Morra and Playing 1.d4 to be published

Here is an updated publishing schedule:

Marc Esserman Mayhem in the Morra NOW
Lars Schandorff Playing 1.d4 – A Grandmaster Guide – The Queen’s Gambit NOW
Lars Schandorff Playing 1.d4 – A Grandmaster Guide – The Indian Defences August
Jacob Aagaard Grandmaster Preparation – Positional Play (Hardback) August/September
Boris Avrukh Grandmaster Repertoire 11 – Beating 1.d4 Sidelines August/September
John Shaw The King’s Gambit September
Judit Polgar Judit Polgar Teaches Chess 1 – How I Beat Fischer’s Record September
Jacob Aagaard Attacking Manual 1 – German September
Jacob Aagaard Attacking Manual 2 – German September
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Sicilian & French October/November
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines October/November
Ntirlis/Aagaard Playing the French October/November
Tibor Karolyi Mikhail Tal’s best games 1 November/December
Artur Yusupov Chess Evolution 3 November
Jacob Aagaard Grandmaster Preparation 3-5 (Hardback) Later
Marian Petrov GM Repertoire – Modern Benoni Later
Ftacnik GM6a Later
Ftacnik GM6b Later
Romanovsky Soviet Middlegame Technique Later

142 thoughts on “Morra and Playing 1.d4 to be published”

  1. This has probably been asked already, but will ‘the King’s Gambit’ be a repertoire or more like a detailed overview of the opening? I think a repertoire would be very difficult for an opening that (in my view) is rather dubious.

  2. @tony


    The King’s Gambit will not be a repertoire book, so it will be very detailed coverage. Despite the book’s mighty size, it is not complete coverage of every line after 2.f4. Inferior replies to inferior moves are omitted on the grounds that neither side should play the resulting positions.

    The opening is “rather dubious” you say. Many share that view, but maybe we can convince you that 2.f4 leads to tricky play for both sides, especially if White really knows what he is doing.

  3. Although it looks like GM6 is going to be 2013, I’m happy to see that the 1. e4 books will be released first. You guys might even have time to see if Palliser’s Attacking Chess: Sicilian Najdorf has anything new that’s critical to the lines. Then, there might actually be a Najdorf book whose lines can withstand more than a few years of White attempts at refutation. 😀

  4. Gilchrist is a Legend

    “GM Repertoire Modern Benoni” interesting, I had never seen this announced before. And GM6 seems to be “Later”, the book must have become very large 🙂

  5. Re 1.e4: can you tell us what lines will covered?
    Also what lines in Schandorff’s VS the Indians (and if he made any major changes in QG)
    Can’t wait to read the Morra book.

  6. Kind of disappointed to see GM6 pushed so far the future. Now there is a chance we may never see it (if the Mayan thing is true).

  7. Riaan du Plessis

    I am also interested to hear which lines will be coverd in the 1. e4 books. Will there be a line against each Sicilian, or will it be the trendy Bb4, or maybe c3? And the French; will it be Nc3, Nd2 or e5?

  8. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I am not very familiar with the Modern Benoni, but what would be recommended against the Taimanov Variation? Also is the 6. Bg5 variation that is causing the GM6 2nd Edition books to be delayed?

  9. Disappointed but not surprised the King’s Gambit has been pushed back again. Given that John has two other books scheduled for October/November what are his priorities & will the KG ever see the light of day?

  10. In my opinion, the Taimanov variation isn’t particularly dangerous anymore. I could never find anything meaningful against 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+ Nfd7 9.a4 0-0 10.Nf3 Na6 11.0-0 Nb4 12.Re1 a6 13.Bf1 Re8 14.h3 and now the saucy 14…f5!.

    Black has also tried 14…b6, but I have less faith in this move. To me, 14…f5 seems philosophically justified – White has spent a lot of time with pawn moves and Bb5-f1, and Black should try quickly grab his share of the play before White successfully consolidates his large space advantage. If allowed, moves like Be3, Qd2, a5, and bishop back to c4 will make Black’s position unpleasant.

    Moderately off topic, but I’m trying to spread the word that perhaps people should be more scared of moves like 9.Nf3!? or the Modern Main Lines with Bd3, h3, and so forth.

  11. Benoni :Disappointed but not surprised the King’s Gambit has been pushed back again.

    I’m going on strike. I have quite a few QC books at home, and I think they’re great, but I’m not buying another until they put up or shut up with the King’s Gambit book.

  12. @TonyRo
    Doesn’t White also have 9.Be2 and 9.Bd3 (in addition to your mentioned 9.Nf3) if 9.a4 isn’t convincing enough? I also heard something about Nf3 being where trends would likely shift in the near future.

    I think it was announced in a previous post. Don’t quote me on this, but if memory serves me right, I think it’s the Rubinstein Variation against the Nimzo Indian, and specifically the lines with an early Nge2, the Saemisch against he King’s Indian, emphasizing on 6.Bg5, Don’t recall what against the Modern Baloney (My interpretation of the Benoni, I prefer the Czech over the Modern or Benko, but of course, I play a more positional game – Stonewall/Classical Dutch, Czech Benoni, Tarrasch, Slav being my main defenses to 1.d4, while I’ve had some interest in the Nimzo, but basically gave up the KID), 2.Bg5 against the Dutch, Russian against the Grunfeld, 5.f3 against the Benko, and I don’t think they announced what against oddball openings like the English Defense, Budapest, etc.

    Hope that helps.

  13. Jacob Aagaard

    GM6 mainly delayed because other projects have been coming to a conclusion rapidly. I hope for forgiveness and understanding; obviously we are not giving up.

  14. @Patrick

    I’ve always been under the impression that 9.a4 was the most critical, and that all of the others were perhaps a little easier for Black – could be wrong on that though.

