The experiment


I have small confession. I love my juicer. It is a Matstone Masticating juicer. It put me back about £150 five years back and has needed a few spare parts over the years. Maybe another £50.

Juicing is the process of extracting the liquid from vegetables and fruits. The hard ones. You cannot juice avocado, banana and berries. But cucumber, courgette, apples, pineapple, spinach, kale, ginger, lime, sugar snap peas, carrot and beetroot frequently get molested in my juicer. It takes brilliant and fresh and is full of micro nutrients.

The last 28 days I have been through a juice fast. I have done a few in the past, maybe 3-5 days, but this time I felt that I had gone to rather an unhealthy place during the writing of Endgame Play (long long hours and the feeling that it would never end). I needed to do something to get back on track.

I was sort of inspired by the timing of the free viewing of the documentary Super Juice Me and I did to some extent follow the program (the app is really the place to go), though I have been juicing for so long that I replaced most of the juices with my own preferences (what is left in the fridge?).

I knew that it would not be a big problem to follow the programme. 28 days for some reason seemed easier than 5.

The review

But I have to say that I would not recommend people who are in the same health situation as me to do a 28 day programme. I finished it because I had decided to finish it. But it was too long. Here is the narrative and you can easily see why I think this is not the optimal way to do things.

The first 4-5 days are a bit tough. Usually people get light headaches and feel moody. I did too. But once you are past this, when you stop craving the junk you were eating before, it is clean sailing. For a bit.

What happens next is that the body, because it has lowered digestion functions, has the time to release a lot of the toxins that were stored in fat cells (a big part of why people are overweight – calories exist, but they are not the God particle they have been presented to be by commercialised food). Weight loss is rapid in this period. About half a kilo/a pound a day. You can see it on the chart below.

But then at some point you reach a point where you stop losing weight quickly. All that is happening in this period is that you are restricting calories. At the same time you lose the “juice high” from the body clearing up and you start to need macro nutrients as well (calories! fat and so on). Yes, you can continue, but really all you are doing is existing on 1000-1200 calories a day for no other purpose than restricting calories. This is as far as I understand it, not a good idea. How it will affect me down the line is not clear at all. It could lead to uncontrollable cravings and for the body to think that it is living in scarcity and thus try to return to my previous weight (+ the obligatory 2-3 kg just to protect me).

One of the recommendations of the programme is not to weigh yourself at other times than the beginning and the end. I violated this entirely. I weighed myself every morning under the same conditions, to keep a record for you guys and to think about what I was actually doing to myself afterwards.

You will see that at a certain point I stopped having any significant benefits from the juice fast. Actually after 17 days, the period I have seen repeated various places for the ideal time to go on a water only fast (which I am not sure is for me!).JacobAagaardsJuiceFastWeightLoss

I started at 97.3kg, meaning I was close to being obese, with a BMI at 29.7. Today I am at 88.6kg, 8.7kg less. My BMI is at 27, which is closer to the healthy range of 18.5-25. (I know that BMI is wildly misleading and in the hands of an idiot worth nothing. But let us say that I am not wildly muscular and do have a bit of belly fat left…

So I lost 7kg (about 16 pounds) in the first 17 days. I barely lost 2 kg in the remaining 11 days. It sort of flatlined, despite lots of tennis, the first 5k run of the year and so on.

The most surprising is probably how much weight I have lost from my legs. Yes, I have lost about 4 inches around the waist (10 cm), but my legs look far more different than my belly.

My recommendation

First of all, do not start a juice fast without knowing anything about juicing. First learn to use the equipment. Have juices just to improve your health (and because they taste good!). Then try a juice only day – which you most likely will break in the evening the first time.

If you want to try this, I would recommend that you do 14 days of juice fast. Use the 28 day programme and the Jason Vale app. It is really a great support. But only do 14 days. Then eat fresh live foods and you will be in a much better place than where you started.

After 14 days you can decide if you want to do another week.

False starts are to be expected. This is a new pattern and the pattern of three meals a day has been installed since you were 1 year old. Do not feel like a failure. Just decide a new day to start (1-2 weeks down the line) and try again. It is like riding a bike; not easy in the beginning, but soon you will master it.

GET THE APP – it is excellent support.

Watch films and read books that motivates you while you are on the juice fast. This way the focus stays. This is probably the most important ingredient in making it.

A few sources

There are a few books I would generally recommend to read if you want to know more about healthy eating. There are also a few interesting films. I do not at all pretend to be an expert in this field, but I have spent a stupid amount of time learning about it over the least fifteen years. I do not believe that there is one clear truth, but I do believe that there are some clear indicators of results that are worth looking at.

The recommendation from Harvard University of Medicine is that you consume plant based foods. The recommendation of National Geographic in 2005 (if you want to live to 100, which most often means that you live actively in old age, which is what we really care about) was “go vegetarian”.

A complete turnaround from diabetes type 2 and obesity in 3-6 months is possible. It has been done so often it is ridiculous that people are told they have to inject insulin for the next 20-40 years, depending on when this disease kill them. But it is also good for big business of course; and we all know they pay for our doctors education…

The best book to read is probably The China Study. Colin T. Campbell, the author, is all over youtube. Here is a random talk that I will watch after writing this article.

I would also recommend a few other sources. The film FAT, SICk & NEARLY DEAD is available on Netflix in many countries and the best film I have seen on juicing. FOOD MATTERS and HUNGRY FOR CHANGE are also interesting. I watched some other documentaries on Netflix that were interesting, but of different quality.

I also would recommend SEXY CRAZY CANCER if you can get your hands on it. A friend of mine works in cancer research and told me that “there is no evidence that changing your life style after you get cancer affects your outcome. Only mental attitude matters.” I know he is the specialist in lab work, but I have come across so much material and so many people’s stories, that I choose to go with other scientists and doctors, who say the opposite. There is no magical cure for cancer, but health is about odds and you can improve your odds with a healthier life style. There is plenty of evidence; it just does not support any other business than the green grocer – and his advertisement budget is limited…

Another book I found highly interesting was THE PLEASURE TRAP. Again, I do not vouch for the content (no one really knows), but I like to hear different opinions than the moderation promoted to me by McDonalds and Nestle, companies I fear do not have my best interest at heart.

Another interesting source is Dr Ornish work. I think his mentality would appeal to many.


I am sure that the best thing you can do for your chess is to study the game. A person who spends four hours in the gym will not improve his chess as much as someone who spends four hours training his decision making. This is what my experience tells me. But as you have to eat anyway, does it not make sense to eat in a way that will help your concentration rather than sabotage it? There are endless variations of ways to eat, but for health, including brain health, eating your carbohydrates with fiber is essential. And most people do not do this.


I strong recommend everyone to watch SUGAR – THE BITTER TRUTH. It is a bit technical; but no matter where you want to stand on juicing and on the animal protein debate, you need to know this stuff.

All in all, I think people should do as they please and I will respect all their choices. I have just written this one post to give my opinion and results and say that for those who are curious; there is another way…

78 thoughts on “The experiment”

  1. Jacob Aagaard

    I should say that I will aim to put up some “before and after” photos as well as check in once a month to see how things are going. If I am at 100 kg. in two months time, probably no one wants to copy this :-).

  2. Interesting. I’ve completed a 7 days water fasting a couple of years ago. I would recommend it as a way of cleaning your body and to “get a new, good, start”.
    But as a way of loosing fat? No.
    Most sources I’ve come across says it’s a bad idea as you will soon be back to your normal weight again.

    Then again, 28 days of fasting is something quite different.

  3. (*Speaking about loosing weight)

    The only way to loose weight and stay fit in the long run is to eat well/moderately and exercise physically. So for me it’s all about having a good everyday routine of living

  4. Maybe it is stupid to comment on a topic when I have not read the links but what the heck.

    I agree with Jimmy that using fasting for cleaning your body sounds like a good idea but not to lose weight unless you change your eating habits, so that you perhaps 1 week each month use the “juice diet”. I think that most science suggests that diets will just have a yo-yo effect, so that the lost weight will return, even with some extra weight and this is far worse for your body than being overweight but having a constant weight. I don’t think very many people are successful with having a permanent weight loss from diets. That is, after 10 years they have not retained their low weight. If you really want to keep a weight loss, I think the best bet is to go vegetarian as suggested in the above or perhaps use the 5+2 diet where you 2 days a week eat very little. It is my impression that most people find that the latter is OK to keep…

  5. By the way, Jacob, thanks for sharing this stuff with us. I’m really impressed with your honesty 🙂

  6. Let’s just say that I’m happy you write chess books, not diet books 🙂

    The way I see it, you restricted your calories severely for a month and thus lost weight, in a way that’s not durable for most people, as they’ll go back to their old diets afterwards.

    “Cleaning out your body”? Toxins from fat cells… can you name a single one?

  7. Last year, I went from 123Kg to 70Kg in six months ( now i´m on 81 Kg, since november) , my chess still sucks but now i can see my feet :D. I made several blood analysis to be sure that nothing went wrong… I do a lot of cycling.

    Totally agree with @Jimmy.

    Good luck , I hope you can reach your goal ( and stay in those 82 Kg)

  8. Jacob Aagaard

    Let us define a diet. It is traditionally a restriction of calories, leading to weight loss. First law of thermodynamics. Thus moderation bla. bla. bla., common sense bla. bla. bla.

    And the world is flat. Common sense said this; until we found out that it was not.

    I have studied the body for way too long. It is in my nature to over-read and under-do.

    Yes, toxins in the body (mainly acid) is stored in fat cells. Biological fact.

    The calorie in-calorie out kindergarden understanding of biochemistry works well if you are a fast food company trying to say that your food does not make people sick.

    The reason this is not a restriction of calories is easy to prove. I lost 8.7 kg. Let us say that 2kg was from my intestines. So 6.7 kg = roughly 15lbs = roughly 52,500 calories.

    I was not that active in these 28 days. Maybe a bit more than before, but nothing out of the ordinary.

    My caloric intake was about 2000 calories a day, at least. At least. My outgoing maybe 2750 or thereabouts, following standard scales.

    So I have been about 21,000 calories underfed at the most. Or 6 lbs. 9lbs is still unaccounted for.

    It is obvious that I will put the weight back on if I go back to chocolates, but this is missing the entire point of this cleanse. My taste buds are reset. My appetite is reduced. My leptin receptors in the brain are back on track.

    I could continue for another 60 days or so and lose the rest of the weight. It would be horrible. Instead I intend to use the momentum to eat better (I am close to a vegan already. I occasionally eat a bit of cheese and I eat quorn, which has 7% egg in it). Also, being close to my ideal weight means it is much easier to do exercise. It is much more fun.

    Finally, and this is the big difference from crash-diets, which are based on restricting calories only, I did not suffer in any way from nutritional deficit. Actually I got far more micro nutrients into my body than I have done in any other month in my life.

    I am aware that this is an experiment. I do not know how the body will react, but I know that the calorie in-calorie out way of looking at things is dead wrong. As with basically everything, it is much more complicated. I believe that I have done a healthy thing. It was rather easy and the result at this point is good. I also know that it is the result 6-12 months down the line that really matters.

    I would have to say that I fully expected a lot of comments of this being “stupid” or maybe even “dangerous” without any other basis than ignorance. I do not think that I was wrong :-).

    Having said that, I do not feel certain about anything. As you all know, there is no final evidence that smoking leads to lung cancer; but we all know it does because of the statistics.

    I have read at least 25 books and watched more than 100 lectures and films that all form a coherent picture for me. I entirely agree that going vegetarian/vegan is the short cut to health, but it is absolutely more important to eat plants with lots of fiber than it is not to eat meat; although meat and dairy seems to be carcinogenic.

    My reluctance with the juice plan (diet is misleading; and it is not a fast! I got a lot of nutrition) is that the form I did it had quite a bit of fructose and I really do not know how much fibre remains in the juices. I could imagine that it could have some minor long term health drawbacks, if I did it for 20 years. Easily. But if it is only a part of my diet going forward, I cannot see that it is more dangerous than for example drinking a glass of wine a night or a glass of milk in the morning, which are both more or less recommended behaviour these days.

  9. Interesting subject. Last year I was recommended a book by a doctor I know. It´s called “Ett sötare blod- om hälsoeffekterna av ett sekel med socker” by Anne Fernholm. She is a biochemist turned journalist/author. It appears that it´s the carbohydrates you should beware of. Unfortunately you have to read it in Swedish but that should not be a problem for a talented dane.

  10. Jacob Aagaard

    I am sure there are mistakes in all scientific papers and books. I know that there are plenty of mistakes in my own stuff! This does not entirely discredit the suggested lifestyle.

    Last year I saw a Danish TV programme called U-turn. A number of six people had an intervention with better diet and a lot of exercise. I am sure you have seen plenty of these too – or avoided them :-). The point is, the trainer went to top US scientists (Harvard university among others) and asked them for advice. “Eat plants” was the answer. The diabetics were cured; everyone lost all their excess fat and so on. Bla. Bla. Bla.

    The main point: this was the recommendation from Harvard school of Medicine. Plants.

    The UK Health Board recently said that there is no upper limit for the health benefits from consuming more portions of fruit or (preferably) vegetables a day. Five is recommended (5×80 gram) as essential. But more equals more health. No upper limit.

    And there are many other that recommend more or less the same approach and these people have excellent credentials (with the exception of people like Jason Vale, but he is more a chef in my eyes). There are plenty of sources that give the same message.

    And what matters to me: there seems to be no personal advantage for a lot of them to think these things. There are no products to sell.

    At the end of the day, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I thought the juice diet would work and it did. We will see what happens 6-12 months down the road.

    I intuitively believe that eating vegetables and whole grains is good for me. I also believe that I can live healthily without a lot of animal product. I see no reason to go vegan. But I also see no reason to eat burgers (though I love them!). Broccoli is nice and full of protein. And I love beans.

    At the end of the day I went through an experiment on my own body. At this point the results are very good. I will update them down the line. I am claiming no credibility or certainty here. Let us just look at the results as they come in and stay open minded :-). Sure, I will counter the arguments coming in, if I believe something else. But I also have no health product to sell. I will go wherever the evidence takes me.

  11. Jacob

    Very Interesting article.

    Given all your research, I am surprised you have not come across (or did not quote) alternate fasting as explored in the revelatory episode of Horizon “Eat Fast and Live Longer” (

  12. Did you consider using a blender (which includes plant fiber and thereby reduces glycemic load) rather than a juicer?

  13. Jacob Aagaard

    Absolutely. But it is written by a scientist, based on research. But as said; it is only one of many sources. It might be a weak one. But the conclusions are the same as many others.

  14. I am sorry, but “Written by a scientist based on research” exhibits bewildering naiveté.
    I wish the best of health to all, but please beware of quackery, cloaked in the worst kind of pseudo-science.
    Exhibit Number One: Deepak Chopra (a ‘scientist’).
    Right, now I am off to see the local witch doctor to ask about the latest happenings in the Najdorf PP….

  15. @SimonB
    PS: though I agree with your general point, of course proofing that Deepak Chopra is not a scientist does not proof that Mr X is not a scientist 🙂

  16. Jacob Aagaard

    There is no doubt that he has faced criticism and that there are questions to be answered. In his reply to the strongest critique he said that he did not give his recommendation in the book exclusively on the China Study. I know there are problems with some of the conclusions. So, again, if this was my only source, you would be right. But at the moment you are speaking as if one problem in one line makes the Najdorf untenable. And with the arrogance that follows such a view.

  17. Jacob Aagaard

    Deepak Chopra is a Doctor as far as I know. And Doctors are usually considered scientists. But this is where my knowledge of him ends :-).

    It is not obvious that a vegetarian or vegan diet is necessary at all in my view. But it seems rather obvious that it is healthy.

  18. Jacob Aagaard

    I feel I have said this already a few times; I do not say that I have any answers at all here. I am investigating something interesting and it has worked for me over a 28 day period. I am well aware that the results a year down the line will matter quite a lot more.

    I would add that the Doctors I know or have had over the years would quite likely be able to help you quite a bit more with your Najdorf repertoire than with your nutrition questions.

    About science: GM Ken Rogoff, also known as one of the most respected economists in the World, published a paper that said that if your countries debt exceeded 90% of GDP, it seriously affected growth. Though this was based on an Excel-programming error, it became the mantra of the UK government and a lot of the senior people still believe it, though it has been entirely and conclusively refuted in a way where no one defends it anymore.

    Ken Rogoff is still a scientist and he still has done excellent work, according to what I can understand (though interested, I am a bedroom economist). He still hold the views that his study was suppose to prove.

    Does this make his view of economics wrong? No. I believe he probably is wrong, but errors did not make his view wrong. It just damaged his reputation. I feel the same way relating to Colin T. Campbell. He clearly has an agenda and this always obscure things. However, it does not mean he is wrong.

  19. Jacob, I am a scientist in this area (more specifically sports nutrition and performance enhancing substances) and China Study and other similar books cannot be taken too seriously. Its like reading Schillers books for opening prep 🙂 Anyway, its good that chess trainers also write and talk about health-related issues..

  20. Jacob Aagaard

    Ok. Obviously there is a difference between fitness and health. Many sports people do not get long term health. Some do. I would be interested in hearing your recommendations of what to read, of course.

    To me the most impressive of the sources I have looked at is the Robert Lustig stuff. Probably because I am a parent first and everything else only thereafter. What is your opinion on his lectures?

  21. Misunderstandings. Must admit, figured Chopra to be quite famous, but perhaps only in Hollywood as a lifestyle guru hero, and in the rational-skeptical community as an arch-BSer.
    Deepak Chopra was trained as a scientist. He received proper training, qualified, and has at least one doctorate. But it does not stop him spouting utter nonsense. ‘Quantum consciousness’ is a classic. You can make your own here:
    Best of health to all! And, please, remain critical. Here is a suitable T-shirt:
    More seriously, James Randi does great work in this area to expose liars, frauds and general quackery:
    Chess anyone…?

  22. Jacob Aagaard

    Looked it up. Chopra is a MD. Educated in India, but so what. I was treated by a MD from Somalia once and he absolutely knew what he was doing :-). Besides this, I know nothing about him or his work. But I consider MDs educated in science!?

  23. Jacob Aagaard

    “If you are not doing anyone angry, you are not saying anything meaningful” – Donalds Rumfeld/Paul Krugman.

    Calorie in-Calorie out simplification: 53 kg. in six months: Weight lost in calories 408,100. For me running at high speed on the treadmill for an hour is about 1100 calories (and you cannot really do this when you start at 123 kg.). But let us say you could. It would require 2 hours a day on the treadmill. Every day.

    I might be naive, but I do not think this is the way Tonifa did it. I always felt that this was too simple a presentation of the human body. Just like a flat earth or “you cannot solve a debt crisis with more debt” simplifications.

    Science is the notion that common sense is insufficient.

    Quite often you will hear the argument “70% of the Earth is covered in water; your body is 70% water; is it not logical that your food should contain 70% water?” It originates from a book called Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond from the early 1980s. Though the diet promoted in the book might be sensible enough, the argument is RUBBISH.

