English Chess Federation Book of the Year shortlist


We are happy to announce that Advanced Chess Tactics by GM Lev Psakhis has made the shortlist for the English Chess Federation Book of the Year prize.


Actually this news was announced over a week ago, but we are still catching up after the Olympiad. What else have I missed?

29 thoughts on “English Chess Federation Book of the Year shortlist”


    I also have bought the book and I am a bit unhappy now with it. The main variations from blacks point of view are too much hidden to my taste, and the book completely takes only whites point of view. Also there are some misprints and even wrong main diagrams, for example on page 57 (beginning of chapter 2), it shows a black pawn on a6 and black bishop on f8, but (!!) a6 was not played by black, but Be7 was played (!!) up to move 9 (which the diagram refers too).
    I have sent a mail to the publisher info@qualitychess.co.uk , but did not even get a reply.
    I personally still think black should play :
    1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Qe2 a6 9. Rd1 Qc7 10. Bf4 Be7 11. Rac1 O-O 12. Bb3 Qb8
    I do not claim, that I can improve Mr. Esserman’s analysis, he is an IM , I am an amateur.
    I critize in this position, that after
    13. e5 Nh5 14. Bg5 dxe5 15. Bxe7 Nxe7 16. Nxe5 Nf6 17. Bc2
    he gives Blacks inferior answer 17. … Ned5 in bold as main variation giving a long explanation how white wins then, but Blacks better answer 17. … b5 ! he gives as a subvariation with only a few moves 17. … b5 18. g4 Nfd5 and stops.
    I think this is not very objective and not a scientific approach. If 17. … b5! is better than 17. … Ned5, then an objective author would spend more time on explaining what can happen after this better move. This is what amateurs want to find in an opening book. Why did Mr. Esserman not explain the position after 17. … b5 18. g4 Nfd5 , why did he just stop there ?
    The reader is not interested how white can win after black inferior moves, he is interested in variations with best moves from both sides.
    This is what is missing in this book, at least this is my opinion.
    second missprint is :
    2) variations on page 77 (chapter 3)
    the subvariation on the bottom line
    11. Rac1 ! 0-0 12. Bb8
    should be replaced by
    11. Rac1 ! 0-0 12. Bb3
    as it is written on the referenced pages 79, 91 : 12. Bb3
    As an additional remark I would have organized the game index by the white players name , which would make it easier to find out if a specific game is in the book or not. I cannot see, what one can benefit by having it ordered by the page number.
    Esserman only says to move 9. .. Ne5 in the Esserman – Goeller game on pag 209 of the book:
    9. … Ne5 ? Black sticks to the plan, but the scenery has change
    Goeller gives much more information :
    9. … Ne5 ?
    This move works against everything except White’s very simple reply, which I am embarrassed to admit that I overlooked. In some ways, the simultaneous was like playing a blitz game, as Esserman raced around the tables.
    a) 9… Bxf3 10. gxf3! axb5 (10… Ne5 11. bxa6! Nxc4 12. axb7 Ra7 13. Nb5 Rxb7 14. Qa4 Rd7 15. Qxc4 and White’s outide passed pawn proved quite dangerous in Regan – Tisdall, Denver 1977.) 11. Nxb5! recommended by IM Lawrence Trent also(11. Bxb5 g6 [black is slightly better] Hardarson – De Firmian) 11… g6 12. Qb3 Ne5 13. Bf4 (13. Bb2!?) 13… Nxc4 14. Qxc4 Rc8 15. Qa4 Qd7?? (15… Nd7 [only move] 16. Rac1 (16. e5!?) 16… Rc6 17. Bg5!? [with initiative] ) 16. Rac1 Rb8 17. Rc7 Black resigns 1-0 Esserman (Borba),M (2920)-Gormally (Elgransenor),D (2952)/Internet Chess Club 2006 — an embarrassing loss by a GM that makes my own embarrassing loss not look so bad.
    b) 9… axb5 10. Nxb5! (10. Bxb5 g6 [black is slightly better] Taylor) 10… e6 11. Bf4 Be7 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 O-O (13… Ne5! 14. Bxe5 dxe5 15. Qg3 O-O 16. Qxe5 Rc8 [black is slightly better] Palliser) 14. Rfd1 Ra4 15. Rac1 Qa5 16. Nxd6?! (16. Bxd6 Bxd6 17. Nxd6 Ne5 18. Qb3 Nxc4 19. Rxc4= Palliser) 16… Ne5 17. Bxe5 Qxe5 18. Qb3 Bxd6! 19. Qxa4 Nxe4 [with initiative] (19… Qh2+! 20. Kf1 Bf4 [with attack] Palliser ) 20. Qb3? Qh2+ 21. Kf1 Qh1+ 22. Ke2 Qxg2 23. Qe3 Ng3+ 24. Kd2 Nf5 25. Qb6 h5 26. Kc3 Be5+ 27. Kb4 Qg5 28. Kb3 Nd4+ 29. Kb4 Qe7+ 0-1 Esserman Marc (USA) (2259)-Taylor Timothy (USA) (2291)/Las Vegas (USA).