  15. I have a theory about this King’s Gambit book. It’s been in the works for so long (remember when Jan Pinski was going to write it?) that all the pre-order money has long since been spent. Perhaps we would be doing QC a favor by asking for refunds in dribs and drabs, so that the financial holocaust doesn’t hit all at once. . . I am loath to do it though. I want the book!

  16. Jacob Aagaard :
    GM6 mainly delayed because other projects have been coming to a conclusion rapidly. I hope for forgiveness and understanding; obviously we are not giving up.

    Can we use your guilt to get some new information about the book? We need something to sustain us for the next 6 months!

  17. Gilchrist is a Legend :
    And GM6 seems to be “Later”, the book must have become very large

    A while back Jacob said it would be two 300 page volumes with the 2nd on Najdorf. But in the current edition Najdorf is already 270 pages! My guess is the 2nd volume will be more than 400 pages or we will get 3 books. Think about it, 6. Be3 has nearly 100 pages in the current edition and we are expecting more material on 6. Be2 (currently 44 pages) & 6. Bg5 (currently 40 pages).

  18. Jacob Aagaard

    I feel no guilt having decided to finish Calculation and Positional Play first. It felt right at the moment and a better product will be available. And it will definitely not be three books!

  19. Jacob Aagaard :
    I feel no guilt having decided to finish Calculation and Positional Play first. It felt right at the moment and a better product will be available. And it will definitely not be three books!

    I was joking about guilting you into revealing information, what have you done to feel guilty about? Publishing great books of exceptional quality? How dare you!

    The delay is not all that bad, a few months ago Sicilian Scheveningen by Lorin D’Costa came out and in August Khalifman & co. will publish the last volume of the Anand series which covers the 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Najdorf. Having these two books before the new edition is definitely a plus.

  20. @Jacob after you and Ntirlis finish the French book, can do you do books on the Nimzo and Queen’s Indian (perhaps include catalan within QID book too)? These openings deserve to be in the GM Repertoire series.

  21. Jacob, is there still a plan to do a book, GM on the black side of the English and other offbeat openings? to complete our black Reps.

  22. James :
    @Jacob after you and Ntirlis finish the French book, can do you do books on the Nimzo and Queen’s Indian (perhaps include catalan within QID book too)? These openings deserve to be in the GM Repertoire series.

    or at least books about a Nimzo and White-avoids-the-Nimzo Repertoire….

  23. It would be interesting if it’s the Rubinstein Ne2 lines because I like them stylistically. Although, I’m having some trouble with this line:

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 d5 6. a3 Be7 7. cxd5 exd5 8.
    Nf4 c6 9. Bd3 Bd6 10. O-O Re8 11. f3 b6 12. b4 Bb7 13. Rb1 a5 14. Nce2 axb4 15.
    axb4 Na6


  24. Abramov Anjuhin

    @ How to choose RIGHT OPENING?


    Few days ago I read interesting excursus in Watson’s “Mastering the Chess Openings vol 4”, chapter 9. Choosing and preparing openings and 10. The future of openings. After reading them I’m much more confused and enlighted likewise!

    What do you think about it?

  25. Abramov Anjuhin

    Will GM 3 – The English Opening vol. 1 by Mihail Marin (hardcover) have also thin paper?

    Are also Grandmaster Repertoire 4 – The English Opening vol. 2 and Grandmaster Repertoire 5 – The English Opening vol. 3 in thin paper?

    I hope yes for all three 🙂

  26. Hi again,

    I ordered both Playing 1. d4 books in hardcover and neither shipped yet. Is there any delay because it’s hardcover?

  27. Jacob Aagaard

    @Jeffrey “notyetagm” Hall
    Sort of neither. It is a chess improvement book, based on the things she learned to get to the various levels, with examples predominantly from her own games. It is really special and I am sure will be greatly appreciated by the readers.

  28. This is a bit unrelated but in the World Rapid Championship won by Karjakin, I saw Nc6 and e6 Sicilians but no Najdorfs! There were a few opportunities for it but the White player deviated with stuff like the Moscow. However, it’s still a bit shocking to me out of that many rounds. Is there any particular line that is supposed to give Black more trouble than usual these days or do you think that the players just didn’t want to dive into the treacherous Najdorf waters with such a fast time control? Most of the top players instead chose the e5 route.

  29. Jacob Aagaard

    You could also imagine that they did not want to show preparation in this event. But most likely is that the players feel that you can bluff in rapid chess in a way you cannot do in normal chess, because there is time to work out the details then.

  30. Gilchrist is a Legend

    But then would it not be the same for the player playing White, since if a Najdorf player reveals the preparation by virtue of playing the Najdorf, then the player playing White has to play their line against it and reveal some form of preparation for what they play against the Najdorf as well? 🙂

    I am almost ready to pre-order Queen’s Gambit book, anticipating this great book soon. Is there any additional news about the details of Avrukh’s Grandmaster Repertoire 11? I still am unsure what lines will be recommended.

  31. Does the Morra book ship next Monday too? Do you think both will be at the London Chess Centre by the end of next week?

  32. And bluff they did! One interesting game occurred in the last round between Ivanchuk and Svidler, perhaps of some interesting to QC because of the Marin books. Play continued 1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bc5 5.e3 d5 6.cxd5 Nb4 7.Nf3!?! (Instead of 7.d4) Nd3+ 8.Ke2.

    A pretty incredible game by Ivanchuk in a line that looked to be prepared at home. Not sure White has much after 8…Nxd5 though, as the presence of said pawn seemed to lead to a lot of problems for Svidler.

