The immediate future

Before anyone says anything: This is not all the books we ever want to publish or even this year. This is just the ones I feel most confident about telling you about (as regular readers of this blog will know, we do change our minds, make other plans or simple get bogged down for a while in a difficult project).

Anyway, this is what I am hoping the immediate future will look like. Again with the caveat that not all manuscripts have been handed in, in their final form and some things still have to be written.

Peter Romanovsky Soviet Middlegame Technique 28 February
Marian Petrov GM Repertoire 12 – Modern Benoni 28 February
John Shaw The King’s Gambit 21 March
Jacob Aagaard Grandmaster Preparation – Strategic Play 21 March
Ntirlis/Aagaard Playing the French April
Danny Gormally Mating the Castled King April
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Sicilian & French April/May
Vassilios Kotronias Grandmaster Repertoire X1 – Kotronias on the King’s Indian – g3 Systems April/May
Ftacnik (Aagaard) GM6a – Beating the Anti-Sicilians May
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – A Grandmaster Guide – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines June
Emanuel Berg Grandmaster Repertoire x1 – The French Defence Winawer June
Jacob Aagaard Grandmaster Preparation – Endgame Play June

196 thoughts on “The immediate future”

  1. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Nice to see GM12 finalised for 28/02, and then three more Grandmaster Repertoire books and three Grandmaster Guide books. The fact that an entire volume of King’s Indian is dedicated to the Fianchetto systems seems like a very extensive project. Four volumes?



    On December 26th, 2012 you wrote on the question about Vassilios Kotronias’ Grandmaster Repertoire King’s Indian:

    “We expect to have one volume of KID from Kotronias out in the late spring. He has changed his mind on structure and so on a few times, which is of course natural in a creative process. But clearly we spoke about the project too soon.”

    Well how come that you shall have now 4 volumes, since the 1st is g3 system, 2nd Classical, 3rd Samish and 4th everything else?

    I always thought that Grunfeld has more theory, but now I’m not so sure any more. Besides, Avrukh used only 600 pages for full repertoire, and even Grunfeld is better opening than KID…

  3. Gilchrist is a Legend

    It seems all of the books on the list regarding openings are of a dynamic style: Benoni, French with sharper lines, King’s Gambit, King’s Indian, 1. e4, Najdorf. GM13 is not on the list since 31 January is in less than one week I suppose, but I am not sure how to categorise it. It is not aggressive in the fashion of the Najdorf, but not a quiet opening like the Petroff.

  4. @John Shaw
    There is a definite date on the publishing schedule so you must be excited with light at the end of the tunnel as I am sure a lot of readers are as well.
    I have 3 questions:
    1) Will the book look at the King’s Gambit from as a repertoire book for white, black or both?
    2) Will the sideline variation: 1. e4 e5 2. f4 Nf6 3. Nc3 be covered and if so how many pages?
    3) Chessbase did an article that a chess programmer called IM Vasik Rajlich had ‘Busted’ the King’s Gambit with computer analysis. That after 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 the only move that leads to a draw for white is 3. Be2 and that all other moves lose by force! Do you agree with this and why (without giving too much of your book away)?

  5. @Jacob Aagaard
    Six volumes? Wow, I am excited and terrified at the same time ;-).

    But this is still intended to be a Black repertoire, isn´t it? I know Kotronias can be very thorough…

    Btw, could you ´persuade´ Tiger Hillarp Persson to write an updated version of Tiger´s Modern? But I understand if you don´t want to answer this because it´s too soon 🙂

  6. This is fantastic news. I have played the K.Indian all my life and was very impressed with Kotronias’ “Grandmaster Battle Manual”.


    For me personally the biggest enigma is how will books on French Defence, either GM Guide Playing the French by Ntirlis/Aagaard and Grandmaster Repertoire The French Defence Winawer by Emanuel Berg, surpass many recent titles rated with 5 or 6 stars by Carsten Hansen in his checkpoint column. Here I will mention: The Modern French, The French Defence Reloaded and Play the French 4th edition.

    I do hope that books by Quality Chess will achieve the top-notch level to which we are accustomed so far. I have thrown away almost all openings books by other publishers!

    Perhaps now I’m entitled to propose you something, dear creative master Jacob! You could form a new category of customers: a VIP customer of Quality Chess 🙂

    A VIP customer must pay a yearly membership, let’s us say for the start around 30-50 euros, and he get’s a special membership card, he can address questions to authors regarding training and other practical tips, or he get’s special treatment regarding publishing schedule etc. Such idea seems good, and lucrative for you! Consider it :=)

  8. I see John’s KG book is now scheduled a mere 10 days ahead of Everyman’s release of a KG book – I hope sales of both books don’t suffer as a result.

  9. @Benoni
    The Everyman website says july 2013 as publication date… Anyway, I think the typical KG fan will buy anything on their favourite opening, even if the author is Schiller.

  10. Hi

    Jacob: somewhere on the blog you wrote that Mating the Castled King will be about patterns. But will it be instructional or a workbook or a little of both?


  11. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Very excited for GM13, literally one more week until the postage of websales, I already cleared my calendar of home chores and errands to start reading it. I think Open Spanish is also good for rapid tournaments since the positions are solid enough (and dynamic enough) but 1. e4 players I truly feel that not too many are as thoroughly prepared as other Spanish defences. Maybe after reading it I will try it in a weekender soon. I wonder if QC accept customers’ games played in the opening of a book, at least just for interest?

  12. @Ray
    I wouldn’t go that far. All the flak I give regarding the release of the KG book notwithstanding, the reason I am so looking forward to eventually getting it is because I expect it to be very good. And at ~600 pages, it must have some depth to it, too. Worst case, I will be able to bludgeon my opponent into submission with the physical book itself. *grin*

  13. @Tom Tidom
    Kotronias has a unique approach to things and they are always fascinating for the rest of us to follow. I know the g3-system is not the main line, but for me it was always a main reason not to play the KID, so I am very interested in this book. To me he starts from the top! I hope there will be great interest and then we will get all six volumes.

    Tiger has been writing on an updated version for years. He might be doing so for years to come as well :-). But I hope not! I would like to see a new edition out.

  14. @John Pugh
    Yes, that was a fascinating look into a mind bigger than ours! I liked the part where Luke McShane wrote in his NIC column that there were parts of the book he did not understand :-). The KID will be understandable to all and very concrete. From what I have seen, I am very very happy.

  15. @Ray
    There has been a lot of books on the French, but we are confident that we can be better than all of them. First of all, Nikos is a long standing expert in the French. Secondly, we will apply the usual thoroughness you would expect from Quality Chess. The other books did not solve all problems for Black ;-). You will see a lot of them die when they are faced with John’s 1.e4 repertoire. According to Nikos, Vitiugov’s book was the best of the lot.

    Regarding the 5/6 and 6/6 from Carsten. It is clear that when you give Avrukh 5/6 that you are not primarily interested in whether or not the chess is correct and complete. You are looking for a specific style and flavour. I can understand this, because the time available to review books are limited. But in general, reviews will not be about if the lines are well analysed or not; which to some extent ruins the purpose of reviewing opening books. Still, I read them eagerly as well :-).

  16. Nice to see e4 players will at last get their share of the QC feast! Is it possible to have now some informations about the systems recommended against the sicilian in the GG? English attack oriented? Calmer Be2, Bg2 systems? May be a combination à la experts against sicilian?


    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Tom Tidom
    Kotronias has a unique approach … we will get all six volumes.

    This is in Khalifman’s style, a tons of theory. Besides, you’re lately oriented on earning money, since the era of Avrukh’s 1.d4 books for White. Now you make books with cca 350 pages, so you get more money 🙂

    But if Avrukh managed to fit all Grunfeld in 2 vol’s, what has Kotronias in mind with 6 vol’s. Really astonishing for the opening which Kortchnoi dubbed dubious 🙂

  18. A QC author just won the C Group of Tata Steel! Sabino Brunello had an amazinf performance in the event scoring 11/13! I have no really idea, but i suspect that this score is among the top scores ever for B and C groups. Of course Carlsen today equalised Kasparov’s record of scoring 10/13 at the A Group.

    As for the French and Playing 1.e4 books i can only say that you’ll find fascinating stuff in them. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 will not be in great shape after the book is out. In the Scotch there are plenty if nice stuff which really challenge Black to find equality. The Sicilian lines are positional in nature but no Be2 lines for White.

  19. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Nikos Ntirlis
    I keep getting confused, but is it correct that 4…Be7 is not in the book for the line 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 for Playing the French, only 4…Bb4? If I understood (semi-)correctly, 4…Be7 was originally planned but then cancelled.

    And in the 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 line, is it the main line with the 12…Bd6 and 15. Nxg7 chaos?

  20. There will be both 4…Be7 and 4…Bb4 in PTF (unless something really big happens, like Jacob refutes the whole line with a brilliant idea). And in the 3.Nd2 c5 line, no “chaos”.

  21. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Well the Nxg7 line where the king marches to g6 after Bh6+ and then there is the idea of Black playing b6/Bb7+ and then some perpetual checks after White tries to attack, unless I am thinking of a different line. Unless it is 12…Bd7 after 10…a6 instead of 12…Bd6, and Black tries to castle queenside.

  22. Be patient! 🙂 Black deviates before. Also White can deviate before entering this piece sac line and achieve an advantage. P14 will cover this line for White’s perspective.

  23. “Playing 1.e4” (P1e4) i meant (and not “P14” which is some tax form in the UK as Google helped me to find out just now!)

  24. I think that readers will be more than happy with the Petroff coverage as well. Petrov cannot be busted for sure, but for a long time publications have favored the Black side (books, DVDs and so on). It is time for White to hit back and cause some concerns!

  25. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I used to have several problems against 10…a6 when I played 1. e4 as White, the entire 3…c5 line seems the solidest (in addition to the 4…exd5 line, but I think this was discussed earlier with regards to Playing 1. e4), but queenside castling seems interesting as well. However I have not updated myself on these lines for a very long time. It will be interesting to see the juxtaposition of Playing 1. e4 and the French book since if I remember correctly Playing 1. e4 recommends 3. Nd2 as well. Since a perpetual check or equal endgame is a theoretical success for any defence, I wonder how the former will try to gain advantage.

  26. Brunellos 11 Out of 13 (plus 9 ) in the c-Group of Wijk aan Zee are incredible Must be Some Secret qualitychess preperation. Jacob, did Brunello Trained with your Books?

  27. @Boki
    I have trained Sabino from the age of 16. He trained with my books before they were published, helped me see what exercises that did not work well and so on.

  28. Nice to know it Works, congrats
    By the Way After Finishing 1,5 of your attacking Manual i made 3,5 of 4 against 3 IM and One 2300 with white in Good attacking style. I just Keeper in mind to include all pieces.
    Great stuff

  29. QC is gonna publish a kingsgambit book with more than 600 pages? Just wondering why it is not at least a two volume. GM Grunfeld has two volumes and together less pages.

  30. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Based on the weather here in the UK I doubt the heated part. However it is also interesting since the French book and the 1. e4 book are both released very close to the same date instead of far apart, which means the same material to the same cutoff date is basically available for both books.

    Where are you based? If you ordered GM13 via QC directly, Royal Mail is used, so the books arrive quite quickly. I almost always receive it literally one day after QC post it from Glasgow (perhaps because they can drive it with the mail lorries since I live in the North).

  31. @Chris
    So they say. Or they haven’t been working on it since the days 4 years ago when Pinski was supposed to be doing it (if ever), and it’s all a huge running joke.

  32. I just noticed that the Amazon page for the KG book (which was recently updated from the Pinski days) says that the book is 0.6 inches thick. 600-800 pages in less than 5/8ths of an inch! What are they gonna publish this thing on, Bible paper?

  33. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I actually flew from Amsterdam to Manchester two weeks ago, less than 1,5 hours flight. So the extra time it takes to reach you will probably be very low if they use airmail.

    I usually start reading the chapter with the most critical line first. According to the excerpt, that would be the last chapter, since the 9. Nbd2 line with 12. Nb3 if I remember from years ago is the absolute main line.

  34. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Interesting, I was in Schipol as well two weeks ago. Did you take KLM? I thought Glasgow offer direct flights to Copenhagen; at least Manchester do, with SAS airways I think. But still that would be interesting to discuss QC books in person, especially GM13, GM12, French book, etc…

  35. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I remember vaguely that I liked the variation with Nxf2 (I forgot the name of the variation, but it’s well-known) in which black gets an attack in exchange for a small material investment. But I suppose that won’t be covered in the book.

    I also usually start with entering the main line in my database.

  36. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I cannot remember that line, but I remember games where Black constructed a wall of pawns in the centre with the structure a6/b5/c5/d5, with White’s only pawn in the centre being e5, where respective queenside and kingside play transpire.

    Quite interesting, that I was flying from Schiphol two weeks, ago Jacob today, and you live in the Netherlands. It would be a perfect opportunity to discuss GM13.

  37. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    That is unfortunate, Amsterdam has had some snow this past week, same with the UK as well. But at least you have a short holiday in Amsterdam then, good for reading (or writing) chess books and some sightseeing.

  38. Nick :
    Dillworthis Nxf2 and is very sharp, don’t reckon that will be recomended

    I reckon you are correct, but we will know for sure in a few days.

  39. Will John create significant problems for the Caro as well? Will it be 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nf3? It will be interesting to see how it compares to the lines given by Lars in his book.

  40. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Most long-haul flights need short connections into the rest of Europe if you transit Schiphol, but even some short (1-2 hr) distances still do not have direct flights. If I were in a smaller city like Newcastle, I would need to take two flights to get to Lisbon, for example, and Schiphol can be a connection.

    I do not know that …Nxf2 line, but I would infer that the book will try to cover the more solid and established lines. I generally do not like to sacrifice material unless there is a very good reason or the compensation is very clear; however when I was younger I used to play 6. Bg5 against the Najdorf, the Advance against Caro-Kann using 4. Nc3/5. g4/6. h4, the Sveshnikov, and other various types of chaos in the opening, I cannot seem to recover that spirit now..

  41. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    It’s not a sacrifice. There is a Black Bishop on c5 also hitting f2. I played the Dilworth about 10 years ago. Black gets a Rook and Pawn for Bishop and Knight.

    Nobody has ever refuted the Dilworth attack. You just have to be comfortable playing specifically Rook and 2 Minors (often Two Bishops or Bishop plus Knight) vs 2 Rooks and an extra pawn, yourself having the 2 Rooks and the extra pawn.

    Oh, and about your post #5. The Petroff ain’t quiet! People just stereotype it as being quiet because of the high draw ratio. A very, very, very popular line by White now-a-days here in the United States leads to nothing that resembles a quiet game, but still has a high draw ratio, that line being specifically 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3! (Instead of 5.d4).

  42. @Patrick
    Hi Patrick,

    I agree on both points! I’m currently studying Sakaev’s book on the Petroff and there are indeed a lot of exciting lines! In some way you can compare it with the Najdorf Poisoned Pawn, in the sense that there are some forced tactical lines which tend to fizzle out into drawn endings or perpetual checks – that is, if white knows his theory well. A big advantage of the Petroff is that you determine the opening with not a lot of bail-out opportunities for white (such as the Scotch, Spanish Exchange etc.). On our level I think it’s definitely also suitable to play for a win with black.

    As for the Dillworth, it’s indeed quite an interesting line in my opinion – it’s quite easy for white to go astray; black has a nice initiative for a very small material investment. However, I didn’t think it would be covered in GM 13 because I’m afraid the line won’t hold up to close ‘Houdini scrutiny’ by the QC team :-(.

  43. Some comments directed at Jacob:

    1. I am glad to see GM6a on the list but any idea when we will see GM6b (Najdorf proper)? By now how has the material evolved in relation to the first edition?

    2. Six volumes on KID repertoire?? That sounds really impractical, even with the new 350 page limit, that is 2100 pages. I have seen people in comments compare this to Khalifman’s sets but I should mention that Chess Stars books are much smaller than QC’s. So I guess in terms of content it should be same as the entire 14 volume Anand series. As a customer, I prefer longer books, specially since you changed the paper since GM2. You could easily publish a 600-700 page volume which is not that thin.

    3. Is there a new edition of Avrukh’s Gruenfeld books in the works? There is a move order issue in the second volume that enables you guys to shave off an entire chapter and make the repertoire and its presentation much more compact …

  44. I’m really looking forward to the 1.e4 book because i play most of the lines recommended and have always been interested in the Scotch as well. If the line recommended against the Sicilian Najdorf is not 6.Be2 nor something sharp like 6.Bg5 and if the repertoire is based on the repertoire of Rublevsky and Adams then the line recommended is probably 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 but i’d love to see 6.f4 being recommended since that’s my favorite line and one that was played by Michael Adams before.

  45. @Hesam
    1) A lot have changed. To go through all the details would take 600-700 pages, so wait for the books!

    2) No 350 page limit. Chess Stars books are differently typeset than hours. I am not sure how the page to page ratio is. Our font is 10.5, theirs is 10 and they have no spaces. But our pages are not just higher, but also wider. Maybe we are 125% the material of them? And 2500% the material of Everyman (exagerating only slightly – though I cannot spell that word…).

    Impractical; certainly. I would recommend to use the books together with Bologan’s book or similar and simply enjoy them.

    3) No such plans. I am sure there are several improvements, but still there is a lot of good stuff in those books as well.

  46. Jacob Aagaard :
    @Battle Manager
    We have been working on 6.Bc4 to spill the beans a little bit.
    @Battle Manager
    As all strong players, I do not know the name of the lines! He recommends the main lines, as played by Adams and Tiviakov.

    Thanks for replying. When i meant the Universal System i was referring to the gambit in the Tarrasch with 3…Nf6 where white offers the d4 pawn with Ngf3 instead of putting the knight on e2(so that he can later support the pawn with N(d)f3) and i think Adams plays this exclusively nowadays but Tiviakov doesn’t.

  47. Gilchrist is a Legend

    The system with Bd3/Ne2/Nf3/c3/0-0 has served me well when I played 1. e4 and 3. Nd2 against the French. Very few inexplicably did not play 3…c5 and instead most played 3…Nf6, with the line 11…Bd6 when I played 12. Bf4. I never lost a game in this line, and I personally do not like to play this way if I play the French. I once had a 110+ move game against an IM in this line which was a draw by perpetual check in an endgame, probably one of the most ridiculous games I have ever played…

    3…c5 is the most uncomfortable for 3. Nd2 players I would think, from experience.

  48. @Battle Manager

    Most resources I’ve seen don’t refer to your line as the “Universal System”, but rather, the “Korchnoi Gambit” against the French.

    That said, I officially quit playing the French as Black about 4 years ago (uh hm, NOT because of the Tarrasch), and absolutely refuse to play the Tarrasch as White. 3.Nc3 is so much stronger, and those that want to cut out the amount of theory, 3.e5 is in my humble opinion (and Sveshnikov’s) far better than the Tarrasch, though not quite as strong as 3.Nc3. You get about as much advantage playing the White side of the French Tarrasch as you get playing the London System, if that.

    @Gilchrist is a Legend

    Uhm, what are you trying to say in post 88? First you say that “Very few inexplicably did not play 3…c5”. If very few did not play 3…c5, then that means most did play 3…c5. However, you then followed up with “and instead most played 3…Nf6.” Ok, so which one did most play?

    And from experience on both sides, all moves are uncomfortable for White (except stupid ones like the Guimard: 3…Nc6) and if I was guaranteed to face the Tarrasch every time, I’d go back to playing the French as Black in a heartbeat. Black gets an excellent game with 3…c5, 3…Nf6, or 3…Be7. The “best” line for Black is 3…c5, answering 4.Ngf3 with 4…Nf6, tricking them into the Korchnoi Gambit, 4.exd5 with 4…exd5! and then 5.Bb5+ with 5…Bd7 and 5.Ngf3 with 5…Nf6! instead of the old 5…Nc6?!

    Problem is, there’s these 2 great moves for White, namely 3.Nc3!! and 3.e5! that put a damper on the French.

  49. @Patrick
    The Guimard against the Tarrasch is not so bad in my opinion… As to which is better, 3.Nd2 or 3. Nc3 against the French: maybe it’s a matter of taste, but from my personal experience of playing French (> 10 years), I have by far the worst results against the Tarrasch (I play 3…Nf6 against it). I have a hypothesis that many 1.e4 players prefer open positions and therefore are uncomfortable in Winawer- or McCutcheon type positions. When I still played 1.e4 (a long long time ago), I hated to play against the French and my results with 3.Nc3 as well as 3.e5 were not so good. Then I thought ‘if you can’t beat the, join them’, and I took up the French myself. I don’t mind facing 3.e5 against the French – I think I lost only once against it. But according to established theory I guess 3.Nc3 is critical – though sooo much to learn with white; Khalifman took 2 books to cover this!.

  50. @Patrick
    Just like me, I quit playing the french but I would play the french again if Nd2 was the only legal move, at least for a solid game.
    I think exactly like you, Patrick, but I’m very interested in what JS will propose to shake our strong opinions!

  51. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I had similar results, I started briefly with 3. Nc3 before switching long-term to 3. Nd2 when I was an 1.e4 player, and had bad results, losing quite heavily to all Winawer lines and not having very promising results against 3…Nf6 either. I played 3. e5 also but briefly having just average, or respectable results, but no more. I think I played 3. Nd2 for so long because my opponents usually played 3…Nf6 and then the line 11…Bd6/12…0-0, after which I usually won positionally. One time long ago someone played 3…c5/4…Qxd5 but did not know what they were doing and lost quickly. However if strong opposition played that or 4…exd5 then I would feel more uncomfortable with 3. Nd2. The line 3…Nf6/11…Bd6/12…0-0 was probably one of my most favourite lines against which to play as 1. e4. Of course, I started being more positional, and that is why I switched to 1. d4…

    Most of my current French lines as Black are not the topical ones currently: 3. Nc3–7…0-0 Winawer (like Kindermann) or 6…Qc7 Winawer, 3. e5–5…Qb6 6. a3 c4 (closed centre variation with …Na5/Ba4, etc, no exchanges), 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5 or 3…Be7. For some reason I enjoy that 7…0-0 Winawer very much, it feels like defending at first, but after heavy defending and then if White cannot make progress, then you create centre breaks with …b4 or whatever. It can frustrate an attacking player easily.

  52. @tony
    3…Nf6 is a positionally sound move, but I don’t see what’s wrong with 3…Bb4 either. If 3.Nc3 is a reason for people to quit playing the French then maybe these type of positions don’t really suit them. For me personally main line Winawer and McCutcheon are both a good reason to want to play the French. Khalifman needs two books to ‘proof’ +/= in variation 1213453F – I’ll settle for that :-). On the other hand, in the Tarrasch I play 3…Nf6 with the main line …Qc7, but somehow these positions with an ugly hole on e5 suit me much less than positions in which I can destroy white’s pawn chain with moves like …f6, …g5, …c5. Maybe Jacob and Nikos will come to the rescue and I’ll switch to 3…c5… And then Berg will come with some novelties in the 3.Nd2 Nf6 variation and I’ll switch back again… In my opinion the French is a perfectly respectable opening, but you need a few years of playing experience because the positions are rather non-standard (same with the Open Spanish by the way) – to give 3.Nc3 two excalamation marks and 3.e5 one exclamation mark maybe overstating it – I’m curious to see Patrick’s refutation of Jacob and Nikos’ analysis :-).

    @Gilchrist: Next to the McCutcheon and Steinitz I also play the Winawer Black Queen Blues (…Qa5 – …Qa4, and …c4), and in my experience even many 2200+ players don’t have a clue how to play with white. It’s especially annoying for them if there’ll all prepared for a Poisoned Pawn.

  53. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I actually messed up, I meant 6…Qa5 Winawer not 6…Qc7, and yes, I play it against usually attacking players as well as 7…0-0 and they do not know the positions as well as 7…Qc7. I actually like playing against 3. Nc3 because of these lines. Strangely the most annoying variations for me are the Wing Gambit and the Exchange Variation.

  54. Patrick :
    @Battle Manager
    Most resources I’ve seen don’t refer to your line as the “Universal System”, but rather, the “Korchnoi Gambit” against the French.
    That said, I officially quit playing the French as Black about 4 years ago (uh hm, NOT because of the Tarrasch), and absolutely refuse to play the Tarrasch as White. 3.Nc3 is so much stronger, and those that want to cut out the amount of theory, 3.e5 is in my humble opinion (and Sveshnikov’s) far better than the Tarrasch, though not quite as strong as 3.Nc3. You get about as much advantage playing the White side of the French Tarrasch as you get playing the London System, if that.
    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Uhm, what are you trying to say in post 88? First you say that “Very few inexplicably did not play 3…c5″. If very few did not play 3…c5, then that means most did play 3…c5. However, you then followed up with “and instead most played 3…Nf6.” Ok, so which one did most play?
    And from experience on both sides, all moves are uncomfortable for White (except stupid ones like the Guimard: 3…Nc6) and if I was guaranteed to face the Tarrasch every time, I’d go back to playing the French as Black in a heartbeat. Black gets an excellent game with 3…c5, 3…Nf6, or 3…Be7. The “best” line for Black is 3…c5, answering 4.Ngf3 with 4…Nf6, tricking them into the Korchnoi Gambit, 4.exd5 with 4…exd5! and then 5.Bb5+ with 5…Bd7 and 5.Ngf3 with 5…Nf6! instead of the old 5…Nc6?!
    Problem is, there’s these 2 great moves for White, namely 3.Nc3!! and 3.e5! that put a damper on the French.

    I think 3.Nd2 is perfectly fine, and works decently for me at least. I don’t like 3.e5 at all but it just a matter of taste. 3.Nc3 is the main line of course and probably the strongest move but while 3…Nf6 can be more or less comfortably met by white, the winawer can’t. And knowing all the theory of the Poisoned Pawn for example, is just crazy to me. Basically i think that if white goes into the Poisoned Pawn variation he is playing a game of theory where he is often under heavy pressure. Also, the Tarrasch usually leads to more open positions than 3.Nc3(if white bases his repertoire on the Korchnoi Gambit, for example). And i think that, while in the Tarrasch some theory has been established, White is still able to play more or less a game of chess where he wont need to remember a lot of sharp lines.

  55. And on top of that i also think that white has decent chances to search for an advantage in the Tarrasch, also with less risk.

  56. Patrick, i don’t really think that 3.Nc3 and 3.e5 “put a damper” on the French.

    The Advance is a serious system no doubt, but Black has too many good options against it these days. Even Sveshnikov in his 2007 2 tome work (written from White’s perspective) had to put the “=” sign in lots of places. Nevertheless, it is a main line that is misplayed repeatedly for both colours in club level and i hope that the “Playing the French” book will offer a valuable help for club players to understand its subtleties.

    The Main Line has always been 3.Nc3 but if you choose to play the French then it is the first line you look, so in my experience many players decide to play the French and only afterwards get annoyed by the hidden power of 3.Nd2!

  57. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Usually the thing you are least well prepared against is the most uncomfortable. I used to dread playing against the french, now it is my favourite thing. Look in the latest newsletter! I’ve won the last three games with Stellan in the French; all of them a pure pleasure!

  58. @Patrick
    3.e5 is really toothless imo. 3.Nc3 is the theory-heavy critical move. We will cover that in GM Repertoire. 3.Nd2 is very practical and leads to positions that attract a certain type of 1.e4 players; the more technically inclined ones.

  59. 3. Is there a new edition of Avrukh’s Gruenfeld books in the works? There is a move order issue in the second volume that enables you guys to shave off an entire chapter and make the repertoire and its presentation much more compact …

    Could you please explain which chapter can be shaved, and why?

  60. I personally play 3.Nc3 against the French, and have not lost to the French in a few years at this point. I know in 2012 I faced the French three times, two of them Poisoned Pawns, both of which I absolutely destroyed Black. I remember one of them I had the King cut off and stuck on d8 and so he could never stop my pawns after a g6 push. The other I seem to recall I rammed the h-pawn. The other was an Alekhine-Chatard Attack which I only drew, but had nothing to do with the opening, I had him destroyed earlier on and made a late blunder to allow Black to draw.

    Lucking enough, the French (and in some cases the Modern) are the only Kingpawn openings I play as White (via 1.d4 e6 2.e4 – Avoiding the English Defense and Deferred Dutch). I may decide to play the White side of the English Defense if I ever find something, but currently it gives me problems, so I avoid it.

    I do have 1 correspondence game (49 moves deep thus far) where I tried the 10.Kd1 line instead of 10.Ne2 in the poisoned pawn, but it’s probably only going to end up a draw.

    The only line of the French I’ll play as Black right now is the MacCutcheon via the Veresov, 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 e6 4.e4 Bb4, but even that I rarely get as I only play 1…d5 now occasionally, and predominatly play the Modern as Black along with some offbeat lines like the Pribyl, Wade, etc.

  61. @Patrick
    I’m not sure if this is meant as ‘ proof’ for the superiority of 3.Nc3 (I hope not), but apart from that I’m just curious why you voluntarily play the McCutcheon while at the same time giving 3.Nc3 two exclamation marks? You like to be punished, is that it? The reason can’t be that you think the Steinitz gives white an advantage so you only play the French when you can avoid this, because with white you play 4.Bg5.

    PS: the English Defence isn’t that good, is it? Seems more practical to prepare something good against the English Defence than to enter the main line French – but what do I know :-). If you play e.g. 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.a3 you have a pleasant game without learning too much theory i.m.o.

  62. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I also like the MacCutcheon, to me I consider it as <>, if that makes any sense. To be honest, I would rather play against any difficult main line than the Wing Gambit or Exchange Variation, but that is simply my preference.

    I have been frequently criticised by former chess friends back in the good old days (around 2004-2007) for playing the more unpopular Winawer lines. 7…0-0 I have heard repeatedly that it is only defending, but it is actually quite fun; it is about absorbing attacks and attacks until finally they expend all of their energy and then you counterattack, especially that line with 8…Nbc6/9…Ng6 and then 12….Qa5 or if not then, 13…Qf7/13…Qe8, followed by a “turtle” strategy on the kingside. When White has no more attack, you subtely start shifting to the queenside and play for that …b4 break. Then 6…Qa5 is great if you feel in a very positional mood. I also tried the 4…Ne7 system, which helped me win against an archrival (the same guy who got totally confused and spent more than 30 minutes after I played 1. e4 c6 2. d4 g6(?!?!)), as well was 4…b6 and 4…Qd7. They look innocuous but if you play against an attacking player who only knows theory for 7…Qc7 main line then you can win quite convincingly if opponent does not know what they are doing.

  63. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    For some reason the blog automatically deleted the brackets, so what I meant in the first paragraph should be, “I also like the MacCutcheon, to me I consider it as playing the Classical and Winawer in only one game, if that makes any sense. To be honest, I would rather play against any difficult main line than the Wing Gambit or Exchange Variation, but that is simply my preference.

  64. @Ray

    I’m well aware that my saying that 3.Nc3 busts the French and walking into the MacCutcheon sounds like conflicting statements, but my humble opinion is as follows:

    The Winawer is a failure for Black. 7…Qc7 is completely busted. 7…O-O I think White gets a greater advantage than what she should normally get simplying for being White, though White still has to work to win the game. The Classical is a failure for Black for different reasons.

    The Steinitz is a miserable, two-result game for Black. With perfect defense, he will draw, but there are very few winning chances for Black.

    The MacCutcheon is ok for Black, but he better know the lines inside and out. That said, I consider myself a subject matter expert at the French MacCutcheon (at least in the 3 main lines, 6.Bd2, 6.Be3, and 6.exf6, only the first 2 of which would I play as White), and it’s one of those lines I win when I’m White and I win when I’m Black. I even win when I’m playing White as Black. Sounds weird, but here’s how the story goes:

    I had a weird game in the 7th round of the US Open in 2008 against a 2212 player who’s social skills are zero (let’s say one of many things he did was literally fling the king across the board when he resigned) where he played a Colle System, and the game started as 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.e3 Bg4 4.Nbd2 e5 5.Bb5 e4 6.h3 Bd7 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.Ne5 Qg5, and I’m sure you see where this thing is going. Well, White has committed to Nbd2. Normally, the Bishop moves there first in the lines where the Knight goes to d7 instead of c6, and once he goes Bc8-d7-c6 (or Bc1-d2-c3 in this case), only then does he play the Knight move. Well, because of this, he had to play b3, and go Bc1-b2-c3, and only then b3-b4. Normally, Black does this pawn advance in 1 move, and so White lost his extra tempo for going first, and I literally had the White side of a French MacCutcheon as Black, without being down the tempo! Needless to say, I won.

    On the other hand, set up the Sicilian Najdorf with White to make his 6th move, and I don’t want any part of that game at all. I lose every time I’m White, I lose every time I’m Black. If the Najdorf was the only available opening, I’d quit chess.

    Just goes to show that a 2100 player is never truly 2100. He’s probably 2100 because that’s simply the average performance of that player based on ups and downs with their game.

    I’m not a sandbagger, and I find sandbagging unethical, but if I ever wanted to sandbag, all I’d need to do is play the Najdorf from both sides! 🙂

  65. @Ray
    Hi Patrick,

    That’s a rather strong statement you’re making about 7…Qc7 being busted, especially considering that the line with 12…d4 is played at the highest level. I’m not aware of any refutation. May be you can share your refutation with us and safe Emanuel Berg some work :-).

    As far as the Steinitz is cocerned, I dare to disagree as well. Both in the 7…a6 and the 7…Be7 line Black is doing ok in my humble opinion. I especially like the line with 7…a6 and 9…g5, which I think is by no means as bad as some authors (in the Modern French) claim it is. E.g. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qd2 b5 9.a3 g5!? 10.fxg5 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Ncxe5 12.Nf3 (12.Bd3 Bd6 13.0-0 Bb7; 12.Be2 Bd6 13.0-0 Bb7 14.Bh5 Qe7 – I don’t see what’s wrong with the black position) Bg7 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14 0-0-0 Bb7 15 h4 Qc7 16.h5 Rc8 and I like black here; at least no draw in sight :-). I think it’s important for black not to castle short too soon, as happened in some games given in The Modern French, where white got an attack quickly. Maybe I’m all wrong about this assessment, but I would really like to make this variation work because I think it’s very interesting. I hope it will be covered by Jacob and Nikos, but I guess they’ll go for the safer lines with 7…Be7 or 7…a6 without 9…g5!?

  66. I agree with Ray, Be7 in the Steinitz seems to be doing quite well as of late. I think the French, actually, is now in the best shape it’s been in a very long time. Nc3 isn’t the move that concerns me.

  67. Gilchrist is a Legend

    There seems to be some general consensus that White should be better in 7…0-0, but I do not think it is so easy. Even Carlsen played 7…0-0 recently, I think with 10…Nd7 in the line with 8…f5. Also the fact that 7. Qg4 players might think it is a bad move, probably you can get 7…0-0 on the board often, and they might be overconfident. The overconfidence usually transpires in some sort of series of kingside attacks. The line teaches the player to defend and defend well and patiently. Then you can gain counterplay at the right time. It is like drawing the opponent to advance and attack and overextend until there is no more attack.

  68. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I agree, and if I had to choose between 7…0-0 and 7…Qc7, I’d choose the former. But that’s also because of practical considerations: 7…Qc7 is much more (and very sharp) theory, which you rarely get on the board because most people deviate on move 7 (7.Nf3, 7.a4 or 7.h4) or (even more common in my experience) on move 4 or 5. Because of this I deviate myself on move 6 by playing 6…Qa5 or even earlier by playing 3…Nf6 which I nowadays tend to prefer over 3…Bb4. In the 5-6 years I still had 7…0-0 8.Bd3 f5 in my reportoire, I only got the chance to play it in a handful of serious games. I guess this is typical for most openings – most ‘ordinary’ people shy away from the critical main lines.

  69. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Given that you wrote those two attacking manuals, which I own, I think your attacks would succeed more than most, so that position suits you as that is basically White’s main plan.

    I feel more comfortable playing White against 7…Qc7 (even though I play 1. d4 now) due to the fact that Black is a pawn down, White has the bishop pair, a passed h-pawn before move 10, and the queening square of the passed pawn (h8) is the colour of the one of the present bishops on board. Additionally, I find it quite disconcerting that in the early middlegame White’s pawn can reach h7. Even if Black has counterplay, I would be hesitant to enter any endgame there as Black, and I generally do not feel comfortable relenquishing the bishop pair and material. 7…0-0 is the solid player’s choice, but I think 8…Nbc6 is also interesting. Black does not have to sacrifice the exchange on f3 all the time, and the c2 square might become weak.

    All openings have sidelines played, unfortunate, but it happens too often. It would happen with long openings, meaning like 7…0-0 is the desired opening, which takes 7 moves, Najdorf 6 moves, etc. The Breyer and other Closed Spanish lines are probably worse; they require 9 moves to be played before one can actually play their desired opening.

  70. You may find this amusing …

    A seller on had 2 copies of Nessie for sale, used, for CAD $176.45. With the shipping, it would be over 900% of the amazon price.

    Thinking this would be a bargain for a book that you are hiding from the rest of the world until March 21, I ordered a copy. I also wrote to the seller asking them to verify before shipment. They responded that verification was not possible. However, they said, our systems are so accurate that there is no chance of error. That was yesterday.

    Today they have written to inform me that, regretfully, they have sold both copies elsewhere and must cancel my order. I am broken-hearted at being unable to tease people here with advance knowledge of GM Shaw’s writings. Sigh …

  71. @Patrick
    The Winawer is a failure for Black. 7…Qc7 is completely busted. 7…O-O I think White gets a greater advantage than what she should normally get simplying for being White, though White still has to work to win the game.
    The Classical is a failure for Black for different reasons.

    How can you expect someone beeing interested in your opinion?
    What is your Fide Elo?
    You once again proved that reading your posts is a complete waste of time, not writing this to flame you, but to undermine that you don`t know anything at all …

  72. @Waldorf

    You want proof? Here’s Proof! Saying I don’t know anything. Twice I busted 7…Qc7. The first of the two ended in a draw because I was in such severe time trouble and didn’t have the time to calculate. Doesn’t change the fact that Black’s busted. The second ended execution style!

    And your question about FIDE ELO, that says NOTHING about one’s ability in any one individual opening. You could be 1600 and perform at 2700 strength in the Latvian Gambit. That overall number is merely an average!

  73. Since a few months i am trying to get back in playing chess. Cor van Wijgerden told me à few years à go to play systems that fit my style. He had seen me playing c3 againt THE sicilian, and c3 in THE pirc, things like that. And told my best play was in main lines, in sharp positions. Attacking games, like in that beautiful book of Jacob!
    Playing THE French with black myself, i looked at THE Hook system, probably à good system, but that is not fitting to my style. So i choose Qc7 tactical stuff.

    Why do i tell this? Play what fits to your style.
    I read things like Nd2 is what à black player does not like so i play this. But is this à good idea?
    And in THE Nd2, ok, maybe Qxd5 might by correct, but for me these positions do not fit. But for someone else this might be à good variation.

    I hope you get THE point….
    Excuse for THE typo errors.

  74. @Patrick
    I was wondering if you have any sort of scientific education if you call this proof? I think the correct term for this is ‘anecdotal evidence’ (or not even that). N=2 does not seem like a solid base for statistics either. Now it’s of course dangerous to rely too much on statistics, because you could have just analysed this opening to a white win. That’s why I’m eager to see your analysis (with a GM Rep thoroughness please) – it’s not fair to let Emanuel Berg write a book on a busted opening :-). Or maybe you’re waiting for him to finish his book and then publish your own? Did you already find a publisher who is willing to publish it or will it be a self-published book in the style of ‘Winning against everyone with an inferior opening without having to learn a lot of theory’ ?

    By the way: the Najdorf is busted because I won with white against my 10-year old nephew. It was a long game and I was lost in the endgame, but eventually I managed to win after he fell asleep after 120 moves. But I had a won position after move 6, so I really busted the Najdorf!

  75. @Patrick
    And regarding the variation played in your games: according to e.g. Watson this ends in a draw. His main line goes 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 Qc7 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 cxd4 10.Ne2 Nbc6 11.f4 dxc3 12.Qd3 d4 (“inferior” in your words) 13. Nxd4 Nxd4 14.Qxd4 Bd7 15.Rg1 (Watson gives 15.Rb1 as main line) Nf5 16.Qf2 Qc6 17.Bd3 Qd5 18.Rb1 (according to you theory has proved that white has an advantage – which source are you quoting?) Bc6 19.Rb3 0-0-0 20.Rxc3 Kb8 (Watson says “This position has been tested and analysed a lot” – he didn’t mention your analysis by the way – “and it seems that Black’s activity and light-square control is enough for two pawns.”) 21.Rc5 Qa2 22. Rxc6!? (” A safe decision […] There wasn’t much else to do in terms of winning attempts.” – of course Watson didn’t have access to the secret ‘Patrick-files’) 22…bxc6 23.Qc5 Rxd3 24.cxd3 Rxg2 25.Rxg2 Qxg2 26.Be3 Nxe3 27.Qxe3 Qh1 28.Ke2 Qxh2 with a perpetual.

    Could you please show where and how specifically white missed the win?


    @Jacob Aagaard

    Jacob, a while ago you mentioned that you’re working on MANUAL of Chess STRATEGY/POSITIONAL PLAY. That’s an excellent idea and I’m very keen on this project. Personally I’m deeply convinced that this book would be another landmark in chess literature just like Attacking manual 1&2.

    I hope that you shall consider following titles which had been written with same intention, some better some worse:

    1. Gelfer Israel – Positional Chess Handbook
    2. Valeri Bronznik, Anatoli Terekhin – Techniken des Positionsspiels im Schach
    3. Yakovlev Nikolay – Chess Blueprints
    4. Hellsten Johan – Mastering Chess Strategy

    So long 🙂

  77. Marcos Luiz de C. Brito

    Dear Mr. Aagard.
    Please, could you say something about the book “Mikhail Tal’s best games”, by Tibor Karolyi?
    Thank You


    On one of the earlier posts, you answered: “Training works. Studying high quality material works. Reading and nodding to random stuff does not work”.

    Books for reading and nodding are primarily game collections and manuals of startegy and endgame. You got it all right and everything is simple. But in few days you don’t have even a clue what was going on! And so we are at the beginning of chess progress, again!

    Hopefully this problem will solve your Grandmaster Preparation – Thinking Inside the Box!


    @Jacob Aagaard
    Is there any chance that Avrukh writes GM Preparation for Black when White deviates from 1.e4, 1.d4. and 1.c4?

    I have in mind repertoire against 1.b3, 1.f4, 1.b4 and this kind of stuff.

  80. Gilchrist is a Legend



    God Save the Queen! Guess what I received today at 13h00 at the door: Hardcover GM13. So now I am opening the wrapping of the book..

    Book out of wrapping. Seems like the paper used in GM11, which is a mix of old and new (GM6 and after) paper, maybe.

    Turning to p. 340, it is obviously 12…d3. Then there are two main moves, 13. Nxc5 and 13. Bb1. I cannot comment too much on any of these lines since I have basically no knowledge of them. If I turn to p. 354, there is a branch, where I suppose p. 358 (15. Be3) is the main line of the entire book. Then there is a further branch for White’s choices, and Black seems to have the pawn on d3 in quite a few lines. The last page of analysis, p. 372 ends with a 36 move line. The opening looks tactical, and I am not familiar with any of these positions. But now I shall start reading Chp 19. It is much more different than the Closed Spanish than I expected.

    And the book was shipped early, I was expecting Monday 04/02. But this is a good belated Christmas present. Cheers for the early shipping.

  81. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Also I must add that after 5. d3 in GM13, the transposition to the Arkhanelgsk is a pleasant surprise. I thought these positions were quite interesting, but never expected to see them in a book soon.

  82. Only you need to do work as well. There are those who do no training, but just read and nods. This is quite ineffective. Still understanding chess better is a good thing, although learning to make decisions is the most effective way to improve.

  83. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Early is always better, and it always helps if one lives close to Glasgow.

    Do you think GM13 will cause an increase in popularity of the Open Spanish similar to GM10 with the Tarrasch?

  84. @Gildchrist is a Legend
    Yes i totally agree with you about the wing gambit. I don`t like it all.
    In general I am doing quite fine in the advance variation, but as soon as I don`t have the “usual play” against d4, I am having a hard time to understand the positions 🙁

  85. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I think it is mostly the fact that it is sideline is annoying. I had a 2300 friend who told me about this line he plays, 1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e5 c5 4. b4 c4. It looks interesting, and since he is a lifelong French player perhaps that helps its case slightly. I think it would seriously frustrate Wing Gambit players, since it is uncomfortable for Black if the pawn is accepted. It looks like a good move to me, both in terms of chess and psychologically.

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I spent my entire Saturday reading the beginning of Chapter 19 in GM13. Great work, I like it.


    wolfsblut :
    Is there any chance that we will see the new 2013 Catalogue?

    Yeah, long awaited!

    Jacob, can you please put in coming soon section a cover of GM Preparation – Attacking Play, or what’s the real title. Thanks.

  87. Hi QC team,
    Does GM6a Anti Sicilians will have something new against the Morra gambit ? Because, since Marc Esserman “Mayhem in the Morra” I think you may have change your opinion about the variation recommend in the first edition … If trouble you can always transposes in a 2.c3 sicilian 😉

  88. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Have you received GM13 yet? It has a lot of interesting lines, including a transposition to a sort of Neo-Arkhangelsk after 5. d3, except with …h6 included.

  89. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Yes, detailed and concise as usual from Grandmaster Repertoire. I am unfamiliar with most of the lines however, so I am learning this for the first time. I think you must either have to play the Open Spanish or against it with 1. e4 in order to know them, since I have not seen many of these lines too often. It also covers the Worrall and lines such as the Delayed Exchange.

  90. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Maybe yours too? Also there are many lines that are quite tactical. One factor that also differentiates it from the Closed Spanish is that both sides can move their pieces quite freely round the board. Both sides occupy a lot of space on the board.

    Very dynamic and extremely different at times to Closed lines, such as the Breyer and Chigorin. For example today I have been reading it, and Black has a pawn on d2 on move 18. The very main line of what I suppose could be the entire book (the last subdivision-line of the last line of the last chapter of the book) Black has a pawn on d2 from moves 18 to 24..

  91. @Gilchrist is a Legend

    Did you see Giri play it yesterday in the German Bundesliga against Bologan?

    [Event “Schachbundesliga 2012/2013”]
    [Date “2013.02.02”]
    [White “Bologan, Viktor”]
    [Black “Giri, Anish”]
    [Result “1/2-1/2”]
    [WhiteElo “2695”]
    [BlackElo “2730”]

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5
    Be6 9. Nbd2 Be7 10. c3 Nc5 11. Bc2 d4 12. Ne4 d3 13. Nxc5 dxc2 14. Qxd8+ Rxd8
    15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Be3 Rd5 17. Rfc1 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Rxe5 19. Rxc2 O-O 20. a4 bxa4
    21. Rxa4 Bc5 22. Re2 Rd8 23. Kf1 Rd1+ 24. Re1 Rxe1+ 25. Kxe1 Bxe3 26. fxe3 a5
    27. Kd2 Rb5 28. Kc2 Rc5 29. Kb3 Rb5+ 30. Ka3 Rc5 31. Re4 Kf7 32. Ka4 h5 33. h3
    Ke7 1/2-1/2

    I have ordered my copy last week, but the status is still Not Shipped in my account. So I hope it will be posted tomorrow. Looking really forward to it!

  92. Gilchrist is a Legend

    No, but I will take a look soon. Do you live in the UK? My order says Not Shipped, but obviously that is inaccurate since I received my copy yesterday afternoon. I think they received the books one day early so they shipped early.

  93. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I’m indeed considering this, probably in combination with the Petroff (depending on my oponent). Interesting to see that Giri is playing the Open Spanish. He has also played the Petroff a lot by the way. The nice thing of the open games (if you’re used to the French, like me) is that all your pieces can be freely developed. Certainly makes for a change :-).

  94. We are working on the 2013 catalogue. The main issue is that some covers are missing.

    Obviously the Morra book changed everything. Luckily equality still exists…

  95. Gilchrist is a Legend

    The major advantage of the Petroff, which I realised and you already emphasised, is the fact that one can play the main opening within two moves as opposed to six for the Najdorf, seven for the Winawer, nine for Closed Spanish, etc. But anyway Giri, since he is a top ranked GM, he plays the Petroff, like most of them do. But it can also compliment the Petroff if you know some opponent plays main lines, and instead of playing the Petroff to avoid Scotch, Two Knights, Bishop’s Opening, etc. you can achieve the Open Spanish position on the board. It is quite different from the Breyer and Chigorin. It is somewhat solid, but dynamic, and sometimes crazy, maybe something like the Semi-Slav or Grünfeld.

  96. @Gerry

    @Gilchrist is a Legend

    Gerry and GiaL,

    We posted all websales on Friday, but did not get around to updating the computer system, so emails and status changes were not sorted out until Monday. We were sure you would rather have the books on the way as soon as possible, so that was the priority.

  97. @Ray

    In response to your message 124, White’s 21st move in your line is inferior. 21.g4 is stronger, and Black got busted twice by the same 41-move game in 2012. Note that instead of Rd1+, taking the Bishop on a7 doesn’t help as White’s 3 pawns for the Exchange and rolling Kingside pawns with Black’s King in Timbuktu will prove fatal for Black.

    See Millet – Valles, Marseille, 2012 or Franklin – Hunt, Sunningdale, 2012

    Kritz can give you the bust to 12…Bd7 (instead of 12…d4), namely 13.Rb1. See ChessBase Magazine, Volume 144. Very convincing analysis!

  98. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    On your theory that the Petroff is adventagous over the others because of required number of moves being only 2 to reach the main line, I can better that by 1. Play the Modern! You only need 1 move to reach your main opening!

    And even that can be beat. The Modern requires White not to play 1.b3 or 1.b4. The Pribyl/Rat/Wade has no requirement. 1…d6 can be played against literally anything, including 1.b3 or 1.b4.

  99. I got the Modern move by move by Everyman and I really tried to like it, for the reason you gave, but really didn’t like the positions that Black got.

  100. How about 1 c4 after which it’s already an English? And after 1 e4 c5 Black has already reached a Sicilian!

    As a matter of fact 1…d6 and 1…g6 are are quite difficult first moves to master. One of the reasons is that they both allow White almost complete freedom to set up his centre and pieces as he likes.

    (but I can’t see how 1 b3 or 1 b4 prevents 1…g6).

  101. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I received the Open Spanish today and it looks like another great effort from Quality Chess! Very thorough (line numbering like ‘B423223’, for which Mikhalevski apologizes). Also lots of exciting positions as far as I could see by skimming the book. Only thing that slightly worries me is that the main line end after 36!) moves in a double-rook endgame assessed as +/=, which can probably be drawn, but not won by black. And black doesn’t seem to have a lot of good options to avoid this or similar endings. It thus seems that white can play for two results. It actually eminded me a bit of Ftacnik’s recommendation of a pawn-down ending which was criticized in the review by Arne Moll on If any white player on our sub-GM level will know all this theory is another question of course.

    @Jacob: I noticed that you announced GM reportoire – 1.e4 against the Sicilian to be published in 2013 :-). Are you already committed to this?

  102. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I used to worry about circumstances such as this, but most main openings have lines that end in += or a drawn position. In any defence, a draw or a position that is most likely drawn with a slight and/or insignificant advantage by White is acceptable, likewise for any opening as White must accomplish at least += to be acceptable instead of =.

    I also used to worry about lower rated players studying it, but I highly doubt that for few reasons, that not many players know that their opponent will exactly follow a 36-move theoretical line for every move like a book, even if they prepare heavily, since we are not titled players. And even if we were titled players, not many players start a game trying to expend so much effort trying to draw by memorising 30+ move variations. If they did this only, and the opponent happened to deviate at move 32, for example, then they could lose quite easily.

    Also on p. 372, Mikhalevski gives 34…Kh7!? as an alternative, maybe that is also interesting, and is an example of deviating from the pure book line if White only memorised this one 36-move line to draw. I feel quite comfortable defending that endgame against anyone my strength or lower, but obviously not against a 2500. But that holds for most positions anyway.

  103. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I mean to clarify, in a theoretical sense, += or +=/=, = by play, or = by repetition is acceptable for any defence, since theoretical objectives (not practical) are to equalise the game. Very popular main line openings, such as the Najdorf, Petroff, Grünfeld, Caro-Kann, Slav, etc. all have similar lines. Even if the opponent knows the 36 move line, and is rated either equal or less than we, the question also is if the opponent can capitalise to do anything more than draw in what looks like a fairly drawish position anyway (with equal material in the main line, dissimilar to the Ftacnik 6. Bg5 line).

  104. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I think you’re right – I changed my attitude too in this respect. I used to always play for a win with black but now I sometimes am happy with a draw :-). The only thing is, that in some equal or even slightly inferior endings there is more ‘play’ left than in others, since they are more unbalanced. E.g. in their book on the Tarrasch Nikos and Jacob also give a lot of endings, but these tend to be rather unbalanced in general. It just struck me that in this particular ending I was referring too there is not any play left for black except to try to draw. There is no way in which white can loose this ending. Against an unprepared opponent this is no issue, but nowadays people (also the weaker ones) tend to prepare specifically for one game if they find your games in some database. 36 moves seems a lot, but the path is rather narrow. I have done it myself on one occasion in the past, when I saw that my opponent always played the Spanish Jaenisch variation. Although I didn’t have Spanish in my reportoire, I prepared for the Jaenisch and hoped he wouldn’t deviate – which he indeed didn’t. I guess this is all the more reason to vary your openings :-).

  105. @Patrick
    Thanks, that’s much more concrete! I’ll have a look at it because I’m curious if there are no improvements for black (even though it’s not in my reportoire – I play 6…Qa5).

  106. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I suppose since that line is the most critical of the entire book, and given that the draw is acceptable, it was given, similar to how some lines of the Marshall end in similar endgames. White probably cannot lose the endgame, but trying to make any progress is quite difficult.

    Memorising the lines and not knowing the deviations is risky–several times I tried that and get punished, for example against a GM I tried to play a long line against his Chigorin Spanish that had a few deviations, but the line I memorised was supposed to be +=, instead he deviated on move 16 and I resigned on move 22 because I did not know anything about the deviation line. I suspect he knew I prepared for only one line and since he plays it often he decided to try an alternative. You can try this if you suspect someone has prepared heavily against you for a certain opening, or a certain narrow line like that 36-move endgame line. For example, look at p. 370 of GM13 and Mikhalevski gives 29…Bxd6 as an alternative, which looks drawish as well.

    I think if you play a main line opening, avoiding draws in defences is probably almost impossible. Each time I used to play 7…Qb6 in the Najdorf and when I played 2200s and lower I hoped strongly that they were not intending to play the drawn lines with 10. f5 Nc6 11. fxe6 fxe6 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. e5 dxe5 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Ne4 Qxa2 or 13. Be2 Be7 14. Rb3 Qc5+ 15. Be3 Qe5 16. Bd4 Qa5 17. Bb6 Qe5. Over a period of a few years no one played the perpetual lines, so maybe we are just too worried.

    If I want an absolute guarantee of no perpetual, I think the only choice is to play something like the Pirc (5…0-0 against Austrian to avoid the perpetual in 5…c5) or Alekhine against 1. e4, and against 1. d4 something like the Modern Benoni or the Leningrad Dutch.

  107. @Ray
    Yes, I am committed. Basically I have only two games left with full time control and will seriously reduce travelling. I am going to have a lot of time on my hands and Nikos to help me. I am going to work a lot in 2013 and do great things (I hope).

  108. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I am sure there are a few players who might want to draw sometimes in given tournament situations, but all the time or randomly would be excessive. If one wants to draw against anyone rated slightly above and higher and expend energy to do that on a consistent basis in order to hope to get +1 in rating per draw, that is also ridiculous. Also I do not know anyone who plays either 1. e4 or 1. d4 with the aim of spending days to prepare and draw the game by perpetual check each round. Other than the time and effort, that is not an enjoyable way to spend one’s time, or to play chess.

  109. @Aagaard
    What does that “Grandmaster Repertoire X1 – ” (<– the X1 ?) stand for ? Is it just that you haven't decided at this stage what number it'll have in the series ? I understand that Ftacnik will make a GM6a at some point ? Does that mean there will also be a GM6b ? And is the reason for this letter-number, that this/these volumes will be so much in the spirit of GM6 that they can't have any other number ?

  110. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I have played it A LOT in blitz, but as I only have one black game left in my career, this would not be the right choice. I only play team chess this year and we want to win the league, so me experimenting on board 1/2 would be a very bad signal to the rest of the team.

  111. @Alexander
    You are right on all assertions. X1 means that it will be volume one of two or several connected volumes and GM6A will be the first half of GM6, expanded and revised and there will indeed be a 6B. We have been too busy with too many things, or these books would have been done already. Lubomir is just awaiting the starting gun. The person who is serious delayed is me – and then we also got this fabulous Kotronias book coming in out of the blue, ruining our plans in a wonderful way.

  112. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    I am trying to play the French in blitz online, but remarkably I can barely achieve the French position (1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5). I keep getting 2. d3, 2. Qe2, 2. Nc3, 2. b3, and other moves in almost 50% of games…

  113. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Do you plan on playing the Open Spanish? I am sure none of those GMs are worried about any endgames like that, especially since they have to play extremely strong players such as Kramnik. If it is good for Giri, I suppose it is good for some random 2250 like me.

  114. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Not sure if I’m picking up message 177 correctly, but if you are referring to players taking book draws, and if Jacob is saying that players would struggle to find a tournament game of their own where a book draw has occurred, I had it happen back in 2008 or 2009 (can’t recall which). It was a 5-round tournament with no Friday Night option for round 1, so a 3-game Saturday. In Round 3, I, being about 2000 at the time, faced a master hitting his 2200 floor. I was Black, and played the Zaitsev, which I didn’t know the tricky …Qd7 lines, and so facing somebody 200 points higher, I wasn’t risking it. He flat out decided that he was tired, and played the Nf3-g5-f3-g5-f3 toggle vs my Rf8-e8-f8-e8-f8. So a draw it was, and a mighty fast one at that!

  115. @John Shaw
    No Russian??? With how few lines there are now-a-days where White even survives the King’s Gambit, I figured 800 pages had to have meant that the book was being written in 40 languages! 🙂

  116. Shurlock Ventriloquist

    Patrick :
    @John Shaw
    No Russian??? With how few lines there are now-a-days where White even survives the King’s Gambit, I figured 800 pages had to have meant that the book was being written in 40 languages!

    that and also a reminder that other monster hunters are also in on the quest to bring back evidence of a legendary beastie

    my offer of € 24.99 reward for empirical evidence still stands


  117. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Yes, There’s a good chance I’m going to play it. However, since I’m reluctant to change my reportoire ‘mid-season’, I’m planning that for the coming summer. Nice opportunity as well to look into double-rook endings :-).

  118. Dear Jacob!

    Carsten Hansen has written a short review about your great book. I hope you like it 😉 :).

    Grandmaster Preparation: Calculation by Jacob Aagaard, Quality Chess 2012

    Studying Grandmaster Preparation: Calculation carefully will make you a much stronger player, open your eyes to new possibilities, allow you to immerse yourself into positions from completely different angles, and see possibilities that would have surprised you before. This book teaches your mind to think differently and solve complicated task; provided you have taken the time to work your way through this book. It is written for strong players and those who are serious about improving their chess understanding and their ability to calculate accurately. To benefit from this book you should probably be rated at least 2000. Nevertheless, there is really no limit to how strong you can be to benefit from studying the material.

    Carsten Hansen assessment of this book: 6/6 (!)

  119. I just got GM Rep 11, and was curious about the line offered against the Colle w/ c3… (In the section on 1…Nf6 2…e6). It appears that Avrukh’s proposed line has been analysed much more thoroughly in a book from 2011, and in fact that white maintains an advantage.

    Is there going to be further analysis updates, or is it simply that the author has been too lazy to consult the relevant opening works?

    As this is one of the first lines I have looked at, it is rather disappointing.

  120. Scorpio5 :
    I just got GM Rep 11, and was curious about the line offered against the Colle w/ c3… (In the section on 1…Nf6 2…e6). It appears that Avrukh’s proposed line has been analysed much more thoroughly in a book from 2011, and in fact that white maintains an advantage.
    Is there going to be further analysis updates, or is it simply that the author has been too lazy to consult the relevant opening works?
    As this is one of the first lines I have looked at, it is rather disappointing.


    Firstly, suggesting Boris is lazy is both wildly wrong and rude. He is an incredibly hard worker and analyst. With GM 11 as just one example, he delivered 500 pages of superb analysis.

    Secondly, which line and which book are you referring to? We need detail to give a useful answer.

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