The long awaited publishing schedule – with a few surprises (hopefully good ones!)

So, finally I am getting around to write a publishing schedule. Sorry it took so long, though I am not too ashamed to have been producing books rather than talk about them… (Follow the links to see excerpts for the five top books)

There is a few things we have alluded to on the blog over the last few months that are in the list. I will just quickly run through them.

First we have a triple publication date on Wednesday. Positional Decision Making in Chess by Boris Gelfand is of course the main draw. The book is already out on Forward Chess and the immediate feedback has been positive, though it really is early days. For now the book is only available digitally and in hardback. It will be out in paperback later in the year. In order not to undercut the hardback versions, any Forward Chess version bought now is more expensive than it will be at the end of the year. It is standard book industry practice and we could not see a reasonable alternative. I want to add that this book will be available a few places in the US only. Basically the Amazon & friends discount websites will get this book only when it is out in paperback next year. But there will be a few chess specialists in the US that will have it. I do not want to mention anyone here, as I do not want to leave anyone out either. Check with the guys you usually buy your books from. And if you don’t usually support a chess specialist, start doing it, less chess literature will be a thing of the past or an unpaid profession with only amateur blogs remaining.

Python Strategy is a compilation of writings by Petrosian and a few other authors. I personally looked at two of his games, because the Russian version was using Kasparov’s annotations and there was no way we would ever be able to get the rights for them.

Learn from the Legends is a re-issue of our first ever book. Some would say it is the best book we have done as well. The typeset is new, it has been proofed and checked a lot and a new chapter (on Magnus Carlsen) has been added, as well as a few other small things. This is available in hardback only – which is more or less the first time. We printed 32 copies in hardback at some point as an experiment, which no doubt is available on Amazon for $999…

The Semi-Slav and The World Champion are both done and have been sent away to the printer. The date should be reliable, but we are not in charge of all of the things that can go wrong between handing in the files and actually receiving the books in the warehouse. Even the delivery company can be pretty inept.

The two volume books on the Dragon will be divided up with 9.Bc4 and 9.g4 in one volume and everything else (starting at move 6) in the other. We have received the material and have three guys working on the books. It is a lot of stuff, but I am optimistic and think that we might be able to get the books out in August. Obviously we consider it quite a scoop to get Gawain Jones to write these books. I cannot think of anyone else that would be equally qualified.

John’s first book in the Playing 1.e4 twin set is close to done. It will be a big book, but we are absolutely determined to make this a twin set. The second book has been begun and I am confident that we will have it out 2-3 months after the first one. We could put them both out at the same time, which would satisfy some people no doubt, but it can only be done by delaying one of the books. Realistically they cannot be kept equally up to date all the time.

Key Concepts of Gambit Play is the title we ended up with for the Razuvaev book. We also liked Red Pawn Rising, though we did not believe it would actually work as a chess book title. Thanks for the help on this one.

Negi has delivered more than 90% of 1.e4 vs the Sicilian II. He has something like Stanford exams to use as an excuse for not delivering the rest. As the editors are busy with the dragon, he has a few weeks to finish it. The announcement on this is that it is necessary for us to have three volumes on the Sicilian. At the moment we are looking at a total of six volumes in the series, which does not seem excessive to me at all.

Mikhalevski is working away on Beating Minor Openings between tournaments. We have a lot of stuff and it looks quite decent. I am looking forward to this one personally.

Kotronias is on track and on fire. I hope we will get the last volumes of the KID repertoire within the next 12 months as well.

Finally, Nikos has been working in peace and quiet on an 1.e4 e5 Repertoire – starting at move 2. His deadline is quite soon and we are looking forward to this one a lot. This is my repertoire sorted for the summer!

Tigran Petrosian Python Strategy 17-Jun-15
Boris Gelfand Positional Decision Making in Chess 17-Jun-15
Mihail Marin Learn from the Legends – HB 17-Jun-15
Lars Schandorff Grandmaster Repertoire 20 – Semi-Slav 22nd July
Tibor Karolyi Mikhail Tal’s best games 2 – World Champion 22nd July
Gawain Jones The Dragon Volume 1 Summer
Gawain Jones The Dragon Volume 2 Summer
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 – Caro-Kann, 1…e5 & Minor Lines Late Summer
Yuri Razuvaev Key Concepts of Gambit Play Late Summer
Parimarjan Negi Grandmaster Repertoire – 1.e4 vs The Sicilian II Late Summer
Victor Mikhalevski GM 19 – Beating Minor Openings Autumn
Vassilios Kotronias GM6A – Beating the Anti-Sicilians Autumn
John Shaw Playing 1.e4 -Sicilian & French Autumn
Nikos Ntirlis Playing the Open Games Autumn


340 thoughts on “The long awaited publishing schedule – with a few surprises (hopefully good ones!)”

  1. I’m well I was spot on with my Gawain Jones prediction. Cannot wait for the Dragon books and the Breyer. Will the Dragons be GM guides or GM Reps?

    i think you guys will rake it in with those titles on offer, I hope you do anyway!

  2. My wallet weeps, but my heart rejoices. Very excited for basically all of these. I need another bookshelf…

  3. Wallace Howard

    When will we find out what systems Shaw gives in his 1.e4 repertoire? I’m curious if he plays Open Sicilian or not (against 1…c5) and what he gives versus French (Tarrasch?)

  4. I literally cannot wait any longer. I have already ordered Gelfand’s book (and three more to have a complete birthday present) and I’m dying to have them on Wednesday. I really hope there is no delays in the postage.

    I also want Mikhalevski book (in other publisher blog I would add something like ‘if it is half as good as I think it will be’, but here there is no need, I know it will be even better than what I think it is).

    I have a big question for John that I hope gets an honest answer:

    I am 2200 and I have been a 1.d4 or 1.c4 player since god knows when. I never get around studying Khalifman’s Kramnik repertoire and now I think it is outdated, hence I plan to get and study a White repertoire seriously (even if I know perfectly way the best way to improve is not to study openings).

    I have 3 main options:

    * Avrukh new repertoire. That would make the most sense, since it is closed openings. On the other hand, I have never played Catalan, neither I have played KID with g3, nor Grünfeld with g3. So for me everything will be new theory. So I will have to study 4 books of unknown material to me.

    * Negi’s book. Only because a friend lend me the french + caro book and it looked terrific. So on the positive side, it seems a terrific book and I like Negi’s style quite a lot. On the other side, however, it will be 6 books, which is not only expensive, but also quite a lot to study, and it may be not at all my style as a 1.d4 player to play 1.e4 (I haven’t…

  5. … looked at the sicilian book, but it scares me).

    * Last, but not least, we have Shaw’s repertoire. On the plus side, only 2 books and the standard quality of this publisher (well, I can’t now for sure, but what else to expect?). On the flip side, I am not a 1.e4 player.

    So now, the question is: Will the John’s repertoire be positional or will be more tactical? I would like something like a Karpov playing 1.e4, not a Jobava playing 1.e4 (well, a Jobava not avoiding main lines playing 1.e4).

    If the money and the time to study where not an issue, which would be better, Negi’s or John’s for someone making the transition from 1.d4 to 1.e4?

  6. @Gollum
    Don’t forget Schandorff’s reportoire with 1.d4, those lines are quite interesting i.m.o. and might suit your taste better than Avrukh’s recommendations.

  7. Gollum :
    … looked at the sicilian book, but it scares me).
    * Last, but not least, we have Shaw’s repertoire. On the plus side, only 2 books and the standard quality of this publisher (well, I can’t now for sure, but what else to expect?). On the flip side, I am not a 1.e4 player.
    So now, the question is: Will the John’s repertoire be positional or will be more tactical? I would like something like a Karpov playing 1.e4, not a Jobava playing 1.e4 (well, a Jobava not avoiding main lines playing 1.e4).
    If the money and the time to study where not an issue, which would be better, Negi’s or John’s for someone making the transition from 1.d4 to 1.e4?

    Play both I agree with Ray the Schandoff books are a must then get Shaws e4 ones the Negi books are possibly a bit too much work

  8. @Ray

    I don’t know, I was reading it in a library and couldn’t get my head around it. I like his Caro book quite a lot, but I don’t get his 1.d4 repertoire. It may be me, but I like when the lines are clear, and it is not a mess of illustrative games.

    If someone can give me more feedback, indeed it can be an option to explore. Maybe some review somewhere?

  9. Great new schedule indeed. In particular, I’m looking very much forqard to the Nikos project:) Being one of the lucky ones holding the Gelfand books in my hands (pre-ordered, close to Poland) right now, I must say that I am already quite excited. My first impression is that it’s quite personal, with lots of insights into Boris’ thinking, opinions, and approach to the game. (And nice fotos, too;)) Thanks for these fantastic books!

  10. Great news. I will buy Python for sure, probably Shaw on 1e4, and perhaps Ntirlis on the open games. Glad to see 1e4 and 1…e5 getting attention from QC. I will probably skip Karolyi until I first read Tal:L&G. Happy there will be a good book on Petrosian – that has been a gap in the market in my opinion.

  11. Excellent news- long hot summer with a tough choice for best book to take to the beach. no PDF excerpt up for Semi Slav as far as I can see though

  12. Great, great great! Really lookig forward to at least 5 books!! Now I’ am hoping for something like ‘ Playing the Queen’s Gambit Declined’ (for black)…..Thanks

  13. Pawn Dillinger

    I feel 16 again. When you are 16 you can’t wait for things and wish, wish, wish time would fly. I am dying for the Semi-Slav and Minor Openings, can’t wait for all four Negi 1 e4 books, am totally impatient for the Anti-Sicilians, Najdorf and two Dragon books, and dreaming about the final two volumes on the KID and the 1…e5/Breyer book. Not to mention both Tal volumes and the remaining Avrukh Catalan books. This is at least 18 books. I should only live so long and be able to afford it — not to mention learn from them. I could die happy then.
    But I know it only starts all over again. I know I’m sick. I guess that’s just chess.

  14. Wallace Howard

    @John Shaw
    RE: SHAW
    Thanks for the info on volume 2, I am looking forward to the open sicilian stuff.
    However, this begs the question: what are you giving in volume 1? Spanish or Italian (or Scotch, I suppose). p.s. – I loved your King’s Gambit book. Clearly the best book on that opening ever.

  15. Kevin Stevens

    All I can say is “WOW” at this great line up of books. It’s only unfortunate I am on a limited budget with $55 to spend. I’m not a high rated player at this time (1500) but I’m looking for books to improve my game. I already have the GM Yusupov series of books and I’m working my way through them as well as enjoying them. What other books are recommended for my level to help with improvement? There just seems to be too many good options. Any suggestions?

  16. @Pawn Dillinger
    🙂 I can relate to that, maybe we can start a self-help group. Also very much looking forward to the remaining KID books. I simply admire how much high-quality stuff Kotronias can write within such a short time span. I’ll have to think about where to put all these books…

  17. Jacob Aagaard

    If you come from 1.d4 to 1.e4 I think you should go for John’s repertoire as it will be more stylistically similar to what you are used to – or stay with Avrukh.

