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World Cup Quiz Winners

October 19th, 2015 4 comments

It has been a couple of weeks since the World Cup finished in Baku, which also meant that we had reached the end of the road for our World Cup Quiz. Roughly 20 contestants made it through the initial qualifying questions, and there were several still on the same score by the time the semi-finals had finished. It transpired that nobody had guessed Karjakin or Svidler to win (thus landing a 3-pointer at the buzzer), so we contacted the highest scorers to make a further prediction on the final as a tiebreaker. When the dust settled on the rapid play matches we still had 2 contestants standing and, although probably not quite as exhausted as Svidler and Karjakin themselves, we decided that it would be unfair to find further ways to whittle it down to one winner.

Therefore I am happy to announce that the joint winners of our 2015 World Cup Quiz were Marija Čačić of Croatia and Lucas Van Foreest of the Netherlands. They have both kindly sent a picture of their prize… Read more…

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ECF Book of Year is won by… Boris Gelfand

October 7th, 2015 34 comments

Gelfand 1_Badge OUTL A-W.indd

We mentioned a few weeks ago that two Quality Chess books reached the shortlist of four for the ECF Book of the Year prize. Mauricio Flores Rios made the shortlist alongside Garry Kasparov and Joel Benjamin, but it was Boris Gelfand’s Positional Decision Making in Chess which won the prize. So congratulations to Boris and Jacob, commiserations to Mauricio.

The judges’ full comments can be read here but a few highlights were:

“A fascinating insight into how the chess mind of a great player works… Gelfand comes over as modest but confident in his abilities, with tremendous ability, experience and knowledge. But despite all this, even he sometimes finds chess a difficult game, which gives comfort to us all.”

This is the fourth Quality Chess winner of the ECF prize:

2007: San Luis 2005 – Gershon & Nor
2010: Attacking Manual 1&2 – Jacob Aagaard
2013: How I Beat Fischer’s Record – Judit Polgar
2015: Positional Decision Making in Chess – Boris Gelfand

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World Cup Quiz – The Survivors

September 23rd, 2015 18 comments

Our World Cup Quiz (previous instalments here and here) attracted almost 200 entrants, but you may recall there were three qualifying questions to narrow the field:

A: What will the most common opening move be in round 1: 1.e4 or 1.d4 or neither?
B: Which of these home players will go further: Mamedov or Safarli?
C: Which opening will be more common in round 3: Najdorf or Catalan?

In the previous instalment we knew two of the correct answers. Now we know all three: 1.e4, Mamedov and Najdorf.

21 contestants survived the cull. I won’t name names, but in chess terms they range from unrated to mid-2400s. Which of them will be our champion? Too early to say.

There were several GM entrants, but they all fell, usually due to their faith in 1.d4.

A hypothetical question: Should World Cup competitors be allowed to enter our World Cup Quiz? I would say “Yes”, but since they both crashed out of our quiz in the qualifying round, we’ll say it’s hypothetical.

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Two out of four…

September 18th, 2015 9 comments

A few weeks back (as we assume you have noticed) the English Chess Federation released their shortlist of nominees for book of the year (going from 1st August 2014 to 31st July 2015). Each publisher is allowed to send two books to the judges. A shortlist of four books is then announced.

Both books we put forward this year were shortlisted. Here is what the judges had to say:

Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide
Mauricio Flores Rios | Quality Chess pp464 £21.95

“The book was ‘born out of my desire to guide players who, like me, struggle to apply their strategic knowledge to a practical game’. Rios shows exceptional clarity of organisation and selection of (nearly all contemporary) illustrative games. Each of the 140 games starts with ‘Learning Objective’ and concludes with ’Final Remarks’. In all, ‘28’ chess structures are covered and the book finishes with 50 exercises. It is hard to imagine any student not learning from this book; but the problems of using this knowledge over the board, even for a world-class player, are discussed in the Gelfand book below.”

Positional Decision Making in Chess
Boris Gelfand | Quality Chess pp284 £23.99

“This remarkable book, written in collaboration with Jacob Aagaard, is an attempt to show how a world-class player (there are few with Gelfand’s extensive top-level experience) thinks during the course of a game. As the title suggests, the games selected concentrate on aspects of positional play such as space advantage or the squeeze. Very interestingly, Gelfand admits to being strongly influenced by Akiba Rubinstein, a great player in the first half of the 20th century; a number of Rubinstein’s games are included. Throughout, Gelfand is very honest about his thoughts and recollections during the games presented. As a result the book is a fascinating insight into the mind of a great chess player at work.”

