ChessCafe book of the year

The yearly vote on ChessCafe’s book of the year is now on. First round ends Monday, I think. I would like to encourage everyone to vote for whomever they desire to win. Winning is not greatly important to the bottom line, but it is to the authors! And to win when a lot of people has voted is clearly nicer than if just a few have voted. Thus, please go and have your say.

96 thoughts on “ChessCafe book of the year”

  1. I voted for Esserman 😉
    He may not win (Most players don’t consider Morra as a serious opening) but his book is most “fun” to read in the list IMHO.
    Good luck to quality chess! If it’s publishers award, Quality Chess will win hands down.

    Early Prediction
    Book of the year 2013: King’s Gambit – JohnShaw

  2. Speaking of voting, the poll of which book we are looking forward to most, I haven’t seen anywhere which book is officially GM Repertoire 12. d4 sidelines was 11, Open Spanish is 13. Kinda hard to vote for GM Rep 12 with no idea which opening that is. First book of 1.e4? Classical Slav? First book of the French?

    I’d have to say for me it’s a tie between the rest of the Grandmaster Preparation series and Mating the Castled King.

  3. @John Shaw

    Thanks for the prompt and helpful response.

    It’s nice being able to have intelligent conversations with the publishers themselves and chatting in a friendly environment not filled with comments by ignorant morons that like to talk about American politics and have no clue both how stupid and how offensive they really are!

  4. Gambiteer :I voted for Esserman He may not win (Most players don’t consider Morra as a serious opening) but his book is most “fun” to read in the list IMHO.Good luck to quality chess! If it’s publishers award, Quality Chess will win hands down.Early PredictionBook of the year 2013: King’s Gambit – JohnShaw

    Or 2014 😉

  5. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Unfortunately some on here decide to go to other forum areas to insult other members, especially those that do it continuously with petty consistency. They refuse to accept facts, probably they would say if you told them that 2 + 3 = 5, they would say, “No, you stupid moron, 2+ 3 = 9!”, but it eventually displays their true character. One would think that the game of chess would provide them with a hobby that would divert their time from the rubbish and folly of insulting and criticising others.

    @Jacob Aagaard
    A Grandmaster Repertoire book is definitely for my vote in 2013. GM2 I found to be the best book of the year in 2010, GM8/GM9 in 2011, and 2012 I am insofar unsure. But for 2013 GM13 could quite possibly be a strong candidate, however I will have to see it in early February to make the decision.

  6. Second round votes for chesscafe book of the year have started.
    The 3 finalists are:
    1) Aaron Nimzowitsch 1886-1924 by Skdoljager & Nielsen
    2) GM Preparation: Calculation by Jacob Aagaard
    3) Move Now Think Later by Willy Hendriks

    I have not read the first book and therefore can not comment on the content.
    The second book nominated I have bought and I am enjoying the challenge and book a lot.
    The third book I briefly flicked through in a book shop but did not grab my attention, especially the title. So I was surprised this book was awarded the ECF book of the year ahead of Advanced chess tactics by Psakhis, Fighting Chess with Magnus Carlsen by Mikhalchisin and Gary Kasparov on Gary Kasparov Part 1.
    If anyone has read the book what did I miss for it to win ahead of the other 3 books. In fairness I did not read in entirety and I am not a chess player of high rating. I read that it was given the award because the book stimulates a lively debate on how chess should be taught.
    Does anyone of a high chess rating who has read the book agree with the content of the book, because the other 3 that were beaten were very good books.

    Details on how to vote are in the website quoted earlier.
    The only book from the 3 nominated that I have enjoyed is GM preparation and at this stage unless convinced otherwise gets my vote.

  7. Yes, on “Move Now Think Later” I saw the pdf extract on the internet, and from what I remember the page shown was pretty much an (acknowledged) extract from one of Jacob’s books – excelling at chess calculation. So I assumed the publisher wanted me to pay again for material I already owned……very difficult for me to see why a book which repeats another book should sell, let alone receive an award.

  8. @Paul
    I have actually wanted to commont on that chapter. Should I wait till after the vote? I do not want to be seen as campaigning for an award I have already won once and thus don’t desire as much as the other nominees probably do (but yes, winning would be nice).

  9. It’s a shame that GM Prep and the Nimzo book are competing against each other. They are both excellent books, albeit appealing to vastly different audiences.

    The book from McFarland is gorgeous, beautifully done and packed with weeks of entertainment for those with a taste for chess history. However, it won’t do that much to help you improve.

    The Quality chess book’s purpose is to make you a better player. You’ll have to work hard at it and the immediate enjoyment value is low; save the satisfaction of knowing you are getting stronger.

    It’s really a case of apples and oranges, but there’s only one prize.

  10. @Jacob Aagaard
    I will confess that I voted for the book on Nimzo. Based on cost alone, I knew the readership would be small and I felt strongly that it needed to be recognized.

    While I would love to be proven wrong, I am pretty sure that Move Now Think Later will win. It’s the type of book that the contest’s admirers tend to support.

  11. @Neil Sullivan
    People have a great love for ideas such as: there are no rules in chess. However, all their favourite players are raised on rules, rules and rules. I had this debate with Watson a decade ago, which I am under contract not to mention further, where he was using lots of material from Dvoretsky, who is rules, rules, rules all the way.

    Hendrix appears to be some of the same world view. I have not read the book closely, but from what I have read, I am a bit dubious about some of the points made and really happy that people write books that challenge our world views, even if they are not thinking the same way as I do. After this contest, I might write an article about the chapter on Excelling at Chess Calculation and critical moments. I don’t have the book here, but you can find it easily, it is the chapter where I have a game :-).

    I want to make one thing perfectly clear at this point; I might disagree with Hendrix and what he writes there (and maybe other places), but what I have read from this book is serious and respectful of others and fulfil all requirements I have to a chess author. I like strong opinions and I like a bit of conflicting views in chess books. I do not subscribe to the view of trying to avoid anything that might insult anyone, and especially anything that might make one person feel insulted on someone elses behalf. I think it is important that language is a bit lively and that people write what they think. Without this the debate would be damaged and boring.

  12. Uhm, #11, if the facts placed there were true, that would be one thing, but there were so many INCORRECT statements from you that all you do each time is dig your hole deeper!

    You obviously haven’t been in the United States long enough or recent enough to understand what is going on, or how anything works around here. It ain’t like any person can just willy nilly put things into law. Many Americans, contrary to your belief, want many of the things that Europe does. But you obviously have no clue about how it works here.

    It has to pass the house, which larger states have more representatives, and so the big democrat states like New York and California override the low-populated states in the Rockies, Plains, and South that tend to be very conservative, but then comes to Senate, where each state has 2, no matter what their size, and so all those Red States that are worth very few electoral votes count for more here, and no liberal idea ever gets past these people.

    For a law to pass, it has to go thru the house, thru the senate, and signed by the president. If the President vetos, it goes back thru congress, and they’d have to override the veto for it to happen, and that isn’t a simple majority at that point.

    So instead of your assinine comments and stereotypes about Americans, why don’t you just go crawl in your European hole. I don’t go around poking fun of all the problems that occur in Europe, but now I will!

    We pay roughly $3 to $3.50, which is a little over 2 Euro, for a GALLON of gas. 1 Gallon is just a tad under 4 Liters. HOW MUCH are you guys paying PER LITER? That’s what I thought! WAY TOO MUCH! So you guys get free health care at the hospital, but spend an arm and a leg getting there! That’s no bargain!

  13. @Jacob Aagaard

    I wonder sometimes how they decide book of the year in general at all these various sites, like Chess Cafe.

    I think the problem is, chess books are like Baseball. In the United States, baseball gives out various awards, like MVP, Gold Glove for each position, and Cy Young. The reason for that is you can’t compare a Pitcher to a Power Hitter to an All Star Fielder that can dive for balls, make accurate throws to home plate, etc.

    I think Chess Book awards need the same thing. You can’t compare an Opening book to a Middlegame book to a History book (whether it be a bio, game collection of 1 player, game collection of a major tournament, etc) to an Endgame book.

    Of the 3 listed, I only have yours, not the other two. But the reason I say they need to break it up is I think the following, in no particular order, in my humble opinion are “amongst” (can’t speak for all of 2012, many books I’ve never even browsed have been published in 2012) the best of 2012, but there’s no way you can compare them, as they are like apples and oranges:

    1) The Dynamic Benko Gambit (And I don’t even play the Benko as Black)
    2) The Strategic Nimzo-Indian
    3) The Stress of Chess
    4) GM Preparation: Calculation
    5) How I Beat Fischer’s Record
    6) Positional Chess Sacrifices (thogh I’ll admit I have only lightly browsed this one)
    7) Modern Defense: Move by Move (Lakdawala is the perfect author for this format – Some authors are great at writing advanced books and others better at more basic books, aside from the Four Knights, which I haven’t looked at, his just seem 10 times better than the others from the series, like McDonald or Palliser)
    8) Caro-Kann Move By Move

  14. Yeah, Patrick. We shouldn’t spend money on wars. We should just hide under the US military umbrella, without paying for it… Oh. Wait. Never mind. *grin*

  15. @ Patrick

    I disagree on your view about “Modern Defence: Move by Move”. There are too many important things left out to make it a good book. One example is the line recommended by Andrew Greet in “Beating unusual Chess Defences 1 e4” by the same publisher despite it being mentioned in the bibliography of Lakdawala´s book.

    By the way, @ Jacob or John:

    Do you have any plans for an updated edition of “Tiger´s Modern”?

  16. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Some just do not want to stop assuming or to try to listen. Despite there are those in the USA who believe in some aspects of Western Europe, there is not an absolute majority. If you believe that a large majority of some number of for example 250 million Americans would want universal healthcare, free university, tax rate of a minimum of 75% on millionaires, metric system, etc. then you are deluding yourself. It does not matter that there are vetoes against what can possibly be done, such reforms to model of Western Europe will still not occur, since not enough still do not believe in such ideas. I am not going to waste my time repeating what I have already said numerous times.

    I have lived in the USA longer than you think, and the relatives I have there. Some do not have health insurance, and I seriously sympathise their situations. One question, do medical bankruptcies occur very often in Canada or Denmark or Netherlands?

    I do not drive, I take the bus to the hospital if I have to go there, it costs less than £1.50. £1.50 and a free doctor visit for me makes more sense than $100 for a doctor visit without health insurance and a save of $20 on the car. I am unsure why you think people have to drive when there are already comprehensive public transport options available. In the UK, Thatcher’s privatisations of the trains in the 1980s caused the train prices to increase (Manchester to Sheffield, 50 minutes, is already about £15), and this type of policy is an example of the removal of social welfare to the detriment of the people.

    And comparing paying for the car transport not being worth free hospital care is ridiculously ignorant. I hope it is a joke, since if you think having no health insurance paying $20000 a day for hospital operation/treatment of a serious disorder, plus inpatient stay is not worth it because one has to have a relative drive them and fuel costs are $20 more for one fill than in Switzerland, then honestly your logic needs some reflection.

  17. @Tom Tidom
    Everyman seem to just put every book on the subject in the bibliographies, used or not. Is that unfair to say? They also put dates on the forewords that are not real, but close to printing.

  18. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @The Lurker
    Yes, exactly, I have freedom to not drive and use public transit instead of emptying my wallet by spending on car travel. And I hope you realise that there are many Americans who cannot afford health insurance and have financial ruin and that poor people do not enjoy being poor. I was just wondering if you think Victorian-style Britain with basically no social welfare is considered a better society than for example, safety-net Denmark or Norway.

  19. I thought Move First, Think Later was an excellent book. It sailed through the rigorous test that few chess books pass, which is “did I read the whole thing?”. I don’t know if I agree with all of Hendriks’ ideas, but they’re thought-provoking and, like Rowson’s, are a useful and much needed counterbalance to all the chess improvement books out there that blithely promise you results. (Coincidentally, I basically have stopped reading chess improvement books over the last year; other than the Yusupov books which I am diligently working through, I just read for entertainment or opening reference.)

    It suffers from an unfortunate misleading title that was probably chosen to sell books. A more appropriate title would be “Calculate First, Narrate Later”. But that’s not as catchy. Basically he resists efforts to constantly translate the language of chess positions to the language of words (and back), because information is always lost in the process, and feels that as much work as possible should be done directly in the domain of the chessboard.

    I should also note that, as good as it is, I cast my vote for How I Beat Fischer’s Record.

  20. @dfan
    I share your views and I do not hold the author responsible for the title, as even these days I do not get to pick my own titles and write my own back covers with absolute authority. The fact that I have chosen unimaginative titles for my books, means that they have passed through the editorial meetings relatively intact.

    I have not read all of Hendrix and with school closures being a political issue locally (sorry, school “mergers”) I am unlikely to do so the next few weeks :-).

  21. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @The Lurker
    I never said such a thing; you did, and sarcasm is not helping your case. If you want to go by statistics, Norway and Denmark are rated higher than the UK for quality of life, for aforementioned reasons.

    Your being the second person to tell me to “shut up” is not going to change facts. You are the one who started with the comment days ago saying that the USA will magically end up like Greece, refusing to consider the internal problems within the Greek government rather than blaming it on welfare and spending solely. Sarcasm and telling someone to shut [expletive] up is not very useful. And ironically, not only did you start with the comment about Greece, but I thought you believed in freedom of speech, one of the Amendments?

    You refuse to accept that excess spending and helping people who are not rich are not the cause of Greece’s severe financial crisis. And replying with an expletive that somehow is intended to sound less expletive with asterisks to the fact that millions of Americans cannot afford health insurance does not help your case either, even if you might believe that all Americans can afford health insurance and that such a system is the best in the world. But I thought you wanted facts…

  22. @ Gilchrist is a legend, The Lurker, Patrick
    Agree to disagree and move on.
    Just talk about chess. This is a chess forum not a place to rant and rave as you argue with each other about boring politics. Argue back and forth about politics elsewhere.
    I thought you guys would have stopped by now and I have ignored these posts previously, but you guys bring it from one topic on this chess forum to another topic on this chess forum and just won’t stop. Just on and on and on………..
    You guys are better than this I have read your previous posts which are chess related.
    Please consider the rest of us …………. enough already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I generally do not like to avoid theory, but Mr Hillarp Persson’s 2005 book on the Modern Defence is probably one of the few extremely rare cases that I consider avoiding theory. Either 1…g6 or with some Pirc move order I find interesting, especially in rapid tournaments where an opponent may spend more time than they expected trying to figure out the first 15 moves. Is this second edition of the Tiger Modern an update or different lines? The Austrian move-order against the Modern is what worries me most, maybe this is considered in the next book?

  24. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Basically, you *are* saying “UK rocks. US sucks.” You can deny it all you want, but that won’t change things. Just because you think Denmark rocks even more than the UK does is irrelevant. BTW, I don’t judge morality based on statistics, counting noses, or polls on perceived quality of life.

    I will stop telling you to shut up, if you will actually debate, instead of just asserting how great life is in Denmark and Norway, spouting statistics, and saying how much it sucks to be poor. In case you haven’t got it by now, I don’t think that people have a *right* to have anything handed to them, including health care.

    The US debt is more than our GDP. Obama is growing the debt more in one year than Reagan did in four, on average, even though that was considered “voodoo economics” at the time. And Obamacare hasn’t really even kicked in yet. The elderly take three times more out of Medicare than they put into it, on average. The annual deficit is more than what the entire annual federal budget was when I was a child (adjusted for inflation). If the government would use honest accounting measures, they would admit that they have on the order of $100 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities in the foreseeable future. The “baby boomers” are just starting to hit the Social Security trough in a big way, at the same time that our demographics are shrinking, except for Hispanics, many of whom are here illegally and don’t pay into the system. And even among Hispanics, the birth rate is dropping. Our latest “fiscal cliff deal” cut enough spending to fund the federal government for about 11 hours. And that was probably a cut in projected future growth, not a real cut. How is this sustainable?

    I will make you a bargain. I will answer your question about Victorian England vs. Denmark, even though I think it’s stupid, if you will answer a question of mine. And I mean answer it, without rattling off statistics about Scandinavia or telling us how much it sucks to be poor in the US. My question is; How does a person’s need magically give them a moral right to another person’s property? Answer that, and I’ll honestly answer your question. Deal?

  25. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @The Lurker
    I quite understood that you think that it is fine if the USA have low life expectancy rates due to mentalities that state that no one deserves anything. The Affordable Care Act you quite obviously do not agree with it, but I really do not care what some rich person thinks if it means that my relatives in the States can actually not go bankrupt without health insurance before age 26. Everything is an “entitlement” for the poor, but tax cuts that add to the deficit is definitely not an “entitlement”, that is absolutely great for you then. I think someone else also responded, if a poor person cannot afford a car, why do they pay for the roads on which a millionaire needs to drive his Rolls Royce? That millionaire does not deserve a road, funded by the taxpayer, for his 20 cars.

    You still never say if it is fine if the expectancy rate is lower in the USA than other developed nations, and if it is fine if millions of Americans do not have insurance and thus healthcare. Calling my question stupid is not exactly helping any more than telling me to shut up with an expletive added. I am not obligated to obey your orders and answer a question in order for yours to be answered. You said no one has a right to deserve anything, so why do you have the right to have me answer one of your questions that disregard social welfare? Of course, it is not socialism since you are demanding it..

  26. @Ed

    With all due respect… Even I want Gilchrist to “shut the f*** up”, and I will if he will. Or John or Jacob can tell me to shut my beanhole, and I will. Otherwise, I’m going to keep challenging Gilchrist’s ignorant nonsense. He *doesn’t* know the US better than a native does. He knows European anti-American stereotypes better than I do, perhaps, but that’s it.

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I would prefer new theory on the Averbakh, if any. Tiger himself seemed to think it was the most troubling line. The Austrian doesn’t seem quite so troubling without a knight on f6.

  27. @Jacob Aagaard
    Thank you, good to hear that. Tiger´s Modern combined with some Pirc lines has served me very well as a second weapon over the years.

    Oh, and I´m hoping for a hardcover edition 😉

  28. @The Lurker

    AMEN! Another person that agrees with me that Gilchrist should just shut his trap and stop knocking Americans. We have a life. We travel more than 10 miles from our house. Oh, that’s right, Gilchrist even complained about how we don’t use the stupid metric system. EXC – U – U – U – U – SE ME! Do a large number of Americans want Universal Health Care? YES! With the size of our country, it doesn’t take a majority to constitute a large number. Do we want the metric system? HELL NO!

    The United States of America! The home of the free! If you don’t like it, you don’t have to live here! Get lost! But get a freaking life and respect those of us that do choose to live here and stop being a stupid imbecile!

    Ed is right that this is a chess site, but I refuse to be attacked and just sit here and take the bullsh*t from idiots like the obvious one on here.

    Oh, and if you are going to complain about how poor you and your family is, how are you managing to buy practically every book published by Quality Chess? Don’t you think that your precious cash should be spent on food, clothes, etc? Huh? Huh?

  29. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Just absolute rubbish, telling others to shut up, one using expletives, and they claim that they are right and always right. Telling people to get lost and calling people stupid and other names and calling the metric system stupid is a perfect example of hypocrisy. And yet some still cannot find that large majority of some 250 or 260 million total out of 310 million Americans who want universal healthcare.

    Do not talk about my family like that, and judging people on financial issues. I did not know great-uncles and aunts had power over purchasing of chess books of their nephews.

    Some simply do not like others’ opinions, yet claim that their country is better than the rest. I thought the First Amendment that they like so much that they would know that it allows different opinions.

    I would think that the name-calling and rubbish would be deleted by some moderator, yet I am the only one who has to accept various insults despite not telling anyone to shut up or using expletives.

  30. @Tom Tidom

    I respect your view, and yes, I do admit there are a couple of lines, like your 7.a4, that may have been left out. However, I rarely think that one book is the end all, be all, of any opening. There are many positives about Lakdawala’s book, and many positives about Tiger’s book.

    There are things they agree on (i.e. 4…Nc6 stinks after 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4) and things they don’t agree on (i.e. 8…c5 vs 8…Nh6 in the main line of the Austrian Attack). Both books have their strengths and weaknesses, and getting different perspectives is often critical in mastering an opening.

    Another area where they differ is when Black should transpose to the Pirc. After 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6, both agree that after 4.Be2, Black should transpose to the Pirc. However, after 4.h3, Tiger sees the Pirc as the only solution while Lakdawala makes a case for 4…Nc6.

    Also, while Lakdawala’s book is missing a few lines like 7.a4 in the Austrian, it also trumps Tiger’s book in other areas. The most glaring is the Modern against moves other than 1.e4. Tiger gives some coverage on the Averbakh with 4…e5, but Lakdawala also covers inferior d4 “systems”, like the London System (Game 50), and the English (Final Chapter).

    I think it’s an excellent book if it’s used properly! Possibly if I didn’t also own Tiger’s Modern, I might view it differently, as the first book on any topic you read, you have nothing to compare to, so your assessment is raw. However, when you can compare, you often find certain positives and certain negatives, and compare the two. It’s because of that that I find both books excellent, but for different reasons.

    As for the 2nd edition of Tiger’s book, it’s definitely a book I’d heavily consider getting. I own practically every Modern book published since 2000 with the lone exception of “Starting Out: The Modern”. I even own Storey’s book on the Sniper, and Henley’s 2 books on the Dzindzi Indian Defense, which are offshoots of the Modern and not the genuine Modern.

