Archive for May, 2014

Proud father

May 12th, 2014 41 comments

My oldest daughter won the u300 (yup Scottish rating) event in Airdrie yesterday. She scored 7/8. Obviously the level is not that high, but for a six-year-old, it can still be intimidating. Actually, we had mentally prepared for her losing all her games, as she did in an event in Edinburgh in March.

This is from the last round where she with Black has blundered her queen (exchanges are rare on this level), but has received quite a lot in return. This is the moment where I came to watch:

Sarah – Cathy

[fen size=”small”]4k2r/r2nppbp/3p2p1/2pp3P/8/BP6/2PPPP2/3QK2n b k – 0 1[/fen]

Can you spot a deadly plan. Remember – your opponent will do NOTHING to stop it!

1… Rg8 2. Bxc5 Bb2 3. Bxa7 gxh5 4. Bb8 Rg1#

The first two moves looked very odd to me; then I realised what she was doing…

Categories: Fun Games Tags:


May 10th, 2014 16 comments

I am starting to feel back to normal. In the last few weeks of finishing Endgame Play, I was up to 80 hour work weeks (excluding taking care of a family). One Saturday night I went to bed at 2pm only to continue the work at 6.30 am the next morning.

Not fun, but I wanted the book finished.

I just want to put up this post to say thank you to the many people who have bought the book. I really hope it will live up to your expectations. I gave it all I could and so did the team (Danny, John, Colin, Andrew and Karsten Mueller). Personally we are happy with the result.

And yes, I would like to hear your opinion, positive or not. When you spend about 1000 hours writing a book (more than any other book I have done by far), you really would like to know what people think of it.

I will put a publishing schedule up within the next 48 hours, whenever I have a free moment.

Categories: Authors in Action Tags:

Blunder and win – A Grandmaster Guide

May 9th, 2014 8 comments

The following position is from last weekend’s 4ncl. Not the vital league-deciding match, but one of my less significant efforts with Black.

Black to play

D. Bisby – J. Shaw, 4ncl 2014

Identify the candidate moves and make a quick assessment. I would suggest spending no more than a couple of minutes, 5 at the absolute most.

[fen size=”small”]5bk1/B4pp1/3p4/3Qp1p1/1Pr1P3/5RP1/2q2PK1/8 b – – 0 29[/fen]

Answer below the fold.

Read more…

Categories: Authors in Action, Fun Games Tags:

2014 European Champion Alexander Motylev in New in Chess – Question 5

May 8th, 2014 14 comments

(Taken from New in Chess Magazine 3/2014)

5. In our previous issue, Levon Aronian said that he didn’t understand what people mean when they speak of good form. Did you feel you were in good form?

I didn’t have that feeling at the tournament – where I was really shining was at the training sessions with Sergey Karjakin that ended a week before Yerevan. I cracked studies like nuts. Usually I take one of Jacob Aagaard’s books to tournaments and solve positions from them to find out what form I’m in. I remember that at the last Super Final of the Russian Championship in Novgorod I was really concerned about the results of my attempts, but it was already too late to do anything about it. But I don’t think I even opened Aagaard’s Calculation in Yerevan, apparently subconsciously feeling that everything was fine.

Categories: Authors in Action, Reviews Tags:


May 5th, 2014 39 comments

I am writing on an article to New in Chess at the moment and I came to think of an old argument I had with a friend about definitions. Basically he was of the opinion that good chess consists of opening preparation, intuition and calculation – and nothing else. I have a different view, cutting things up to minor sections. One of the differences came across when we debated a complex position. He said that it was solved with calculation, while I insisted that it was solved with strategic thinking. He did not see a difference.

Sometimes you have to accept that you do not speak the same languages. He had a lot of good points that were interesting, but here I think that we had a different approach. Unfortunately the debate turned sour and never became fruitful.

In STRATEGIC PLAY I wrote about one of my better ideas: to divide chess decisions into four categories. (Obviously they can be put into more or less categories; it all depends on how you choose to see the game. As far as I am concerned, anything that anyone finds useful is worth investigating.)

These categories are (free from memory – what I actually call them is less important, it is the ideas that matter):

a) Automatic Decisions

Moves that can be made without really thinking about it. Either because it is theory, or because there are no alternatives (legal or sensible).

b) Simple Decisions

Positions that can be solved without calculation (not variations necessarily – read the NIC article when it comes!). I have a training system for this in POSITIONAL PLAY, based on the three questions. It is a very powerful training system and if both 2600-players and my six year old daughter find it useful, it might help you as well.

c) Critical Moments

Positions where the difference between the best move (or two best moves, it is not an exact science, but a way for us to understand how we should relate to the position) is big. Let us say a pawn or +1.00 as the young people would call it.

d) Complex Positions

These are difficult positions that can only be solved with an interaction of positional thinking (b) and calculation (c). These come around only a few times in a game, if at all. They will at times have solutions where a positional aim is solved with counter-intuitive or anti-positional sequences. I deal with this type of positions in STRATEGIC PLAY and ATTACK&DEFENCE.

I find this way of carving the various decisions up useful during the game, in order to work out where to invest my time. Maybe I will write a book about this one day…

Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

Judit Polgar 2nd Volume Name Change!?

May 5th, 2014 3 comments

I am wondering if we should call FROM GM TO TOP TEN for From GM to Queen of the Castle! Congratulations to Judit and Mihail; I hear they are opening the champagne bottle tonight!

Anyway, Quality Chess continues its reign, holding on to all of the top awards: ACP, ECF, ChessCafe and Chess Publishing. The only major award we do not currently hold is FIDE’s Boleslavsky award, which can only be won by registered chess trainers and where the competition is lower. We also have a lot of respect for the Guardian Award, but alas, we do not currently hold it as far as I know :-).

Categories: Authors in Action, Prizes, Reviews Tags: