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Failure to read


When editing a chess book, it is important to consider all significant sources. When working on The Classical Slav I forgot to consider an important book: Playing the Semi-Slav by David Vigorito. So even though the new Slav book is still great (in my biased view) it could have been even better. So my apologies to Dave, Boris and the readers.
But how was I supposed to know a book called Playing the Semi-Slav contained analysis relevant to the Classical Slav? It is not as though Playing the Semi-Slav was published by Quality Chess and edited by me. Oh wait…
We will put up a blog post and newsletter updating what was missed, including one line in the Exchange Variation, which is commonly played even though not a critical test of the Slav.

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  1. TD
    March 11th, 2014 at 14:18 | #1

    Have you also considered Vigorito’s “The Main-Line Slav” as an important source?

  2. John Shaw
    March 11th, 2014 at 16:42 | #2


    It is not in the Bibliography which would suggest not, but I have a vague unreliable memory we did look at it and decided there was nothing critical we needed to react to (if we did consider it, it should of course have been added to the Bibliography).

    That book is certainly on our bookshelf. In future we will put extra care into making sure every important source is considered and mentioned in the Bibiography. I thought we had already done that this time, but clearly not.

  3. tony
    March 11th, 2014 at 19:56 | #3

    maybe not a bad idea to list the engines that were used

  4. hamunaptra
    March 13th, 2014 at 07:48 | #4

    The book is out and immediately has flaws. Why have I spent 35 euros? For flaws? This severely downgrades your reputation as a Quality chess publishing house!

    • Jacob Aagaard
      March 13th, 2014 at 11:14 | #5

      All books have flaws, it cannot be avoided. The material in this book is 6-8 weeks old. What we do is let you know about the flaws and present the solution for free here on the site and in our newsletter. I do not feel ashamed about this, though I am of course disappointed each time we make a mistake.

  5. Ray
    March 13th, 2014 at 13:34 | #6

    @John Shaw
    I have Vigorito’s book, but i.m.o. it is really outdated and nothing to worrt about for Avrukh’s book.

  6. Ray
    March 13th, 2014 at 13:35 | #7

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Regardless of flaws, I think this book is absolutely marvellous and worth every euro I spent on it!

  7. Thomas
    March 13th, 2014 at 14:29 | #8

    I also think that 35 Euro are way too much.
    But that 34.99 were a real good investment. I really like the book.

    March 14th, 2014 at 19:08 | #9

    hamunaptra :
    The book is out and immediately has flaws. Why have I spent 35 euros? For flaws? This severely downgrades your reputation as a Quality chess publishing house!

    How bad is failure to cover in Exchange? Or is it minor thing not worth bothering…

  9. March 19th, 2014 at 00:38 | #10


    To me it’s a pretty big oversight, but not really a big deal in a theoretical sense, if that makes sense.

  10. ED
    March 20th, 2014 at 11:36 | #11

    @ John Shaw
    I am ordering the book Slav GM 17. When ready please would it be possible to produce what was missed including one line of the exchange variation in PDF format. So that I can print and insert in the relevant page or pages of the book. Thanking you in advance.

  11. Jacob Aagaard
    March 20th, 2014 at 12:41 | #12

    We have received an update from Boris and will have it edited and in the newsletter very soon.

  12. Zagreb1959
    March 22nd, 2014 at 00:13 | #13

    I am waiting for the Slav ebook in Forward Chess. The ebook version will have the update?

  13. Jacob Aagaard
    March 22nd, 2014 at 08:51 | #14

    Yes it will. Actually this is the reason for the slight delay.

    March 22nd, 2014 at 10:11 | #15

    Is there any chance to have PLAYING THE SLAV book in Grandmaster Guide style? Avrukh’s book is very advanced, so a good companion volume, just like for French books, would be very very welcome!

    Nikos, Jacob, any chance?

  15. Jacob Aagaard
    March 22nd, 2014 at 10:44 | #16

    I am sure you can understand that we will not make it a permanent policy to compete with ourselves on everything we publish books on, as we have done with 1.d4 and the French; and will do with the 1.e4 books.

    But maybe a few years down the line. In general I think we should have a few more Grandmaster Guide books in our future, rather than just these heavy GM Reps. But it is up to the authors as well.

    March 22nd, 2014 at 12:17 | #17

    @Jacob Aagaard
    That would be really great πŸ™‚ To my mind all of us who bought Avrukh’s book will also buy GM Guide book, that’s for sure. I have all Berg’s volumes and yours on French, and I’m eagerly waiting for third volume.

    The same could be with Slav. Why don’t you let Nikos do the great job with some specialist in this opening?