    About price: You will be paying about € 0.50 per hour for GM training when you read our books. I can see that it feels very expensive with the up front price, but a single hour with me is £100 (€140) and you can literally get all of the Negi series for this, if you haggle a bit with your local chess specialist :-).

  18. @Jacob Aagaard

    Thanks for the advice. I shall pay attention to John’s books

    I agree QC books are worth every penny. Unfortunately I have a limited budget (and time to study the books I buy), and I have to decide what to do with it, so 2 theory books might be better because it will leave me some money for other interesting books which will be more useful in the long run.

    So on that light, John’s repertoire for me is better than Negi’s. On the other hand, what I’ve read of Negi’s is great. I really like his style.

  19. Hey Jacob when you asked

    “Who would write a book on the Dragon?” in an earlier thread

    I suggested Gawain Jones. Did I give you a the idea or was he already writing it when you asked?

  20. Pawn Dillinger

    A self-help group would be great, but then I’d be cured from chess, so I’ll choose to remain in deep denial. I’m with you as far as not having space for the books I have. I’m literally surrounded by them. As an adult I question myself, but it actually was a dream of mine when I was 8, so, hey. And Kotronias is incredible, as are the other Quality Chess writers who pump out such high-quality stuff on a constant basis.

  21. John Shaw :
    @Wallace Howard
    I think I mentioned a few details a while back. The Open Sicilian is the plan, and I do like the Tarrasch. But that is Volume 2.

    I think that 3.Bb5 against 2…Nc6 and only after 2….d6/2…e6 3.d4 should also be fine…..

  22. Which variations of the Sicilian will be covered in Negi’s book 1.e4 vs the Sicilian 2 and how much time does Negi require for the 3 books, which will follow?

  23. @Pawn Dillinger
    Hear hear, it’s cheaper than buying a motorbike 🙂 . By the way, I’m curious who will win the analysis battle on the Scotch – John or Nikos. I.m.o. the Scotch is just equal, so I’m putting my cards on Nikos.

  24. Black wins the analysis on the Scotch 😉

    But in a practical game it’s not so easy to remember all the details and even in Corr up to 2300 at least, White wins some Scotch games. In my notes Mieses is a draw, so I’ll also go with Nikos on this one.

  25. @Jacob Aagaard

    When will the excerpt for the Semi-Slav be uploaded? As I am really looking foward to this one I would love to get an overview what lines Schandorff ist going to cover (will it be Moscow or Botvinnik; mainline or Bd6 in the Meran?)!

  26. I alway said Quality chess should offer a book-subscription 🙂
    again a great Publishing schedule and looking forward to nearly all the books ( I will never Play the Dragon, but you never know …) .

  27. 5-9 books on my “buy” list. If I only had the time to read, or even study!, all of them.

    The one thing I’m missing is an E.T.A. for Boris’ next book.

  28. Jacob Aagaard

    We do not work in the weekend. We publish our recommendations in the books, not on the website and there is no conceptual difference to me between two books published by QC on the same subject from different sides of the board and a book by QC facing a book from another publisher. As long as we keep a brick wall between the two projects, it is a fair fight. Finally, we do not comment on unwritten books. Why? Because they are not written and we have nothing to comment on.

  29. @Jacob Aagaard
    “As long as we keep a brick wall between the two projects, it is a fair fight.”

    Well, my feeling is that Negi was very kind with Berg as he claims only a slight edge for white while in the correspondence world Black is losing one game after another following Berg’s recommendation.

  30. I guess the problem is on White’s repertoires. I do not think there is an advantage to be found in 1.e4 e5 (Petrov, Berlin, Marshall), nor do I think there is any after other major defences (french, caro, sicilian), hence the repertoire book should aknowledge that fact and end up in maybe a very slight pull for White, while at the same time the same position considered from Black’s point of view is seen as equal in the black’s repertoire.

    Obviously, Negi follows Schandorff recommendation on the Caro, takes the variation a couple more moves and finds a slight advantage, continues Berg’s analysis on the french, and finds a slight advantage (or maybe big, according to garryk), but keep in mind that in no way Black position is unsound, so most probably there will be a slight improvement a couple of moves early and the lines are just fine and equal (or a very minimal tiny pull for White).

    At the end of the day, as we cannot play as computers, what I look in theory books is to end up in a playable position, even if it is slightly inferior. Knowing the typical plans and how you should handle the positions is so much better than a 0.1 evaluation difference.

  31. BTW. I think a lot of people reading this blog overestimates the importance of openings (I deduce that from commentaries such as ‘there are 5 to 9 books in the must buy list’). Books such as Gelfand’s is what will make you a better player.

    Of course, when you are 2500 you have to study openings seriously, but I wonder how many people here will have that elo… on the other hand, when your rating is lower, picking up a Yusupov book, for instance, or maybe Weterschnik tactics from scratch will be much more beneficial.

    And I must say I too am at fault here. Last serious tournament I played I went full on to study openings and played one of the worst tournaments in my life, dropping 50 elo points, although not even once my position after the opening was worse. I have tried (successfuly to this day) to avoid studying openings outright, but the temptation (and QC is a really big temptation) is there. I just hope I can find a good White repertoire and can find closure when I have a solid White and Black repertoire. Or maybe it is wishful thinking?

    Apart from Gelfand’s book (which I get tuesday), from the list above I probably will go with John’s repetoire (two books) and Mikhalevsky. At least I try not to buy anything else…

  32. Jacob Aagaard

    And hopefully failing ;-).

    I think some people miss the fact that a lot of us find opening theory fascinating and look at it for pleasure and not just to win more games.

  33. I absolutely agree – I don’t buy opening books to become better per se (I agree other types of study are better to achieve that goal), but primarily because I like studying openings and browsing through opening books – not even if I play the opening myself.

    By the way, wouldn’t it be great of Gelfand would write a GM Rep book on the Petroff?

  34. I believe that studying some of the opening books from QC will also make you a stronger player. For example, studying Marin’s books on the English opening will give you a good understanding of different structures which can also arise from different other openings. Reading Schandorff’s book on the caro kann will even make you better at playing endgames as he dedicates a lot of the book to this phase. Avrukh’s book on the Slav contains so much tactical finesse, so here you will get a lot of tactical awareness by going through it. Combine some good opening books with Chess Structures and you will have a lot of fun and probably get even stronger 🙂

  35. @pabstars
    I agree with you on Marin’s books, but I do not in the Schandorff case. I use this book as my repertoire against 1.e4 at the moment, so I have studied it, and while I think it is a good book, it will only teach you one single endgame, which by the way is all theory. Of course if you study it carefully, you will now how to play it, but in no way it substitudes going for (for instance) de la Villa’s 100 endings you should know.

    In general studying openings is fun (I like a lot to study openings I do not play, too, and I do it knowing it will not improve my game much) and it is very easy, you only need to use your memory, which is easier than thinking for yourself, but a good general book will give you a lot more.

    If it were possible to have opening books with a section of Chess Structures in them… You get to study the nimzo after a 50 pages preface on their pawn structures… That would blow my mind.

  36. I thought so too – i.m.i. the Poisoned Pawn is perfectly playable for black. Negi’s recommendation against …cxd4 ends in an endgame where he says white has a plus, but it’s not that clear. At least I wouldn’t mind playing this with black. I think garryk is referring to the variation with 7…0-0 and …b7-b5 (which get two exclamation marks from Berg).

  37. I have analyzed Negi’s endgame after cxd4 up to almost a forced draw. 7…0-0 I haven’t touched since I consider in contradictory to the spirit of the winawer.

  38. @Ray

    Yes, I’m referring to the variation 7 … 0-0 and b5, which loses by force. The endgame after cxd4 is indeed very drawish but I don’t believe the engines that call it a simple draw…at least White has some play and in that case I appreciate Negi’s opinion.

  39. @Jacob

    I already ordered Gelfand’s book some weeks ago. Do you know how long it takes the shipping to spain? I’m really anxious!! 🙂

  40. @Fer

    My best guess is you will receive the book later this week. Maybe next week if international mail is going slow for some reason. The new books just reached our Glasgow office today, so there’s a lot of packing going on.

    On the plus side, the covers look great to me. Obviously we have seen the cover designs before, but it is different seeing the real thing.

  41. It would be interesting to see some games (correspondence or over-the-board) with this ending. I’m taking sides with trandism here 🙂

  42. Gelfand on the Petroff? That would really be a very nice thing! I wonder what Negi tells us about that rock. I got the Sakaev book a few years ago to have a very solid opening and avoid the Italian stuff that happens a lot on my level (2100). I like it very much that the Petroff often seems to get the white guy out of his preparation. And by the way, I think there is not enough analysis on the Nc3 lines in the Petroff where black castles kingside.

  43. Jacob Aagaard :
    Finally, we do not comment on unwritten books. Why? Because they are not written and we have nothing to comment on.

    That’s a weird statement, considering for how long you’ve been writing about John’s 1.e4 books and your very own “Thinking inside the box”.

  44. @Ray
    This one is from an LSS tourney, I played Black

    1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4 cxd4 8. Bd3 Qa5 9. Ne2 O-O 10. Bg5 Ng6 11. Qg3 Nd7 12. h4 dxc3 13. f4 h5 14. Qe3 Qb6 15. Nd4 Nb8 16. Kf2 Nc6 17. Nxc6 Qxe3+ 18. Kxe3 bxc6 19. g4 hxg4 20. h5 f6 21. exf6 gxf6 22. Bh6 d4+ 23. Kf2 Ne7 24. Bxf8 Kxf8 25. h6 Kg8 26. Rae1 Rb8 27. Rh5 Bd7 28. Ra5 Rb7 29. Kg3 f5 30. Bc4 Nd5 31. Rd1 Kh7 32. Rxd4 Kxh6 33. Bxd5 cxd5 34. Rc5 Kg6 1/2-1/2

  45. Anyone bought Gelfand book on forward chess yet?
    Any comments.
    I am not sure whether to get on forward chess or wait for book.

  46. @Ray
    You’re welcome, but please check it yourself as well. I wouldn’t what to be responsible for any accidents. I think that it’s good play after the end of Negi’s line, but a second pair of eyes always helps.

  47. Of course I will ceck it myself (with the help of Stockfish), but indeed this is a good starting point. I’ll let you know if I find a path for white to an advantage but my feeling about this position is good from black’s perspective 🙂

  48. Yesterday got mail that Gelfand book is precessed :). Hope it will come soon. While wife will swim in the sea, I will move wooden pieces in tha shape. Nice gift for vacation :).

  49. I was wondering whether it is possible to put the excerpt of GM Semi-Slav on? Sorry for asking, but I’m quite curious to see the contents of this book…

  50. Ray :
    I was wondering whether it is possible to put the excerpt of GM Semi-Slav on? Sorry for asking, but I’m quite curious to see the contents of this book…

    Hi Ray,

    We are working on it. Just a few final checks to go.

  51. Jacob Aagaard

    Certainly is :-).

    The thing is that in-house we know what is going on. We do sadly not have the powers over authors that slavery once provided… But this is an emotional issue mainly. Books we write, we always finish, while projects with authors gets cancelled sometimes for entirely surprising reasons. Two last year for things I would never have guessed; private matters I cannot talk about, but entirely surprising.

  52. First of all, thank you for the Sicilian Dragon books by G. Jones! It will be interesting to compare them with analysis from the other newly released titles by P. Negi, J. Shaw and C. Hansen.

    Secondly, please consider hiring GM Stefan Kindermann to write GM Rep book about the Dutch Defence based on the Leningrad Variation. His book published by Olms is still the best written one on the opening variation although a little dated.

    Thirdly, ss Beating the Anti-Sicilians is an advance project, could you tell us if both 2…d6 and 2…Nc6 antisicilians are investigated?

    Thank you!

  53. Gilchrist is a Legend

    When a book passes to a given date instead of a season like “summer”, does that mean that it is basically fixed to release with sureity on that date (Schandorff definitely for 22 Jul)?

  54. This might have been already answered somewhere but I can’t find it. Will Playing the Open Games cover the Spanish as well, or is that a separate volume?

  55. @Ben
    “Finally, Nikos has been working in peace and quiet on an 1.e4 e5 Repertoire – starting at move 2. His deadline is quite soon and we are looking forward to this one a lot. This is my repertoire sorted for the summer!”

  56. @trandism
    I checked your game and it indeed seems to end in a drawn position. By the way, I wrote in my notes ‘Negi says white has a slight advantage but 26…Rb8 seems okay for black’. Nice to see this confirmed with your game 🙂 .

  57. Some ideas for title ( Razuvaev book ) : time vs material , dynamics in openings , … How to lose a pawn quickly , the critical gambits , Arsenal for the 21th century , gambits : Epistemology and modern practice

  58. @k.r.

    If all goes to plan (and a shipping company delivers as scheduled), we will have caught up on all Gelfand orders by the end of today. We have sent out lots of books already in the past week.

    I am looking forward to having a copy of my own as well – so far every available copy in Glasgow has immediately been posted to a customer.

  59. The eagle has landed 🙂 . I have browsed through all three books and my first impression is absolutely great. I especially like the verbal explanations in Gelfand, e.g. on space advantage. And I like the addition of Rubinstein’s games (just as in Learn from the Legends). QC made my weekend 🙂

  60. Neil Sullivan

    The Gelfand book was just dropped off at my office. That’s very quick delivery to Montréal! Weekend plans have all changed.

    The corners look perfect by the way. 🙂

  61. @John Shaw
    Great to see that Schandorff has rehabilitated the Botvinnik! I’m looking very much forward to this book, as it seems like a perfect companion to Avrukh’s book on the Slav.


    Semi-Slav looks interesting to me also 🙂

    I expected to be a mighty 500 pages tome, but I was wrong. How can you put wild Botvinnik Variation in 40 pages or so? I’m really surprised!

    Does this mean that after Bg5 Black can choose between Botvinnik and Moscow Variation, so to have 2 options?


    How come that Avrukh’s Slav has almost twice more pages? Isn’t Semi-Slav more complicated?

    I still don’t get it? Where is then the difference between these two systems? Help 🙂

    I was referring to the Botvinnik only, since your remark was on that chapter. You are right that Schandorff’s book has far less pages than Avrukh’s. On the other hand, almost half of Avrukh’s book is on 3rd and 4th move alternatives (3.cxd5, 3.Nc3, 4.Qb3 etc.). Schandorff’s reportoire starts at move 5. So you should actually take this into account to make a fair comparison.

    By the way, I don’t think the Semi-Slav is more complicated – e.g. the main line Slav with 11…g5 is quite complicated and e.g. the line with the queen sacrifice after 4.Qb3 is also complicated. Besides, a more complicated line does i.m.o. not necessarily mean more theory. For example, in the Botvinnik the path is quite narrow – both white and black do not have that many sound options to deviate. Less forcing opening can on the contrary have more theory. Take for example Kotronias’ book on the KID Fianchetto (700 pages for a single black subsystem).

  66. Pac :
    I get so confused when you state seasons. Can you please specify what hemisphere, months, and year?

    Very simple: Glasgow seasons:
    -Winter : january to march
    -Spring : april to july
    -Summer : from 1 TO 15 august
    -Autumn : from 16/08 to december

  67. @Aagaard
    You wrote: “I hope we will get the last volumes of the KID repertoire within the next 12 months as well.” Exactly how many volumes are we talking about ? And, how does Kotronias manage to write SO much in such short time-span ? Not many other authors are this productive.. at least not if the quality should be upheld (*cough..* did someone mention Schiller ?).

  68. Gilchrist is a Legend :
    @John Shaw
    As the excerpt is on today, would it be fairly sure to infer that GM20 is out on the original date (22 Jul)?

    That is correct. Confirmation from the printer today that all looks on schedule. So the prediction remains that “The Semi-Slav” and “The World Champion” (Tal’s Best Games Volume 2) will be published on July 22nd.

  69. @Alexander

    We have 3 KID books from Kotronias already, and maybe 2 more will complete the repertoire. I added a “maybe” as there is always a risk that what is planned as one book will be too huge to fit into one volume.

    One of the keys to Kotronias’s speed (apart from being a hard-working man) is that he is not starting with a blank piece of paper. He has played and analysed the King’s Indian for many many years, so he uses his own fearsome repertoire as a starting point for his work.

  70. @John
    Thanks – these answers absolutely makes sense. However, quite a few other authors who publishes through Quality Chess, has also very often played the respective opening for years.. so all I can conclude is that Kotronias must be really well prepared 😀

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of the KID series being completed, as there are no other series of books on this particular opening out there that makes sense to buy in my humble opinion.

    So 1st volume was fianchetto with g3, and 2nd and 3rd about Mar Del Plata. And the 4th and (possibly) 5th will be about ? Averback Variation, Sämisch Variation and/or Four Pawn Attack ?

  71. Hi, i ordered in “preorder season” Gelfand book, I saw that some people already got it, is it possible that you didnt send all orders?

  72. Is there a plan to make Python Strategy available on the Forward Chess plattform? By the way the Gelfand book is fantastic.

  73. Same here, I received a message my last book from my order (Phyton) is on the way some time ago. Also included was a tracking number. But that didnt help, as it is the same as for the books I received one month ago when ordering all books. Why cant a new one be generated by the system? (Maybe thats a shipper problem of course)

  74. Dragon! Dragon! Dragon! So glad you guys are publishing a work on the Dragon. I love the idea of the opening but never felt comfortable taking on the insanity that is the Yugoslav attack. At least not from the black side 😉

    When are we going to see a Kan/Paulsen and Taimanov GM Rep?

  75. Shocking sample of the Schandorff book. A complete Semi-Slav GM Repertoire on 250 pages?!
    Lars’ style seems to be though to deal with second rate variations quickly and confidently, which saves a lot of space. I like that he once again proposes very aggressive variations.

  76. Gelfand’s book is fantastic: I’ve already devoured it.

    The Petrosian book: is excellent but aside from Aagaard’s notes to Petrosian’s two wins over Kasparov and the short article by Mueller at the end I’d say that around 95% of it is a retranslated excerpt of _The Games of Tigran Petrosian_, volumes 1 & 2, compiled by Shekhtman and published in hardback by Pergamon and reprinted by Ishi. Buy those books and you’ll have the QC book plus a ton of extra material besides. (You’d get virtually all of Petrosian’s available games, a good number of which are annotated in addition to those that have been republished in the QC book.) Unless there’s some legal problem with the Ishi reprint it would make more sense for Petrosian fans to buy that instead of the QC excerpt.

  77. @ Phil: I don’t just mean that the bare game scores are in there; it’s the whole thing: the text that’s in the QC book, the annotated games with the same annotations that are in the QC book, everything. Plus the extra games (many annotated), photographs, crosstables and (in the originals) hardback rather than paper.

  78. Jacob Aagaard

    @Dennis M
    The Ishi book is brutally illegal. The rights were not paid for with the Pergamon books and the Ishi edition is a pure bootleg… Ours is entirely legal and the heirs have been paid.

  79. @ Dennis M: I prefer a selection of best games of a player. In 1955 Fischer was a 1700-1800 player, 1956 2200, in 1958 he became a GM and worldclass player. I prefer even Soltis “Bobby Fischer rediscovered” to Karsten Muellers book on Fischer.
    I too like the chess informant compilations “The best of the best 1000” and “The best theoretical novelties”.

  80. @Chris, same with my book. The last shipment came in 3 days. When I order books at other salesman (including qualitychess books), they come in 3 days. Perhaps postman got drunk and forgot to deliver them :).

  81. @Jacob: I did have my doubts about the Ishi edition, but am surprised about the Pergamon books.

    @Phil: If you’re arguing solely about your own tastes, there’s nothing to debate. Enjoy the shorter work! The analogy with Soltis vs. Mueller isn’t apt, however, unless the Mueller book includes all of Soltis’s analyses. And the percentage of the older books with Petrosian as a world-class player is overwhelming – it’s not as if a substantial portion is filled with juvenalia.

  82. Dennis M: The strength of the Soltis book is stories like on P.111:
    “In the first round at Bulgaria’s Golden Sands resort in Varna, Fischer found himself paired with an unknown Asian opponent. As he prepared his scoresheet, he tried in vain to figure out how to spell Black’s name. Fischer looked at his opponent’s scoresheet but couldn’t decipher the writing. Then he looked at the name card on the side of table but the Cyrillic lettering wasn’t much help. Finally, he solved the mystery. In the place on the scoresheet for White he wrote “Fischer.” And in the place for Black he added, “A Mongolian.”

  83. @Phil: I wasn’t as clear as I could have been in my previous post, but did address this earlier. It’s not just all the annotations that were in the earlier Petrosian book(s), but all the stories too. So I should have said that in your analogy it’s not just all of Soltis’s analyses that would be in the Mueller book, but all the stories too. If you’re making a Venn diagram the area of overlap is shaded in and the Mueller-only area is shaded in, while the Soltis-only area is blank or very nearly blank.

  84. Gelfand mentioned more volumes in Positional Decision Making in Chess.

    I do so hope there will be a follow up to this excellent book.

    And how do you pronounce ‘Agaard’?

  85. Python arrived today, its already with the others prepared to move, i will have a look at it in the new home. 🙂

  86. Interesting prospect of summer of producing an extensive work on the Dragon followed by a volume in “Late Summer” that will look to demonstrate an advantage against it.

    I suspect the argument will revolve around the lines after 9.0-0-0 d5. Looking forward to it!

    Any indication of which Sicilians are likely to be in Negi’s 2nd volume?

  87. Jacob Aagaard

    The two dragon books are being completed at the moment. One should be proof read next week and the other not long after. I suspect an August publication, depending on the printer. We will delay one volume 2-3 weeks to publish them together, while we will not delay Vol. 2 of John’s 1.e4 books with 2-3 months.

    Negi will look at Sveshnikov, Rauzer and Dragon I think. Maybe a bit more. We only have 90% of the stuff at the moment. He was inconvenienced by a few exams…

  88. @Phil: That is some seriously fine trolling. 🙂 I’m offering an analogy, of course; I realize that the Soltis and Mueller books are quite different. The Pergamon and QC books on Petrosian are not.

  89. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Talking about the Vol 2 of John’s books, is the Vol 1 still on course for right after the Dragon volumes?

    And about your name, in modern orthography it is simply Ågård, ikke sant?

  90. Jacob Aagaard

    @Dennis M
    They are different. One of them is not in print and as far as I know, did not pay the heirs. The other is in print, with great layout and new stuff in it and everyone was paid. But sure, Petrosian did not write much new stuff the last 30 years – lazy bastard…

  91. @Jacob: I know and accepted your point about the (as far as you know) non-payment from Pergamon. I was just replying to the thread with Phil. That said, I like the layout of the big books just as much, and didn’t see a lot of new stuff in the QC book. There was Mueller’s article, there were your notes to the Kasparov games, and in my bit by bit comparison of the books through page 97 I spotted the Bannik game, which seemed to be new, and maybe a couple of paragraphs of text. Not a lot.

    I don’t regret buying the QC book, but that’s mostly for the sake of the heirs. The Pergamon books are great and I was glad to buy them 15 years or so ago.

  92. Starting a new thread on the Petrosian book, I really wonder about the notes to Petrosian-Smyslov, game 14. Are they really by Petrosian? They seem rather impersonal, and if they are by Petrosian the note after Black’s 16th move is incredibly disingenuous, at least if Vik Vasiliev’s account in his book on Petrosian is to be believed. (All of this is in the Pergamon book too – this is a question about the source material, not the QC book.)

    The dubious statement is the following: “A curious fact is that an analogous position arose in the game Geller – Flohr in the same round of the tournament.” This statement is about as accurate as the phrase “the Holy Roman Empire”. First, it wasn’t “analogous”, it was identical. Second, it wasn’t “curious” at all. Geller and Petrosian were friends and Geller had shown him the gambit and persuaded him to try it. In fact Petrosian waited to see what would happen in Geller’s game, and when Geller played 17.Rb1 and got absolutely nothing he came up with the more ingenious 17.d5, confusing Smyslov and ultimately winning.

    It would be nice to know the source of these notes. Were they written right after the event, and was Petrosian trying to hide his chess partnership with Geller? Was he trying to pretend he invented the variation independently? For that matter, it would be interesting to know what Vasiliev’s source material was.

  93. Have you thought of writing a book about the Great Patriarch? IMO, his best games are crystal-clear and beautiful. He was also a true comeback-kid regaining the world championship several times.

  94. Sorry, I should have been more clear in my request I think 🙂

    Do you plan to make any books on Botvinnik?

  95. @Jacob Aagaard
    Following your comments on Petrosian, I was wondering if you’d looked at any other out of print Soviet titles that Pergammon published? Obvious candidates are Shereshevsky’s two volumes on Mastering the Endgame (long out of print- typically sells for huge price second hand) and David Bronstein, Chess Improviser which I remember someone enthusing about as a kid, but I never bought as it was hardback and a bit pricey.


    @Jacob Aagaard

    Well, then you can go to work right now 🙂 Another one in Chess Classic’s series…

    Please consider also:

    1) Strategy and Positional Play from Scratch

    – I know that you’re proposing Yusupov’s books, but a single volume compendium is also much needed, and besides Yusupov is not the only man on planet to be well versed in this field 🙂

    2) Quality Chess Endgame Manual

    – hire Karsten Muller for this, why not?

    3) Endgames from Scratch

    4) GM Guide:

    a) Playing the Queen’s Gambit for Black

    b) Playing the Sicilian for Black

    c) Playing the KIng’s Indian for Black

    d) Playing the Grunfeld for Black

  97. Well, I think a queens gambit GM repertoire for black would be very nice, given the high amount of elite players that use this opening regularly. I would like to see both: a GM Guide with a more ambitious aim and a GM repertoire by a high theoretician with the aim of equalising against 1d4. That would be very nice and I wonder why there is no Quality Chess book out there yet! Any plans on making that?

  98. @Nico
    This is a nice idea, the GM Guide should be more ambitious (and somewhat risky) while the GM repertoire should be more conservative and mainstream.

  99. @garryk
    Vienna for the GM Guide and Tartakower for the GM Rep? My ideal would be a complete black reportoire with the Nimzo-Indian, the QGD against 3.Nf3 and of course an antidote against Avrukhs Catalan. I can’t imagine QC haven’t tried to start such a project (or a similar one), but it may be easier said than done to find a world-class GM to write the book(s).

  100. @Ray

    “My ideal would be a complete black reportoire with the Nimzo-Indian, the QGD against 3.Nf3 and of course an antidote against Avrukhs Catalan.”

    Call me if you succeed as it’s also my ideal repertoire!

  101. Also, why not a book about Keres? This very great player, and theorist, should have some books about him. Currently available, er, hmm…

    Please… 🙂

  102. .
    What happened to the “From Scratch” series? I think I read something about producing the next book soon… Like a year ago or so. What is the plan for this series?

  103. I buy most of your books and find them to be the best in the market. I would be very intrested if you would publish a book on nimzo-larsen attack but I understand that 1.b3 maybe is to offbeat for QC. Is there any chance this could happen? Maybe with more focus on general plans for amateurs who accepts black can get an equal game quite easily. Anyways, thanks for being the best of the best and keep up the good work for all of us chessnerds.

  104. There has been a sad lack of good chess books of late, but it looks like the coming months will place further challenges on prioritising space among my already bursting bookshelves

  105. The Odessky book is good, not just apt notes, but a caveat that b3 doesn’t always lead to a 20 move crush.

  106. Pawn Dillinger

    For me, Spassky, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Alekhine and Kramnik would make great topics for Tibor Karolyi. Such different styles. While I’m at at it, may as well ask for Topalov and Anand books. Quality Chess has thoroughly spoiled me. Poor guys: overworked, underpaid…with a bunch of capricious, spoiled, overgrown children for customers like me with wish lists. Ah well, call my new handle ChessSlave. Yes, I know I’m sick, but what is to be done. Too bad my talent doesn’t equal my insanity. Just a cat chasing its tail, tricked into the illusion of progress. Thanks, QC!


    @Phil Collins
    New Tiger’s book is outstanding!

    By the test of time we can state following:

    Level I openings vs 1.e4 are:

    1… e5
    1… c5

    Level II openings vs 1.e4 are:

    1… e6
    1… c6

    Level III openings vs 1.e4 are:

    1… g6 /Modern/Pirc complex
    1… d6 /Philidor etc

  108. Phil Collins :
    How can a company that published two books on 1…g6 say that 1.b3 is to offbeat?

    I don’t remember saying 1.b3 was too offbeat; I said we were unlikely to publish a book on it.

    We were extremely unlikely to publish a book on the Morra Gambit until Marc Esserman convinced us otherwise.

    So if Boris Gelfand insists he wants to write a great book on 1.b3, then we’ll go for it. But I’m guessing that’s unlikely.

  109. I think that the french has had a bad rep. A passive opening where you try to draw. But if you think of it, a couple of month ago some french line where white sacrified a pawn has been played in top tournaments and Black did ok with it. Maybe its only problem is that no world champion has picked it since Botvinnik (am I right there?).

    On the other hand, I think the caro has always had a very good reputation of being a solid opening, a really good way to equalize, although with not much more expectations. Karpov used it extensively, but also players like Anand. Maybe nowadays is not that used, but I think that is more Berlin’s fault than Caro’s. With 1…e5 Black has a great option to equalize, and it has displaced other defences (including the Petrov).

    So all in all, I don’t think they are inferior to 1…e5 or 1…c5.

    On the other hand, Scandinavian, Alekhine, Pirc, Modern, Philidor are in a somewhat lower level. While I don’t think white can claim an edge (although Negi does it) for White in the top 4, these other defences have a plus for white, albeit it can be small.


    @ Jacob, creative director 🙂
    @ to all my chess friends 🙂

    Oh my my, how could I forget to suggest outstanding Marin’s successor in Grandmaster Guide series, the Playing English Opening as White 🙂

    While Marin wrote 3 tomes, you could launch a single volume with more forcing and space grabbing variations!

    A real jewel between White openings, don’t you agree 🙂

  111. @ Gollum and LE BRUIT QUI COURT

    Yes, the French is a not bad opening, and even quite interesting with attack-counterattack-sacrifice etc. but it is not so correct than e5, c5 and White must have an advantage, even if it may be quite small. The Caro is probably more correct and it is quite possible White has no advantage. It is at the same level than e5 and c5, or almost.

    The “new” Caro is no more the Caro of Karpov. Guys like Anand, Topalov etc have played, and play again, the Caro. Not guys who just want just a solid game and a rapid handshake…

    A last thing. The Philidor is an e5 opening, even if the modern move order begins with 1… d6 (just to avoid a critical variation if you play 1… e5)

  112. Well, please, someone can remove my first comment (181)? The good one is 182.

    Thank you very much and sorry for this.

  113. “For me, Spassky, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Alekhine and Kramnik would make great topics for Tibor Karolyi. Such different styles. While I’m at at it, may as well ask for Topalov and Anand books.”

    Why compete with Anand’s own massive volume, or Everyman’s book on him? There are already several pretty good books on Alekhine, Smyslov and Botvinnik. I mean would I love to see the Moravian Botvinnik books republished with the much higher quality that comes from Quality Chess? Absolutely, but would they sell enough to not be a loss?

    The idea of a Kramnik book is interesting because his own is 15 years old and he has played a lot of great games since then. Of course there is the more recent everyman book, but I don’t have a copy.

    To me the most interesting name on the list is Topalov. I think he needs a book as he has not only many impressive wins, but also some real impressive fighting losses. I also found his own annotations in his Elista book to be excellent, but he doesn’t seem to like annotating games, and I don’t know if it would be worth it for any publisher to either produce a book by him or about him.

  114. Pawn Dillinger

    Wayward Son: The key name to my opening paragraph is Tibor Karolyi. I like his style. Everyone has a favorite author, right?

    I like Anand’s volume, which was done with Nunn. I’ve got great books on Alekhine, Smyslov an Botvinnik. But I like the multi-volume breakdown and style of Karolyi and Quality Chess and their potentiation. Plain and simple. From my perspective, the books would sell.

    The idea of Kramnik and Topalov books alone grips me. The key word you used about Topalov — to me — is “fight.” As I wrote in my original, whimsical post, “such different styles.” I think, in addition to Petrosian, Spassky is given the shortest shrift of any world champion besides Euwe.
    When I think of Alekhine, I think of tactics and tacticians like Fischer and Kasparov. But what about Spassky? As with Smyslov, he may be the rare “boxer-puncher” — positional player and tactician.

    Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca…I could on to non-champions like Keres and Bronstein. I could even go for a QC book on Fischer, for my money, the most perfect player ever — no computer aid, not even a true coach. (A topic we all could round and round on: Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Carlsen, heck even Capablanca.)

    Again, I’ve admitted my insanity. To each his own, no? My bottom line is Quality Chess, for my buck, is the undisputed king of chess publishers, editors and writers. They’ll get a slice of my income as long as I’m alive.

  115. Jacob Aagaard

    @Pawn Dillinger
    We have some interesting projects in the pipeline, but everything takes time. It seems that right now we are mainly doing opening books. I promise it is a coincidence. I like our 50/50 division between opening and improvement books.

  116. Pawn Dillinger

    Jacob: I look forward to all of them. Definitely no complaints here. Without time, there’d be no anticipation. And your division with the books is great. Keep up the great work and thanks to all involved!

  117. I’d like to comment on two things
    i) 1.b3 is an opening that perhaps someone should study by games of hte top players during the last year or so. Those will be vastly superior material compared to any book on the market right now. see Jobava or Rapport plus Corr games on the same lines.

    ii) 1…e6 is basically playing for a win right now. That’s why it’s out of the superelite and not because it is passive. Playing for a win with Black involves certain risk but the risk involved in the case of the French Defense is not that you’ll end up passive and get choked, more likely is to get crushed tactically in a complicated position. But an innacuracy from White can lead to a win. See Nepomniatchtchi-Vitiugov from the latest Russian superfinal for a perfect example of this or see the kind of positions that Agdestein got in Stavanger last year to see what the superelite is trying to avoid as black.

  118. Just from avery quick reading of the CB reports, aren’t there a number of Caro-Kanns in the current Dortmund?
    @Jacob Aagaard:”@Gollum It is considered a very ambitious opening among GMs. At least the ones I know…”
    Can I know which opening you are referring to in your answer to Gollum?

  119. I think I misunderstood, expected Avruh’s new books sooner, after Catalan 1A…updates I mean…since it is not in your schedule looks like 1B and 2A/B etc…due to next 2 years is this correct? Thank you…

  120. Has Tiger started on his new book? I think the 2nd edition of the Modern Tiger is a fine book, and has a misleading title, it comes awfully close to being a complete repetoire.

  121. Soviet School

    I would love to see a good book on Spassky, it is a shame Spassky seems to have not written his own collection unless there is something available inRussian though I do no think there is anything.
    Maybe the old guys have been eclipsed I would like to see QC do an update version of the Players on the New Millenium book to explain what people like So, Giri , Nakamura , Wei and Carlsen’s of course are all about.

  122. Pawn Dillinger

    Soviet School: Andrew Soltis wrote The Best Chess Games of Boris Spassky.
    That said, Spassky seems be grossly overlooked. I think a QC book on his games — hopefully by my favorite — Tibor Karolyi — would be awesome.

  123. @Jacob Aagaard
    I would like to ask you – do you have any idea about next Gelfand’s volumes (2+3) – about schedule and topics?
    Volume I. is really master piece – I don’t know what any other chess book I would prefer over this one.

  124. @Alice
    I have a lot of knowledge, but not something I like to share at this point. I would like the work to progress more than it has before I do.

  125. The Serious Kid

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Gelfand has volumes 2 and 3 coming out? Wow, now I am really excited! Wonder what he will write about..Volume 1 seems amazing!

    Can’t wait for the Dragon books and the Nikos Open games book too! Oh and of course the long awaited Playing 1.e4 books, I really need a 1.e4 repertoire which isn’t extremely sharp and memory dependent – like the Negi lines, I tried working with that amazing book and couldn’t remember many of the things. Also it doesn’t suit me. I feel John’s rep should suit me more, especially as I am more of a d4 player. That will finally come out this year, right? I’ve been waiting for it for years now. 🙂 Hope it does!

  126. The Geldand book is excellent. Great explanations.

    Is there any thought to a Sicilian kan book. The Hellsten book is pretty old now.

  127. @The Serious Kid ,


    Volume(s) 2 (+ 3) are some way mentioned in “volume 1” (I hope that this is not a secret, otherwise please remove my comment).

    Gelfand book remembered me my discussion with TOP GMs few years ago. Book is practically on the same level.

  128. @ Quality Chess

    Has it at any point been considered to release one or more volumes on the Pirc in the GM Repertoire series ? I know that Marin did two instructional DVD’s for Chessbase a while back, so given that – he would be a natural choice to write a book or two on this opening system ?

    It would be very valueable in my opinion, as there aren’t many (good) books out there explaining what to do with Black in this opening.

    Cheers, and good summer to you all at QC 🙂


  129. Gelfand, what a great book ! We knew the style of the player, deep and straightforward, the purest from a positionnal point of view. Boris is also a noble and gentle man, behaving always perfectly. Here he reveals that he has strong opinions about the players, the computers, the way of thinking from top level players. A must !

  130. The Serious Kid


    Aha, I came across Gelfand writing on page 72 something along the lines of “We will talk more about this in the next volumes”. Interesting!

  131. @Alexander, I did suggest this (a Pirc GM book written by Mihail Marin) a while back in one of the threads in this blog but no response from the QC Team …… I wonder if no news is good news???

  132. @weng siow
    I don’t think QC would have an interest in holding back any information about this 😉
    However, I imagine Marin (especially being him, possessing his knowledge and skill to bring it across to us mortal ones) is no less than QUITE busy all the time. Say, when he’s not playing or preparing for tournaments, he has a lot of writing to do already.. one clear example is his reappearing column in “Informator”, which btw I can warmly recommend to read as well.

    So – well, maybe it’s because this material he did for ChessBase is somehow “licensed”, or simply just because he’s too busy doing whatever he’s doing already. I’m not even sure QC knows. It’s been a while since he published anything on QC, except from the 10 year aniversary “Learn from the Legends”.

    Maybe one day we will be lucky ?

  133. @ Alexander, “It’s been a while since he published anything on QC, except from the 10 year aniversary “Learn from the Legends”.”
    that is not quite right. Marin assisted Judit Polgar in her books.
    What I meant by no news is good news is that Jacob has a rule of not announcing anything until it is quite late in the day. So here is hoping there is already someone beavering away at Pircs and Spikes and Archbishops and Austrians ……

  134. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Marin’s Pirc DVDs were probably the best chess opening DVDs that I have ever watched. If QC have some sort of Pirc project with Marin I can assure you that it would soar as a best-seller.

  135. Any chance of an update as to how John’s e4 books and negi’s next volume are progressing. Thx in advance.

  136. The Serious Kid

    @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I stopped playing the Pirc (used to be a regular weapon earlier) but that DVD almost revived it for me! If only there was a more detailed one…I have my hopes on Quality Chess to get that done through Marin 😀

  137. Not meaning to spoil the party, but I thought the GM Rep series was meant for ‘serious’ openings? If QC starts publishing books on the Pirc, what’s next – the Scandinavian? Maybe it’s more something for the GM Guide series… I’m very curious to hear what Marin is writing on at the moment, but I bet it’s not a book on the Pirc. I’m putting my cards on a middlegame book.

  138. Gilchrist is a Legend

    The Pirc not serious? Well I think that I saw someone mentioned here somewhere that the Alekhine has a higher Black win percentage rate than 1…e5, the Sicilian, French, and Caro-Kann, unless I am hallucinating…

  139. @garryk
    I know, but that was not in the GM Reportoire series. Of course I think the Pirc is a serious opening, but I’m just mking the point of where a line is drawn as to which openings qualify for the GM Reportoire series. ‘Tired of losing? Try the main lines’ has to stand for something, or not? I’m interpreting this as ‘main opening’, because every opening has a main line, even the Latvian Gambit. In my opinion, the GM Reportoire series should be on openings that can be played in a world championship match (not just as a surprise weapon). I really doubt whether the Pirc would fit this bill, even though I like the Pirc myself. Anyway, maybe it’s all rather academic 🙂

  140. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I think that Giri recently played a Pirc with the …a6/…Nc6/…O-O line against the 150 recently. And did not Carlsen play the Pirc against Naiditsch earlier this year? I think that he lost, but it was not the opening’s fault…

  141. Didn’t Carlsen also play that stupid Spanish-Bird?
    Just to say that Carlsen’s openings don’t mean
    too much…

  142. And did Kramnik not bring it out in the last round of the candidates a couple of years ago, when he had to play for a win? Was the famous Kasparov-Topalov rook-sac game not a Pirc?

    Personally, I feel that it’s very hard to know exactly where the line between “respectable main line” and “slightly less-reputable risky opening” is. I’d assume QC would not publish a “Play 1.b3 based on thematic ideas without having too know concrete theory”-book in the GM repetoire series, but why not a book on the Pirc? Or the Tarrasch? Or the Modern Benoni? Or a strategic approach to the English with 1.c4 + 2.g3 in most lines? Since they are all high quality repetoires suitable for the GM level (I think WCh match level as a non-surprise opening was never mentioned), those all nicely seem to fit the bill for the series in my mind.

  143. @Björn
    Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely welcome a GM Rep book on the Pirc – I was just questioning what would be the suitable series for this opening. In my view it fits more to the GM Guide series, that’s all. But then again probably the same would then apply to the Modern Benoni – so indeed, where to draw the line is not so easy…

  144. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    That’s true, but they don’t have the Pirc consistently in their reportoires whereas they do consistently play openings such as the Gruenfeld and Nimzo-Indian. In my opinion nobody would dare to consistently play the Pirc in a tournament such Tata Steel, unless you’re called Jobava 🙂

  145. Gilchrist is a Legend

    It is difficult to determine which openings can be considered “elite”-sound, Jobava plays some strange stuff, but Kramnik also plays King’s Indian Attack stuff as White recently. QC also have GM Rep Tarrasch and Modern Benoni, which for some are not on the soundness level of the Slav, Grünfeld, or Nimzo-Indian. Personally I think that the Pirc is at least as sound as the Tarrasch and Modern Benoni. Even if they play it as one of their side openings, at least they play it (unlike the Latvian, for example). Gurevich, Azmaiparashviili, Davies, Ivanchuk, Moskalenko, Nunn, Peralta, Smirin, and of course Jobava again… But modern times the ones who seem to use it more frequently are Ivanchuk, Svidler, Moskalenko, and Peralta. And I think Colin McNab, who works for QC…

    This said, I would not mind whether it would be a GM Repertoire or GM Guide–any Black repertoire book on the Pirc by Marin published by QC would be great.

  146. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I have heard some–though thankfully not very many–say that only the Sicilian and 1…e5 are sound openings against 1. e4. I have some acquaintances who told me that the French and Caro-Kann are effectively forced wins for White.

    But I go the other way, and think that a bunch of openings, including the Pirc are sound against 1. e4. Marin is not 2800, but even so, if he plays it regularly at his rating and if Ivanchuk and Svidler play it semi-regularly and if Giri and Carlsen are willing to give it a go, that is good enough for me.

  147. Jacob Aagaard

    Just joining in on the speculation. If we did a book on a minor opening, like the Pirc, Alekhine or so on in the GM Rep series, it would require a particular type of academic approach, as did the MB and Tarrasch books mentioned. It is not the opening as such, but the approach that makes it a GM Repertoire. Some GMs play the Pirc, but they do not play it like some writers from competing publishers would recommend you to play it.

  148. Jacob it is interesting you mention there are different ways of approaching the Pirc. The Pirc was my first opening which I really liked. I was influenced by the 1973 book by Keene and Botterill- one of the best opening books of that time. Later we saw the book Pirc Alert which is based on Chernin’s approach. I think players such as Marin, McNab and Peralta approach the Pirc quite differently. Jacob what players did you have in mind?

    And yes- a QC book on the Pirc would be great if some decent approaches to 4 Be3 can be found. Not everyone wants to enter the opening via a Modern move order.

  149. @Jacob Aagaard
    Surely the “writers from competing publishers” are at least smart enough to pay a lot of attention to the lines chosen by GMs like Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Marin, Peralta, McNab and earlier Gagunashvili, Smirin, Tseshkovsky etc. – at least that’s my experience with those books. Maybe you’re thinking of the bias that club players of the Pirc, and therefore popular-level authors as well, are often looking for unbalanced positions and winning chances, whereas the best recognize that even in the Pirc Black should objectively be content to reach many solid yet drawish positions?

    I must admit that when I play the Pirc, it’s with the aim of unbalancing the game and keeping “0-1” a live possibility. I have other defences when I want to be solid. I think that’s a perfectly valid approach at my level (though this makes the Classical and the solid lines with Nd2 or Bd3 more annoying and practically dangerous than they maybe deserve).

    There were lots of important ideas even for “pure” Pirc players in the great “The Modern Tiger” (though a downside is it’s a pain to locate the true Pirc lines quickly the way the contents and index are organized).

  150. @ Aagaard
    I would, at any time, rather want to read a Pirc book from someone who writes a book out of love for the opening (like Marin would in my opinion), over a book who was done in order to say, create a statement “play the blah” (..and you will win).

    All the QC books I’ve got in the GM series has (without exception) never disappointed me! That’s a strong statement? Yes, it is – but never the less an honest one.

    From my viewpoint.. I sometimes end up in a Pirc-like (or just plain Pirc) structure, even though it’s not something I’m deliberately trying to do in an opening. I like to play with Black along the lines of 1. ..Nf6 and 2. ..g6 and hope to get for instance a Grünfeld.. only to realize that my opponent plays 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4.. and welcome to the Pirc more or less?!

    So – a GM rep book to me, is not as much a “repertoire”, though I still love the idea of the series.. as it makes me feel I am well prepared for just about any of the main ideas/patterns/lines in the book’s subject at hand. It’s more a general guideline of what absolutely NOT to do in a given opening system, and make it into the middlegame with a satisfactory position at hand.. and that, exactly, is why I just MUST own all the GM Rep books.. they give me a feeling of having understood what’s going on, on a larger scale.

    Thanks again for creating and maintaining this series 🙂

  151. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard
    As said before, “The Modern Tiger” as a GM Guide by Hillarp-Persson as he is probably the most experienced Modern expert right now, likewise a GM Rep/GM Guide on the Pirc by Marin would be a similar best-seller. First reason because the Pirc would reach unbelieveable high popularity, probably more than ever, and second of course, because it would be a book written by Marin, a class author in whatever subject he writes.

    Also like above, there are many players in modern times, like Peralta, Svidler, Ivanchuk, Moskalenko, Kramnik, and Grischuk (occasionally) that the opening is sufficiently playable and really I think quite underrated. The days of “Play the 150 and White has a winning position by move 15” are long gone, and I think that quite many positions that some think are dangerous for Black are equally dangerous for White due to the sharp and counterattacking nature of the Pirc. If Black slips up in some of those opposite side castling positions, he can lose, but that is not really anything new–this happens in the Sicilian Najdorf, Dragon, Taimanov, Kan, Classical, etc. And likewise if White slips up, he can easily end up mated by move 20 just as well.

    The fact that the Modern Tiger had an entire Pirc Austrian Attack chapter, which is traditionally the “most dangerous” variation for Black in the Pirc, and to me it seems like in that chapter Black not only has good counterplay but many good deviations that are…

  152. In my opinion the problem in the pirc is what to do against the Austrian attack and 4.Be3.
    A relible line against the Austrian is 5.-c5 but the problem is that it leads to forced draws in some lines if white wish so. There is a similar problem with 6.-Nc6 7.0-0, e5.
    If I had to choose I will go for 6.-Na6. After all the pirc is played with the aim of winning.

    I wonder what Kotronias will recommend against the KID Sämisch?
    He has played 6.-e5 a lot which seems to be in trouble because of 7.Nge2, c6 8.Qd2, Nbd7 9.d5, cxd5 10.cxd5, a6 11.g4, h5 12.g5, Nh7 13.Nc1!, f6 14.gxf6, Rxf6 15.Be2
    Maybe he has some strong novelty here.

  153. Gilchrist is a Legend

    6…Na6 Peralta-style is what I would play. There are even deviations after 7. 0-0 c5 8. d5, but I would choose 8…Bg4 instead of 8…Rb8. 6…Nc6 7. 0-0 e5 is fine to me. 6…Nbd7 is also interesting.

    I think that it was one of those top GMs that played 8…Bxb5 9. exf7+ Kf8 in the 5…c5 line instead of the draw. Not sure if it was Ivanchuk, but that is also another attempt, albeit riskier, but not very explored.

  154. I spent about 7 hours with Legends this weekend to get through a little more than half of the first chapter.
    Absolutely love this book. The way he makes the complex seem simple is just amazing.
    My only regret is that I don’t have 12 hours a day to devote to it.

  155. Wallace Howard

    RE: “Mihail is writing on quite an interesting project; a labour of true love.”

    Well, I hope Marin is working an update to his English repertoire (like Avrukh is doing with his 1.d4). His explanations are great, but he could have used more help from his silicon friends. Also, there have been quite a few 2700+ games in the English. I’d LOVE to see a (one-volume) refresh.
    Also, I’d like to have the metabolism of a teenager again. And 500 more elo points. Wait . . . this isn’t going to Santa Claus??? Damn. My bad.

  156. So I’ am observing that the first Playing 1.e4-book is (again) postponed. I’ am (again) disappointed and I’am (again) hoping that this time it will happen…… Perhaps at the same time as the second one….

  157. I have just finished my usual ‘1st read-through’ of Boris Gelfand’s ‘Positional Decision Making in Chess’ (the actual study/play-through stage will be a pleasure!).

    The book is beyond excellent, and I am incredibly pleased that there are two more books to come. I actually studied a recent game of my own tonight (which I didn’t really play well or understand) using ‘Gelfand’s eyes’, and it all makes sense now 🙂

    I do have some slight reservations though; the English is clunky at times, and the grammar is a bit wobbly in places. :/ Did anyone else think this or am I being overly pedantic?

  158. @Pabstars
    With regards to the Gelfand book, obviously we have a lot of his words all over the place, written by a Dane… Boris’ English is sufficient to explain what he thinks, but also limited. I am personally happy with how it reads and have to say that in general it is exactly as I want it.

    The repetitions – if this is what part of the issue is – are entirely intentional and in my opinion essential.

    If it is the linguistic style. Well, it is my style and it is what it is. It is what I like. I am well-read person with certain preferences. You can definitely argue against my style, but it is not from a lack of knowledge of fluency. We have a lot of debates in the office of choice of words and how to approach writing and it is safe to say that we do not agree on everything. No doubt the readers have varied tastes as well.

    One former reviewer were objecting against a sentence on Facebook. In my opinion he was just plain wrong. As I do not live to win arguments on Facebook I did not spend time explaining it. But it did remind me that people will be quick to criticise something, rather than understand that a lot of thinking went into it and that it might be formed exactly as intended and with full knowledge of how it works. I am wondering if this is what is happening here, but to be honest, I would really appreciate not to have to discuss sentences and paragraphs. We are after all first and foremost a chess publisher.

  159. I have not read the Gelfand book yet, but I will say that one of the things that stands out to me about Quality Chess books in particular are the sentences and paragraphs. I remember a QC book that I read recently, by a non-English writer, which was written in extremely good English, and it wasn’t until I read the writer’s own blog, in much less perfect English, that I realized how much effort must have gone into editing the book, which I appreciated immensely.

  160. Hi Jacob,

    I find your explanation unconvincing (as to the merits of your approach).

    Being a chess publisher first and foremost is all well and good (the chess content of every QC book I have read so far is 1st class) but in a book such as Gelfand’s – where there are far more words than variations – the quality, style and grammatical accuracy of the writing is far more important than in, say, an openings book laden with heavy variations (in my humble opinion).

    Still, if you are happy, and the vast majority of your readers are happy, then who am I to complain 😉 I will still buy, beg and borrow QC books!


  161. Have recently bought Python Strategy. Was a little bit disappointed to find it has exactly the same source material as the wellknown red and blue books on Petrosian’s games. In fact the only difference is that games with only bare score, or light informator style notes, had been removed. Whilst an appendix of some of Petrosian’s analysis corrected with software analysis has been added. These changes are totally fine, in age of extensive databases. Guess will just have to remember that classic series always means a previous edition exists. I sort of knew this, but was hoping this book was a russian book previously not available in english. Nevermind the quality chess book’s are excellent and will be buying Gelfand’s one.

  162. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Is the Dragon Volume 1 dealing with the absolute main line with 12…Ne5? Does it have the Chinese Variation?

    Also interested in Volume 2, the 9. 0-0-0 d5 variation. Sometimes it can be annoying but it might be annoying for both sides…

  163. The excerpts look amazing. I can’t wait.

    By the way what is the ‘Burnett Variation’. As I wouldn’t play the Topolov variation.

    P.S. When with the Complete Sicilian repertoire be complete. Basically any news on the Anti Sicilian book by Kotronias?

  164. @The Doctor

    The Burnett is a wild alternative to playing the Topalov variation in the Dragon. After 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.g4 b5 and in particular 15.b3 b4 is the Burnett variation. Of course the Topalov is 10…Nxd4.

