Archive for March, 2012

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
Categories: GM Repertoire, Publishing Schedule Tags:

Quality Chess Newsletter – books, analysis and authors in action

March 22nd, 2012 27 comments

Dear Quality Chess Reader,

We have two new books on the way – both would be aptly described as instructive and entertaining.

The title of Mihai Suba’s book is Positional Chess Sacrifices and that describes the lively content well – the Romanian GM has won the British Chess Federation’s Book of the Year prize for a previous book and we hope this one will be equally well received.

The Alterman Gambit Guide – Black Gambits 2 completes GM Boris Alterman’s 3-volume instructional series. Black Gambits 2 covers and explains various gambits that Black can unleash after 1.e4 e5. Lines covered include the Marshall Attack, Traxler variation and even the splendidly named Frankenstein-Dracula variation.

Both books will be sent from Quality Chess on the 16th of April, so shops will have them from the 17th and 18th.

Quality Chess has a new British Champion in our ranks – GM Colin McNab is the British Solving Champion. In second and third place were grandmasters Jonathan Mestel and John Nunn, who are both former World Champions in solving. A true-but-sounds-false story is that one of Colin’s first contributions to Quality Chess, while proofreading, was spotting a mate-in-one the editors had overlooked – presumably this was not much of a challenge for Colin.

Readers may be interested to follow some of our authors who are in action over-the-board. The immensely strong European Individual Championship features almost 200 GMs including “our” Vassilios Kotronias, Sabino Brunello, Matthieu Cornette and Mihail Marin.

At the end of this month Jacob will compete in the Danish Championship.

The chess file this month (pgn and pdf) contains analysis of topical openings, as usual, but also a couple of mind-bending puzzles from Colin’s solving victory.

John Shaw
Chief Editor
Quality Chess

Categories: Authors in Action, Newsletter Tags:

Thank you ChessPub for your support

March 16th, 2012 59 comments

For the third year in a row a Quality Chess book was awarded the Opening Book of the Year honour by the good people roaming the ChessPub forum. In 2009 Marin won it for Grandmaster Repertoire 3 – The English Opening Volume 1. In 2010 Boris Avrukh won it for Grandmaster Repertoire 2 – 1.d4 volume 2. This year it is Avrukh again, taking in most votes for Grandmaster Repertoire 8 and Grandmaster Repertoire 9 – his two volumes on the Grunfeld Defence.

The votes fell line this.

Obviously I am disappointed that people did not give it to the Tarrasch, but this is the price for writing on a fringe opening. Also, note that another great opening book from 2011 – The Safest Grunfeld from Chess Stars is not on the list. Exactly why that is, I do not know. I am sure Boris would have won anyway, but it would have been nice if it had been included.

You can find the forum post here.

Categories: GM Repertoire, Prizes Tags:

The difficulties of writing a chess book part 2

March 5th, 2012 45 comments

I spent almost eight years writing the Attacking Manuals two books (AM1 and AM2) and felt absolutely drained at the end of the process. Obviously I did a lot of things in the meanwhile, but mainly I felt anxiety about my ability to reach the necessary level for making these books as good as I wanted them to be. Completing the GM title and becoming British Champion definitely helped. 2007 was a very tough year for Quality Chess and for me personally, but ended on a high by the birth of my first child.

We are now speaking more than four years later. Attacking Manual 2 came out in 2010 and I won the ECF book of the year award for the two volumes combined. In the end it was all worth it.

Enter the room in February 2011: Nikos (Nikolaos Ntirlis). Unknown outside Greece and to many Greeks as well, close to unrated (would have preferred to be) and full of ideas. I was so fascinated that I entered a mad project – the complete revival of the Tarrasch Defence. The result was Grandmaster Repertoire 10 – The Tarrasch Defence. We both worked so hard that Nikos went from criticising all books on the Chesspub forum to praising anyone who write an opening book and live to tell the tale!

But was it worth it? Well, initial sales have been good. People are interested (which is far more important to us than money – though we need to pay the rent of course). This is more important than the reviews, but the reviews are easier to pass on, so here we go:

The first one is from the Danish newspaper Politiken. Their chess journalist is a sometimes 2600 Danish GM who sent a private message to me on Facebook calling me insane – based on the work we had done with the book. He claimed we were making amateurs into GMs with it, which I would contest. But we have definitely given them a fighting chance against GMs!

The actual review looks like this in my translation:

“Most opening books are a collection of existing knowledge and a few extra ideas in critical positions. This is not the case with Jacob Aagaard’s and Nikolaos Ntirlis’ (called Nikos) new book on the Tarrasch Defence in the Queen’s Gambit. The book is the result of a large piece of research where the two authors have succeeded in turning completely new pages in opening theory.

Before The Tarrasch Defence was published the opening was considered dubious, but now that it is here, all super-GMs have been recalled to the laboratory. All main lines have been repaired, including those no one knew were broken. Have a look: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.dxc5! This line has always been considered completely harmless, but it is not and is handled over 37 pages! (Don’t fear – Black will be all right in the end.) The book is ground breaking and sets new standards for the future of opening books.”

GM Sune Berg Hansen

This is of course very flattering, but it is not necessarily the most positive review we have received. The German FM Christof Sielecki makes youtube lectures, freely available. He said:

The authors invested an enormous amount of time. The amount of novelties and really astonishing ideas presented here can only mean that they invested hundreds of hours to make this an interesting and really fighting choice.

But to get his excitement you really need to listen to the 30 minute lecture (which also explains some details from the book and some we shamefully omitted about move orders).

There was also a nice review in German (you are one like away if you go here) and a nice review on ChessCafe where the only criticism I could find (and you do look for them when you “only” get 5/6 in the review!) was that the book was irrelevant to players under 1400. As most opening books are, I don’t really care for this.

However, the best review of all was from Arne Moll, the notoriously harsh ChessVibes reviewer (which is why we love him. People like Elburg that loves all books are nice people, but don’t guide the customer in a meaningful way, we think). He said among other tings:

The two authors… present so many fresh and fascinating ideas in this old opening that it’s impossible to put down. It’s also a very objective and sensible book, in which the old opening is both treated with respect and is challenged to defend itself against computer-age scrutiny and rigour.

I could go on and on about the many beautiful variations in this book, but the truth is that it is crammed with fantastic stuff – really too much to mention in one review. So let me just say that the authors treat the ever-important Timman Variation (9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Bg5 d4 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Nd5) with due adoration and skepticism (I’ve always felt the line to be both overestimated and underestimated at the same time!). Here, too, they improve existing theory as they go along in many crucial lines.

The full review is very well written and gives an honest image of our book from someone who likes it. If you are wondering if you want to read the book (or even pay good money for it!) please read this first.

Categories: GM Repertoire, Reviews Tags: