Talking to Yusupov about the Yusupov challenge

13 thoughts on “Talking to Yusupov about the Yusupov challenge”

  1. Very nice… having worked through the most of the books it’s nice to hear things directly from Artur. Thx – J

  2. So humble and awesome. Hope he finds inspiration and motivation for more books.
    Thank you very much for organizing this Jacob. Excellent!

  3. Very interesting video. Artur is a great guy.
    The technical quality of the vlogs is good now. It seems the early problems are gone now. 720p resolution with clear and lip-synched sound is solid enough even for big screens. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Yusupov Challenge, weeks 3-5 | Road to Grandmaster

  5. I have great respect for Artur Yussupov and his work. Somehow, I don’t have much experience with the series though, maybe because of the missleading german titles.
    As the books are very well received I’m eager to find out what makes them special (selection and/or discussion of the solution, …).
    I’ve tried a random exercise from Revision & Exam excerpt (which might be the wrong place to start, but ok), and was mildly disappointed. So, I will share my thoughts on this one (my ELO is around 2100).
    It’s the position 17-3 (Felgaer – Malakhov) – so everyone can look it up, if interested:

    First of all, I think 1.a7 is a natural try, giving the black king access to b7. It might be clear or well-known, but still worth mentioning in the solution, that 1…T:d7 leads to a fortress for Black. While it is debatable, whether this should be included in the solution, there are other things to mention. When I’ve tried to solve it, my first thought after quickly abandoning 1.a7 was 1.Nb4, but I didn’t like the passive position of White’s rook after 1…Rb5 2.Rd4. I couldn’t spot the mate that is instead possible (giving up the pawn): 2.Rd8+ Ka7 3.Nc6 Ka6 4.Ra8xx
    (to be continued with next comment)

  6. After this I’ve tried to make White ready to take back on d7 with the knight, because afterwards Nc5 should secure victory. So I came up with the awkward 1.Nb8 and couldn’t find anything wrong for White after 1…Rc5+ 2.Kb6. This might still not count as a solution as you have to find some very sophisticated idea to make progress compared to the actual game (which I didn’t, but I checked my attempts with the computer after not seeing them mentioned in the solution): 2…Rc1 3.Nc6 Rb1+ 4.Kc7 Rd1 122.Nd4! when the mating thread from line 1 is renewed and tries to escape lose the rook due to discorvered checks.

    So, it’s totally clear, that Yussupov’s solution is cleanest and simple, but 1.Nb4 is almost as clean, and at least a third (though complicated) solution exists (if I’m not mistaken). You might still debate, whether multiple solutions are a problem (the position itself is very interesting, and trying alternatives might be helpful overall). But I do think, that at the very least the solution is lacking some lines/explanations.

    Btw., this was a knockout match and after missing the stalemate in totally winning position outsider Felgaer was still able to overcome this and decide the match in the next game. Impressive!

  7. Jacob Aagaard

    I understand what you are saying, but I see it slightly differently. This is about avoiding stalemate in a position where you are entirely winning. It is overtly stated that this is the topic. There are many moves that win. Yours is one of them and I like it as well as Artur’s.

    The question is whether or not such an exercise could ever satisfy you without a page of explanation. One point is awarded for seeing the key trap. I would claim that you are fault finding, intentionally. For those not trying to find something wrong with the book, the exercise is perfectly fine.

    You could also argue that White can just wait in exercise 17-4. But if you go with it in the spirit of finding the forced draw and looking for stalemate, you will find the solution.

    Artur has his own style and a part of his thinking is related to showing the reader various patterns that may be helpful in the long run, as much as having an exercise with only one solution by the engine. At times I have objected to this, but a lot of the time, I find it a valuable training tool.

  8. @Jacob Aagaard
    Thx for the answer. I’m definitely not fault finding, intentionally. I was describing my solution process very honestly. And the mild disappointment came from making sincere solving attempts, not finding them in the solution and therefore thinking I totally failed to solve (which wasn’t actually true). Maybe, one remark to the intended solution (1.Re7 “easiest”) or something like this would have helped. Instead there is stated “is a way to avoid stalemate” which read to me like “one way” (and no other).

    I’ve had this mild disappointment to selected positions with other sources recently too, when I’ve tried them between mainly solving studies which are obviously cleaner in the regard of only one solution. Maybe, this is the problem. I understand, that you probably should at the very least mix studies and positions from games, when the latter are more “realistic” in a way. Still my slight objection ist, that working with the book alone I could’nt fully judge whether my attempts where totally nonsense or not in the given example. For stronger players this might be easier.

  9. If my answer does not match Yusupov’s and he doesn’t mention it, I often check it with a computer. I don’t mind so much because I think it can be expected these days that the reader has the ability to check other lines in this way.

    For non-tactical problems I will sometimes find that the computer engine thinks my move is fine, or even prefers it to Yusupov’s. Since no one else will ever see my grade, I don’t mind this too much. I think of the goal of the test to be primarily to learn to think like an over-the-board GM, whether or not that GM always makes the “perfect move” or there are other decent moves in the position.

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