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Opening Simulator – King’s Indian Defence

We have sent to the printer Opening Simulator – King’s Indian Defence by Esben Lund and Andreas Skytte Hagen. You can read an excerpt here. We are predicting a publication date of the end of July or the first week of August – printing time can vary.

This is a new style of book for us. It’s an opening book. And it’s a puzzle book. The excerpt explains the idea. In fact, it’s a tricky book to represent in an excerpt, as the book also includes a long introduction (about 80 pages) about standard plans and ideas in the King’s Indian. But we did not include any of that Introduction in the excerpt as chopping a little out of a coherent whole did not work for us.

If you are familiar with Esben Lund’s previous books – most recently, Sharp Endgames and The Secret Life of Bad Bishops – you will know that a huge effort goes into research for his books. And if anything the addition of a co-author, Andreas Skytte Hagen, has allowed an even more ambitious book. So if the King’s Indian Defence interests you, for either colour, then have a look and see what you think.

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  1. Alber
    June 28th, 2019 at 15:27 | #1

    Is a chessable edition expected?

  2. Michael Stewart
    June 29th, 2019 at 05:26 | #2

    I look forward to this new style of book.
    I hope this is the first of many books in this style and should really help to learn the opening!!!

  3. Leon Trotsky
    June 29th, 2019 at 23:25 | #3

    Is this book just printed in hardcover ¿

    Just asking of course, because I like the hardcover versions 😀

  4. Paul H
    June 30th, 2019 at 09:51 | #4

    @Leon Trotsky
    You can see under the book’s entry on the “coming soon” page it is in hardback and paperback.

  5. Lutz Konrad
    July 1st, 2019 at 08:53 | #5

    Dear Mr Lund and Hagen,

    although your approach to learning an opening seems to be new, in Germany in the 1990`s a lot of similar books have been published by Lothar Nikolaiczuk like 100x Pirc/Modern, 100x Grünfeld-Indisch etc. In each book the topic was presented with 100 puzzles and I remember very well that I learned a lot about the Pirc during that time.


  6. John Shaw
    July 1st, 2019 at 09:19 | #6


    I think the “Opening Simulator” is well suited for Chessable. but the timing of its appearance there is not clear.
    Forward Chess is also a good fit for this book, and we expect the publication on Forward Chess will be a week before our paper version, as usual.

    @Leon Trotsky

    As Paul H said, Opening Simulator will be in both hardcover and paperback on publication.

  7. Paul H
    July 1st, 2019 at 09:52 | #7

    @John Shaw
    Esben is one of my favourite QC authors and I like that this (albeit co authored) will be his first hardback release – his previous 3 books were paperback only. Hopefully his 4th book will also be in hardback.

  8. Remco G
    July 1st, 2019 at 09:52 | #8

    Any indication of the level the puzzles are for?

  9. John Shaw
    July 1st, 2019 at 11:51 | #9

    @Remco G

    There are 5 levels of difficulty on the exercises, so they cover a very broad range. Level 1 might include some one or two move ideas, while at Level 5 it’s certainly advanced. The excerpt shows some Level 2 exercises.

  10. Tim S
    July 2nd, 2019 at 08:00 | #10

    Really like this idea. I hope other openings are covered in a similar style in future.

  11. Douwe
    July 2nd, 2019 at 17:52 | #11


  12. Horacy21
    July 10th, 2019 at 09:43 | #12

    Great idea!
    Are there any plans to publish Opening Simulator books on other openings?

  13. Kevin winter
    July 12th, 2019 at 19:06 | #13

    Any more information on the release date ? I want it in hardcover ! 😀

  14. Thomas
    July 13th, 2019 at 15:53 | #14

    I’m still hoping for a new book by Jan Markos.

    “Under the Surface” is the best chessbook I have.
    And I have a lot…

  15. Leon Trotsky
    July 13th, 2019 at 21:48 | #15

    It says 31 July, unless that is changed (¿)

  16. July 19th, 2019 at 15:29 | #16

    I have conducted an in-depth interview on my blog with Andreas Skytte Hagen that I believe will answer a lot of questions posted here. This is our first book together (and Andreas’ first release), and the 10 interview questions cover the period from when our cooperation started, sometime back in 2007, and until today. Opening Simulator included, of course. Check out http://silasesbenlund.com/andreas-skytte-hagen

  17. Frank M
    July 26th, 2019 at 12:00 | #17


    a somewhat off topic question. The book “Rook vs Two Minor Pieces” by Esben Lund is marked as sold out. Are there any plans of a reprint or a revised new edition?

    Thanks Frank

  18. John Shaw
    July 26th, 2019 at 13:28 | #18

    @Frank M

    Sorry, no plans for a reprint/revised edition of “Rook vs Two Minor Pieces”. The numbers would not work for us.

  19. KevHun
    July 29th, 2019 at 08:48 | #19

    An off-topic question, but is there any update on the publishing date for Gelfand’s book on technical decision making?

  20. pabstars
    July 30th, 2019 at 15:50 | #20

    @Silas Esben Lund What an excellent interview. It convinced me to order your new book and Sharp Endgames. It didn’t either make things worse that “The Secret life of Bad Bishops” which I’m currently reading is very enjoyable!