  33. Hi, I read on here a while back some chatter about a possible book on how to study chess. Sorry, but I couldn’t follow the conclusion of that conversation. Is that a current project or possibly a part of the Grandmaster Preparation series? I am interested in a step-by-step, hold-my-hand, do-it-exactly-this-way-dummy type of thing. I hope it is a current project because it is the type of thing I would like to see.

    Thanks for all the great products you have produced.

  34. J.A. Topfke, isn’t every chess book, in effect, a hand-holding book?

    Last week, I played a rated game at one of the two clubs in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States. I got a comment from another person that they liked my attack and that I executed it very much in the style of Capablanca.

    Well, low and behold, I tend to study about 5 or 6 chess books at a time. Typically a games collection book. A couple of middlegame books. And a couple of openings books (i.e. one for White, one for Black agaisnt each of d4 and e4). While I am currently going thru Aagaard’s book on Calculation and Popov’s book on Chess Lessons, as for the game collection book, I happen to be going thru the first of the 5 “My Great Predecessors” books by Kasparov, and ironically enough, I’m currently on the third of the four former world champions covered in that book, none other than Jose Raul Capablanca!

    So I guess that’s just as much a Hand-Holding book as any other! 🙂

  35. Martin Davies

    Hi, I have a question about ‘The Tarrasch Defence’. It is in the line B2 in chapter8, p 126.
    In a quickplay game someone played against me 18 Ne4 (instead of 18 Nd5 or 18 ed4), I replied 18..c3 and after 19 Nf6:+ gf6 quickly got a won position. The question is, could Black play 18..c3 against 18 Nd5 as well? Okay, White can now take on c4 but isn’t Black doing all right after 19 Qxc4 Bxa1?

    Thank you for your time..I love your book, by the way!

  36. Jacob Aagaard :@The Lurker Fair point. I guess we better publish it then!

    Haha… I know that doing without one man’s money is not going to ruin you, so it’s a bit of an idle threat. But really, you’ve supposedly had this thing in the works for what? Four years now? I see an page with Pinski’s name on it saying it was due to be released in July of 2009! I think teasing customers for four years is doing a more than a a little disservice to them. I think you should either put the King’s Gambit book “on the front burner”, or take it off your publishing schedule altogether. Shit or get off the pot.

  37. enough enough of this d4 overdose tired of losing in the lousy chebanenko and grody grunfeld
    lets switch to e4!
    but where to start and how ???

  38. Jacob Aagaard

    We have really done a lot of work on the 1.e4 books already; we just need to get the King’s Gambit book out first (I am currently typesetting 500 pages on not-3…g5).

  39. Any chance for a GM Repertoire book on the white squared defenses to 1.d4? (NID/QID or QGD/SLAV) ?

    Seems almost all the dark squared defenses have been chased from the battlefield at high levels and have been written about extensively.

    As for Nessie, will there be some new and viable ideas for white to pursue against the Modern variation?

  40. @decredico

    In the 2012 catalog, granted it’s a little dated, but still, the Classical Slav (i.e. 4…dxc4, not the Semi-Slav) is amongst the upcoming GM Repertoire books. I’d wager it’s probably a 2013 project at this point in time.

    I’m with ya though. Being a proud supporter of the Dutch, Slav, Tarrasch, Czech Benoni, and even the Nimzo-Indian in some respect, 80% of what I play against 1.d4 is light-squared occupancy of the pawns, and my one dark-squared defense got an update a couple of years ago, and with how rare it is, it shouldn’t need an update until 2020. Only one out there right now is the Tarrasch.

    Another publishing company who’s name I can’t mention here has 2 Nimzo books coming out. One is already out, on 4.e3, and the other will be on 4.a3 (possibly tied together with 4.f3). Granted, it’s complete coverage, not a repertoire, and doesn’t cover all lines, like the Classical or Leningrad, but should give lots of info on critical lines. I plan to at least get the 4.e3 book at some point, if nothing else, for my White game.

  41. @The Lurker

    Hi Lurker,

    “But really, you’ve supposedly had this thing in the works for what? Four years now?”

    An outrageous suggestion. I believe it’s five years.

    But the King’s Gambit is a priority now. A large chunk of it is done. As soon as I fix a few minor issues, particularly with 3…g5, we will have a book.

    By the way, your comment did not appear for a couple of days, possibly because our spam filter did not like your language.

  42. @Jacob, not sure if I missed it somewhere, but is there still plans for a King’s Indian book by Kotronias?

  43. Hi
    When will the shipping begin for The Queen Gambit book, i saw there in stock on some websites but i pre-ordered from you, for some strange reason the books you send always arrive in Romania in 3-4 days 🙂

  44. it took you guys so much to even publish the excerpts of the schandorff books that in the meantime a i switched to 1.e4 🙂

  45. Abramov Anjuhin

    I’d like to buy hardcovers of Marin’s GM 3, 4 & 5 on The English Opening 🙂

    Do they all have new thin paper. I like it at the end…

  46. July 13th came and went but Schandorff’s book has not started shipping out…due to demand, schedules, or a delay?

  47. Kostas Oreopoulos

    A Benoni Book. That is a BOLD move.
    Benoni is one of those openings that is very hard to “hold” when you have a computer on your side.

    Ofcourse the easy way , would be to follow “games”, but in many lines (especially since there are not many 2700+ gm games), the “usual” paths are really much worse than optimal

    For example i had been struggling for many weeks, to find out how black should play on Bf4,Be2,h3 plans (with mixed move orders…etc).

    I am really waiting for this book.

  48. Nikos Ntirlis

    My impression is that Modern Benoni is enjoying its best theoretical period of the past 2 decades! Obviously GM Gashimov is the main responsible for this.

  49. Kostas Oreopoulos

    Since my main interest is corr games (and OTB games but from a different perspective)

    For example

    1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. Bf4 a6 8. a4 Bg7 9. h3 0-0
    (move order is very important and different move orders require different strategies.. but anyway).

    Here the little played 10. Nd2 is hard to meet and 10. e3 Nh5? (which is given as main plan in Watson and is mostly played) 11. Bh2 f5 12. Be2 f4 13. 0-0! +-
    Now practically everything loses. 13…Qe7 (best) 14. exf4 Nxf4 15. Re1 Nd7 16. Ba6 Ne5 17.Bf1 is just not playable

    I am really excited to get my hands on that book (and on the French one….. I am currently trying to make Nc3 Nc6 perfectly playable [and easy] for Black)

  50. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    I have been looking at those Bf4 lines too (from a white point of view) and maybe I should keep this for myself but I think Black can simply play 7…Bg7 and after 8. Qa4+ Bd7 9. Qb3 b5 10. Bxd6 c4! (rarely played) I couldn’t find an advantage for White, so probably he should look at 8.e4

  51. Either way, the Benoni isn’t played because it’s the most theoretically solid response to d4. Just like the King’s Gambit, the idea is to give good winning chances with a position so complicated that “slightly better for White” has little practical value.

  52. I think the King’s Gambit is much more easily neutralized by Black (Modern defense!) than is the Benoni is by White. Seems very hard for White to play solidly against the Benoni in such a way as to avoid complications without giving up something (initiative, etc). King’s Gambit seems much closer to “hope chess” than does the Benoni. I think just by placing a soldier in enemy territory White (pawn on d5) provides Black a tactical point of attack that is hard to defuse.

  53. Keith Hayward

    Hello Jacob, Are there any plans for Schandorff to write a book on how to answer 1 d4 from the Black side? And if yes, can you share what defense it would be?

    It would complete a repertoire with his other books. Good Chess! Keith

  54. Kostas Oreopoulos


    Actually 7…Bg7 transposes to the same variation after

    8. h3 (first this one to avoid Nh5 tricks) 0-0 9. e3 (not e4 variations.. that are fine for black) and now 9…a6 transposes to the above variation

    There IS a plan to reach a playable position, but its not the “main” line, and still white has a very pleasant game.

  55. Nice game Jacob…

    [Event “Scottish Championship”]
    [Site “Glasgow SCO”]
    [Date “2012.07.14”]
    [EventDate “2012.07.07”]
    [Round “8.6”]
    [Result “0-1”]
    [White “Deep Sengupta”]
    [Black “Jacob Aagaard”]
    [ECO “B48”]
    [WhiteElo “2548”]
    [BlackElo “2506”]
    [PlyCount “124”]

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 Nf6 8.
    O-O-O Be7 9. f3 O-O 10. g4 b5 11. g5 Nh5 12. Nce2 Rd8 13. Bh3 Ne5 14. Bg4 Nc4
    15. Qd3 Nxe3 16. Qxe3 Nf4 17. Qxf4 Qxf4+ 18. Nxf4 Bxg5 19. Ne2 e5 20. Rd5 Bxf4+
    21. Nxf4 exf4 22. Rhd1 Ra7 23. Rc5 Kf8 24. Rd4 Ra8 25. c3 Rb8 26. Rd6 Ke7 27.
    Rcd5 h5 28. Bxh5 Rh8 29. Bg4 Rxh2 30. Rd4 a5 31. R6d5 d6 32. Bxc8 Rxc8 33. Rxb5
    Rf2 34. e5 dxe5 35. Rxe5+ Kf6 36. Rxa5 Rxf3 37. Rd6+ Ke7 38. Rb6 Rc7 39. Re5+
    Kd8 40. Rb8+ Kd7 41. Rb4 f6 42. Rd4+ Kc8 43. Re8+ Kb7 44. a4 g5 45. Rb4+ Ka7 46.
    Rbb8 Rf1+ 47. Kc2 Rf2+ 48. Kb1 g4 49. a5 g3 50. Ra8+ Kb7 51. Rab8+ Kc6 52. Rb6+
    Kc5 53. Rxf6 g2 54. Re5+ Kc4 55. Rg5 Rb7 56. Kc1 Kb3 57. Rfg6 Rf1+ 58. Kd2 Rd7+
    59. Ke2 f3+ 60. Ke3 Re7+ 61. Kd4 Rd1+ 62. Kc5 f2 0-1

  56. Kostas Oreopoulos


    as for 8. Qa4+ Bd7 9. Qb3 b5 10. Bxd6 c4 , i really don’t know what happens after 11. Qa3 Qb6 12. e4

    12…Na6 that has been plays is really bad , and 12…a5 13. Qc5 Qc5 14. Bc5 b4 15. Nd1 Nxe4
    doesnt look good either

  57. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    The Watson book has some very interesting ideas, but I remember that a number of positions were unpleasant for Black, but the computer said they were ok. From a practical perspective, this made little sense to me. Obviously we will try to do better and I think Petrov has been excellent in reducing the amount of theory one needs to learn to play this opening.

  58. @Michael
    Thank you. Obviously I was defending for the first 45 moves or so. And lost in the opening. But fighting against the rage of the dark I eventually got my chance.

  59. @Kostas Oreopoulos

    After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7.Bf4 a6 white can gain the advantage by playing 8.e4! and not 8.a4? because after black plays 8…b5 white has 9.Qe2! anderlyining the fact that black has a weak king and now after 9…Bg7 white has 10.Bxd6!, after 9…Nh5 white has 10.Bg5 whith an advantage. That is why nobody plays 7…a6 at the high level and also after 7…Bg7 the main line 8.Qa4+ Bd7 9.Qb3 b5 10. Bxd6 theory regards Qb6 as the best and you can find tons of analysis at the Chess Evolution November issue.

  60. Jacob Aagaard

    We will have to ask Nikos to check this!

    The books just arrived in the office!! Will put a photo on the blog soonish.

  61. About the Benoni, what will be suggested against the modern main line? Will it be the Wojtaszek of playing (with Nbd7 – Nh5 and delayed castling) or the main lines with b5? The latter is drawish and no fun for black, just fighting for a draw… Perhaps this is good for a 2700 but not for a 2400 I think. I hope it will be the plan involving delayed castling.

  62. Kostas Oreopoulos


    1) Actually 8.e4 is completely harmless 8…b5 9. Qe2 Be7 etc… all played many times. Black is doing well here. No problems

    2) 7…a6 is the most frequent played move (7… Bg7 follows).

    3) 10…Qb6 is the most frequent move in that position. I haven’t analysed that one a lot, but is seems dubious (i will have a look at it for a couple of days..but it

    (unfortunately i cannot find my November issue of Chess evolution)

  63. Just bought a QC book for the first time today. I had no choice, the new Morra book looks really amazing. Can’t wait to read it! The fact that it includes a chapter on the Alapin with …Nf6 is a nice bonus. Good on QC for doing that.

  64. Please let your comments come. We do check them and make sure they get worked into the books. Well, Nikos is doing it :-).

  65. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    my (superficial) thoughts: 10. Bxd6 Qb6 11. Be5 O-O 12. e3 c4 13. Qd1 Na6? is simply bad and might be losing, 12…b4 and 13…b4 are better and have both been played by Gashimov, the latter looks best and then 14. Ne2 (as played by Aronian) is interesting but I think 14. Nb1 is still better (after 14…Rc8 I suggest 15. a3), the end result in these lines is generally an endgame where Black is a pawn down but which he should be able to draw, not very attractive I think

  66. 14.Nb1 Rc8 15.a3 isn’t as good as I thought, this line might be playable for black, but 14. Ne2 needs to be looked at closely

  67. Kostas Oreopoulos


    12…b4 is simply bad (after 13.Nb1 ). Now what?

    13…Bb5??? This is losing hands down
    13…Bf5? 14. Nbd2 Nbd7 15. Nc4 Qd8 16. Rd1 a5 16. Bd3 a5 17. Qc2 +/- (i really dont see the point in black’s play here)

    12…c4 13.Qd1 b4 (13….Na6 is simply bad)

    Well i haven’t analysed this very well, but it seems white has many many good variations.
    Analysis will just pick the best

    For example after 13…b4

    14. Nb1 Rc8 15. Be2 (15. Nbd2 is also interesting, but his one is very easy to play) 15…Qc5 (to hit d5 pawn… what else?) 16. 0-0 Qxd5 17. Qxd5 Nxd5 18. Rc1 (no need to allow sidelines) 18…c3 19 Bxg7 Kxg7 20. bxc3 bxc3 21. Ne5 Be6 22. Bf3 Kf6 23. Bd5 Bd5 24. Ng4 and white goes to an endgame a pawn up. Winning? Its not easy at all, but its so easy to play as white…

    There are also other lines for white if he want to stay with Queens on (with 14. Nb1 or 14. Ne2), but i really dont like where black is going anyway.

    I ll let you know when i finish my analysis if there is something more forceful .

  68. Nikos Ntirlis

    I think that Mr Kostas Oreopoulos (compatriot!) is right. All the recent sources (Kaufman, Ziegler for example) believe that Black should definately avoid theat Qa4+ Bb7 Qb3 line. Marin has analysed this in some detail also. I think that Black is OK though if he follows the modern path followed by Gashimov and others.

  69. Kostas Oreopoulos

    @Nikos Ntirlis

    I actually dont know what do you mean ‘modern path’ , but judging from Gashimov games (and games in general) black has problems (Big problems)

    7…a6 8. a4 Bg7 9. h3 0-0 10. e3 and now all 3 main plans 10… Re8 10…Nh5 and 10…Ne8 (10…Nbd7 will transpose after 11. Be2) have very big problems

    The key in white’s play is “no targets policy” . Play a4-a5… Nd2 Nc4. Qb3-a3 (for b4 plans) maybe…. I have tons of analysis here… but nothing really good for black 🙁

  70. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    I had looked at that 15. Be2 line too, and indeed, if it’s playable for black then only in the sense that he isn’t on the verge of losing.
    I also looked at all Gashimov games in the 7.Bf4 a6 variation and didn’t find something especially attractive openingwise (although he won some games). At first I wondered how a ‘modest’ move like e3 could be so good but apparently it is, d5 doesn’t need extra support and on e3 the pawn isn’t a target.

  71. Kostas Oreopoulos

    To make it more clear (but not to flood it here with variations) we have for example

    10… Ne8 11. Be2 Nd7 12 0-0 Qe7 13. Nd2 Ne5 14. a5 Rb8 15. Qb3 Qc7 and now both Qa3 and Rc1 give a clear advantage to white (and easy)

    10… Ne8 11. Be2 Nd7 12 0-0 Ne5 13. Nd2 Bf5?! 14. Bh2 N (slightly better than Bg3 that was played because in some variations the bishop is safe from Nh5 jumps) 14… Bd3 15. e4! Bxe2 16. Qe2 Qe7 17. f4 Nd7 18. Nc4 Bd4 19. Kh1 black has problems for example Nef6 20. e5 Bxc3 21. Bxc3 dxe5 22. Rad1 b5 23. Nxe5 (here with B at h2 , Nh5 would save the day) +/-

    10…Re8 11. Nd2 Nbd7 12. Be2 Ne5 13. O-O Nfd7 14. a5 Rb8 15.
    Qc2 f5 16. Ra3 +/-

    etc.. I really hope there is something playable for black here.

  72. @Kostas Oreopoulos

    1)Actually after 9…Be7 white has 10. Qc2! and now after 10…0-0 11.a4! b4 12.Nd1 and
    b3 13.Qb1 Re8 14.Be2!+=

    2)7…a6 may be the most frequent move but not neceserily the best

    3)Thirdly – deleted by moderator. No links to pirate sites, thanks.

  73. john, I don’t think that giving a link to a website that distributes copyrighted material is a great idea…

  74. T.O :
    About the Benoni, what will be suggested against the modern main line? Will it be the Wojtaszek of playing (with Nbd7 – Nh5 and delayed castling) or the main lines with b5? The latter is drawish and no fun for black, just fighting for a draw… Perhaps this is good for a 2700 but not for a 2400 I think. I hope it will be the plan involving delayed castling.

    So? …

  75. I know other publishers are sort of verboten, but it doesn’t seem a direct competitor as far as a type of book. Anyway when did informant make such a huge change for the better? I promise I will continue to be a purchaser of QC books!

  76. First: Congratulations, Jacob!
    I like the idea to have a Playing the…. and GM-Rep about the same opening for example the French. I would like to see the same about the Queen`s Gambit Declined – is there any chance any time (soon)?
    …Thats the problem for such a fantastic chessbookpublisher……we readers want to have books about all things only from the best!!!
    @ John: Please do your best to let the 1.e4-books appear soon……

  77. Any more news on when Lars Schandorff’s Volume on 1 d4 v Indian defences will be out and will there be any (slight) discount for buying both ?
    Keep up the good work and if you could get the Kings Gambit book out……………

  78. Today I saw dutch GM Jan Smeets walking around the whole afternoon at the Amsterdam chess tournament with Jacob’s book ‘ Calculation’ in his hands.
    I bought the book a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t study it yet. That’s the reason of all my calculation mistakes this tournament :-).

  79. I can say that I have the book as well, and have completed the first chapter thus far (Candidates). Using the writing down of the solution approach, and checking answers after a full page, reviewing ones I got wrong, I can say that I had about 2/3 of them right, but often taking 20+ minutes on a single problem.

    I played in a tournament the weekend of July 14-15, and scored a lousy 2 out of 5, winning one I should have lost, and 2 of my 3 losses being to lower rated players with myself as White. The problem, instead of spending 30 minutes going down a rabbit trail that doesn’t work, I’m spending 10 to 15 minutes determining ALL candidates! 🙂

    Hopefully the other 7 chapters, the tests, and enough practical application via playing over the board, will help improve in this area, but just a word of caution Raffie, just because you open the book doesn’t mean you will get instant success. You’ll get into horrible time trouble, and some very depressing losses, but hopefully over time, I’ll find these ideas faster so that I don’t go from +/- to -+ due to the clock (via +/- to = to =/+ to -+, in like, a 10 move span).

    You can’t say I don’t speak from experience!

  80. @Patrick
    Chess is madly complicated – and just forgetting the fact that it takes time to implement a new skill successfully – it is very likely that other things you have not trained recently will play in with your results. I wish there was a short cut to lasting improvement, but the only one I know is doing the work and playing frequently enough to be able to put it confidently into practice.

    In Thinking inside the Box I will talk a bit more about the general theory of improvement, I think.

  81. I see pdfs are now available of the KG and Polgar book. Is it the intention just to publish Judit’s work in hardback- could not see paperback option on the “coming soon” section of the website?

  82. Jacob Aagaard

    It will indeed only be out in hardback, but at a paperback price. I know a few guys will cry, but the extra cost for doing them all in hardback is not more than € 2,000 when we do not paperbacks, so because we are optimistic with this one, we go for hardback only.

    And yes, I put up excerpts. But they are very preliminary; I just promised there would be something because of… something I cannot recall!

  83. Dear Mr. Aagaard,

    I apologise for if this problem has already been mentioned.
    Its about the book GM6 English Attack Scheveningen-Najdorf:

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. Qd2 b4 9. Na4 Nbd7
    Now as far as i am correct the books old(current) version mentions 10. Bc4, 10. c4 , 10. 0-0-0 and briefly 10.Qxb4. So far i am happy though while working with the book and the MDB i sort of came to the conclusion that after:

    10. g4 Black responds with h6, which of course should be a natural move in such a position. However, obviously White has move-ordered Black out of the book with 10. g4 h6 11. 0-0-0 !!
    Ftacnik doesnt mention this quite frequent variation due to his early b-pawn push the move-order didnt quite allow it.
    I hope there is nothing wrong with my statement 🙂

    I dont blame Ftacnik for it. Just to mention it as a repertoire book it might be good to not have any problems with move-order. Ftacnik really worked hard being creative especially on the move-order. However in some variations i turned out quite confusing.

  84. Jacob Aagaard

    I was not aware of this problem, but it seems quite real indeed. Can I play 10.g4 b4!?. Obviously we will check this while working on the second edition (which goes into its last two months very soon).

  85. b4 has been played in the 8th move accorcing to the books move-order. Its the variation on page 334 beginning with A1) 9.Na4 Nbd7 missing 10.g4 transposing into some other line not in the book.

  86. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Last two months sounds good, I am anticipating this book for quite a while, is the total of pages of both volumes less than the King’s Gambit book? 🙂 Also is the Mayhem Morra book used for Morra coverage in the GM6a volume?

  87. Got the Morra book today (and the new Queen’s Gambit book also arrived) and it looks great. I definitely enjoy the last page and its nice to see the humor being maintained about the subject. 🙂

    One minor criticism, and its just an opinion: Why the picture of the gun on the back cover? It seems disturbingly inappropriate. 🙁

  88. Michel Barbaut

    Got my copy of the Morra book yesterday, a good one it seems … and the more I read it the more I like it !! Concerning the gun on the back cover, I think the reason is on the front cover

  89. @decredico

    As Michel Barbaut said, the gun relates to the hole on d4 on the front cover. The “attack” is meant to be on the Sicilian Defence. Of course we printed the book before the recent tragedy in the US.

