Home > Jacob Aagaard's training tips > A quick post with a great link on a generally rotten day…

A quick post with a great link on a generally rotten day…

It is one of those days… I cycled to the office for the first time in months (since I was fined Β£50 for riding with 6 k/ph through a green lights for pedestrians – with no pedestrians in sight – incidentally the same amount I would have been fined for speeding through a red light in a car). I struggled and it took me 55 minutes to cover 13.2 k downhill… Yeah, I have gone fat writing Endgame Play. +5k in a month to be exact.

Once in the office, my desktop obviously decided to not cooperate. It cuts out after 10-20 seconds and will be picked up by Laptop Doctor in the afternoon.

But a good thing is that I will be able to give you a small link to an article I wrote for FIDE. It contains three positions I have used in playing exercises with my students. If you want to attempt to beat a computer, just take Black in both positions and give yourself at least an hour. It is by no means easy; but it is top training.

[fen size=”small”]8/8/1p2bk2/pBpp1p2/5K1P/1P3P2/P7/8 w – – 0 1[/fen]

[fen size=”small”]r1b1r1k1/2p2pp1/3p1n1p/1p5q/3Pp3/1P2P1PP/P4PB1/R1BQ1RK1 b – – 0 18[/fen]

The article is found here. If you want to do your chess any good, you try to play the positions before reading it.

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  1. Bill
    April 28th, 2014 at 13:27 | #1

    Have you ever talked to Andrew about getting in shape? Kettlebells are a simple and brutal expedient, but don’t require much time to produce great results.

  2. Jacob Aagaard
    April 28th, 2014 at 15:00 | #2

    I even had a kettle bell experience with Andrew. I had to roll out of the class before the end. But just to make this clear: don’t give me any fitness advice before you have solved these positions!

  3. Ashish
    April 28th, 2014 at 16:19 | #3

    Three positions or two positions?

  4. Jacob Aagaard
    April 28th, 2014 at 16:23 | #4

    Three in the article; two that I suggest to use for training against a computer.

  5. Bill
    April 28th, 2014 at 16:45 | #5

    @Jacob Aagaard
    This is about the only time ever that I could make a decent recommendation to a GM on his chess blog.

  6. April 28th, 2014 at 17:09 | #6

    As opposed to indecent? πŸ™‚

  7. Mike
    April 28th, 2014 at 19:43 | #7

    Hey, sorry for bothering but i’m somewhat curious. Do you think that the provisional summer release date for the Playing 1.e4 books is achievable? Because it seems that these books have been delayed for a long time now and i haven’t heard much about the project lately. Also, if possible could you indicate us if there’s going to be a pdf excerpt any time soon? Congratulations on the great successes the company has achieved.

  8. Jacob Aagaard
    April 29th, 2014 at 10:41 | #8

    Excerpts when books go to the printer.

    Playing 1.e4 is on track, but as you say delayed. I will not give promises, but it will not be disastrously late.

  9. Ray
    April 29th, 2014 at 11:43 | #9

    I am definitely going to play the training positions against my engine, but since it takes at least an hour per position (excluding the time my engine needs), I need to postpone this to the weekend. Maybe it would be an idea to move the training posts form ondays to fridays πŸ™‚

  10. Ray
    April 29th, 2014 at 11:43 | #10

    Of course I meant mondays not ondays

  11. Jasp
    April 29th, 2014 at 17:59 | #11

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Is Negi’s book about 1.e4 still on track?

  12. April 29th, 2014 at 22:25 | #12

    5k a month! Who knew endgame books could be so profitable πŸ™‚

  13. Andre
    April 30th, 2014 at 12:48 | #13


    is it possible that the name of the black player in the middle game example is wrong? Without checking, it would make a lot of sense if the black player were IM Gerlef Meins, not an unknown player named Gerlef, M. πŸ˜‰

  14. Jacob Aagaard
    April 30th, 2014 at 13:44 | #14

    Yes, it is written and Andrew is going through it carefully. We had hoped to have something out at the end of May, but it will be a bit into June instead.

  15. Jacob Aagaard
    April 30th, 2014 at 13:46 | #15

    Absolutely. It is not the only way that they made the article worse, but the fact that they initiated these articles and provide them free of charge for people to read is not something I want to criticise. Ok, I was not paid a lot, but I did get something for writing it.

    April 30th, 2014 at 18:11 | #16

    ### outstanding idea πŸ™‚ ###

    Jacob, how about publishing ALL exercises from Yussupow’s series in three volumes: Fundamentals, Beyond the basics and Mastery.

    Each exercise book could contain random puzzles grouped only by main criteria like tactics.

    Why not?

  17. Rainer Albrecht
    April 30th, 2014 at 18:57 | #17

    IΒ΄m highly surprised that my engines, including Houdini3, donΒ΄t even mention 18…Bg4 in Schoene vs. Meins, not even as deep as “25”. But after 19.h3xg4 Nxg4 20.Re1 Re6 they start saying “-+”! What does this mean, e.g. for correspondence chess? Is corr. still playable if only the players have some ideas every now and then?

  18. Jacob Aagaard
    April 30th, 2014 at 21:33 | #18

    €75 per book. That’s why.

    May 1st, 2014 at 05:05 | #19

    @Jacob Aagaard
    So what, I can give you for all three 100 euros πŸ™‚

  20. Nikos Ntirlis
    May 1st, 2014 at 20:30 | #20

    @Rainer Albrecht

    Of course corr chess is playable. People who are playing by blindly following the recommendations of their “Houdinis” are doomed!

  21. Indra Polak
    May 2nd, 2014 at 09:26 | #21

    I would like to see a break-down of the evalution of the position by an engine in order to be able to see whether I agree with it. I think this would be a nice feature, and this would also greatly help and improve our own evaluations I think, being able to compare them and improve them.

  22. Indra Polak
    May 2nd, 2014 at 09:29 | #22

    And another idea: most of the time the eval of the engine is not the eval of the start position directly, but the min-max eval of the worst possible position after best moves by one of the players. Then I would like to see that position also as a kind of “target”: when you play this move, worst case you end up with this, and that position the engine evaluates as X.

  23. Indra Polak
    May 2nd, 2014 at 12:42 | #23

    And even more awesome would be to incorporate the notion of “computer-move”. Or in plain words: the likelyhood some moves will be candidate moves of a human being. We all know that some moves are harder for humans to see than others; I heard some GM’s referring to them as “computer moves”. I’d say a computer move is a move that has a lower probability to appear as a candidate move than a non-computer move. If the engine would be able to indicate that certain moves are “computer moves” (using some heuristic maybe?) this would be a useful tool to improve your own candidate moves.

  24. Thomas
    May 2nd, 2014 at 14:49 | #24

    Indra Polak :
    when you play this move, worst case you end up with this

    Worst case you stumple into mate on the very next move. Or hang your queen.
    There are no insurances like that in chess.
    It would be a very boring game if it’s “no matter what I play – it’s not worse than ‘-0.4′” – whatever ‘-0.4’ means.

  25. The Lurker
    May 2nd, 2014 at 15:40 | #25

    Haha! Reminds me of a co-worker once who was asked when a project was going to be finished, worst case: “Well, worst case, never!” The boss didn’t like that….

  26. Marvel
    May 2nd, 2014 at 16:21 | #26

    I’m thinking about writing a book on the 4.f3 Nimzo Indian (and Saemisch). Not for Quality Chess (of course, I’m just an FM) but maybe for another publisher. Do you guys think it would be a good idea?

    • Jacob Aagaard
      May 5th, 2014 at 14:32 | #27

      We try not to publish such narrow books ourselves; as we have a high cost production and need a certain level of sales. There are publishers that do less to the books they receive and thus have more flexibility with the topics they cover. I am sure some of them would love to publish a book on this topic at this point. Shop around and you might get a yes. We would love to read it, obviously :-).

  27. Ray
    May 5th, 2014 at 10:11 | #28

    This weekend I finally had the time to play the training positions (against Hiarcs 14 at a rating of 2500) and read the article. They are great, thanks! In the ending I started with 1…Bf7 2.Bd3 Bh5 3.Bb5 d4 4.Bc6 Bf7 5.Bb5 Bh5 6.Ba4 Bg6 7.Bb5 Bf7 (I couldn’t find the right plan but remembered that I shouldn’t hurry…) 8.Bd7 c4? 9.bxc4 Bxc4 10.a4 d3 11.Ke3 f4+ 12.Kd2 Bd5 13.Kxd3 Bxf3 14.Kd2 Bh5 15.Ke1 Ke5 16.Kf2 Kd6 17.Bb5 Ke5 18.Bc6 Bd1 19.Ke1 Bc2 20.Kf2 Bg6 21.Kf3 Bh5+ 22.Kf2 Kf5 23.Bd7 Kf6 24.Bb5 Bd1 25.Be8 Ke7 26.Bb5 Kf7 27.Bc6 Kg6 28. Be8 Kh6 (only now did I see the king manoeuvre which I should have played instead of …c4 – at least I have learned something from this exercise :-)). 28.Bc6 Bg4 etc. – I could not find a winning plan and the game ended in a draw by repetition.

    In the second exercise I played 1…Qxd1, missing the whole idea 1…Bg4…

    Anyway, I think this is a great way to train, thanks again!

  28. Jacob Aagaard
    May 5th, 2014 at 14:30 | #29

    You are welcome!

  29. Ray
    May 5th, 2014 at 18:27 | #30

    At least it’s a topical line, and it has been a while since Yakovich’s book on 4.f3!

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