  21. July 31st, 2019 at 16:42 | #21

    I am glad you like it! And I will probably conduct similar interviews in the future (long and in-depth).

  22. An Ordinary Chessplayer
    July 31st, 2019 at 19:00 | #22

    In Thomsen – Hagen, 8/8/4k1p1/p1p1p3/2PnK3/P5P1/8/3B4 w – – 3 40
    I am not sure that 40.g4 draws, black can try 40. g4 Nc6 41. Ba4 Nd8 42. Be8 Nb7 43. Bxg6 Nd6+ 44. Kd3 Kf6. The white bishop is still bad and the black king is penetrating.

  23. JoPi
    August 1st, 2019 at 16:20 | #23

    I got the book today from http://www.debestezet.nl

    It looks like a Danish home run!
    It is one thing to have an excellent idea, but it looks to me like they’ve executed it perfectly!
    These are just my impressions so far after reading the first 30 pages and browsing/glancing through the book.

    It’s very well written.
    It’s very well researched (an extensive bibliography which they refer to from time to time).
    An excellent 80 page introduction to the King’s Indian. No opening theory or dense variations, but verbal commentary about all the major systems white has at his disposal with the plans for both sides.

    I have not gone through the problems yet, but I glanced at the solutions.
    And the solutions really looks like the star of the show.
    The solutions all have some verbal commentary with them why moves are bad, or why you have to see certain moves, or just some explanations why something works (or doesn’t).

    Great stuff!
    I’m looking forward to working with the book and picking up the KID-glove again after 13 years!

    @Jacob : Nudge Tiger to do one too for the Modern

  24. Dimitris
    August 5th, 2019 at 09:34 | #24

    Dear QC editors and authors of the KID simulator book,

    First, thank you for producing this tactical manual to the KID. I would like kindly to ask you a few questions regarding the structure of the book (after having read the excerpt and interview):
    1) To my understanding the book appears to be a modern update and combination of the ideas by Nikolay Minev’s King’s Indian Defense: Tactics, Ideas, Exercises and Mastering The King’s Indian Defense by Bellin & Ponzetto. In this regard, in the first 91 pages are the pawn structures of the variations discussed or it is the current theory of the KID put forth in variations?
    2) There is a comment, about grading the puzzles according to difficulty. I have noticed that in the preface and in the interview, a KID tactical puzzle book with similar focus (though not at all at the same level of production) is not mentioned, i.e. King’s Indian Defense E60-99: 837 Characteristic Chess Puzzles by Bill Harvey. Have the authors took into account this approach when producing their book (please note, I can’t see the bibliography from the excerpt).

    Last, please allow a comment for the second edition of the book (I am sure this will happen as it seems to be received extremely positive already). How about including some indicative (full) KID games where we could analyze the pawn structures, positional factors and tactical weaknesses in detail? In that case, perhaps the quote of the book can be enchanced to ” read, solve, play and analyze”…

  25. JB
    September 2nd, 2019 at 14:56 | #25

    I’m not a King’s Indian player but can see that there are some common themes ( eg kingside attack for black, queenside for white, quite often blocked pawn structure in centre) so if the book is a success can I put in a request of openings that I do play and that have common themes eg French with the usual e4 e6 d4 d5 centre, Sicilians with opposite side castling, QGD systems.
    I too liked the Ponzetto “Mastering the…” on the Spanish, KI and Benoni/Benko.
    Have Lund/hagen or QC got a list of openings that might be given this treatment in the future. I’m sure a Najdorf one would be great to complement Vigorito’s new book especially if he sticks to a ‘system’ eg …e5 if at all possible much like John played c4 and f3 systems as white against the Najdorf if given the choice

  26. Andrew Greet
    September 2nd, 2019 at 16:22 | #26

    Sorry about the slow reply – we try to answer all questions but sometimes we just miss things, as happened with your post for a few weeks. To answer your questions:

    1) The long Introduction is mostly about plans and pawn structures, but there are instances where the authors illustrate certain ideas using longer theoretical lines, occasionally even with the addition of a useful novelty.

    2) The Harvey book is not mentioned in the bibliography so I assume the authors were not aware of it.

    I’m not sure if there will be a second edition. However, the solutions to the exercises are quite detailed in places, so the instructional value of that section of the book is pretty similar to what you would get from annotated games.

  27. Andrew Greet
    September 2nd, 2019 at 16:26 | #27

    Of course, there are a great many openings to which this approach could be applied, but we need to see how the market responds to this book before deciding if we will repeat the format. Hopefully “Opening Simulator: Elephant Gambit” will be on the way soon…

  28. September 9th, 2019 at 02:40 | #28

    Sorry for the delayed reply. Andrew sums up the book well, and to your second point, we were not aware of the title you mention. Our book is much more than an updated version of previous works – mainly because we have incorporated deliberate practice. This probably shows the most in the detailed solutions where it is clear what you should have seen in order to solve them correctly. Also, this is not a tactical manual as there are positional exercises too. People talk about a second edition of the book, and that would indeed be nice. Let’s see. As for other openings with the same OS-treatment, I am not sure at this point. But thanks for supporting the idea Ü

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