“Playing the Trompowsky” – IM Richard Pert responds to a critical review


In comments to this blog, a review critical of “Playing the Trompowsky” was linked. IM Richard Pert asked for the right to respond. If “everyone is entitled to an opinion” then that must include the author, so I will let Richard take it from here:


Firstly I want to say “thank you” to the many readers who have shown support for my first book, which I have written on the Trompowsky. I put a lot of time into my analysis, and my efforts combined with the hard work of the Quality Chess team has, in my opinion, produced a book to be proud of.


Unfortunately there will always be people who like to criticize, and this time it’s the turn of Mr Martin Rieger. I don’t know who Mr Rieger is; I’ve never heard of him before, but since he has criticized my work I am keen to respond.


My book aims to provide a practical repertoire. Deep analysis is mostly saved for the critical lines, while new positions with a small advantage for White are talked about in more general terms. There will come a point in every game where you have to think for yourself, and my book focuses on what you need to know to get an advantage/promising position, rather than producing a 1000-page manual which is impossible to memorize.


I will, in passing, point out that Mr Rieger makes no mention whatsoever of the numerous improvements I provided for White in several of the critical main lines. Instead he has picked out a handful of mostly non-critical lines, then added some of his own non-critical analysis and proceeded to rubbish my book. I don’t want to get into a slanging match with Mr Rieger and I can’t speak German, so I don’t know exactly what he is saying, although I can get the gist of it with an online translator.


I will respond to the two examples that Mr Rieger emphasizes the most in his analysis. His opening point concerns the following line:


1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 g5 4.e4 Nf6 5.e5 e6 6.Bg3 f4 7.Bd3 d5

7…Rg8 is the bolded main line in the book, but I mention 7…d5 in the notes.



Already I need to point out that 8.exf6 is my main line, supported by a game reference where White obtained a clear advantage. I mentioned the text move in passing, as I once played it in an online blitz game.


8…Ke7? was my opponent’s choice, but I mentioned the text as an improvement.

9.Bxf4 gxf4 10.Nh3

I used the symbol for ‘With attack.’ Here is where I cut off the analysis in the book, as we are already in a note to a note to a sideline. For some reason Mr Rieger now proceeds to extend the analysis for several more moves as follows.

10…c5 11.Nxf4 cxd4 12.c3

12.Bf7 is another possibility.

12…dxc3 13.Nxc3 Nc6 14.Bf7 Nxe5 15.Bxe6+ Kc7 16.0–0 Nc6



17.Qf3 d4 18.Rad1 a6 19.Bxc8 Qxc8 20.Ng6 is another dangerous line which Mr Rieger does not mention.

17…Nxd5 18.Nxd5+ Kb8 19.Bxc8 Qxc8

Mr Rieger finally ends his analysis, calling the position unclear, which is another way of saying White has an attack for the sacrificed material – exactly as I evaluated the position on move 10. The whole line is irrelevant as I gave 8.exf6 as my main line, but in any case White has genuine attacking chances here too, so I have no idea what kind of point Mr Rieger is trying to make here.


Let’s move on to another example.


1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 e6 3.e4 h6 4.Bxf6 Qxf6 5.c3 d5 6.Nd2 c5 7.Ngf3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.N2b3 Bxd4 10.Nxd4 dxe4 11.Nb5 Qe5 12.Nd6+ Ke7 13.Nc4 Qd5 14.Qc2 Nc6 15.Rd1 Qf5 16.Qa4 Qc5 17.b4


In the book I mentioned the line 17…Qg5? 18.b5 Ne5 19.Qb4+ and White wins. It is true that Mr Rieger’s suggestion keeps Black in the game, so let’s see where it leads.

18.Qc2 Qf5 19.Nd6 Qg6

19…Qg4 20.Nxe4 is better for White.


20.Nxb5 looks pretty unclear.

20…Qxe4+ 21.Nxe4

White has the more comfortable endgame. The knight has a great outpost on c5 and White can later look to undermine the black queenside with a2-a4 or a2-a3 and c3-c4. So okay, Mr Rieger has suggested a valid improvement for Black, but has he demonstrated White’s play to be incorrect in any way? To reach the final position Black needed to navigate a tricky middlegame with his king exposed in the centre, and even after doing everything correctly he still faces a slightly worse endgame. What more do you want from a practical repertoire book?

105 thoughts on ““Playing the Trompowsky” – IM Richard Pert responds to a critical review”

  1. Thanks for the post! Some buyers of the book (me included .-( ) could be confused about Mr. Rieger Blog and some chesspublishing forum opinions.
    Until now, (I’ve read only the first chapter) the book seems to me pretty good!

  2. I was mostly struck by the grotesquely self-important tone of the review. The first half of it seems to be mostly about himself, although an admittedly fictionalized version of him. I didn’t really look at the anaysis, as I won’t be playing the Trompowsky, but mr. Pert’s reply seems convincing on logical grounds alone.

  3. Like Alberto I was a little confused too , now I’m not ! Thanks for your post and, even, if some lines can be improved for W&B, I think we’ll see them in a QC newsletter. Now, I await impatiently my book !

  4. I have this book and it’s great – I’d recommend it to any Trompowsky player or those thinking of taking it up! Loads of interesting novelties and improvements in important lines, and I’m very grateful to Richard Pert for opening up his notebooks to the rest of us!

  5. For me the Trompowsky is fun to play, without being too theoretical, downright bad or leading to dead equal positions too often, which mr. Pert probably would translate as a practical repertoire.

    I don’t expect an advantage in every line (otherwise I wouldn’t play the Tromp), so it’s no surprise that black has equality in some lines, regardless of whether all these line are in the book or not. It’s That counts for me (which, of course, is a subjective point of view).

    From what I’ve read so far, this inspiring book perfectly reflects my philosophy behind playing this opening and this book could well become one of my favourites. Congratulations with this book!

  6. It’s not Rieger’s blog. The site belongs to GM Hickl. He ran a pretty good but commercially unsuccessful print mag with the same name. The quality of the blog posts is a bit uneven. Some authors write great stuff, others not really.

  7. I deleted one comment above that turned into personal abuse of the reviewer. This is a debate about the merits of a chess book – not an invitation to an internet punch-up.

  8. Hello John Shaw,

    guess it was my comment, that you found too harsh – and as it is your website it´s o.k. for me .
    But it was neither intended as personal abuse nor was it an invitation for an internet punch- up.
    I only wanted to point out that such kind of review is unqualified, presumptuous and harmful.
    As some other comments state, such reviews can influence potential buyers and therefore ruin the hard work of authors. And that´s not o.k.
    Especially if one takes into account, that a player of Martin Riegers strength is hardly capable of evaluating the book within a few days.

    Gladfully Richard Pert got the chance to respond.

    Congrats on the book, Richard

  9. I have seen previous reviews from Mr Rieger and although not always positive, in general I have felt that he has fokused on reasonable points.

    Now, we do not always get everything right and the fact that I agree with Richard that the factual criticism in this review was poorly founded, does not in any way take away from the fact that it was an honest mistake and that attacking Mr Rieger is not what we are about and not something we endorse og like.

    Though we are very grateful for the support we will have to ask you to keep it factual chaps. It is much more powerful anyway :-).

  10. @Jacob Aagaard

    Well chapter 9, line D2) of this book ( page 183) seems like easy way out to me. As an example he doesnt mention the variations of Aveskulov “Attack with Black.” And the variation starting from 10. h3 to 18.Nc3 is just to easy going. Anyone can find improvement along the way. Even after 18.Nc3! there is 18…0-0-0 wich goes unmentioned.

    Maybe its just chapter 9 I dont know.


    Out of topic…

    Jacob, what do you think about Hellsten’s training books Mastering Opening Strategy, Mastering Chess Strategy and upcoming Mastering Endgame Strategy.

    I worked through first one and I found it excellent!

  12. IM Pert – just wanted to say your comments about the book and the review were very professional and compelling (although I didnt read the review, so what do I know). Anyway, congrats on the book.

  13. Master McGrath

    Regarding qualifications to be a reviewer: I’d have though the key issue is how many books he buys and whether he’s representative of the intended readership. Is his rating too low to represent a typical reader? That seems hard to believe.

    The problem with the review (for me) was that the reviewer seems to have a narrow view of what an opening book should be. He gave Kotronias’s book a rave review, so he seems to like the comprehensive, detailed style. Fair enough but it’s way too rigid to require that of all books. Especially as the book’s description doesn’t promise anything like that.

  14. Can’t wait for my review copy to arrive. It’ll make for a nice contrast with Nessie, I think. Both (along with the Kotronias) were on prominent display at the US Open bookstall.

  15. Just-a-Kibitzer

    Hi there,
    I’ve been following the blog for quite a long time. Finally I have to comment myself on this specific topic:

    (Personal stuff removed by John)… Anyways, back to the topic:

    The book seems quite interesting in the sense that it contains some new, refreshing ideas. That is all a Tromp player should ask for simply because there won’t be any chance of an advantage anyway in this opening. So we amateurs – for whome the book was intended, i suppose – may use it as a basis and go on with deeper analysis if we wish.

    What Mr. Rieger regularly does – as far as I can see; this is an opinion – is just check a few lines that seem interesting to him by switching on the comp. Surprisingly he found a line that is not cleary won. What to say…

    Still I am happier about such types of review than about what he used to do earlier: Just generally praise books seemingly without any deeper look, ending up with the phrase “this great book is surely needed by anyone 1200-2200”.

  16. @Terje Karlsen
    On the positive side there are several promising chapters as well 🙂

    Especially the anti dutch, the 1.d4-d5 2.Bg5 chapter, and also the murky 1.d4-Nf6 2.Bg5-c5 3.Nc3!?. Inspiring!

    Further the first chapter with : 1.d4-Nf6 2.Bg5-e6 3.e4 seems like a good try suddenly. Although I think 3.Nd2!? might even be better as a practical weapon.

    I didnt get there quite yet.

    So I just got up with the first foot in the wrong chapter I guess, and kind of sorry. I totally agree with the comment of JRF above. But still, not to mention the variations of Aveskulov seems a bit sloppy.

    All the best

  17. @Just-a-Kibitzer

    Hi Just-a-Kibitzer,

    Welcome, but you will note I removed a sentence you wrote that sounded to me like a personal accusation against a reviewer. I don’t like editing comments, and do so very rarely – when I do remove part of a comment I will always mention it in the comment.

  18. Master McGrath :
    Regarding qualifications to be a reviewer: I’d have though the key issue is how many books he buys and whether he’s representative of the intended readership. Is his rating too low to represent a typical reader? That seems hard to believe.

    The review sample was provided by Niggemann, as expected. I think in return Niggemann usually gets permission to use the review text in his shop, with correct credit. At least I think their shop is full of reviews by Mr Rieger.

  19. I picked up the book at the US Open last week, and I have “browsed” the entire book, and am just starting to read it in detail.

    Being a big fan of the Queen’s Gambit and Catalan from both sides, I don’t see myself ever using the final chapter (at least as White that is), but I have had some issues with various Indian Defenses, and could easily see using it as an added weapon against 1…Nf6 and the Dutch. That said, the section on 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 f6 is really intriguing and I might actually get some use out of that playing Black!

    I don’t know German at all, so I couldn’t tell you one bit about what that review is saying, but this book I can assure you is far superior to the book by Gallagher (late 90s) or Davies (mid 00s), where lines are cut off far earlier in the analysis.

    The other thing to keep in mind is the author has played the opening for the last 15+ years. He may be an IM with one GM norm rather than an actual GM, but his own personal experience in the opening needs to be weighed in.

    Many GMs write books on openings they never play. Lebron James is “supposedly” the top active professional basketball player today. David Carr is a second string backup Quarterback to Eli Manning for the New York Giants. If you were looking for a coach for your son on how to throw a football because he wants to be a Quarterback in highschool, do you want Lebron James over David Carr simply because he one of those “top dogs” in professional sports? Point being, I’d rather read a book by an IM that actually plays what he’s writing about over some hot rod GM writing about an opening he or she has never played in their life just to make some extra cash!

    Richard, keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your book in detail!

  20. Shurlock Ventriloquist

    ‘You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.’

    ~ Winston Churchill


    I purchased the Tromp book to have a look mainly from the black side playing against it but there were so many decent ideas in there for white I have decided to give it a few punts and have been enjoying the positions and play that result from Pert’s suggestions.

    As for Nessie, there are so many ideas in that book, i would be suspicious that any hastily cranked out review has an agenda aside from an actual review, so I look forward to the brave hero who tries to review it accurately and in modern context.

    To the entire Quality Chess team, most of us realize that not every Picasso is Guernica. Thanks for the continued efforts to publish the very best in chess literature.

  21. This post by Mr Pert is not a good answer to Mr Rieger. Some/many sentences are useless and irrelevant to what Rieger says, I don’t like the tone in several places, he “forgets”, volontary or not we don’t know, some remarks and lines etc.

    In this answer Mr Pert falls to really respond to Mr Rieger.

    I don’t say who is right and who is wrong, neither who makes the better analysis, this is not my purpose here and I will not detail, too many things to say, but some words by Mr Pert made me jump… Also, at least in one place, Mr Pert makes to say to Rieger what this one doesn’t say but probably just what he (Mr Pert) thinks and wants to heard. And this answer responds even not to all the Rieger lines..

    No, really, for me this answer is not a good one. Sorry. 🙁

  22. At the risk of making myself unpopular on this blog I must say that in my view Mr Pert’s response is much more unfair and much less convincing than the review he refers to. Mr Pert doesn’t speak German and thus doesn’t really understand what Mr Rieger wrote. How can you respond to something you don’t understand? Relying on an online translation is hardly sufficient. Moreover, Mr Pert doesn’t know the reviewer at all, yet he assumes that he is someone who “likes to criticize”. How can he know?
    I’m not saying the review was brilliant but the reviewer gave a series of reasons why the book didn’t convince him. Mr Pert now randomly picks two minor elements from the review and concludes that the whole thing can’t be taken seriously. How fair is that?

    Disclaimer: I occasionally write for the same blog as Mr Rieger but don’t know him personally and have no particular ties to him.

  23. Dear chessfriends, I am a german chess-fan & am a fan of Quality Chess too 🙂 Short time after a new QC book is available, I love to read the reviews on niggemann.com, because their reviewer are doing their job with love to the game. With a special interest for offbeat-openings I was very interested to read the very first review. Mr.Rieger has written – in my point of view – one of the very best reviews I have ever seen. The reason is simple: I have never enjoyed a review like this, in which the writer is so entertaining to create a fantastic story around his chess critics. With the eyes of a literature fan it was a great show 🙂 but on the other hand I was pretty sure, that Mr. Rieger has long waited for the chance to use his “script” for a book with an dubious content … “The Tromp”:)

    This said, I only ask you all to see in his review what it really is: a “scripted critic”, in which the “fantastic story” was holding the lead, and the chess-content was pretty unimportant 🙂

    Best wishes from germany!

  24. guys,

    the review given by Herr Rieger is of course nice to read if you understand German; Some of his points made are valid – and the response of the author is also very interesting – it is very british that he is not openly taking an insult by this review. After looking at the blog for several days I think one aspect is missing in the discussion.

    There is one fundamental misunderstanding from the reviewer IMO. Any opening book will not bring the fundamental truth about any opening (fortunately). It reflects ideas of the author, his personal view. Same goes for scientific publications. With this stimulus for the following discussion the whole idea will get more concrete and more specific. enjoy.

    The idea of a faultless publication is a fairy tale. So any opening book serves as food for thought, get your own idea on the topic. Herr Rieger was stimulated to analyse some lines – instead of thanking the author for this he is cursing him :-)). I don´t get that point (as I did not get that point with a review of him of a Grünfeld book by Jelena Dembo. The book itself was not fully convincing, but the IDEAS based on the Zeitlin school in it were very interesting to me since I learned on the idea of dynamics).

    What I try to say is that some lines given by Avrukh in his d4 books which he gave += were looking = to me – but I enjoyed the process of UNDERSTANDING keeping in mind that a GM of such an extraordinary level has a different view on it which can´t be shaken by an engine assessment.

    The real value of the book was that I had to rethink my personal view on the concrete position. Same goes for the Tarrasch defence book, were some positions given = are not equal from my very personal (and most probably faulty) perspective. Suma sumarum I benefited very much from reading, and do not regret a minute of time spent.

    I respect any author getting out with a personal view on an opening, given the fact that the guy spends a lot of lifetime on the subject. And this is exactly what I miss with the review – a positive view on things. Any body reading an opening book looking for a clear advantage for white should play “Mensch ärgere dich nicht” and study the available literature there, but not chess ;-)).

    When I was a boy my trainer told me the proverb of Petrosian – “If I analyse white its always =, if I analyse black its always +=”. He also recommended Tarrasch Defense to me with the russian word for “very poisoned” in the recommendation. I played it with very good results, because I was a believer ;-)).

    So keep publishing INTERESTING and STIMULATING books. And take reviews as a stimulation to. The sad thing is that such a review might have the effect that the author will not get the monetary compensation for his effort – therefore I don´t like the style and content of the review very much , since any opinion stemming from some analyses done in just some hours are used to spoil the work of month – I can´t understand such an attitude by a reviewer since it seems to be nihilistic to me.

    hope you got it, my English is contaminated by German grammar :-).


  25. Grimms Märchenstunde, ein persönlicher Nachtrag

    Vor einigen Tagen schrieb ich eine Rezension zu dem Buch „Playing the Trompowsky“ von IM Richard Pert. Ich habe dort anhand einiger exemplarischer Varianten aus dem Buch gezeigt, dass meiner Meinung nach dem Autor dort einige Fehler unterlaufen sind. Also habe ich das Buch negativ bewertet weil ich glaube, dass gerade bei einem Eröffnungsbuch der Schwerpunkt auf die Korrektheit einzelner Varianten liegt. Was taugt ein Eröffnungsbuch wenn ich den Analysen nicht trauen kann, beziehungsweise wenn ich im schlimmsten Fall vielleicht sogar in einer schlechten Stellung lande? Mein Anliegen war niemals ein persönlicher Angriff auf den Autor oder eine Herabwürdigung seiner Arbeit. Sollte dies den Eindruck erweckt haben, möchte ich mich natürlich dafür entschuldigen! Mir ist selbstverständlich klar, dass man gekränkt und/oder sauer ist wenn man negative Kritik zu lesen bekommt über das eigene Werk.
    Aber…meine Aufgabe als Rezensent ist das gerechte, objektive ausgewogene Bewerten. Ich bewerte Bücher immer aus der Sicht des zahlenden Kunden, nicht aus der Sichtweise des Autors oder des Verlages. Als ich zum Beispiel damals das neue Chessbase 10 negativ bewertete…war ich bei Chessbase ab sofort eine „Persona non grata“. Darauf kann und darf ich aber keine Rücksicht nehmen, alles andere wäre unglaubwürdig.
    Wie sagte doch ein kluger Kopf: Es ist fast unmöglich, die Fackel der Wahrheit durch ein Gedränge zu tragen, ohne jemanden den Bart zu versengen…
    Auf der anderen Seite wurde mir bisweilen vorgeworfen, ich sei bei meinen Beurteilungen zu „weich“, lobe zu viel und gebe zu wenig Kritik. Wie man sieht, eigentlich kann man es niemanden recht machen! Im Übrigen schreibe ich die Rezensionen in meiner knappen Freizeit (ich bin berufstätig und nebenbei habe ich auch noch 3 Kinder), es ist also ein Hobby von mir, ich habe davon keinerlei finanziellen Gewinn.
    Aber zurück zu dem Buch:
    Als meine Besprechung veröffentlicht wurde, musste ich mich persönlichen Anfeindungen, Lügen und einer Herabwürdigung meiner Person ausgerechnet im Blog des Quality Chess Verlages erwehren.
    Es wurde zum Beispiel behauptet, ich sei vom Herausgeber der Europa Rochade „rausgeschmissen“ worden! In Wahrheit schickte ich keine Rezensionen mehr an diese Zeitung weil der Herausgeber ohne meine Erlaubnis unter meinen Rezensionen nicht Schach Niggemann als Bezugsquelle angab sondern einfach einen anderen Schachhändler!
    Andere anonyme User stellten meine Kompetenz in Frage und machten sich über mich lustig. Ich bin kein Titelträger, das ist klar, aber wie man bei uns in Bayern so schön sagt „auf der Brennsuppen“ bin ich deshalb auch nicht daher geschwommen. Ich selbst bezeichne mich als Hobbyschachspieler mit jetzt beinahe 30 Jahren Turnierschacherfahrung .Meine ELO beträgt aktuell 2147 und meine DWZ 2010, das bedeutet, ich bin mit meiner Zahl besser als 95% aller organisierten Vereinsspieler in Deutschland.
    Außerdem schreibe ich jetzt seit gut 7 Jahren Rezensionen und glaube schon behaupten zu können, mich in Sachen Schachbücher ein wenig auszukennen.
    Sollte dies nicht reichen als Qualifikation zum Besprechen von Schachbüchern?
    Auf mein Bestreben hin wurden von GM John Shaw und GM Jacob Aagaard diese beleidigenden und herabwürdigenden Kommentare im Quality Chess Blog größtenteils gelöscht. Dafür noch einmal mein Dank an dieser Stelle!
    Der Autor des Buches, IM Richard Pert antwortete öffentlich auf meine Kritik und griff 2 Varianten auf, die ich unter anderem kritisierte. Auf die anderen Abspiele, die ich auch in meiner Kritik erwähnte, ging der Autor leider nicht ein. Mittlerweile habe ich in verschiedenen in- und ausländischen Schachforen noch mehr Varianten aus dem Buch gesehen die einfach so wie im Buch definitiv nicht funktionieren.
    Wie gesagt, das ist kein Angriff auf den Autor sondern nur eine Klarstellung, was ich (und auch andere) in dem Buch gesehen habe. Für meinen Geschmack sind die Varianten und Abspiele ganz einfach nicht gründlich recherchiert. Wir sprechen hier auch nicht von 1-2 Varianten sondern einer ganzen Handvoll. Als Gegenzug dazu habe ich in dem Buch von Kotronias (Königsindisch) auch nach tagelangem Stöbern mit diversen Engines keinen Fehler entdeckt!
    Soviel zu dem Vorwurf des Autors dazu, ich „kritisere wohl sehr gerne“.
    Ja was denn jetzt? Sanfter Weichspülkritiker oder bissiger Haudraufkritiker?
    Ich entschuldige mich dafür, wenn ich mit meiner Kritik einigen Leuten auf die Füße getreten bin.
    Trotzdem werde ich auch zukünftig meine Rezensionen so schreiben, wie ich sie vor mir selbst verantworten kann ohne Rücksicht auf Interessen jeglicher Art Anderer.
    Ich hoffe, ich konnte meinen Standpunkt noch einmal klarstellen und bitte darum, bei zukünftigen Rezensionen auf das Buch, bzw. die dazugehörige Kritik Stellung zu nehmen und nicht auf meine Person.

    Martin Rieger, 10.August 2013

  26. I am not sure what is lost of the chess moved in a google translate. I will not go into the general discussion too much, as I would just be seen as siding with Richard and think parts of the review was unfair.

    In general I am not disturbed that one reviewer (or more perhaps) think that one of our books is not a masterpiece, deeply offensive as it might seem :-).

  27. @Jacob Aagaard

    Qualitychess publish their book in english.The customers ask the Qualitychess team in english. Qualitychess team answer their costumers in english. Then is it too much to ask of Riegler Martin to express his ideas and thoughts in english?

    I mean, whats next? Suddenly we have a lot of chinese language here.. 🙂

  28. @Andre
    We have a sensible deal with Niggemann that they get 15-30 books to send out to local reviewers. They get to use the reviews, we get our books reviewed and the reviewers get books. Some reviewers in Germany do not want to have their reviews on Niggemann’s site, so we send them out from here (more expensive). So, the books are provided by us and the postage and logistics by Niggemann, for which we are grateful.

  29. @just a thought
    The debate we have here and the spread of the review has made the book a bit controversial, which never seems to hurt sales. All in all, a big topic usually beats a great book, sad as it is. For example: our best book for ages, the Open Spanish by Mihailevsky, is quite far from being our best seller. Probably it is our best opening book for 2-3 years.

  30. If anyone wants to translate Mr. Rieger’s contribution, I would be very happy. My German is not strong enough.


    Jacob Aagaard :
    @just a thought
    …our best book for ages, the Open Spanish by Mihailevsky, is quite far from being our best seller. Probably it is our best opening book for 2-3 years.

    That’s good news cause I bought and hope to include Open Spanish in my Black repertoire. But what I don’t get it is the statement about being your best books. How come and according to which parameters? I’m happy but very curious!

  32. A slight digression but perhaps very slight. Did anyone get the impression that Delchev’s Reti book takes too many shots at Marin’s analysis? It seems he finds a refutation of a line in Marin’s English trilogy on every other page.

  33. Jacob Aagaard :
    We have a sensible deal with Niggemann that they get 15-30 books to send out to local reviewers. They get to use the reviews, we get our books reviewed and the reviewers get books. Some reviewers in Germany do not want to have their reviews on Niggemann’s site, so we send them out from here (more expensive). So, the books are provided by us and the postage and logistics by Niggemann, for which we are grateful.

    I thought so. Pretty normal deal in which everybody wins – if the reviewer likes the book. 🙂

  34. Mr Rieger posted two more reviews.
    King’s Indian (Aug 3rd)
    Very positive.

    King’s Gambit (new)
    Also quite positive, although it doesn’t always sound like that with Google Translate.
    Here’s a part of the conclusion. Edited Google translation. Not exactly elegant, but it should be readable.
    “And here we are again at the point that I mentioned earlier: The book is a monster.

    A monster that kills when a you are not careful! But if You know how to tameit, it eats out of your hand. I mean, everyone who buys the book, must find his own way with it. In the positive and negative sense.

    The Kings Gambit is a masterpiece despite the points raised and deserves to be. Rarely has there been such a massive compilation.

    The best benefit is drawn from the book by letting it inspire you to work and even research! It is miles away from spoon-feeding the reader feel good recipes. It invites students to think, somewhere to discover something new and ultimately to see this as the opening of what it actually is: a great adventure!”

  35. @Jacob Aagaard
    Maybe it also has to do with the opening being covered? Maybe the Open Spanish is not that popular compared to e.g. the Tromp, especially at the lower rating range? I agree by the way that Mikhalevski’s book (which I own even though I don’t play it, so I tried to boost your sales of it :-)) is a very good book. I played the Open Spanish in the past (over 10 years ago) but hardly ever got the chance to play it, since 50% of my opponents didn’t play 3.Bb5, and of the other half the vast majority played things like the Exchange and the Worrall ‘Attack’. So I just decided it’s not a very practical opening choice on my level and switched to the French.

  36. @John Johnson
    He was a bit out to get him, yes. We take that as a compliment rather than a problem with Marin’s books, which were good enough to inspire Kramnik, Anand and assist McShane to beat Carlsen…

  37. The problem with Mr. Riegers Review aren’t the variations. It’s something completely different. I’m really sorry I have to. Everyone can see, Mr. Rieger tried something with this review, but…

    Imagine someone who read Nestroy, let’s say “Einen Jux will er sich machen”…
    That’s the problem Austrians have with the Germans: they don’t get it! 😉 🙂

  38. I never thought anything was amiss with Marin’s books either. But I definitely thought there was a level of, at least, oneupsmanship on Delchev’s part. There was nothing definitely ad hominem on the surface, but there was a distinct thread of wanting to show up Marin imo.

  39. I am really shocked because of all the insulting and personally attacking posts against Mr. Rieger!
    Let me get one thing quite clear: this man wrote a negative review about a chessbook! that’s the crime he committed! nothing more! and yes, he maybe over the the top at some point, but he has some very valid points, most contributors in this blog seem to ignore (maybe because they don’t speak german).

    And concerning the book itself:
    positive: it is great in parts, with in-depth analysis of lots of critical lines, lots of improvements, an entertaining writing-style and lots of the authors’ personal experience. A labour of love, clearly, but…

    negative: But other parts are shallow at best. You only have to take a look at several chess forums to realize that some relevant stuff is simply not covered (Aveskulov for example) and some very easy-to-find significant improvements (meaning change in evaluation of at least 1 pawn) where you have to switch on your engine for a couple of seconds only are not mentioned (the line given above by Rieger for example).
    It is true that these are mainly sidelines, but yes, Rieger is right: This happens so often that ist is either purpose or simply sloppy analysis.

    So my conclusion about this book is very ambivalent: it is certainly a must-have for Trompowsky players, but one with very strong AND very(!!) bad parts. Certainly not at the usual Quality chess standards, but nonetheless very useful.

  40. @PioLeiva
    Thank you for coming with your informed point of view.

    I agree that attacks on Mr Rieger are unacceptable and we have removed them where they were in appropriate, as well as talked to Mr Rieger in private to make sure that he will not feel that this is our opinion.

    Regarding the Aveskulov book. We try to cover everything always, but sometimes we fail to do so. We have this book, but apparently the editor did not notice that it should have been checked. We will do so in an update (NIKOS!).

    I think what Richard found was unfair was that every move was treated as if it was a recommendation, which is certainly not the case. The book has a lot of illustrative games and ideas, which are not analysed in depth. Nor are they meant to be. Chess is after all something we do for our entertainment, so looking at this for fun is not misplaced.

  41. @ Jacob

    Well Jacob, as you told us above, you won’t panic if someone does not consider this book to be a masterpiece.

    So is there any problem if people put their finger on the flaws, bigger and smaller ones? You do not have to justify your actions…some books are better than others, that’s life!

    The Aveskulov is nothing more as an example, in well known chess forums their are lots of other easy-to-find improvements.

    Maybe I am just a little sad because this book would have been much better if the author had checked the sidelines as thoroughly as the mainlines.
    Especially in the 2….c5 lines and the 2…Ne4 3. Bf4 c5 lines there is really great stuff to be found in Perts’ book.
    This uneven coverage is obvious if you check the lines thouroughly. For example I was not able to come up with significant improvements for black in the above mentioned mainlines, but with a ton of improvements in other lines. My strength is only about 2200 Elo. I am sure, if I can find these lines easily, so could Mr Pert, considering the creative and impressive effort he has put in some lines.

    If there is only one suggestion at a very early stage of the game, I will take it as a recommendation in a repertoire book, as most people will. And if obvious improvements (engine!) or even known variations (existing material!) for black are not covered and the , it leaves the reader with a very bitter taste – even if this is unintended by the author.

    Well, but I am sure this will be one of your bestsellers, as people were waiting for so long to have a decent book on the Trompowsky…

    Maybe your updates can close some of the gaps, that would be great indeed. And I am sure that Mr Pert will become a very good chess author if he does not take all the critics personally – if you listen to your customers, you will gain a lot in the long run. Most people don’t critisize because they want to, but because they miss something. And if there are lots of people complaining about the same thing, you can be sure you can improve something…

    Wish you the best,


  42. Some books like GM rep. promise more detail don’t they? Playing the Trompowsky is anyway meant to be in a slightly lighter format I think. What do people by the way expect? Ok we all do expect Quality from Quality Chess after all. But what cost would an opening book create if it ought to be perfect?

  43. to PioLeiva

    I couldnt agree with your more on these two posts of yours. I really feel the same about the book the way you express. I also tried to mention the lack of Aveskulovs variations from “Attack with Black”, just to find Aagaard mocking me in a later post because of a (minor) language misunderstanding from my part.

    I really think the book is great in some parts. But its also very shallow, as you say, in others.

    Hope to se you here again.

    All the best


  44. I think we’re talking about the book “Playing the Trompowsky”, and not the 12-volume “Each possible move in the Trompovsky”. There are some sidelines that are covered in more detail in other’s works? Really! What a surprise!

    And about Mr. Rieger: He didn’t simply write a negative review. His title “Grimms Märchenstunde” suggests that not a word of truth can be found in the book.
    At first that’s insulting. At second Mr. Rieger simply lacks the qualification to write such strong words about a chess book.

  45. Thomas :
    At second Mr. Rieger simply lacks the qualification to write such strong words about a chess book.

    he’s only qualified to write positive reviews?

  46. tony :

    Thomas :
    At second Mr. Rieger simply lacks the qualification to write such strong words about a chess book.

    he’s only qualified to write positive reviews?

    Did I say that? No.


    tony :

    he’s only qualified to write positive reviews?

    Don’t worry Tony, I don’t give a damn for those reviewers. For me only Carsten Hansen from checkpoint counts 🙂


    tony :

    he’s only qualified to write positive reviews?

    he should be qualified to give some information in his reviews. his review on “Kotronias on the King’s Indian Fianchetto Systems” is also useless for me.
    i miss the days when reviewers dealed with openings more keen. they loved the opening they wrote about, talked about their own expierence with it, compared the book with predecessors, for example Peter Wells book, etc.
    today is much more easy. you buy a book, start your engine. either you make it your new bible or condemn it based on the result of your “analyses”. you don’t have to know anything about the opening.
    why read books like “Petrosian’s Legacy”? you could learn something about published opening lines… makes life more difficult.
    you can get useful information even from the worst opening books – you only have to think for yourself.

  49. Dear all

    It’s impossible to write the perfect book. I remember when I wrote a book on Beating the Caro Kan, a long time ago, it was accepted with enthusiasm, but I guess today half of the lines included in it are refuted.

    Regarding Pert’s book:
    I think it’s a good one, offering interesting ideas and containing a lot of correct analysis in critical lines. That is a reader’s opinion though, not a reviewer’s.

    Regarding my book:

    I want to thank mr Rieger for his kind words on my work. To be honest, once I got a copy of my book I started reading it, and I mean reading, not checking with engines.

    After turning the pages for several days, I noticed an error of analysis in Chapter 30, page 513, line B221) 15.Be3

    ( Arising after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nf3 d6 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.e4 c6 9.Qc2 exd4 10.Nxd4 Re8 11.Rd1 Qc7 12.Bf4!? Ne5 13.b3 a614.b3 Bd7 )

    In spite of the fact that the continuation 11…Qc7 is not highly critical, but is rather included in the book for instructional reasons,I want to bring to the attention of the readers of this blog the right continuation:

    After 15. Be3 c5 16. Nde2 the right move is 16…Rad8!

    [ and not the suggested 16… b5? due to 17. cxb5! (I had only analysed 17.f4) Bxb5 (17… axb5 18. f4! is now bad for Black) 18. Nxb5 axb5 19. Nc3 planning a4 with a large plus for White due to the weakness of the b5 square]

    Play may proceed as follows:

    17. Bg5

    (17. f4 Nc6 is just unclear;17. Nf4 Bc6 18. a4 b6 is also ok for Black)

    17… Bc6 18. Nf4

    (18. Qd2 b5! 19. f4 Ned7 20. Qxd6 Qc8!21. Qd3 bxc4 is fine for Black who has ideas to press with …Qb7)

    18… Qb8! 19. Nfd5 Bxd5 20. exd5 h6 21. Bd2 Nh7!

    (21…b5 22. cxb5 axb5 23. a4! is better for White) 22. Kh1 (22. a4 Ng5!?; 22. Re1 b5 is now unclear)

    22… b5

    This position is quite acceptable for the second player.

    If I discover another error, which is not quite unlikely in such a large book, I will bring it to the attention of the blog’s followers.

    Kind Regards to all

    Vassilios Edmilson Kotronias


    Let’s face it! Quality Chess doesn’t produce high standards books per default. They have to earn the title of a top-notch boom. Latest Trompowsky book clearly emphases that. And this is good. In the future they will press harder in order not to lessen they reputation.

  51. There is another, more positive german review:

    “Aus einem ganz besonderen Grund beginne ich meine Rezension über “Playing the Trompowsky” von IM Richard Pert, vor wenigen Wochen bei Quality Chess erschienen, mit meinem Fazit: “Playing the Trompowsky” ist ein gelungenes Werk, das ich zum Kauf empfehlen kann. Es bietet eine breite Übersicht über die Theorie zum Trompowsky-Angriff, strukturiert das Material sehr gut und enthält eine Reihe von Neuerungen. Ergänzend zur Titeleröffnung enthält das Buch theoretische Ausführungen zu 2.Lg5 gegen Holländisch (1.d4 f5 2.Lg5) sowie zum Läuferspiel (“Pseudo-Trompowsky”, 1.d4 d5 2.Lg5)….”



    ### GM Repertoire for Black – Slav Defence ###


    Once you emphasized that you have very good business and authorial cooperation with Chess Stars team. I wondered how come that you didn’t hire such respectable author as GM Konstantin Sakaev for writing a Slav repertoire.

    Now he launched two vol’s for Naiditsch’s publishing house.

    Perhaps someone asked before, but could you mention one more time who will write GM rep’s for Black in Queen’s Gambit Declined and Slav. Those openings are evergreen, from Steinitz to Topalov 🙂

    Don’t let us down, we “love” you and Quality Chess books even more 🙂

    You cannot win everyone over all the time, but I know strong players (2600s) who felt that this book was not bad at all. Maybe it is a bit uneven and it is easier than usual to find flaws, but with about 20 books coming out each year, we have to allow the author to be the writer and only support him. For Richard this is his first book and I feel that it is quite a lot better than my own two first books, so if parts of it was below the level you get from Marin or Avrukh I think this is acceptable?

    So the critique has not really influenced my own positive feelings towards this book.

    We are very good friends with Arkadij as well! And I talk from time to time with Mark Bicknell, owner of Everyman. John played for a team with Richard Palliser as team captain and we have stuff in the magazine he edits almost monthly. I am close friends with people from ChessBase an have previously tested the program for free before launch. Dirk Jan from NIC is a good friend and fellow rap enthusiast. We distribute Mongoose books in Europe and will be on Forward Chess (once we get the conversation process nailed down), which is owned by Leonid from Mongoose.

    And so on. The industry is not hostile, though obviously it is competitive.

    Now about Sakaev: he clearly knows Arkadij and they worked out their project. I have not seen the second book, but I hope it is better than the first, which I found rather disappointing. Maybe the absence of an editor was a bit too much. Even experienced author’s like me like to have an editor. The only one who does not need one is John…

    The author of the Slav book says he might finish it within 60 days. When we have a cover, maybe we will put it on the website; probably this is the right way to announce it?

  55. @Jacob Aagaard
    I agree the Sakaev book could have had better editing, but imo it contained some interesting novelties. By the way, great news to hear that we can expect a book on the Slav so soon!


    Ed :
    The author of the Slav book is Boris Avrukh, isn’t it? I look forward!

    Hey folks, something is wrong with your memory! Just look at Quality Catalogue 2013 🙂

    Jacob was sneaky enough to change the cover – previously it was Pert’s name… but now the master entered the room…

    Cover: Grandmaster Repertoire – Classical Slav by Boris Avrukh !!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    My hardcover, my precious hardcover. It’s mine!!!!!

  57. @Jacob Aagaard
    Could be, but you said yourself that Avrukh was working on a new book. It could also be Mikhalevski, but he has never played the Slav, whereas Avrukh has (but not that often, admittedly).

  58. Gilchrist is a Legend

    They all play the Slav, but I am not sure according to which style. 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nc4 Nb6 is quite solid, it would be interesting if this were recommended instead of 7…Qc7. Likewise against 9. Qe2, the old line with 9…Bg6 or 9… Nbd7, 9. Nh4 Bg6.

  59. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I prefer 7…Qc7 and 11…g5. In my opinion this gives black the best chances for an equal game and the other options are inferior. At least it’s also the most excitiong option :-). Against the Dutch variation I like and playing …Nbd7 and …Bg6 (not …0-0), grabbing the e4-pawn and castling long.

  60. Gilchrist is a Legend

    It depends on how one plays the Slav, I suppose. I usually have one dynamic and one solid opening combination, for example, Najdorf then French for 1. e4, or Grünfeld and Slav. So I usually channel the more tactical choices to the more dynamic opening, and then the safer variations for solid openings. I try to play the Slav as solidly as possible, so 7…Nb6 like Sokolov suits this. But 7…Qc7 is more popular anyway. When I play the Slav I usually try to have a healthy pawn structure and try to equalise the game slowly. If I feel like playing tactically, usually Grünfeld (or perhaps now Benoni after GM12) is what I would play. It is similar to how I do not feel comfortable with the Winawer Poisoned Pawn in the French, since if I wanted that type of position, I would have played the Najdorf instead.


    Gilchrist is a Legend :
    I usually have one dynamic and one solid opening combination, for example, Najdorf then French for 1. e4, or Grünfeld and Slav. So I usually channel the more tactical choices to the more dynamic opening, and then the safer variations for solid openings.

    I’ve chosen playing 1…e5 and French versus 1.e4, and Grunfeld and Tarrasch against 1.d4. But I look forward to Slav because Tarrasch could be risky if you forget the theory.

    Thx Gilchrist 🙂 Besides, what’s your Elo?

  62. @Ray
    There’s already Donaldson and Hansen’s “A Strategic Opening Repertoire” and Khalifman’s “Opening for Black According to Karpov”.


    ### paper issue ###

    Publishers like Everyman followed your decision in choosing thinner, shiner and smother paper. I just received Hellsten’s new book with such paper. Obviously a good decision.

  64. I can’t see why this book got such a negative review- some really positive stuff in there as RP comments on Dembo’s anti-KID repertoire


    ### new brilliant idea 🙂 ###

    How about launching “Quality Chess Workbook for Masters” 🙂 ?

    This would be a halfway between Jussupow’s books and GM Preparation books, if we speak strictly about Quality chess book fans. But for other it could be an excellent training material which should combine all elements of chess like:

    – tactics;
    – strategy/positional play;
    – calculation;
    – attack & defence;
    – endgame play;
    – opening (strategy & tactics).

    Book format: 400 examples per every chapter = 2400 examples! Such books would be instant training masterpiece. And you could even sell it for 40 euros in hardcover only. Money doesn’t matters!

    Jacob, can you bite my bullet speeding at you 🙂

  66. The fianchetto system against the grunfeld IS boring for black. However, he can choose to make it less boring by playing something more interesting than a c6/d5 answer. For instance a system with an early b5 pawn sac would make things a lot less boring I presume. I also do not get very excited from the often symmetrical structures that arise. One way to play it is just to refrain from d5 and play d6 and e5 with a fianchetto king’s indian which could yield a less symmetrical setup.

  67. @Indra Polak
    You’re right I guess – on the other hand, I think it’s almost impossible to get exciting but sound positions all the time with black, against white players who are determined to play a ‘solid’ (read: boring) game. Maybe the best way to deal with this is to just be happy with your equal position and grind out a win in an endgame.

  68. I just got the book so I haven’t had time for a thorough analysis. However, I quite like it and it’s especially nice that he offers many paths for White.

    However, I do think White can’t prove an advantage in some lines and it would be nice if the recommendations of top engines and computer chess books (1337 book, HIARCS book) were taken into consideration. For example, in the 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 line, g3 is met with h5! and White has nothing. The reason is that Black can play Bg4 after White blocks with h4 and if White continues Ne2, go Bf3 totally disrupting development. If White opts for Bg2 rather than h4, Black can push. I think the simple h5, which I found in the HIARCS book makes g3 harmless.

    Still, overall it’s quite a nice book and perhaps future updates will patch up missing/quesitonable lines.

  69. Question on Playing the Trompowsky:
    On page 130 in line B32 (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3 Qa5+ 5.c3 Nf6 6.d5 Qb6 7.e4 Qxb2 8.Nd2 Qxc3 9.Bc7), “a personal favourite” of the author, he dismisses 9…g6 with the line 10.Rc1 Qe3+ 11.Ne2 Na6 12.Nc4 Qh6 13.Bf4 etc. However, black can play 11…d6!, which prevents a later Bf4. This has been played no less than 10 times in correspondence play, with a fairly horrible score for white. What does the author recommend in this line?

  70. Indeed i see that the author doesn’t mentions this possibility which indeed looks critical. After

    1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 Ne4 3. Bf4 c5 4. f3 Qa5+ 5. c3 Nf6 6. d5 Qb6 7. e4 Qxb2 8. Nd2 Qxc3 9. Bc7 g6 10. Rc1 Qe3+ 11. Ne2 d6

    it seems to me that following these corr games you mentioned with

    12. Nc4 Qh6 and now

    13. Qb3 (stopping …b5 and getting ready for …Ba5-Bd2!)

    seems like best play for White. I am not sure if i’d feel comfortable in a corr game, but definately in an OTB game i’d really like White’s chances! For example:


    (13… g5 which has been tried can be met by 14.Ne3 and Ng3 next taking control of f5)

    14. Ba5!?

    planning Bd2 doesn’t seem to be a bot akward for Black to face? Again, in a corr game dee analysis will probably show a god way for Black to play, but in a practical game the pressure looks fine for the price of two pawns!

  71. Hello,
    I have a question concerning the Tromp-book, I like it to learn playing this system,
    but in blitz I have recently problems with 1)d4 Nf6 2)Bg5 Ne4 3)Bf4 d5 4)e3 Nc6! with ideas like e5 oder g5 ! Is there anything better than Nd2 which seems rather lame?

    Thank you in advance,
    Greetings, keep the good work.

  72. I didn’t see any follow up on the discussion comparing Aveskulov’s response to
    the Trompovsky with Pert’s analysis. Has anyone compared the two?

  73. John :
    I didn’t see any follow up on the discussion comparing Aveskulov’s response to
    the Trompovsky with Pert’s analysis. Has anyone compared the two?

    I had a quick look and Aveskulov mentions a move Richard Pert does not cover, but it is not a move I think White should worry about.


    1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.e3 c5 5.Bd3 cxd4 6.exd4 Nc6 7.Bxe4 dxe4 8.Ne2 Qb6
    Richard did not mention this move.
    9.Nbc3 Bg4 10.0–0 Rd8 11.d5 e6
    “Unclear” is the verdict of Aveskulov, who stops here. Let’s try a couple of plausible moves:
    12.h3 Bh5 13.Qd2
    White has promising play, in my view. For example:
    (sure, at least half a dozen other moves are also possible).
    14.Qxe2 exd5 15.Rad1 Qc5 16.Qd2
    I believe White is a little better

  74. @Kotronias VE

    Dear Mr. Kotronias,

    I am a huge fan of your King’s Indian series and sincerely hope that you publish the rest of the King’s Indian repertoire in the near future!

    While I was reading your Fianchetto Systems book, I ran into a road block on page 598 after 18.b4 Ne6 when you said that Black’s position should be better than his position in Portisch-Stein. However, I am unable to find a satisfactory way for Black to continue after 19.f5!? Nf8 20.g4 because the f8 knight looks a little bit passively placed.

    If you could clarify my doubt, I would be very grateful!

    Thanks in advance!

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