    Third missprint is :
    Errors on page 245 (beginning of chapter 11)
    The book gives the following moves under the diagram
    1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 d6
    5. Nf3 e6 6. Bc4 a6 7. 0-0 e6 8. Qe2 b5
    9. Rd1 b5 10. Bb3 ….. 246

    9. Nd4 b5 10. Bb3 Nc5 11. Bd5 … 250
    That is incorrect :
    a pawn that moved to e6 in move five can not
    move again to e6 in move seven
    a pawn that moved to b5 in move eight can not
    move again to b5 in move nine.
    This should be corrected to
    1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 d6
    5. Nf3 e6 6. Bc4 a6 7. 0-0 Nf6 8. Qe2 b5
    9. Bb3 Nbd7 10. Rd1 … 246

    9. Bb3 Nbd7 10. Nd4 Nc5 11. Bd5 … 249
    Also the diagram itself is wrong :
    It shows a black knight on c6, but move Nc6 was not made
    by black up to move 8, which the diagram refers to,
    not in the given move sequence, not in the correct move
    Questions to game analysis : Jacek Stopa – Alexandra Kosteniuk,
    St. Louis (rapid) 2011
    In his analysis on the above game Mr. Esserman in his book on pages
    191, 192 gives the following in his game comment
    after move 8.Bg5 by white :
    ” …
    Young IM Stopa, already an Evans Gambit disciple, showed up
    inspired by our European 2011 summer tour, vowing to play the
    Morra – the sexiest opening in chess – in each and every game he

    after move 9. Nb5 by white :
    ” …
    During the interview, Stopa revealed that never before in his
    career had he lost to a woman

    As I am a chess amateur and also an amateur in the science of psychology,
    please can somebody explain :
    What makes a chess opening “sexy” ? I always thought, that only dead
    pieces of wood are moved . Or is there a kind of hidden psychological
    aspect for male IM’s playing Morra Gambit with White ?
    What kind of chess related information Mr. Esserman wants to give his readers
    by telling, that Mr. Stopa never lost to a woman before ? Or is there again
    some hidden psychological information ?
    Fourth missprint is :
    Errors on page 203 (beginning of chapter 9)
    The book gives the following moves under the diagram
    1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6
    5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4

    6…a6 7.0-0 Nf6


    9…. Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Be6 11.Rfd1
    Both squares f3 and e6 are white squares, it is
    impossible, that a white bishop moving on the white squares can directly move from f3 to e6, as these two squares are not on the same diagonal, so 10. … Be6
    is not possible.
    The above should be corrected to

    9…. Bxf3 10.Qxf3 e6 11.Rfd1
    Questions to statement on page 246 :
    Mr. Esserman gives the following statement on page 246 of his book :
    ” …
    While in my eyes the other classical gambits have all
    fallen to the brutality of modern computer analysis,
    the Morra Gambit has and will continue to endure the
    test of time.

