Sämisch and The Rest – omission

June 21st, 2017 7 comments

We are delighted with the fifth and final volume of the Kotronias on the King’s Indian series: Sämisch and The Rest but… the printed book is missing three moves on page 21: the bolded line jumps from White’s move 6 to Black’s move 9. A typesetting slip combined with a proofreading miss. Sorry about that.

We fixed the Forward Chess version, but for those with the physical book, the linked pdf shows that page as it should be.

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The Best Chess Book I have ever written

June 9th, 2017 154 comments

Two days ago was the official publication date for Thinking Inside the Box.

I am not a very sentimental person, so it was not a special day for me. Holding the book in the hand does not have the same emotional experience as it did holding The Panov/Botvinnik Attack in my hands in 1998. Incidentally, that is the only one of my books that is out of print as far as I know.

Despite the lack of excitement with the physical form, I am very pleased with the book. At some point, someone speculated on this blog that I had lost interest in the project, as a way to explain the long time it took to get around to write it. The reality is very different. Let’s not wrap it up in euphemisms.

I simply did not believe in my abilities. I knew what I wanted to say and I have been teaching it for years, but writing a book is much harder than it may seem from the outside. And I set myself a goal back in 2004, when I decided to do this as a profession: to always make the next book I wrote the best book I had ever written. I think I succeeded with this all the way up to 2016. The first Gelfand book was better than the second.

As far as I know, only Anish Giri disagrees. Don’t get me wrong; if I had written them in reverse order, I might still be on track.

Because, I honestly think that Thinking Inside the Box became as good as I wanted it to be. People will always disagree on some of my opinions and others would have preferred a book that went deep with the subject they found most interesting, but the book is as I wanted it to be.

Any feedback from people who have read the book till the end is very welcome. I am happy to discuss anything.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

What we are working on at the moment…

May 30th, 2017 104 comments

It was suggested that instead of doing a long-term publishing schedule, we should simply reveal what we are working on at the moment. Sure, why not. Not sure it will be more coherent though!

John is working on e3 Poison by Axel Smith. It is almost done. Then it will go to typesetting and printing. I should say that we also have another Axel Smith book coming down the line.

After he finished this week, John will return to the dungeon where he wrote the King’s Gambit. He will not be allowed to work on any other book, until he has finished Playing 1.e4 – Sicilian & French

Read more…

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Chris Wainscott and the Quality Chess Challenge

May 26th, 2017 35 comments

Andrew writes:

“Early this year we were interested to hear from Chris Wainscott, an enthusiastic amateur from the US and an avid fan of our books. Soon the ‘Quality Chess Challenge’ was born, and earlier this week we were excited to receive an update from Chris about his training.

We are pleased to present a guest blog post from the man himself, where you can find out about the goals he has set for himself and his progress so far.

Over to you Chris…”

Chris writes:

Before I delve in to detail, let me first take a moment to acquaint the readers of the Quality Chess blog with myself and the Quality Chess Challenge.

My name is Chris Wainscott and I am from the USA. I am 43 years old and currently working to prove that it’s quite possible to become a master after the age of 40. I stopped playing chess in 1992 and didn’t begin again until 2011. At that time my Elo was just under 1500; now I am 1800.

The Quality Chess Challenge came out of a discussion between a friend and myself that caused to me make the offhand remark to Jacob Aagaard that I felt that it would be possible for me to get to 2200 reading nothing but books published by QC.

So for one year, from 2/13/17 through 2/13/18 I am committed to training using only books published by Quality Chess. Of course I don’t expect to become a master in that time frame, but I do expect to show the value in using high quality training materials.

Right now I’m about one quarter of the way through the Challenge, so it’s time for a progress update.

We’ll start with the most obvious thing.

Read more…

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Edinburgh Chess Club training seminar, 9-11 June 2017

May 23rd, 2017 No comments

Current Scottish Champion GM Keti Arakhamia-Grant and former Scottish Champion Jonathan Grant, both FIDE Trainers, are running a training seminar in conjunction with Edinburgh Chess Club, on the topic of Critical Moments.

