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ACP Book of the Year Award – We need your advice!

We have just received the invitation to the ACP award. As usual each publisher is allowed to put forward two books for consideration by the members of the Association of Chess Professionals.

Last year the prize was won by yours truly with Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation one (1!) vote ahead of Judit Polgar’s How I Beat Fischer’s Record. If John and I had voted, Judit would have won, but as “consolidation” she won the prestigious ECF Book of the Year Award later in the year.

On the side I have included some of our best non-opening book titles from the last year. Which one do you think we should put forward?

Here is the result of the last poll.

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  1. Ashish
    March 26th, 2014 at 19:59 | #1

    I think that instructional books addressed to the amateur player tend to do well. So voted for *Pump*, which is the only one of the five I have bought. And it is outstanding.

  2. Tobias
    March 26th, 2014 at 22:22 | #2

    I own “Pump up your Rating”, “Strategic Play”, and Yusupov’s third book. The latter is probably great (I just worked myself through the very first in the series, aimed at <1500 players, and despite being a 2100 player, I still learned a lot!). "Strategic Play" I haven't looked at yet, I have to read "Positional Play" first. So I voted for Pump, because what I have read in it so far is great, and because I have an autographed copy, and because I know Axel's father-in-law rather well πŸ˜‰

  3. March 26th, 2014 at 23:02 | #3

    The ACP is for professionals, no? They’ll be the judges? If so, it has to be Strategic Play.

  4. Mark Moorman
    March 27th, 2014 at 02:12 | #4

    I know GM Shaw has banned the topic but maybe a book on “Kramnik’s trips to the Throne.”

  5. Ed
    March 27th, 2014 at 08:03 | #5

    Wow …….. looks like Pump up your rating will win in landslide. I own 3 of the 5 books nominated, but not Pump up your rating. I have a vague idea what it is like from the PDF. Could people who have read it tell us why they enjoyed it and why they think it is such a good book in their opinion. I might end up getting it!

  6. Ed
    March 27th, 2014 at 08:12 | #6

    PS voted for Grandmaster preparation – strategic play. I have never read a book as challenging as this one. Can anyone think of a book that does like this one?

  7. Jacob Aagaard
    March 27th, 2014 at 08:41 | #7

    I am not sure what you mean about books for amateurs doing well. Nunn, Dvoretsky and I have won so far, with high level books.

  8. Frankfurter Bub
    March 27th, 2014 at 08:51 | #8

    Ed: I just start to work through Pump up. Just the first chapter was a real eye opener to me. Axel’s sentence “No pawn lever – no plan” made me think about one the problems in my game. Actually two weeks after I went throught this chapter the sentence hit me during a game. Then it was easy: I played g5! offered a pawn for positional compensation and got a tremendous position.
    It was not just the sentence itself, but how Axel presented his idea, how he lost again and again to Evgeny Agreest before he understood the importance of pawn levers in all kind of positions.
    I will take my time, but I am sure working through “Pump up” will increase my playing threnght (around 1800/1900 Elo).
    By the way: like always it is worth to go for the hardcover. I makes working throught the book so much easier.

  9. Trefor
    March 27th, 2014 at 09:01 | #9

    I have four of the books, don’t have the Carslen book . . yet ( although have dropped some pretty heavy hints to family regarding my forthcoming b/day). Honestly any of the 4 would be a deserving winner, my vote would be for GM to Top Ten – It is as brilliant as the others and dare I say a more exciting read πŸ™‚

  10. Jacob Aagaard
    March 27th, 2014 at 10:27 | #10

    I do think that it would be false advertising if I put “page turner” on the cover of Strategic Play!

  11. grinding_tolya
    March 27th, 2014 at 14:05 | #11

    I grade books according to how they appeal to me.
    Yusupov’s book is the one that appealed most to me. (I also own Pump up your rating and Strategic Play). The theory/exercise ratio is the best you can get for players with limited time who work on their chess.

    Pump up your rating is a book I can’t stand, as it propagates a chess which I don’t practise.
    I have to add that Axel Smith did succeeded in his endeavor, as it ignited a discussion in myself about chess. (If I remember correctly he stated that this was his goal in the introduction).

    I like Strategic Play, but at the moment life clashes with the required effort I should invest in a book as this one.

    So my vote goes to Strategic Play, as it’s the book which after working trough would potentially satisfies me the most.

  12. David
    March 27th, 2014 at 16:34 | #12


    Can you explain what you mean by “Pump up your rating is a book I can’t stand, as it propagates a chess which I don’t practise.” ?

  13. Ray
    March 27th, 2014 at 16:57 | #13

    I voted for Yusupov since it potentially has the nicest cover if I would have the time to look at it πŸ™‚

  14. March 27th, 2014 at 19:15 | #14
  15. Paul Brondal
    March 27th, 2014 at 19:58 | #15

    Pump is an excellent book but Strategic Play is a masterpiece, so my vote went to the latter!

  16. grinding_tolya
    March 28th, 2014 at 12:22 | #16

    what an inconsistent post of mine.

    I don’t like the attitude propagated in the book.

  17. Ray
    March 28th, 2014 at 13:26 | #17

    Maybe we can start a discussion on good sportsmanship… Smith gives some nice examples of this in his book…

  18. Jacob Aagaard
    March 28th, 2014 at 15:50 | #18

    As long as I am not used as an example I will not censor it :-).

  19. Ray
    March 28th, 2014 at 18:00 | #19

    @Jacob Aagaard

  20. Nikos Ntirlis
    March 28th, 2014 at 20:49 | #20

    I don’t see Carslen’s book coming at the top 2 places (which will qualify?) but i see it listed as number one in this list:


  21. Jacob Aagaard
    March 28th, 2014 at 23:05 | #21

    I cannot help but notice that this poor soul has five books from a complete hack in his list…

  22. Bill
    March 28th, 2014 at 23:23 | #22

    @Jacob Aagaard
    You must be referring to John Nunn’s five books…

  23. Jacob Aagaard
    March 29th, 2014 at 08:14 | #23

    Actually, if you look carefully, three authors have five books on the list ;-).

  24. SugarLips
    March 30th, 2014 at 17:11 | #24

    @Jacob Aagaard
    You, Nunn, …?

  25. Jacob Aagaard
    March 30th, 2014 at 17:41 | #25

    Obviously I was referring to myself. But Watson also has five books on the list…

  26. SugarLips
    March 30th, 2014 at 18:37 | #26

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I count 4 books from Watson, at least based on the authors the guy listed.

  27. Nikos Ntirlis
    March 31st, 2014 at 11:24 | #27

    Can Watson be considered in a sense a “co-author” of “Excelling at Chess”? Maybe this is why Jacob (subconsciously?) counted one more of Watson’s books!

  28. Csaba
    March 31st, 2014 at 11:46 | #28

    A few months ago, I wanted to get a game collection of Aronian’s to a friend of mine but I was kind of shocked there was none on the market in English. Maybe that would be a good project for Quality Chess? Aronian seems to have a very big fanbase online, most of them not Armenians.

  29. March 31st, 2014 at 13:26 | #29

    We gave the book a higher rating both on account of its topical interest and intrinsic merit
    See our reply to readers here:
    Probably Judit Polgar’s book, From GM to Top Ten may be a better choice.
    We have not seen the book, though.

  30. March 31st, 2014 at 13:45 | #30

    The book I mentioned here is Carlsen’s assault on the throne.

  31. Jacob Aagaard
    March 31st, 2014 at 14:26 | #31

    Shows how tired I have been lately. There are seven Watson books on the list.

  32. Jacob Aagaard
    March 31st, 2014 at 14:27 | #32

    @Nikos Ntirlis
    No. The references to Watson are only a few pages in the book. It is not a book written about Watson, despite what some people think.

  33. Jacob Aagaard
    March 31st, 2014 at 14:27 | #33

    But who would write it?

  34. Ray
    March 31st, 2014 at 15:57 | #34

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Aronian? Or maybe Karolyi?

  35. Csaba
    March 31st, 2014 at 19:28 | #35

    @Jacob Aagaard

    I have nothing much to do right now. I’m 1600 and I don’t have any writing skills, nor any knowledge of Russian or Armenian.

  36. Ray
    March 31st, 2014 at 19:49 | #36

    Sounds like a perfect match to me πŸ™‚

  37. Ed
    March 31st, 2014 at 21:00 | #37

    Which is the best book in past 10 yrs from Quality chess is a big question.
    I counted that I have 9 of the 15 books listed and they are very different.
    What is also interesting is that an opening book was not nominated in the list and correct me if I am wrong, but opening books would probably sell more than the other books. Although that does not make them better chess books I think.
    For me Attacking Manual I has been the best with a lot to gain from it, Legends would be a very close second. As I do not have The Pump book I can not include in my top 3 as I have not read it, but interesting it has many votes in early voting. Possibly Build up your chess would be my 3rd pick as it was the first book of an exceptional series of books.

  38. grinding_tolya
    March 31st, 2014 at 22:58 | #38

    doubting between Grandmaster Battle Manual and Learn from the legends.

  39. John Johnson
    April 1st, 2014 at 01:02 | #39

    I have to say I have many of those books. I chose Learn from Legends, but was tempted greatly by San Luis and Positional Chess Sacrifices. Marin slightly topped his compatriot. We need more books from both!

  40. Jacob Aagaard
    April 1st, 2014 at 01:07 | #40

    I hope the idea that if we are dealing with a series, the first volume represents the whole series.

    I was going to do an opening equivalent next week.

  41. Jacob Aagaard
    April 1st, 2014 at 01:08 | #41

    @John Johnson
    Marin is involved in co-writing a trilogy with Judit Polgar. If you have not checked out these books, it’s your own fault!

  42. John Johnson
    April 1st, 2014 at 03:06 | #42

    You asked for advice… I do own the first one.

  43. Jacob Aagaard
    April 1st, 2014 at 07:13 | #43

    @John Johnson
    Not that type of advice :-). But we are always happy to hear what people think of course.

  44. Ray
    April 1st, 2014 at 09:49 | #44

    I also voted for Learn from the Legends. I still think it would be great to have a hardcopy ‘QC 10 yr anniversary’ edition…

  45. April 1st, 2014 at 10:35 | #45

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Eric Schiller, Andrew Soltis πŸ™‚

    The best choice maybe Robert Huebner, but he will break the record of Mr. Shaw for the kings gambit book!

  46. Boki
    April 1st, 2014 at 21:54 | #46

    This is the most difficult vote so far. I have 13/15 (wonder why i donot have all)
    With a very small margin i pick marin learn from the legends , as it is more of a classic chess book,

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