Nigel Short & Gawain Jones – two new books

We are happy to confirm that we are printing two new books by two English stars.

Winning by GM Nigel Short is a book where the title gives a good idea of the content. Short gives the inside story to eight of his tournament wins. Excellent annotations, fun stories, fine photos – there is a lot to this book, which is the first Nigel Short has ever written! You can read an excerpt here.

Coffeehouse Repertoire – 1.e4 Volume 1 by GM Gawain Jones is a repertoire book that, in my view, strikes the perfect balance by giving strong, promising lines for White, without overwhelming the reader with a mass of variations. Together with Volume 2 (which will follow in a month or two) this will form a complete repertoire with 1.e4. We are being a little cheeky calling it “coffeehouse” – it is much better than that. You can read an excerpt here.

97 thoughts on “Nigel Short & Gawain Jones – two new books”

  1. Benjamin Fitch

    “We are being a little cheeky calling it ‘coffeehouse’ – it is much better than that.” Hey, the power of caffeine to enhance chess quality should not be underestimated. If you publish a “Pub Repertoire”, then I would expect the quality to take a bit of a dip.

  2. @Henri

    Hi Henri, thanks for the good suggestion.
    We have added a version of the Contents page to the excerpt. The real thing in the book goes on for 3 pages, listing every game in the book, which is a bit much for an excerpt.

  3. The thing I don’t understand in the Short into is he says this is his first book, but then admits he wrote the French Defence book in the 1990s (albeit not with the same focus as your book).

    I shall still buy of course!

  4. Paul H :
    The thing I don’t understand in the Short into is he says this is his first book, but then admits he wrote the French Defence book in the 1990s (albeit not with the same focus as your book).
    I shall still buy of course!

    Did you read Short’s description of the evolution of the French book? Short is definitely quirky and not always to be taken literally.

  5. “Absurd and egocentric as it is, I like to think that Hilary Thomas’ lengthy custodial sentence
    was due to bad karma from the earlier publishing incident, rather than the proximate cause of
    rape, arson and attempted murder.”

    HAHAHA Epic. This begs to be read.

  6. Erratum on p.75 after the move 7…Be7 “oft combined” I guess it’s rather “often combined”, isn’t it ? Maybe it’s just on the pdf. Anyway I can’t wait to read the whole book!

  7. @Alex Relyea
    Yes. I always assumed it was ghost written as it was not much more than a data dump. But here he says he did write it – albeit not very well, and not for much money.

  8. Hi,

    I was wondering if the forthcoming Berlin GM Repertoire book will have coverage of the Rio De Janniro variation, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Be7? This is a sound way to make the play more exciting than the Berlin Wall endgame.

  9. @Micah

    Roiz only recommends the endgame – which can actually lead to a lot of excitement in many lines.

    During editing, I’ve been impressed with the amount of times Roiz has recommended lesser-known (but fully sound) options against some of White’s other tries, enabling Black to fight for the initiative in lines where White usually hopes for a peaceful game.

  10. Salutations Quality Chess Team,

    On the Chessable forum 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nge2 Nf6 4.g3 b5! was rightly mentioned as a very effective move order for Black, does Gawain address this 4…b5! line in his book.

  11. @Topnotch

    This move order isn’t relevant to the book, as Gawain only covers the Chameleon 3.Nge2 as a bonus option after 2…Nc6. Against 2…e6, he recommends 3.Nf3.

  12. Hi to all
    Regard Jones Coffeehouses Repertoire – The Caro-Kann with 2.Nf3 move order is just a “bonus” section or something to more deep?
    Thank you very much as always for your constant effort.

  13. @Mechanize
    It’s sort of both. 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Nf3 is the main move order and the crux of the repertoire against the Caro-Kann. 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Ne5 often transposes, and there are certain lines where White has nothing better than following up with a quick d2-d4. But 2.Nf3 has some unique possibilities and pros/cons for both sides, so Gawain thinks it’s worth knowing those details with a view to playing either one, depending on the habits and preferences of the opponent.

  14. Think I should buy Gawains book just to support Smerdons Fighting Chess Index…he comes out second best of the top 100…..Nigel comes out well too. Was pretty evident that Radjabov was down in the basement but he seems positively wild compared to Berkes who scrapes the bottom of the barrel by some way….please don’t sign him up for a book QC ! ?

  15. Hello together,
    is there any news regarding publication date of Negi 6? I’m so curious about the final book…
    Thank you in advance.
    Best regards,

  16. Good morning QC HQ,

    I have my copy of Coffeehouse Repertoire volume 1 from Chess Direct on order, and I was wondering if the excerpt for volume 2 will be published soon please?

    Also, are there thoughts/intentions to continue the Coffeehouse Series with 1 d4/Nf3/c4/b3 or whatever first move with other authors and will there also be black repertoires in the future?

    Thank you for your time.


