Archive for November, 2014

The Modern Tiger

November 26th, 2014 10 comments

Here’s a snippet from The Modern Tiger, which will be available soon. The position is taken from the new chapter covering the Pirc as a back-up weapon against the Austrian. The following position is reached in analysis. Can you find a strong continuation for Black?

Black to play

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Categories: GM Repertoire, Publishing Schedule Tags:

The Soviet Chess Primer

November 26th, 2014 14 comments

In The Soviet Chess Primer, by Ilya Maizelis, to be published on 10 December, the chapter on Combination includes a selection of little-known examples from Alekhine. You can test yourself on the following – White to play and win:

Alekhine – Amateur, Groningen (simul) 1933

White to move

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Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Three moments in the World Championship match that really mattered

November 24th, 2014 14 comments

Not surprisingly Magnus Carlsen defended his World Championship title. Apparently he was ill during a good deal of the match, but it still seems that he won without truly breaking sweat.

In my opinion both players had the same problem in this match. Carlsen did not truly believe that Anand was a threat and thus struggled to keep up motivation. Anand also did not think that he was a threat and for this reason he did not present one when he had the chance. In this way the match never really got as exciting to me as it could have.

In this article I want to present three moments where Anand performed worse than he could have.

Carlsen – Anand, Sochi (2) 09.11.2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.0–0 d6 6.Re1 0–0 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.h3 Re8 9.Nbd2 Nd7 10.Nc4 Bb6 11.a4 a5 12.Nxb6 cxb6 13.d4 Qc7

After achieving nothing from the opening Carlsen now sets up an attack on the kingside. It really should not be too difficult to deal with, but Anand loses without a fight.

14.Ra3 Nf8 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Nh4 Rd8

I doubt whether this improves Black’s position.

17.Qh5 f6 18.Nf5

A very important moment in the game. Anand played his next move quickly and never really recovered. As it is pretty obvious what White is trying to do, it would have made sense if he had a deep think here and decided how to deal with the attack.

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Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

Who wrote what?

November 21st, 2014 21 comments

When I write on this blog I try very hard to keep things professional, without making them dull. When I am on my Facebook account I will happily debate things freely, defend controversial points of view or defend dogmatic points of view for that sake, should I agree on them. (An interesting thing is that it is always with the second type of defence that you get into the really difficult discussions with people that are really passionate! It must be like that debating with me at times then!!)

Recently someone tried in private conversation to make a link between the two Worlds, somehow wanting to question the ethics of Quality Chess because of my general views of the moral stand on income tax and ethics in general (views that do not belong here!). The dig was that Quality Chess had somehow a low level of ethics because he felt that Lars Schandorff’s book on the Semi-Slav is being “ghost written”.

This leads to obvious inspiration regarding who writes what on a few projects.

Let us start with Playing the French. It is no secret and has never been a secret that this book is to a great extent written by Nikos, with me advising, helping in choosing lines, finding a few novelties (the best of which was unfortunately played in a Corr. Game before the book was finished) and looking over the finished book. It says as much in the foreword. Nikos did not feel confident enough for the book to have only his name on it. It is the main reason I allowed my name to appear on it. And then the fact that the book was great and I knew it would be great and that Nikos and I work together on openings all the time (that I work on openings). If the book had not been good, I would not have wanted myself associated with the book. As it was, I was centrally involved, just not as the main writer, and I did go over the rest of the book. And we were always very open on this structure of the work with everyone. In the foreword and on the blog.

The book was 2nd in the Chess Publishing Opening Book of the Year Vote.

The winner was another group project. John Shaw’s The King’s Gambit, the ultimate murder weapon (at least if you hit someone with the hardback version). John wrote at least 60% of the book. I wrote maybe 10% and Andrew maybe 25%+. John checked everything over and made sure he was happy with it. Had John been alone on this project the book would never have existed? Now it is a best seller.

Again, we were open about this.

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Obvious Moves

November 20th, 2014 15 comments

The following position is from a game of mine at the 4ncl last Saturday.

J. Shaw – J. Pitcher, England 2014

I have played a few decent moves to reach this position. I sacrificed a pawn (possibly temporarily) to free my wonder bishops. But my queen is under attack. So what should I play?

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Categories: Authors in Action, Fun Games Tags:

Publishing Schedule

November 19th, 2014 78 comments

We are coming close to finishing a lot of books at the same time currently, leading to a more optimistic and more precise than usual publishing schedule.