    Just to be sure :
    Does the phrase
    “have all fallen to the brutality of modern computer analysis”
    “refuted” ??
    If the answer is “YES” then my next questions are :
    Does Mr. Esserman really think that the Marshall Gambit in the Spanish opening has been refuted ? Could be please show that refutation in the sense of a forced win for White ?
    Does Mr. Esserman really think that the Naidorf Poisoned pawn has been refuted ? Can he show the forced win for black as white has sacrificed a pawn?
    fifth misprint in the book :
    5) Error in Variation index :
    In the variation index on page 356
    Mr. Esserman gives :
    Chapter 9
    1. e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6. Bc4

    9. …Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Be6 11. Rfd1 -> 222
    That should be corrected to
    9. …Bxf3 10.Qxf3 e6 11. Rfd1 -> 222
    sixth misprint in the book :
    Under the diagram on page 31 Mr. Esserman gives
    1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4
    6…. Qc7 8.0-0 Nf6 8. Nb5 Qb8 9. e5
    9…. Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 –> 34
    This should be corrected to
    1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4
    6…. Qc7 8.0-0 Nf6 8. Nb5 Qb8 9. e5
    9…. Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Qxe5 –> 34
    which one can see on page 34
    Summary :
    Errors :
    1) page 57 : error in diagram
    2) page 77 : two wrong variations
    3) page 245 : error in diagram and wrong variations
    4) page 203 : wrong variations
    5) page 356 : wrong variation in variation index
    6) page 31 : wrong variation
    Question :
    on page 9 Mr. Esserman writes :
    “I have faced two players over 2700 FIDE in the Morra Accepted
    in tournament play. In both cases they lost under 30 moves.”
    Which games is he referring to ?
    Is he referring to the game :
    Esseman (2453) – Van Wely (2683), 04.08.2011, 112th US open,
    which is analyzed in his book ?
    Then I would be confused, as Van Wely’s rating was 2683 on that
    day, not >= 2700. Also the last time Van Wely had a rating >= 2700
    was in 2001, so ten years before Esserman has beaten Van Wely.
    So if Mr. Esserman is referring to that game, it would be more modest
    to write :
    “In one of my games I faced a former (!) 2700 player”
    Or am I doing Mr. Esserman wrong and he is referring
    to other games, where he has beaten actual (!) 2700 players ?

    1. In general I am happy if we have only six misprints in a book. Each of them hurt, but the idea that you can produce a book without misprints that is also printed close to the time of writing is faulty in our experience.

      Regarding the content and structure; clearly the writer has his own opinions on what the reader might be interested in and many readers have responded very favourably to this. I think a lot of it is about taste: what is most important, the best move or what you are most likely to face? Both sets of information is there, as you point out (with this 17…b5 example), but Marc found the instructive aspect more important than the theoretical. I find that to be in line with the style of the book all the way through.

      Various other hair splitting exercises here do not really interest me much. Sorry, I have no great opinion.

    2. Oh yes, I answer all e-mails that are respectful. I assume yours was, but somehow it must not have reached me. At times people say they e-mailed us and we do not answer. Well, then we did not get it.

  2. “Mr. Stopa never lost to a woman before”
    I’m not sure if this is sexist, but stupid it is. You know, I never lost to a Swede. I am pretty sure GM Aagaard is as much interested in this information as I am about the information on Mr. Stopa.
    I strongly dislike this kind of “popular” writing and it is a main reason for me not to buy the book.

    Mark Nieuweboer (MNb)

  3. @HORST
    Many of your queries (re/ IM Stopa, classical gambits “refuted”, GM Van Wely/2700) have already been answered at the chessvibes review comment section.

  4. @horst I think you should try to enter Essermans mind concernings his hyperbole.
    The man loves HIS opening and he tries to translate that to his readers.

    Personally I think the nimzo indian is extremely seductive. The Morra I would describe as hard, metallike, it is a weapon for white which blow I would like to dodge with Nf6 to enter the parkinglotlikeboring c3 sicilian.

    And the Faj scares the #%^* out of me…

  5. @HORST

    ghee.. And I cant help it Horst…

    So much academic bullshit (sorry!) to an author who`s REALLY try to make it work with all his heart… Thats called love.

    Maybe you should have bought a Petroff book instead.

  6. Why is it better to substitute the dogmatic hatred of the Morra with the dogmatic hatred of the Petroff? πŸ™‚ Why can’t we be friends?

  7. I’ve written a few non-chess books and know several authors. Most of us would be damn glad to settle for only 6 errors in a full length work. Clearly chess books are much more difficult to produce. Pragmatic publishers and authors edit the text over and over and over again and declare it a professional effort and publish it. Another possibility is to keep banging your head against the wall delaying the project over fear of a few typos only anal misfits dwell over. I’ve deliberately not checked this post for spelling or punctuation errors so someone can get their charge by pointing them out. Have fun.

  8. MNb :
    β€œMr. Stopa never lost to a woman before”
    I’m not sure if this is sexist, but stupid it is. You know, I never lost to a Swede. I am pretty sure GM Aagaard is as much interested in this information as I am about the information on Mr. Stopa.
    I strongly dislike this kind of β€œpopular” writing and it is a main reason for me not to buy the book.
    Mark Nieuweboer (MNb)

    I am not sure if Jacob is interested, but I am fascinated. Have I ever lost to a Swede? I can’t remember. But I did beat Pia Cramling who is Swedish and a woman, so that counts double.

  9. csaba :
    Why is it better to substitute the dogmatic hatred of the Morra with the dogmatic hatred of the Petroff? Why can’t we be friends?

    Ok and Im sorry… But it was that 17 elo point missing ( van Wely) which became the drop. But its alll over now, and I apologize to you Hort.

  10. Horst Schlachetzki

    Dear all,

    I just want to tell you, that the comment, that was posted here by “Horst” at September 14th, 2012 at 18:14 , was not posted by me, Horst Schlachetzki. Somebody must have copied all my comments from chessvibes.com and pasted it here in as one post.

    If I post something, I post it with my full name. Also I do not post the same thing twice.

    Also I prefer posting only at one website, chessvibes.com

    maybe one should use personal electronic certificates like in real e-commerce to be sure,
    who really was the author of a post, or one could allow people only to post from one or two IP-addresses, that would also stop that anonymous posting

    best regards, Horst Schlachetzki

  11. @MNb
    If half the people in the world were Swedes, the paralel would work. You might find the comment uninteresting, but to try to create friction by using the word sexism (even when denying it at the same time, it has still be brought up) is just lame. I am sure there are more uninteresting sentences in all books in the world than this one…

  12. By the way, I don’t mind too much that someone copied this comment from Horst to here, I am not afraid of criticism. Obviously it was done maliciously, which is unpleasant. But then, hell, I can always look at those MSF pictures if I feel persecuted :-).

  13. Horst Schlachetzki

    Chessvibes , Qualitychess and other pages should ask people who want to post comments to register with an account , password and email as a minimum prerequisite to be sure who is who.

  14. I received my Schandorff books (I ordered both of them) last week and used the weekend to take a closer look. They are excellent and match eactly what I was looking (and hoping) for. I have been a 1.e4 player most of my life, but consider trying 1.d4 in the future, at least occasionally. To become less predictable, because I am stuck to find some advantage against certain openings, and also because I want to try something new.
    Schandorffs books offer me exactly what I need, a clear and consistent approach, excellent analysis but yet lines that are easy to remember. Some lines I know from playing the black side and I can check his recommendations easily, but especially in the openings I have little clue (like the Benko or the Dutch) I feel perfectly comfortable after reading through his chapters.
    And last but not least Paper, delivery, etc – all just perfect! Thank you from a happy customer!

  15. Also receiced my copy of Playing 1.d4 Indian Defenses, and I breifly looked through all the chapters and it is very impressive. I was a liitle surprised that in some lines that I thought would be closed were actually open fighting battles very sharp and full of tactics, I love it. A good addition to Playing 1.d4 the Queens Gambit. Bravo!!!

  16. @Michael
    It seems that we have done what we tried to do. Obviously Lars chose most of the lines, but we talked a lot together and all wanted the same; the thing that we have apparently managed to do: to publish a complete aggressive 1.d4 repertoire.

  17. I got my copies of the Schandorff book yesterday. Didn’t have time to look at the QG book; but the Indian one at a cursory glance looks very interesting. I have the first edition of the QG book and am interested in what changes have been selected.

  18. Hello,
    I have played 1.e4 my whole life but yesterday I have ordered Schandorff books on 1.d4 and I am looking forward to learn something new and to surprise my opponents. Except that I ordered the Mayham in Morra, of course. πŸ™‚
    I am also interested in the new books on 1.e4. How is covered the Sicilian? Should I wait for these books or get Experts vs the Sicilian instead? Is this book up to date?
    Thank you for an answer!

  19. I love every page of The Indian Defences! Great explanations everywhere! (well everywhere I look at least) One think that caught my eye: the pages at the end of the book list both Playing 1 e4 books as ‘October 2012,’ what’s the truth value of that? πŸ™‚

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