Archive for July, 2012

Schandorff vs. Dreev

July 30th, 2012 87 comments

Ok. Lars is actually playing Malakhov, but I will try to play like Lars against Dreev. Wish me well.

Categories: Authors in Action Tags:

Persona non grata

July 25th, 2012 14 comments

In 2007 I won the British Championship in my best ever performance. I was representing Scotland at the time. In 2008 I was ignored for a long time by the organisers (3-4 months) before eventually offered a dormitary room with toilet in the hall. At that time I had become a GM. About half of the cash prizes were going to English players only. As you can guess the tournament was organised by the ECF. In 2009 the ECF officially only gave conditions (those glorious dormitary rooms!?) to English players.

As a result no Scottish GM has played in the British since 2007. In 2004-2006 Jonathan Rowson won the British (and Keti a lot of the Women’s title).

What did the Scottish Federation do to fight for the players?

You got that right. ZIP-ZERO.

So when the Danish Championship was announced to be in Hillerod in 2010, I decided to change back. Not with the intention to play for the national team (I was eventually worn down, but that is another story), but to go back to Nordsjelland where I come from and represent my old club.

The reaction from the Scottish Federation was to ask for compensation for the fee for changing federation (which was not much, and which I paid half of back in 2005). I reminded them that I had donated £1000s to the federation through various events, only weeks prior to the Scottish Championship. They apologised. No hard feelings on that account, but it shows the line of thinking.

Jonathan Rowson no longer plays tournament chess, Keti went through an education and I am quitting tournament chess this year.

On the way out I managed to win the Scottish title. I could not win it in 2005 (8/9) because of lack of sufficient residency, even though the change of federation was already under way. I am very proud to be Scottish Champion (like everyone else in the office), I am a member for life of the Scottish Federation and I assume that my children will be members of the Scottish Federation.

You could mis-interpretate this as being anti-me or being narrow minded. I actually think it is anti-grandmasters. Over the years the GMs have found themselves under continuous attack in the Scottish Federation by people who do not understand just how much time and effort it has taken to reach this level. We are seen as an extension of the club champions, who for some mysterious reason is just a bit better than everyone else – not as hard-working serious sportsmen who have given up a big part of our working lives to reach this level.

Having said that, I do think a proposal of the “Scottish Champion have to be a member of FIDE through the Scottish Federation” makes sense. I do take it personally that it is proposed a week after I win the title, even though it is certainly not intended to be so. I do like the mind such an insular policy fits the narrow mindedness I have often found on the Scottish Federations noticeboard. But more importantly it simply does not make sense that the Scottish Champion does not represent Scotland.

Oh yeah, on the way home from the Scottish I misplaced the trophy. I am very sorry. I hope it was insured.

(I would have put this on the Federations Noticeboard, but none of us in the office can get on it).


Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

The Boleslavsky Medal for Best Author

July 24th, 2012 6 comments


FIDE, the World Chess Federation, has just announced the results of their Trainer Awards for 2011. There are awards for best trainer in various categories, but the category that interests us most is the Boleslavsky Medal for Best Author. This year it was won by Jacob Aagaard. So well done Jacob. And well done us.

In recent days Jacob has become Scottish Champion and won the Boleslavsky Medal. Such things normally come in threes. What next? I will note that the Olympics start in a few days…

Categories: Authors in Action, Prizes Tags:

Quality Chess Newsletter – two new books and a new hardcover

July 23rd, 2012 14 comments

Dear Quality Chess Reader,

We have recently published a couple of new books.

Mayhem in the Morra by Marc Esserman offers a lively anti-Sicilian repertoire with 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3. But that can’t be sound, can it? That was my view when Marc suggested we publish his book, but the enthusiastic American IM convinced me he had refuted all Black’s alleged refutations. The world’s leading Morra expert reveals all his secrets in a wild and funny style.

Playing 1.d4 – The Queen’s Gambit by Lars Schandorff is the first half of an ambitious two-volume repertoire for White with 1.d4. The core of the repertoire from the first edition, published in 2009, is retained, but a multitude of details have been updated and improved within the lines. To quote GM Boris Avrukh, “Lars, I want to play your book.”