Obviously, with January publications, the general problem is that the printer is busy most of December with Christmas catalogues and other seasonal items that really cannot wait as much as a chess book can.

The Soviet Chess Primer and The Modern Tiger are both with the printers. Excerpts are available here: SCP and MT.

Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide will be typeset next week. When the printer will be able to print it, we will see. But hopefully before the New Year or at least as the first thing back from the Christmas Holidays.

We are far with the editing of the second volume of Negi’s series, which will be about 400 pages, I think and 1.e4 vs. The Sicilian Volume 1 will be by far the most complex book in the series. We are also more than half way in the editing of the two volumes from Vassilios Kotronias on the Mar del Plata variation of the King’s Indian.  These three books will be ready at the end of January or the start of February. It will be close.

The Hardback edition of Learn from the Legends will be done when someone needs a break or has finished something. It is a priority, but we gave up on the 10 years to the date idea some time ago. It just felt less important than bringing new books out. Some will disagree, others will be happy. But at least it is coming out and with a new chapter on Carlsen as well as some minor corrections all over the place.

The only thing that really has moved (as far as we are concerned) is the Gelfand book. Boris is playing the Mind Games event in China and it is just too tight with 2-3 days to get it done before then. Most of the book is written and edited and I am happy with the result. It has been very challenging to write this book (separate considerations revealed in a separate blog post in a few days’ time), but I am happy with how it is turning out.

The Semi-Slav is far advanced. A few things still need to be analysed deeply and finished. More on that in that piece as well.

All in all, we are working very hard, but the books coming out are better than we usually are able to make them. I am very happy with this list of coming books.

Ilya Maizelis The Soviet Chess Primer 10 Dec
Tiger Hillarp Persson The Modern Tiger 10 Dec
Mauricio Flores Rios Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide January
Parimarjan Negi Grandmaster Repertoire – 1.e4 vs The Sicilian I Jan/Feb
Vassilios Kotronias Kotronias on the King’s Indian – Vol 2 – Mar del Plata I Jan/Feb
Vassilios Kotronias Kotronias on the King’s Indian – Vol 3 – Mar del Plata II Jan/Feb
Mihail Marin Learn from the Legends – Hardback Edition Jan/Feb
Tigran Petrosian Python Strategy February
Boris Gelfand Positional Decision Making in Chess February
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A GM Guide – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines Winter
Emanuel Berg Grandmaster Repertoire 16 – The French Defence Vol 3 Winter
Boris Avrukh GM Repertoire – 1.d4 The Catalan Spring
Lars Schandorff Grandmaster Repertoire 20 – Semi-Slav Spring
Tibor Karolyi Mikhail Tal’s best games 2 – World Champion Spring

If there is a book you expected to see on this list that is not on it, it just means that it is outside the horizon. Writers unfortunately do not coordinate well and they have a tendency to finish the books at the same time at least as much as with a nice well-spaced interval between them. So, sometimes we have to run faster. This is one of those times.

The books exist. They will come. Don’t despair. We are doing all we can.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

The Inability to Do Nothing

November 17th, 2014 9 comments

I was helping a friend learn the five basic steps of a tennis forehand this morning. The first thing to get under control is the grip. It has always amazed me that our coaches in the club have not helped us punters hold the racket correctly. And as a result lots of people hold the racket more as an axe than a frying pan. It is simply too unnatural a grip (and resulting swing). Basically, we have to override the instinctive way of doing things and install a different way of doing things.

The same happens in chess over and over again. I could give a lot of examples of this phenomenon. Today’s example is one of inactivity.

Areshchenko – Inarkiev, Baku 2014

69…h3+!? 70.Kh2!

70.Kxh3? Ke2 71.Re7+ Kf3 72.Re3+ Kxf2 73.Rd3 Ke2

And Black wins.

70…Ke2 71.Re7+ Kxf2 72.Rd7 Ke1

72…Ke2 73.Re7+ Kd3 74.Rd7+ and nothing happens.

73.Re7+ Kd1 74.Rd7 Rf5 75.Re7 Rf3 76.Rd7 Rf4

White to play

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Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

Carlsen – Anand, poll 2

November 14th, 2014 33 comments

It seems that some people are even getting optimistic on Anand’s behalf! 37.57% average estimate. Well, crowds are assumed to hold a collected intelligence, but still. That much?!




Categories: Polls Tags: