Negi and Kotronias on the way

I have confirmation from the printer that Grandmaster Repertoire – 1.e4 vs The French, Caro-Kann and Philidor by GM Parimarjan Negi and Grandmaster Repertoire 18 – The Sicilian Sveshnikov by GM Vassilios Kotronias have been printed on schedule and will be in our hands next week.

So what are the books like? ‘Stunningly brilliant’ says this biased publisher (but I’m right anyway). Excerpts of both books are at the following links: Negi and Kotronias.

Let’s start with Negi on 1.e4 – it’s the immensely strong repertoire of a young Super-GM who is noted for his opening prowess. For a huge opening book (600 pages) it is highly readable, as Negi seems an “ideas man” rather than merely moves-moves-moves.

Kotronias on the Sveshnikov is also a dream ticket – one of the world’s leading theory experts on one of Black’s most feared Sicilian systems. It seems no one has anything with White against the Sveshnikov (that will be a challenge for Negi later). So add this line to your repertoire and frighten White into the sidelines.

Forward Chess are preparing both books and will likely have their versions ready before us. I believe the Negi book is already there. So if you haven’t checked out the Forward Chess app before, then now would be a great time to start.

The Secret Life of Bad Bishops by Esben Lund is also on the way (from a different printer) but I will introduce that one separately later.

162 thoughts on “Negi and Kotronias on the way”

  1. The Svesnikov book looks interesting but most players play 3 Bb5 after 2 .. Nc6 right? Is there no great plan to write a book against anti-open sicilian moves? I play the najdorf btw. The Negi book I will buy eventhough I play 1.d4 🙂

  2. I think Sveshnikov himself is supposed to be coming out with a book covering the anti-Sicilians from black’s point of view, and also a book covering the Kalashnikov, which Sveshnikov now thinks is more correct than the Sveshnikov itself. Usually his books are picked up by English publishers also, if you don’t read Russian.

  3. @hennie286
    Yes, there is already such a plan – last we heard on this blog was that Kotranias will write it. In the meantime, I don’t think Experts vs the Anti-Sicilians is that outdated, so it should be suitable. And finally, Jacob gave the tip to reach the Sveshnikov via the 2…e6 move order, if you don’t like 3.Bb5.

  4. Jacob Aagaard

    We did a little bit of research and to say “most” is just like when a few years ago when a writer wrote “White scores well here” and the database said 39% :-). I think about 40% play it and it is a big part of ones repertoire with the Sveshnikov. And yes, Vassilios is working on an Anti-Sicilians book.

  5. Gilchrist is a Legend

    If that means that the websales are one week early round first August, that would be excellent–1000+ pages of GM Repertoire in a week.

  6. It is not a secret how we do it. The books arrive on a Wednesday in Poland. We then time the shipping so that the books arrive in the shops on the following Wednesday all across Europe (the US gets them around the same time, but we are not aiming at the same level of fairness there). This allows the nice people of Sunrise that handle the handling over a few days without being stressed, as they did in the past.
    We do manage to send out a few websales ahead of this. If you order three books or more inside the EU, we send them out with UPS from Poland. Otherwise the books first have to arrive in Glasgow and that usually happens on the Monday.

  7. @Jacob Aagaard
    Through the magic of the internet and an ipad I now have both Negi and the latest New in Chess. Of course both are wonderful (though there is something hypocritical about the New in Chess editorial castigating Kirsan for his use of the Fide website as a political tool when Short’s column this edition is nothing but a party political broadcast for the Kasparov party). However, though QC have a splendid advert on the inside cover in NiC for Negi amongst others there is no surprise announcement on an upcoming book?

  8. @Paul

    Yes. I remember that there will be an announcement about a new book in the New in Chess magazine but I didn’t found it.

    If it means to be The Modern Tiger book, you have already mentioned it in the QC 2014 catalogue file.

  9. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    That sounds excellent, that means that within two weeks or so I shall receive my copies. And like Ray, I can study some more openings, especially Kotronias, before the new year. I am especially interested on Kotronias’ findings on the Sweshnikow, so I anticipate that book the most.

  10. Jacob Aagaard

    Regarding the NIC complaints, I think you are just wrong. It is fair that a private operated company can promote whatever views they want, just as Kirsan’s people can do this as well. The moment you use resources required through taxation to promote the interests of private individuals (no matter their place) you would be violated so many laws in any civilized country.

  11. @Jacob Aagaard
    I think my argument would be for Short’s column, I am paying my subscription money for him to talk about chess (eg not a word on Stavanger, when he was there the whole tournament), not advance causes where he has a direct involvement. It seems quite common now that the letters section at the front always has a few complaints on his prior column.

    The Negi book is fantastic btw – I have all the GM Reps bar the Caro one – and along with Marin this is an instant favourite. Well done on producing such a tremendous book – and well deserved praise from Sadler on two of your books plus the Gormally one in NiC.

  12. Jacob Aagaard

    With a private enterprise as New In Chess, subscribers can vote with their feet. With government or International Federations you do not have this option. You have only pay your fee (tax) or start a revolution. For this reason you are not allowed to use government/FIDE funds and outlets to promote one political view; this is something you see in dictatorships.

