Archive for the ‘Polls’ Category

Where are you?

February 13th, 2017 24 comments

The poll result shows that almost three quarters of you are not following the Women’s World Championship. I would ask you who you think will win, but if most of you are not following it, you are probably not bothered. Perhaps Hou Yifan’s absence devalues the event in your eyes?

The next question involves my geographical curiosity: Where are you?

For the poll answers I have split the planet up into a few bite-sized chunks. As we are mainly an English-language publisher, it would make sense if most blog readers here were from the British Isles (for non-locals, that includes the UK and Ireland) and North America. But I am sure there is some variety.

If you like, feel free to give a more detailed location in comments. But if ‘Antarctica’ and ‘Other’ get a lot of votes, then I’ll be very suspicious.

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Women’s World Champion and Championship

February 7th, 2017 No comments

Our previous poll question was: “Hou Yifan deliberately lost her final-round game in Gibraltar in protest about her pairings. Do you sympathize with her decision?”

An overwhelming majority voted for “No”.

Hou Yifan is the current Women’s World Champion, but not for much longer, as she will not be playing in the 2017 event for which play starts this Saturday in Tehran, Iran. There could be dozens of different questions asked about the location, politics or ethics, but let’s stick to a chess fan’s point of view: Will you be following the Women’s World Championship live?

Top seed in Iran is China’s Ju Wenjun who won the Women’s top prize at Gibraltar with a 2731 performance, beating Hou Yifan along the way. A fine performance overshadowed by the Grob.

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Happy 2017!

January 4th, 2017 15 comments

Happy New Year from Quality Chess! Today is our first day back in the office in 2017 so we are catching up on a few thousand things.

Before we let 2016 die, we sent The Nimzo-Indian Defence by Michael Roiz to the printer. It will be published on January 25th by us, and will be on Forward Chess a week earlier. An excerpt is here if you would like a preview.

A couple of holiday poll results. Firstly, ‘What did you think of 2016?’ The positive votes add up to a solid chunk, but the single biggest vote went to ‘A bad year’.

The second poll asked: Are you optimistic about 2017? The votes were spread widely, but by a narrow margin you reckon “It’s going to be a blast!”

If you need further optimism, the following link suggests the world is generally becoming a better place, despite occasional blips. It’s nothing to do with chess, but here’s a short conversation from Vox with Steven Pinker.

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The World Championship Polls

December 5th, 2016 No comments

We have four World Championship/Carlsen poll results to catch up on.

You were exactly right that 1.e4 e5 would be the most frequently played opening. It wasn’t even close, with 9 of the 12 classical games starting 1.e4 e5 (and 3 of the 4 tie-break games).


But the poll-clickers should have had more faith in Magnus after his Round 8 loss. He did rebound, though to be fair it was a close-run thing in Game 9.

Read more…

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Quick update

November 23rd, 2016 246 comments

We successfully uploaded three books to the printer, they are all for sale in the webshop:

Luther’s Chess Reformation

Key Concepts of Gambit Play

Playing the Ragozin

They will all be out on the 21st December, unless something goes wrong. We really wanted them out for the New Year tournaments and hope people will reward our effort by buying them. John is out cold btw. and have taken two days off to sleep…

We have also put Grandmaster Repertoire – The Nimzo-Indian for sale, although it is not uploaded and do not have a publication date.  We could not manage all four books for the 21st sadly, but we will get this done pretty soon and go from there. We will most likely publish it on its own, something we rarely do. My guess is that we will get it out in January, but no promises.

I will finish the formatting of the World Championship Quiz and put in the answers as they look so far. Hopefully today.

John, Nikos and I are working hard on Playing 1.e4. I think it will be out early in the spring.

I also put up a poll with two days. We will get back to having weekly polls. Suggestions to questions would be nice.

The Vlog will be recorded today. We will make a habit of posting them on Thursdays, I think.

Categories: Polls, Publishing Schedule, Vlog Tags:

World Championship openings

October 24th, 2016 13 comments

Last week’s question was “Does Agon have the right to prohibit anyone from broadcasting the moves as they were made?” We saw a strong vote in favour of ‘No’. The courts (firstly in Moscow) will give their more binding verdicts in due course. Agon are trying to change the way chess broadcasts have been done in recent years, and I believe our vote does illustrate that resistance to that change is likely, for a start from chess fans.


This week I will stay with the World Championship in New York, but move on to the board and some real chess moves. We have over two weeks to go, so I will save score predictions for next week, but for now I want to guess/predict the openings that will feature in the match.

As a starting point, consider what the players have played in recent years (let’s say 2013-2016). Both can play any of the ‘Big Four’ first moves (1.e4, 1.d4, 1.Nf3 and 1.c4) but I would say Karjakin is a 1.e4 player who often switches to 1.Nf3, while Carlsen plays 1.e4 and 1.d4 about equally. Let’s see that in pictures…

Read more…

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Broadcasting the World Championship

October 17th, 2016 30 comments

Last week’s question was “How does a 2500 player now compare with a 2500 player 20 years ago?” The most common view was that the 2500 player in 2016 is weaker than the 2500 player in 1996. But as the discussion showed, it’s not a simple topic, as measuring or even defining inflation in chess ratings is not easy.


The World Championship match is approaching – Magnus Carlsen will defend his title against Sergey Karjakin in New York from November 11-30. In the weeks to come I expect we will debate and predict what will happen over the board, but a first question is: from where will you watch the match? If you are able to get to New York and have a ringside seat, then lucky you. But I suspect most will be watching on some website. Which brings me to Agon, “the company that owns the commercials rights to organize the World Championship” and their new broadcast policy.
You can read all about it at the link, but my short version goes like this:
Read more…

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Inflation or a Golden Era

October 10th, 2016 50 comments

Last week’s question was: ‘Which country will dominate world chess ten years from now?’  And the answer is… Scotland?! Ignoring all those super-patriots and jokers, I will rule out a tartan charge to greatness, and view the true order as China, India, USA, Russia. Intriguing to see Russia so low in your rankings. Maybe the Russian conveyor belt of elite chess talent is slowing, if not quite grinding to a halt?


This week I am interested in FIDE ratings, inflation (or deflation?) and whether today is a golden era for elite chess. If you look at the Live Chess Ratings site, you will see four players rated over 2800, with Magnus Carlsen naturally first, on 2853. I believe Bobby Fischer peaked at 2785.

Even if you believe there has been inflation in the system (as I think most do) it’s still possible that today’s batch of top players represent a golden era of chess. Just one example: Pavel Eljanov’s recent brilliance at the Baku Olympiad and especially the Isle of Man International have jumped him up to Number 16 in the world. Eljanov is a wonderful player, but the rating system says there are 15 even better. Has there ever before been such strength in depth in world chess?

There are many ways to frame a poll question to debate playing strength versus inflation. One option was “How many players will be rated over 2800 three years from now?” But I will go with another Jacob suggestion: “How does a 2500 player now compare with a 2500 player 20 years ago?” Stronger or weaker or about the same?

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