    PS I never played Slav before, so I quickly went through first 150 pages of GM Rep Slav. Today I played following:

    Melmac (2555) – me [D12]
    Playchess, 3 min Main Playing Hall, 22.03.2014

    1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 Bf5 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 dxc4 8.Qxc4 e6 9.0-0 Be7 10.e4 0-0 11.Bf4 Qb6 12.h3 Rac8 13.Rfd1 h6 14.a3 Rfd8 15.b4 a6 16.Rac1 Nh5 17.Bh2 Nhf6 18.Rc2 Nf8 19.Re2 Ng6 20.Na4 Qb5 21.Qxb5 cxb5 22.Nc5 Bxc5 23.bxc5 Rxc5 24.Ne5 Nxe5 25.Bxe5 Rxe5 0-1

  17. Zagreb1959
    March 23rd, 2014 at 12:51 | #18

    Many thanks Jacob, I will buy the paper version too and would be very nice to have the update with me in my pocket! πŸ™‚

    March 23rd, 2014 at 13:36 | #19

    @Jacob Aagaard
    It’s time also for GM Guide on Caro Kann. And did you consider writing either GM Rep or GM Guide on Accekerated Dragon? There’s no book on the market at all…

  19. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2014 at 14:29 | #20

    It should be online on Monday; though we are busy with lots of things this week.

  20. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2014 at 14:31 | #21

    Andrew Greet’s old book still makes sense to me. I think we will focus on completing what we have in 2014 and only then look at what we need to do in the future.

    March 23rd, 2014 at 15:43 | #22

    @Jacob Aagaard
    If I remember correctly, you should have posted new Catalog 2014 πŸ™‚

  22. Jacob Aagaard
    March 23rd, 2014 at 20:06 | #23

    I am doing it on the 10th year anniversary. Only 9 days to go.

    March 23rd, 2014 at 20:22 | #24

    @Jacob Aagaard
    That’s great!

    By the way, do you seriously consider to launch a book on “Woodpecker Method Tactics”?

    If you are, then please consider also:

    1. Woodpecker Method Strategy & Positional Play

    2. Woodpecker Method Endgame

  24. crossroads
    March 23rd, 2014 at 20:28 | #25


    Jacob Aagaard :
    I am doing it on the 10th year anniversary. Only 9 days to go.

    “I am doing it on the 10th year anniversary. Only 9 days to go.”

    Mmmh, 1st of April. πŸ™‚

    • Jacob Aagaard
      March 24th, 2014 at 08:09 | #26

      Add on top that John signed a contract in Swedish…

  25. Paul Brondal
    March 23rd, 2014 at 21:38 | #27

    Have you considered a book on the Tartakover variation in QGD seen from black’s point of view. So extremely many strong players have used this opening.

  26. Mark Moorman
    March 23rd, 2014 at 22:48 | #28

    Since this is becoming a “wish list” thread I wondered if each book had a dedicated thread for its discussion?? In my own case I have a question concerning “Play the Scandinavian.”

  27. Jacob Aagaard
    March 24th, 2014 at 08:04 | #29

    Not like that, no. But we can always ask Axel what he thinks. It would be way down the line no matter what.

  28. Jacob Aagaard
    March 24th, 2014 at 08:05 | #30

    @Mark Moorman
    Ask away.

  29. Jacob Aagaard
    March 24th, 2014 at 08:05 | #31

    @Paul Brondal
    Considered it, but it is a start that we actually manages to get a Nimzo out next year.

  30. Gilchrist is a Legend
    March 24th, 2014 at 09:04 | #32

    Is GM16 scheduled for next few months still? De Beste Zet show 29.08.14 Friday as a date.

  31. Jacob Aagaard
    March 24th, 2014 at 10:35 | #33

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    That has been taken out of thin air, I think. We will put it out when we can; hopefully long before August…

  32. Mark Moorman
    March 24th, 2014 at 11:15 | #34

    Oh—I actually answered my own question, or rather, found the author’s answer by more carefully attending to the text (page 122). It concerned lines in which white played 6.Ne5 (a line a relatively frequent club opponent plays). The move 6….Be6 has been proposed by others as a solution with the dark squared black bishop ending up fianchettoed on g7 (see Petrov v Ibrahimov Leon 2001). Bauer’s 5….. Bf5 (as opposed to the plausible 5…..c6 does not really allow this. I found his reasons. I am not sure what I will play though, but his reasoning and way out or the thicket seems a viable one.

  33. Mark Moorman
    March 24th, 2014 at 16:37 | #35

    Bauer likes to keep open the possibility of Nc6 in certain lines so he delays c6. I thought about this, and it made me realize that sometimes I choose lines that a stronger player wouldn’t for the simple reasons of “peace of mind,” and distrust in my own ability. In other words, I like the escape hatch open for my Queen in the Scandinavian, and I avoid those tense lines in which the door is closed and the queen is precariously perched on b6—even though the books tell me she is safe there “with accurate play.” It feels like a blunder waiting to happen, so I choose an earlier c6.

