Author Archive

A quick short term publishing schedule

September 20th, 2017 68 comments

Hi guys, I am really busy working away on books, so I wanted to tell you what the next few publications are likely to be. This does not mean that other books have been forgotten. Negi and Shaw are still on the way, the QID is coming down the line, as are more Gelfand book and a lot of other interesting stuff, we would like to keep secret for a little bit.

This is just what we are looking to complete over the very near future.

Tibor Karolyi Mikhail Tal’s best games 3 – The Invincible 27 September 2017
Nikos Ntirlis Playing 1.d4 d5 – A Classical Repertoire 27 September 2017
Mihail Marin Grandmaster Repertoire – Pirc Autumn
Esben Lund Sharp Endgames Autumn
Jaan Ehlvest Opening Preparation Autumn
Axel Smith Woodpecker Autumn
David Llada The Thinkers Autumn
Boris Avrukh GM Repertoire 2A Autumn

Marin’s book on the Pirc is at the printer and Sharp Endgames by Lund will follow briefly. The Thinkers are going to print any moment and Andrew is moving swiftly through the editing of Avrukh’s latest 1.d4 book.

But I also wanted to take the time to tell you about two books that will come slightly later in the autumn; a book on opening preparation by former participant in the Candidates matches, Jaan Ehlvest, which is promising to be an interesting read, and a book for the more practically inclined, by Axel Smith on the Woodpecker Method. The final titles and covers have not been decided, but I would be surprised if we did not go with The Woodpecker Method

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Training Seminar in Edinburgh with GM Jacob Aagaard 6-8 Oct

August 28th, 2017 6 comments

Training Seminar in Edinburgh with Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer Jacob Aagaard 6-8 October

On the first weekend of October there will be a three-day training seminar with Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard in Edinburgh Chess Club. The training weekend is organised in collaboration with Chess Scotland, offering free participation to the members of the national team participating in the European Team Championship in Crete in November.

The themes will be changing from day to day, with a focus on positional play, calculation and endgame technique. The sessions will be evenly balanced between lecturing and practical application.

The place of the training seminar is Edinburgh Chess Club, 1 Alva Street, in the centre of Edinburgh.

The timings are:

Friday 6th October         7pm – 10pm

Saturday 7th October      1pm – 5.30pm

Sunday 8th October        11am – 3.30pm

The cost of participation is £75. Please register by emailing



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Making a solving collective

August 21st, 2017 16 comments

One thing that many people struggle with is solving puzzles on their own. It requires some discipline to get started and distractions can get you diverted. It is popular to meet up with friends and solve together. It makes it social and a bit competitive. But for most people, this is not an option. Their friends are far away and local players might have no ambition or be unsuitable for other reasons.

The idea I came up with years ago that worked really well, was to have group training on PlayChess (or it could be many other servers or even Whatsapp on your phone).

The way to do it is that one person has gathered positions in advance, preferably from a Quality Chess book of course, but other good exercise books have been published (I have been told).

He presents the first problem to the group.

When you have a solution, you say so.

When only one person is left, he gets an extra minute to find the solution, while the others prepare their solutions (but don’t press return).

When time’s up everyone gives their solutions.

Correct solutions get one point, mistakes get no points. The group decides if the solution is correct in disputes.

Next problem.

After a fixed amount of time, you have a winner.

This worked for a long time with a group I set up. I supplied them with the exercises, but since then these have been published in many books, so there are no excuses…

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Umnov studies

August 17th, 2017 2 comments

Our friend and my compatriot Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen won a composition tournament in front of the two modern giants of chess competition, Afek and Pervakov. On request, he has written a small report for our blog, which I have decided to attach in a PDF.

But I wanted to give the readers a chance to solve some of the studies on their own. First of all, here is Steffen’s study.

