Something Special


In 2008 I was travelling between tournaments with a big pile of printed papers. 732 pages to be exact. It was a chapter in the 128 page book giving a full repertoire for White in the English written by Mihail Marin. Realising that our original idea was dead, I invented a different concept on the spot: The Grandmaster Repertoire series.

It turned out that the first to really finish a book in this series was Boris Avrukh. Grandmaster Repertoire 1 – 1.d4 Volume 1 became a real dividing point for Quality Chess, with a before and after. Before this we thought that we were at least as good as the other publishers. After everyone else had the same opinion. The current situation where we have won the the four important awards the last five times (maintaining the Grand Slam a bit into the next season if you like) comes from this moment (and will of course not last!).

Another important book published at the same time, in November 2008 was Build up your Chess 1 by Artur Yusupov, launching the 9 volume series – which John insists that I have to remind people, is on sale in our deluxe hardback edition.

I am mainly an 1.e4 player myself, though these days I vary a bit rather than studying the Berlin all day long. I have always wanted a 1.e4 series in Grandmaster Repertoire. Done in 1-2 years, with 4-5 volumes. I was planning to do it myself, but just as I was getting ready to do so, Parimarjan Negi contacted us, wanting to collaborate. As Parimarjan is one of the most theoretical 1.e4-players in the World today, it was natural to replace the average GM with the almost 2700 player (at the time; the Indian Championship was really hard on him!).

Negi became the second youngest Grandmaster of all time in 2006 at the age of 13 years, 4 months and 22 days. (The youngest ever is of course Karjakin, who made at least one of his norms in a place where a friend of mine was once offered a guaranteed IM-norm – without showing up!, though I am sure that no such favours were done by these organisers to their local talent about to break a record…) I interviewed him and his father at the time. To read the PDF, click HERE.

Grandmaster Repertoire 1.e4 vs The French, The Caro-Kann and Philidor is planned out on the 6th of August. With it’s 600 pages it is by far the most exciting opening book we have published in six years, since the inception of the series. An excerpt can be found HERE.

56 thoughts on “Something Special”

  1. Just read the excerpt and while it looks terrific I’d like to point out something. To me it has always been extremely strange to see a move assgined a !!/!/?/!? etc without further verbal explanations. To me it would make book better when such symbols are accompained with some verbal explanation. This especially goes for moves assigned the 2x !! as for intance on page 273 of the Negi-excerpt. Am I really the only one who thinks it slightly odd to not add verbal explanations to stand-out moves like these!?

  2. @Biggie
    I think for !! it is not so important. That the move is stunning should be apparent or it would not justify the !!. For ? and ?! I mostly want comments. This is where there is most to understand. But this is a personal preference and I do not want my style or sensitivity to be compulsory for all our authors. The books would become too similar if we started to make such decisions all over the place.

  3. @Biggie
    The comment is above the move you mention no? “In the meanwhile, White has enough time to bring his a1-rook into battle. The most important thing is to open files, which explains the next amazing move.”

    I agree with your comment about the book looking terrific, and am really looking forward to it! T minus 20 days to publication! The rest of that chapter on the French will be very interesting, to see exactly what he says about Berg’s Qa5.

  4. @Biggie:
    I guess that is our homework :D. After a glance I think the commentary after 21.Kf1 explains the c4 move quite well, White wants to open the e-file and c4 helps.(“The white rook is coming to the e-file. That
    much is obvious, but the crucial thing is to anticipate Black’s defence and choose the right
    square for the king.”)

  5. Looks spiffing, indeed. And cannae wait for the next installment.
    Quick query, if I may, re: digital version. When might this perchance be available via Forward Chess?

  6. yes, after some furhter thoughts I think you’re right that it makes even more sense in the case of !/?! although personally I still prefer comments to all moves assigned symbols. I may be able to see that a certain move is stunning because it leaves the queen hanging but I may not be able to see the continuation / reasoning that justifies this stunning move!!

  7. @Paul

    and yes Paul youre right. I hadnt noticed this comment so that at least partly explains the move 19.c4!! I would still like a tad more detail as to why the move opens files for the a1-rook. My initial thought is: OK; so I guess it opens the d-file after …dxc4 and dxc5. But it tuns out that it opens in the main line it opens the e-file. So something like “…and after 19.c4!! will exert dangerous pressure down either the d-file or the e-file depending on Black’s reaction”.

    Anyway, these are just smal things that not everyone may agree with, but just food for thought to Jacob + the QC team, on how they could IMO make their books even better!

  8. There is text, and there are variations, both showing the power of 19.c4.
    No need to write an additional poem about it.

  9. I’m really looking forward to Negi’s books! I’m seriously considering to shift from 1.d4 to 1.e4 because of this series. Would it be possible to give a rough estimate on the arrival of the other books? Is that gonna take years? In that case I would have to pray my opponents go for French or CK rather than some difficult Najdorf… πŸ™‚

  10. @Jacob is it possible Schandorff might publish a 2nd updated edition of his Caro-Kann repertoire in the future? There’s a lot of stuff coming out for the White side and not much for the Black side over last 5 or so years.

  11. Hi Jacob,

    Great post – the GM Rep series is really something special. I think in a way it’s completely sparked a new era in opening books and in chess publishing in general. You guys should be very happy with what you’ve done so far. Your reputation lives up to your name!

    Anyway, I’d like to chat hear your feelings on a series of short and less detailed opening repertoire books, akin to your original Marin idea. I can speak from personal experience only, but books like “The Dynamic English”, “Play the Classical Dutch”, and even something a bit longer or bigger like Gallagher’s “Play the King’s Indian” are still some of my favorite books in spirit, even if the content is old. There’s something to be said for succinctness. The format of those books was really great in my opinion. The Grandmaster Guide series is perhaps somewhere in between.

  12. Thanks for a truly monumental series – I am the lucky owner of all GM Rep volumes and will continue to buy them :-). I can’t wait for the following installments of the 1.e4 books, since I’m switching back from 1.d4 to my first love 1.e4.

    @Jacob: if you’re tired of studying the Berlin Wall (which I can fully imagine), have you ever considered playing the King’s Gambit? It is equal of course, but so is the Berlin Wall, and at least with the King’s Gambit white has more fun.

  13. @SimonB

    Yes, we just got the files and started the conversion process. As you can see, it is a massive book, but we expect it to be available on Forward Chess before the end of the month.

  14. @Paul
    Ah, an excellent question!

    Yes, we got the files for both books and expect both to be released shortly, hopefully by the end of the month. Perhaps Negi in 10-12 days and Kotronias (Sveshnikov) a week or so later.
    Our website says that these books are expected “this Summer”, but we think it will be earlier than that.

  15. Jacob Aagaard

    I think there is a place for such books, but I cannot see that we are the ones that should fill it. We have something else planned, but not something that would interest you, I think.

  16. @Jacob Aagaard
    In the past there were the ‘easy guides’ (I recall ‘easy guide to the Panov-Botwinnik attack by a certain J. Aagaard). I quite liked a number of those books. But now you can make your own ‘easy guide’ by just entering the bold moves / table of contents in a database, alongside with essential comments, as explained by both Axel Smith in his book and by Nikos on this blog. So personally I prefer the extended books such as the GM Rep series as a comprehensive source from which to take what suits you best.

  17. franck Steenbekkers

    Great news!!!
    in how many years this serie wil completed!!
    I mean by the great serie of chessstars it was about a decade

  18. Gilchrist is a Legend

    It seems that websales are for about first week of August then, before the shops thereafter for the physical books.

  19. Jacob Aagaard

    @franck Steenbekkers
    I am hoping we will be able to finish it next year; but this is of course wildly optimistic…

    We have an interesting “rest of the year” add in the next issues of NIC and CHESS. I will not reveal too much before then, but there is at least one minor surprise in there, which I am sure will please many.

  20. Michael LaRue

    I thought Negi was going to be covering the Advance Caro-Kann. Is either 1 e4 repertoire book covering the Advance now?

  21. @Jacob Aagaard
    Negi’s reportoire against 1….e5, I assume will be the Ruy Lopez. When do you estimate this book will be available? Thanks in advance

  22. By the way, I voted for Kotronias on the KID, but it’s really an impossible poll since I like them all πŸ™‚ and some are hard to compare. In the end I decided for Kotronias since imo his book is a monumental effort, unprecedented in depth and detail (which is to my taste). I’ve just finished going through it a second time, deleting all lines not in bold, and it just struck me again how good his explanations are. Indeed it’s not only an opening book but also a middlegame book which will be of use for years to come.

    Some time ago I played the following game on the internet against the Fianchetto Variation: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 Nbd7 7.e4 e5 8.Nc3 c6 9.h3 Re8 10.Be3 Qc7 11.Qd2 b5 12.a3 a5 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.b4 Bf8 15.Rab1 axb4 16.axb4 Ra3 17.Bg5 Nh5 18.Nh2 Nb6 19.Bf1 f6 20.Be3 Rd8 21.Bxb6 Qxb6 22.Qe3 Rd4 23.Nf3 Nxg3 24.fxg3 Rxc3 25.Qf2 Rxf3 26.Qxf3 Rd3+ 27.Qf2 Rxg3+ 28.Bg2 Qxf2+ 29.Kxf2 Rc3 30.Re2 Be6 31.Rd2 c5 32.bxc5 Bxc5+ 33.Ke1 Bc4 34.Kd1 Bd4 35.Ke1 Re3+ 36.Kd1 Bc3 0-1 Of course not flawless (the tempo was 15 min pp + 10” increment per move), but it was nice to play the combination starting on move 23.

  23. I have a question on an unrelated topic. Will all quality chess books be available on forward chess app in future? It would be nice to have all the books available on the go without increasing the weight of baggage.

  24. Ray :@Jacob Aagaard Not another β€˜Mr X’ ?!

    Ok, no more “Mr X.”.

    Instead, it’s Mr. T! I pity the fool that don’t use Grandmaster Repertoire Books!

    Oh wait! That’s me! None of them cover what I play now-a-days! Guess I’m down to middlegame books until Quality Chess decides to publish what I play. I still hold out hope that my Black game will show up in QC some day, but White I guess I’ll just have to depend on Konikowski, and to a lesser extent, Lapshun and Conticello (Konikowski’s coverage is light years better!)

  25. The e4 book is now available on Forward Chess…don’t wish to spoil everyone’s party but very interesting analysis of the 12 Qa5 line from Berg’s French book.

    Looks fantastic!

  26. Hi to all at QC

    I’ve used Negi 1 a lot- it really stands up a few years down the line but there having listened to peter Svidler’s analysis of the Wei Yi- Giri game yesterday there seems to be a major loophole to Negi’s line in the caro kann in the classical with 7.Nf3 (no h5 for white) e6! Ne5 Bh7 Bd3 Bxd3 Qxd3 Nd7 f4 Be7!.
    Negi suggests the reply Bd2 will just transpose later on after Ngf6 but it doesn’t account for the game continuation of Nxe5 fxe5 and…Bxh4 and the pawn doesn’t seem as hot as it looks (wei yi seemed to not have enough compensation) .As this line basically negates 3 chapters of Negi’s book does Pari or anyone else at QC have an antidote (8. Nh5?) or do we go back to pushing 7.h5?

    Thanks in advance

  27. agree no book lasts but this an issue way before negi even considers the main line starts. Negi’s quote is that the line is too risky for black due to his poor development but never elaborated with a line- did he give one that was edited out or was it a general opinion?

  28. This line in the highest of levels could be considered a forced draw, but even with the help of the computer i tried but never managed to equalise 100% a few months back. I saw this line at the Baku Olympiad live played by Mamedyarov and i guess it was a brainchild of Dreev who worked as a coach for the Azerbajbani team. So, don’t worry that much about that. On sub-2300 level i’d say that White is fine.


    @Nikos Ntirlis
    Nikos, how is your book developing on 1.d4 d5? Do you have something special for us Black players πŸ™‚

    By the way, could you please consider to make a joint venture with Tony Rotella to make a mind blowing book on Kalashnikov?

    You guys could become a living legends …. πŸ™‚

    @Nikos Ntirlis
    Nikos, how is your book developing on 1.d4 d5? Do you have something special for us Black players
    By the way, could you please consider to make a joint venture with Tony Rotella to make a mind blowing book on Kalashnikov?
    You guys could become a living legends ….

    It would be very fun to work with Nikos, but there’s a basically 0% chance I write anything else on the Kalashnikov. Four years was enough, and there is very little else to say. A few ideas and improvements for both sides here and there, but that’s up to the reader! No opening books hold up forever. πŸ˜‰ I appreciate that you liked my first book enough to want me to write a second though.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top