Archive for June, 2015

Ageism in chess – and a bit of market research

June 30th, 2015 52 comments

Being over 40 and an optimist, I think the recent poll got it wrong. A clear majority think that chess is best played by those less than 30 years old.

Obviously we appreciate the support for our star author Boris Gelfand, but we fear a few people have voted this way for entirely the wrong reasons…


I checked the current top 100 on, not to claim that it is a scientific proof of anything, but just out of curiosity. And I found that the average age for the various top something were practically identical:

Top 10: 30.30
Top 25: 30.36
Top 50: 30.72
Top 100: 30.43

Add to this that it is likely that the average age of players aged 30 is 30 years and six months, it means that the current top 50 might be over 31 in average, but the other groups are just under 31. That the two players with the “right” age are going out of the top 10 soon by current trends, just shows that this is an average. The prime could well be between 21 and 45.


How many chess books did you buy this year?

Marketing survey!

How many chess books/DVDs did you buy this year? We are six months in and we were just wondering.

It does not matter who published them or anything like this. We know that there are plenty of smart people in our business and that we are not the only one to take our job seriously.

Categories: Polls Tags:

Walter Browne 1949–2015

June 25th, 2015 3 comments

Sad news about the death of Walter Browne. I will leave detailed tributes to those who knew Walter well. Our connection is that Walter was one of the authors of Champions of the New Millennium.  We never met in person, but Walter’s lively good humour came through even in emails or on the phone. In the office, we all remember his phone message shortly after his book was published:

“Hey guys, Walter Browne here. Listen – I need more of those books, and I need ’em damn soon!”

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

What is the prime age for a chess player? – and cheating in chess

June 24th, 2015 24 comments

The debate on cheating in chess was quite interesting. I played devil’s advocate a few times, though I personally do not have strong feelings on this issue. I have had 2-3 experiences where people were cheating against me the last ten years, mainly where their friends helped them. Luckily their friends (respectable GMs) got busy with their own games and the cheaters were left to their own devices, completely void of self-respect and self-esteem. I scored fine in those games and was happy to not get involved in the thinking about cheating.

Your votes show how divisive this issue is. I fear it will only get worse over the years. Poll-cheatingThis week’s question is a standard one. In recent times we had the two oldest players playing for the title in the last 100 years and the oldest World Champion since Botvinnik. In 2012 everyone told me that the match should be Aronian–Carlsen. Even Topalov! And today Topalov is no. 2 in the World rankings, Anand is close and Aronian is rated not much more than Gelfand… I am not even go into how Anand was not the rightful challenger last year and how Caruana deserved the match on the strength of one good tournament.

New players will always come through, and not evenly. When Anand, Shirov, Kramnik, Kamsky and Topalov broke through, the top 10 were young. Kamsky and Shirov have lost the hunger, but the three others are still possible contenders for the crown – unless you want to write Kramnik off after ONE bad year????

But everyone has his own opinion and it will be interesting to see what the general consensus will be.

Categories: Polls Tags:

Anti-cheating measures

June 15th, 2015 67 comments

A few things to consider:

A friend pointed out that a Grandmaster’s three norms were evident results of cheating. He showed me the games and I was rather convinced I have to say. But who should make the complaint? Neither my friend nor I wanted to be involved in this issue. Especially I could see no upside in being involved in what was someone else’s life and livelihood. Is it double standards and selfishness not wanting to be involved in making other people’s life difficult, even if they have done something I consider abhorrent?

Another case. I was training a young man around 2100 and he was really doing the work needed. After a few months he went to a weekend tournament and scored 5/5 against 2200s as the lowest seed. His games were clearly not computer games. We had changed his style to a more technical style and his openings were more in line with his quiet character. He ground people down in tense struggles. At the end of the tournament everyone agreed that he was cheating and there were boos when he collected his prize.

Read more…

Categories: Polls Tags:

The long awaited publishing schedule – with a few surprises (hopefully good ones!)

June 12th, 2015 340 comments

So, finally I am getting around to write a publishing schedule. Sorry it took so long, though I am not too ashamed to have been producing books rather than talk about them… (Follow the links to see excerpts for the five top books)

There is a few things we have alluded to on the blog over the last few months that are in the list. I will just quickly run through them.

Read more…

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Caruana change to the US and draw by mutual agreement

June 8th, 2015 32 comments

Last week’s poll was on draw by mutual agreement. It seems that a very considerable minority thinks that draw offers should not be a part of chess at all. This actually surprised me, I thought people would have been more ambivalent about it.

Here are the results:

draw poll

It was big news recently that Fabiano Caruana decided to change back to the US. The rumoured transfer sum was $200,000 – and then there is the €50,000 to FIDE and an undeclared compensation to Italy. I am not sure we have heard the last thing in that saga.

But a separate question is if we want it to be possible to change country in this way? I will leave the debate to you guys, as I am an obvious hypocrite in this connection. In 2006 I changed to represent Scotland (with proof of address). I paid the FIDE transfer fee myself. But in 2010 I changed back to Denmark, still living at the same address (proving nationality with passport) and I will not rule out changing again in the future, though it is really not something I am planning to do…

But then it was not a business transaction for me. For Caruana and especially Naiditsch it certainly looks that way…

Categories: Polls Tags:

Free Book of the Month for June/July

June 5th, 2015 7 comments

For the past few months we have had 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. Recently the default option on the free book has been Grandmaster vs. Amateur but we will change that now to REGGIO EMILIA 2007/2008.

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


Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Learn from the Legends

June 3rd, 2015 10 comments


Our next publication date is June 17th. One of the three new books is the hardcover 10th anniversary edition of Learn from the Legends by Mihail Marin. Should you buy this book? If you don’t have it already, then that’s an easy question to answer – yes, definitely. ‘Legends’ is generally regarded by reviewers as Mihail’s best book so far – and that is ahead of tough competition.

But suppose you already own the previous edition of Legends – is it worth also buying this new one? On that one, I will let you make up your own mind, and I will just offer a few brief facts. The new edition is a hardcover, while the previous editions were in paperback. The new book is 480 pages, compared to the previous edition’s 336. The extra pages are due to more diagrams, a better layout, and a brand new chapter on Magnus Carlsen.

Normally in a blog post I would offer a snippet from the book, but Legends is not a snippety sort of book – it deserves to be read and enjoyed at length. But there is an excerpt to read.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags: