Excerpts and books for sale

So we landed on November 1st for publication of Grandmaster Repertoire – The Pirc Defence by Mihail Marin, Sharp Endgames by Esben Lund and The Thinkers our photography book by super photographer David Llada. All three are available in our webshop for purchase.

Besides this concrete date, nothing is really changed from the previous publishing schedule. We are working hard to complete books. Lots of them, hopefully, over the winter months.

205 thoughts on “Excerpts and books for sale”

  1. @dextro53
    See, if we wanted to release that information, we would write it in our publishing schedules. What we have said is that we are working on it, no promises 🙂

  2. Hi all at QC,

    I know there are 2 books covering the open games (Marin, 10 years old now) and Nikos 1 e4 e5 but are there any plans to do either a) a GM Repertoire on the Open games from black’s perspective and or b) any book (GM Repertoire or not) on any lines of the Ruy Lopez (e.g. on 6..Bc5).

    Thank you.


  3. So the Pirc excerpt is up, I was wondering if it is 4. Ae3 c6 ? I cannot tell if this is the reply for 4. Ae3. Is the Classical the line with 6…c6?

  4. Thanks A Davies

    I started studying theoretical endgames, and suddenly I have problems with tactics, anyone else ever had this problem ? (perhaps its the cold I have)

  5. @Leon

    Have to agree that the extracts Quality offer are often pretty disappointing in so far as working out the repertoire lines the author has chosen. I play the Pirc but am reluctant to buy this book based on the index provided.

    I think Chess Stars do this aspect really well.

  6. I’ve you’ve noticed with Chess Stars, they generally work ‘ECO forward’ and by that I mean if you look at the Kornev King’s Indian book, they work from E60 to E99. I’m not saying it is always the case but it is generally the case where they can.


  7. @Jacob Aagaard
    I think it would be nice to have the entire Table of Contents with each chapter starting the move sequence from move 1. This allows buyers to see the lines given, especially in excerpts, but also when browsing quickly in a chess book store.

    Of course this does not matter to me in this case, because I shall buy the Pirc book anyway :). But it helps also when reading the book, to know in which sequence to study each chapter.

  8. @Jacob Aagaard
    For example, in the Pirc excerpt, for the 4. Ae3 chapters, there are three: 5. Cf3, 5. h3, 5. Dd2. The problem is that these moves are all viable against both 4…c6 and 4…Ag7, and I cannot tell which is the recommendation for Black.

  9. Against 4.Be3, Marin recommends 4…c6. After 5.Nf3 he gives 5…Bg7, while both 5.h3 and 5.Qd2 are met by 5…c6.
    Against the Classical, he gives 6…c6.
    I hope this helps.

  10. Marin recommends 8…fxe6, while also providing some analysis of 8…Bxb5 9.exf7+ Kf8 as a way of keeping the game going.

    I’m not a Pirc player; but if I was, I would deal with the draw problem as follows. I’d have Marin’s book as my main reference work, and would use it to have 5…c5 as an option in games where an early draw wouldn’t be a problem. However, I’d also probably supplement it with either The Modern Tiger or some other book with good coverage of 5…0-0, in order to vary my responses and avoid the drawing line against much weaker opponents or in other must-win games.

  11. @Andrew Greet
    In some FIDE events where they have some no-draw rule before move 30 or whatever, are repetitions allowed? Still it is good that he provided two lines though.

    In the 5…c5 line, another crucial option is when White goes 6. dxc5 Da5 7. Dd4. If I am not mistaken, someone here recommended this line for a book? 🙂

  12. Jacob Aagaard :
    We will take your feedback into account. Thanks

    At last! I used to complain here about all those uninformative excerpts but get tired (and saved some money).
    By the way, I find d4d5 excerpt quite good from an informative point of view, so my standards may be not that extravagants. Nikos intro is just what I like to know on the lines covered before buying. Of course, a more concrete opening may require a bit more detail but it’s fine for me.
    On the other side, the Nimzo excerpt is really, really a step too far in the art of saying nothing on the lines covered.

  13. I don’t see Negi 5 or Avrukh 2A on the coming soon list. I think it has been mentioned recently that Avrukh will be out this year but I can’t remember. We haven’t heard much about Negi in a while.

    Any further information on these two at the moment please?

    Thank you.


  14. Hi Jacob,
    My elo is around 2100. I started to play since I was a kid, reach 2100 around 5 years ago and didn’t make any real progress. I have never studied chess properly, mostly I was reading some books, have some lessons with a coach and play a great amount of blitz games over the internet.

    I decide to take chess seriously and try to reach 2500. I can put 1 hour per day of “quality” time. I don’t care how long is going to take to reach this level, so I don’t to focus just on something short term like opening preparation.

    How would you study chess if you were in my situation?
    Do you think a coach would be useful in my situation? One of my biggest problem is that I am not sure on what are my main strength and weaknesses as a player. If you were me, how would you choose a good coach and what you do you think is the best way to take advantage of having a coach?

    Thank you for your help,

  15. @Isolani
    Agreed. I also didn’t buy any Agatha Christie book because they never told the name of the murderer in the summary on the cover, so I couldn’t decide if I liked it.

  16. Timotheos Lirindzakis

    I would like to ask about the possibility for a book about the Queen`s Indian defence from Black point of view.When and who will be the author?Thank you very much.

  17. Have to say I would prefer more information here. Haven’t bought key concepts in gambit play as some of the gambit names in the excerpts are too vague eg “scotch”… could be any of a number of gambits or a brief coverage of all. At a bookstall you could browse through the book to see if they were of interest to you but you are buying an expensive book…

  18. … In the dark when buying it online or through forward chess.
    On a positive note you got a great write up for all your work and methods from Ghopade in today’s Isle of Man article on chessbase news. Congratulations

  19. @Jacob Aagaard

    Does Nikolaos cover/have a line against the 6.Qc2 in the queen’s gambit exchange variation?As you can see this is the white repertoire of Lars in his Playing 1.d4 .

  20. @Jacob is there any chance of a new Caro-Kann (C-K) rep book in the future? I’d love to see Ntirlis have a go at it, especially after his great success with the QGD book. I’d love a book just like that, but for the C-K. Perhaps offering a more ‘practical’ and/or ‘solid’ approach like Karpov used to play it, than some of the more recent C-K reps published by rival publishers. That said, I would buy it even if it offered modern sharp lines. The more reps published on the C-K the merrier!

  21. Hi Andrew,

    I just wanted to ask if (in Marin’s new Pirc book) is 2 g3 or 2 c4 covered, with the white intention of trying to achieve a Botvinnik English set up (whilst perhaps not transposing to the fianchetto chapter?). You could always meet that system with d6/Nf6/g6/Bg7/0-0 and then ..c5 (not blocking the bishop’s diagonal) but sometimes I feel that this gives white what he wants which is to play h3, f4-f5 and hack away on the kingside.

    Thank you very much.


  22. @Jacob Aagaard
    Since you’re making the announcement for this particular book for (at least) over a year now, you should clearly overthink your marketing strategy.
    I feel kind of fooled about the announcement when you’re saying “Winter 2016”, “Spring 2017”, “Summer 2017”, “Autumn 2017”, “Winter 2017/18”.
    So, will Berlin finish their airport before you’re publishing the second part of Playing 1. e4?

  23. @ Jacob Aagaard

    Fitting the French and Open Sicilian into one volume (of non-biblical size) while still providing a reasonably complete and ambitious repertoire sounds next to impossible to me… Negi needed 4 volumes for this, so I guess 2 volumes would already be a challenge.

  24. Ever considered hiring a ghost writer? Some names come to mind that could write such a book over a weekend. Well, the results might not exactly comply to QC-standards…

  25. Pinpon :
    We are all expecting John’s autobiography ” My Life in the Dungeon ”
    Maybe 2018 ?

    Shhhh!!! We don’t want to give John any ideas! Next thing we know, he will write “My Life in the Dungeon” before he finishes “Playing 1. e4”. “Dungeon” will then be stretched into a series, “A Tale of Mire and Lice”. Then he’ll take 6 years converting that into a critically acclaimed cable TV series. Then 6 years after that, he’ll release a prequel, “A Knight of the Seven Chessboards”…

  26. @Jacob/Andrew

    I’d like to inquire about Michael Roiz’s main recommendation on 4.e3 and 4.Qc2 main line?As I’d like to use this book together with Playing 1.d4 d5 of Nikos.Wiaiting for the book of Nikos to arrive.
    Thanks in advance.

  27. Wee question on pricing on Forward Chess . Have accepted that you must have some agreement with Boris as his books are all priced higher than the other qc tomes as he is a big ‘name’ in chess but why is Sharp Endgames similarly priced higher. Can’t be just a ‘prices are going up’ as Marin released on same day but has a bigger name and reputation as an author and his book is bigger but priced cheaper. Thanks

  28. What is Roiz recomendation against 4.f3 in the NID?

    Is the queens gambit toally harmless for black now after Nikos 1.d4, d5?
    What is whites best shot at an edge after 1.d4, d5? Catalan?
    I know nikos recomend 4.-dxc4 5.Nf3, a6 against the catalan,
    What is his recomendations against 6.Ne5 and 6.0-0?

  29. Is the Catalan a good choice for an attacking player?
    Some lines were black takes the pawn and try to hang on to it are really exciting.
    The mainline 6.-dxc4 and the closed Catalan can however be quite dull.

    Some lines in the Bogoindian after 1.d4, Nf6 2.c4, e6 3.g3, Bb4+ can also be quite dull.

    Currently I play the 4.f3 NID which almost always leads to exciting play.

  30. Hi all,

    I have already ordered the new Marin Pirc book which will be released next week, but I wanted to ask if anybody who has already purchased the electronic version what their initial thoughts are? Also, if they have the Kornev Pirc book from the end of last year, how does it compare to that.

    Thank you very much.


  31. Johnnyboy :
    its 17.99 lund and 13.99 marin in uk pounds

    Lund and Marin on Forward Chess look the same UK pound price as each other on my devices (as they should be). Maybe something was changed by FC since you commented.

  32. Mr Sadler does not like the e3 poison book in latest New in Chess. First negative QC review I can recall….but having read the book I thought he makes some good points.

  33. Hi Jacob,

    I know Kotronias has completed his work on the King’s Indian, but I was wondering if there was any chance he might be considering a book on 1 d4 sidelines, together with lines against the English and Reti (and perhaps 1 b3, f4, etc) from a King’s Indian player’s perspective. I think while it would be popular the answer will perhaps be ‘No’…..

    Anyway, thank you.


  34. @Bebbe on Catalan vs Nimzo, adding to Michael’s comment:
    – With Nf3 and g3 White is buying King safety, which is especially important in rapid games. Clearly you can’t expect king safety AND attacking chances, so be ready for a long game, barring the occasional blunder on the long diagonal.
    – Quite often White has to sacrifce a queenside pawn for uncertain compensation (e.g. stranded b7 bishop), “uncertain” being related to players strength. There’s a risk for White to let the compensation slip away whitout even noticing. See if it fits your style.

    If you like exciting chess and you’re happy with the f3 nimzo, imo there’s no reason to move to Catalan, which is primarioly an anti-nimzo option. Just my 2c of course.

  35. @Cowe

    Thanks for your advice!

    I want to keep my 4.f3 Nimzo. It really fits my style better than the Catalan.

    The Catalan is a good safe extra option that can be used against 1.d4, Nf6 2.c4, e6, against 1.d4, d5 2.c4, e6 and the triangle system. I dont mind sacrificing a pawn for uncertain compensation. The king is safer than in the f3-Nimzo.

    What really concerns me are the dull variations (closed, bogo) and also the Benoni after 1.d4, Nf6 2.c4, e6 3.g3 since I play the Taimanov against the Benoni which fits wit the NID.

  36. Thinking of sticking to the f3 nimzo and play the Catalan only after the Queen’s gambit moveorder. If black plays 3.-d5 instead of nimzo there is cxd5.

  37. @Bebbe
    If I were you I would switch to 1.e4. I’ve tried the Catalan myself a few times (and I have also played the 4.f3 Nimzo), but it’s an awful lot of theory and it’s so flexible that most of the time I don’t have a clue what to do. When I played 1.d4, I preferred the QG Exchange, since the plans are quite clear. But of course in the meantime this has been defused by Nikos 🙂

  38. Hi! I was unsure where to post this question. Hopefully this is OK.

    Would Nikolaos have a recommendation against 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.b3? This annoying sideline is rather popular around these parts. Any areas (like games) to base further my further investigations would be really appreciated.

    I love this book, by the way! The introductions in the chapters serve as a nice foundation to teach this opening to my students. I also want to play some of these lines. 10/10 Would buy again. 🙂

  39. @Ray

    I have, he recommends 4.-dxc4 5. Bg2, b5, very sharp and critical.

    I do not think there is less theory after1.e4 if White plays mainline theory.
    Played it a lot as junior and tried it again in some games ten years ago.
    I like being white in the Sicilian, but had problems against the e5 French and the Caro.
    The French is also very flexible and difficult strategically. I got outplayed pretty badly in a couple of French games against strong opponents.

    The Petroff and the Berlin is not my cup of tea. Some of the e4 lines ebbs out to quickly.

    Personally I think d4 is the most combative move, but this is of course.

    Appreciate your advice but have already tried this.

    I agree that the Catalan is very theoretical and is hard to play well.
    But the queens gambit seems a dead end right now.

  40. I was hoping to see John front up for Scotland at the European Team Championships… Has Jacob confiscated his passport while he puts the finishing touches to Playing 1 e4 vol. 2?! ;0)


  41. @TD
    Some comments from Sadler:
    “The first feeling I had was that I could barely follow which lines Smith was recommending. Nuggets of information were spread – almost hidden you might say – all over the book. For example- I found just 3 quick references to Smith’s preferred move order”

    “Why does Smith spend a whole chapter analysing the anti Benko ….. where the move e3 never comes into play”

    “There’s a really good book on 1Nf3/2 e3 somewhere in there, but the organisation of the material is too chaotic to bring that out properly”

    From my perspective I enjoyed it very much as a general treatise, with a view to improving the range of positions I could play. But I didn’t feel it gave me a repertoire or coherent understanding of a system. Which I think is similar to Sadler’s commentary.

    I would be interested to hear the QC’s guys thoughts when they digest the whole review.

  42. @Franck steenbekkers
    Hi Franck,

    I was just wondering, the only 4..c6 line that Shaw gives in his book is 5 Qd2 b5 6 e5. What does Marin recommend against 5 Qd2, and if it is not covered by Shaw, does John have any suggestions after reading Marin’s book?

    Thank you very much.


  43. @Franck steenbekkers

    Out of interest does Marin cover 5 Bxf6 after 4…c6 and similarly if he is recommending 5….b5 after 5 Qd2 does he again look at the Bxf6 capture.

    Rarely played, but a line in which black needs to know what he is doing to avoid a disadvantage. One of the reasons I prefer 4….Bg7 to 4….c6.


  44. @Paul H
    I agree with Sadler’s points. I also tried to distill a repertoire from the book, but it was too cumbersome. Also (a point not mentioned by Sadler) what really bothered me is that Smith doesn’s give any (computer) assessments at the end of his lines. To be fair, he explains his views on this, but still it’s annoying if (like me) you go for an ambitious white repertoire. I think the book is more for understanding and one should not try to build a repertoire from it with a variation tree. I can imagine this works fine for a lot of people, but not so for me.

  45. Smith’s book cannot be seen as a simple repertoire a la Avrukh, play this, this and this. It is based on understanding the arising position and knowing where you are better and where you are not and then trying to steer in that direction. Some feedback we have had is fantastic, some of it is more like Sadler’s. This always happens when someone does something non-standard and ambitious. If you try to look for the simple repertoire, as Sadler seemed to have done, it fails. But square pecks do not fit in round holes. which I would argue is not the fault of the hole or the peck, but of the person trying to make them fit.

  46. Sadler once gave Practical Chess Defence 3/5 (ten years after publication, he had written that no books on defence existed so I sent it to him as a present, not with the intention of having it reviewed). I strongly disagree with this evaluation. It is my first really good book. But we all have different taste and I do not think a lukewarm review means we have done anything wrong.

  47. Smith’s book is a good book and there are many interesting ideas .
    As a 1.c4/1.Nf3/1.d4 player , i was the ideal customer and i was most interested by QGR / Anti Gruenfeld / Anti Nimzo / Anti Slav positions .
    Of course there is nothing magical with e3 ( surprised ? ) but even the so called ” Poor Man’s Benoni ” is worth analysis ( just don’t play it against Svidler ? )

  48. Sadler is a great reviewer, because he is honest about what he likes and does not like and argues his case. Sometimes he likes some of our books more than I do, sometimes less. I can live with that :-).

  49. If I ordered Pirc…Sharp Endgames…The Thinkers are they being shipped separately or are you holding the order until The Thinkers is ready to ship and ship all three together?

  50. An Ordinary Chessplayer

    There was also Soltis _The Art of Defense in Chess_ (1975), Marin _Secrets of Chess Defence_ (2003), Crouch _How to Defend in Chess_ (2007), etc., etc., so GM Sadler does not know everything. Unless he was slyly suggesting these books are so bad they don’t actually teach defence.

    I don’t mind if a reviewer dislikes a book that I like. All they have to do is give enough information about the book that I can decide whether I want to buy it. I remember back in the day when Siskel and Ebert were doing their syndicated movie reviews. Two thumbs up, probably good movie. Two thumbs down, probably bad movie. Siskel thumb down, Ebert thumb up, not sure. Siskel thumb up, Ebert thumb down, must see it!

  51. Hi Jacaob!

    The coming soon section is looking a little skinny again……………. :o(

    Ah well, at least the Pirc book will be with me at some point this week! :o)


  52. @RWL
    All three together. Because the UPS savings we get, which we pass on to the customer, do not come into account if we have to ship twice.

  53. @An Ordinary Chessplayer
    Sadler did know about these books. I am away and cannot search for his review right now to quote him directly. But somehow it was about working on defence or something like that. It made sense, except he did not know my book 🙂

  54. @Paul H
    Yes, we encountered a technical problem, which I am not really up for talking about right now. But it will be two weeks delayed and everything is OK. The other two books were sent out to all the shops according to the schedule.

  55. RWL :
    @Jacob Aagaard
    That is disappointing, I understand your need to save money is it possible to invoice me the additional amount so that the books can go out immediately?

    No need to send us anything more. We posted the first two books in your order two days ago (30th). ‘The Thinkers’ will follow separately as soon as it is available. And we are doing the same for others in a similar position. I know Jacob said differently above, but he is away at the moment, so he didn’t know.

  56. Leon Trotsky :
    @Jacob Aagaard
    So if I understand correctly, Pirc is in the shop tomorrow, and Thinkers in mid-Novembre ?

    Correct. The exceptions are a couple of shops in Spain who received ‘The Thinkers’ directly from the printer, so they are lucky. The rest of us, including me, will have to wait until mid-November to see it.

  57. The coming soon section is quite funny: One book which is already published and another book which propably will not be published soon ?
    (Sorry could not resist, keep up the Great work)

  58. @James2
    Avrukh 2A is progressing well and Negi has promised us that something will happen in the next few months, but let’s see how that works out before making promises. 🙂

  59. Hi guys,

    just an observation on an extremely minor line in John’s “playing 1.e4” (which I’m loving): on page 173 after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.Bd3 d6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nc3 Ng4 9. h3 Ne5 10.Na4 Bb6 11.Be2 0-0 12.b3 (the novelty) Re8 13.Nxb6 axb6 14.Bb2 John only mentions 14…Bb7 after which his idea is to play a4, f3 and enjoy the pair of bishops. While I agree, the engine suggests 14…Qh4 which puts e4 under pressure and apparently forces white to play f4 in the next couple of moves after which e4 may become a weakness.

  60. I just bought Marin’s book about Pirc defence, which is my lovely opening. I am happy that there is analysed lot of new ideas and lines, but I found (at the moment) one inconsistency, which is not tragical but little bit annoying.
    After 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bf4 (yes, definitelly sideline) c6 5.Qd2 Nbd7 6.Nf3 Bg7 and now 7.Bh6! which is not mentioned (page 329). In fact black shouldnt play 7…0-0, because then transpose to 7…Nbd7?! line on page 210 (after 8.Bxg7 Kxg7 9.e5 de5 10.de5 Ng4 11.0-0-0 +/-, but position maybe is not so bad), when remains 7..Bxh6 8.Qxh6 which is position, what is maybe somewhere mentioned in the book, bud definitelly not everyone taste (Kasparov-Radjabov 2002)

  61. David Llada made a presentation of “The Thinkers” at the European Team Chess Championships in Crete a few days ag, where a few copies were available.
    I got hold of one of them. I saw, touched, smelled the book. Then went through it.
    It’s magical.
    Cannot possibly think of a better chess-related gift to give around. It’s just beautiful.

  62. @AliceB
    Unfortunately, exactly the same problem exists in the 4) Be3 line. Page 236 gives 4) Be3 c6 5) Qd2 Nbd7 7) Bh6 0-0 and now Marin only mentions 8) 0-0-0, but 8) Bxg7! again leads to the same variation on page 210. This is actually a pretty serious problem for black.

  63. @AliceB

    We will make an update file of any extra Pirc lines that should be mentioned.

    Before we printed, we had two players, with several decades of Pirc-playing experience, check all the key lines were covered , but it seems the many possible transpositions proved too tricky.

  64. Thomas :
    @John Shaw
    Finding 3.Nd2 doesn’t look too tricky to me.

    True, but I was referring to the transpositional line that AliceB and Areopagiet mentioned, which was why I put @AliceB and @Areopagiet at the start of my reply. I didn’t think that was too tricky to understand, but here we are.

    Any update will also include 3.Nd2 and the 4.h4 move that James2 mentioned in the other thread. Though 4.h4 should not take too long. After 4…Bg7 the only sensible move is 5.Be2, transposing to line C4 of Chapter 14. White could play a non-sensible move such as 5.h5 but I will happily take that with 5…Nxh5.

  65. @John Shaw Lots of blitz games on ICC by Vlassov (Bazar-Wokzal) with 4 h4. Smerdon also payed this recently. I’m not saying it is any good, but these 4 h4 systems are sometimes met so it would be nice to see what Marin thought.

    Thanks John.


  66. I wonder what will be the recommendation in GM repertoire 6a against 6.Bg5?
    Preferably it should be something that gives winning chances, is practical and holds theorethically as well.

  67. It would be nice if it could cover the Gelfand variation or the delayed poisoned pawn. I think these variations are in pretty good shape. The poisoned pawn is of course valid but has had extensive coverage elsewhere and is too drawish.

  68. What Sicilian gives black best attacking chances? Many would say the dragon but I dont agree. It is true for 9.Bc4 but for other variations it is another matter. Many exchanges and early endgames are normal. I would say the classical with the Kozul against richter rauzer gives black attacking chances or the Najdorf. The Tajmanov,Kan ,the Áccelerated dragon and the Sveshnikov are all rather solid.

  69. One short question about the Grunfeld:
    There is the line in the Avrukh about
    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8.
    Be3 Qa5 9. Qd2 Nc6 10. Rb1 a6 11. Rc1 Bg4 12. d5 Rd8 13. Be2 O-O 14. O-O Bxf3
    15. Bxf3 e6 *
    where Svidler points out in his video, that he thinks black has quite some problems after 16. Be2 which is not mentioned by Avrukh. I checked the Updates and didn’t find something as well. Will you update this particular line in the next feature?

  70. @Christoph
    Yes, theory goes on sadly… The line remains a good fighting option for Black in practical play, but i think that indeed White gets an edge. I’d suggest to study 11…cxd4 as a simple line for Black to play. If he is any worse, he is by very little.

  71. Avrukh is my favourite chess book author and all his works are high profile. His books about the Grunfeld remain the absolute reference about this complex opening. A update from the two volumes publiched are “screaming” for a actual review. I’m sure it would be a best seller and, most important, a high quality chess!

    Best Regards

  72. @Jacob Aagaard
    Jacob, below some feedback on e3 Poison:
    Part 3, Chapter 10, „Move Orders“, I believe is a critical chapter as it explains how it all connects. But there might be some incorrect statements. In the box summarizing the 1.c4 repertoire it is stated: „Avoids: […] the Queens Gambit Accepted“. However, when Black chooses the Tarrasch move order, i.e. e6-d5-c5, then this can end up in the QGA, main line. Therefore, I believe the author meant „avoids Queens Gambit Declined“ ?
    Same applies to the box summarizing the 1.Nf3 repertoire, where it is also stated, that the QGA is avoided, however, after the Tarrasch move order it is not possible to avoid it if you want to stay in the book`s repertoire. Instead, the QGD is avoided ?
    Those boxes summarizing the repertoires would be of great help if only they listed all relevant chapters or at least systems. Instead, the c4-box and the Nf3 box merely state „allows the Symmetrical English“, which is misleading. Could also have stated „avoids the Symmetrical English“ because it all transposes to Tarrasch, Panov, QGA or anti-QGD systems, isnt it…

    Chapter 4, „Junctions“ lists the systems you need to know in any case, no matter the first move is Nf3, d4 or c4. At least, this is my understanding of „Junctions“. This chapter, however, misses the QGA, main variation. In my view and to be consistent, the QGA main line from chapter 18 should belong to „Junctions“ and not to Part 6 (dealing with…

  73. … continued

    (dealing with 1.d4 only) because it is huge and relevant and you can reach it by all three move orders.

    Maybe it is all on purpose, another exercise by Smith to let us get the move orders straight…? Don`t get me wrong here, I like the book and I am working with it. Maybe the feeback helps to improve whaterver needs improvement. Let me know if I am totally wrong here.

  74. Out of interest, what font and typeface is used for your books and will there be a najdorf book? Also I found out that a major branch of the Schandorff semi-slav book is unsound and loses by force. The variant is from move 10.

  75. Dextro53 :
    Out of interest, what font and typeface is used for your books and will there be a najdorf book? Also I found out that a major branch of the Schandorff semi-slav book is unsound and loses by force. The variant is from move 10.

    please tell…

  76. We use Adobe Garamond Pro size 10.5. Hardly a trade secret. For headers I change the value of the font to 125% or even 150% vertical, creating a different look.

    Yes, we are hoping for a Najdorf book in 2018.

    Please give us the refutation. Everyone here on the blog would love to see it :-).

  77. @Bulkington

    Thanks for you feedback, though I do largely disagree with you.

    “In the box summarizing the 1.c4 repertoire it is stated: „Avoids: […] the Queens Gambit Accepted“. However, when Black chooses the Tarrasch move order, i.e. e6-d5-c5, then this can end up in the QGA, main line. Therefore, I believe the author meant „avoids Queens Gambit Declined“ ?”

    No, Axel does not mean that. It is impossible to avoid the Queen’s Gambit Declined structure, as Black can go …e6 and then …d5 against anything (OK, if White play e2-e4 on move 1 or 2 we can be in a French). But White can make it more difficult to reach the Queen’s Gambit Accepted in various ways, particularly using 1.c4 or 1.Nf3. For example, in your Tarrasch example after 1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 c5, there is 4.cxd5 exd5 5.d4, with no QGA. Same thing with 1.Nf3.

    I take your point that transpositions to the QGA are possible if White absolutely insists on playing c4, Nf3, e3 and d4 on the first 4 moves, no matter what Black does, but being flexible is a large part of what the book is about. For example, note the 4.b3 options in Chapter 16 if Black plays …Nf6 instead of the pure Tarrasch move order you mentioned.

  78. @Bulkington


    “Instead, the c4-box and the Nf3 box merely state „allows the Symmetrical English“, which is misleading. Could also have stated „avoids the Symmetrical English“ because it all transposes to Tarrasch, Panov, QGA or anti-QGD systems, isnt it…”

    I don’t find that misleading at all. If we had said 1.c4 avoids the Symmetrical English, I think that would have been misleading, and baffled readers – 1.c4 c5 is the Symmetrical English. Where the game goes later is unknown at that point.

    I also disagree with you on the best location of the QGA chapter. I think the 1.d4 section is most logical, not junctions. Axel says in the book that junctions “are the openings that many opponents will transpose into when they meet the e3 poison, even if these openings are outside their normal repertoire.” It would be unusual for Black to choose to play a QGA because of White’s tricky move order; if they play the QGA, it is probably because it is their normal repertoire.

  79. I really love “e3 Poison” and have chosen to convert after being a lifelong (over 30 years!) e4-player. I do not think a possible transposition into the QGA after 1.c4 or 1.Nf3 to be a problem either since I intend to play all of 1.d4, 1.c4 and 1.Nf3.

    I don´t know if I will ever get so far to play 1.e3 though since the pawn might accidentally end up on e4 then out of habit ;-).

    However, on a more serious note, the one thing I really miss in Smith´s great book is coverage of the Anti-Slav 1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.b3. At least since Black can transpose into that via the Anti-QGD after 1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.b3 (which is in the book) and now 4…c6 (which is not in the book).

    I know Axel Smith wrote somewhere in his book that he has nothing new to add about this which wasn´t already covered by other Authors, but I would have preferred a decent summary of this line instead of the chapter about the French Exchange, which I refuse to play. 😉

  80. @Tom Tidom
    Maybe you misunderstood me. I do not have a problem with playing the QGA either. But I believe the statement “1c4 avoids QGA” or “1Nf3 avoids QGA” is not correct. In my opinion we can not avoid it if we want to stay inside what is presented in games and theory sections. That`s all.

  81. Bulkington, theoretically speaking you are right. I just do not see the problem here even if the statement in the book is not accurate. I find it hard to imagine that someone wanting to play the QGA chooses a Tarrasch move order to get there. John Shaw has already pointed out that Black must be willing to accept playing with the IQP rather than against it as is more common in the QGA.

    While working trough the book I came to the conclusion that the core is a repertoire based on 1.d4, 2.Nf3, 3.c4 and 4.e3 while 1.Nf3 and 1.c4 give some additional options.

    But you still have to know something about the lines involving an early d2-d4. Remember, if Black plays an Indian Defence, the book suggests no alternatives to this.

  82. @John Shaw
    Re “1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 c5, there is 4.cxd5 exd5 5.d4, with no QGA”: Right… did Smith spend more than one sentence on this particular line ? I do not consider this one-liner being part of the presented repertoire. If I want to stay inside what is presented in games and theory, then neither 1.Sf3 nor 1.c4 prevents QGA. Which it is not a problem at all… However, when starting with 1Nf3 or 1.c4 it is possible to avoid the QGD from chapter 19, isn´t it. Therefore I thought the concerned statement simply was a mix-up…
    And splitting the Slav into two parts, Junctions and Part 6 but not the QGA, still do not understand it.
    Anyway, I like the repertoire, in itself it is clear and logical, not much theory and offers a lot of flexibility. But in my opinion it is presented in a bit of a chaotic, esoteric way… And with questionable statements framed in boxes :-). Thought this might be a reason why it had mixed reviews.

  83. Well I would give the refutation to the major line in the semi- slav but since I spent so much time analysing the variation I’m not so sure whether I should alert everyone.

    Who are the authors of the najdorf and taimanov books? And will there be a queens Indian book?

  84. Just relax about these questions of whether a particular move order of the e3 Poison repertoire avoids/allows the QGA or whatever!! That is all really just a matter of terminology and rather unimportant. It is clearly a repertoire to be learned primarily through experience – for example, Axel Smith himself (refreshingly) admits on page 288 of the book (notes to the game Smith-Mindlin) that, at the time of playing that game, he did not know the consistent 6th move to remain within the Anti-QGD repertoire. It is a solid repertoire, it is not like plunging into the sharpest lines of the Sicilian Najdorf under-prepared, so just play it, learn as you go, you are not risking a lot, and enjoy the ride! Clearly tastes differ, but I think that this is a top class opening book, with the potential to teach a lot about chess more generally (achieving an advantage from an unambitious opening etc.).

  85. @Dextro53

    I’m very surprised that you have found such a hole in Schandorff’s book on the Semi Slav. I have used it pretty extensively at correspondence level and have found it to hold up extremely well. I also keep an eye on the games of highly rated correspondence players who also seem to be using his book. To date I have seen nothing in their games (or on Chesspublishing) to cause alarm.

    At one stage, like you, I thought I had found something for white in the 12 b4 c5! line (B3 page 224) only to find that in fact black was fine and the analysis given held up.

    So perhaps when you have had the chance to play your line you could share it with us!

  86. @Dextro53

    Frankly, I wonder why you are sharing this with us when you won’t give the “refutation”. What action do you expect from the QC team? That they re-analyse the entire book? Or is this a joke maybe, like a false bomb alarm? E.g. I could also make an unsubstantiated claim that I have refuted the Najdorf Poisened Pawn somewhere around move 22. What purpose would this serve?

  87. I am happy to inspect this refutation in confidence and state it is real, if it is, keeping it forever to myself. But without it, I do not take it seriously.

  88. Jacob Aagaard :
    I am happy to inspect this refutation in confidence and state it is real, if it is, keeping it forever to myself. But without it, I do not take it seriously.

    agree Jacob………if you don’t want to be accused of trolling you need to put up or it is worthless. The evaluation of all variations are not set in stone or we wouldn’t have a thing called opening theory and new opening books but my litmus test is that the main lines given in bold on the first page of each chapter are reliable- the fine grain of the lines that follow on from this less so. Of all the QC books I only know of one line which is decidedly dodgy in these bolded main lines. Will tell as soon as I get home and look it up but point I’m trying to make is that the QC staff check very carefully that this doesn’t happen.

  89. I don’t see where is the problem ( if there is any problem ) : Kotronias has reevaluated some lines in his final book on KID and i found it very smart of him.
    Semi-Slav is not as tactical as KID but there is theory up to 30 moves or more , which increases the probability of slight mistakes ( i don’t think there are many refutations really possible , maybe in the G3 variation or some other sidelines )

  90. @Jose
    I am not sure exactly what you are looking for. My initial feeling is that this would be something that is already covered with Chess Tactics from Scratch or in the Yusupov series!?

  91. @Jacob Aagaard
    I am thinking in a Yusupov-style book that deals with the subject of visualization, calculation, etc. with a variable level from less to more difficult.
    With examples and exercises.
    Like the calculation chapter of Pump up your rating but in a whole book.
    The calculation book GMP Calculation would be the next level.

  92. @Jose
    I will give it serious consideration. I am planning something along those lines, which might be easily reworked (expanded) into what you are talking about. Probably an improvement. We are talking a year from now though.

  93. Hi Jacob,

    I was just wondering when you were hoping to put up the 2018 catalogue? Might be wishful thinking but thought I’d ask.

    Thank you.


  94. Hi Michael and Jacob,
    I can send the analysis if you give me your email. The 12.b4 c5 is exactly the line I am talking about but my analysis is a year old (I think we are talking about the same move) and you say that you have found something for black. If your analysis does not hold up then it might be the reason why Giri went for 12…a5 in the Candidates last year.

  95. Dextro53 :
    Hi Michael and Jacob,
    I can send the analysis if you give me your email. The 12.b4 c5 is exactly the line I am talking about but my analysis is a year old (I think we are talking about the same move) and you say that you have found something for black. If your analysis does not hold up then it might be the reason why Giri went for 12…a5 in the Candidates last year.

    Don’t have my semi slave book with me but is that the Kasmdzhanov line which almost forces a draw? Take care as engines don’t like it to start with.

  96. Hey everyone. While we have time on our hands in lockdown has anyone looked at Sharp Endgames recently? Not sure where else to post this but as I’ve dusted it off and looked a bit deeper than just doing the exercises, checking my answers and reflecting on my success as I did originally I’ve realised you cannot be fully relying on the text as kosher and there seems to be a few errors or lack of detail and glossing over of important alternatives in the early chapters at least eg the Lund- De Haan game and the Zhao Jianchao- Li Chao games in the first part of the book. It’s almost as if they weren’t engine checked so that answers you give in your tests may be correct after all or the refutation is not obvious and needs explaining. Not got further than chapter 3.2 at the moment but worried there’s more to come. Anyone have the same experience? The studies I presume are rock solid (though I should maybe run them through HvdH database)…I guess it is the more complex positions from games that are susceptible but even in 2017 when it was published I’m sure engines were strong enough to give some of the very obvious omissions and errors. I’ve not got a fancy high powered rig myself and it points out some obvious stuff pretty quickly.

  97. @Johnnyboy
    Interesting comment because I’ve made the same observation less than a week ago, mostly on the Lund – De Haan game. I don’t have a powerful machine to confirm, but my engine evaluation can differ rather significantly at several moments on this game for example.

  98. @sanrensei
    I only have it on Forward Chess so never trusted the FC engine was strong enough. Lund talks about “silly engine moves” when playing through the positions so thought this was the case when my choices didn’t match what Lund considers to be the correct moves. It’s only when I started looking at it on my pc with an engine that I realized that some of my “mistakes” weren’t mistakes at all or were ok but hadn’t been considered.

  99. @Johnnyboy
    My choices in the Nielsen Lund game also don’t feature in Lund’s text but stand up according to the engine but for a different reason than I thought. But would be good to see all the obvious options in the exercises commented on in the text so you can fully understand the motifs in the position. Still like the book and really like his 12 parameters but the text needs fleshing out especially in the training exercises as with hindsight you feel some of the moves you make fully follow the parameters but don’t get acknowledged as correct, interesting or are explained as to why they are bad.

  100. Regarding Sharp Endgames
    When working with these sharp endgame positions and preparing them as playing exercises, my main priority was to get out the main (human) ideas of the line, of course backed by engine analysis. These main ideas I would then connect to the 12/16 parameters. The main challenge was, and is, that the human chess mind works in mysterious ways, and trying to cover everything would be tiresome and take up a lot of space in the solutions. So, a certain pragmatic approach was called for, with focus on the human ideas behind the decision-making.
    Thanks for your interest in my book. Apart from the new concept, I consider the chapters on Q+pawn vs. Q as well as Lord of the Rings as the greatest contributions.

  101. @Silas Esben Lund
    Thanks for your answer and the interesting book. I hope to go through it after spending a long time with Dvoretsky’s manual. Even if we might have looked picky about certain variations, I’m also more interested in the human ideas that you took time to convey. As I’m facing the issue of some engine silly moves in drawn positions (i.e. not playing the most testing variation), I’m currently experimenting with setting higher values for “contempt”.

  102. @Silas Esben Lund
    Esben thanks for your reply…it really is a deep book and if you ever reprint or do a second edition there is a lot of other stuff hidden below the surface. For instance in the Zhou Li Chao game although 37 Bc4 is clearly stronger it keeps more pieces on the board and Bxh5 as played on the game also wins but you have to be able to see that preventing the b4 resource for black is the priority rather than taking the pawn on a7 so that 40 a3! is the only winning move. This allows you to return to capture the b pawn without allowing an exchange of pawns that 40 a4 allows or the 40 Kb6? b4 killing the passed pawn possiblity.Tricky stuff indeed and well worth reading through the second time as I’ve been doing ☺️?

  103. @Johnnyboy
    Well, it is a pity that already in chapter 1 the example Nielsen-Hagen contains some mistakes. First of all 50…Rd2 deserves a ? not a !?. Secondly I could not find a win for Black in the line 53…Kc554.Nxa3 Nxf3 55.Nc2 Nd4 56.Ne3 Ne2+ 57.Kf2 Nc3 58.a3 Kd4 -+. How can Black break the blockade of the e3 square? I failed to find a way.

  104. @Kulio
    Yes I found those errors too in the Nielsen game. I couldn’t break the e3 blockade either though I’d gone for 56 Ne1 so my king could sit an e3 instead via f2 and leave the knight free and have the a pawn as a distraction which seems to hold too. There is no mention of immediate 51 Nd4 either which though it probably transposes and whether this is a better option when trying to make black choose Ke5 rather than Kc5. Feel all these nuances need to have been acknowledged in the text (or a new edition). Guess Hagen was trying to use parameter 12 of forcing the game but agree that Rd2 was an error if there are multiple ways for white to draw

  105. Has the Caro-Kann theory changed so much that 4…Cf6 is now the main line instead of 4…Af5? How is 4…Cd7 doing?

    Interesting that Lars has still chosen 3. e5 Af5. What does he think of the presently fashionable 3…c5?

  106. @Lundi
    5…exf6 seems the heart of fashion…both recent Chessable LTR by Edwin L’Ami and the new Gambit book by Johnsen and Thomsen go for this too so guess Lars may have to be doing some edits ?

  107. And John, whatever happened to Jacob’s forthcoming book? It seems it had disappeared from the “Coming Soon” area…

    1. It has now been sent to the printer. I think an excerpt and print date will be up very soon, if not already there.

  108. Looking forward to Street Smart Chess as the excerpt looks good but when will we see the excerpt of the Secret Ingredient?. Street Smart looks applicable to club players ( something QC is a bit thin on for improvement rather than opening books and presumably makes up the majority of your readership) and we had some practical guides on coaching yourself e.g. Use of engines in Thinking inside the box that applied to everyone irrespective of elo rating..will Markos book provide some more advice for your non GM readers?

  109. @JB
    Yes, The Secret Ingredient has a ton of practical guidance that will be useful to players over a wide range of playing strengths.
    I understand John will be proofreading it any time now, but he’ll be able to confirm when that’s been done and the excerpt is ready.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top