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Top 3 Non-Opening books

It has been very interesting to read your top 3s in opening books over the last few days, as well as your explanations. If you did not add your personal top 3, please do so. Everyone is interested!

Now it is time to add your top 3 for non-opening books. Here is my two lists:

Non-Quality Chess

1. The Dvoretsky Endgame Manual (Dvoretsky)

2. Imagination in Chess (Gaprindashvili)

3. The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal

From Quality Chess

1. Attacking Manual 1+2 (sorry, this is my honest opinion)

2. Learn from the Legends

3. Chess Lessons

A bit surprising maybe that I don’t include San Luis 2005, which many (and probably correctly) put down as the best chess book ever. I agree with this in principle and beyond, the other books just fit better with my character.

The same can be said about Yusupov’s nine books. They are a monument and will last beyond the time we are here (I hope). But they don’t speak to me personally. In the same way that I personally like Jo Nesbo novels better than Julian Barnes, despite what the Booker committee might think :-).

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  1. George Hollands
    October 19th, 2011 at 13:49 | #1

    My top three Non Opening Books Are:

    Non-Quality Chess:
    1. Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual
    2. Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors Vol 4 – Fischer
    3. Seirawan’s Chess Duels

    Quality Chess:
    1. Attacking Manuals 1 & 2
    2. San Luis 2005
    3. Grandmaster Battle Manual

  2. Patrick
    October 19th, 2011 at 16:03 | #2

    I can’t really do a Non-Quality vs Quality list as I’ve only got 1 Quality Chess book that is not an opening book, Practical Chess Defense.

    My overall top 3 from the 21st Century are:

    1) Fundamental Chess Endings (Don’t recall authors – 2 German guys I think, book is by Gambit)
    2) Essential Chess Sacrifices – David Lemoir
    3) Forcing Chess Moves – Charles Hertan

  3. Patrick
    October 19th, 2011 at 16:04 | #3

    Oh, and better than all 3 of the ones I gave is from the 20th century. Best 2 middlegame books I’ve read (better than any of the 3 above):

    The Inner Game of Chess – Andrew Soltis
    Bishop v Knight: The Verdict – Steve Mayer

  4. Andre
    October 19th, 2011 at 16:39 | #4

    Fundamental Chess Endings is by GM Karsten Müller & IM Frank Lamprecht, both from Hamburg. The follow up book
    HOW TO PLAY CHESS ENDGAMES is by Karsten Müller & FM Wolfgang Pajeken, who won the German coach of the year award this year, I guess.

  5. GID player
    October 19th, 2011 at 17:22 | #5

    Top Non-Opening Chess Books

    Non-Quality Chess:

    Deciding on a top-3 list I found impossible. Even a top-10 list was too difficult. That would mean to exclude too many great books. I ended up with a top-2-dozen list. Having done the list, it transpires to me that – subconsciously – my main criteria must have been: instructional value and entertainment.

    1. Watson, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy
    2. Watson, Chess Strategy in Action
    3. Rowson, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins
    4. Bronznik & Terekhin, Techniken des Positionsspiels im Schach
    5. Soltis, Rethinking The Chess Pieces
    6. Gulko, Lessons With a Grandmaster
    7. Giddins, 50 Essential Chess Lessons
    8. Giddins, 50 Ways to Win at Chess
    9. Tisdall, Improve Your Chess Now
    10. Yermolinsky, The Road to Chess Improvement
    11. Rowson, Chess For Zebras
    12. Suba, Dynamic Chess Strategy
    13. Kasparov, My Great Predecessors (the whole series)
    14. Shereshevsky, Endgame Strategy
    15. Soltis, Pawn Structure Chess
    16. Soltis, The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess
    17. LeMoir, Essential Chess Sacrifices
    18. Agur: Bobby Fischer – His Approach To Chess
    19. Kaufeld & Kern, Grandmaster Chess Strategy
    20. Stean, Simple Chess
    21. Webb, Chess for Tigers
    22. Chernev, The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played
    23. Bareev & Levitov, From London to Elista
    24. Donner, The King

    Naturally, the ranking can only be an approximate one. However, Watson’s “Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy” clearly comes first. After that it gets more and more uncertain. Is Tisdall’s book better than Yermolinsky’s? Seems to depend on the lunar phase or some such thing. And Donner’s book essentially belongs to a different category anyway.

    Quality Chess:

    1. Attacking Manual 1 + 2
    2. Karpov’s Strategic Wins 1 + 2
    3. Learn from the Legends

    Again: instructional value and entertainment.

  6. Andre
    October 19th, 2011 at 17:32 | #6

    My top 3, in no particular order:

    – Attacking Manual 1 & 2: Jacob has every reason to throw modesty out of the window for a moment and be proud of his work. I would still recommend to read Vukovic first though. 😉

    – Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces by Igor Stohl: This is the ultimate non-biographical games collection. The games are interesting, Stohl both verbally explains what’s going on and analyses with nearly Hübnerian depth. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration, but he analyses much deeper than everybody else I know of in the last couple of years – and he manages to hold the analysis together with detailed explanations.

    – The 7 Deadly Chess Sins & Chess for Zebras by Jonathan Rowson: Of course chess books with a psychologic touch are hit or miss. *I* found these books both enjoyable and very useful.

    I only have one other non-opening QC book:
    Chess Lesons by Popov. Highly recommended. It’s a great book. I can’t remember when was the last time I’ve seen so clear instrutions and so good (and surprisingly demanding) training material. And this in a book nearly without analysis. 😉 Brief annotations are enough in Chess Lessons because the material is so clear.

    Honorable mention:
    Lessons with a Grandmaster by Gulko & Sneed:
    The amateur Sneed does all the boring work (basic analysis -> pawn structure, bishops pair, yadda, yadda), the GM Gulko corrects him when he gets something wrong and adds precise assessments, variations or the correct plan when it’s necessary. Gulko’s games against the world elite are analysed in dialog form. Sneed and Gulko pretend to be talking about it. All seems so light, nearly no variations, but then you have these complex struggles and the short & precise messages by Gulko.
    It’s a very clever book. An attractive games collection by a former world class player, the reasonably strong amateur who uses his freedom to make all the mistakes intermediate players tend to make, the GM as a mentor who tells a couple of stories, encourages his pupil, generalizes the concepts seen in the last game but otherwise limits his input to the points in which he actually has wisdom to share.
    I guess players in the 1600-2000 range can learn a lot from this book. Beyond that it’s more like an entertaining games collection in which you might pick up a thing or two.

  7. Raffie
    October 19th, 2011 at 17:39 | #7

    I have most of the mentioned books above but I’m an ambitious player and I choose the books which were/are helpful for my chess development. My favorite books are:

    Winning middlegames-Sokolov
    Practical chess defence- Aagaard
    Understand chess: move by move- Nunn
    Positional play- Dvoretsky
    Opening preparation-Dvoretsky
    Grandmaster Battle-Kotronias
    Secrests of practical chess- Nunn
    Grandmaster chess strategy- Kaufeld&Kern

  8. Andre
    October 19th, 2011 at 17:48 | #8

    @GID Player:
    “Is Tisdall’s book better than Yermolinsky’s? Seems to depend on the lunar phase or some such thing.”
    I would rate both as “good but no masterpiece”. Yermo includes a lot of interesting stuff. Both books seem sort of random collections of articles though. Tisdall has a superb article on the calculation of variations. These 30 pages or so alone are worth the price for the book.

    Suba, Shereshevsky, Webb and Chernev are too old for this poll, IMHO.

    My general impression is that chess books have become much better on average over the last couple of years. Every year we have a dozen good or better middle game books, a few strong endgame books and an endless supply of opening books. Even most of the opening books are at least solid, I think, at least below master level. “Utter crap” has become rare. 😉

  9. Andre
    October 19th, 2011 at 17:57 | #9

    I looked for a book last weekend but couldn’t find one. What’s the newest decent overview book for the Dragon for black? I’m talking about the normal vanilla Dragon, not the hyper-accelerated Chinese Dragondorf.
    Was there nothing new since Dearing’s great book in 2003? All I’m aware of are books by Martin (let’s ignore this) and Williams on the Dragondorf. Both are known to be chronically optimistic, to say the least.

  10. October 19th, 2011 at 18:16 | #10

    In the last 11 years there has been a massive glut of opening books AND some very good endgame books. I still feel that “classic” game books are the best way to learn the middlegame, however. I am completely self-taught from books since learning chess at age 25 (current rating: 2076 USCF).

    Great 20th century books, each of which i’ve read at least 2/3rds or more.
    Spielmann – Art of Sacrifice
    Alekhine – My Best Games
    Vukovic – Art of Attack
    Bronstein – Zurich 1953

    21st century non-QC. All endgame books, as it turns out.
    Nunn – Understanding Chess Endgames (superb formatting and layout)
    Aagaard – Excelling at Technical Chess (I was not sure which of the “Excelling” books to choose, but this one comes to mind)
    Muller – How to Play Chess Endgames (basically like several books in one, good stuff on every page!)