    Sorry, too soon for exact dates on the Anti-Sicilian book.

  165. Just got the Semi-Slav. Schandorff rocks. I can use Avrukh for 1 d4 sidelines and the Slav through Move three, but now I can add the Semi-Slav in the event of 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 and 4 Nc3 — or other transpositions. I’m looking forward to GM 19 Unusual Openings to round out my main repertoire, but am looking forward to the Anti-Sicilian, rewritten Najdorf and the Dragon books for my backup Black response to 1 e4, not to mention the rest of the KID for my 1 d4 backup lines.

    Of course the rest of Negi’s 1 e4 series for my third White line behind 1 d4 and 1 c4. Would love a Nimzo/QID/Bogo to wrap up my third 1 d4 Black response. Finally, 1 e5 for my third Black response to 1 e4. Then I can get older and die in peace.

  166. @Pawn Dillinger
    🙂 Sounds like a piece of cake, with plenty of time left to study the GM Preparation books 🙂 . Just out of curiosity: what are your fourth backup responses against 1.e4 and 1.d4?

  167. I have just bought all three kotronias books on the ki as I realised his sveshnikov one is excellent. (Btw also schandorff on the semi-Slav ). With three volumes I expected to cover all vars, but have noticed a number of them (samisch, averbakh, etc.. are missing). Did they sold badly and hence where discontinued? Thx.

    Ps: as a I’m buying the electronic version, the table of contents of book 1 was not there. Sometimes I buy both as the excellent negi’s books and avrukh’s…

  168. @Fernando
    The draft for volume four was very recently finished, I think. Like yesterday or something like this. As we have a few other books in the pipeline it will be some months before it will be published. Mar del Plata was 2015 so I do not think we are that slow…

  169. @Jacob Aagaard

    Thank you ! Very much appreciated the quick reply and the wonderful books.

    I was unaware the last one was recent. I read the funny story about how the books were born and I seem to recall 2012…

  170. The Doctor :
    Any clues on what Volume 4 will cover?

    I would have a good guess at Volume 4 being the Gligoric (that’s a critical line) plus the Makogonov (h3 line that is trendy now), various Exchange variations, and a few other lines. That leaves the plan to complete the repertoire in Volume 5 (Saemisch and 4 Pawns, I think).

  171. I think I know what you should publish next 🙂 There is a very nice Russian book entitled “The King’s Indian as Performed by Petrossian” by Igor Yanvarev. A very good book filled with strategy, chess history, the author has disintered some old theoretical disputes, games never published, curiosities, etc. It is highly useful and already renowned.
    And in the Classics section – Pachman.
    And for the weaker players – the last larger completely new edition of “Win in the Opening” by Neishtadt.
    And as personalia contribution – Guliev on Kramnik.
    And some puzzles – a guy named Konotop.
    How about that?

  172. @Ray

    I am doing the same as dillinger, the three books don’t overlap each other. You need all three to have no gaps against 1.d4. The semi-slav book took me just one day to database its 557 unique variations (i chose botvinnik over moscow variation).

  173. @Pac
    I also use these three books and indeed the Semi-Slav book doesn’t take a lot of time to put into a database. Looking forward to using the (anti-) Meran variations!

  174. Pawn Dillinger

    Ray: My fourth back-up lines against 1 e4 and 1 d4? The Pirc and the QGD. As you wrote, “a piece of cake” indeed. 🙂 Seriously, I realize my limitations. It’s just fun to pretend I’m a kid playing (chess) in a sandbox, without a care in the world. I wish there was more time and I was a lot younger AND had all these books. Good lord, just talking of openings, not middlegame, tactics, endgame — Jacob’s fine series of Grandmaster Prep books, and so on into Fantasyville 🙂



    In recent New in Chess Magazine Sadler reviewed your Practical Chess Defence, giving you 3 stars out of 5.

    How do you comment that?

    I am looking forward to read his comments. Maybe I can learn something? I have very fond memories of writing this book, but it is now 10 years since it was published, so I cannot pretend that I feel one way or the other on an average rating…

  177. @Jacob Aagaard
    I thought it was a bit bizarre…gave a few examples, in general said things were a bit hard for him on train home from work, then gave 3 stars (which is a bit of a markdown compared to QCs other stuff, but nevertheless still falls in their “good” bracket). Certainly when I read I thought he was generally positive in his comments, but then gave what I think is sub-par mark by QC standards…

  178. @Paul
    Maybe it was just our time to get a poor review? Or maybe we have poisoned the well by making better books since 2005. Or maybe my memories are not accurate. Either way, it was not meant as a book for Matthew to review, it was just that he wrote that no good defence books existed, so we sent it to him for his own personal use.

  179. I for sure enjoyed your book on defence and will definitely try to solve the exercises again in the near future. They are very tough for me to crack but very inspirational and give good defensive ideas also when seeing the solutions. I think that most chess books which are 9 years old will get far less than 3/5.

    Others also have enjoyed the book as you can see from this quote taken from

    “Before a tournament I try to solve studies or positions. By the way, there have appeared some excellent puzzle books for high level of play. These are book by Andrei Volokitin and his coach Grabinsky, dutch-scotch GM Aagaard published few such books, I espacially like “Practical Chess Defence”. I always did this work, but now I am working more determined. GM Boris Gelfand”

    By the way, quite interesting that you are not Danish-Scottish 🙂

  180. Ray :
    It would be very interesting to have a GM Rep book by Gelfand on the Petroff…

    Yes, but I wouldn’t mind if Kramnik or Giri/Tukmakov would be the substitutes. Or even Makarichev.
    But with three top level books on the Spanish scheduled for this year (Ntrlis, Bologan, Solozhenkin) I don’t believe in another Open-Games-Repertoire in the near future.

  181. @middlewave

    1) Have you found a convincing improvement for Black somewhere over Kramnik-Nakamura London Chess Classic 2014?

    2) Where to deviate for Black in this line: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Na6 10. Nd2 Qe8 11. O-O Bd7 12. b3 Nh7 13. a3 h5 14. f3 Bh6 15. Kh1 Qb8 16. Rb1

  182. @Trandism

    Just a few thoughts:

    1. Vigorito thought 17…Re8!? was better, giving 18.Rg1 Na6 19.Rxg3 Nc5 – my notes go slightly further with 20.Qc2 (20.Rg1!?) 20…Nfe4! 21.Nxe4 Bf5 22.Nf4 (22.Bd3 Nxd3+ 23.Qxd3 Bxe4 24.Qe2 Kh7 unclear) 22…Nxe4 23.Rxg7+ (only move) 23…Kxg7 24.O-O-O Qg5 unclear. The only game in my database after 17…Re8 continued 18.Qc2 (I have this labeled dubious) 18…Na6! and Black later won:

    [Event “Polugaevsky Memorial 2015”]
    [Site “Samara RUS”]
    [Date “2015.07.07”]
    [Round “5.6”]
    [White “Levin, Ev”]
    [Black “Ozolin, M.”]
    [Result “0-1”]
    [ECO “E92”]
    [WhiteElo “2519”]
    [BlackElo “2384”]
    [PlyCount “112”]
    [EventDate “2015.07.03”]

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 h6
    9. Be3 Ng4 10. Bd2 f5 11. h3 Nf6 12. exf5 gxf5 13. Qc1 f4 14. g3 e4 15. Nh4 e3
    16. fxe3 fxg3 17. Ng6 Re8 18. Qc2 Na6 19. O-O-O Nb4 20. Qb3 Bf5 21. Nf4 Nd7 22.
    Na4 Bc2 23. Qa3 Bxd1 24. Rxd1 Qf6 25. Rg1 Qf5 26. Qb3 Nf6 27. Nc3 Qg5 28. Ne6
    Rxe6 29. dxe6 Re8 30. a3 Na6 31. Qxb7 Nc5 32. Qf3 Rxe6 33. Rxg3 Qe5 34. Be1
    Nfe4 35. Rg2 Ng5 36. Qa8+ Kh7 37. Qd5 Qxe3+ 38. Kb1 Re5 39. Qd1 Qxh3 40. Rf2
    Qe6 41. Nd5 c6 42. Nf4 Qf5+ 43. Ka2 Nce4 44. Rf1 Qd7 45. Nd3 Re8 46. Bxa5 Rb8
    47. Qc2 Kh8 48. Rb1 d5 49. Be1 Ne6 50. Bg4 Qf7 51. Qh2 Qb7 52. Bb4 dxc4 53.
    Bxe6 cxd3 54. Bc4 c5 55. Bxd3 Qd5+ 56. Ka1 Rxb4 0-1

    2. Isn’t 15…Be3 here more normal, e.g. 16.Rb1 Bc5 17.Qc2 Kh8!? (transposing to 15.Rb1 Be3+, etc) or 16.Qc2…

  183. @trandism
    I wasn’t implying anything! Just came back from a long trip and was surprised to see the comment – thought I’d missed something important! 🙂
    I didn’t even know which line you were referring to – now I do! Will get back to you :p
    Also, hat old main line of the Petrosian I have played myself a few times in the not-so-distant past; never got anything worthwhile. But I cannot claim to be an expert on it or anything.
    As everyone used to say back when I was playing the Petrosian, PM me! :p Or let’s drink coffee, if you’re in town!

  184. @middlewave

    I’m away for 10 days. Will you be an arbiter in Nikaia? I will be playing there and as always I will not spend time on the board at all 😉 Hope you guys had a good time in your summer tour 🙂


    I’m not denying the fact that Black may have something better after 17.Ng6. Otherwise we would be talking about a refutation of the King’s Indian because after 7..a5 everything is pretty much forced for the next 10 moves. If you see the other line I gave together with this Kramnik idea, I think I have the right to say that Black has problems in the 7…a5 Petrosian at the moment.

  185. If you know there are improvements, then does Black really have any problems? 😀

    And in the line you gave above, you didn’t answer my question about the earlier deviation with 15…Be3.

  186. Sorry Tony, I missed the last two lines of your previous message. On 15…Be3 16.Qc2 Bc5, the problem is 17.Bf2 Bxf2 (what else) 18.Rxf2 and the plan with Qb2 and b4. That’s how the 15…Qb8 idea was born (to make a later Qa7 possible and keep that black diagonal under control (after Be3-c5). The problem with that is of course 16.Rb1 (an old Vescovi move from a Brazilian Championship) that plans to meet 16…Be3 with 17.b4. In general Black always misses a tempo to achieve what he aims for.

  187. Trandism and I took our theory-nerd conversation off the blog to prevent a swarm of OT posts from appearing. 😀

  188. @TonyRo
    I agree with Jacob. Redeem yourself and copy-paste the conversation here, I was following it eagerly; you can remove it when trandism is back in town :-p

  189. LOL guys..

    In the Kramnik line, Vigorito’s 17….Re8 seem to do the job. I’m trying an idea with 18.Nf4 Na6 19.Qb1!? and quick play in the light squares. I have an IDEA project on this line but not the required CPU cycles to really let it work for days, because my Corr games overload at the moment is quite high. My instict though says black is OK.

    In the other line we haven’t found clear equality. So far, the best for Black might be 15…Be3 16.Qc2 f5 but this doesn’t satisfy me for 2 reasons:

    1. It doesn’t lead to clear,undisputed equality
    2. It doesn’t lead to a position where Black might play for a win in Correspondence because the center opens up.

    The Vescovi-Leitao line (Brazilian Champ play-off, 1997) seem very advantageous to White and Corr games have verified this assessment.

  190. I mostly agree with trandism’s assessment. I think probably 15…Be3 16.Qc2 f5 is the way – the positions are murky, but Black has held up in practice. Few CC games have reached this position as well, so who knows. The main line from my notes is below (there are multiple alternatives along the way from 16…f5 on, but I don’t have the time or characters!), which follows A.Kalinin-W.Nitsche, Correspondence 2007:

    [White “KID – Classical – Sidelines”]
    [Black “Petrosian System – 8.Bg5”]
    [Result “*”]
    [ECO “E92”]
    [PlyCount “66”]

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 h6
    9. Bh4 Na6 10. Nd2 Qe8 11. O-O Nh7 12. a3 Bd7 13. b3 h5 14. f3 Bh6 15. Kh1 Be3
    16. Qc2 f5 17. exf5 gxf5 18. Bf2 Bxf2 19. Rxf2 Nf6 20. Rg1 Kh8 21. Qb2 Nc5 22.
    b4 axb4 23. axb4 Na4 24. Nxa4 Rxa4 25. Bd1 Ra8 26. f4 e4 27. Nf1 Qg6 28. Ne3
    Qg7 29. c5 Ng4 30. Bxg4 hxg4 31. Rc1 Qxb2 32. Rxb2 Ra3 33. Nc4 Rd3

  191. 16.Qc2 f5 and Black is fine guys. I wanted to make this work for White for a while now…. but failed obviously.

    and 17…Re8 in the Kramnik- Naka game is also completely adequate for Black. Sorry for sounding a bit “dogmatic” on this, but i have tried. Really tried to make this work for White 😛

  192. Nikos

    I have only played the Breyer once against an IM. I am a little worried that some lines such as the old main line with a4 Black is essentially holding the position and tends to be very passive in the first 20 moves or so. Is that the nature of some lines where black gets play later after stopping whites plans or have I totally misunderstood this line? It may be you avoid this line altogether. Probably the latter. Anyway looking forward to the book as the Breyer has not received much attention in the books.

  193. Hello guys and thank you for your interest in my upcoming book. It is based on the lines I have analysed very deeply for my corr practice. Everyone with an access to an ICCF database can confirm that I have a nice plus score at the Black side of the Spanish and I hope that before the book gets out a lot more of my ongoing games will be finished as well. Of course this particular repertoire is being used by 2-3 GMs I second, so I get some nice feedback from strong practical players as well (and not least from a word class team of editors in the office!)

    Besides the Breyer it will include a response to all of the other White tries as well. I think that you ll love my surprising suggestion against the exchange because at last black will be able to generate some winning chances. John has suggested to me a very nice and practical anti-KG line and after I have been working since 2012 on the scotch opening for the white side, I think that at last I have spotted a viable solution to it which keeps the annoyance white wants to produce in general in the scotch to manageable levels. Also it hasn’t passed much time since I finally found a “solution” for black in the main lines of the Italian (sorry, I have probably revealed too much already, so maybe this should be kept a secret until my editors allow me to say more!) which had been bothering me for a lot time.

    In general I have tried to be as ambitious as possible and try to find a balance between providing a theoretically…

  194. …correct repertoire but one that is practical for the ordinary club player as well. There are quite many new ideas in it which I am proud of and i hope that everybody will find something useful inside. At least I found the material quite adequate in order to come closer to the corrIM title!

  195. Thanks for your very prompt response. What other publishing house allows ordinary players to talk to authors before a book is completed/finalised? Looking forward to the book even more now. Curious about your idea in the Italian.

    I also can’t think of a publishing house where nearly all the books are of such a uniformly high standard. The bar which is being set by QC is perhaps too high already. Perhaps the only (slight) disappointment as far as I was concerned was the first edition of GR 6- the Sicilian Defence by Ftacnik. For some reason- I didn’t like the explanations in that book despite the quality of the analysis. Something is missing here- although it might simply be a question of style. Nor did I like the choice of one of the systems against 6 Bg5 but I did really appreciate the coverage of Nbd7 line. Only A- not A or A plus perhaps?

    Keep up the good work.

  196. Update on The Dragon 1 and 2. We announced a publication date of September 2, but unfortunately the printer is delayed, and the publication date will be September 9.

    Apologies for the delay. The printer always does his best, but sometimes these things happen.

  197. @Nikos Ntirlis
    Thanks Nikos. “I think that at last I have spotted a viable solution to it which keeps the annoyance white wants to produce in general in the scotch to manageable levels”

    I was wondering have input on the Scotch in John’s forthcoming e4 book?

  198. The Scotch is a very annoying opening. At least this is how my friend (and current Danish Champion) Sune Berg Hansen described it. This means that even though many of the continuations are theoretically equal, due to his better structure the resulting positions are easier to be played by White in practice. That being said, the modern engines still tend to misevaluate such abstract things as “better long term prospects due to healthier structure”, so the Scotch has served me well the couple of cases where I used it against strong opposition in corr chess. So, against such a strong practical weapon, the difficult thing is not to choose an equal (or at least close to it) theoretical solution (there are a few of them obviously), but to choose a line where Black won’t have to solve many difficult problems in a practical game.

  199. I d like to add that Scotch is one of the few openings where many theoretical continuations I would be happy to play for both sides! I hope this is not too confusing and you understand what I mean.

  200. Kotronias, a grandmaster I have huge respect for, said in the grandmaster battle manual: ‘I have never really liked the Breyer system against the Spanish. […] the arising structure is too demanding from Black’s point of view.’
    This is my feeling, too. I remember the two Navara games against Anand and Carlsen in a tournament and I am thinking that the Breyer may be popular at this time, but that only the best players understand this line very well. What is your opinion on that, is it really the best line for club players, even against better opposition?

  201. It is true that the Breyer holds some well hidden secrets and without knowing them the position seems like a hell too difficult to play. This is true however for both sides, that’s why I think that a club player understanding the Breyer nuances very well, can put up a great fight even against much higher rated players. I recall for example Jan Gustafsson loosing one of his banter blitz games at chess24 against a random 2000 guy, in a very smooth way without doing something very stupid.

    In general though, I think that there are certainly systems which are simpler to learn and understand. 3…g6 for example, or 3…Nge7 (or 4…Nge7) are two of those which come to my mind right now. But don’t expect to get full equality or outplay a GM here!

  202. The Doctor :
    Will the Dragon 1 & 2 be our earlier on Forward chess?

    The usual plan is Forward Chess one week before Quality Chess, so The Dragon 1 and 2 should be September 2 on FC, as they are September 9 on QC.

  203. @Nikos Ntirlis
    On the Scotch, I thought Wells’ book from c20 years ago was an outstanding book in terms of explaining ideas etc. But even with that (and admittedly it was written for the white pieces), as 2000-2100 strength “classical” player I felt deeply uncomfortable with the smashed a7, c7, c6, d7/d6 pawn structure.

  204. I love the Scotch, but I will say I love it more in Correspondence, only because I think in practical games, at least at the quick time controls I play, it’s not easy to diffuse Black’s activity, at least in the Mieses. But in correspondence, I prefer to have the long term chances!

    Very excited to see what Nikos has in the Breyer – I’ve been looking to switch to it in Correspondence for a while as a companion to my beloved KID!

  205. Hi Jacob,

    I read in the fantastic book with Gelfand, that he is inspired by Rubinstein, but also by Geller and Polugajewski.
    For me, as a player around the 2150 rating, this was surprising. Botwinnik once expressed that Portisch and Polugajewksi weren’t researches. Yes, they worked hard to find that a check on move 26 in some opening would create problems. But Botwinnik didn’t found that researching.
    And now Gelfand is inspired by Polu. Nothing wrong with that, but for me surprising.
    Have you asked Boris in what way Polu inspired him? Also for Geller this would be interesting. (I find Geller also interesting).
    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  206. When Negi’s Sicilian II book excerpt will be published? If I remember correctly the book will be published shortly after two Dragon volumes, won’t it? I’m curious what the book covers except Dragons and what line in the Yugoslav Attack advocates for White: 9. Bc4 or 9.0-0-0. I bet that it’s the former.

  207. @PeterM
    He obviously looked at Polugaevsky’s games. H***, even I did :-).

    Concretely in the book, there is a strange Polugaevsky game that resonated with Boris. But certainly he is very inspired by Polugaevsky, as he played a variation in the Sicilian Najdorf created by Polugaevsky so much that it is now known as the Gelfand-Variation…

  208. @AJZ
    I do not have a date for you. But we are talking October unless something goes wrong (which I am not anticipating). But please, this is guess-work…

  209. Kenneth Calitri

    Polugaevsky as a player made the most of the talent he had through hard work. Some players have a lot of talent. Some players are able to develop the talent they have to the fullest. Polugaevsky was that type of player. If not for Karpov and Korchnoi being in his path he would have gone farther than he did which was pretty damn far. Gelfand is of the same ilk. He has chess culture. He works immensely hard at the game to understand what chess means. If Polugaevsky were alive today he would say about Gelfand what he said about Korchnoi shortly before he died, “Boris Gelfand is a colossal chess player”

  210. Franck steenbekkers

    Today i got dragon 1 and 2.
    Must buy!!!!!
    I think mr Jones is maybe the best openingbook writers of THE world..
    Hihi my boss is not happy With this Books

    What Will be next?
    When is there a New publication. Scheme

  211. Yes I have the Dragon books too and on first impressions I am impressed. Will take a while to sift through all the chapters. Bit another good book

    Just waiting the Anti-Sicilian GM rep now

  212. I’m not expecting the last GM Preparation book any time soon, but I would just like to voice everyone’s opinion that it is greatly looked forward to.

    This series has been a huge help. I’m halfway through Attack and Defense, a chapter into Endgame Play, halfway through Strategic Play, completed Positional Play and have finally made it to the tests in Calculation.

    Thanks so much, Jacob!

  213. Wouw, just looked at the excerpts from the Dragon books and yes they look truly fantastic. Already know what to get for Christmas…

  214. A GM Repertoire on the Petroff would be cool, I’m using Sakaev at the moment, not sure if there’s much to improve (unless you can really get Boris on it, I wouldn’t bother).

    I’m interested on e4 e5 repertoire, though there is the excellent work on it by Lysyj and Ovetchikin, I guess Nikos is going to add different options and refinements (and of course the whole Spanish part).

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