If you don’t buy Sam’s book, you may suffer the consequences!

October 12th, 2018 8 comments

Blogpost by Kallia Kleisarchaki

 

During the Batumi Olympiad 2018, Sam Shankland met across the board Rauf Mamedov, Azerbaijani GM. Rauf didn’t buy Sam’s book and I know! How? Well, he did exactly the kind of mistake Sam warned about in his book, Small Steps to Giant Improvement, proving once again that every chess player, regardless titles, can make simple mistakes that cost dearly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Sam explains in page 232 of his book, “…Black has advanced a7-a5, so White will not be able to play b3-b4. As such, white is condemned to have a pair of doubled pawns where the further-advanced one cannot be protected from another pawn.”

 

What kind of simple mistakes have you made and you still remember them?

Categories: Authors in Action Tags:

ECF Book of the Year – Under the Surface

October 8th, 2018 15 comments

I mentioned in a previous blog post that the two books nominated by Quality Chess for the English Chess Federation Book of the Year prize had both been chosen for the four-book shortlist. Well, we have a winner. Congratulations to GM Jan Markos, as his Under the Surface is the 2018 ECF Book of the Year. The judges had many kind words including “The winner stood out for its original approach and quality of writing” and “An original, fascinating and very worthy winner of the 2018 Book of the Year.”

Categories: Prizes Tags:

Free ‘Book of the Month’ – October and November

October 1st, 2018 12 comments

We are continuing our special offer – if you buy three books or more and live in the normal European Union zone (as defined by UPS – for example, they exclude some islands and remote areas) we will send you an extra book free.

Please note that if you buy a Special Offer and are in the EU zone, we will add one free book. For example, the Grandmaster Preparation Special Offer is 6 hardbacks for the price of 5. So if a European buys that, we send Jacob’s 6 GM Preparation hardbacks, plus one free extra book.

The previous default option on the free book was Attacking the Spanish. For October and November we will switch the default option to CARLSEN’S ASSAULT ON THE THRONE. But if you already have that book, or would prefer a different free book, then send us an email to salesgroup@qualitychess.co.uk with your order, asking to have it replaced with one of the following titles:

CHAMPIONS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM
GRANDMASTER BATTLE MANUAL
GRANDMASTER VERSUS AMATEUR
POSITIONAL CHESS SACRIFICES
REGGIO EMILIA 2007/2008
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – WHITE GAMBITS
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – BLACK GAMBITS VOLUME 1
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – BLACK GAMBITS VOLUME 2
SAN LUIS 2005
TACTIMANIA
ATTACKING THE SPANISH
CUTTING EDGE 1: THE OPEN SICILIAN
CUTTING EDGE 2: SICILIAN NAJDORF 6.Be3

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Woodpecker Wednesday – guest post by GM Axel Smith

September 26th, 2018 40 comments

Andrew Greet asked if I would mind answering questions appearing in the comments to his blog posts. However, I see that Andrew has already done that, while also sharing his own experience. Thanks! It’s also nice to see all the readers’ efforts. I hope you have enjoyed all the hours of solving. Just like many of you, I consider the boring part to be checking the solutions. But sometimes it has to be done.

As I am afraid to find silly mistakes, I usually don’t read anything I have written after it’s published. But this time a reader gave the book back to me, with marks to a lot of games. “White and Black have been confused in too many games,” he said. “It’s not possible that the world champions blundered that often.”

But the book is right in this case – these blunders really were played by the elite, even though some of them were in simuls and exhibitions. Doesn’t it feel good to excel over a world champion?

However, one real error was accidentally added during editing: diagrams 11 and 18 are similar, but with the wrong solution to the first. Given the time it took me to solve the replacement exercise (pdf), I guess I need to Woodpecker!

My wife is already on the way. She hasn’t played in two years, but after smelling the new book (always the most important thing to her) she started solving. With limited time available, she skipped the introduction, and several times she asked me questions that definitely are discussed in the book.

“Read the introduction!” was my constant answer. Read more…

Categories: Woodpecker Method Tags:

Hi from Batumi

September 26th, 2018 1 comment

A quick note from Batumi, Georgia’s second biggest city, where the chess Olympiad is going on. I am here as captain for the Indian women’s team and Andrew is here as board one for Scotland. Colin and John opted not to play this time for various reasons.

With India we have won two matches 4-0 and will today play on board one. It would be strange not to stop for a moment and celebrate the occasion. Of course it has happened before and of course it is early in the event, but we are leading none the less!

I will give reports with ChessBase India most days. Yesterday Sagar had to leave, but we made this video in Round 1.

Round 2 saw some big upsets. Russia lost to Uzbekistan after a horrible blunder by Pogonina. And Ukraine were lucky things did not go bad. They were 1.5-0.5 up, but at some point lost on board 1 and 2! Especially board 2 was remarkable. Black missed an easy win in this position. Well, I call it easy now; I was lucking at the board during the game and I missed it too, even if it is rather simple:

 

 

Black to play and win

 

 

 

 

The solution can be found here.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Woodpecker Wednesday (Week 8 recap)

September 19th, 2018 32 comments

Welcome to my eighth and final Woodpecker Method training blog. It was the 25th of July when I started on this journey, with the initial aim of solving 984 exercises (comprising all 222 Easy and 762 Medium exercises in the book) over a 28-day period, followed by repeated cycles with the final goal of solving all 984 within a single day.

As usual, I’ll start by recapping my results from previous cycles.

1st cycle: 1033 minutes; 88.9% accuracy

2nd cycle: 663 minutes; 93.7% accuracy

3rd cycle: 366 minutes; 98.7% accuracy

As I explained in last week’s blog post, I decided to adapt the schedule in order to finish early and give myself time to recover before the Batumi Olympiad. So, rather than three more cycles lasting 4 days, 2 days and 1 day, I went for two more cycles, lasting 3 days and 1 day respectively.

Cycle 4

I solved all exercises in a combined 267 minutes. I was happy with this time, which knocked 27% off my time from the previous cycle. I didn’t write down my answers or keep score this time, for a couple of reasons:

* In my third cycle I was already close to 99% accuracy, so there didn’t seem much point in tracking what could only have been a small improvement.

* I already knew most of the solutions quite thoroughly, so it seemed logical to skip writing/checking answers in order to save time.

There were still a few positions where certain details of the solutions remained unclear in my head. Whenever that happened, I noted the number of the exercise and my answer, then checked the solution at the end of the session.

Cycle 5

The big one! Solving 984 exercises in one day sounded daunting at the beginning, especially after reading Axel’s story on page 9 of the book about spending 22 hours in a basement! Read more…

Categories: Woodpecker Method Tags:

Chessable – The Woodpecker Method

September 17th, 2018 19 comments

On Monday 24th September we will release a Quality Chess book in what for us is a new format: Chessable. In case you are not familiar with Chessable, I offer a couple of extra links: the first about Chessable and the next about the science behind their methods.

My summary: Chessable offers chess courses that are accessible online, and uses a technique based on “spaced-repetition”.

When we decided to experiment by putting one Quality Chess book on Chessable, we needed to decide which book. So, learning and improving using repetition: does that suggest any recent Quality Chess book?

The Woodpecker Method will be available on Chessable from Monday 24th September. The normal Chessable price will be the same as our book, though I would suggest keeping an eye out for an introductory sale price, which is a Chessable tradition.

If this experiment is a success, then we may try other QC books in Chessable format.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Practical Chess Beauty by Yochanan Afek

September 14th, 2018 12 comments

I am happy to announce we have a new book on the way: Practical Chess Beauty by Yochanan Afek. To quote from the cover:

“Solving studies is well established as an effective method of chess improvement. In Practical Chess Beauty one of the world’s greatest study composers, Yochanan Afek, shares his finest creations.

Fire your imagination, gain a greater appreciation of chess geometry, and develop a finer feeling for the pieces’ potential by trying to find the ideas hidden in the hundreds of studies in this book. Or simply wonder at some of the most stunning chess moves ever conceived.”

Publishers claiming “our books are great” always look suspicious, given our obvious bias, but this book really is great. There have been so many times in editing when we have boggled at a move, and said: “That can’t possibly work!” But then it does.

The author has framed his book to be useful for the practical player seeking improvement, but it also works wonderfully as pure entertainment. It’s too early for an excerpt (maybe next week) and I will guess at a publication date in late October or the start of November.

I will give one example from the book. White to play and win (I will give the solution next week). The main line is only 5 moves long, but you will do well to spot the winners and the best defensive try. Stretch your brain – do not switch on that engine.

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