    21st century QC
    Aagaard – Attacking Manual vol.2 (these 2 volumes are worthy right next to Vukovic on any shelf!)
    Weteschnik – Understanding Chess Tactics (similar to Lasker’s treatment of tactics in EL’s Manual of Chess, this is a good thing)
    Gershon – San Luis 2005

  11. mikeel
    October 19th, 2011 at 18:31 | #11

    My favorite non-opening, non-QC books are:
    1. Nunn’s Chess Endings, volumes 1 & 2
    2. Kasparov’s Fighting Chess, volumes 1 & 2
    3. From London to Elista

    My favorite non-opening QC books are:
    1. Attacking Manuals 1 & 2
    2. San Luis 2005
    3. Learn from the Legends

  12. Patrick
    October 19th, 2011 at 19:51 | #12

    Speaking of Kasparov, does anybody know which collection is the best of Kasparov’s Games?

    Kasparov’s Greatest Chess Games (Gambit – 2 Volumes)
    Kasparov’s Fighting Chess (Batsford – 2 Volumes)
    Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov (Everyman – 1st of 3 Volumes currently published)
    Chess Secrets: Great Attackers (Everyman)

    I’ve been wanting to get a collection of his games. All the bio books I have currently are on more “minor” players (other than perhaps Korchnoi). Not that they are bad, but going thru the games of Korchnoi, Suttles, Dreev, Khalifman, and Kosteniuk just isn’t the same as someone like Kasparov, Karpov, Anand, etc.

  13. October 19th, 2011 at 20:26 | #13

    Surely Kasparov is the most qualified annotator of his own games. Thus i would vote for “Test of Time” and the new “Kasp on Kasp” series. Crouch’s “Great Attackers” only covers Kasparov’s early career as a junior, while unlike Mikeel i personally did not enjoy Karolyi’s annotations at all since these strike me as unhelpful computer output. Crouch/Karolyi as I.M.’s rated around 2350 are really handicapped if not completely unqualified in bringing the greatest games of Kasparov (2800+) to the public. I found Stohl to be more credible. But let’s face it, GK is GK.

    Bent Larsen’s “Master of Counterattack” is a true masterpiece, at least as good as Tal’s more famous effort in my opinion. This is all just my opinion. I am thankful for Jacob for inviting subjective opinions which can be tolerated although we will all have disagreements for sure. Peace, from Los Angeles. 🙂

  14. Patrick
    October 19th, 2011 at 20:44 | #14

    @katar

    Thanks – My Christmas Wishlist has offically been kicked off!

  15. Andre
    October 19th, 2011 at 21:40 | #15

    An updated version of Larsen’s game collection was published in German two years ago. Niggemann has it.

  16. Andre
    October 19th, 2011 at 21:44 | #16

    Correction:
    It’s an extended version with more than 100 pages of new material, written by the man himself. 328 pages, apparently hardcover.

  17. mikeel
    October 20th, 2011 at 02:27 | #17

    I have ordered the fiirst volume of the “blue series,” and it will be fascinating to see how Kasparov handles his early career.

  18. JFN
    October 20th, 2011 at 04:31 | #18

    “The Road to Chess Improvement” by GM Alex Yermolinsky was ahead of its time (1999) and is still a favorite of mine.

    “John Nunn’s Best Games” & its predecessor “Secrets of Grandmaster Chess” Have Provided countless hours of enjoyment.

    I must say my favorite book is Victor Korchnoi’s “My Best Games” Published this year by
    Edition Olms. It is the abridged version of his “Best Games with White” “Best games with
    Black.” Lay-out superb! Prose entertaining. And the chess is absolutely awesome.

    There are many quality chess titles that could fill in this list. Vote for best publisher; Quality Chess Hands Down.

  19. Pomona
    October 20th, 2011 at 07:16 | #19

    From QC :
    -Chess Lessons. A real gem.
    -Questions of Modern Chess Theory. Well, the English translation makes it a 21st century book.
    -Karpov’s strategic wins 1&2. A landmark in chess literature. They make me work and work and work and enjoy it.

    Other publishers :
    -My most memorable games, Gelfand. Doesn’t this book help one play Rb1 in the Grunfeld with confidence?!
    -Winning pawn structures, Baburin
    -And of course Dvoretsky’s endgame manual.

  20. Jesse
  21. Jacob Aagaard
    October 20th, 2011 at 13:23 | #21

    Very interesting lists. I feel tempted to argue with most people about almost everything, but this is not the purpose of sebjective lists! Most of the mentioned top 3s include books from my top 20, so it is good to see my taste is relatively main stream :-).

