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Carsten Hensel on the Perpetual Chess Podcast

November 14th, 2018 9 comments

Today we release the English translation of Carsten Hensel’s book: Vladimir Kramnik: The Inside Story of a Chess Genius. This is really a remarkable book, which has already gained attention in German for its descriptions of the tumultuous years 2005-2006 in the Chess World. But of course it covers much more.

The book is not objective, it takes sides, but what else would you expect of Kramnik’s former manager?

Of other points, we should say that Kramnik contributed greatly to the book by talking about key games and about all the other World Champions in detail.

Although this is a translation, we approached the book like we would any other project and did a thorough fact check and assisted the author in bringing his vision to the readers in the strongest possible way.

Now it is the marketing stage of course, which includes sending out review copies and getting people to talk about the book. A part of this has been to organise an interview with Carsten by Ben Johnson of the Perpetual Chess Podcast. It is Podcast no. 100 no less! The Interview is available here.

 

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GM Matthew Sadler book reviews in NIC

July 27th, 2018 18 comments

The always excellent New in Chess magazine arrived in our office yesterday, with another batch of reviews by GM Matthew Sadler. Three of them were about Quality Chess books.

Small Steps to Great Improvement by Sam Shankland

5/5 Stars “A beautifully produced hardback… Shankland wins me over by illustrating these guidelines beautifully… All in all, an excellent, original book.”

Under the Surface by Jan Markos

5/5 Stars “An incredibly creative book… Markos has a host of original ideas about all sorts of chess topics and a wonderfully witty and enthusiastic way of bringing them across… another fantastic book from Quality Chess!”

Playing 1.e4 e5 by Nikolaos Ntirlis

4/5 Stars “It’s probably pretty much the ideal repertoire for a player wanting to take up 1.e4 e5 without having to learn the whole world! … Ntirlis does his normal thorough, creative job.”

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The Internet discerns Jacob’s taste…

March 5th, 2018 9 comments

These algorithms online really know me. A guitar tool, a great chess book and how to play Black Sabbath…

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The Appendix is just an add-on!

January 15th, 2018 25 comments

Those who have read Thinking Inside the Box may have noticed that there are a few pages in the end where I make the case for following a plant based diet. This is sometimes known as a vegan diet, but there is a substantial difference, as veganism is about ending animal cruelty, which I am all for, but which is not why I prefer a plant based diet.

I am convinced that following a plant based diet will improve your health and in turn your chess playing ability and make a brief case in the book. I am also convinced that working on your calculation is much more important. In 2012 we had a World Championship match between two slightly chubby men in their 40s. Athletic ability is not essential for playing good chess, even if extra energy will certainly be useful at times too. Read more…

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Critical Moments – two opposing definitions

July 11th, 2017 77 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…

How to train without a coach? – By GM Adhiban

February 16th, 2017 25 comments

The answer to the above questions is surely books and DVDs. However, with this huge wealth of material out there, it is easy to be completely confused. It is difficult to pinpoint on only one book, because different people at different levels have different requirements. However, I would like to tell you the story that happened with me yesterday:

Read more…

Matthew Sadler reviews (part 2)

February 6th, 2017 24 comments

Last week I put up a post referring to a positive review of Victor Mikhalevski’s Beating Minor Openings from GM Matthew Sadler in New In Chess magazine. In this follow-up post, we can proudly reveal that King’s Indian Warfare, by Ilya Smirin, received even higher praise, with Sadler going so far as to call it his ‘Book of the Year’ for 2016!

As you can imagine, the entire review is something of which we as the publisher, and especially Ilya as the author, can feel proud, and I wish I could quote the whole thing! However, the following snippets of Sadler’s review should be enough to give the general picture:

“… a truly fantastic book.”

“Any player looking to take up the King’s Indian should have this book thrust into his hands before he learns a single line of theory!”

“Smirin’s comments are a perfect balance of analysis and general advice”

The review also included a couple of game fragments taken from the ‘Kamikaze Rooks’ chapter. I smiled when reading Sadler’s preamble to this section, where he asks:

“Which lunatic would come up with these manoeuvres?”

Obviously we are delighted that the book has received such high praise; and we hope readers will find it the perfect companion to Kotronias’s epic King’s Indian repertoire series (the last of which I’m currently editing), with one author providing the creative inspiration and the other the theoretical recommendations.

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Matthew Sadler reviews (part 1)

February 1st, 2017 23 comments

We were pleased to see a couple of positive reviews from the formidable English GM in New In Chess magazine.

First up was Beating Minor Openings by Victor Mikhalevski (awarded 4/5 stars by Sadler). A few quotes:

“The scope of the book is amazing.”

“Mikhalevski has clearly put a massive effort into this work and I can recommend it unreservedly to anyone looking for guidance against an oft neglected part of the repertory.”

“Just a couple of quibbles held me back from giving it the full five stars.”

The quibbles Sadler refers to are:
a) he considers some of the recommended lines to be less-than-ideal choices in terms of yielding winning chances against a weaker opponent; and
b) he would prefer if chess authors (not just Mikhalevski) would make it clearer which of their recommended lines are the product of engine analysis.

The second of these is an interesting observation on what is something of a grey area, as every line in a good opening book will have been computer-checked to some degree. Still, it’s something we will consider for future books. In any case, we were happy to see the generally positive review along with Sadler’s conclusion that “It’s an excellent book”!

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