Holiday Reading – The Excerpts


Over the past few weeks we have all been working hard to get four new books to the printer before we stop for the year. Well, today we killed the last of the stragglers. Considering the delay due to holidays and printing time, the books may not land in shops until the start of February.

So, for your holiday reading, excerpts are now available of the following books:

1.e4 vs The Sicilian I is the second volume of GM Negi’s 1.e4 repertoire. The excerpt is here. In the most recent New in Chess magazine, GM Matthew Sadler gave the first volume what just might be our best ever review.

Chess Structures by GM Mauricio Flores Rios shows how to build your chess understanding in a hurry. The excerpt will give a better idea of the book than my one-sentence attempt. I will be interested to hear what others think of this book, because I think it is hugely instructive.

And finally we have Mar del Plata I and Mar del Plata II – Volumes 2 and 3 in GM Kotronias’s King’s Indian series. It is a repertoire of course, and also full of spectacularly entertaining chess. Actually, that understates it – Kotronias is on a glorious quest to solve chess using the King’s Indian as a sword. I love reading these books, even though as a chessplayer I don’t speak King’s Indian. Excerpts are here and here.


92 thoughts on “Holiday Reading – The Excerpts”

  1. I agree – even if you don’t play the KID and never intende to do so in the future, give yourself a treat and buy these books!! They are absolutely brilliant. I think this is going to be a monumental series. I also like the idea of Chess Structures a lot. I think it’s very useful that the chapters are structured according to opening. Thanks QC for another great chess book year, and happy christmas holidays. You deserve it!!

  2. Seems like four great books! I thought you had reached your peak, but I was wrong.
    What is the three piece variation in the classical Najdorf?

    The Kingsindian has been in my repertoire since I was 12 so now I think Kotronias will provide
    me with some answers in the most critical lines. The Kingsindian really is an awesome opening leading to the kind of fighting positions which reminds us was we love chess.

  3. @tony

    I don’t know if you mean astonishing good or astonishing bad. I will believe you on the numbers, but two points: We select our excerpts to avoid giving away the biggest novelties in the main lines. And Negi’s lines (in both volumes so far) are not existing theory – they are where theory will go next, following Negi. If you doubt the latter point, then I would suggest keeping a close eye on the lines Negi gave against the French.

  4. Michael Bartlett

    Thanks for the excerpts. What a lovely early Christmas present! Chess Structures should be a nice compliment piece to Sokolov’s middlegame book on structures arising out of d4. Very excited! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  5. All 4 books look excellent, but especially the Chess Structures book. On the Spassky-Fischer game in the excerpt, the author does not seem to consider the structure Fischer suggested after the game “I should have sealed the queenside at some point with b4 probably, and I suppose he still has a slight edge”. (Post game press conference, transcript as per Seirawan’s No Regrets”

  6. Not a very good chess player

    The Chess structures book looks brilliant. It has that style of teaching which I personally find very instructive, but also illuminating. I like writers who give plans and themes which enable me to understand what is going on, which , for me this excerpt does in spades(conceptual?), and makes me want to read and digest the rest of such a book. Looking forward to buying it.

  7. Thanks for the excerpts – they really look exceptional, even measured in QC standards:-)
    I’m definitely going to (have to) buy all four books!
    Merry Christmas to all @QC!

  8. @tony

    Hi tony,
    No problem either way, but thanks for clarifying. Talking of clarifying, I gave the wrong answer to Bebbe’s question above. The three-piece set-up is Negi’s name for the set-up with queen on c7, knight on d7 and bishop on e7. Andrew, who edited the book, corrected my dodgy memory.

  9. Hi,

    Would quality chess ever consider doing a black repertoire book by style i.e tactical/positional. A one stop shop for everything including 1 c4, 1 Nf3, 1 g4, 1 b4 etc.

    Also would love to see quality chess doing an endgame book for sub 2000 players. Theoretical and practical endgames, basically how to think playing endgames.



    Marry Christmas to Quality Chess Team and my fellow bloggers and lovers of Quality books 🙂

    Could someone give me hints about:

    1) Avrukh: Grandmaster Repertoire 1A – 1.d4 The Catalan
    – how many books in series and are there new lines or just update of old 2 volumes?
    – when to expect volume 1?

    2) Berg: Grandmaster Repertoire 16 – The French Defence volume 3
    – what’s wrong with book? when does it comes out?

    3) Mikhalevski: Grandmaster Repertoire 19 – Beating Minor Openings
    – delay?

    4) Schandorff: Grandmaster Repertoire 7 The Caro Kann
    – is there any plan to update to book? new editions cause book is hard to find nowdays.


  11. What happened with the talk about posible high quality chess training flashcards?

    Now with the complete Yusupov Series, GM Preparation Series, Attacking Manuals and Chess Structures books a great collection of positions should be easy to produce I think.

  12. I have proposed for you to produce a book on “essential” positions/patterns, someone else proposed flashcards with training positions from Yusupov’s course.

    Here you mention that you had been discussing this issue Post #24

    I think this flashcard idea is a very good one, a lot of trainers recommend it, even Kosteniuk made her own flashcards with endgame positions from Villa’s 100 Endgames, I would love to have something similar to that, covering:

    Endgames: Theoretical and strategical
    Strategy: Including important pawn structures if possible
    Tactics: Mainly attacking and defensive methods

    These positions are already contained in the Quality Chess workbooks, so it would probably be easy for you to make a good selection of the most instructive ones, heck even if you only made flashcards from Yusupovs excercises that would be great.

    Yeah we could photocopy and produce our own deck of flashcards using different books but I would gladly pay for a sturdy, nice, practical deck with positions selected by you and collegues.

  13. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    What has changed in the main lines since GM7 Caro-Kann in terms of theory? Would you recommend using the same lines in GM7 and just run a search in a database for the critical lines?

  14. @Jacob I really like Tibor Karolyi’s series on Karpov and Tal. Will he consider to do Capablanca next? Also can I ask regarding GM 7 – Caro-Kann, does Schandorff have no interest in doing a 2nd edition or does QC not think there’s demand for a 2nd edition? Or both?

  15. I know it sounds outlandish, but has Quality Chess considered hiring an expert like Mihail Marin to do a GM Repertoire series on the Pirc defense?

  16. @James
    We are not currently that interested in doing a second edition. One of the basic reasons is a bit mundane to be honest; we have quite a lot of copies left still and the book keeps on selling. Generally I do not base my decisions on business related matters, but to violate them completely is not possible; John will not allow it!

  17. Jacob, do you have any idea when will the chess structures book on forwardchess? And the new Avrukh on the Catalan?

    On the new Avrukh books, I think you said it will update both of them, right? If we were to own a forwardchess copy of the old one, would it update to the new one, or is it considered a different product?

    And the last question of the year: is it possible to buy both the physical copy and the digital one (for a modest increase on the physical copy price, let’s say a 30€ book goes to 35€). I would gladly pay this 5€ for the convenience.

  18. @Thomas
    I agree – there’s a real shortage of good books on Petrosian, so that would be a really nice next project for Karolyi! I would also love a book on Rubinstein, but I guess there’s only so much Karolyi can do, with first still two volumes on Tal to go 🙂

  19. How is Marins Anti-KID recommendation from GM-4 holding up these days?
    From the games I have seen (one game by Kotronias!) it seems like black is equalizing after:

    1.c4, g6 2.g3, Bg7 3.Bg2, Nf6 4.Nc3, 0-0 5.e4,d6 6.Nge2, c5 7.0-0, Nc6 8.d3, Rb8 9.h3, a6
    10.a4, Ne8 11.Be3, Nc7 12.d4, cxd4 13.Nxd4, Ne6 14.Nde2, Bd7! (14.-Ne5 was given by Marin with a slight edge or white). The plan with 14.-Bd7 is to play Na5 followed by b5.

    Any thoughts on this?

  20. @Ray
    There are already two books on Rubinstein by another publisher (I have them but haven’t read them yet). Capablanca would be welcome, there was a book on him which John Nunn updated to algebraic, but it seems like it has gone out of print. Spassky?

  21. @rigao
    I don’t know the dates. They are definitely new products. And sadly it is not possible to do this without giving all the money to Apple/Google. We have tried and we have not found a sensible way to do it.

  22. @Bebbe

    I found this idea as well while studying the English. Will Kotronias include a repertoire for unusual tries by White against the KID (for instance London System, Botvinnik setup, etc.) or is that what Mikhalevski’s book is going to be for?

  23. @Thomas

    Do you agree with my verdict regarding the position?
    The London system against the Kings Indian can be found
    in Avrukhs GM-11. A KID-repertoire against 1.c4, 1.Nf3 and 1.g3
    has not been written by QC as far as I know.

  24. @RaidRaptors

    Sorry this was for RaidRaptors

    Do you agree with my verdict regarding the position?
    The London system against the Kings Indian can be found
    in Avrukhs GM-11. A KID-repertoire against 1.c4, 1.Nf3 and 1.g3
    has not been written by QC as far as I know.

  25. Yes but the Rubinstein books are a biography with little serious analysis at all. I think his chess deserves a look, and Karolyi would surely be a good choice to have that look.

  26. Gelfand is a big Rubinstein fan and said he learned a lot from his games. I’m sure a Rubinstein book deeply annotated by Gelfand would be a top seller.

    Another sort of books I would love to see are books like the chess structure book but dedicated to a specific opening. Ideally full of games where a decent GM wins against a 2100-2300 player because he understands the nuances (structure, plans, pieces to exchange,….. ) of the opening and the corresponding middlegame better than his opponent. Personally, I learn the most from such games.

    Happy new year!

  27. @Jacob Aagard

    I was referring to the upcoming book by Mikhalevski which was GM Repertoire 19 – Beating Unusual Openings. I believe this gives a flexible opening repertoire for Black against every line but d4 and e4? If I’m not mistaken, the Avrukh book on d4 sidelines only covers stuff like the London system.

  28. @Bebbe

    Yeah, I reached a similar verdict after looking at the same line you mentioned. At one point I was studying those positions for opening preparation but I’m not entirely satisfied with the winning potential of such positions. I’m looking for a way to steer lines like the English into slightly more complicated and sharp positions, if that’s possible! Hopefully Mikhalevski’s upcoming book will answer some of these questions.

  29. @RaidRaptors

    I agree that the winning potential for black is not so great in the variation I mentioned.
    An option with more winning potential for black is:

    1.c4, g6 2.g3, Bg7 3.Bg2, Nf6 4.Nc3, 0-0 5.e4,d6 6.Nge2, e5 7.0-0, c6 8.d3

    Here black has a lot of alternatives. 8.-a6, 8.-Na6 or 8.-Nbd7 seems best I think.
    What do you prefer?

  30. I had a look at this. Best seems to be 8.-Nbd7 9.h3, a6 10.Be3, b5 11.Qd2

    Here 11.-Bb7 is given. I saw some games with either 11.-Rb8 or 11.-Re8.
    My choice would be 11.-Rb8 since it prevents white from playing 12.b4.
    Later on black can play Bb7. Now the bishop can retreat to a8 if necessary.
    Black will prepare the break d5 in the centre.
    There is a lot of play in the position and should be a good choice when trying to win with black.

  31. @Bebbe
    I agree Kotronias will probably recommend the Panno , or else 6…c5. It would be nice if he could resurrect the classical variation with …e5, but I guess that will be impossible to resurrect…

  32. @Ray

    My feeling is that Kotrobias is trying to create a real fighting repertoire for black.
    For that purpose the Panno is more fitting than 6.-c5 since the later can lead to drawish endgames by force if white wants it.

    I dont really know what the problem with 6.-e5 is. A bit less dynamic than the alternatives maybe.
    I played it in the 90s and entered the queen sacrifice variation (7.d5, Nh5 8.Qd2, Qh4+9.g3, Nxg3 10.Qf2, Nxf1 11.Qxh4, Nxe3 when given the opportunity. This is considered clearly better for white now. If he can resurrect this I will be very happy.

  33. @Bebbe
    That’s a funny coincidence – I also used to play that variation, but in the 80s 🙂 Unfortunately white can avoid it by delaying d4-d5. I had the book of Andrew Martin at that time, which was actually quite inspiring to me. The whole KID in a little over a 100 pages 🙂

  34. @Ray

    Yes 7.Nge2 is a problem for black.
    In the variation in question 12.Qf2, Nxc4 13.Qe2, Nb6 14.h4 seems critical.
    I suppose 14.-h5 15.Nh3, Na6 makes sense.
    Is this playable for black?

  35. @Bebbe

    I’m pretty sure that Kotronias will either advocate the Panno or 6…e5. In my opinion, 6…c5 is a clean equalizer but like you said, too drawish especially in the Gambit Accepted Nd5 lines. I honestly don’t see much wrong with the classical e5 variation except that Black has to have an incredible sense of dynamics to properly handle it.

    Both the queen sac variation and the famous game Karpov-Kasparov have given me faith in e5. With that said, the Panno variation is also a good choice, almost as sharp as the Mar Del Plata lines except both players attack on opposite wings!