    Although Short is one of my favourite writers and a friend, I hope to say that there was at least one column I did not find appropriate at all. Obviously it is up to the editor in chief to decide on what to print and the subscribers choice if he wants to renew or not. The same with advertisers, like Quality Chess…

  13. Kostas Oreopoulos

    I got my hands on the e-version of Negi’s book two days ago and the first thing i did was go over the lines i have examined. The book has a huge amount of work and its a great tool

    I started from French Nc3 Nc6 variation (which i like for black 🙂 ). The variation he proposes is a nice one , especially if black goes for the “logical” 5… Bb4″ instead of the more strange 5…Nb4.
    If white is a good tactical player, then 5…Bb4 is what he needs.

    Why i am writing is to share with you is a nice position that occurs after 5…Nb4. Its is very logical for the annotator to dismiss it as a silly computer move, but the strange thing about the position (i will show it later) is that is shows how rigid our perception of strategy is why we look at positions!!

    After 1.e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Nb4 6. Bg5 Be7 7.e5 Nd7 8. Be7 Qe7 9.0-0 0-0 10 Re1 Nxd3 11. cxd3

    Neri goes on and examines various moves, all based on what we expect from a French position and that is simply play c5…

    The computer shows how badly we can do in chess and this is not a stupid “computer move” ( i looked at my analysis from some time ago and the computer move here is very very good.

    The computer here suggest 11…c6!! A complete revelation for the French player. I am pretty sure 99.999% of French players will not even include it in their candidate moves, but the idea is simple.

    a) first c5 is not good since the d3 pawn is waiting to take its place in the center
    b) white has the knight jump.. on d6
    c) the c file is for white to take.

    I have tried to find some “counterplay” , but black’s plan is simple play, c6 (stopping Nb5) b6 , Bb7, a5, Rfc8 and only after all pieces are in perfect place, then play c5. Black doen’t have any big advantage, but has a small edge and an easier to play position.

    I don’t know if anyone finds something for white to take the initiative.

    A very interesting position and a good candidate for Jacob books

  14. Concerning Kotronias, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.Bd3 Be6 12.O-O Bxd5 13.exd5 Ne7 14.c4 Bg7 15.Qd2 e4 16.Be2 b4 17.Qxb4 Rb8 18.Qa4+ Kf8 19.Rab1 Bxb2 20.Nc2 Ng6 21.Ne3 f4 22.Qc2 Qf6 23.c5!? this stockfish move seems to cause some problems for black

  15. 23…Kg7 24.Nc4 Be5 leads to a double edged opposite-coloured bishops middlegame where Black seems fine to me

  16. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    It is not a surprising move, but you talk a bit as if White will do nothing in the meanwhile. If you make those five moves, I will maybe play Qd2, Ne2, Nf4, Nh5 and Qf4. You are very close to resign stage I would guess. I have Re3+Re1 coming, if nothing direct shows up.
    I think 11…c6 is a questionable decision. The computer clearly thinks that White has problems because of the doubled pawn, but in reality Black is suffering from lack of space and should be quite careful of what do to next.

  17. A bit of an aside –

    Is it odd to score 64% in the first chapter of Strategic play (first 24 problems) and yet score only 54% (1 above 50%) in the first chapter of Positional Play?

    My preconceived notion was that Positional Play was supposed to be slightly easier than Strategic Play.

  18. Jacob Aagaard

    I have heard about Strategic Play being easier for some guys before. It is certainly an outlier result, but not something you need to talk to your Doctor about :-).

  19. Now that the first e4 GM repertoire book is out, can you remind us of your plans for this series. I think that you mentioned it somewhere but I cannot find the reference.

    Based on the first volume, I’m guessing perhaps
    – one volume on the Sicilian
    – one volume on ….e5 (Spanish & Petroff)
    – one volume on “other” (Pirc, Modern, Alekhine, Scandinavian, Owens, etc).

    Is this even close to the plan? I know that you don’t want to talk about lines (but feel free!) but could you at least comment on the expected order of publication.

  20. Just noticed another Ray posting here. Changed mine to Ray F. Sorry for the confusion. The previous post about the GM e4 repertoire series is mine.

  21. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I bet that GM18 and GM 1. e4 look good, when they arrive this week. First view in Glasgow, I suppose. I shall remain a 1. d4 player, but I plan to study the GM 1. e4 for my French and Caro-Kann repertoires as Black.

  22. Kostas Oreopoulos

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Unfortunately for white, he cannot get all these in. Basically without the Rook shift white has absolutely no attack.

    Second, Ba6 targeting the d3 pawn is important, since taking the pawn not the only problem but covering on g6.

    Third black will respond with c5, after b6 has been played, which stops the classical dc5 gaining access center squares.