  90. I understand that John and there was no criticism intended. It is a fairly hot topic, for the moment, as you could imagine.

  91. Jacob Aagaard

    @John Johnson
    As far as I understand no one will even consider to go back to limiting semi-automatics for sale, even after this horrendous tragedy.

    Personally I think a picture of a gun in that connection is nothing compared with the continued showing of the Batman film. But obviously I am looking forward to see it myself.

  92. John Johnson :Anything with a gun makes anyone in the US anxious at the moment.

    I, a US Citizen born in New Jersey and now living in North Carolina, blame 100% of this on the government. Anybody with half a brain ought to understand that when the Bill of Rights was written (the first 10 amendments of the US Constitution), that the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, was NOT intended to mean AK-47’s. Personally, I think guns belong in the Military only. People see a mass shooting, 12 people last week, 31 or 33, forget which, at Virginia Tech in 2007, somewhere in the mid-teens in 1999 in Columbine, etc. How about the hundreds of children that get a hold of that thing laying on their Daddy’s dresser, loaded, play Cowboys and Indians with their sister, and shoot their sister? These inadvertent shootings wouldn’t occur if we had better Gun Control.

    I actually agree with what a Stand-Up Commedian said (I forget who, it was a black male that said this). We don’t need gun control, we need bullet control. $5000 per bullet. You take one shot, miss, grrrr, just cost you $5000. Sure would lower the murder rate in the United States.

    That said, anybody that thinks a book is in the wrong because there is a gun on the cover is out of their mind. Not all things that involve a gun result in a carrot top shooting people in a movie theater. This is chess guys. There’s another book, Sicilian Attacks, or something like that, by New In Chess, that also has a gun on the cover.

    Now you put an orange-headed guy in front of a movie theater with that gun on the cover, only then would the publisher have problems!

  93. Jacob Aagaard

    American politics scare us Europeans. I am centre-right, others in the office centre-left (or just straight left, I am not sure actually) – but we all shake our heads towards the deception of US politics. How did it all become lies & slogans? Is this what awaits us? I am not judging the political stands, but the lack of information and honest debate.

  94. Why debate when ad hominem attacks and money do a better job of getting people elected? I don’t agree with Patrick’s views on the 2nd amendment, but our politics are in a bad place no doubt. George Washington warned people about parties…..

  95. Jacob Aagaard

    @John Johnson
    The problem is not parties, but a simple one we see in the UK as well. Because people are against tax funded politics, we have privately funded politics. So politics are owned by rich guys, not by the people. Also first by the post, as practiced in the UK and US have great negative political consequences. In Europe we are rather mystified about the US gun laws. We like to stab people, it is more personal.

  96. Messier Jacob I sometimes think parliamentary democracy might be a better choice, but then the Greeks and Italians seem to be sort of stuck themselves. Our real trouble is when either party has a good idea the other party automatically reject it, because the other guys broached the idea.

  97. @John Johnson
    Why mention Greece, why not Germany and Scandinavia? Please compare with countries with similar culture and lack of corruption. In the UK we currently have an economic policy that never had more than 35% support in the population – and which demolishes the lives of the remaining 65% (besides not doing what it was meant to do at any point).

  98. Dear Mr. Aagaard,

    i apologise for another disturbing comment, but i got curious about the GM6 book… so i have still some questions about the additional content- mainly about the Grand-Prix of the closed sicilian:

    In the current version of the book after following moves:

    1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 g6 missing another possiblity for white on the 4th move (mainly called as far as i remember its called romanishin-variation)
    4.d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Nf6 6.e5 Nc6 7. Bb5 Nh5
    I think objectively it should be fine for black though there is still this problem with the Knight on h5 to make this variation look like a considerable issue

    Next point:

    1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 g6 4. Bb5+ Bd7

    White has additional Options instead of taking on d7 with the Bishop. a4 and Bc4 where the latter i think is a very tricky one and recently has also been played by some strong players ( i think Karjakin played it against Topalov or something like that)


  99. @Larrave
    The check is normally at move 5. Yes, this is missing from the book. The 2nd edition will be much more thorough. Also, there is a good recommendation by Avrukh in Experts on the Anti-Sicilian.

    Fact based questions are always welcome.

  100. I have now had chance to take greater and detailed look into this Morra book.

    I found many mistakes in it. Far too many and a lot of them are inexcusable. It seems as if it was rushed into publication. Many typos, serious move duplication errors, & diagram errors. In addition, I find the overall tone of hubris and sexist commentary to be completely inappropriate and completely irrelevant to the chess that is supposed to be included.

    I am seriously disappointed that Quality Chess has seen fit to include such megalomanical writing in their series of serious books for serious players. There are too many insults hurled at people that would play variations such as 3. …Nf6 against the Morra.

    Jacob, this is a serious misstep in the wrong direction for such a great company. In addition to having put out corrections, and possible a new edition that addresses the poor typesetting issues, I sincerely hope you reconsider this type of writing style from future authors.

    That IM Esserman is clearly a misogynist is not my direct concern, but his anti-woman stance is unwelcome, unnecessary and completely irrelevant to the chess.

    I know I will think seriously of not purchasing future efforts unless this current direction is corrected as I have no desire to pay such money to be insulted or to read arrogant and sexist remarks.


    richard decredico

  101. @decredico
    Dear Richard,

    We did not find the book insulting or sexist, but humourous and unique. I am sure that Esserman would be horrified to think that you thought so and our experience in working with him is that this might have caused him to make the book dull – in my opinion the greatest insult of the reader possible.

