Magnus Carlsen on Twitter


If you look very closely at the following image at Magnus Carlsen’s Twitter account, what do you see? Note the book on the top right. It’s blurry, but that’s the back cover of Learn from the Legends by Mihail Marin. The World Number 1 using Mihail’s work in his World Championship preparation. Of course.


You may have noted there was no training post from Jacob this week. Jacob is on holiday, so consider this week’s lesson to be that an occasional rest is healthy. But if you wish to solve the study in the picture at the link, it is White to play and win in the following position.

12 thoughts on “Magnus Carlsen on Twitter”


    1.Re4!! and we have the famous line when the Black king is being cornered on a1 by Whit king…

    But for all of you guys who don’t have superb Harold van der Heijden endgame study database (HHdbIV) ( here is the game and solution:

    (74001) Katsnelson=V Katsnelson=L – (+0100.14e2c5)
    3.sp.p Dvoretsky-60 JT Uralski Problemi, 2007


    1.Re4! [1.Rh8? Kc4 2.Rh1 Kc3 3.Ra1 Kb2; 1.Rxe3? Kb4 2.Kd2 a2 3.Re1 Ka3 4.c4 (4.Kc3 d5 5.Rd1 a4!) 4…Kb2 5.Ra1! d6! 6.Kd1 a4; 1.Re5+? Kb4! (1…d5? 2.Rxe3 Kb4 3.Kd3 a2 4.Re1 Ka3 5.c4! dxc4+ 6.Kc3) 2.Re4+ Kc3 3.Rxe3+ Kb4! (3…Kb2? 4.Rb3+!) ]

    1…Kb5 2.c4+ Kb4 [2…Kc5 3.Rxe3 Kb4 4.Kd2 a2 5.Re1 Kb3 6.c5! (6.Ra1? d6!) 6…Kb2 7.Ra1! a4 8.Kd1]

    3.c5+ Kc3 4.Rxe3+ [4.Ra4? Kb2]

    4…Kb2 5.Kd3! a2 [5…Kb1 6.Kc3]

    6.Re2+ [6.Re1? a1Q]

    6…Kb3 7.Re1 Kb2 8.Ra1! a4 [8…Kxa1 9.Kc2 d5 10.c6 d4 11.c7 d3+ 12.Kc1! d2+ 13.Kxd2 Kb2 14.c8Q a1Q 15.Qc3+! Ka2 16.Qxa5+ Kb1 17.Qf5+! Ka2 18.Qd5+ Kb2 19.Qb5+ Ka3 20.Qa5+ Kb2 21.Qb4+ Ka2 22.Kc2]

    9.Kd2 Kxa1 10.Kc1! [10.Kc2? d5! 11.c6 (11.cxd6 a3) 11…d4 12.c7 d3+ 13.Kxd3 Kb2! 14.c8Q a1Q]

    10…a3 [10…d5 11.c6]

    11.Kc2 d5 12.c6 d4 13.c7 d3+ 14.Kxd3 [14.Kc1 14…d2+ 15.Kxd2]

    14…Kb2 15.c8Q a1Q 16.Qc2#


  2. Beautiful study! It took me a couple of minutes to see the idea but more than an hour to make it work. I find calculating after work still challenging.

  3. Sigurbjorn Bjornsson

    Since Hammer is in Carlsen’s team and I sold Learn from the Legends to Hammer I claim that this very book on the picture was sold by me in Reykjavik, Iceland 🙂



    Are you being spied? You might ask how come?

    Well, let’s see. After publishing Schandorff’s “Playing 1.d4 – The Queen’s Gambit” and “Playing 1.d4 – The Indian Defences” we can see almost the same proposed repertoire in:

    1) Watson John: A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White
    2) Kaufman Larry: The Kaufman Repertoire for Black & White
    3) Kornev: A Practical White Repertoire with 1.d4 and 2.c4 volume 1

    What do they have in common? Well QGD Exchange, Russian system vs Grunfeld, 2.Bg5 vs Dutch, and so on.

    Also NIC announced book by Kaufman vs Grunfeld based on f3 variation, and Chess Stars also written by Dmitry Svetushkin.

    For readers like me this is certainly beneficial cause I can combine two books and get more general and specific information.

    I think lines have a tendency to trend. What I find amazing about Avrukh is how he was able to predict what was going to happen in the next 1-2 years after his book came out, rather than what was hot at the time.

    With the Schandorff book the lines were all chosen from a specific type of chess, built on space and aggression and not putting the bishop on g2. Apparently this was a popular approach.

    There are some publishers who have taken to copy others; especially Everyman. It is a bit sad that they cannot focus on the thing they do best, but also feel that they should do something second best to have a place. I guess at some point you can get tired of working in a sausage factory and look for some foreign spices :-).

    I don’t agree -I think there’s also quite some differences between these books. E.g. Watson advices 2.Nc3 against the Dutch and QGD exchange with Nf3 instead of Nge2 and in general proposes less critical, more positional lines. Kaufmann selects 4.Qc2 against the Nimzo instead of 4.e3, and 12.a4! against the Benko. Also, against 1…d6 Kaufmann’s recommendation (switching to the Pirc with 2.e4) is substantially different from Schandorff / Watson. Furthermore, Watson selects the rather timid (imo) 3.Nc3 and 4.e3 against the SLav / Semi-Slav, whereas Schandorff and Kaufmann go all out for the main lines. Kaufmann’s book is rather similar in the type of variations compared to Schandorff’s books, but I don’t think that’s surprising since both follow the same philosophy of playing aggressive main lines. There are not many main lines per opening to choose from, e.g. against the Nimzo it’s either 4.Qc2 or 4.e3 (here the writers differ), against the KID it’s either the Classical main line or the Saemisch (here they differ again), and against the Gruenfeld it’s either the Russian varaiation or the exchange. The latter is impractical imo in view of the mountain of theory, so it’s not strange that they both selected the Russian variation. As for the QGD, the exchange is both critical and much more practical than the old main lines, in which it is quite hard to prove anything for white against both the Lasker and the Tartakower, while there are also a number of other variations to learn (e.g. the very sharp Vienna). Against the Benoni white has a number of fairly similar options, and here all three writers selected another line. So, based on the facts, I don’t see any copying…


    # 🙂 # Regarding chess training # 🙂 #

    Do you agree with GM Andrei Istratescu with 10 “secret” obstacles on chess improving and reasons for stagnation:

    1) Too much play

    – too much play and too little study holds you back. You can repeat the same mistakes over and over. You will tend to follow your own old patterns and not have time to develop a different, correct thinking process, and to learn proper strategy and new ideas.
    – In this case, you should take a long break from playing and concentrate only on study for several months. You will make a significant improvement.

    2) Incomplete knowledge

    – an incomplete study of theory leaves you with weaknesses and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, there is no shortcut; a necessary task for serious improvement is to have COMPLETE knowledge of chess theory, of chess strategy. Then, you will know what TO DO in any situation on the chess board. It makes no sense to re-invent the wheel when there are full blueprints available.

    3) Too much training

    – The idea is to optimize your time for study.
    – Too much information on the same subject becomes superfluous.
    – Too many exercises of the same kind will only hold you back.
    – Too much theory without enough exercises or too many exercises without essential theory is also counterproductive.

    4) Disorganized study

    – Many lose a lot of time trying different methods, studying different materials – even if the individual lesson are good, the results of a piecemeal approach can be disappointing.
    Acquiring the right blend of chess knowledge is a delicate balance and therefore you should make a good plan from the start or follow a professional program of study and training.

    5) Quality of the lessons/books

    – What exactly a chess lesson teaches you makes a very big difference. Here, we have to give a concrete example.
    – the substance of the lessons, that is, their concreteness, what and how they teach, and how structured they are, all make a big difference.

    6) Passive learning

    – It might be enjoyable to browse through books, listen to videos, click through chess programs or talk in chess forums, but if you want to obtain the best possible results, you need to learn ACTIVELY.
    – When you study a chess lesson, you have to WORK on it, you have to ask yourself questions all the time-

    7) Exercises

    – Everybody knows that solving tactical exercises helps you develop your tactical force, but this is only a part of a complete training program.
    – Positional exercises are less recognized for their importance. However, these are even more important than the first!
    – And theory is not enough. We must train for chess strategy and solve POSITIONAL EXERCISES – this will train us for the game. Complete training means 50% theory and 50% individual work = exercise!

    8) The computer

    – If you want to improve at chess, you must train using the real board and not the computer!
    – when you do play chess over the board, you will come to realize that the positions look different than on the 2 dimensions of your screen.

    9) Rating, rating, rating

    – The continuous pursuit of rating is counterproductive – the beauty of chess will be left behind in the desire for a certain rating or category.
    – A player who wants to improve should concentrate only on understanding chess better and more deeply.

    10) Chess is hard

    – No, chess is NOT hard. Thinking that “chess is hard” is however a reason for stagnation.
    Chess is complex, indeed, but it is this complexity that makes it beautiful.
    – You have to think positively. Look at the beauty of this game, at the pleasure such a nice hobby brings, to the fact that it develops our thinking.

    In general yes. I think there are a few exaggerations and a problem with being so strong on “the right way” to learn chess. But clearly there is nothing in there which is deeply offensive or will hurt, while a lot will really help.

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