Quality Chess Newsletter – Six new books and a birthday


Dear Quality Chess reader,

Today is the 40th birthday of GM Jacob Aagaard, my friend and business partner. Happy Birthday Jacob!

To business – six new Quality Chess books were made available this past month.

The King’s Gambit (by me) made its long-awaited appearance. Five years of analysis resulted in 680 pages of fun-filled lines. Early reactions, I must admit, have been highly favourable.

Another monster of a book is Kotronias on the King’s Indian: Fianchetto Systems by Vassilios Kotronias. The Greek GM is one of the world’s leading theoreticians with particular expertise in the KID. This book not only contains wonderful opening analysis but also guidance on how to play the resulting middlegame positions.

Playing the Trompowsky by Richard Pert does not require such heavy lifting. The English IM, a Trompowsky expert, supplies a practical attacking repertoire with 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5. Other 2.Bg5 lines are also covered against 1…f5 and 1…d5.

The remaining three books are from Jacob’s Grandmaster Preparation series: Calculation, Positional Play and Strategic Play are published in paperback. Previously they had been available only in hardcover.

The chess files (in pgn and pdf) cover many topics, including an improvement by GM Boris Avrukh on his original analysis in Grandmaster Repertoire 11 – Beating 1.d4 Sidelines.


John Shaw

Chief Editor

Quality Chess


47 thoughts on “Quality Chess Newsletter – Six new books and a birthday”


    Dear Jacob,

    I wish you all best for your birthday 🙂

    Right now I’m working on your GM Preparation Strategic Play, chapter 3. Prophylaxis. Exercises are really hard and for first two chapters I managed to score only 29% 🙁

    But why did you dismiss squares and circles on the diagrams which we had in GM Preparation Positional Play? You should have put them for the greater learning effect. Luckily I managed to locate weaknesses and the worst pieces in 90% of exercises.

    Because I did not want to narrow down these exercises to the parameters of the Positional Play book. I really spent a long time thinking about this and came to the conclusion that for some it would seriously reduce the value of the book, while for the rest, they should trust themselves and their own evaluations.

  3. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I received my QC order several days ago, as well as the small brochure with the book listings–I see GM6a and GM6b for 2013, but not sure if that has been moved. Should be interesting those two books though.



    How far did you come with GM Guide – Playing the French? Can we expect pdf excerpt soon? Please give as complete list of variations and other information. Are you planning to include many model games and intros with explanations? That would be great 🙂

  5. Shurlock Ventriloquist

    Congrats and welcome to your fifth decade on spaceship earth. Thanks for all the efforts … as a birthday gift to you I made sure to order Nessie and Tromp is hardcover!



    Jacob, once you accentuated that Palliser’s “The Complete Chess Workout 1 & 2” makes your team mates at Quality Chess pretty annoyed even by mentioning these books.

    How come? Are they so good or they are something what your publishing house desires? I don’t own them yet, but perhaps I’ll have them.

    Please comment 🙂

  7. @gewgaw
    I gave my opinion about that in another post. I know that Jacob doesn’t like commenting on reviews about QC books (despite having commented about few of them), but i really think that this review is pretty bad and the critisism unfounded.

    I don’t know about a pdf expect soon (i guess that it will indeed be available “soon”, but it depends how you define this word) and to be honest a complete list of variations is too much work for me now, unless you want to know the recommended systems which is something me and Jacob have already answered in this blog.

    About the model games there are indeed lots of them, lots of “talking” and explanation is present in the book and i could say as well lots of general chess instruction as this is what i do for years now: using the French to teach positional elements, pawn-structures, planning etc. Also lots of suggestions for Black and White! Elements of chess history also. And more than 200 exercizes as well again for both colours but more directed to help the Black player understand several tactical, positional and strategic themes! Or are they closer to 250? I am not sure. I am very very happy Jacob agreed to include them and i am sure the readers will love the concept and appreciate the extra effort.

  8. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    That sounds good. I like the combination of book release, which basically is two French books, but if one combines them for reading, it is two choices against 3. Nc3. That “new” line in 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 with the …Nb6, if I remember correctly, intrigues me quite. France seem to have hot weather in September, so it is still a “French” summer.

  9. Happy birthday GM Aagaard!

    Any news on the publication date for GM6?

    Also the fianchetto KID book is 720 pages long, would you guys consider publishing the new edition of GM6 in a single volume as well? The original is about 420 pages and the new edition can not be longer than 600 pages, can it? I don’t know how others feel but I strongly prefer a single volume.

  10. Could you please give a bit of a description about what Pump up your chess rating is about ?
    Also when roughly do you see Mating the castled king being available?

  11. That is apart from the obvious from the title.
    Maybe a general description of the book as it is about to come out soon.

  12. Great newletter again – thanks for this wonderful service! And Nikos, I’m glad you didn’t find anything decicive against 12.a4 :-).

  13. @Ed
    Pump up will have an excerpt soon. The working title was: Be your own Chess Coach – which sort of gives it away!

    Mating the Castled King is written and will be ready in a few months time.

  14. I’m not sure this is the place to suggest it, but I think the time is also very much ripe for a book on the advance variation in the Caro-kann, either from the white point of view or encyclopedically. Right now there appear to be no good books on the market for this. The best I could find were a Podgaets “and Karpov” book from 2006 which I own but do not like and this: http://www.amazon.com/Caro-Kann-Advance-Byron-Jacobs/dp/1901259056
    I think Kotronias also wrote a book on the line long ago, but I’m told his books tend to be very superficial. Maybe he could redeem himself?

    Ideally the book would discuss my personal favourite variation: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.Bg5, which is a nice weapon for white, a typical line being 5…Qb6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Qxb2 8.e6!. I think your Schandorff book does not mention it. It is discussed my Michael Goeller here (I wish I knew how to post links gracefully): http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/games/java/2007/caro-adv-h4.htm

  15. @Mathijs

    The line of the Caro you mention was not in the first print of Schandorff, but we added it to the second printing. We generally update everyone via the newsletter with new chess content of existing books.

    A book on the Advance Caro? No plans at present. And you had better hope Mr Kotronias knows you are joking. Otherwise he will deliver a 1500-page book next time.

  16. If that’s a promise, I hope he doesn’t know I’m joking.

    I had missed that update. I only recently subscribed to the newsletter. I hope the analysis doesn’t put too severe a dent in the line. I must admit that against me people almost always grab on b2. I have analysed that quite extensively and it seems very good for white. I was always worried about the quieter alternatives and now it seems rightly so.

    It’s too bad that there are no plans for such a book. I thought the advance was reasonably popular on a GM level (remember the fantastic Vachier-Lagrave – Ding Liren game this year), but there is no good literature on it (from the white point of view). Oh well, I wont press the matter.

  17. @Mathijs
    We will use the Advance in GM Repertoire 1.e4 next year sometime; but there will be other things in that book. And what line we are choosing is not yet clear to us. We have changed our minds twice and I have to finish the Grandmaster Preparation series first.

    I do fear that Kotronias will deliver a 1500 book even if he does not read your comments. I remember my horror when Marin delivered 732 pages for his 1.c4 e5 Chapter for his 128 page book on the English…

  18. @Jacob Aagaard
    Speaking about Kotronias: to me his book on the KID fianchetto is sowewhat intimidating due to its sheer size. I know Kotronias writes that you shouldn’t (and can’t) learn everything by heart, but still I think it’s quite difficult to decide which lines to include in my own reportoire database and which lines not. Sticking to the moves in bold font doesn’t cut it, I think, since that still will result in too much to remember. I’m really hoping you will write about how to approach these kind of books in your book Thinking Outside the Box :-). Kotronias says in the introduction that he will mention if a line needs to be memorized, but to be honest I didn’t encounter such advice often in his book, so it still seems a daunting task to make a workable reportoire out of this…

  19. @Jacob Aagaard

    That is excellent news. I’ll somehow have to muddle through until then, but I’ve been muddling all my life, so it should be ok. I don’t mind that there will be other things in the book; sometimes people even play other things against me!

    I’m appalled at the suggestion that GM Kotronias doesn’t read my comments.

  20. @Ray
    The book is massive and what Kotronias thinks you should memorise is stupid for someone like me :-). I think the main point with this book is to read it and make up your own mind about what is appropriate to memorise for you personally. To me it is as much a middlegame book as an opening book.

  21. Seems Shalimov didn’t know John Shaw’s analysis ( or did he find sthg ? ) in his game vs Kamsky ( WorldCup -Tromsō ) with the bishop gambit …

  22. Stefan Rosenbrand

    Hey people of QC.

    I have a question regarding some Grunfeld lines that I have found somewhat unpleasant .
    I am talking about 3.f3 and the Be3 system in the exchange (and yes I do own Avrukh’s work which is near flawless but unfortunately It’s exactly these lines were his work is somewhat vague).

    let’s start with f3. Avrukh recommends the old f5 approach.
    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.O-O-O f5 10.e5 Nb4 11.Nh3 Be6 12.Kb1 Qd7 13.Nf4 Rfd8. Here Avrukh only gives Nxe6 and h4 when black seems to hold his own but instead 14.a3 seems very unpleasant to me 14.N4d5
    (I also looked at the typical 14.a5 but then white has the following line leading to a stable advantage: 5.d5 N4xd5 16.Ncxd5 Nxd5 17.Bc4 c6 18.Bb6 Re8 19.Nxe6 Qxe6 20.f4 He will regain the pawn at will while black has problems coordinating his pieces, also his king might turn out to be weak.)
    15.Ncxd5 Bxd5
    ( 15…Nxd5 16.Nxe6 Qxe6 17.Bc4 seems good for white )
    16.Nxd5 Qxd5 17.Qc1! Now black has problems claiming counterplay because white clamps down the c5 break while his attack with h4 is underway.
    Other lines for black seem to give white the better chances as well. A lot can be improved in the Qd6 line if white plays Qc1 instead of Qe1. While in the 8.e5 line the idea with d5 and Rd1 seems annoying(bologan-cheparinov 1-0)
    In the Be3 it is the following natural improvement that seems annoying to me.
    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Be3 c5 8.Nf3 Qa5 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.Rb1 a6 11.Rc1 Bg4 12.d5 Rd8 13.Be2 O-O 14.O-O Bxf3
    ( 14…e6 15.Bg5 Rd7 16.Qf4 The complications favour white )
    15.Bxf3 e6 16.Be2!
    Anticipating Ne5 and c4. I have no Idea how black should continue. White’s space and bishop pair seem to give quite a nice advantage to me.
    ( 16.Rfd1 exd5 17.exd5 Ne5 18.Be2 c4 Is very nice for black )

    I wonder if maybe one of you could maybe spare some time in your busy schedules to write an update for the grunfeld readers.

    Greetings Stefan

  23. @Stefan Rosenbrand
    in your 3.f3 line there’s also 14.h4 Bf7 15.a3, I have analysed this quite deeply and still don’t know what black should play to just have a decent game (or should I say: just survive)
    I think there are good reasons the top players avoid all this with 9…Qd6, or even 3…e6

  24. taking another look at 14.h4 Bf7 15.a3 I think 15…a5 16. Qe1 N4d5 17. Ncxd5 Nxd5 18. Bc4 Nxf4 19. Bxf7+ Kxf7 20. Bxf4 h5 seems holdable
    and after 14.a3 maybe black can play 14…a5 15. d5 N4xd5 16. Ncxd5 Nxd5 17. Bc4 c6 18. Bb6 Rdc8 19. Nxe6 Qxe6 20. f4 a4

  25. @Stefan Rosenbrand
    You certainly can ask the question here but does not mean you will get an answer 🙂

    Be patience Stefan I know Jacob and the rest of the QC team have been busy this weekend playing chess in the 4NCL.

  26. Stefan Rosenbrand

    just to throw in some analysis. there might be improvements but the tone remains the same.
    20.f4 a4 21.h4 trying to make use of his practical chances.
    ( 21.Bxd5 cxd5 22.Qxd5 Qxd5 23.Rxd5 Kf7 24.Rb5 Rac8 25.Rc1 Bh6 26.Be3 Rxc1+ 27.Bxc1 Rb8 28.Be3 `Black will suffer in the endgame )
    21…Rec8 22.h5
    ( 22.g3 Qf7 23.Bxd5 cxd5 24.Qxd5 Rc6 again white has a steady edge )
    22…Qf7 23.hxg6 hxg6 24.Bc5 b5 25.Bd3 Rcb8 26.Qf2 b4 27.Ka1 bxa3 28.Bxa3 Bf8 even tough it is very complex I think white is better. he plays Rh3/h3 and doubles. in general white can win back the pawn when he has the better bishop more space and the more active rooks. or he can play a pawn sac when he has very good chances at getting something going because of his bishop pair and the weak king. while it’s not at all clear how black can even proceed as the courageous 27.Ka1 shows. in fact this is the consequence of black’s ninth move. 10.e5 blocked in his darksquared bishop.

  27. Stefan Rosenbrand

    @GM Rob
    K I will wait. I was just asking for help because honestly I couldn’t solve black’s problems myself.

  28. @Stefan Rosenbrand
    Maybe that’s because black indeed has serious problems :-). Theory on 3.f3 has moved on with big steps since Avrukh’s book. Chess stars has recently published a book on it, and NIC (Kaufmann) will also publish a book on this variation.

  29. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Still seems as GM17 is scheduled on time. De Beste Zet have a note stating that they receive it on the 07/03 (Friday).

  30. @Stefan Rosenbrand
    I tend to agree with you that 9…f5 is strategically dubious because the Grünfeld bishop is out of the game for a long time after 10.e5, so black needs something concrete to justify this and these lines aren’t very appealing at all

  31. @Stefan Rosenbrand
    Hi Stefan,

    I had a look at the 3.f3 Grunfeld lines you mentioned, and that 17.Qc1! move looks good to me and my engine. Maybe it is fixable, and I see tony made some suggestions, but the whole thing looks a little passive for Black to me.

    But what do I know? I am not any kind of Grunfeld expert, so any recommendations from me come with a health warning. But here goes with a quick emergency substitute line: if you need to play the Grunfeld tomorrow against a 3.f3 specialist, then study the games of Vachier-Lagrave and play 3…e6 (a line tony mentioned above). Vachier-Lagrave has played it 4 times in the past year or so (scoring 3/4) , and he is a considerable theory expert, so it should certainly be sound.

    I haven’t had time to see the Be3 lines yet. Maybe a real Grunfeld expert will give an opinion.

  32. @Stefan Rosenbrand

    The lesser evil perhaps is 13 … Bf7 14 a3 a5 15 Bb5 c6 16 d5 Bxe5 17 Bxb6 cxb5 18 Rhe1 (till now following Avrukh) and now 18 … Bxf4 19 Qxf4 Nxd5 20 Nxd5 Bxd5 21 Qe5 e6 22 Bd4 Kf7 and black king is very exposed but it seems he can survive giving back the two pawns. Anyway not very exciting for a grunfeld player.

  33. Stefan Rosenbrand

    Nice try. however If you extend the analysis by one move you see that black is in great trouble
    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.O-O-O f5 10.e5 Nb4 11.Nh3 Be6 12.Kb1 Qd7 13.Nf4 Bf7 14.a3 a5 15.Bb5 c6 16.d5 Bxe5 17.Bxb6 cxb5 18.Rhe1 Bxf4 19.Qxf4 Nxd5 20.Nxd5 Bxd5 21.Qe5 e6 22.Bd4 Kf7 23.g4! (white: “how you like that”) Rac8 (it’s hard to give white any advice his position already looks lost to me. 24.gxf5 gxf5 25.Bc3! Rxc3
    ( 25…Rc6 26.Rg1 And black can pretty much resign it’s to much )
    26.Qxc3 Qd8 27.Qe5 Rg8
    ( 27…Re8 28.Rg1 )
    28.Rc1 White’s rooks will invade the black king with decisive result.
    In general white should be close to winning if black just gives up his DSB.

    @John Shaw.
    Thank for the reply
    I think e6 is playable but white has more than one good option for example: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 e6 4.e4 d5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nc3 dxe4 7.fxe4 and White should be clearly better.

    Again the opinion of of an expert would be nice. As it looks like we actually need one!!

    I myself have looked at Re8 and Bd7 in the e5 line. I have the feeling that black should look here as white’s set-up is somewhat weird here. waiting is best I think because You don’t want to allow Nh3 without doubling the pawns.
    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 e5 9.d5 c6 10.Rd1 cxd5 11.exd5 Re8
    ( 11…Na6 was suggested by Flear from Chesspub 12.h4 h5 13.Nh3 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Qxh4+ 15.Nf2 Qxc4 16.g4 f5 17.b3 Qb4 18.Nd3 Qd6 19.gxh5 f4
    ( 19…gxh5 20.f4 looks very dangerous )
    20.Bg1 gxh5 21.Nf2 The controll over e4 the weak black king and the passed d pawn(normally not a big thing but here Ne4 is permanent)give white way too much for just a mere pawn )
    ( 11…Bd7 12.h4 f5 13.h5 gxh5 14.Rxh5 Be8 15.Rh1 N8d7 16.Bd3 Bg6 17.Bh6 Bxh6 18.Qxh6 e4 19.Be2 Ne5 20.Nh3 Nf7 21.Qf4 Rc8 Is very sharp, although I fear improvements on the 12th and 13th move )
    12.Be2 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Qh4+ 14.Bf2 Qxc4 15.Nge2 Nd7 16.O-O b6 Is very complex as well tough I think that white should be able to claim some strategic edge. of course white might play a more useful move on the 12th move instead of Be2. Tough black might be threatening e4 either as a sack or with Bxc3 in some lines.

    somehow it seems weird to me how black’s most open active defense against 1.d4 has problems with the slowest development scheme that white has available.

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