Quality Chess has previously won the ECF Book of the Year award with:

2007: San Luis 2005 – Gershon & Nor
2010: Attacking Manual 1&2 – Jacob Aagaard
2013: How I Beat Fischer’s Record – Judit Polgar

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World Cup Quiz – Round 1 update

September 14th, 2015 5 comments

The eagerly anticipated World Cup began in Baku on Friday afternoon, and the chess community can undoubtedly look forward to over three weeks of high quality competition and drama.

For Quality Chess aficionados, however, there was much more than a World Cup at stake. Just as the first turn is often the most exciting part of a Formula 1 Grand Prix, our readers were glued to the initial 10 seconds of action to see which opening move would prevail. It transpires that players choosing the closed games simply have too many fiddly move order options available to them, while if you want to play 1.e4 you tend to just play 1.e4. In the end the result was fairly decisive, with 1.e4 streaking to a 6 point lead after round 1.1 and holding on comfortably in the return leg.

Read more…

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World Cup Competition

September 8th, 2015 65 comments

Quality Chess will send a box of 20 books to your home, wherever in the world that may be. 10 of them chosen by you, 10 of them chosen by us. All you have to do is to predict some results in the World Cup. We will contact the winner once the World Cup is over and organize the shipment of the prize.

Hurdle Questions: In order for us to quickly reduce the number of emails to check, only participants who get the three initial questions right will proceed to the second round of scoring. The points scored here will count in the second round (unless otherwise stated, a correct answer is worth one point).

A: What will the most common opening move be in round 1 (excluding playoffs): 1.e4 or 1.d4 or neither?

B: Which of these home players will go further: Rauf Mamedov or Eltaj Safarli? (if knocked out at same stage then which one has played more moves is the tiebreak)

C: Which opening will be more common in round 3 (excluding playoffs)? Najdorf or Catalan or tie?

Main Competition Questions:

Read more…

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Judit Polgar 2nd Volume Name Change!?

May 5th, 2014 3 comments

I am wondering if we should call FROM GM TO TOP TEN for From GM to Queen of the Castle! Congratulations to Judit and Mihail; I hear they are opening the champagne bottle tonight!

Anyway, Quality Chess continues its reign, holding on to all of the top awards: ACP, ECF, ChessCafe and Chess Publishing. The only major award we do not currently hold is FIDE’s Boleslavsky award, which can only be won by registered chess trainers and where the competition is lower. We also have a lot of respect for the Guardian Award, but alas, we do not currently hold it as far as I know :-).

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Various

March 7th, 2014 34 comments

Yesterday I finished the last chapter for Endgame Play. As usual when finishing a book, I feel empty, ill and slightly beside myself. There is more work to do, of course, but the difficult (read: brain in active mode) part of the work is done.

I am considering updating my laptop. Any advice on a good one for chess purposes? Money is an issue (donations welcome), but I am really looking for a good one.

We have banned a person from commenting on our blog for the first time ever this week. Not only was he trolling John and myself, he was also becoming a nuisance for everyone else. We are hoping that we will not have to do this again for a long time; not the least because it is time consuming to have to block his repeated attempts to get around the block.

Some wrote on the blog that Quality Chess and especially I had done great service to chess. I understand where this comes from, but find it rather unfair to John. He has personally edited most of our top books: Learn from the Legends, GM1, How I Beat Fischer’s Record, Attacking Manual 1, Pump up your Rating, Tiger’s Modern and so on. Besides this, he just won the Chess Publishing book of the year for The King’s Gambit, despite a vicious campaign against him. John and I have always been 50-50, though I think he is putting in more work and creating more value than I.

Besides this, John is my boss! He has the final say on everything, as we believe someone has to have this power.

Andrew Greet has also contributed greatly over the years. His work with Tibor Karolyi’s books as well as Berg, Kotronias, Mikhalevski, Attacking Manual 2, various GM Repertoire books and so on, should not be underestimated.

Our other employees, Colin, Claire, Nikos and Danny have to be content with praise in private.

Next up for me is some pre-editing on the Grivas book, the Sveshnikov Sicilian and then maybe a chess tournament!?

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