    A funny thing about Tisdall (Improve your chess now!) and Soltis (Inner game of Chess) is that they both set off with analysing the same position, but come to different conclusions. As far as I recall, Soltis is wrong, even though his book was published later. I quite enjoyed the read, but was probably hugely influenced by this first example as a writer and a publisher; and have become paranoid about checking the correctness of the chess as well as other sources since then. Obviously we fail frequently, but at least we try :-).

  22. Alekhine Power
    October 20th, 2011 at 13:39 | #22

    From my own chess library I have chosen best books in various categories:

    A) ENDGAME:

    1. Dvoretsky: Die Endspiel Universität, 4th ed.
    2. Müller & Lamprecht: Fundamental Chess Endings

    B) GAME COLLECTIONS & BIOGRAPHIES:

    1. Skinner & Verhoeven: Alekhine’s Chess Games 1902-1946

    – the best of the best: all Alekhine commentaryis on various games
    – layout: 22,0 cm x 28,5 cm, weight 2,250 kg !!!
    – nothing similar on the market for decades!

    C) STRATEGY AND POSITIONAL PLAY:

    1. Euwe & Kramer & Treppner: Das Mittelspiel 1
    2. Bronznik & Terekhin: Techniken des Positionsspiels im Schach

    D) TRAINING:

    1. Jussupow: Tigersprung auf DWZ 1500-2100 Band I-III (9 books)
    2. Dvoretsky & Jussupow: School of Future Champions 1-5
    3. Dvoretsky: School of Chess Excellence 1-4

  23. Jacob Aagaard
    October 20th, 2011 at 14:31 | #23

    @Alekhine Power
    Actually Benko’s Best Games, which is in my top 10, but not mentioned here, is quite heavy too. 1,622 kg. San Luis is a slim darling at only 1,100…

  24. Johann
    October 20th, 2011 at 15:29 | #24

    A funny quote from one of the excerpts 🙂

    “Unknown amateur congratulates Jacob on winning the ECF Book of the Year at the 2010 London Chess Classic”

  25. October 20th, 2011 at 16:54 | #25

    My top 3 non-opening books, for now:

    Rowson: Chess for Zebras. I always return to this when I feel my motivation for playing beginning to flag. It is superb at reminding me that chess is intrinsically a game/sport played by flawed humans, and not a mathematical exercise in which my only possibility is to fail at achieving perfection.

    Larsen: Master of Counter-Attack. Fascinating games and annotations with real personality. I only wish it were republished in algebraic notation (preferably the expanded version), but luckily I’m old enough to be comfortable with descriptive.

    Yusupov: Tigersprung series (Build Up Your Chess et al): It’s amazing how good a set of workbooks that are mostly just problems with rather terse solutions can be. It’s the closest I’ve felt to having a real chess coach in a book.

    Honorable mentions:

    Marin: Learn from the Legends. I’ve never found annotations this detailed to be this compelling. A model for all those who annotate deeply.

    Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual. I love this in the same way that I love reading physics textbooks (and I do!).

    By the way, GM10 looks like it will be outstanding from the excerpt!

  26. John Hartmann
    October 20th, 2011 at 17:13 | #26

    Great – three more books I have to buy. 🙂 Any idea as to the print dates for each?

  27. Jacob Aagaard
    October 20th, 2011 at 21:46 | #27

    Which ones?

    GM vs Amateur and Advanced Chess Tactics are available the 11th of November. The Tarrasch a few weeks later.

  28. Franck Steenbekkers
    October 20th, 2011 at 22:12 | #28

    1.) Legendsbook of Marin
    2.) Silman with his endgamebible and how to reases your chess
    3-4 Herman Grooten Strategybook and Nunn secrets of practicalchess

  29. Phil Collins
    October 21st, 2011 at 16:26 | #29

    I like quite:

    Nikolay Yakovlev: Planing in the Middlegame,
    Johan Hellsten: Mastering Chess Strategy and
    Tibor Karolyi & Nick Aplin: Endgame Virtuoso Karpov

  30. Zagreb 1959
    October 21st, 2011 at 22:50 | #30

    My top three Non Opening Books Are:
    1- Olympiad United! Dresden 2008 – Fietz, Asik, Burtasova (Verlag Schach) – It is how all chess books should be made! 🙂
    2- The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal – Tal (Everyman Chess)
    3- San Luis 2005 – Alik Gershon, Igor Nor (Quality Chess) and Bronstein – Zurich 1953

  31. Jacob Aagaard
    October 22nd, 2011 at 09:42 | #31

    @Zagreb 1959
    Four fantastic books. Luckily I was involved in two of them, which makes me very proud. Obviously, the Dresden book must have lost money, and is therefore not a standard other publishers can go for, but it is a fabulous book! Not the least the high-class annotations by me, heheh.