  36. @RaidRaptors

    So you still believe in the Queen sac variation.
    It is a very interesting position to analyse.
    What are you playing against 12.Qf2?
    I will start to play it again if something satisfactory
    is found against 12.Qf2.

  37. @Bebbe

    Here are some sample lines I analyzed a while ago. Please tell me if you had specific questions about certain variations, but I hope these sample lines show you that Black is fighting for a win even after the critical 12.Qf2

    12. Qf2 Bh6!? (I believe in making the g7 bishop active at once) 13. h4
    (13. b3?! Na6!= 14. a3 Nc5 15. Rb1?? Nd3+ -+) 13… Na6 14. h5 Bf4! 15. hxg6 fxg6
    16. Nge2 Bg5! (It can sometimes get tricky with where to put the dark square bishop but keeping it on this diagonal will put White under a lot of pressure) 17. Ng3 Nb4! 18. Ke2 Nbc2 19. Rag1 Nd4+ 20. Kd3 Ng4! (A fatal tactic after which Black has no problems winning) 21. Qg2
    Rxf3+ 22. Qxf3 Nxf3 23. Rf1 Nfh2 24. Re1 Nf2+ 25. Ke2 Nxh1 26. Rxh1 Bg4+
    27. Kd3 Nf3 28. Nce2 Rf8 29. Rf1 h5 30. Nh1 h4 31. Nf2 Ne1+ 32. Kc3 Rf3+
    33. Kb4 Nc2+ 34. Kb5 (34. Ka4 Bd7+ 35. Ka5 Ra3+ 36. bxa3 Bd2+ 37. Nc3
    Bxc3#) 34. .. Bd7+ 35. Ka5 Ra3+ 36. bxa3 Bd2+ 37. Nc3 Bxc3#)

  38. @RaidRaptors

    Thanks for sharing your analysis. This is great stuff!
    I think you analysis proves that 13.h4 is not dangerous
    for black.

    What are you playing against 13.Nd1?
    There can follow 13.-Nxc4 14. Qc2.
    Eventually black will loose the c7-pawn.

  39. @Bebbe

    After searching for a couple of hours, I finally found my old notebook! I have been keeping this analysis to myself for quite a while now, but since you asked, I’ll share!

    12. Qf2 Bh6!? (As I said before, developing the g7 bishop is key) 13. Nd1 Nxc4 14. Qc2
    b5!! (Black should open lines for his pieces on the queenside, and force White to make a queenside concession to move the c4 knight) 15. a4 (15. b3?! Na3! (Black is already better) 16. Qxc7 Na6 17. Qc6 Rb8! (White has so many extra pawns but he is in big trouble! The lines are insanely complicated, so feel free to analyze these ideas further!) 18. Kf1 Rb6 19. Qc3 f5 20.
    Kg2 b4 21. Qe1 Nc2 22. Qh4 Kg7 23. Rb1 fxe4 24. Rb2 Bf5! (Black should win the game pretty smoothly)) 15. .. f5! (Black’s attacking on all sides of the board, hoping to catch the White king in the center! I judge the position as unclear, but easier for Black to play.) 16. axb5
    Ne3!! (This paradoxical move centralizes the dark square bishop and makes the White king very uncomfortable. In many lines the dark square bishop will retreat to b6 and Black can play further on the f-file and dark squares with Nd7-c5.) 17. Nxe3 Bxe3 18. Qxc7 fxe4 19. fxe4 (19. Ra4! (A hard move to see which keeps the f-file closed by recapturing on e4. Still, Black is completely fine) Nd7 20. Rxe4 Bb6 21. Qxd6 (White is several pawns up but Black’s initiative is sufficient compensation)
    Nc5 22. Re3 Bf5 23. Ne2 Rad8 24. Qxe5 Nd3+ 25. Rxd3 Bxd3 26. Nd4 Rfe8 27.
    Ne6 Rd7 28. Qc3 Bf5 29. Qc6 Bxe6 30. dxe6 Rde7 31. Kd1 Rd8+ (Black should hold the endgame comfortably with his active rooks, and this is after perfect play by White!) 32. Ke2 Rde8 (It should be a draw by repetition or the e6 pawn will fall)
    33. Kd3 (White is trying to avoid perpetual but this can only land him in trouble) Rd8+ 34. Ke4? Rc7 (White’s queen is trapped!)) 19. .. Nd7 20. Ne2 Nc5 21. Qxd6 Bg4 22. h3 Nd3+
    23. Kd1 Nf2+ 24. Ke1 Bd2+! (White’s king is completely helpless even after optimal play by White!) 25. Kxd2 Nxe4+ 26. Ke3 Nxd6 27. hxg4 Nxb5 (Black has an extra pawn in the endgame, for whatever it’s worth!)

  40. @RaidRaptors

    Thanks for your effort! I appreciate it.
    In your mainline 20.Qc4 could be an improvement.
    Then 20.-Nf6 21.Ra3, Bb6 22.h3, Bd7 23.Ne2
    Black has som kind of fortress with attacking chances.
    I would rather play black but asess this as “unclear”.

    If white castles queenside with21.Qd3, Bb6 22.0-0-0
    black has 22.- Nxe4!! 23. Dxe4, Tf4! 24.Qe1, Lf5 and
    black is clearly better.

    All in all you have convinced me and will try this when
    given a chance.

    What is the status of the traditional 12.Ke2, Nxc4 13.Tc1?
    Kasparov mentioned the move 13.-c6!? in one of his books.

  41. @Ray

    I will play 7.-c6 8.Qd2, Nbd7 with the following variations:

    a) 9.0-0-0, a6 10.Kb1, b5 11.Nc1, exd4 12.Bxd4, b4

    b) 9.0-0-0, a6 10.Bh6, Bxh6 11.Qxh6, b5

    c) 9.d5, cxd5 10. cxd5, a6 11.g4, h5

    What is your concern here?

  42. @Bebbe
    Not anything specific, but I think 7.Nge2 was recommended by both Schandorff and in a white reportoire by Chess Stars on the Anti-Grunfeld (and maybe even by Kaufman in his recent book on the Anti-Grunfeld). I would assume that all these authors have analysed this to a plus by white 🙂

  43. Franck steenbekkers :
    What Will be first?
    The book negi Siciliaan 1 or the forwardchess edition

    The ForwardChess editions of Negi and Flores Rios will be first – a week before the day the physical books arrive in shops.

    For those who have ordered their physical copies direct from our website, we will as always send as soon as possible (some of the lucky ones may get a copy a day or two before the books arrive at the shops). The time it takes for delivery all depends of course on where you are.

  44. Any chance of getting closer to an actual release date for Berg’s 3rd volume on the French Defence (GM Rep. 16) ?

  45. I could give you one, but it would not be honest, because we just do not know. The editing is progressing well and I hope the book will be ready for a March release, but honestly, I am not sure.

  46. @ Aagaard
    Thanks, both for answering and for being honest (better be genuine than anything else!).
    I shall look VERY much forward to reading it, as I’m rarely ever landing in trouble any longer as long as White plays 3. Nc3..

    I am, however, having some problems understanding The French whenever White embarks on the 3. Nd2.. path (which I’ve been playing as White myself quite a lot). So, obviously, I am dying to read what Berg has to say about it !

    Also – looking super much forward to seeing the Kotronias KID books ! Has it been planned to expand this series beyond vol. 1+2+3 ?

  47. Is it my imagination, or did the price of your books increase by £1 on forward chess this week to £14.99 for most titles?

  48. @Paul

    Paul, here is the e-mail we got from Apple this Wednesday:

    “Within the next 36 hours, prices on the App Store will increase for all territories in the European Union as well as in Canada and Norway, decrease in Iceland, and change in Russia. These changes are being made to account for adjustments in value-added tax (VAT) rates and foreign exchange rates.”

  49. @Sid
    Only the paperback. For hardback, check out Chess4Less, Chess Books from Europe, ChessCafe or Staunton. I am not sure who has ordered it.

  50. Hi,

    Any news about semi-slav and antisic./Najdorf books?
    Scheveningen seems to be a little out of fashion and it will be interesting to see if Ftacnik will continue to advice it.Of course if he will write a new edition of the book.

  51. All 4 books are now on Forward Chess. Bought Negi and looks great.

    Should the physical books be shipped next week? The collapsing Euro is making your physical books even better value for a pounds based buyer like me:-)

  52. @TonyRo @Paul

    I was planning to put up a blog post on the 28th mentioning that all 4 new books are now available on Forward Chess. And now it turns out today is the 28th.

    The physical books will start shipping from any moment now, but I think it will be Monday next week before the books arrive here in Glasgow.

  53. @John Shaw @ForwardChess

    Any chance that there will be a desktop version of the app at some point? I know there are emulators and such, but I have two monitors at my desk at home – it’d be amazing to be able to more easily study QC books while on my computer.

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