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Chess Structures in Practice (Part One) by Mauricio Flores Rios

April 8th, 2015 28 comments

It’s been a while since I finished writing Chess Structures, but I like the topic so much that I keep coming back to it – I know how much it improved my understanding of chess. I follow games on Chessbomb pretty much daily and I really enjoy it when I see a nice ‘structure-concept’ being applied. Often these games reproduce ideas shown in the book almost identically, while sometimes there are small (yet very important!) differences. So I thought, why not start a blog in which I will, once in a while, post a game which builds upon the ideas I shared with the readers of my book. Since the hardest point of starting a blog is finding any readers at all, John offered his help, suggesting I post a couple of guest blogs here. The permanent location of my blog will be chess-structures.com, though it will take me about 4-5 days to set it up properly, since I am a complete beginner as far as websites go.

Now let’s get started with some chess. As you may have realized, almost every game in my book was decisive (that is, not a draw) since drawn games (especially agreed draws) are like an unfinished story, and people just don’t like to read stories without an ending… Anyway, the only exception to this rule was Onischuk – Dominguez from the World Cup of 2013. This game was a Carlsbad structure (Chapter 5) which I thought was very instructive, as it shows how Black might completely neutralize White’s queenside plans. A few days ago, as I was following the Women’s World Championship in Sochi, I found a great example which pretty much takes off where Dominguez left off, and brings home the full point. The contenders: young star Guo Qi from China was White against World finalist Natalia Pogonina. Let’s see the game:

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 c6 7.Qc2 Nbd7 8.e3 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Be2 Nhf6  

11.Nd2?!
White deviates from theory, possibly to prevent …Ne4. This is a little imprecise since quickly playing b2-b4-b5 should be the priority.
Normal was 11.0–0 to follow up with Rab1, b2-b4-b5, and if 11…Ne4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Nd2 Nf6 14.Rab1!? we have transposed to Chapter 20, the French Type II (with colours reversed) where White’s prospects are good, since the break b4-b5 is easy to carry out, and Black lacks material (and moves) to create serious kingside threats.

11…Nb6 12.0–0 0–0 13.Bd3
If 13.Rab1 then 13…Bg4! 14.Bd3 Bh5 is similar to the game.

13…Bg4 14.Rab1 Bh5!
Black is aiming to trade light-squared bishops, which is a good idea.

15.b4 a6
A standard reply, to trade off a-pawns, getting rid of a potential weakness.

If 15…Bg6 then 16.Bxg6 hxg6 17.b5!? would typically create problems for Black, since both the a7- and c6-pawns can become weaknesses, however White’s play has been imprecise, and after 17…Rfc8 18.bxc6 Rxc6! Black has good counterplay (but not 18…bxc6? when White is a little better).

16.Na4
After 16.a4 Bg6 17.Bxg6 hxg6 the standard 18.b5?! is met strongly by 18…cxb5 19.axb5 a5! with an edge. Black has a passed pawn, making White’s entire enterprise a failure.

16…Nxa4 17.Qxa4 Bg6 18.Bxg6 hxg6 19.Qc2
My favourite moment in the game; Pogonina is doing well, but now how should she stop a4 and b4-b5?

19…Ne8! 20.a4 Nd6


Black is slightly better.
The position is almost identical to the game Onischuk – Dominguez (annotated in Chapter 5). White’s queenside play is no longer dangerous. The big difference between this game and the one in the book is that here Black has a half-open h-file, creating better prospects for kingside play.

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Categories: Fun Games Tags:

Mating the Castled King – A review

March 23rd, 2015 3 comments

On his entertaining blog, IM Sagar Shah gives an in-depth review of Mating the Castled King by Danny Gormally, and discusses how he used the book to help prepare for the recent Indian National Team championships in Goa.

IMG_0571

“So is going through this book going to help you to become a better player? Of course! My personal experience is that your mind will start seeing patterns much faster.

When I went to Goa, I setup my chess board on a table in my room. I kept the book of Mating the castled King next to it. Whenever I had some time, I would open a random page and setup a position from the book and solve it. After solving the position, I would just make a note with a tick mark that I had solved the position. Add a star or two next to the problem if I really liked it. In this way, I was solving almost 5-10 positions everyday. This helped me to stay in excellent tactical shape and I was able to remain unbeaten in the tournament. I continued working with the book even after the tournament and I am happy to say that I have completed the 160 positions.

Final words: A unique book which not only helps you to get acquainted with mating patterns against a castled king but also helps you to improve your art of calculation thanks to the excellent quality of analysis.”

The full review is available here.

Categories: Reviews Tags:

The Soviet Chess Primer

November 26th, 2014 14 comments

In The Soviet Chess Primer, by Ilya Maizelis, to be published on 10 December, the chapter on Combination includes a selection of little-known examples from Alekhine. You can test yourself on the following – White to play and win:

Alekhine – Amateur, Groningen (simul) 1933

White to move

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Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Book of the Month October/November

October 21st, 2014 2 comments

We have not worked out our automated system yet (and it will take a while). So, at the moment we will do it like this:

If you buy three books or more and live inside the European Union (defined by UPS and not by bureaucrats in Brussels!) we will send you a free book.

As a starting point this will be CHAMPIONS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

But if you have it, or would prefer another freebie, please write an email to us with your order, asking to have it replaced with one of following five titles:

SAN LUIS 2005
TACTIMANIA
ATTACKING THE SPANISH
GRANDMASTER VS AMATEUR
REGGIO EMILIA 2007

We will probably run it like this for a while, changing the freebies around a bit.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Jacob Aagaard Interview

September 30th, 2014 43 comments

Jacob was recently interviewed for the Spanish blog Un Andaluz y el Adjedrez. Here is the English version of the interview:

GM Jacob Aagaard

GM Jacob Aagaard

1) Can any person, and I mean ANY, get better at chess studying and competing, in your opinion? Do you think there is a limit, and not everybody is born to be a FM, for instance?

I am sure that there is a limit for some people. There is such a thing as talent for sure, but how important it is, is not really clear. Some minor tests have been done, but the research looking at people over a decade or more has not been done in a way that it can be statistically significant for chess. Not to my knowledge at least.

It has been done in music and the suggestion there was that the early talents did not do that well. The main reason probably being that it was too easy for them in the beginning and they never got into the habit of working hard…

I believe that there is no reason to set barriers to yourself. In principle everyone can learn everything. The question is how long it will take! Is it worth it. And so on.

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Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

Half knowledge is dangerous! by IM Sagar Shah

September 29th, 2014 11 comments

This is a long holiday weekend in Glasgow, the Quality Chess office is closed, and Jacob has gone to the seaside (?), so we have a guest blogger, IM Sagar Shah, with an article taken from his excellent blog:

I have this habit of buying one chess book in every tournament that I play. In this way, my final aim is one day to open a huge library of chess books! And there are some tournaments when I really play well. Then I can use my prize money to buy more chess books.
In my Euro trip which ended just a month ago, I had two huge achievements.
1. I became an International Master (IM) in Spain
2. I won the Dresden Open 2014 and made my maiden GM norm in Germany.

In one of my past articles: People behind my IM title , I had mentioned that there are two chess authors whom I hold in very high regard.

One of them is GM Jacob Aagaard

One of them is GM Jacob Aagaard

And the other is IM Mark Dvoretsky.

And the other is IM Mark Dvoretsky.

When I became an IM in Spain, my wife, Amruta, decided to gift me the latest book written by Aagaard.

The fifth book from the Grandmaster Preparation series: Endgame play.

The fifth book from the Grandmaster Preparation series: Endgame play.

The book was pretty expensive. 30 Euros. That comes to nearly Rs.2400. So I had kind of exhausted my resources on book buying for the trip.

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Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

Publishing Schedule – September

September 3rd, 2014 162 comments

Here is a list of some of our forthcoming books. As always, the dates are what we are aiming for and not an official publishing schedule.

Ilya Maizelis Chess from Scratch October
Judit Polgar A Game of Queens October
Tiger Hillarp-Persson The Modern Tiger October
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines Winter
Boris Gelfand Positional Decision Making in Chess Winter
Mauricio Flores Rios Chess Structures – A GM Guide Winter
Mihail Marin Learn from the Legends – Hardback Winter
Boris Avrukh GM Repertoire 1A – 1.d4 The Catalan Winter
Parimarjan Negi GM – 1.e4 vs The Sicilian I Winter
Emanuel Berg GM 16 – The French Defence Vol 3 Winter
Vassilios Kotronias KID – Vol 2 – Mar del Plata I Winter
Vassilios Kotronias KID – Vol 3 – Mar del Plata II Winter
Lars Schandorff GM 20 – Semi-Slav Winter
Lubomir Ftacnik GM 6B – The Najdorf Winter
Wojciech Moranda Race Up the Rankings Spring
Tibor Karolyi Tal’s Best Games 2 – World Champion Spring
Victor Mikhalevski GM 19 – Beating Minor Openings Spring
Parimarjan Negi GM – 1.e4 vs The Sicilian II Spring
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – Sicilian & French Summer

 

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

How can I remember all that theory? by Nikos Ntirlis

April 14th, 2014 33 comments

After the publication of the second opening book I co-authored with Jacob, there is one question that I hear more often again and again: “How can I remember all that theory?” I always thought that this is a serious question, albeit one that has a very simple answer: read and practise!

“Remembering” chess opening theory at a good level is something that means different things for different players. For example, my ambitious 11-year-old student who is preparing to get one of the top 3 places in the Greek youth championships in June has never had a chance until now to reach this position that is part of his preparation with White:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.h3!

[fen size=”small”]r1bq1rk1/2ppbppp/p1n2n2/1p2p3/4P3/1B3N1P/PPPP1PP1/RNBQR1K1 b – – 0 8[/fen]

So, for him it makes no sense to memorize and try to understand more than 1-2 variations 3-4 moves deep starting from this position. To be honest I am not sure how many players bellow 2200-2300 need to memorize more than that. On the other hand, if you are Anand and have to face Aronian in the first round of the Candidates tournament, then it is essential to remember variations far beyond the known tournament praxis. I suppose that most of the readers of this blog belong to the first category, so the methods and ideas I am going to describe are useful only for them. I am sorry Vishy, maybe I’ll do another blog post later for guys like you!

So, after this first observation,

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Categories: Authors in Action, GM Repertoire Tags: