Three books with excerpts

We have updated the website with new publication dates and excerpts.

So on October 30 we will publish three books – two new ones and one new version of an old favourite.

Soviet Outcast is the first time Grigory Levenfish’s memoir has been published in English. Our subtitle The Life & Games of Grigory Levenfish tells what to expect. I will add that while the annotated games are excellent, the stories of pre- and post-revolutionary Russian are, in my view, even better. To the original memoir we have added plenty of bonus material, including an excellent article by Jacob Aagaard. You can read an excerpt here.

Alma is a novel and a novelty for Quality Chess – our first book of fiction. Judit Berg is a best-selling award-winning children’s author, and in the fun adventure story Alma there is also a chess element contributed by Judit Polgar. You can read an excerpt here.

The new-ish book is an expanded and updated edition of Advanced Chess Tactics by Lev Psakhis. We improved what was already in the first edition, and Lev wrote a new chapter about his life-long favourite, the French Defence. You can read an excerpt here.

49 thoughts on “Three books with excerpts”

  1. John Hartmann :
    Are there analytical updates included in the Psakhis book?

    Yes, there are various analytical updates to the solutions to the exercises. But the main new thing is the new chapter.

  2. I looked at the Psakhis excerpt and realized, eight years after the original edition was published, that this book is more about attacking play than just tactics! I had imagined it would be similar to Averbakh’s similarly titled Chess Tactics for Advanced Players.

    I wonder if “tactics” has a wider definition in Russian than in English? Dvoretsky’s classic Secrets of Chess Tactics dealt with all kinds of topics – calculation, attack, defence, etc. – and only a small part of it was limited to combinations.

  3. @Stigma
    I think it is a really good book that did not reach a lot of people. I don’t know if the title was wrong or the cover poor. Anyway, this is why I pushed first Lev then John for this updated edition. I hope it will find some audience at least.

  4. @Stigma
    Agreed. I only purchased the first edition a year or so ago. My coach recommended it as a great book to study to help improve my play in dynamic positions. Previously I’d assumed it was a book on tactics and I already had plenty of resources for that.

  5. @al
    Yes. Sorry, I am more or less recovered from illness and over the next few months I will get fully onto it. I have been slowly catching up on the worst delays, while keeping my day to day obligations to individuals. Worst of all was to get ALMA out. Second worst is the Gelfand book. Boris has been incredibly supportive, but the book needs out. I am half way through and quite like it by the way…

  6. Really, really great that you are publishing the Levenfish book! Kudos to you.

    I noticed one error in the excerpt: Chapter 4 should be headed ‘The Years 1925-36’, not 1925-26.

    A couple of minor quibbles: In the Contents, would it not be better to have the date and location of all the events? eg ‘The Tournament at Carlsbad, 1911’; ‘8th USSR Championship, Leningrad 1933; ‘Tournament with the Participation of Fine, Leningrad 1937’; ‘The Training Tournament, Leningrad/Moscow 1939’; etc. To me, this would give a much better feel of the chronological flow of events and identify them easier. Also, better to me would be to have ‘All-Russian Championship, St Petersburg 1914’ rather than ‘St Petersburg 1914’, so as to distinguish this event from the great international St Petersburg 1914 event which Lasker won, and in which Levenfish did not play.

    I notice an item ‘Crosstables from Key Events’. Unless there is a space consideration, why not include all the crosstables? Virtually all of Levenfish’s results could easily be obtained from a combination of Rusbase and Di Felice and so with little extra effort a complete job could be done.

    Of course these are minor matters which I hope are helpful. Once again, congratulations on publishing a very valuable historical work.

  7. Cool stuff!

    …but i’m waiting for an update on the coolest stuff of them all: Negi 5!

    So…could that book be my Christmas present? Or do I have to wait till Christmas 2020:-)??

    Keep up the good work, boys! I really love the QC books!!

  8. @Maxwell Smart
    Thank you for pointing out the type. Sadly they happen.

    You can always discuss how much energy you should put into a book. We are trying to ride the balance between a lot and not too much. We have other books to complete.

    Some of your suggestions I find to be overkill and some of them would require a lot of work for limited reward. Also, remember that this is a translation of an existing book, but already about 50% longer with a lot of corrections in.

  9. Interesting that in English everyone uses Levenfish, which is actually a German name Löwenfisch. Name ends up slightly butchered by transliteration (twice!).
    Anyhow, really glad that something will be available on this underrated and mostly forgotten player.

  10. Hi.
    Any news about 1.e4 Grandmaster Repertoire by Negi vs. 1…e5?
    Kind regards and thx a lot for your constant efforts in publications of wonderful and fine chess books!

  11. .
    Will Yusupov continue his series with “Revision & Examn II” or was this last part of the series not so popular among readers?

  12. Jacob Aagaard :
    Yes. Sorry, I am more or less recovered from illness and over the next few months I will get fully onto it. I have been slowly catching up on the worst delays, while keeping my day to day obligations to individuals. Worst of all was to get ALMA out. Second worst is the Gelfand book. Boris has been incredibly supportive, but the book needs out. I am half way through and quite like it by the way…

    I was about to ask this question :). Can you share your overall concept of the series? I remember you mentioned “Chess from Scratch would be for a low rated players (beginners?) or something like that.

    Good health Jacob and we are keeping fingers crossed on you and all THE TEAM of QC! 🙂

  13. Regarding Negi’s next 1.e4 book and Marin on the Leningrad Dutch: progress is being made but we are not yet ready to announce a release date.

    With Yusupov, yes the plan is to do Revision & Exam 2 and 3.

    As for the possibility of buying just the new chapter of Advanced Chess Tactics, it’s a reasonable question. In case anyone reading this has not read the product description, I should first make it clear that the new chapter is by no means the only change: we also corrected various bits of analysis and exercise solutions, so it would not be ridiculous for owners of the first book to buy the new edition as well. Nevertheless, we will have a think about ways to accommodate those who are mostly interested in the completely new material. One possible idea could be to make the extra chapter available for a modest price on Forward Chess.

  14. Whenever we do a cover design with something other than an image of a chess board and pieces, we tend to get a mix of reactions with some people enjoying the quirky/original approach and others who would have preferred something more traditional. I wasn’t heavily involved in this particular design but I guess a big part of the thinking was to make it distinctive from the first edition, and at least it succeeded in that respect.

  15. @Andrew Greet

    I agree with Tom Tidom. I also have the first edition and I thought the cover was great, and the arrow actually made me analyze the cover longer than most would ever stare at a cover.

    I only say this because Jacob seemed to be of the impression that the cover was perhaps poor (see post 4). If the sales were low the first time, I am not sure why. Of course, with the complexity of the book – just look at the first game in the first chapter on the Modern Benoni – I would never recommend this book to someone rated 1400 (or anything below that either), but for your expert, low master, or possibly even a Class A player that has patience, this book is extremely valuable, so I was shocked to hear that sales were low.

    I must admit, looking at the new cover, it looks like I’m staring at an 80s arcade game with neon lights for the title and somehow that Queen is the main protagonist that you control on the screen!

  16. I think the cover was perhaps poor at communicating what the content feel was. If the new is better is of course debatable…

  17. @Jacob Aagaard
    Thank you for your reply of October 3rd, 2019 (re Levenfish book).

    You commented: “Some of your suggestions I find to be overkill and some of them would require a lot of work for limited reward.”
    I found myself rather at sea with the Contents page. I needed to check a couple of the events to confirm which ones they were, and needed to check most of them to establish dates. I felt my suggestions simply addressed these issues and were not ‘overkill’, but perhaps this is a matter of taste.

    As for ‘some of them would require a lot of work for limited reward’, I presume you are here referring to my suggestion to include all the crosstables, not just some of them. Hmmm!?, I didn’t think it would be all that much work… so I decided to try doing it myself! I cover this in my next post.

  18. My copy of Soviet Outcast arrived today, and it looks a brilliant book. Some of the classic titles have been a little bit controversial because of overlaps with previous books. (My view this is perfectly fine, as long as made clear at offset, has they have been recently.) This book from Levenfish hasn’t been translated in english before, plus has additional annotated games, and biographical information. My first interest will be the 1939 drawn match with Botvinnik

  19. Merry Xmas to everyone and as is traditional here is my Xmas wish list.
    1. Opening….Spanish as white
    2. Improvement… endgame themes but a level on Fromm 100 endgames you should know
    3. Practical guide to training…producing material in chess base, developing openings etc
    Thanks and best wishes to all the QC staff and blog readers for 2020

  20. @JB
    Did you get your wish list for Xmas?

    I got 6 books myself:

    The Secret Life of Bad Bishops (The one I got published by QC)
    Chess Middlegame Strategies, Vol 1
    Chess Calculation Training, Vol 1: Middlegames
    Better Thinking, Better Chess
    French Defense: The Solid Rubinstein Variation (2nd Edition)
    The Modern Samisch

  21. @Jacob Aagaard
    Happy New Year to one and all from Bonnie Scotland!
    My New year’s resolution for 2019 was a limit of one chess book a month which I failed dismally. This 2020 I’m going for the ” one in one out” resolution which is more achievable. I’ve got some real lemons like”Warriors of the Mind” by Ray Keene to get rid of to make room for some lovely new purchases!

  22. Happy new year to you too. I am currently suffering in Winter LA…

    Our 2020 programme is going to go through your collection like a hurricane. We will soon announce it.

  23. Hans-Georg Kleinhenz

    In “The Outcast” Levenfish’s birth date is given as 27th March 1889 (Translator’s note on page 9). Two years earlier Douglas Griffin, the translator, wrote in his very interesting article on Levenfish on his blog: “it now seems clear that he was born on 19th March”.

    Is the date 27th March based on new insights? I could not find it mentioned anywhere else.

  24. Douglas Griffin

    Dear Hans-Georg,

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I cannot explain how this date of 27th March appeared in my translation, as published in the book. This later date does appear in Kentler’s article, but it was in fact the date that Levenfish’s birth was registered. I can only apologise for somehow citing this date as Levenfish’s date of birth.

    If there is ever a 2nd edition, I will of course correct this mistake!

    With All Best Wishes,
    Douglas Griffin

  25. Hans-Georg Kleinhenz

    Dear Douglas,
    thank you for the clarification. It is not easy to find Levenfish’s correct birth date since even the English and German version of Wikipedia provide different dates.
    Many thanks also for your great Soviet Chess History blog, which I found during my search.
    Best regards, Hans-Georg Kleinhenz

  26. The very nice blog by Douglas Griffin reminds me that the analysis of games by Levenfish in his tournament book’s, for example Moscow 1936, is very much more detailed than in “Soviet Outcast”. Levenfish seemed to do this deliberately to make the “Outcast” book more accessible to weaker players. The version of tournament book have for “Moscow 1936′ is the translated Cassia Editions one.

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