    I have tried many such attempts for white, but nothing works.
    11…c6 12. Qd2 b6 13. Ne2 a5 (not necessary but black has time) 14.Nf4 Ba6 15. Nh5 c5

    I really don’t see any concrete way for white to continue for an attack.
    If you want to put the rook in you have move the knight from f3. To move the knight you first have to take on c5, else center collapses,
    But then the b file opens and white will have a lot going on on the queen side

    I understand you want to go like Caruana did, but there is a big difference in piece placement. There black has the knight on a6 and the bishop on d7. If you switch those pieces places you have this position.
    Differences? A lot. The knight protects c5 and the king side. The bishop attacks d3. Black can just double rooks on the c

    Anyway. I just wanted to point out the problem

  23. Jacob Aagaard

    @Kostas Oreopoulos
    But yes, I tried to put it on the board and it was that simple. I still like White, but more thought would have to go into it. I vaguely remember talking to Parimarjan about it, but maybe I was just thinking it at the time. I do not think 11…c6 is such a surprising move as you make it out to be.
    What about 12.Qa4!? to stunt your development?!

  24. Kostas Oreopoulos

    @Jacob Aagaard

    There is a note in Parimarjan’s annotations on a Caruana Hug game. I was mentioning this game. There white got the “same” position i am talking about (more or less) with the difference of piece placement. The knight is on a6 and the bishop on d7. This indeed does not work. The knight on a6 is out of play and when you try to bring it in ,like Hug did , you lose control of c5 (this is why Qe3 is very nice there), while the bishop on d7 is simply a stupid piece. If you switch those pieces places, black is simply fine. Just double on the c file and theat to take on d4.

    12.Qa4 is indeed interesting (and probably white’s best try to get something) 12…a5 (forced) 13. Rec1 (the rook on a1 should stay there for tactical reasons , to stop b4 ideas from black ) b5 14. Qd1 Ba6. This is the critical position for white to find something. Black will simply play Rfc8 and c5. Also its important to note that Ne2 ideas in this position are not very good because the knight stops b4 ideas because of the Na4 jump.

    For example 15. Qd2 Rfc8 16. Qe3 c5 17.dxc5 Qxc5 18. Nd4 black can choose between 18…Qb6 19. f4 Nc5 20 Nb3 Na4 = or 18…Qa7 19. a3 Qb8 and b4 next move

    French has a lot of bad endings but this is not one of those (hopefully)

    Finally an very interesting variation in this line is 12. Qa4 a5 13. Rec1 b5 14. Qc2 Ba6 15. h3 Rfc8 16.a3 c5 (black cannot wait) 17. dxc5 Nxc5 18. b4 Na4 19. Qb3 Nxc3 20.Rxc3 a4 21.Qb2 Rxc3 22. Qxc4 Rc8 23. Qd4 Qc7 24 Kf1 (plan is Nf1 Ra2-c2, what else) Bb7 25. Ra2 Qc1 26.Ne1 h6 27. Qb6 (what else) Rc7 28. Qb5 d4 29. Qa4 Rc3 and besides white’s 2 pawns up he hopes for no more than a draw. Anyway.. a big “sample line”. Hope someone find’s it helpful 🙂

  25. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I just realised that Tromsø SjakkOlympiaden is from 01.08.2014-14.08.2014–shall the books still be shipped from Glasgow during this period, or before (if someone does not attend)?

  26. @Jacob Aagaard
    Does this include the UK? In the past they have always come to me from Glasgow via Royal Mail. I would worry slightly that if they come fedex/ups from Poland I would not be in to receive (and unlike the postman they do not have a key to my block of flats to access my letterbox).

  27. @Paul
    Depends on the amount of books you have bought. Less than 3 and they will come in the post. Contact Claire if you have specific concerns.

  28. Hi Jacob,

    Any estimate as to when the Kotronias book will hit Forward Chess. Already have the Negi one, and enjoy quite a bit so far! Thanks!

  29. Jacob Aagaard

    Any moment really. They wanted to convert the Sveshnikov book first, but we asked them to do 1.e4 first instead. John also have it a small discount on FC to give it an extra push. We want people to see the qualities of this format for themselves.

  30. Great! I really love the Forward Chess format overall. There are some bugs to work out (in nearly every book I’ve purchased there have been a few lines that aren’t playable on the board and such), but the idea and concept shows great promise. I have Galaxy Note II and the app is usable, but I’m tempted to pick up a tablet for a better experience.

  31. Sorry if this has been asked before and feel free to say no idea, but are there any plans for a GM Guide or GM Rep book on The Open Games for Black?

  32. One interesting variation that has not been covered from blacks perspective for a long time is the Polugaevsky variation in the Najdorf. Why is this so?

    Is it because it is risky (which is certainly the case), impractical or is there some refutation leading to a much better position for white?

  33. One critical line is:
    7.f4, b5 8.e5, dxe5 9.fxe5, Qc7 10.exf6, Qe5+ 11.Be2, Qxg5 12.0-0, Qe5 13.Nf3, Bc5+
    14. Kh1, Qxf6 15. Ne4, Qe7 16.Nfg5, 0-0 17.Rxf7!, Rxf7 18. Nxf7, Kxf7 19.Bh5+, Kg8
    20.Nxc5, Ra7!

    White is marginally better. Where is the bust?

  34. @Bebbe

    I’ve found this game in Megadatabase 2014

    [White “Wang, Hao”]
    [Black “Nakamura, Hikaru”]

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 b5 8. e5
    dxe5 9. fxe5 Qc7 10. exf6 Qe5+ 11. Be2 Qxg5 12. O-O Ra7 13. Qd3 Rd7 14. Ne4 Qe5
    15. Nf3 Qc7 16. Qe3 Bb7 17. Nfg5 h6 18. Qh3 g6 19. Bd3 Nc6 20. Kh1 Ne5 21. Rae1
    Bb4 22. Re3 Bd5 23. Be2 Nc4 24. Rd3 Qe5 25. a3 Ba5 26. Bg4 Nd6 27. Rxd5 Qxd5
    28. Bxe6 fxe6 29. f7+ Kd8 30. Nxe6+ Kc8 31. f8=Q+ Rxf8 32. Rxf8+ Bd8 33. Nxd6+
    Kb8 34. Rf1 Rxd6 35. Nxd8 Qc4 36. Rg1 Rxd8 37. Qg3+ Kb7 38. Qxg6 Rd2 39. Qxh6
    Rxc2 40. Qg7+ Kb6 41. b4 Qd3 42. Re1 Qe3 43. Qf6+ Kc7 44. Qf1 Rf2 45. Qg1 Qf4
    46. h3 Qg3 47. Qh2 1-0

  35. @garryk

    I dont think 12.-Ra7 is the best move.

    What are you playing against 12.-Qe5 which I think is best?
    For a possible continuation see #48 further up in this thread.

  36. Franck Steenbekkers

    What was te surprise in the advertisement of NIC magazine?
    I got today magazine 2014-5 and on page 3 there was an advertisement but i d ont see the surprise of Jacob.

  37. My first look at Negis book:
    Impressive. That’s how an opening book should be.
    No endless computer lines, no +0,27683 evaluations, but ideas, guidelines, and of course also variations when necessary. I also like his approach in some lines that less is sometimes more. A good understanding of a good line helps more than superficial lines against every possible move order. Now i have to compare the lines with Berg’s. Will be exciting I think…
    Only a first quick look….

  38. @Gilchrist is a Legend

    Hi from Tromso,

    Because we are away at the Olympiad the emails confirming books have been shipped may not come as usual, but the books are being shipped. I am pretty sure your books are already on the way to you.

  39. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @John Shaw
    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I had a feeling that it was possible that the shipping notifications might not have been updated, but I look forward to receiving the books soon. Good luck to QC in Tromsø.

  40. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Also enjoy the sunlight as well, I know from experience that one often needs sunglasses at night time in Norway during summer…

  41. Just released the Kotronias book – Sicilian Sveshnikov GMR 18.
    (If you find any issues with it – please e-mail us.)

  42. Kostas Oreopoulos

    I am really impressed with the Sveshnikov book. I have other books on the subject, but this one is the best by far. A reference book for the opening. Probably book of the year on openings.

  43. A book with an opening repertoire for white based on the two knights defence (4.Ng5) and the evans gambit would be interesting. The current books on the market seems to be outdated or the analysis lacks in depth.

  44. Franck Steenbekkers

    In my opinion is Negi the best openingbook ever!!!!
    Is it true that in august two other book wil released? (Berg 3 and the long awaited book of John Shaw)

  45. Franck Steenbekkers :
    In my opinion is Negi the best openingbook ever!!!!
    Is it true that in august two other book wil released? (Berg 3 and the long awaited book of John Shaw)

    I am happy to agree on Negi even though I have not had time to study all of it yet.

    The timings of the other 2 books are not accurate, especially as we will not be back in the office until August 18th.

  46. @John Shaw
    I guess that’s a nice understatement, as the books will most likely not be published in August then 🙂 Anyway, the books of Negi and Sveshnikov will keep me busy for some time to come – just back from holiday, I’m going to buy them today. Can’t wait!

  47. @Bebbe
    With ‘good for black’ I meant equal, but I guess ‘ unclear’ would also be a fair assessment. It just doesn’t seem much fun for white though, defending against black’s initiative for a mere pawn. I prefer sacrificing a pawn myself for a white initiative, by playing the King’s Gambit (which is unclear as well). I guess it’s just a matter of taste

  48. @Ray
    I rather assumed he would be focused on writing essays, not chess books, when he starts next year. Which I guess means he has 12 months to finish the e4 series.

  49. @Paul
    Exactly, I was referring to this period as well – but it should be enough time to finish the series. I seem to recall that it was mentioned earlier on this blog that the last volume will be published before the end of 2015.

  50. @Paul
    I think he starts in September. He is already quite advanced with volume 2. He wrote volume one whilst studying. He is a serious and diligent kid. We are all very fortunate that he said yes to do this with us.

  51. @Ray

    Yes I agree, its unbalanced, white has a pawn and black the initiative.
    I like to both sacrifice and to take material. Both approaches spices up the game.
    But I agree that sacrificing is more fun.

    What do you think of the Evans gambit? Is it better or worse than the kings gambit?
    One of the best lines for black seems to be:

    4.b4, Bxb4 5.c3, Ba5 6.d4, d6! 7.Qb3, Qd7 8.dxe5, Bb6!

    What to play here as white?

