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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.

5…Bg4?!

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.

17…Bd6

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

18.Nh4!N

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…Qxh5

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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Negi and Kotronias on the way

July 24th, 2014 158 comments

I have confirmation from the printer that Grandmaster Repertoire – 1.e4 vs The French, Caro-Kann and Philidor by GM Parimarjan Negi and Grandmaster Repertoire 18 – The Sicilian Sveshnikov by GM Vassilios Kotronias have been printed on schedule and will be in our hands next week.

So what are the books like? ‘Stunningly brilliant’ says this biased publisher (but I’m right anyway). Excerpts of both books are at the following links: Negi and Kotronias.

Let’s start with Negi on 1.e4 – it’s the immensely strong repertoire of a young Super-GM who is noted for his opening prowess. For a huge opening book (600 pages) it is highly readable, as Negi seems an “ideas man” rather than merely moves-moves-moves.

Kotronias on the Sveshnikov is also a dream ticket – one of the world’s leading theory experts on one of Black’s most feared Sicilian systems. It seems no one has anything with White against the Sveshnikov (that will be a challenge for Negi later). So add this line to your repertoire and frighten White into the sidelines.

Forward Chess are preparing both books and will likely have their versions ready before us. I believe the Negi book is already there. So if you haven’t checked out the Forward Chess app before, then now would be a great time to start.

The Secret Life of Bad Bishops by Esben Lund is also on the way (from a different printer) but I will introduce that one separately later.

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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.

8.Bxf5
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.

8…exf5
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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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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The Classical Slav – covering the missing line

March 24th, 2014 5 comments

As I mentioned in a previous post, we failed to cover a line of the Exchange Variation in The Classical Slav. If you click on the following pdf link, you will find analysis by GM Boris Avrukh which fills the gap.

We shall also include this update in pgn form in our next newsletter. This is our standard policy when we spot errors and omissions, perhaps especially in repertoire books – mention the problem and make the solution freely and widely available.

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Failure to read

March 10th, 2014 45 comments

 

When editing a chess book, it is important to consider all significant sources. When working on The Classical Slav I forgot to consider an important book: Playing the Semi-Slav by David Vigorito. So even though the new Slav book is still great (in my biased view) it could have been even better. So my apologies to Dave, Boris and the readers.
 
But how was I supposed to know a book called Playing the Semi-Slav contained analysis relevant to the Classical Slav? It is not as though Playing the Semi-Slav was published by Quality Chess and edited by me. Oh wait…
 
We will put up a blog post and newsletter updating what was missed, including one line in the Exchange Variation, which is commonly played even though not a critical test of the Slav.

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A vision for 2012

March 26th, 2012 306 comments

I feel bullied and pushed into publishing an updated publishing schedule. As you will see it is rather full and we are very busy. So for now I will leave it at that.

Lars Schandorff Playing 1.d4 – GM Guide – The Queen’s Gambit May
Lars Schandorff Playing 1.d4 – GM Guide – The Indian Defences May
Artur Yusupov Chess Evolution 2 May/June
John Shaw The King’s Gambit May/June
Boris Avrukh GM Repertoire X – Beating 1.d4 Sidelines June/July
Jacob Aagaard Attacking Manual 1 – German June/July
Ftacnik GM6a – Dealing with Anti–Sicilians July
Ftacnik GM6b – The Najdorf July
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – GM Guide – Caro–Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines July
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – GM Guide II – The Sicilian & The French July
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Calculation (Hardcover) May/June
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Positional Play (Hardcover) June/July
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Strategic Play (Hardcover) July/August
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Endgame Play (Hardcover) September
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Thinking Inside the Box (Hardcover) October
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Calculation October
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Positional Play October
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Strategic Play October
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Endgame Play October
Jacob Aagaard GM Preparation – Thinking Inside the Box October
Jacob Aagaard Attacking Manual 2 – German September
Judit Polgar Judit Polgar Teaches Chess 1 – How I Beat Fischer’s Record September
Romanovsky Soviet Middlegame Technique October
Artur Yusupov Chess Evolution 3 November
Victor Mikhalevski GM Repertoire – The Open Spanish LATER
Tibor Karolyi Mikhail Tal’s best games 1 LATER
Jacob Aagaard GM Repertoire x1 – 1.e4 – Sicilian LATER
Marc Esserman Mayhem in the Morra LATER
Nikos (w/Jacob Aagaard) Playing the French LATER
Nick Pert GM Repertoire X – Classical Slav LATER
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