    Water rich foods are universally recognised as essential to good health. Vegetables and fruit. No doubt about it. But not because of a correlation with the oceans. When the Arctic melt, do we then have to increase our consumption of water rich food?

    But when people juice for 30/60 days and lose belly fat, their skin clears up, their allegies disappear, there is an indication that this is not a harmful thing to do. When people lose weight, but also lose their energy, have to take medication and so on, I am skeptical.

  24. Lustig is OK.

    PS. What lines Shawn is going to recommend in his e4-books? Not asking anything specifics but is it going to be open sicilian or some sort of anti-sicilian? Also, Ruy Lopez or Giuco Piano?

  25. I think Jacob has already said that it will mirror Rublevsky & Adams approaches with 1.e4. So Scotch, open Sicilian with Bc4, French Tarrasch, main line CK. Am I wrong ?

  26. @Jacob Aagaard
    I think that’s a fair assumption to make. Still, there are MD’s over here who have strayed far from the path of science (e.g. by subsribing homeopathic drugs, for which there is absolutely no scientific evidence that they have a positive effect on health).

  27. @kieran
    That’s also what I recall as well – only for the Sicilian I’m not so sure; lines with Bc4 can become quite sharp and I thought Shaw would treat somewhat more solid, ‘positional’ lines. Could therefore also be lines with Be2 imo. Negi will most likely recommend the Ruy Lopez, Advance Caro-Kann, 3.Nc3 against the French and main lines against the Sicilian (my bet would be Rauser, 6.Bg5 against the Najdorf, Scheveningen Keres Attack, Yugoslav Attack with Bc4 against the Dragon).

  28. Jacob Aagaard

    Homeopathy is the most ridiculous thing ever. It is so stupid it is funny. With the heavy amount of water going through our sewage, I hope and trust it is baseless :-). My point is just that a work can be flawed, wrong and so on. But still science. And in my experience all science is biased and filled with assumptions…

  29. Jacob Aagaard

    Kieran is close to home. Our thinking at the moment is to go 6.Be3 or 6.h3 against the Najdorf, but we are not fixed on anything. The Scotsch and Tarrasch against the French are on course as well.

    Basically, we are doing in the opposite directions of Negi in almost all lines.

  30. @Jacob Aagaard I used to assume that Deepak Chopra was a quack. But one of my favorite professors at Yale (he’s now at Harvard) told me that Chopra is his first cousin and a completely upstanding guy. At the end of day, we all choose what to believe, “evidence” be damned.

  31. Jacob Aagaard :
    Kieran is close to home. Our thinking at the moment is to go 6.Be3 or 6.h3 against the Najdorf, but we are not fixed on anything. The Scotsch and Tarrasch against the French are on course as well.
    Basically, we are doing in the opposite directions of Negi in almost all lines.

    I read here somwhere that Negi will go 3.Nc3 against the Caro. Does that mean that you switch from 3.Nd2 to 3.e5 against the Caro for the Playing 1.e4 – book?

  32. @wolfsblut

    3.e5 against the Caro does sound like the best plan for Playing 1.e4. Of course in our choice of lines we will avoid overlapping between the Negi book and my book.

  33. I assume that it is an excellent idea to buy both Negi and Shaw 🙂

    How many volumes will Negi write on 1. e4? Will it be early summer that the first volume is ready for one of the books? Could it be worth anything getting Opening Encyclopedia 2014 before the books are ready?

  34. @Johnn Shaw
    Thanks. I’ am incredibly curious what your recommandations against Alekhine, Pirc/Modern and Skandinavian will be..
    I’ am really hoping that you will have the time to finish the first book soon!
    greetings and thanks again.

  35. @Ray
    Theoretically you are probably right…but I like the Alekhine more…at least there is an idea behind it…the Pirc is just provocative…look how often Kramnik loses when he uses it…the problem against the Pirc is that there are too many good choices…

  36. Forgive me if this is completely unrelated to the topic, but I would ask if you feel that the 2 volume Schandorff 1. d4 repertoire, are similar in the level of details and analysis to other GM repertoire (like the monumental Avrukh work, which of course I already possess) and same author on Caro-Kann.

    I remember this talk about “playing” books being like IM repertoire, in the sense of it being less detailed compared to G R.

    Asking since I’m planning to use those for correspondence (with other tools obviously), where Avrukh and Marin have been invaluable before.

    Is any upgrade planned for GM1+2 ?

  37. I switched to playing the modern after too many years losing with the Pirc and find it much more flexible than the Pirc.
    1-e4 d5 is a sound choice and think is underrated

  38. @Capodoglio
    If you use “playing” books in correspondence chess you will be blasted, believe me. If you use GM Repertoire books instead…you will lose less brutally…but you will use anyway.

    Jokes aside…99.99% of the books are unsuitable for a correspondence repertoire as the evaluation for OTB play is very different from CC play.

    Also for me Avrukh and Marin have been invaluable…to win with black! 🙂

  39. If you use exclusively books, indeed you will have troubles in CC, which is not what I’m doing (or I wouldn’t be rated around 2400).

    I’ve used Avrukh GM1+2 and Marin Open Games and Spanish books as a main reference for choice of Openings and main variations played, with absolutely no losses and multiple wins (mainly with White).

    This kind of GM books will not be easily blasted at all in correspondence chess, believe me and my personal experience, quite the opposite actually.

    I wasn’t sure about “Playing”, that is.

  40. @Capodoglio
    Are you sure? Ok, let’s do this. You follow Avrukh GM1+2 till the variation is cited, then you start playing with your own mind. What do you expect the result will be?

    For the rating…I don’t want to sound harsh but I know over 2400 ICCF players with absolutely no understanding of chess, just a 64 core computer. It’s not your case, I’m sure, but unfortunately CC rating means almost nothing.

  41. Why would I blindly follow a proposed variation without computer checking, chessbase updating and so on?
    I think you misunderstood me.

    I’m not using books as bibles, but as a strong guide, the kind that needs constant updating and adaptation (which is quite necessary in CC).

    I mainly play OTB anyway, I like to play CC to hard check openings and especially to deeply study endgames, which I like a lot.

    I’m 2300 otb as well, nothing major, but it’s not like I’m letting Houdini play in my place, what would be the point?

  42. Jacob Aagaard

    I know GMs that have used Schandorff’s books as their repertoires. Successfully so. And of course top GMs have used Avrukh and Marin for years. Not all ideas stand the test of time, of course, but this is also the case with the Correspondence players’ repertoire.

    Over the board chess is also about getting into a territory where you know more than the opponent; not necessarily where your position will hold up to years of scrutiny by computers.

    A CC player will check a narrow part of a 400 pages book and find ideas. The author will have to check all 400 pages. I am sure that there will be mistakes; but we do all we can to avoid it. A repertoire is always a work in progress.

  43. @Capodoglio
    Now I understand you. I use CC play as you do, to hard check openings and to study endgames. At the beginning I thought a good OTB opening should be also a good CC opening. Unfortunately the two worlds are very different and I don’t know how much is useful to use CC play in this way.

    For example, if you sacrifice a pawn for a dangerous attack, very few in OTB play would take that pawn and nobody could defend perfectly. In CC play, almost everybody would take that pawn and after that you would have to play against Houdini’s defense.

    They are so different today that I found almost useless to use one to become better in the other. Just my opinion of course.

  44. @Ihab
    It seems that nowadays almost all openings are playable for black… Take for instance the Modern Benoni, which has been rehabilitated by Petrov.

  45. @Capodoglio
    I you’d have visited this blog before, you would have known that garryk has a dream of an opening book which can stand the test of time by just focusing on general principles 🙂

  46. I think every opening is “playable”. Sometimes you end up with worse positions though. But hey, getting a worse position is unavoidable now and then. And it improves your fighters mentality which is worth much more points in the end then having memorized all those “hot” theory lines ending in some small theoretical advantage. Look at Karpov’s games for instance. He did not mind getting a “slightly” inferior position with black or equal position with white.

    Although winning “from the book” is pleasant as well sometimes. I played one higher rated master this season (an IM with more than 2300 elo) but beat him in 20 moves using moves I had seen all before in a book (did not immediately spit them out but I could reconstruct the winning motives from memory).

  47. Jacob Aagaard

    The best players in the World play about 60-70 games a year (Carlsen less, but otherwise) and they just cannot out-prep their opponent with such a frequency. Opening theory is too developed. So the current trend is to get a position where there are some imbalances and you can play for a win. It does not always work out, but at least they are trying.

  48. BTW, you should publish a book that contains only those pesky simple positions where its hard to find any plan; there is no such a book. Also, an update of Modern Chess Analysis would be useful.

  49. Can I also suggest a title for it? Simple Chess 🙂 Its that simple! 🙂 I meant those pesky simple positions where you need to find some sort of plan to put at least some pressure on your opponent. In such positions there is seldom one absolutely correct plan but the solutions could provide a couple of plausible plans.

  50. Jacob Aagaard

    There was such a book. In it was 3-4 plans in a position and you had to choose. Can anyone remember the name of it?

    Also, there was a decent book called CAN YOU BE A POSITIONAL CHESS GENIUS by Neil McDonald, who has written both really good books and really quick books. This one was one of his better books, as I recall (from 12 years ago or so).

  51. @Jacob Aagaard
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that book was by Angus Dunnington? I agree it wasn’t bad at all. By the way, a pity that Dunnington doesn’t write anymore – I also liked his book Attacking with 1.d4!, which inspired me to switch from 1.e4 to 1.d4 about 10 years ago.

  52. Jacob Aagaard

    So it was. Maybe the example I used from the book came from one of Neil’s games!? Anyway, I stand by my comments on Neil’s work. Some of it has been quite decent (which is a lot of praise when it comes from Scotland).

  53. On topic: As a behavior therapist working for 30 years in a clinic I want to give my two cents.

    You ONLY can reduce your weight long-term by an illness or by changing your habits. How did Jacob start his training tips? Do a tactics exercise six times a week for 20 minutes. Every diet without habit change will probably add weight long-term.

    There are interesting informations outside about healthy food and all that. They are interesting as hint how to change your eating habits.

    As I know only German books readable for non-therapists I recommend to search for a guidebook of a scientific publishing house. Or would you buy a chessbook to learn openings from a random publisher having never published chessbooks?

  54. I am not sure what the precise connection is. But the idea of “products” making us healthy has hopefully peaked.

    As far as I know gluten is a protein of sorts. I have read that it has increased massively in wheat over the last 50 years, but to be honest, I have never really looked into it. To me the main issue with break is often that it has been milled and that shop bread has a lot of added salt and sugar. When I bake bread at home, I add about 10 gram of sugar for a 1000g loaf. I can promise you that there is more than this in the bread I buy at Tesco…

  55. John Devereaux

    Just talking about home bread baking…did you know that you can use dried dates in place of sugar !!! Just boil some water and then add the dates, make a paste with them and bring the water volume up to the volume you require for blending the yeast before addition to the flour…works well…slightly different colour but it is grand. Incidentally, I assume you know, cereal such as wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, oats, barley, even different types and colours of rice, and seeds can be added to bread dough. Perhaps, you may not agree, but equal parts of Jumbo oat flakes and medium / coarse corn meal can be mixed with an equal amount of water into a stiff dough….add some raisins during the mixing and most importantly, some aniseed…break off pieces of dough and make around 100 gram blobs and then bake…nothing beats them for energy and almost pure roughage..

  56. John Devereaux

    If anyone is interested just “Google search” nay nutrition or food science related peer reviewed journals / articles in Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and you will find reams of articles that are a minimum of 6 months to 12 months old…not so bad for free information.

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