    If you really feel personally insulted by comments about 3…Nf6, I would suggest that you take a hammer to your radio, black out your windows and put your TV permanently on the God channel. That is unless you are gay of course, when this might backfire.

    We wanted to have a joke about Sicilian mobsters running scared because of the Morra on the cover, which all the Italians we showed it to thought was hilarious. But Marc was afraid that some would find it insensitive and asked to have it removed to our regret.

    Regarding the content. Maybe there are a few typos. The idea that there are many is just not going to fly. What is many to you? 10 in the book. For us this would be many, because we take it seriously to find them before we go to print; clearly much more than the other guys. I personally know of one and I am sure there are a few more. Would you be willing to pay $1 more per error removed from the published work; because this is the kind of cost we are talking (per reader) to avoid the final few typos.

    There is one real problem with the book. One line is missing; and it is a quite serious one. I am no expert in this opening and so is none of our team. But a Danish friend of mine is and he explained it to me. We will of course come with an update very soon in the newsletter; hopefully Marc will write it.

    By the way this friend is a big fan of the book and he is internationally famous for his knowledge of gambits.

    If this book really could convince you not to buy our books in the future, maybe it should. We are not going to make our books dull, we are going to continue to trust some of our authors to do their part of the work immaculately, we are going to allow for an edge humourous tone, we are not going to promise no typos. Basically, whatever flaws you see with this book, they are likely to reoccur in a future book. However, I think most of our readers would rather have this than if we made encyclopedias with no heart and soul. Obviously we are disappointed that we missed a line, but we also need to print at some point to stay in business…

  102. Abramov Anjuhin

    Dear Richard and Jacob,

    I personally like scientific approach and explanation which are mostly connected to chess theme. So I don’t like chit-chat, small talks and cynic or sarcastic writing.

    But on the other side freaks like us, chess players, are inclined towards CONTENT of chess books, which are good guidance and analysis. Some inappropriate text is diminished in this way.

    Best author of Quality Chess is Marin, then “dry analyst” Avrukh, and Jacob “the hardliner in thought” 🙂

  103. @Abramov Anjuhin
    To think that personal prefence is “the correct way” is dangerous. You might end in a minority and be submitted to others taste only. For this reason we publish a great variety of books with different aims.

  104. will the schandorff (hope i got the spelling right!) be a 1.d4 nf6 rep. or will it be 1.d4 …everything but d5 rep?

  105. Cri :

    will the schandorff (hope i got the spelling right!) be a 1.d4 nf6 rep. or will it be 1.d4 …everything but d5 rep?


    The latter – 1.d4… everything except 1…d5. So the two books by Lars will together form a complete repertoire with 1.d4.

  106. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I notice that the pdf excerpt is available for Schandorff’s Volume 2 repertoire on 1. d4. But could you please post the choices for repertoire against all lines or post the table of contents, since I am still unsure which moves are against all of the moves, for example Grünfeld, Benoni, Benkö, etc.

    At least the excerpt usually means that the book will be released in approximately three weeks :D. So it is the 4. e3 against the Nimzo Indian. I somehow lost to a 2100 in a bad upset a few years ago when I tried to play the Nimzo Indian against 4. e3 and lost in about 25 moves..

  107. I am thrilled with Playing 1.d4, a great book and a very easy read. But after my first weekend with a new repertoire already I hit a problem! Big for me was change in Semi-Slav Moscow to play 6.Bh4 and not Bxf6, so studied this a lot but got lost in my first game anyway after 9.Be2 b4?! (mentioned on page 179 as dubious) 10.Na4 Nxe4 11. Be5 Nf6 12.Nc5. I remembered all this, the reference to Kramnik, and the point keeping the bishop safe after Nd7. Got lost after he played immediately 12…c3!? Got a pawn back but felt I was trying to equalize entire game not attack and got a draw. Rushed to check was I forgot from Lars and move not mentioned! At home checked with Fritz and this is best move per Deep Fritz 13! Checked databases and it is best move by percentages, lots of e-mail games and Black seems to have no problems. Did I miss something and c3 is bad?? Thinking of going back to Bxf6. Surely all these lines were run past Fritz et al?

    1. The lines were definitely tested with engines, but we are not flawless individuals and might have missed something. We will address this line in the next issue of the newsletter, due to be out quite soon.

  108. Please see if you can have these books published in English. I don’t know exactly what the translation costs would be but i suspect a few thousand Dollars per book so i understand that you are selective about which projects you take up.

    Koblenz, Alexander: Lehrbuch der Schachstrategie Band 1
    Kotow, Alexander: Lehrbuch der Schachstrategie – Band 2
    Kotow, Alexander: Lehrbuch der Schachtaktik – Band 1
    Koblenz, Alexander: Lehrbuch der Schachtaktik – Band 2

    Thank you for publishing “Questions of Modern Chess Theory”.

  109. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I see the new excerpt now, I especially like that the line chosen against the Grünfeld is the Russian Variation.

    Is the Playing the French book one response per main line, e.g. 3…c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 against Tarrasch? Or will it be something like McCutcheon and 4…Be7 or just one?

  110. Will Avrukh’s book on d4 sidelines be suitable for Slav players as well? Or will he just propose an early e6 or g6, making a transposition to a Slav impossible?

  111. @Metichara
    1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 – if you play 2…c6 here, you should be ashamed :-). 2…Nf6 and you are in the repertoire against everything which is not 3.c4.

    So the answer is yes; as unclear as I can make it.

  112. @Metichara
    Somewhere in this blog, Jacob Aagaard mentionned that the book will have a line for everyone after 1.d4 d5 (slav /QG /grunfeld /KI …) So parts of the book will be unuseful but you can change your main repertoire and use this book again and again.

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