  52. @Bebbe
    I prefer the King’s Gambit myself, but with black I rather avoid the Evan’s Gambit by playing 3…Nf6 and sacrificing a pawn myself after 4.Ng5 🙂

  53. @Jacob Aagaard
    This is great news indeed! I bought all three books this morning (including The secret life of bad bishops) and they all look top-notch to me (at first sight obviously). I like the verbal comments and explanations by Negi and can’t wait for the other volumes! This will definitely be of great help in my switch back from 1.d4 to 1.e4 🙂 As for Kotronias’ book: quite extensive analysis again, but he too gives good summaries at the end of each chapter. I read through the chapter on 11.Bxb5 on the train, and it looks very thorough indeed – though a lot to memorise as one mistake by either side is fatal!

  54. How many volumes will there be?

    Not 14 like the Chess Stars books I hope!

    How close am I?

    1.French, Caro-Kann & Phildor
    2. Najdorf
    3. Other Sicilians
    4. Ruy Lopez, Petroff & Other 1.e4 e5 like Latvian etc.
    5. Pirc, Modern, Alekhine, Scandinavian etc.

  55. Gilchrist is a Legend

    On the QC brochure, I see Berg French Vol III, Ftacnik 2nd Edition Najdorf with the light blue cover, Schandorff on the Semi-Slav with purple cover, Mikhalewskij with Minor Openings with the orange cover, and Kotronias on the Anti-Sicilians with the pink, saying due for 2014–is this still predicted? I very much like the Negi and Kotronias books already, but it would also be excellent if these other books released this year.

  56. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Also, I started playing the Caro-Kann more frequently, but was wondering if there are any Caro-Kann books for Black planned for any time in the future? I use GM7 for my repertoire, but that was published 2010, and there seem to be few resources on this increasingly popular opening with an ever increasing amount of theory.

  57. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I’m playing the Caro-Kann myself, and I used Schandorff’s book as a basis and updated it with information from Especially Schandorff’s variation against the Short variation Advance I don’t trust, so I replaced that with another line (…Qb6 and …Qxb2, which in the main line ends in a draw). Also, his line against the Panov with 6.Bg5 needed updating. But now with Negi’s book out, of course there’s more work to do against the main line…

    PS: I was thinking of taking up the Sveshnikov, but I’m still a little hesitant on the overwhelming amount of theory in Kotronias’ book; besides, there seem to be many lines ending in a draw, more so than in e.g. the Open Spanish (which I also like). So I’m not sure whether to go for the Svesh or for the Open Spanish.

  58. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I am not very updated on the theory of the Caro-Kann, which is why Caro-Kann books would be nice. True that the Negi book would help with the very main lines of 4…Bf5, but since it is a repertoire for White, the other lines need updates from the point of view of a player of the Black pieces. There are already quite some high-profile GM games with the Caro-Kann in the Tromsø Olympiad. Other lines have become quite popular too, like 7…e6 (allowing 8. Ne5), and it seems to me that Black has more success with the opening. QC have three French books (soon four) that help me to play the French, but only one Caro-Kann book, it would be interesting to see repertoires for Black.

  59. @Ray
    The thing with the draws in Kortronias’ book that everybody needs to understand is that if you analyse to move 40-50 all the time, you are essentially playing computer games with takeback options. Chess is a draw and we cannot change that. But do not think that what is given as a 50 move draw is something that will happen in your games.

  60. @Jacob Aagaard
    🙂 Thanks, that’s reassuring, maybe I should just take the plunge into the Svesh then 🙂 I guess it’s best then if I stick to Nikos’ advice (elsewhere on this blog) to just enter the moves from the variation index in my database, and only where necessary a few moves more.

  61. PS: I started working on Negi’s book (starting with the Winawer Poisoned Pawn), and I cannot praise it enough; it’s really one of the best opening books I’ve ever come across!! If Negi can keep up this level for the other volumes this will surely be a classic!

  62. Kostas Oreopoulos


    Kotronias books i think is for everyone. From club player to correspondence one. You just have to pick the amount of detail you are willing to learn (or your opponent knows!!). Also you have to assess what “equality” means. Its not dead drawn. It depends on the player(s) on how they can (if they can) handle the equality

    For me , if you know how to select the subset suitable for you (depending on the usage of the material) this book is a masterpiece.

    PS. Are you talking about this line in the CC

    1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Qxb2

    if yes , this is losing by force (i know its sounds like a hard statement, but its true)

  63. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    I agree with you – it is a masterpiece even though it takes some effort to select the material which suits you best. By the way, I was referring not to ‘equal’ positions with enough play left in them for either side to play for a win, but to several lines where the final position really is a draw (either by a repetition of moves, a perpetual or just because there is not enough play left to play for a win). But Jacob is right of course that the likelyhood of actually getting these positions in an over-the-board game is very low. And theoretically of course there’s nothing wrong with a draw from the black perspective 🙂

    As for your question on the CC: no, I’m referring to 7…Nc6 8.0-0 and only now Qxb2. I’m not aware of any refutation of that line, but if you think differently I’ll be glad to hear of course!

  64. Kostas Oreopoulos

    Oh i see. I haven’t analysed this one in depth. I guess both 8.Na4 and 8.0-0 Qxb2 9.Qe1 should be analysed in depth to reach a conclusion

  65. The book has arrived today, and it’s amazing! Full of interesting and sharp ideas in nearly all lines. I have a few remarks about the 7… Be7 Steinitz chapter though.

    Firstly, after 8. Qd2 0-0 9. dxc5 Nxc5 10. 0-0-0 a6 11. Qf2 only the move 11… Qa5 is mentioned, and Thomas Johansson’s move 11… b6 is ignored.

    Secondly, I was very surprised that after the ‘anti 0-0-0’ move order 7… a6 8. Qd2 Be7 Negi recommends to castle long anyway. After 9. dxc5 Nxc5 10. 0-0-0 Qa5 11. Kb1 b5 the given move 12. Ne2 is very interesting and seems to give good attacking chances after 12… b4 or 12… Qc7. However after the simple 12… Qxd2 13. Rxd2 I doubt white has any real advantage. The black moves given in the book seem very cooperative and computers also misplay the black side rather badly. I suggest 13… Bd7 intending 14. Ned4 Ne4 15. Rd1 Na5 when black is completely fine. If white plays 14. Rd1 instead black can respond 14… Ne4, and the crude 14… b4 15. Ned4 Nxd4 16. Nxd4 a5 followed by a4-a3 is also very interesting.

    I personally think that in this line white does best to change plans and go 9. Be2 and 10. 0-0, having avoided the annoying b6+f5 lines.

    Finally, I’m not really convinced about the 7…Be7 8. Qd2 b6 9. Nd1 lines either. I can see how white will eventually get a strong kingside attack against inaccurate black play, but objectively I think the second player has little to worry about. After 9… cxd4 10. Nxd4 Bb7 11. Be2 0-0 12. 0-0 two important tries are unmentioned. After 12… Nxd4 13. Bxd4 Nb8 14. Ne3 Nc6 15. c3 I think black should play the suprising 15… Bc8, which has been played in two correspondence games. It looks very slow to relocate the bishop like this, but without the simple plan of pushing f5 I don’t see what white should do here. In the other line 12… Nc5 13. Nf2 the move 13… Nxd4 is rather cooperative, and I prefer 13… Qd7 when 14. Rad1 Rac8 15. c3 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Qa4 was quite annoying for white in Koepke-Dizdar.

  66. Shurlock Ventriloquist

    I salute QC for once again proving me wrong in my thinking I do not need to buy any more chess books.


  67. @Shurlock Ventriloquist
    Thank you. We have converted a lot of people over the years. I just had a chat with a recent European Champion with the same point of view. I don’t care who it is we convert; we just want to add to the culture and not have to work in a supermarket!

  68. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    my suggestion for black is 11.Bd1 Qxb1 12.Nxb1 Bxb1 13.Ba4 Bd3 14.Qa5 Kd7 15.Rd1 Bg6!
    the secret in this line is that the white rook is a bad piece (this also shows in the 9.Nb5? line) and white would like to exchange it, even for a bishop, play can continue 16.Bc1 b6 17.Qb5 Rc8 18.Qa6 Rc7

  69. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I wonder if Schandorff has any plans to write on the Caro-Kann as a follow-up to GM7. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that more GMs play the Caro-Kann to win than just to have a quick and solid draw. Of course there are solid draws, like in the game in Round 8 with Radjabow as White, where I believe that one of the Chinese players played the Caro-Kann (unsure if it was Ding LiRen), but as the Sicilian becomes more annoying with both the theory in the main lines and the increasing breadth of detail into and amount of anti-Sicilians, Caro-Kann is in great shape.

    Also perhaps I am strange, but I have started to play these “solid” openings more for wins as the usual openings, i.e. Caro-Kann, Berlin Wall, Petroff, Slav, I all play to win regardless of the rating of the opponent, just as much as the Najdorf, French, Grünfeld, etc.

  70. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    That’s also my experience; you can play for a win in any opening, also with black. Only these openings have different philosophies, i.e., in the Caro-Kann and Slav black first wants an equal game before trying to grab the initiative. Over the last 30 years my score with the Caro-Kann is 72% (91 games), whereas with the ‘combative’ Pirc I scored only 57% (68 games). The same versus 1.d4: with the Slav my score is 68% (14 games) and with the Kings’s Indian only 59% (57 games)

  71. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I think that Schandorff’s GM7 is still generally fine, the theory in the Advanced and the 11. Bf4/11.Bd2 Classical lines are probably the ones that have gone forward the most with regards to deepness of analysis, but one can always hope for some new Caro-Kann books. A GM Guide Caro-Kann would be an interesting addition to GM7. The Caro-Kann seems to also be a good opening for team tournaments. I am following the Olympiad, and I see yet another Advanced with 4. Nf3 where White plays c4 and Qa4/Nxc6 in Round 9. Unfortunately the players I forgot. Maybe 2 volumes is a bit much for Caro-Kann, but given its increasing theory, maybe not.

  72. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    Indeed there is a lot of new stuff compared to Schandorff in the main line. For example, Negi analyses 17.Be3 (after 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Kb1 0-0 14.Ne4 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Nf6 16.Qe2 Qd5) in great detail (20 pages (!), starting from page 486), while this is hardly covered at all by Schandorff. Very impressive, but on the other hand not so good news if you play the Caro Kann as black 🙂

  73. Kostas Oreopoulos


    sorry but this line is losing. 16.Bc1 b6 17. Qa6 (why bring the rook to c7) Kc7 18.Nd2 +- for example 18…Nb8 19. Qb5 a6 20. Qe8 black is not playing in this chess board

  74. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    I’m a bit puzzled to be honest. My Hiarcs opening book Professional version) gives 15…h6! after 15.Rd1, with the following stats: white scores 57% out of 50 games with an average rating of 2642. Can it really be that bad then? The main line of my opening book goes 16.Bc1 b6 17.Qa6 Kc7 18.Bxc6 (18.Nd2 is now not possible due to 18…Nb4!, since the rook is still on a8) 18…Kxc6 19.a4 Ne7 20.a5 Nc8 21.axb6 Nxb6 22.Bs2 Be7 23.Ne1 Be4! 24.Rc1 Rhb8 25.f3 Bh7 26.Nc2 Bxc2 27.Rxc2 Kc7 28.Ba5 Rb7. Here the assessment of Hiarcs is +0.01, so hardly a win for white 🙂 But indeed it’s possible to analyse further 🙂

  75. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Well the only Caro-Kann repertoire books for Black that I own are the Schandorff (2010) and Houska (2007) books, whilst quite a few White repertoire books for the Caro-Kann are published. There have probably been almost 10 French repertoire books in the recent years, but the Caro-Kann seems to be one of those openings that is a good, solid opening, but lacking in literature for Black repertoire books, similar to the Nimzo-Indian.

  76. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I did a database search for the Main Line Caro-Kann for this year, and recently I see games by Ding Li-Ren, Olga Girya, Valentina Gunina, Evgenij Postnij, Nikita Vitiugov, Fernando Peralta, Pentala Harikrishna, Laurent Fressinet, etc., some of whom played in the Tromsø Olympiad. It seems like the Caro-Kann has more fans. It would be nice if Schandorff did a 2nd Edition of GM7 like he did for both of Playing the Queen’s Gambit, but I do not see this in the schedule, so probably not.

  77. Kostas Oreopoulos

    15..h6 is indeed the most hard nut to crack. It stops Ng5 ideas and “almost” saves the day for black. but….(this is indeed much harder to break). I think i found a way to break it (but i need time to verify all possible lines)

    ps. hint 1: start your analysis with 16. Rxd3. hint 2: use a better engine .

  78. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    That would indeed be nice, but on the other hand I would think there are a bunch of other openings that have not received any serious coverage in recent years, which would maybe deserve higher priority than a 2nd edition. For example: Queen’s Gambit Declined, Nimzo-Indian / Queen’s Indian, a number of Sicilians (Kan, Scheveningen, Classical), the Ruy Lopez from white’s perspective (though the latter will be covered by Negi).

  79. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    Thanks, I’ll have another look at it. However, unfortunately the strongest engines are not available for Apple, or are they? And Hiarcs is not that weak, is it? Does it really make that much difference with Houdini, Stockfish, etc. in these kind of positions? By the way, 16.Bc1 was given in the Hiarcs opening book with an ‘!’ , I didn’t yet have the engine look at it at move 16.


    @Gilchrist is a Legend

    Hello guys 🙂

    I’m currently working on Marin’s 1.c4 repertoire books. What is your experience with his books and do they have any major flaw?

    I can’t remember right but I just think that someone has busted some Marin’s variations. Am I right?

    Hi Le Bruit qui Court. I have Marin’s books but to be honest I don’t know if they have any major flaw. Indeed I also remember that on this blog someone said he had busted some of Marin’s variations (was it garryk?). I guess in general theory has moved on in the past 4 (?) years since these books were published. I do feel Marin is a bit optimistic in general since he claims +/= in all variations.

  82. I have the Marin books and they are comprehensive.

    I would agree with Ray in that Marin is over optimistic in some lines.

    What I would recommend and Marin does mention this throughout his books is that it is not always advantageous to stay strictly with the English but be flexible enough to transpose into certain 1.d4 2.c4 openings.

    Reading through I don’t honestly feel White has much in the Anti-Kings Indian lines and would prefer to transpose into a main line KID, you could use GM Rep 2, Indian Defences a GM Guide or the Beating the KID, all by QC.

    Also I think the Anti-Slav lines a tricky and not to everyone’s taste again and I think it is tough at amateur level to prove much for White in these lines. I would prefer to just transpose into a Main line Slav.

    Personally I use GM Rep 3 & 5 but most of the stuff in GM Rep 4 I don’t use as I prefer to transpose into Main Line 1.d4 defences such as the KID, Slav & Dutch.

    I tend to use the GM Guides by QC for the Queens Gambit lines and Markov’s ‘Beating the KID’ when not playing Englipsh lines.

    With that in mind I tend to meet 1…e5 or 1…c5 with 2.g3 but 1…Nf6 with 2.Nc3. This also allows me to play the Mikenas which I like for White. You could argue about getting move ordered by 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over that!

    Sorry to mention a rival company but I quite like the ‘English Move by Move’ by Everyman to understand why the moves are played then just use the Marin books as reference.

