We try to keep our website up-to-date with details of reviews of our books. For example, today I added a few quotes from a great review by IM Jeremy Silman on Boris Avrukh’s Grandmaster Repertoire 1.

Opinions on our  books are always welcome, including constructive criticism.

John Shaw

16 thoughts on “Reviews”

  1. Abramov Anjuhin


    When will you start with Grandmaster Repertoire 1.e4 series? I persume that there will be 2 even 3 books in row because 1.e4 line has the most theory!

    It would be nice if you can announce main lines against:

    1. …e5: Ruy Lopez? main line or Worrall?
    2. …c5: g3-lines, English Attack, c3-line, Bb5-line?
    3. …e6: Winawer, Tarrasch, Blockade var?
    4. …c6: Pannov, Nc3?
    5. …d6, b6, g6: Austrian Attack, Classical?
    6. …Nf6, Nc6: ?
    7. …d5: ?

  2. Hi,

    The 1.e4 books are still many months away (next year?). Three books sounds right, but Jacob still has to do almost all the analysis so it is just a good guess for us at the moment.

    The exact lines will be confirmed closer to publication, but they will all be critical main lines. So for example, no c3 lines against 1…c5, and not the Worrall in the Ruy Lopez.

  3. I have planned to go big main lines everywhere. No Worrall, g3 or other minor lines, except maybe against less popular lines, where many lines are good.

  4. These 1.e4 repertoire books sound very good but from White’s point of view. Are there any plans for a set of Black repertoire books against 1.e4 or even 1.d4?

  5. Mr Petrov,

    I should avoid announcing a book before a single word has been written, but I think I can say there will be repertoire books for Black. They are away in the future, but we will be aiming for a very high level.

  6. Vladislav Kagebeovski

    I would like to draw your attention to the KING’S INDIAN DEFENCE aka KID.

    We have many books which are propheting a doom for KID, for example:

    Jan Markos: Beat the KID;
    Alexander Cherniaev, Eduard Prokuronov: The Sämisch King’s Indian Uncovered;
    Khalifman: 1.Nf3 – Opening for White according to Kramnik – Vol. I b and 1a;
    Taylor: Beating the King’s Indian and Grünfeld;
    Jerzy Konikowski, Marek Soszynski: The Fearsome Four Pawns Attack;
    Krzysztof Panczyk, Jacek Ilczuk: Offbeat King’s Indian;
    Lasha Janjgava: King’s Indian and Grünfeld: Fianchetto Lines;
    Chess Stars: Kill KID 1,

    But tell me why nobody tackles the Black side of the KID?

    Why nobody does not write a book about BLACK REPERTOIRE in KING’S INDIAN?

    Lady Fashion in chess is a cruel creature, but if listened her we would never revive or rediscover some openings like Scotch game, Evans gambit, Benko Gambit, King’s Gambit etc.

    We desperately need also an overview of KID evolution, packed with history/strategy/tactics/endgame/rules of thumb/anecdotes and so on.

    Just look at the games of the warriors:

    1. Robert James Fischer
    2. Efim Geller
    3. David Bronstein
    4. Eduard Gufeld
    5. Garry Kasparov
    6. Joe Gallagher
    7. Teimour Radjabov

    Is this list long and strong (sic!!!) enough to convince you that you take care about most wanted book on the market???

    This would definetely be a bestseller!

  7. Mr Kagebeovski,

    We absolutely agree a repertoire for Black in the King’s Indian Defence is a good idea. In fact, we have a provisional agreement with a strong GM (who is a KID expert) to write this book. Sorry, I can’t give more specific details at this early stage – our experience is that plans can change and books never appear, so we delay detailed announcements until the book is sure to be printed.

  8. Can you revive some of the best ENDGAME BOOKS:

    1. Shereshevsky: Mastering the Endgame (2 volumes)

    2. Speelman et al.: Batsford Chess Endgames

    3. Practical Chess Endings, by Paul Keres

    4. Comprehensive Chess Endings, by Yuri Averbakh, et al., 1983.

    In five volumes. A pretty detailed, advanced, and comprehensive look at various endings. intended for players with a rating of roughly 1880 or higher. Published by Pergamon Press. The work originally appeared as a series of smaller books (e.g. Bishop Endings, Knight Endings, etc). Out of print in book form, but available on computer CD-ROM.
    Volume 1: Bishop endings/Knight endings, Yuri Averbakh and Vitaly Chekhover
    Volume 2: Bishop against knight, rook against minor piece, Yuri Averbakh,
    Volume 3: Queen and pawn endings, queen versus rook, queen versus minor piece, Yuri Averbakh, Vitaly Chekhover, and V. Henkin
    Volume 4: Pawn endings, Yuri Averbakh and Ilya Maizelis,
    Volume 5: Rook endings, Yuri Averbakh and Nikolai Kopayev,

    5. v. Wijgerden: Toreneindspelen (rook endgames)
    Never translated, but cited as an important source by Victor Korchnoi in his book on rookendgames.
    Mr. Asgaard,

    6. Rook Endings, by Grigory Levenfish and Vasily Smyslov, 1971, Batsford.
    Considered a classic study of rook and pawn endings

  9. I think most of these sources are dated. The Averbakh books exist on a CD, updated, to use with Chess Assistant light.

    We do want to do something on the endgame at some point, but there are so many good books out there and there are many recent books on the endgame, so we cannot really say that we have any ideas we find fascinating.

  10. I may recommend a book like ‘Play the Classical Sicilian – repertoire for Black’ to be published. I think there will be a great interest in it. At least the latest publications on the subject are far outdated. Well’s book “Complete Richter Rauzer” is the best source, but quite old (1998). “Starting Out Classical Sicilian” (2007) is also good, but for beginners to medium level players. Yermolinsky’s book “Chess Explained: Classical Sicilian” (2007) is also good but it does not cover the variation in depth. Recently published book in russian language about Rauzer by Kortchnoi and Osnos (“Sicilian Defence – Rauzer Attack” (2008) is simply a waste of money. It copies in full Well’s book and some more recent games were added when analytical mistakes still exists there. Also a lot of important games for the variations are missing and in fact no new ideas or recommendations are introduced in it. Other sources are less convincing…
    My hope is that one day I will read an opening book which combines a lot of strenghts from Moskalenko, Avrukh and Cox, i.e. it will have a detailed typical endgame and middlegame structure explanations, history of the variations, most important commented games, deep theory analysis and new ideas, clear and well structured repertoire for one of the sides with backup lines. I know that it is time and space consuming but it will set a new higher standard in the opening books.

  11. Milen Petrov is not asking for an endgame book – he’s asking for a book on an opening which address the entire game played in the opening.

    Perhaps a chapter would be broken-down as follows:

    A) Line A: theory/concepts

    B) Line A: typical middlegame positions

    C) Line A: typical endgame positions / concepts

    Sounds like a great book.

  12. Just a quick word on the original topic – reviews. I added another review to our website today: Arne Moll of ChessVibes on Lipnitsky’s Questions of Modern Chess Theory.

    The review was from last month but I just spotted it now. It’s a big internet out there, and if you spot a review I’ve missed then feel free to give me a nudge by e-mail or in comments.

  13. Vladislav Kagebeovski

    This is a review by CARSTEN HANSEN,

    “Beat the KID by Jan Markos, Quality Chess 2008, Figurine Algebraic Notation, Paperback, 197pp.,

    One of Slovakia’s top players, GM Jan Markos is twenty-three years old and has a current rating of 2577. In Beat the KID he examines three opening variations that, in his opinion, offer White excellent chances of success against the King’s Indian Defense, aka the “KID.” He opens the book as follows:

    “I am not an experienced chess author. However, I am a very passionate reader of chess books. When I was thirteen, I read Averbakh’s entire course on endings, and I read it with pleasure (frankly, my parents were not especially happy about that.) And I am a reasonably strong practical player.

    “The book was written to serve both practical and ‘unpractical’ chessplayers. It was written to meet the expectations of those who seek useful advice, but it is also written for those who are looking for beauty an entertainment in chess. Therefore do not be surprised to find a diagram attached to some completely unimportant sub-line: I have never been able to resist the temptation to highlight a unique chess moment.

    “This is a book on a specific opening. From such a book two conflicting qualities are demanded. On the one hand, it should be crammed with exhaustive and reliable information, which is easy to find if needed. On the other hand, it should be structured and intelligible enough to be read from cover to cover like a novel. I was trying to find a compromise between these two demands, although I have to admit that I am a fan of elegant, easy-to-read chess books.”

    The material is divided as follows:

    Key to symbols used & Bibliography (1 page)
    Foreword – what can be found in this book (2 pages)
    Introduction to the King’s Indian Defence (6 pages)
    Part 1 – The Krasenkow Variation (2 pages)
    Introduction – The Art of Prophylaxis (4 pages)
    Chapters 1-5 (38 pages)
    Conclusion to part 1 (2 pages)
    Part 2 – The Bayonet Variation (2 pages)
    Introduction – An Open Fight (2 pages)
    Chapters 6-13 (62 pages)
    Conclusion to part 2 (2 pages)
    Part 3 – The Classical Variation (2 pages)
    Introduction – Back to the Roots (4 pages)
    Chapters 14-18 (44 pages)
    Conclusion to part 3 (2 pages)
    Epilogue – Sixth and Seventh Move Alternatives (2 pages)
    Chapter 19 – Tying Up Loose Ends (15 pages)
    Index of Annotates Games (1 page)
    Index of Variations (6 pages)
    The three lines covered in this volume are the Krasenkow Variation: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 h3

    The Bayonet Variation: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 b4

    The Classical Variation: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Ne1

    According to Markos, the first variation was only used occasionally by top players until Krasenkow took it up in the early 1990s and made it a powerful weapon. Krasenkow employed the line in more than seventy games and at one point he was rated over 2700, so his opening ideas should definitely be given due consideration. As you can see from the above list of contents, the author has devoted five theoretical chapters to this line.

    The first of these theoretical chapters is called The Modern Benoni Structure. However, this is a slight misnomer, because the line chosen by Markos: 6…c5 7 d5 e6 8 Bd3 exd5 9 exd5 isn’t a Modern Benoni structure, but simply a Benoni structure. I thoroughly investigated this line as a young player, and I have to say that I found the coverage disappointingly sparse. Aside from the option of 7…b5, in the line after 9 exd5, he only covers 9…Re8+ 10 Be3 Bh6 and 10…Bf5. The former of the two moves is dealt with mostly through explanations to a well-chosen game, but with almost no other game examples; whereas the latter move is only covered through one game from 1990. Yet several other tenth move alternatives for Black aren’t mentioned at all, such as 10…b5, 10…Na6, 10…Nbd7 and particularly 10…Nh5. The latter in particular carries a bit of a punch if White isn’t careful, as evidenced by the following game:

    Vladimirov,Evgeny (2525) – Tal,Mihail (2630)
    URS Cup rapid Tallinn 1988 [E90]

    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 0–0 6.Nf3 d6 7.h3 a6 8.a4 e6 9.Bd3 exd5 10.exd5 Re8+ 11.Be3 Nh5
    12.0–0 Nd7 13.Qd2 Ne5 14.Nxe5 Rxe5 15.Bh6 Bxh6 16.Qxh6 Bxh3 17.gxh3 Qh4 18.Kh2 Rg5 19.Ne2 Re8 20.Rae1 Rxe2 21.Bxe2 Qf4+ 22.Kh1 Qe4+ 23.f3 Qh4 24.Qxg5 Qxg5 25.Rg1 Qd2 26.Kg2 Nf4+ 27.Kf1 Nxh3 28.Rg4 h5 29.Re4 Qg5 30.Bd1 Qg1+ 31.Ke2 Qf2+ 32.Kd3 Qxb2 0–1

    Granted, 7…a6 8 a4 has been inserted, but this continuation is dismissed by Markos without giving any further moves and the above line can be played without 7…a6, but …Nh5 is not covered in either version. It often seems like the author is keeping information from us, such as the comment on page 52, where Black plays a move that Markos admits to being much better than the main line. He writes, “To be honest, I haven’t found any advantage for White after 11…Nb6, but White might try 12 h4 or 12 Be3.” If he wants us to “Beat the KID,” he needs to do better than this!

    The Bayonet Variation has been very popular since the mid-1990s. Apparently when, after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 b4 Nh5, Sokolov introduced the rather obvious 10 Re1, allowing White to meet the idea …Nf4 with Bf1, it sparked new interest in this line. In contrast to the previous section, the chapters on this variation are infinitely more detailed and better written. However, Markos still has a tendency to leave a few loose ends, such as when he points out an improvement for Black, but offers nothing for White to counter it.

    The chapters on the Classical Variation are the best of the book. There are plenty of insights in the theory and in the prose, where Markos explains the ideas behind the various moves as well as the strategic motifs. In the introduction to the Classical Variation, or the “Kortchnoi” as Markos calls it, he postulates as to why this line isn’t very popular. He first suggests that people “loathe having their king under strong attack. However, many of them do not know that even in the 9.Ne1 line there are safe sub-systems with a very positional character.” The second part of his argument pertains to the use of computers in preparation, in that computers cannot accurately evaluate the positions because of the closed pawn structure. Markos presents the following example:

    Kortchnoi-Kasparov, Amsterdam 1991
    Position after Black’s 22…Qf8

    Markos: “You would barely find a computer program which evaluates this position as better for Black. I have conducted a small test using Rybka 3.0. After working the entire night (!) its evaluation was += [small advantage for White]. However, Kasparov claims that White is already much worse, and he is probably right. Black’s attack on the kingside is very strong and is especially difficult to face in a practical game. Kortchnoi lost in just a few moves without committing any serious mistake. Apparently, the computer is wrong. Why? Because it was comparing the incomparable: White’s material advantage on the queenside and Black’s attacking prospects on the other side of the board. It does not understand that the e4-pawn can’t help the white king to survive.” This, of course, leaves you wondering why so few top players consistently employ the King’s Indian as black.

    Overall, this is a decent book, but it is definitely has a few flaws. The point of buying an opening book is to have someone do the hard work for you, by sifting through the relevant material and then explaining the basic ideas and motifs with a fair share of author input. If the author claims to assist you in beating the relevant opening, he must be prepared to deliver a lot more ideas in critical positions, so that you can get the upper hand against opposition that is also familiar with theory. However, in many cases Markos leaves the reader hanging. Even if an author cannot prove an advantage, which will often be the case, then he should at least analyze the position in order to fully prepare the reader. Of course, the reader should always analyze things for themselves to become familiar with the position in question and enhance their overall understanding of the game.

    My assessment of this book: 3 STARS OUT OF 5”

  14. Mr Kagebeovski,

    Thanks for finding this review. If you prefer, in future a link would be enough, and I can put the text up in our review section.

    There are some interesting points suggested in the review. Can White get an advantage by force against the KID? Markos thinks not; Carsten Hansen thinks White should be better (or at least have more new ideas) given the name of this book. But “Beat the KID” was a pun, not a boast of a forced advantage. The hope is that the book will give enough understanding for White to win the middlegame.

    Jan Markos believes Black can equalize with the KID, and Hansen says “This, of course, leaves you wondering why so few top players consistently employ the King’s Indian as black.”

    A good question. My guess: it doesn’t suit the playing style of many of the top players. One of the few top players to regularly play the KID is Radjabov, and his results with it seem excellent, even against top opposition.

  15. Mario Taggatz

    Dear Qualitychess Team
    I just read the review of Carsten Hansen on GM Avrukh`s book. His claim that the opening book 2009 has already been found is understandable, but maybe Marin or Avrukh himself in part 2 can challenge that. I share the enthusiasm for Avrukh`s book and have used the analysis to good effect in a game against GM Barsov.
    This said I would like to add that no review I read says anything about the completeness of the repertoire, which I think was kind of a problem with Marin`s Open Games (and to some extend still is after the updates). So far I found only few matters in Grandmaster Repertoire 1.
    After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 no mention is given of either 4. … c6 or 4. … c5.
    In the first line black is not obliged to transpose to a regular Catalan, he can go for Nbd7+Bd6, which is used by some strong players. White should probably go for a setup with Bg2,0-0,Nc3+Nd2.
    The second one can lead to some kind of Semi-Tarrasch after cxd5, where white can take advantage of the fact that he has not played Nc3 yet.
    However these are serious opening lines for Black, so maybe they could be covered as an appendix in the second volume.
    Just continue the excellent work!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top