Another new offering is an existing book in a different format. It is the long-awaited hardcover edition of Grandmaster Repertoire 3: The English Opening Volume 1 by Mihail Marin. For years various readers have complained to me that their bookshelf looks “all wrong” with a perfect row of hardcover GM Repertoires spoiled by the missing GM3. Now this flaw can be remedied. We have set the price at just the same as the paperback version.

The chess file (in pgn or pdf) mainly consists of games we annotated for the Greek Team Championship website. If you do not understand Greek, then that link may be less useful than our pgn and pdf files, which we have left in English.

John Shaw
Chief Editor
Quality Chess

Categories: Newsletter Tags:

GM Aveskulov knows best

July 23rd, 2012 6 comments

I have to admit that I had no knowledge about GM Aveskulov from Ukraine until today. Nikos came across this quote which was very flattering:

Strongest chess players in their interviews emphasize on the importance of the openings in the modern chess. This matter is so crucial on the top level that up to 100% of their chess trainings are dedicated to preparing of openings variations. All other aspects of the chess mastership (such as: strategic understanding, endgames, studying of classical games etc.) were supposed to be studied at the beginning of their chess carriers. Now, only openings, openings, openings…
But these talks are about top players. What should do less experienced players who just at his/her start? Of course importance of openings knowledge is not so huge there. Even if they get winning position from the very opening it does not mean he/she will win this game. That’s why I am strongly convinced that players up to level 2400-2500 should not sacrifice all their chess time only for openings. Books by Nimzowitsch, Dvoretsky, Aagaard, Alekhine and many many others could be (and should be) studied. As well, mastership of analysis is a good key for long-lasting REAL improvement.
But this idea does not mean that you should for­get about openings trainings absolutely.

Grandmaster Valeriy Aveskulov on

Having worked a bit with 2600+ players on Strategy and provided calculation exercises for some players much stronger than that, I would say that the 100% should maybe be 80-90% to achieve the best results…

Categories: Authors in Action Tags:

Scottish Champion 2012

July 16th, 2012 50 comments

Is me!

I went into the event as 9th seed and highest rated Scottish resident. Having not defeated a GM for two years, I did two in the final two days to end shared 1st to 5th and claim the trophy, the cheque and 11 rating points (all won on those last two days). Some of the games from the event can be found in the August newsletter, but first we need to put the final touches to the April-July Newsletter, which might be out tomorrow!

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Morra and Playing 1.d4 to be published

July 4th, 2012 142 comments

Here is an updated publishing schedule:

Marc Esserman Mayhem in the Morra NOW
Lars Schandorff Playing 1.d4 – A Grandmaster Guide – The Queen’s Gambit NOW
Lars Schandorff Playing 1.d4 – A Grandmaster Guide – The Indian Defences August
Jacob Aagaard Grandmaster Preparation – Positional Play (Hardback) August/September
Boris Avrukh Grandmaster Repertoire 11 – Beating 1.d4 Sidelines August/September
John Shaw The King’s Gambit September
Judit Polgar Judit Polgar Teaches Chess 1 – How I Beat Fischer’s Record September
Jacob Aagaard Attacking Manual 1 – German September
Jacob Aagaard Attacking Manual 2 – German September
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Sicilian & French October/November
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines October/November
Ntirlis/Aagaard Playing the French October/November
Tibor Karolyi Mikhail Tal’s best games 1 November/December
Artur Yusupov Chess Evolution 3 November
Jacob Aagaard Grandmaster Preparation 3-5 (Hardback) Later
Marian Petrov GM Repertoire – Modern Benoni Later
Ftacnik GM6a Later
Ftacnik GM6b Later
Romanovsky Soviet Middlegame Technique Later
Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Football Quiz

July 1st, 2012 1 comment

A friend of mine organises a football quiz every 2 years and asks for a few participants. This time three of us in the office spent about 2 minutes plotting 14 answers to 14 random questions. Out of about 50 participants I was leading about half way, but things changed, until there was a surprise winner on the final day, picking up a sensational 50 points, winning with 119 points in total: Colin McNab!

See the result here:

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