Archive for January, 2015

Looking towards the spring

January 30th, 2015 300 comments

I have at some point promised to put up monthly updates to our publishing schedule. Well, things never work out exactly as we intend, but I think I am in reasonable time with this one.

There are a few things to point out. First off, Moranda’s Race up the Rankings has been cancelled. We might use the title another time – as well as the cover – but the content will not be the same. This is bad news. Basically the author did not feel he was able to go through the rewriting process because of career responsibilities. Chess literature will be poorer for its absence.

We have four books coming out on the 4th of February: 1.e4 vs. the Sicilian I, Kotronias on the King’s Indian, Mar del Plata 1 & Mar del Plata 2 and Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide. We are very happy with these books and I hope you will be happy with them too.

Should you prefer your books on Forward Chess, you can buy now. In general we will release the books one week ahead of the paper books, if you buy them electronically. This might not be fair to those who prefer paper (as indeed John and I do), but Forward Chess is a new enterprise and we would like to see it do well, so those buying the books there will get this extra week’s access, when possible.

In that connection I can reveal that Kotronias on the King’s Indian – Fianchetto System will be available quite soon on Forward Chess at a reduced rate.

For those in the know, I can say that we are unable to control anything relating to the taxing of ebooks in France, Italy and Luxemburg. It will hit all of Europe soon enough and we are not able to control things, neither is Forward Chess. Apple and Google are not lightweight dance partners. They step on your toes and not only do they not say sorry, they see nothing wrong with it in the first place…

The following list is rather reliable.
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Four new QC books on Forward Chess – and coming very soon on paper

January 28th, 2015 25 comments

Today, January 28th, is the day four new Quality Chess books are available on Forward Chess.

The new books are: Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide by Mauricio Flores Rios, Grandmaster Repertoire – 1.e4 vs The Sicilian I by Parimarjan Negi, and Kotronias on the King’s Indian Mar del Plata Volume I and Volume II.

The physical books have a publication date of a week from today – February 4th. This will probably be our standard schedule from now on – the ebooks arriving one week before the physical books. It makes sense to me, as you can zap an ebook around the world faster than a paper one. And ebooks don’t cause the sort of problems our distributor in Poland faced today when several very heavy pallets of books arrived on a truck, but with no hydraulic lift to unload them. They managed, somehow.

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Two games against members of the Scottish team

January 27th, 2015 2 comments

In 2010 I changed back to the Danish Federation after some disappointments with Chess Scotland (though certainly not the players). Federations are imperfect everywhere, but it did allow me to play the Danish Championship with a lot of friends from my early years with good conditions. And it did not stop me from becoming Scottish Champion in 2012!

Last week I played in two local team matches against members of the Scottish Team. On Tuesday I was sitting next to my good friend and colleague Andrew Greet, facing the 2013 Scottish Champion, who was a very strong player around the time I was born! Luckily I have developed more in the last 40 years and recently I have had a good score against Roddy.

Jacob Aagaard – Roddy McKay
Glasgow League, 20.01.2015

1.e4 c5 2.b3

Roddy’s theoretical knowledge ends somewhere in the 1980s, and I just wanted a game.

2…a6 3.Bb2 Nc6 4.f4?

This is an appalling move!

4.Nf3 e6 5.c4 would have made sense.

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Categories: Authors in Action, Fun Games Tags:

Free ‘Book of the Month’ for January/February

January 21st, 2015 40 comments

Recently we have been running a special offer – if you buy three books or more and live inside the European Union (as defined by UPS) we will send you an extra book free.

For the past few months, the default option on the free book has been Champions of the New Millennium but we will change that now to TACTIMANIA.

But if you already have TACTIMANIA, or would prefer a different freebie, then send us an email with your order, asking to have it replaced with one of the following titles:


I added True Lies in Chess to that list. Please note this book is also available free on the Forward Chess app. The app is of course also free, so if you have not tried Forward Chess yet, then reading True Lies in Chess would be a great way to start. All you need is an Apple or Android device (not free).

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Scotland FM

January 14th, 2015 36 comments

Quality Chess, as you may know, is based in Glasgow, Scotland. So we like to keep an eye on the progress of Scottish chess players. In terms of players gaining higher titles, the last few years have seen slim pickings. But recently two Scots pushed their ratings over 2300, and so will become FIDE Masters. Congratulations to Clément Sreeves and Andy Burnett.

Andy’s elevation comes about a month after we sent some Quality Chess books his way, as a minor way of sponsoring his title-seeking efforts. Sadly we cannot claim any of the credit as Andy has barely had time to read any of the books. Andy’s blog is here but with all the events he has been playing, he has not had time to update it recently.

Clément and Andy join the ranks of Scottish FMs who have realistic chances of becoming IMs. In fact, FMs Graham Morrison and Alan Tate have all the IM norms required, and just need to boost their ratings to 2400 to collect their titles.

And our best candidate for next Scottish GM? IM Andrew Greet.

The following crushing win was played by Andy Burnett in the Czech Republic last year.

A. Burnett – F. Ludvigsen
Olomouc 2014

 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qf3

Intriguing, or maybe Andy really played 4.Qd3 and the game was input incorrectly in the database. Emanuel Berg did not cover 4.Qf3 in his French repertoire book, which is fine by me – you cannot cover every crazy move even in a ‘complete’ repertoire.


Rather compliant, regardless of whether the queen is on d3 or f3. 4…Nc6!? looks logical – attack the thing that’s not defended. White may well still be equal.

5 Qxe4

We are now back in a known theory line, though of course the queen normally gets here via d3.

5…Nf6 6 Qh4 c5 7 dxc5 Bxc5

A little slow. Normal is 7…Bxc3+ 8 bxc3 Qa5.

8 Nf3 Nc6 9 Bb5 Bd7

9…0–0 was simpler.

10 Bg5 Be7 11 Rd1 Qa5?!

More solid was 11…Qc7!?.

12 0–0

Actually the same idea that Andy plays next move was already playable.


12…Rd8 was safer.

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Gelfand on Levon Aronian

January 12th, 2015 30 comments

I took the liberty of cutting these unedited paragraphs from the coming book Positional Decision Making in Chess by Boris Gelfand.

Levon Aronian is of course one of the greatest players of our time. However, in team events he is usually even stronger. Due not least to his spirit and leadership, the Armenian team managed to win the 2006, 2008 and 2012 Olympiads, the 2011 World Team Championship, as well as achieving a bronze in the 2007 European Team Championship and the 2004 Olympiad. Armenia also won bronze at the 1992 and 2002 Olympiads, but both times without Aronian on the team. But it was from 2006 where Aronian entered the elite and took over board 1 from Akopian that the team became the most successful team in the World. It would not be unfair to say that Aronian is the soul of the Armenian team.

I consider him to be the most creative player of our time, both over the board and in opening preparation. So far he has failed in the Candidates tournament, but I hope that Anand’s and my results in recent years will inspire him to keep on trying. He has so many qualities that I would not be surprised if he manages to become World Champion one day. I really feel that as long as one wants to work on chess and has the will to progress, there is a possibility to do so.

These days when you read older players complain about younger players that they only know how to push the space bar and have no culture, just think of Aronian. He has a great knowledge of music, literature, arts and culture in general. This is another reason why I would be happy if he kept on improving and reach the highest peak. What a World Champion he would be!

In a recent interview in New in Chess he said that whenever he plays me, he tries to impress me. It is friendly competition. We have warm personal relations and work on chess together. So, in every game we try to come with something new. If one player comes with a good novelty, it is great! This is one of the reasons why we have so many decisive games with each other. It is always an open game where both players want to win.

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Chasing the unachievable

January 5th, 2015 9 comments

White to play – What is the strongest continuation?

I was visiting Peter Heine Nielsen in around 2009. He was on that day in a bit of a low mood, questioning what he was doing and how he was organising his life. As we all do this from time to time, I do not think I break any confidences in saying this. His biggest frustration was professional. He would spend at least 20 hours each week trying to find an advantage for White against the Marshall and the Berlin Defence (later renamed the Berlin Wall – or very recently, the London Defence by Anand…) on behalf of the then World Champion, Viswanathan Anand. Everyone knew that this was an unachievable task. Still the work had to be done, in order that the advantage would exist only for the brief moment in time that is a game of chess…

A similar thing happens when we are practising calculation. Especially these days when everything is checked by computers. I see it clearly these days while I am working with quite a strong student on his calculation before a series of spring tournaments. He is a very strong player, but calculating is still not an easy task for him.

And the issue with calculation is of course the same as with opening analysis. The game is rigged. Chess is a draw; there is no advantage to be found against good defence. And calculation exercises are an even bigger scam. If you are at your peak, all you can do is match the computer’s findings.

At least theoretically this is so. In reality there are some exercises that are “cooked”, meaning that the student finds something the teacher did not anticipate because of his fallible nature, or (rarely) the computer is beaten by the student. It is very pleasing when it happens in tactical positions; but much more likely to happen in weird cases where calculating 10 moves ahead does not give any significant advantage.

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Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags: