Luther’s Chess Reformation

We had a great response to our request for help in naming Thomas Luther’s new book in English. There were the serious suggestions that may be worth using another day: Climbing the Chess Ladder (Matt Fletcher), From Pawn to Chess King (Jacob), The Grandmaster Code (Quine Duhem) and many more.

Then the jokers were on form: Thomas the Rank Engine (Tommy Barrett), Waste your Life Achieving a Devalued Title (I hope Depressed Cynic was joking), and one of my personal favourites How Thomaster Chess (Schtroumfechecs).

Others made links between our author Thomas Luther and Martin Luther, one of the major figures in the Protestant Reformation. As I understand it, Thomas is a descendant of Martin, so this makes sense. At first I just took the Martin Luther links as part of the joke category. But one title kept growing on us – Luther’s Chess Reformation. Even ignoring the historical connection, we like it. It’s unusual and it fits the book’s content. So our winner is… Bill. Congratulations Bill and thanks for your help.

48 thoughts on “Luther’s Chess Reformation”

  1. Matt Fletcher

    Congrats Bill, excellent title! Happy with my mention in despatches (dispatches?) – look forward to receiving my copy of “Climbing the Chess Ladder” sometime in the distant future…

  2. I wish to thank everybody for the kind comments/compliments. Moreover, I wish to thank John, Jacob, Andrew, et al at QC for requesting assistance in the first place.
    It looks like I’ll be buying yet another book from them to add to my already way-to-large collection.

  3. @Pinpon
    Which book should I begin with?

    My 100 Worst Defeats
    Groveling with the Queen’s Gambit
    The Sicilian Kan’t
    Smashed in the Simul
    Begging with the Benko
    1e4 Worst by Test
    Before the Loss, the Gods Have Placed the Endgame
    Sac, Sac, Resign

  4. If you were able to find a Grandmaster/International Master in order to analyse your mistakes and categorize them (e.g. “greediness”, “too afraid of opponent’s threats”, “swapping wrong pieces” etc.), then this would not be a stupid idea at all. Yet, I am pretty sure that on the basis of a single amateur’s games alone, there will not be enough material to write such a book. But you could change that by playing lots and lots of torunaments… 🙂

  5. Matt Fletcher

    @McBear I had an idea (that would fit my ‘chess ladder’ title) of analysing sets of games between players at different chess ‘levels’ – say steps of 150 or 200 points at a time, starting from maybe 1400 (maybe slightly higher) and going up to GM (or higher).

    Two players one level apart (weaker player A, stronger player B) play a mini-match, maybe 3 games, the expected score being roughly 2-1 to B.

    A and B note down their thoughts during the game and afterwards the reasons why they think they won or lost. A much stronger player (say G) also analyses the games and notes the themes that helped B win. Then move on to B vs C, then C vs D etc.

  6. While the title is certainly clever, I don’t like the Christian imagery which the title evokes and for that reason I don’t like the title. This would be the only QC title I have questioned and I emphasise that I have a high regard for the excellent books QC has produced and continues to produce.

  7. @Grant
    Thomas is a decendent of Martin Luther and from the same city. I can promise that there is no religious content in our books and also no anti-religious content.

  8. Isn´t the word reformation in the title a bit misleading? I am not aware that the well respected german grandmaster has found a new way to interpret chess, or did he? Or has he invented a new training method? Probably it´s just my limited command of the english language.

    So I will better buy the german version 😉

  9. Really a person with Christian beliefs could argue the title is flippant. Or maybe some people like to be offended.

  10. Anssi Manninen

    “Isn´t the word reformation in the title a bit misleading?”

    Many chess books have misleading titles like “Win with the X Opening” etc.

  11. Jacob

    I still have slight reservations about the title but I can certainly see why a descendant of Luther’s might use such a title to market the book. I think it is better to avoid religious imagery- no matter how slight- but will respect your decision. I might even buy the book.

    Another possible title which hopefully might do the job is Luther’s chess renaissance- but your call.

  12. I sometimes wonder how politically correct one can get – there just doesn’t seem to be a limit 🙂 . Maybe some people are offended by the racial imagery of the colour of the chess pieces as well. I personally object to the king being the most important chess piece, since I’m a republican. I.m.o. we should rename the king into president.

  13. Would one who doesn’t like the title be termed a “protestant”? Or would s/he be better known as one who supports a counter-chess reformation?

  14. @ Thomas
    🙂 Not a republican as in the US political party, but a republican in the true sense of the word = being in favour of a presidential system.

  15. A subtitle should be added to make it clear what the book is about. Enough good titles to choose from 🙂

    chess is supposed to be a though sport ! All of us chessplayers have experienced the pain and dissapointment of the hard work chess requires ! Unbelievable how some people get offended by a title ??

  16. @MR
    No, no subtitle will be added. It is a good thing that people do not know what a book is about. It inspires them to read the blurb.

  17. Richard Martin

    Wait a minute. Is there a serious argument about whether this title is appropriate or not? Last I checked, Aagaard can pick the title and if you don’t like it don’t buy the damn book. This is a chess book, what is up with all the religious talk? Do you people even read what you write?

  18. “Wait a minute.”


    “Is there a serious argument about whether this title is appropriate or not?”


    “Last I checked, Aagaard can pick the title and if you don’t like it don’t buy the damn book.”

    Nothing has changed since the last time you checked; this is still the case.

    “This is a chess book, what is up with all the religious talk?”

    Indeed. In fact I think some people’s reactions can be summarized as “This is a chess book, what is up with the religious title?” I did not contribute to the discussion until now, but I concur that the title is a little weird, though not weird enough to dissuade me from buying the damn book.

    “Do you people even read what you write?”


  19. Being a kabalist myself, I take offense at the use of numbers in the titles of Chess Books, so I’m really glad QC dropped the numbering of the GM Reportoire series. If only they could also introduce a different system of notation, e.g. “a.ed” instead of “1.e4.”

  20. Jacob Aagaard

    Thomas is a decedent of Martin Luther and from the same town. We needed a title that would attract attention (don’t we always). Any “controversy” about this book is welcome. Once people realise that a part of it deals with disability and chess, they will swallow their religious sensitivities 😉 I hope. I should say that it is a book about improvement, but Thomas is disabled and it would be odd not to feature it in the book that is partly about how he became a very strong player.

  21. Jacob Aagaard :
    …a part of it deals with disability and chess…
    …Thomas is disabled and it would be odd not to feature it in the book that is partly about how he became a very strong player.

    This is something that always impressed me and makes me even more curious about the book.

    By the way, is this still in the writing process?

  22. Jacob Aagaard

    No, it is written. The German version is getting polished at the moment. Then it goes for translation.

    Yes, Thomas is slightly disabled. But there is nothing wrong with his head at all. He is not going to be a pole vaulter, but then I am not going to be a ballerina. I have never really given a hoot about his disability, but obviously I will let his own words define it.

  23. @Ray
    It is unfortunate that religious beliefs should somehow even enter this conversation. You can learn chess from anyone. And if they have information to share that you don’t know, why would you need to be in alignment with their personal views? Does a promoted pawn get resurrected? The game already has multicolored bishops and was perhaps invented in Persia. Moor’s Maxims would be a great title to counter Greco and the studious monks. But then, I digress…

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