Archive for February, 2013

Blowing up the whale (free interpretation)

February 25th, 2013 125 comments

Last time I came with a publishing schedule, I felt rather risky when I put in the 14th March as the publication date for three of our books. In the end this was a combination of blind optimism in both our own abilities to finish the books in time, as well as the printer to have a slot and be willing to put 3000 copies of Strategic Play together in only two weeks.

I was wrong. The correct publishing date is the 15th of March, not the 14th! I simply did not manage to read the calendar correctly. The moral of the story is probably something along the lines of: you can work out all the angles on all the factors you take into account; but if you rule out your own stupidity, you will never be right.

As some of you will probably notice, Colin will put a few extra front covers in the Coming Soon box, but not allow you to order them just yet. It is not that we do not want your money; we just prefer to ask for it when we know when we can deliver the product! Those who bought the King’s Gambit in 2008 will know what I mean!

Talking about the King’s Gambit: Maybe the 800 pages projection is a bit over the top. It seems that it will only be 700 pages or so. The reason for this is that we have used a slightly smaller font size than usually. Our books have been in size 10.5 since 2008, but the King’s Gambit, to save the environment, will use size 10 as most other publishers and as we did until 2008.

Peter Romanovsky Soviet Middlegame Technique 15 March
Marian Petrov GM Rep 12 – Modern Benoni 15 March
Jacob Aagaard GM Prep – Strategic Play 15 March
John Shaw The King’s Gambit April
Ntirlis/Aagaard Playing the French April
Danny Gormally Mating the Castled King April
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A GM Guide – Sicilian & French May
Vassilios Kotronias Kotronias on the King’s Indian – Fianchetto May
Ftacnik (Aagaard) GM6a – Beating the Anti-Sicilians June
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines June
Axel Smith Pump Up Your Rating June
Emanuel Berg GM Rep x1 – The French Defence Winawer July
Jacob Aagaard GM Prep – Endgame Play July
Tibor Karolyi Mikhail Tal’s best games 1 July
Richard Pert Playing the Trompowsky – An Attacking Rep July
Emanuel Berg GM Rep x2 – The French Defence September
Ftacnik (Aagaard) GM6b – The Najdorf September
Jacob Aagaard GM Prep – Attack and Defence September
Judit Polgar From GM to Top Ten – Judit Polgar 2 October
Jacob Aagaard GM Prep – Thinking Inside the Box December
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The Most Difficult Book

February 22nd, 2013 38 comments

We have just uploaded Grandmaster Preparation – Strategic Play to the printer. Excerpts and so on will follow next week. They have told us that they should be in time for the books to be available in our warehouse on the 14th of March.

This is by far the most difficult book I have written, both for the reader and the author. I am so empty right now that I have no feeling if this is a good book or not. I just hope you guys will like it.

I want to thank Sabino, Marina, Boris, Surya, John, Colin and Andrew for their help with this book. I did not put this inside the book, but I am truly very grateful. Especially to Surya, who annotated five games for the foreword, showing that he does understand chess to a much higher level than could have been misconstrued from the game we played in Politiken Cup 2010, annotated in Positional Play.


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The weekend

February 11th, 2013 4 comments

I was in Denmark training seniors and amateurs over the weekend. I promised to put a link to a short Danish text here on the blog. For those less prone to Danish or reading in general, here is Andrew in action (struggling second from the right) in the weekend. (Some German won…)

2013 kettlebell



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Nessie struggling in the net!

February 6th, 2013 257 comments

John is a bit moody these days. Suddenly it is “two weeks till the end of the King’s Gambit”, then it is “this bloody book will never die!” the truth is somewhere inbetween. It is clearly a race; will John complete the book in this lifetime?

Anyway, we have asked the printer for a quote for 800 pages. Please tell us that you will buy it, or better yet, actually buy it! We have also revised our publishing schedule ever so slightly:

Peter Romanovsky Soviet Middlegame Technique 14 March
Marian Petrov GM Repertoire 12 – Modern Benoni 14 March
Jacob Aagaard Grandmaster Preparation – Strategic Play 14 March
John Shaw The King’s Gambit April
Nikos Ntirlis/Jacob Aagaard Playing the French April
Danny Gormally Mating the Castled King April
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Sicilian & French May
Vassilios Kotronias Kotronias on the King’s Indian – g3 Systems May
Ftacnik (Aagaard) GM6a – Beating the Anti-Sicilians May
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines June
Emanuel Berg Grandmaster Repertoire x1 – The French Defence Winawer June

As always, these are just the books waiting just around the corner. A lot of books are waiting just under the surface, waiting to jump up like Nessie herself!

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My best ever review

February 6th, 2013 5 comments

Today in his always interesting column at ChessCafe, FM Carsten Hansen, gives what is probably my best ever review for Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation. It is not so much the six stars as well as some quotable sentences that make me so happy. But rather a few other facts:

* Carsten is not generally a Quality Chess devotee, although he is by no means hostile either. For example: Boris Avrukh’s GM11 got 5/6 stars, while other books got 6/6 in the same column. To me Boris is the best author of opening books there is – and this is his best book! So fair and positive when we deserve it, but maybe with more of a taste for typical Everyman books!?

* Carsten and I played a few times from 1989 to 1991 in Denmark. I think it was three draws, the first of them a blitz game. To say that we did not click back then is accurate, but these days we have an occasional pleasant exchange of e-mails. The main reason I bring this up is the simple truth that a prophet is never appreciated in his home town. It has taken almsot a decade longer to gain a reputation with people of my own generation in Denmark, compared to with the rest of the world. That I have won Carsten over completely is therefore a big victory for me.

* Finally – and this is really the most important thing by a mile for me. The review clearly shows that Carsten has worked with the book and found it to be exactly as I intended it to be. For a writer this is always the dream; for the reader to understand his book exactly and to appreciate it. When this reader is a critic, well, it is home run!

Carsten did bring up one interesting point in his review:

“My only criticism of this book is a fairly simple one, and one that I have with most other books that have test positions or puzzles to solve. I do not understand why the test positions have to have the players names listed. Strong players will likely recognize the positions based on the name references and thus know the solutions.”

Andrew and I are in first this morning and debated it a bit. In the end we agreed that it came down to a choice.

On the one side there is Carsten’s, on the other side my point of view:

* For people who like name indexes, it is nice to be sent to the positions as well as the solutions.

* It is not very likely that a strong player will recognise the position through the names and not through the position itself. And if he does, he would not necessarily know the right move.

* If you recognise a game position, this does not mean that you know what the best move is. I have a taste for positions where good players made mistakes. I like it when the amateur does better than the world class player. I recently sent a position (without names) to a few very strong players. They all said they knew the game, but none of them found the right move! Actually, learning to think even when you have some recognition of the position is something I want my students to develop.

* I think it looks better!

So, in the end we have possible negative and positives in both directions. I like my choice, Andrew was more undecided – but then he hardly ever change a point of view!

If you don’t want to read all of the view, here is the conclusion:

“Studying Grandmaster Preparation: Calculation carefully will make you a much stronger player, open your eyes to new possibilities, allow you to immerse yourself into positions from completely different angles, and see possibilities that would have surprised you before. This book teaches your mind to think differently and solve complicated task; provided you have taken the time to work your way through this book. It is written for strong players and those who are serious about improving their chess understanding and their ability to calculate accurately. To benefit from this book you should probably be rated at least 2000. Nevertheless, there is really no limit to how strong you can be to benefit from studying the material.”

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