  32. Alekhine Power
    October 22nd, 2011 at 10:51 | #32

    Jacob, few questions for you:

    1) Shall it be available around 10th of December 2011 in Niggemann store following books in HARDCOVER:
    – Grandmaster Repertoire 6 – The Sicilian Defence by Lubomir Ftacnik, SECOND edition
    – Advanced Chess Tactics – by Lev Psakhis
    – Grandmaster Repertoire 10 – The Tarrasch Defence by Nikolaos Ntirlis & Jacob Aagaard
    – Chess Tactics from Scratch – UCT 2nd Edition by Martin Weteschnik

    2) How are you progressing on STRATEGY/POSITIONAL PLAY MANUAL and WORKBOOK? Why don’t you mention them?

    3) Can you give us new schedule for Spring/Summer 2012?

    4) Why don’t you launch new series, as a addendum to Jussupow’s or your “Excelling” books, about chess training named:

    – Quality Chess Training: Tactics
    – Quality Chess Training: Calculation
    – Quality Chess Training: Strategy
    – Quality Chess Training: Positional Play
    – Quality Chess Training: Endgame

    Each book could have short intro text followed by 500 exercises! A master project 🙂

  33. Jacob Aagaard
    October 23rd, 2011 at 09:46 | #33

    @Alekhine Power
    1) No, yes, most likely, no.
    2) Slowly, but we will get there in 2012
    3) No
    4) I will call it something else, but it has been on the way for many years. Back to answer 2.

  34. October 24th, 2011 at 19:26 | #34

    1) The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal
    2) How life imitates chess – Garry Kasparov
    3) Positional play – Dvoretsky

  35. WuvMuffin72
    October 25th, 2011 at 12:29 | #35

    Quality Chess:
    1. Learn from the Legends by Mihail Marin
    2. Karpov’s Strategic Wins Vol 1 and 2 by Tibor Karolyi and Nick Aplin
    3. Attacking Manual Vol 1 and 2 by Jacob Aagaard

    Non-Quality Chess:
    1. Masters of Strategy by Neil McDonald
    2. From London to Elista by Evengy Bareev and Illya Lavitov
    3. Life and Games of Mikhail Tal

  36. boki
    October 25th, 2011 at 15:22 | #36

    1. Kasparov: Modern Chess Kasparov vs Kaprov (especially first book)
    2. Nunn:Best games (second part)
    3. Botvinnik:Best games

    QC:
    Learn from the legends (this would be in my overall top 3
    Karpov-Strategic wins ( I was very much surprised by this book, didnot expect that it would be soo good
    Attacking Manual 1 ( I think by some Guy with many A´s in his name 🙂

  37. Tipau
    October 25th, 2011 at 20:24 | #37

    My top 3 (in no particular order):

    1. Chess for Tigers – Webb
    I read this for the first time as a junior and it was probably the first chess book I read all the way through. Great fun and a good guide for practical players!

    2. Chess for Zebras – Rowson
    Rowson’s style occasionally gets on my nerves (I think he tries too hard to be clever sometimes) but I found this book inspiring. After reading it I started taking a more relaxed approach to chess and enjoy playing a lot more.

    3. Chess Duels: My Games with the World Champions – Seirawan
    Full of interesting stories and games with many great players & personalities

    Others:
    How to Cheat at Chess – Hartsson: Hilarious.
    The King – Donner: Not sure I can call this a chess book either as there’s hardly any analysis in it, but full of amusing bits and bobs.

  38. J.A. Topfke
    October 27th, 2011 at 03:14 | #38

    1. Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual
    2. Aagaard’s Attacking Manual
    3. Yusupov Series
    4. How to Play Chess Endgames by Mueller

    Since there is not a blog post for it yet, my top 3 chess DVD’s:
    1. Aagaard’s Attacking Videos
    2. Mueller’s Endgame Videos
    3. King’s Power Play Series

    Best radio show/podcast:
    The Glasgow Show

  39. Jacob Aagaard
    October 27th, 2011 at 07:21 | #39

    @J.A. Topfke
    Surely Korchnoi’s videos are untouchable. They are simply so amusing nothing in the world can reach them :-).

  40. James
    October 27th, 2011 at 19:55 | #40

    Based my results on the books that helped my Chess development the most.

    Quality Chess:

    1. Yusupov Series
    2. Attacking Manuals 1+2 by Aagaard
    3. My System by Nimzowitsch

    Non-Quality Chess:

    1. School of Future Champions series by Dvoretsky & Yusupov
    2. Practical Endgame Play by Flear
    3. Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual

    @Jacob For the next openings in the GM series (after KID one), is there still plans for GM rep books on either QGD or Nimzo-Indian/Queen’s Indian? If so, I hope you might consider Peter Wells for the Queen’s Indian one (unless you’re planning to write it yourself), as I really liked his Chess Explained book on it, and would like to see him to do a proper rep book on it.

  41. Jacob Aagaard
    October 28th, 2011 at 09:46 | #41

    @James
    Hi James. We still want to do these books and some of them are ongoing projects – which however does not ensure a conclusion! We love Pete’s writing and if there is ever a chance he will write for us, we will not hesitate to accept. We have made this clear to him many times…

  42. Alekhine Power
    October 28th, 2011 at 11:58 | #42

    @ Alekhine Power

    2) How are you progressing on STRATEGY/POSITIONAL PLAY MANUAL and WORKBOOK? Why don’t you mention them?
    4) Why don’t you launch new series, as a addendum to Jussupow’s or your “Excelling” books, about chess training named:

    – Quality Chess Training: Tactics
    – Quality Chess Training: Calculation
    – Quality Chess Training: Strategy
    – Quality Chess Training: Positional Play
    – Quality Chess Training: Endgame

    Each book could have short intro text followed by 500 exercises! A master project 🙂

    @ Jacob Power

    4) I will call it something else, but it has been on the way for many years. Back to answer 2.

    @ Alekhine Power

    Well this is the most valuable information for me dear Jacob!

    Lately I’m training hard with Jussupw’s and your books and I’m eagerly waiting to see my dreams come true: an outstanding STRATEGY/POSITIONAL PLAY MANUAL and WORKBOOK and top notch training books 🙂

    Please give us more information, how many books will it be and in which format, manual or workbook?

    Thx

  43. Jacob Aagaard
    October 28th, 2011 at 15:57 | #43

    @Alekhine Power
    Enough said already!

  44. John Hartmann
    October 28th, 2011 at 20:32 | #44

    You do realize that by answering him you only give him more reason to keep pestering you.

  45. Jacob Aagaard
    October 28th, 2011 at 20:52 | #45

    @John Hartmann
    Yeah, but I am a polite man and he does have a point once in a while!

  46. Alekhine Power
    October 30th, 2011 at 15:20 | #46

    Definitely I have 🙂

    I’d be more creative Creative Director than you 🙂

  47. Jacob Aagaard
    October 30th, 2011 at 19:36 | #47

    @Alekhine Power
    But maybe with less of a direction 🙂

  48. Phil Collins
    October 31st, 2011 at 09:44 | #48

    Robert Hübner: Twenty five annoted games. Very good analyses.
    I suggest Mr. Hübner to finish the book about the King’s Gambit :-))

  49. Åsmund Hammerstad
    October 31st, 2011 at 11:39 | #49

    Well I don’t think Robert Hübner works for Quality Chess for the moment and I don’t think he is an expert on the King’s gambit either..

  50. October 31st, 2011 at 15:02 | #50

    Phil Collins :
    Robert Hübner: Twenty five annoted games. Very good analyses.
    I suggest Mr. Hübner to finish the book about the King’s Gambit )

    Sorry, but I don’t get the point of this book. Are there 5 people in the whole world who have read it? That level of analysis is admirable, but mind-numbing as well. Often more than an entire page is given up for a single move.

    I’m simply unable to enjoy a book like that and wonder who can. I will freely admit that it says a lot about my skill and commitment level too, but if a book isn’t readable, then who is it for?

  51. Patrick
    October 31st, 2011 at 16:47 | #51

    @Neil Sullivan

    I think a lot depends on a player’s willingness to go in depth with their analysis, their level of strength, etc.

    There are very few books that I’d literally declare “unreadable”. I can go thru 3 or 4 pages of analysis on a single move, but there needs to be some direction behind it. What is literally “Unreadable” is a database dump that looks something like this (moves are made up, these specific lines don’t come from any source or any specific opening):

    The only move:

    A) 12…Re8? 13.Qf3! and then
    A1) 13…Re7 14.e5 … 26.Rh4 +-
    A2) 13…Re6 14.a3 and then
    A21) 14…Rf6 15.b4 … 29.Qh6 +-
    A22) 14…Rh6 15.b4 and then

    B53226) 21…b5 22.Re3 Bg7 23.Kh1 Kh8 24.a6!! +-

    I think you get the drift. It’s all just lines and a symbolic assessment (i.e. +-, +/-, +/=, =, =/+, etc.)

    Then White’s 13th move is 5 pages later than Black’s 12th move.

    Only 1 author comes to mind when I see this. John Nunn. His 640 pages of the Classical King’s Indian (in 2 320-page books for Battsford – “Main Line King’s Indian” and “The New Classical King’s Indian”) from the mid-90s, and his 3 endgame books on Rook, Pawnless, and Minor Piece endings that are all 5-piece scenarios (i.e. KBP vs KN, KRP vs KR, KBB vs KN, etc.), are literally the only chess books I’ve seen that are “unreadable”. Now others are unreadable simply because they are outright attrocious (i.e. Standard Chess Openings, 1st Edition, by Eric Schiller), but the 5 books I mentioned by John Nunn are literally the only books I’d say are completely unreadable from the perspective of long analysis and being a database dump.

    I’m wagering you haven’t seen Nunn’s 2 books on the Classical King’s Indian from the 90s if you think one full page of analysis on a single move is a lot! 🙂

  52. Alekhine Power
    November 1st, 2011 at 01:05 | #52

    Jacob,

    While thinking about your future products and target audience please consider following data from FIDE 1st November 2011 rating list!

    Total registered players Elo 1200-2850 = 139139 !!!

    I. BEGINNERS Elo 1200-1600: registered 10682 player or 7,67%

    II. INTERMEDIATE Elo 1600-1900: registered 40718 player or 29,26%

    III. ADVANCED Elo 1900-2100: registered 46301 player or 33,27%
    – your target audience 🙂

    IV. CANDIDATE Elo 2100-2300: registered 32963 player or 23,69%
    – your target audience 🙂

    V. FM Elo 2300-2400: registered 5501 player or 3,95%

    VI. IM Elo 2400-2500: registered 2041 player or 1,46%

    VII. LOW GM Elo 2500-2600: registered 695 player or 0,49%

    VIII. AVERAGE GM Elo 2600-2700: registered 190 player or 0,13%

    IX. SUPER GM Elo 2700-2850: registered 48 player or 0,03%

    So keep in mind that your books should be even better cause players in range of Elo 1900-2300 have big share of 56,96%

    I hope that these statistics gave you a new glance 🙂

  53. Patrick
    November 1st, 2011 at 15:13 | #53

    @Alekhine Power

    I find it hilarious that you leave out II, but include IV (I fall in the upper end of III myself), when II beats IV by over 5 1/2%

    Therefore, the argument should be 1600 to 2100, as they consist of the top 2 groups, or else 1600 to 2300, which includes the top 3, and all groups over 10%

    29.26 + 33.27 = 62.53% (Definitely more than your almost 57%)
    29.26 + 33.27 + 23.69 = 86.22% (Better than 6 out of every 7)

    So the only new glance I see is somebody needs to go back and take a statistics class!

  54. November 1st, 2011 at 21:25 | #54

    Also, lots of people buy chess books who don’t have FIDE ratings, and most of them have (national) ratings below 2000 (I’m one of them). I assume that Quality Chess is trying to sell books to them too.

  55. Åsmund Hammerstad
    November 2nd, 2011 at 01:13 | #55

    And for those people with lower ratings may I suggesty for example the books of Arthur Yusupov?

  56. Åsmund Hammerstad
    November 2nd, 2011 at 02:07 | #56

    Of course his books may also be used by stronger players. There after all three levels:

    http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/docs/14/artur_yusupovs_awardwinning_training_course/

    Fundamentals, Beyond the Basics and Mastery…

  57. Michel Barbaut
    November 3rd, 2011 at 09:42 | #57

    Here is my list :

    Non-Quality Chess

    1. “Shool of Chess” by Koblentz (Kotov for vol. 2) (“L’Ecole des Echecs” in french) Don’t know if it has an english edition. Impressive reading when I started to play chess.

    2. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (Bronstein/Fürstenberg). Enjoyable reading.

    3. “Art of checkmate” (Renaud/Kahn) (L’art de faire mat” in french). You want to kill the king
    … every move you play.

    From Quality Chess

    Arthur’s collection without hesitation (…. do not start reading Jacob’s “Attacking Manual” …)

    There was a lot of others (very) good books, but those ones come first to my mind.
    I’m surprised that anybody ask for the top 3 most horrible books … but in this case, QC fears nothing ! 😉

  58. boki
    November 3rd, 2011 at 11:32 | #58

    There were some rumors that a new QC newsletter will appear soon.
    Any hope?

  59. John Shaw
    November 3rd, 2011 at 12:01 | #59

    boki :
    There were some rumors that a new QC newsletter will appear soon.
    Any hope?

    Hi Boki,

    Hope can be replaced by expectation. Not this week, as we are busy checking the final version of Jacob and Nikos’s book on the Tarrasch. Next week looks like newsletter time. It should be more like a normal newsletter, unlike the last one which was closer to a book.

  60. J. Muller
    November 4th, 2011 at 21:17 | #60

    Buy “Schachstrategie für Fortgeschrittene 1” and “Schachstrategie für Fortgeschrittene 2″(both by Suetin), study them, and wonder why these books are not better known, or reprinted.

    You really don’t need all those middle game books from Quality Chess, (or any other publisher)!

  61. Jacob Aagaard
    November 4th, 2011 at 22:05 | #61

    @J. Muller
    We actually did a Suetin book last year, with some of his best writings.

  62. Alekhine Power
    November 7th, 2011 at 19:05 | #62

    @Jacob Aagaard

    So you translated 2 mentioned books in German into 1 in English?

  63. Stig K
    November 8th, 2011 at 09:10 | #63

    My favorite non-opening books:

    Quality Chess:
    1. Aagaard: Attacking Manual 1+2
    2. Nimzowitsch: Chess Praxis (A safe choice, but I haven’t read that many QC non-opening books!)
    3. Aagaard: Practical Chess Defence

    Non-Quality Chess:
    1. Avni: The Grandmaster’s Mind
    2. Dvoretsky/Yusupov: Positional Play
    3. Silman: Reassess Your Chess, 4th Ed.

  64. Jacob Aagaard
    November 8th, 2011 at 10:07 | #64

    @Alekhine Power
    Not sure it was the same. It was a collection from 3 books I think – from Russian.

  65. John Cox
    November 22nd, 2011 at 03:56 | #65

    Cheron’s work on 2 N -v- P (can’t remember the title): an unbelievable piece of work.

    Donner: The King (“the best book ever written on chess” – Svidler).

    Nimzovich: My System – chockful of nonsense of course, but still.

    There’s a number of suggestions above which to my mind show little understanding of what makes a great book. A good test is whether anyone will still read it in fifty years’ time.

  66. November 28th, 2011 at 17:10 | #66

    Oh, I forgot to mention the chess book I have probably enjoyed most of all: Edward Lasker’s Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters, a really fun chess autobiography with dozens of unverifiable and likely apocryphal first-hand anecdotes about the author’s experiences in chess during the first half of the 20th century, not just the big names like Alekhine and Capablanca, but also tons of second-tier players like Marshall, Janowsky, Yates, Duras, and Bogoljubow. Tons of fun as long as you don’t try to use it as a reference.

  67. John Cox
    November 29th, 2011 at 13:35 | #67

    Cheron???? Good grief. Troitsky, I meant, of course.

  68. December 11th, 2011 at 17:05 | #68

    My preferred list:
    (1.) Yusupov’s series
    (2.) Learn from the Legends-Marin
    (3.) Attacking Chess Volume’s 1+2 (Brilliant games with lucid prose from Jacob!)
    These 3 author’s have done more for my chess improvement than any others.
    Honorable mentions go to Ludek Pachman’s middlegame books and Silman’s “Reassess Your Chess.” Both make a great refresher course.

  69. Jacob Aagaard
    December 12th, 2011 at 10:30 | #69

    @Carl Berg
    Thank you for your compliments.

  70. January 15th, 2012 at 00:29 | #70

    @Jacob Aagaard
    You are most welcome! I figure if you write in a way we can truly learn from, the praise is deservedly justifiable. I have found QC’s books to be a veritable goldmine of interests and areas of chess learning. I anxiously await your books re 1.e4 defenses!

  71. Joshua Lee
    December 27th, 2013 at 02:29 | #71

    @Michel Barbaut

    #1 is Koblenz, Alexander: Lehrbuch der Schachstrategie just in French.

    Kotow, Alexander: Lehrbuch der Schachstrategie – Band 1 and 2

    Has been mentioned as worthy of an English language edition but for whatever reason no publisher seems interested. The duo also did two books on tactics : Lehrbuch der Schachtaktik.

  1. October 19th, 2011 at 17:32 | #1