  83. Marin’s books are pretty wonderful. I think the most important thing that readers of these books need to keep in mind is that if you believe chess to be a draw with perfect play, then it stands to reason that if you analyze any reasonable set of openings moves deeply enough, Black will prove equality somehow. Does Marin miss some key resources here and there? Is Black equal with best play in a lot of the recommended lines? Of course. But that doesn’t take away from the great explanations and insight and a lot of great analysis.

    If you want to dig in to the details of his books in more detail, check out the relevant thread at ChessPub – I think it’s been viewed a record number of times!

    I like very much Marin’s explanation but there are some very big holes in his proposed repertoire. Search some correspondence chess database to see how his main line has been “brutalized”. Sorry if I don’t tell you the refutation but I continue making a lot of points thanks to it… 🙂

  85. @TonyRo
    Equality is not the problem, we all know that after 1 c4 there is no theoretical edge. The problem is that in the main-main-lines proposed by Marin, Black has the initiative. White probably can still draw with perfect play but nobody has ever done it against me.

  86. @TonyRo
    Many people would be interested…so I can’t tell you…feel free to believe me or not…but search some correspondence database and you’ll find the answer yourself. In particular the biggest “hole” is after 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nc3 Nb6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. a3 O-O 9. b4 Be6 10. Rb1 f6 11. d3. I’ll be more explicit the day Marin will announce the second edition of his book…

  87. @garryk
    So I guess you’re the only one who has busted this? What about all these other guys with computer engines then? I guess the market for chess information is not efficient after all 🙂

  88. I do recall somewhere on ChessPub people pointing out an error in the Reversed Dragon coverage. There’s another one in the chapter that was posted as an excerpt too. In general though, I can’t judge anyone who writes 1000+ on anything too harshly – it’s impossible to not make mistakes and miss things with such an amazing volume of work behind you. I can only hope my book holds up as well as Marins in the long term!

    I also trust myself to find these things and fix them, and for my opponents to generally not do the same. 🙂

  89. On a completely different note…..

    Yesterday evening I finished the excellent “Rook vs Two Minor Pieces” and as a 1…e5 player took great interest in the analysis (and very detailed explanations) of the Scotch endgame arising from the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.b3 g6 10.g3 Bg7 11.Bb2 0-0 12.Bg2 Rae8 13.0-0 Bxe5 14.Bxe5 Qxe5 15.Qxe5 Rxe5 16.cxd5 Bxf1 17.Kxf1 cxd5. In the book Lund explains how Black can (with best play) hold the balance as White manoeuvres his Rook to the a-file to pressurize the weak a-pawn. The main line runs 18.Nc3 c6 19.Rd1 Rfe8 20.Bf3 Kf8 21.Ne2 Ke7 22.Rd4 Kd6 23.Ra4 Ra8. If Black knows what his is doing he can resist White slowly advancing his ‘a’ and ‘b’ pawns.

    Anyway the point is, I was looking for any recent examples and at the Olympiad in the game Smerdon – Dias, Black played the very nice novelty 23…Rb8! just giving up the a-pawn with the lovely point that if 24.Rxa7 (what else) Ree8! and White can’t avoid swapping off a pair of rooks which (if you’ve read the book you’ll understand very well) is a huge achievement for Black. The position is still probably equal but it is now White that has to be careful (as illustrated by the fact that White lost this game).

    I notice it is the second line given by Houdini, so I suspect it was the computer that turned Dias onto the fact that you don’t actually have to defend the pawn at all.

  90. @Ray
    I’m not the only one of course, but until my opponents don’t become aware of the “hole” I keep playing the line and scoring points…

  91. I only have 6 of those displayed.
    However surprised when I counted that I have 39 of possible 96 QC books.
    That’s over 40%. I think I have an addiction which is not a bad one, so not ashamed.
    There are others who probably have more, possibly … Gilchrist is a Legend?

  92. I’ll be getting all the GM Prep books (currently have Calculation, Strategic Play, Positional Play and in the mail is Attack and Defense). Getting ready to make a push towards GM.

    I’m currently 2378 FIDE (should be picking up 2-3 pts after last tourney) with 2 IM Norms. 2 years for GM seems difficult – but doable.

    I just have to figure out how to beat the 2600 GMs. Since my rating has gone up, I no longer play many IMs and 2450 GMs. Argh!

  93. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I own all of the QC books in the picture except Grandmaster Battle Manual. Speaking of QC books, I just realised that GM16 says now, “Expected Winter 2014”. I suppose that that is within 4 months though, as it is August 2014 right now.

  94. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    I downloaded Stockfish 5 (thanks again or the tip, Phille!), but it gives the same main line for white as Hiarcs 14, i.e., 16.Bc1. After 16.Rxd3 it prefers black, e.g. 16…cxd3 17.Ne1 Ne7 18.Nxd3 Kc8. Apart from the computer lines, I’m just wondering: what is white’s active plan?!

  95. I am just now getting interested in Negi. This question may have been posed before, but is he also going to write a book on 1.e4 minor lines, including the Scandinavian?

  96. I assume that work on the minor lines could get delayed as he catches up with the current theory on the Elephant Gambit.

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