  31. @Patrick
    Hi Patrick,

    Just checking some facts: I thought the Republicans have a majority in the House and the Democrats in the Senate? You seem to suggest the other way around in your post… Other than that I agree you seem to have a complicated system :-). I am in favour of ‘one (wo)man one vote’.

  32. @Patrick
    With all due respect, I would say it’s the other way around – gas in the US is too cheap because taxes on it (and on energy in general) are too low. That’s why the US has airco all over the place and Americans take the car where others would simply walk or use a bike. The US are the biggest causer of global warming (the US is responsible for about 25% of global energy usage and not willing to participate in measures for CO2 reduction) and still think they’re God’s own country (‘God bless America’). But let’s just agree to disagree – ‘the twain shall never meet’. Let’s talk chess again – e.g. let’s start a discussion on whether Fischer or Kasparov is the best chess player ever :-).

  33. @Patrick
    Hahaha, the home of the free – I guess one thing you never could accuse the Americans of is a minority complex :-). Home of the free like in Guantanomo Bay, where people have been held prison for over ten years without a trial or even a concrete accusation? Home of the free as in using drones to kill people abroad without any trial or checks and balances? Home of the free as in the rich don’t have to join the army, while the poor can do the dirty work in order to be able to earn a decent education? Home of the free as in anyone has the right to own a bazooka so that they can kill school children? Again, let’s just accept that different people have different world views. Some people are in favour of social Darwinism and view taxes as theft, while others favour a system with solidarity, called socialism by those in favour of social Darwinism. Let’s deal with this and get on with our lives.

  34. Henry :
    Can you guys go back to writing about chess? Please.

    Sounds like a good idea to me. Let’s consider the US/European politics/economics debate to be over. I am sure one or two commenters might feel like having one last say, which will cause the other to have one last say, which… So you may consider my finger to be poised above the delete button.

    As I mentioned elsewhere, if you have an interest in American politics and economics then the official Quality Chess recommendation is the blog of Paul Krugman of the New York Times. So why not visit his blog and start a debate about Tiger’s Modern over there? I am sure it will go well.

  35. Chess it is, then.

    So, these are not strictly related to the current topic, but they’re closer than political economy:

    1) How about that Magnus? Who thinks that ELO is the better way of determining who’s the best chess player? Who thinks the World Championship matches are the better way?

    2) GM12 on the Modern Benoni is coming out. Since I am an aspiring Modernista, I might be able to go from a Modern/ Robatsch move order, and suck 1.e4 players into a Benoni. But against the Austrian in the Modern, that could get me into a “flick-knife” type attack. Any thoughts about good tricks from a Modern move order? Will GM12 cover move order issues?

  36. @ Patrick

    Of course I respect your opinion, too. There are no doubt some interesting things in Lakdawala´s work and Tiger´s isn´t flawless either. It´s noticeable though that Lakdawala very often refers to Tiger´s book without adding much new ideas. Instead he seems to be leaving some important things out (e.g. where is 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 Nd7 6.h4 without an early f3 – very critical!)

    What I find very annoying is that the book is 400 (!) pages long but the actual chess content could be easily compressed into 150 without losing much.

    To be fair the modern is a difficult opening and it´s probably not well suited for a format like this.

    If a second edition of Tiger´s work becomes real, I hope it will be written in a tree format.

  37. @The Lurker

    1) The traditionalists will say that right from the start the World Chess Champion has been decided by a match, so that is the only way. Maybe so, but I don’t like the style of win 1, draw 23 and you’re the champ. Usually I find watching tournaments much more fun.

    I do think Magnus is the best at the moment by a clear margin (but the elite are so far above my level that my opinion is more of a guess) and I would love to see him play a match.

    2) GM 12 by Marian Petrov will take a traditional Modern Benoni move order: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6. So no very early move order tricks will be covered. Having said that, Marian has often played 1…g6 and transposed to a Benoni later (typically 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. c4 c5)

    If you do end up heading for a real Austrian then there is always Tiger style.

    Or, if you want something really off-beat, there is: 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 a6 5. Nf3 e6

    With the idea …Ne7 and quite possibly …f7-f5. A German IM called Haub has played this about a dozen times, so at least one person believes in this line.

  38. @John Shaw
    1) What would you think about the style that Fischer wanted against Karpov; i.e. first to win 10 games wins the match, draws don’t count, no limit on number of games? Would it take too long, or would the “draws don’t count” rule make them more aggressive?

    2) I was thinking of something more Benoni-ish against an Austrian, say, 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. f4 c5. I would think that the knight not being on f6 would make this less scary, somehow, but I don’t know enough to know how exactly.

  39. I don’t see any reason that the “World Champion” and “best player” have to be the same. I am fine with Anand being the champion and Carlsen being the best player. Perhaps this is because I grew up watching sports and am used to the idea that sometimes the underdog wins the championship. Otherwise why have a championship?

  40. @The Lurker
    First to 10 wins would take for ever. Do you recall what happened in 1984? And that was first to 6! 48 games, Karpov lead 5 to 3, and they quit the match and went to a 24-game match in 1985. If the Karpov/Kasparov match of 1984 went to 10 instead of 6, and they didn’t quit the match, the match would still be going on today! 😀

    @Tom Tidom
    He does mention that the immediate 6.h4 is possible in game 3. The fact that he doesn’t go much beyond that to me implies that he probably figures there’s nothing better than a direct transposition. He does mention on move 7 that Black’s 7…Ngf6 is by no means forced, and also mentions 7…h5 and 7…h6. Now if you shift the h4 move to move 6, 6…h5 does seem a little fishy with f3 not pushed as the Knight can go there instead, and another piece eyes the weakened g5 square. However, after 6…h6, there doesn’t seem to be much White can do but transpose anyway.