White to play and win

Read more…

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How to contact us

August 14th, 2017 17 comments

Just a quick note on the best way to approach us on anything.

a) Write to us on the blog. In 99% of all cases, others will be interested in our answers as well and it is not private. There will be some exceptions, like sending us links not everyone should see or something like this. In that case:

b) email one of us. If you email all five of us, you will take time away from four people who would not reply that could be used working on books. If you email all of us, expect to be reprimanded harshly.

c) contact us privately on messenger Sunday evening with trivial questions. Guess what brought up this post! Please respect that when you send a message to one of us that will come up on our phone outside office hours, you are invading our privacy. Please don’t do it.

To sum up:

Almost everything should be put on the blog. We check everything and answer all serious questions. In rare cases, email one of us.

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Summer madness…

July 31st, 2017 319 comments

Hi guys!

Sorry, we have been really busy. Colin and Andrew have played a closed tournament in Dundee. As you can see elsewhere, Andrew won his first closed GM-tournament, but did not make the norm.

Personally, I have been to Copenhagen, Berlin, San Sebastian and San Francisco this summer. Partly on holiday and partly working on projects/training. I am now back at home, preparing for a 6 player-training camp that starts on Saturday. The first two players arrive Thursday and four more on Friday. Four GMs and two IMs. I hope we will have a great week.

Colin is laying the final hands on Grandmaster Repertoire – Pirc Defence by Mihail Marin and Andrew is finishing Playing 1.d4 d5 – A Classical Repertoire by Nikolaos Ntirlis, also known as Nikos.

On Wednesday we are publishing e3 Poison by Axel Smith and Chess Behind Bars by Carl Portman. It is also the release date for the paperback version of Dynamic Decision Making in Chess by Boris Gelfand and yours truly. The hardback was released exactly a year ago during the XtraCon Open in Copenhagen. Quality Chess sponsored the event this year as well. It was won by Jobava after some amazing fighting chess…

Today I am a year older. And a lot of kg lighter… See for yourself!

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Critical Moments – two opposing definitions

July 11th, 2017 64 comments

Having debated CRITICAL MOMENTS here on the blog with a number of readers, I received a longer email from our friend and one-time author, Amatzia Avni.

Hello Jacob,

I’m following your blog and although I haven’t yet read your “Thinking inside the box”, I strongly disagree with some observations you make regarding the nature of “critical position” (or critical moment).

First, here is your own definition: “A critical moment …is something along the lines of a moment where the problems in front of you (hold great complexity) and failing to find a good move will a) lead to great suffering, or b) lose the advantage”. 29/4/13

“A position where the difference between the best move and the second-best move is high, let’s say half a point”. 9/5/2017.

Correct. (Also, when the decision is irreversible or hard to rectify). Read more…

The Best Chess Book I have ever written

June 9th, 2017 154 comments

Two days ago was the official publication date for Thinking Inside the Box.

I am not a very sentimental person, so it was not a special day for me. Holding the book in the hand does not have the same emotional experience as it did holding The Panov/Botvinnik Attack in my hands in 1998. Incidentally, that is the only one of my books that is out of print as far as I know.

Despite the lack of excitement with the physical form, I am very pleased with the book. At some point, someone speculated on this blog that I had lost interest in the project, as a way to explain the long time it took to get around to write it. The reality is very different. Let’s not wrap it up in euphemisms.

I simply did not believe in my abilities. I knew what I wanted to say and I have been teaching it for years, but writing a book is much harder than it may seem from the outside. And I set myself a goal back in 2004, when I decided to do this as a profession: to always make the next book I wrote the best book I had ever written. I think I succeeded with this all the way up to 2016. The first Gelfand book was better than the second.

As far as I know, only Anish Giri disagrees. Don’t get me wrong; if I had written them in reverse order, I might still be on track.

Because, I honestly think that Thinking Inside the Box became as good as I wanted it to be. People will always disagree on some of my opinions and others would have preferred a book that went deep with the subject they found most interesting, but the book is as I wanted it to be.

Any feedback from people who have read the book till the end is very welcome. I am happy to discuss anything.

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