Free ‘Book of the Month’ – November and December

November 18th, 2019 No comments

We are continuing our free-fourth-book 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, if a European buys the Special Offer on our award-winning Grandmaster Preparation series, then we would send the 6 hardcovers, plus one free extra book.

The previous default option on the free book was Grandmaster Repertoire 7 – The Caro-Kann. For November and December we will switch the default option to The Alterman Gambit Guide – White Gambits. 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:

ATTACKING THE SPANISH
CARLSEN’S ASSAULT ON THE THRONE
CHAMPIONS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM
CUTTING EDGE 1: THE OPEN SICILIAN
CUTTING EDGE 2: SICILIAN NAJDORF 6.Be3
GRANDMASTER BATTLE MANUAL
GRANDMASTER REPERTOIRE 7 – THE CARO-KANN (HB)
GRANDMASTER VERSUS AMATEUR
REGGIO EMILIA 2007/2008
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – BLACK GAMBITS VOLUME 1
THE ALTERMAN GAMBIT GUIDE – BLACK GAMBITS VOLUME 2
SAN LUIS 2005

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The Taimanov in Action

November 11th, 2019 5 comments

Our good friend (why still?) IM Renier Castellanos annotated an interesting game from the first round of the European Club Cup for us, after spotting that a sub-2400 IM used one of Pavlidis’s novelties to hold Mickey Adams.

You can download it for ChessBase here or just read the annotations below:

Michael Adams – Rasmus Skytte

Opening preparation in practice. The first round of the European Club Cup competition brought some very interesting games but my attention was in the match between Obiettivo Risarcimiento Padova – Aarhus Skolerne. The Italian club is one of the strongest in the field and a couple of my favourite players like Adams, or my friend Paco Vallejo are playing there. In the first board Mickey Adams was facing the International Master Skytte, Rasmus (2373). A strong player I must say after I looked into his games. However it is not crazy to believe that being paired with black against a world class like Mickey Adams, chances are you are going to get squeezed and defeated badly. Before going to the game, I’d like to tell you a brief personal story that you can take as advice. When you are playing someone this strong, every wrong step will likely be punished, every inch given will be taken. That means that going sideways, playing crafty openings etc not only are unlikely to work but they are the wrong path to take in the first place. In such events the best is to rise up to the occasion and play some ”serious chess” and that means going into the main lines. I came to this conclusion a little too late after I had the chance to play Kamsky and Ivanchuk in Open tournaments. I lost both games without much resistance and I was totally unsatisfied with what I played. Basically I chose the opening randomly at the board and tried to survive on my own. In a way, I was already defeated. Now back to the game.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 Skytte is an adept to the Taimanov / Kan Sicilian family. Although he also likes to play the Pirc and Modern. So, among his options we can tell already he had chosen the most principal one.

5.Nc3 Qc7 6.g3 a6 7.Bg2 Nf6 in the past he had preferred 7…d6 8.0–0 Bd7 leading to Scheveningen schemes. While there is nothing wrong with that, it gives white too much freedom of choice.

8.0–0 Nxd4 An old line but very direct. The play now is pretty much forced.

9.Qxd4 Bc5 10.Bf4 d6 11.Qd2 h6 12.Rad1 e5 13.Be3 Bb4!? Sidestepping the main continuation which is 13. ..Be6. This line is recommended and analysed in depth in the book The Sicilian Taimanov by Antonios Pavlidis. The idea is to eliminate the knight and ease white’s pressure over the square d5. White’s next move is considered critical

14.Nb5 14.a3 is another option analysed by Pavlidis in The Sicilian Taimanov

14…axb5 15.Qxb4 Rxa2 16.Rxd6 16.Qxb5+ Bd7 17.Qb4 Ra6 is fine for black

16…0–0 17.Rd2 Be6! 18.Rfd1 A logical move which the author of the Sicilian Taimanov has also faced over the board and he analyses it well in the book. To me it is much more natural than the main line 18.f3 from the book.

18…Ng4!N The novelty given by Pavlidis. 18…Qc4 was previously played Iuldachev-Pavlidis Batumi 2018.

19.Bc5 Rc8 20.Be7

After thinking for a little less than 5 minutes, Adams is the first to deviate from the book. Pavlidis only considers 20.Bd6 Qb6 21.Bf1 with some tactical complications that are not unfavourable for black.

20…Qb6?! Black follows the book but this move now is probably not the strongest. 20…Ra4! 21.Qxb5 Rd4 is a clean equalizer. Black is taking on c2 on the next move, for example 22.Bb4 Qxc2 23.Qe2 Rxd2 24.Rxd2 Qc1+ 25.Qf1 Kh7 and black has nothing to worry about, in fact white must play accurate.

21.c3 21.Bf1 Nxf2 22.Rxf2 Rxc2 23.Rd8+ Kh7 24.Rdd2 Raxb2 25.Qxb2 Rxb2 26.Rxb2 is probably what black was looking for which is unclear. Black might hold, or he might not. Hard to say.

21…Rc4 21…Ra4! 22.Qd6 Qxd6 23.Rxd6 (23.Bxd6 Bb3 24.Rc1 Rd8 looks excellent for black) 23…b4! getting rid of the weak doubled pawn 24.c4 Rc7 25.Rd8+ (25.Bd8 Rc6=) 25…Kh7 26.Bd6 Rxc4 27.h3

And now black could try 27…Nxf2! 28.Kxf2 Rc2+ 29.Kg1 f6!! where he has enough counterplay to keep the balance. Amazing stuff!

22.Qd6 Qa7 Black seems to be wandering in a limbo, something completely understandable due to the newness of the line.

22…Rc6 23.Qd8+ Qxd8 24.Rxd8+ Kh7 25.h3 Nf6 26.Ba3 with a clear advantage for white

23.Bf1? 23.h3! Nxf2 24.Rxf2 Rxb2 25.Rdd2 Rxd2 26.Qxd2 Qa1+ 27.Kh2 Qxc3 28.Bf1! I presume this last move may be what Adams missed during the game, it is essential to win the b5 pawn soon enough. White just seems to be winning here

23…Ra1 24.Rxa1 Qxa1 25.Qd3 Rc7 The dust is off and black has a fine position. Actually, it is white who needs to be careful

26.Qd8+ Kh7 27.Ba3 Rc8 28.Qd6? 28.Qd3 Bc4 29.Rd1 with a similar position to what happened in the game.

28…Rc6? Returning the favour. Had black stopped thinking defensively and pay more attention to his position he might had seen 28…Qe1!.

This move is strong. Suddenly white has problems with Bc4 coming, or the pawn on e4, rook on d2 and f2, everything needs to be defended. Some lines: 29.Kg2 (29.Re2 Qb1 and now both Bc4 and Nxh2 are huge 30.Rd2 Nxh2 31.Rd1 Nf3+ 32.Kg2 Qxe4 33.Bd3 Ne1+ 34.Kg1 Nxd3 35.Qxd3 Qxd3 36.Rxd3 Kg6–+) 29…Rc6 30.Qd8 Bc4 31.Bxc4 bxc4 32.Qd5 Nf6 33.Rd1 Qe2 34.Qd2 Qxe4+ it’s still early, but white is lost

29.Qd3 Bc4 30.Rd1 Bxd3? Played in just 2 minutes, while is not so bad, it gives white additional chances. 30…Qxa3 31.bxa3 Bxd3 32.Rxd3 (32.Bxd3 Rxc3 33.Bxb5 Rc2 with equality, and Rc2 is not the only way.) 32…Nf6 33.f4 Rc5 looks steady for black 34.fxe5 Rxe5 35.Rf3 Kg6 not allowing Rf5.

31.Rxa1 Bxe4 32.Re1 f5 33.Be2 33.Bxb5 Rb6 34.c4 white retains some pressure, one idea is to play f3 and trade the F for the e5 pawn. With two bishops and the two vs 1 on the queenside white can put pressure for a while.

33…Nf6 34.f3 Bd5 35.Bxb5 Re6 36.Kf2 g5 Unnecessary display of activity but it also works.

36…e4 37.f4 Bc6 38.Bc4 Bd5 shouldn’t be a problem for black. The protected e-pawn is an insurance.

37.c4 Bc6 38.Bxc6 bxc6 39.Bb4 g4 40.Rd1 gxf3 41.Kxf3 Kg6 42.Rd8 Ne4 43.Rg8+ Kf7 44.Rc8 h5 45.Ke3 Kg6 46.Rc7 Nf6 47.h4 f4+ 48.Kf3 fxg3 49.Kxg3 Kf5 50.Kf3 Ng4 51.Rg7 e4+ 52.Ke2 e3 53.Rg5+ Ke4 54.Rxh5 Ne5 55.Bc5 Nxc4 A very interesting game. A great approach by the Danish player who managed to play a very decent game and even had a chance to cause a major upset! ½–½

Renier with a box of Quality Chess books…

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The Anand Files & Playing the Najdorf – New Excerpts

November 6th, 2019 1 comment

We recently made two new excerpts available.

The Anand Files will be published on November 20. Its excerpt is here

Playing the Najdorf by David Vigorito will be published on December 11. Its excerpt is here

Both books are excellent. And big. 512 pages for the Anand book and 544 for the Najdorf.

And of course on November 20 there will also be the superb Small Steps 2 Success by Sam Shankland. Its excerpt is here.

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TRG Trainer Awards

October 19th, 2019 No comments

Some of you will know that I have taken on a volunteer position in FIDE, as Chairman of the Trainer’s Commission. In the last year a lot of my spare time and some of my work time has gone into this work. It is difficult for quite a number of reasons, mainly because nothing ever get to a bad place without it being good for some, who will want to keep it as it is.

The key thing has been to restore the credibility. With the former secretary having won 6 trainer of the year awards during his tenure, we started from a low point.