    I would be inclined to play 6…h6, planning to answer 7.f3 with 7…b5 transposing, 7.a4 with 7…b6, going into a Hippopotamus (which …h6 is a normal move in those lines). Even in the Classical lines with Nf3 instead of f3, I’m not sure how White can possibly move-order trick Black into playing …b5 too early vs commit to a hippo too early.

    Now I will grant you, the title can be mis-leading. I’ve seen other readers ask questions like why those books sometimes seemed complicated. To me, the Move by Move series is not a beginners series. Some openings you might be able to get away with playing using that series, like the Ruy Lopez as White, but I think the Starting Out books are more beginner than the Move by Move books.

    An experienced Modernist can get a lot of good info out of this book. A sheer beginner of the Modern Defense could get lost reading the book just trying to understand the move orders. You can’t generalize in the Modern. The Hippo is a prime example. The Hippo is played when White plays an early a4, EX – CEPT in cases like this. The Hippo sees Black develop his Knights to e7 and d7, EX – CEPT in cases like that, etc etc etc.

    This is part of the reason why I never recommend the Modern to anybody as their first opening when they do start to truly study openings in depth. First openings I learned were the Queen’s Gambit and French (similar pawn structure). Beginners should stick with Classical Defenses, not Hypermodern. However, to an experienced chess player, the Modern is, in my humble opinion, a great weapon to try and win with!

  41. The question wasn’t addressed to me, but if Fischer’s demand were more like “First to win 3” I think that might be more attractive to World Champions and Contenders who very much fear a 6+ month match.

  42. @Seth
    I forget who, but somebody claimed that Fischer was out of practice, and so wanted to have time to get back to fighting form while playing the match. Hence, 10 games, no draws, no limit.

  43. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @John Shaw
    I like the Modern and Pirc in addition to the usual Najdorf and French, but when I was younger I used to play the Gurgenidze Variation, through the order 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6, although usually against 4. f4. Given that the Austrian Attack is quite critical against the Modern, I was thinking if this move order is possible against those who play the Austrian. 4. f4 then 4…d5 is the usual Gurgenidze, which seems most effective against the Austrian. However without playing the Gurgenidze against moves other than 4. f4, such as 4. Nf3 or 4. Be3, one could play 4…d6, and try to have White guess if Black will play Modern delaying …Nf6 or transpose to a favourable Pirc line depending on what White plays.

  44. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    What I meant was:

    1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. f4 d5 5. e5 h5
    1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. Be3 d6 5. f4 it is not clear that the bishop belongs here with an Austrian pawn structure. Maybe the tempo loss with 5…d5!? or even 5…f5 is possible.
    1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3 .Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 d6 5. Be2 Nd7 6. 0-0 and either 6…Nf6 transposition to the Pirc or 6…e5

    I am unsure if these lines are covered in the new Modern book, but they seem interesting.

  45. @John Shaw
    Hi I’m new here.May I ask if you will be writing a 2nd edition of Play the Semi-Slav by Vigorito?Don’t know where to put my inquiry.

  46. @Tom Tidom
    To add to your comment: I didn’t see Lakdawala’s book on the modern, but I do own his book on the Slav and I recognize your points. moreover, I have to say I’m not that impressed by his choice of vairations in his book on the Slav. He regularly recommends variations (e.g. against the main line 6.e3) which he himself acknowledges might be dubious. He has a ‘chatty’ writing style with some signs of humour interspersed though, which might appeal to some readers. Content-wise I’m more in favour of an approach that goes for objectively good moves (as in the GM reportoire books and Sakaev’s book on the Slav). Therefore I’m really looking forward to the GM reportoire book on the Slav!

  47. @The Lurker
    I think this is more comparable to 1.d4 c5 2.d5, without white playing c4. I think theoretically these types of ‘old’ Benoni are pleasant for white (see e.g. the books by Avrukh and Schandorff). So against 1.e4 I would either stick with Tiger’s modern setup or (even better :-)) skip 1…g6 altogether and go for a different opening.

  48. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Since Greet recommends the Austrian Attack against the Pirc it has been natural for him to employ 4.f4 against the Gurgenidze, too. It´s certainly one of the acid tests of this opening. Black is allowed to play the standard Bc8-g4xf3, h5-h4 and Nh6-f5 but still lands in an inferior position, unless someone has an improvement ready over Greets analysis.

  49. @Ray
    I don´t mind a humorous tone as long as all the important information is included. Of course a book can rarely cover everything, but if you are allowed 400 pages than something more essential could be expected. As it is my impression is that “The Modern Defence – Move by Move” lacks substantially in almost every chapter.

  50. @Tom Tidom
    Indeed, I agree – and the same goes for his book on the Slav. Judging from the large number of books he is writing, the way I see it Lakdawala could go into either of two directions: he could end up being the new Erik Schiller or he could end up being the new Jacob Aagaard. I’m afraid it will be the former :-).

  51. tiradingding :
    @John Shaw
    Hi I’m new here.May I ask if you will be writing a 2nd edition of Play the Semi-Slav by Vigorito?Don’t know where to put my inquiry.

    No, we will not do a second edition of that book – Dave Vigorito is busy with other things anyway. If we ever do anything else on the Semi-Slav (no plans at the moment) it will be a wholly new project.

  52. @Ray
    I had time to look at stats, and it seems that the c5 Modern doesn’t do so well against the 2nd move order I proposed (and it’s not really a Benoni, thanks to Nc3, duh!). So much for that. Against the 1st move order, which could lead to a move-ordered Benoni, c5 does pretty good, but it’s relatively rare. Don’t know if it would be worth the time to study the Benoni for that rare chance.

    I don’t plan on being a pure Modernista forever. The main appeal to me is that it gives me a one stop shop against pretty much everything else other than 1.e4 (except the Larsen or Polish, which are rare). I was determined to learn the Sicilian against 1.e4, but always get an oddball sideline. I guess in my small pond, they fear my book! Hard to imagine. Anyway, I have gone back to 1…e5. At least sometimes I get a Ruy that way.

  53. @John Shaw
    Thanks for the reply.Anyway I hope you consider in doing a grandmaster repertoire the sicilian taimanov in the future and the mainline line-slav.Keep up the good work guys!

  54. @Tom Tidom
    I think you guys are expecting too much from these books and their authors. Like you say, it’s 400 pages already. Considering the question-answer format, if it had a thorough coverage of every line Black could run up against, it sounds like it would be 800 or more. You guys sound a little like the people on Amazon reviews who buy a book called “Play the X Defense”, and then complain that it doesn’t comprehensively list every possible variation Black can try. Well, that would be because “Play the…” is Everyman code for repertoire book, with the “…Defense” part implying that it’s a repertoire book for Black, not a compendium of every possible option Black can choose from. At least the guys on Amazon have the excuse of not being familiar with the “code” of chess literature titles…

    It’s the same with “The X: Move by Move”. That implies that the book is going to be on the chatty side. You guys should know that. It stands to reason that “The English: Move by Move” is not going to cover everything, if Marin’s three volumes didn’t. If you don’t like chatty books that gloss over some of the details, don’t buy it. It may be that the Modern (or English, or Slav…) is not the right opening for this format. But that’s probably more the publisher’s fault than the author’s.

  55. @The Lurker

    I think The Lurker hit the nail in the head. There are 2 categories that I put the Move by Move books in:

    1) Beginner manual for first timers of the opening in question. You don’t start off by jumping off the deep end, and so it’s not like every move of every line is necessary.

    2) Seasoned Modern Defense players that are looking for updates and/or another person’s perspective.

    The latter would be me. In neither case does one, or should one, expect 100% of all lines possible covered.

    What it amounts to is this. This book is intended, based on reviews by John Donaldson (at for those 1800 to 2300. If you are 1800, this book alone should be sufficient. You won’t be facing gurus that slay the Modern left and right. For those on the 2300 side, this probably isn’t your only book on the Modern, and their repertoire is probably based on a combination of many Modern books.

  56. @Patrick
    Hi Patrick,

    I basically agree with you and The Lurker that it’s ok if books aimed at a certain category of players don’t give an encyclopedic coverage. The only point I’d like to make is that in my opinion the limited number of lines that are given should be correct. So e.g. the line of Lakdawala against the main line Slav with 6.e3 should be sound. That he then doesn’t give all the details of an otherwise sound line is totally ok by me. Compare it e.g. to Nunn’s Chess Openings and the ECO. Both are encyclopedic, but NCO limits itself to the (sound) main lines and gives fewer side lines than ECO. But I guess one could disagree on this and happily live ever after :-).

  57. @Ray
    I’ll concede that point, if Lakdawala doesn’t give another option against the 6.e3 Slav variation. For a beginner, an author shouldn’t give an experimental line as the only line. If it were a “Chess Developments” book, that would be different.

  58. It’s been a while since I cracked open that Slav book, but I thought he did give multiple possibilities in the Dutch variation (6.e3). I seem to recall him covering main line ideas, including both the 8…Nbd7 and 8…O-O move orders (there’s 2 options), and I seem to recall games 9 thru 11 being some quirky …Bg4 line instead of the main line.

    I know for a fact he gave 2 options in the Central Variation (6.Ne5). One of which there is question about his 16…e5, but if that fails, and alternatives like 16…Rfd8 don’t work, you have the line that Tony Miles played with the early …Na6 with the Knight instead of the Bishop going to b4.

    As for the other lines, I don’t seem to recall multiple options, but the exchange I know he specifically tries to get out of draw territory.

  59. @Patrick
    Maybe you’re right – I can’t check it since I was so discontent with his book that I threw it away… Anyway, whether he gives one or two variations, I stick to my point that they should be basically correct. I seem to recall that he ends one of his variations in the main 6.e3 line with a clear minus for black. Maybe it’s just a matter of taste – I just don’t like books that recommend speculative lines in which there is an element of gambling that your oponent doesn’t know the best reply. And I don’t know if it’s rating-related, since I’ve had this opinion when I still had a low rating and at a rating of 2200 I still have this opinion (maybe that’s why I increased my rating :-)). Anyway, it’s not that important – there’s plenty of other books on the market that suit my needs (most of them by Quality Chess since they almost always provide sound variations)…

  60. @Ray
    I don’t know that I’d call it gambling as much as facing reality. Even the really good Quality Chess books fall victim to this.

    Case in point. I love Marin’s books to death. He’s an excellent writer. However, to truly believe that every line he wrote about in his 3-book series on the English with the lone exception of the King’s Indian Defense as it allows the Symmetrical Botvinnik which he deems as no advantage. Well, in the first book on 1…e5, I seem to recall it being a sideline that ended with c5 by White (I think move 18 or 19 or 20 or somewhere around there) where he talks that computers don’t buy into it, but White is clearly better. I spent hours on that position, and never found anything better than equal, and it’s White that has all the room for error to lose.

    You really want to know one of the absolute best opening books of the last 5 years (definitely in the top 10 of books published in the last 5 years)? The Ruy Lopez Revisited. The author admits that he prefers to play Black in the Ruy (he’s a d4 player as White), but is completely objective. He acknowledges that 7…Qd5 in the Schliemann is busted. He admits that White has the opportunity at an advantage in all lines of the Classical Variation. He admits that the Cozio is not sound for Black. He rates the 7…Qg5 Schliemann, Steintiz (3…g6), and Bird (3…Nd4) all as fully playable, but still White gets his slight pull. How can a book be any better than one that is completely honest and objective? You know what? I’m sure if you look hard enough, there are errors there too!

    The perfect book will never be written until the game is officially determined to be a forced win for White, a forced draw, or that White is officially in Zugzwang on move 1 and Black wins by force. However, objective books will beat repertoires at least 9 times out of every 10! Those that are repertoires that are really good are going to be the ones where the side the repertoire is for doesn’t win every game (i.e. Sergey Kasparov’s book on the Benko Gambit from 2012). Honest assessments are a must!

    So the best advice. Don’t throw your books away in the future. While one section might be a little weak, another might be twice as strong as competing books.

    And there inlies the problem I see with today’s chess society. Too many players align their repertoire with a book, forcing themselves to alter their way of thinking, rather than aligning their books with their repertoire, maintaining the variations that work for them! I’ve tried the approach of trying to follow a single book. You get good results in one area. Bad in another. You try another repertoire, and again, good in one spot, bad in another, but they are different this time. I then learned that instead of judging a book by one or two lines I don’t like, I use various books to my advantage. In your case, if you hated the lines Lakdawala gave in the Dutch variation, maybe his Exchange and Slow Slav analysis is good, and another author solves your problem in the Dutch Variation.

    A prime example is my White game. I play 1.d4. Avrukh’s Books? Yeah, they’re good, but the Catalan strategy is not how my brain thinks. I’ve tried it multiple times, and it just doesn’t work. Benko Gambit? I destroy the Benko Gambit with his recommended lines, and it’s pretty much the Benko and Benoni lines where I follow Avrukh’s ideas. I do have an alternate solution for King’s Indian players that play 6…c5 instead of 6…e5. Grunfeld? I basically play what is recommended in Playing 1.d4. Slav/Semi-Slav, see Play the Queen’s Gambit by Chris Ward (Nc3 and e3, steering toward Semi-Slav and Slav/Grunfeld territory where neither 4…Bf5 nor 4…dxc4 are particularly good for Black). QGD or KID, basically no repertoire book covers what I play, and I use reference manuals and databases. Once I realized this and took this approach, my results have definitely improved.

  61. I like his four knights book, and thought the coverage was pretty thorough. the caveat is I don’t have it before me, and I knew basically nothing about the 4 knights before, only the Marin book and some online stuff.

  62. @Patrick
    Hi Patrick,

    I agree with basically all your points – I take exactly the same approach and think it’s silly to dismiss a reportoire book just because you don’t like all the recommended lines. And Sokolov’s book is indeed great – I’m all in favour of objective evaluations. Only thing is, I still don’t like Lakdawala’s book… In the Move by Move series, I just have the opinion that the quality of the analysis in e.g. Emms’ book on the Nimzo is higher. Maybe in the end it’s just a matter of taste?

  63. To avoid getting myself into trouble, I will in no way talk about other publisher’s books. I will just say that we have a very firm policy in our company to be honest and objective always. We believe that if we deceive the readers, our business model will be deeply flawed and eventually disfunctional.

    Obviously our books have mistakes, but then all books have mistakes and omissions. Perfect has not happened yet :-(.

  64. Well it is Nimzovich after all Jacob, and it is a book that is obviously a labor of love (not to say yours aren’t). Having said that, I am a major Nimzo fan and a history teacher; so my objectivity is not great. I do own more of your books tho’ and I’m sure the number of your books in my library will grow. Now do I get a free copy of Nessie?

  65. Weird, I hadn’t heard any buzz about the Nimzowitsch book and was surprised to even see it in the final nominee list. Browsing around the web for reviews does indicate that it is quite highly regarded, though.

  66. Jacob Aagaard :
    I have actually wanted to commont on that chapter. Should I wait till after the vote? I do not want to be seen as campaigning for an award I have already won once and thus don’t desire as much as the other nominees probably do (but yes, winning would be nice).

    @ Jacob Aagaard
    Please could you comment now that the voting is over.

  67. @dfan
    Probably I am partly responsible for its victory. I informed the Danish Federation that there were Danish nominees, well aware that it would not be to my advantage. But then the best book won (which is sort of shit of course, but there you go; the price for having a soul I guess).

  68. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Do you know if there are any books within the last 10 years having a thorough analysis of the Gurgenidze variation? In the Perfect Pirc/Modern, Moskalenko touches briefly upon it but there isn’t at all enough analysis there. He suggests: 1. e4 g6 2. d4 lg7 3. sc3 c6 4. f4 d5 5. e5 sh6. I’ll receive the Tiger book within a couple of days but as far as I know it doesn’t deal with the Gurgenidze. If white plays 4. le3, I suppose that one of black’s best options it to play d6; do you know if it is bad for black to reply 4 -d5 to le3?

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