  34. Dennis M
    March 25th, 2014 at 04:45 | #36

    A bigger problem, unless I’m somehow just blind here (not impossible), is that Avrukh doesn’t cover 5.c5 vs. the Chebanenko Slav. It’s the second most popular line against it, and a very principled choice too.

  35. John Shaw
    March 25th, 2014 at 15:41 | #37

    @Dennis M

    I think we are OK here. 5.c5 is popular and principled in the position after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 a6 but that is not part of Avrukh’s repertoire.

    Avrukh only goes Chebanenko-style with …a6 after White has already played e2-e3, blocking in the c1-bishop. So after 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6, 5.c5 is possible but it is not popular or critical – in my database it is the 6th most popular choice with 75 games compared with a few thousand games for the 2 most popular lines. So I think this is a Boris choice not to mention a rare rather harmless line, rather than an oversight.

  36. Dennis M
    March 29th, 2014 at 20:58 | #38

    Ah, you are right. Thank you!

    March 30th, 2014 at 17:59 | #39

    @John Shaw
    You should cut off salary for proofreader. In the preface there are two words “that that”.

  38. gernot
    February 18th, 2017 at 14:20 | #40

    is the chapter about exch variation with 9.Qa4 available? did not find it in newsletters/updates

  39. John Shaw
    February 20th, 2017 at 11:27 | #41

    gernot :
    is the chapter about exch variation with 9.Qa4 available? did not find it in newsletters/updates

    Hi, We gave a pdf on the update in the following blog post:


    As for the pgn, I cannot see it in newsletters/updates either, so something has gone wrong. We will try to fix that soon. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  40. gernot
    April 29th, 2017 at 19:52 | #42

    found another miss. page 198 (avrukh 17)

    4.g3 Bg4 and now 5.Ne5 !?!?! quite popular move is missing

    i dont think there was an update on this

  41. John Shaw
    May 2nd, 2017 at 15:34 | #43


    We are talking about the line 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Bg4, and now the book covers 5.Bg2 e6 then various moves including 6.Ne5 Bh5. But you are asking about 5.Ne5, which is not in the book. I can’t blame the author or editors too much, as it was not a β€œmiss” at the time – all the GM games with 5.Ne5 were played after the book was published.

    But it does look an interesting line. I had a look with my lunch and I have a suggestion:

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Bg4 5.Ne5 Bh5 Going to f5 is possible, but let’s be consistent with the book lines.

    Now it seems the independent lines are 6.cxd5 and 6.Nc3 (instead lines with Bg2 will transpose to the book).

    After 6.cxd5 I suggest an odd-looking move: 6…Nxd5!? (The point is I want to play …Nd7xe5, without the reply d4xe5 hitting my knight on f6.) A long (wrong?) sample line:
    7.Nc3 Nd7 8.Nxd5 cxd5 9.Qb3 Nxe5 10.dxe5 e6 11.e4 Be7 12.Bb5+ Kf8 13.exd5 Qxd5 14.Qxd5 exd5 15.Be3 f6 16.exf6 Bxf6 17.Rc1 a6 18.Be2 Bxe2 19.Kxe2 Re8 20.Kf3 Kf7 With a drawish ending.

    If that’s too dull, then try 7…e6 (instead of 7…Nd7) when, for example, 8.g4 f6 is not boring.

    Black taking on d5 with the pawn on move 6 is far more common, but after 6…cxd5 I don’t see a good answer to 7.Nc3 e6 8.Qa4+. For example:

  42. John Shaw
    May 2nd, 2017 at 15:41 | #44


    8…Nbd7 9.e4 a6 10.Nxd7!N Nxd7 (10…Qxd7?? 11.Bb5) 11.Bg2 b5 12.Qb3 dxe4 (12…b4? 13.exd5 bxc3 14.dxe6 fxe6 15.Qxe6+ Be7 16.Qd5) 13.Nxe4 Be7 14.d5 This looks risky for Black.

    8…Nfd7 9.g4 Bg6 10.h4 f6 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.e4 is also unreliable for Black.

    The other independent line is 6.Nc3 e6 7.Qb3 but after 7…Qb6 8.c5 Qxb3 9.axb3 Nbd7 Black seems OK. I general, I would be wary with Black of …Qb6xb3 plans, as White often has a quick b3-b4-b5, but in this version Black looks to be active enough, with …e6-e5 ideas not far away.

    So thanks for mentioning this 5.Ne5 line. It looks an interesting anti-Slav surprise weapon.

  43. gernot
    May 2nd, 2017 at 19:44 | #45

    hi john.

    thanks for the analysis, very good job. it seems that in the 5…Bh5 lines black has a hard time equalizing if W knows his stuff.

    More reliable for black seems 5…Bf5 6.cd cd 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.f3 (grischuk-tomashevsky 2014) Rc8 9.g4 Bd7 ( 4 games in megabase)

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