However, there was a different problem, which is that to get the credibility, we needed representation from all over the World. China, Russia and India are the emerging leaders of world chess. So we convinced the most famous coaches to join us: Yu Shaoteng, Alexander Motylev and RB Ramesh. Of the three, the latter has been the most active in the Commission work, but the two others have been available with their inputs in meetings.

If we were to eliminate everyone with any connection to the commission from the awards, we would quickly have an amputated list of candidates. So we stroke the middle point. Peter Long and I ran the organisational side of it, with no influence on the voting at all. I had maybe two conversations and I was very careful not to give any opinions away.

The result was five winners that all won far ahead of their competitors. Two of the winners are friends of mine. This was probably inevitable. However, I did nothing to help them win…

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World Cup 2019 – Quality Chess Quiz – The Answers

October 18th, 2019 5 comments

The World Cup ended a week or so back, so it’s time for results of our Quiz. Sorry for the delay – we were busy finishing books.

Below are what we believe to be the correct answers to all the questions. Before we assess your entries, and then declare a winner, let’s check that all the answers below are true. Any disagreements or ambiguities? The only debate I know about is Question 17, where Vitiugov and Grischuk were both knocked out in the Quarterfinals, but it seems to me that Vitiugov went further, as he lasted to the Armageddon stage.

  1. What will the most common opening move be in Round 1 (excluding playoffs)?
    1.e4
  2. Predict the score: Lu Shanglei – Boris Gelfand (excluding playoffs)
    1-1
  3. Predict the score: Eltaj Safarli – Sam Shankland (excluding playoffs)
    1-1
  4. Who will win the World Cup?
    Teimour Radjabov
  5. How many top seeds (1-64) will be knocked out in Round 1
    15
  6. How many Round 2 matches will end in Armageddon Blitz?
    1
  7. Predict the four semi-finalists. (2 points per correct answer)
    Ding Liren, Yu Yangyi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Teimour Radjabov
  8. Which round will Gawain Jones reach?
    2
  9. How many 1-1 draws will Anish Giri have (excluding playoffs)?
    2
  10. How many Black wins will there be in Round 4 (excluding playoffs)?
    0
  11. Predict the score: Jorge Cori – Nihal Sarin (excluding playoffs)
    0-2
  12. Predict the score: Michael Adams – Aravindh Chithambaram (excluding playoffs)
    1-1
  13. Predict the score: Baskaran Adhiban – Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli (excluding playoffs)
    1.5-0.5
  14. How many Indians will there be in Round 3?
    2
  15. Who will be the youngest quarter finalist?
    Jeffery Xiong
  16. How many USA players will make it to the 4th round?
    3
  17. Which home player (Russian) will go furthest?
    Nikita Vitiugov (quarterfinal Armageddon)
  18. Which country will have the most players in the third round?
    Russia
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Three books with excerpts

September 27th, 2019 39 comments

We have updated the website with new publication dates and excerpts.

So on October 30 we will publish three books – two new ones and one new version of an old favourite.

Soviet Outcast is the first time Grigory Levenfish’s memoir has been published in English. Our subtitle The Life & Games of Grigory Levenfish tells what to expect. I will add that while the annotated games are excellent, the stories of pre- and post-revolutionary Russian are, in my view, even better. To the original memoir we have added plenty of bonus material, including an excellent article by Jacob Aagaard. You can read an excerpt here.

Alma is a novel and a novelty for Quality Chess – our first book of fiction. Judit Berg is a best-selling award-winning children’s author, and in the fun adventure story Alma there is also a chess element contributed by Judit Polgar. You can read an excerpt here.

The new-ish book is an expanded and updated edition of Advanced Chess Tactics by Lev Psakhis. We improved what was already in the first edition, and Lev wrote a new chapter about his life-long favourite, the French Defence. You can read an excerpt here.

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Free ‘Book of the Month’ – September and October

September 13th, 2019 5 comments

We are continuing our free-fourth-book 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, if a European buys the Special Offer on our award-winning Grandmaster Preparation series, then we would send the 6 hardcovers, plus one free extra book.

The previous default option on the free book was Tactimania. For September and October we will switch the default option to the hardcover version of Grandmaster Repertoire 7 – The Caro-Kann. 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:

ATTACKING THE SPANISH
CARLSEN’S ASSAULT ON THE THRONE
CHAMPIONS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM
CUTTING EDGE 1: THE OPEN SICILIAN
CUTTING EDGE 2: SICILIAN NAJDORF 6.Be3
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

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World Cup 2019 – Quality Chess Quiz

September 6th, 2019 9 comments

We have run a few quizzes before, and they have been fun, so with the 2019 World Cup starting soon in Khanty-Mansiysk, let’s have another. I say it’s for fun, but there is a winner-takes-all prize.

Quality Chess will send a box of 20 books to your home. 10 of them chosen by you, 10 of them chosen by us. All you have to do is to predict some results in the World Cup. We will contact the winner once the World Cup is over and organize the shipment of the prize.

Cut-off date for submissions is Tuesday 10th September at 11:00 UK time (15:00 Khanty-Mansiysk Local Time). To enter click on this link and select your answers. Only one entry per person please. Good luck!

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