The primary focus will be on practical application through solving exercises and playing positions after following demonstrated examples. Aimed at all aspiring players prepared to work hard on improving their game, up to titled level.

Edinburgh Chess Club, 1 Alva Street, EDINBURGH EH2 4PH

Friday 9 June 2017 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Saturday 10 June 2017 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sunday 11 June 2017 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

The fee, whether attending one or more sessions, is £49 for adults and £35 for juniors (U18).

For further details, see the Chess Scotland noticeboard.

To reserve your place, contact:
Neil Berry
E-mail: thebalernobull@hotmail.com
Phone: 07810-765-986

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Free ‘Book of the Month’ – May

May 8th, 2017 2 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 Yusupov Special Offer is 9 hardbacks for the price of 7. So if a European buys that, we send the 9 Yusupov hardbacks, plus one free extra book.

The previous default option on the free book was Champions of the New Millennium. For March we will switch the default option to Grandmaster Battle Manual by Kotronias. 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:


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Solving and guessing

April 25th, 2017 34 comments

The last four weeks I have been travelling through Asia, visiting 12 cities in eight countries. Sometimes for less than 24 hours, arriving at 6 in the morning in Manila, for example, and flying out at half past midnight the same day…

On my trip, I have talked a lot about Thinking Inside the Box and the core ideas in the book. It has been an amazing experience, seeing how the ideas have resonated with people of all ages and all levels, from young kids to top grandmasters. I wish I was going to write the book now, as the ideas are so much clearer in my head and the diverse ways I have found to explain them would have improved it.

One thing I realised along the way is to emphasise the difference between guessing and solving. When I was an improving player, I struggled a lot with solving exercises. I would find ideas and then my concentration would crumble. I would flick to the solutions page and see how close I was.

Because close was the best I did – for a long time. Discipline was always a problem for the younger me. I had a spine similar to cooked spaghetti, according to a friend.

What I needed to do was to get into a habit of solving positions. When we are talking about tactical exercises, you should calculate all the variations till the end, working out all the details. This is an important skill to develop in training. It will take you far.

But this does not mean that guessing is all wrong. In my model there are four types of decisions.

1. Automatic Decisions
2. Simple Decisions
3. Critical Moments
4. Strategic Decisions

I deal more with this model in both Grandmaster Preparation – Strategic Play and in Thinking Inside the Box. And in previous blog posts, most likely. (No, I do not routinely look through them!) For here it suffices to say that only automatic decisions and critical moments require a high level of accuracy. Simple decisions are often taken on an intuitive basis and are as such, a pure guess. Strategic decisions include more calculation and logical thinking, but will in most cases include guessing as well.

This is important, because we simply cannot work everything out till the end. If you try to solve every move, you lose on time. For some people this is their existence.

The average player is directed by impulses and his inability to stay concentrated. The great practical player finds a good balance between guessing and solving and is always aware of which tool he uses. Moving from the first category to the second is a big jump and one the Grandmaster Preparation series is all about (as well as a few other things).

Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

FIDE changing?

April 10th, 2017 6 comments

The “What do you think about chessboxing?” poll ended sooner than planned due to server issues, but it lasted long enough to give a clear verdict. ‘Piece of nonsense’ won by a knockout.

A reminder of the ‘Who will win the 2017 US Championship?’ poll result, as Wesley So will face Alexander Onischuk in a play-off for the title this evening. Wesley So is still the favourite, but it was fine work by the one person who voted for “other”.

Normally I steer well clear of anything political, but there is at least a chance that recent FIDE manoeuvres could affect world chess. Today Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is still nominally FIDE President but the real power seems to belong to his deputy Mr Makropoulos. Maybe a less controversial leader than Kirsan could lead to bigger sponsorship opportunities for top-level chess? So it’s a good change, bad change or no real change at all?

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