishop move is intended as prophylaxis against Black’s intended …Qe4. Thus, if Black responds with a neutral move, White will follow up with Ne5 followed by pushing the g-pawn.


This was a novelty when Lars suggested it. Black prevents Ne5.


A novelty from Parimarjan.

18.c4 Qf5+ 19.Ka1 a5 was mentioned by Lars.

Parimarjan also mentions that 18.g4! Nxg4 19.Rdg1 f5 20.Bc1 is a promising pawn sacrifice.


18…Nxh5 19.c4 Qe4+ 20.Ka1 Nf6 21.f3 Qh7 22.g4 gives White a promising attack.

19.g4! Qd5 20.Rdg1

Negi offers some further analysis to show that White has a promising initiative for the sacrificed pawn.    To summarise, Negi analysed more deeply, but this is hardly surprising given the level of detail of his book. He also benefitted from being able to build upon Schandorff’s analysis as well as any games that had occurred since GM 7 was published. Followers of GM 7 may want to look for another solution, but the line is far from being refuted and there are plenty of other options on move 17.


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Avrukh’s Slav in action

April 24th, 2014 16 comments

Here is a game from the local league, played last month. I certainly don’t deserve any medals for beating a sub-2000-rated opponent. However, one-sided games can contain some instructive value, as the viewer gets to see one side’s strategy play out perfectly. The present game also gave me a chance to test Avrukh’s Slav repertoire. Even though my opponent deviated from theory quite early, I was able to apply a few of the ideas that were recommended by Avrukh in other variations.

The concept of “learning ideas instead of memorizing moves” has become rather a hackneyed phrase, usually associated with products such as chess DVDs, and books that place less emphasis on detailed analysis than the GM Repertoire series. However, I have often found my general understanding has been elevated by studying high-level opening books. (Not just from Quality Chess; the “Opening According to Kramnik/Anand” books from Chess Stars also spring to mind.)

Alan Jelfs (1922) – Andrew Greet (2485) D15
Glasgow, 04.03.2014

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 a6 6.b3
My opponent was obviously not familiar with this particular set-up with the pawn on a6 and bishop on f5, and he chooses an innocuous reply.

6…e6 7.Bd3 Bd6!?
I decided to leave the bishop to be taken, as the change in the pawn structure would make the game more interesting.

A decent alternative is: 7…Bb4 8.Qc2 (8.Bb2 Qa5) 8…Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Black has won a tempo and is doing fine.

Interestingly, about a month later I reached the same position against the same opponent. On that occasion he avoided exchanging on f5 but made the strategic error of blocking the centre with c4-c5. It was a strange attempt to improve, and I won quickly.

During the game, I remembered that one of Avrukh’s lines featured a similar position, but with the white knight still on g1, which gave him the option of putting the queen on f3 and knight on e2 to challenge Black’s central pawns. (I have since checked and found the line on page 57 of GM 17.) Here there is no such plan, and I already assessed my position as slightly preferable.

[fen size=”small”]rn1qk2r/1p3ppp/p1pb1n2/3p1p2/2PP4/1PN1PN2/P4PPP/R1BQK2R w KQkq – 0 9[/fen]

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Beating the Exchange French

February 12th, 2014 3 comments

Bamber – Greet, Glasgow 2014

Here is a game from a local league match against one of Scotland’s top female players, who also happens to be a world-class triathlete. Recently Quality Chess has published some excellent titles on the French Defence. I was heavily involved in editing both of them, and could not resist giving it a try. The following game shows how Black can play for a win in the Exchange Variation.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bf4

Rather unusual. Ntirlis and Aagaard point out that 5.Bd3 c5! gives Black a pleasant version of an IQP structure if White takes.

I though about 5…c5 here too, but decided the bishop exchange suited me well.

6.Bxd6 Qxd6 7.c3
White already has to waste time guarding against the check on b4.

7…0–0 8.Be2
8.Bd3 Re8+ would be inconvenient.

8…Nc6 9.0–0 Bd7
I wasn’t quite sure where to put this piece. Other squares are also fine.

10.Na3 Rae8
The position is equal, but there is plenty of potential to outplay the opponent.

11.Nb5 achieves nothing as 11…Qe7 hits the bishop.

11…a6 12.Nc2 Ne4
I was perhaps a bit too eager to go on the offensive around this point. In the game I was not able to make the kingside attack work in quite the way I wanted.

If I had this position again I would be tempted to try 12…g6!? intending to creep forwards on the kingside. This works well after the dark-squared bishops have been exchanged.

I had rather lazily assumed that the knight would be tactically vulnerable here, but then realized my d5-pawn was more of a concern than the white knight.
[fen size=”small”]4rrk1/1ppb1ppp/p1nq4/3p4/3Pn3/2P1NN2/PP2BPPP/R2QR1K1 b – – 0 13[/fen]
Anticipating Qb3.

14.Bd3 g6!
I was quite pleased with this and the next move.

15.c4 Nf6!
Admitting that the earlier knight lunge to e4 was premature. Fortunately for me, the black position is solid enough to withstand this loss of time. The position is still objectively equal, but I have achieved my goal of making things slightly more unbalanced.

16.c5 Qd8
I won’t annotate the remaining moves in much detail. The main point I wanted to highlight is that one need not fear the drawish tendencies of the Exchange French. The position may be symmetrical, but with a full board of pieces there will always be ways to make the game interesting.

17.Qa4 Ne7
White was threatening Bxa6.

18.b4 Nh5
Commencing kingside play. The final phase of the game contains a few inaccuracies on both sides, as we were approaching the time control (it was just one hour each to reach move 30).

19.Ne5?! f6 20.Nf3 Nf4 21.Bc2 h5! 22.Qb3 Bg4
[fen size=”small”]3qrrk1/1pp1n3/p4pp1/2Pp3p/1P1P1nb1/1Q2NN2/P1B2PPP/R3R1K1 w – – 0 23[/fen]
Now I get a nice clamp on the kingside. Part of my plan was to establish pawns on light squares to play against the enemy bishop.

23…hxg4 24.Nh4 f5 25.Qg3
The machine points out that 25.Qe3 g5 26.Qd2 was correct, but this is not at all obvious for a human player.


26.Qc3 would have helped by covering the e1-square (see the next note for why this matters) but White’s position is still unpleasant.

26…g5 27.h3
27.Rxe7 Qxe7 28.Ng6 Qe1+

27…gxh4 28.hxg4 Ng7 29.g5 Ng6 30.Rxe8
White lost on time while playing this move, but she could have resigned anyway.


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A cracker of a catalogue

March 1st, 2013 91 comments

Folks, I hereby invite you to click the following link and witness our dazzling new 2013 catalogue. We’ve made plenty of changes, including new photos of our friends Hou Yifan and Boris Gelfand. Quotes and tag lines are all well and good, but the real stars of the catalogue are of course the forthcoming titles for 2013. Before any conspiracy theorists ask about The King’s Gambit – let me reassure you this title WILL be published as promised. The only reason why the cover photo doesn’t appear in the catalogue is that we have so many other books to publicize, many of which our customers will not yet know about.

Apart from the books themselves, we are especially pleased with our new cover designs. Canadian artist Jason Mathis has done superb work on Jacob’s Grandmaster Preparation series (as well as last year’s Mayhem in the Morra). Meanwhile our long-time cover designer Barry Adamson has produced a bold, striking design to complement the title of Axel Smith’s book, and generally done a sterling job with everything from the Tromp to Tal to Tiger.

Yes you read that correctly – Tiger Hillarp Persson will be back in 2013 with an updated version of his bestselling Tiger’s Modern. We decided to call it The Modern Tiger – clever eh?

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