  17. John Christopher Simmons

    The book by Nigel Short looks like will be really great, and have preordered. Like the concept of showing all games from a tournament, rather than a best games collection. For example have recently gone through a through games of Geller’s book, and it really gives a picture of an unplayable genius, whilst in reality had failures like everyone else.

  18. Franck Steenbekkers

    I have Coffeehouse rep. vol 1 from forwardchess.
    And my first impression is great!!
    Hope vol 2 will folow soon and also the ecerpt

  19. Regarding Coffeehouse 2 and Negi 6, we will announce publication dates and provide excerpts when we are ready. The former book is, of course, quite close to being done.

    We have yet to finalize any plans for Coffeehouse books on other openings, but we like the concept, so the idea certainly has potential.

    “Winning” is indeed refreshingly different from a typical game collection for the reason John mentions. Nigel may have won all the tournaments in question, but the game-by-game format includes an honest account of when he made silly mistakes, squandered winning positions and so on, which readers will appreciate I think.

  20. The Coffeehouse idea is wonderful. I will end my drought of chess-book-buying.

    I had a funny joke/idea: “Grandma’s Terse Repertoire.”
    Grandma has a busy schedule. Those cookies are not going to bake themselves, you know. Grandma needs something short and to the point – something terse. This repertoire is for her: Grandma’s Terse Repertoire.

  21. @The Doctor
    Don’t worry. You will still have to read the 800 pages of the other volume first!
    Our experience is that you guys prefer to have the information, rather than seeing books disappearing from that section. Then you get a chance to show your delightful sarcasm 🙂

  22. In the 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 Scandinavian, I was under the impression that Black could force a draw by brutal means: Nc6, Bg4, 0-0-0, sac a piece on d4 and take it back with a pin. Does Gawain allow/improve this line, or is he seeking comfort elsewhere, e.g. with c3-b4 like Bacrot once did ?

  23. To be precise, Gawain presents 4.Nc3!? as his primary choice, but also covers the main 4.Be2 lines as well – and there are no forced drawing lines. Perhaps Cowe was thinking of the 6.c4 line there, where Black sacs a piece in the manner described; but Gawain covers 6.Be3.

  24. Hi to all! First of all I want to tell you that I’m really in love with Coffeehouse Vol 1! It’s a great original book in my opinion. Secondly, I noted some delay in the publication of the 2nd volume. Is it possible or I’m wrong? Furthermore, is it possible to know what Gawain’s recommends against 1…e6 and 1…e5? Thank you very much as always!

  25. @Mechanize

    I understand it is the Advanced against the French, with the mainline being something like The Milner-Barry with 6..cxd4 7 0-0 Bd7 8 Re1 (that is, not playing cxd4 by white immediately). There are obviously significant options along the way.

    Against 1..e5 it is the Scotch Gambit, and I think it is with a 2 d4 move order. (i.e. 1 e4 e4 2 d4 exd4 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Bc4. Just my hunch though, but I think it could be correct.

  26. @James2

    Thank you very much. Seems interesting. Quite a strange move order to reach the Scotch Gambit.

  27. Not if you want to cut out the Petroff proper and some of the deviations on move 2, such as The Latvian or Elephant. While these may not be objectively that good, it would mean Jones does not have to bother with the Elephant Gambit after QC released a book recently on it, plus the ‘strange’ move order would seem to fit into the ‘Coffeehouse’ ethos. Just a few thoughts on the move order.

  28. I won’t answer this question about choice of lines, because we know from experience that someone will always follow up by asking a question about what happens one move deeper and it never ends. All I will say is that the second volume is just as awesome as the first, and hunches can be correct on certain details and wrong in others.

  29. Apparently QC also releasing an updated version of Baburin’s long out of print pawn structures book this year according to a John Donaldson interview. Sell your old copies on eBay at an inflated price while you can 🙂

  30. No elephant in the coffehouse? sound logic here.
    However, if White wants to play Scotch lines starting 1.e4 e5 2.d4, she must allow some early …Bb4 lines. We’ll see soon enough, hopefully.

  31. @Andrew Greet
    Mine was simply a curiosity. As you have seen, I buy books when I find them interesting. Mine was certainly not a question to extort lines from the book or to judge who knows what.

  32. No problem Mechanize, it’s only natural that people will ask – but I trust you’ll understand our reasons for not divulging the details at this stage. I’m glad you’re enjoying the first book; and rest assured we’ll make the excerpt available as soon as Volume 2 goes to print, so you’ll be able to get the answers you’re looking for in plenty of time to decide whether to buy.

  33. James2 :
    I understand it is the Advanced against the French, with the mainline being something like The Milner-Barry with 6..cxd4 7 0-0 Bd7 8 Re1 (that is, not playing cxd4 by white immediately). There are obviously significant options along the way.
    Against 1..e5 it is the Scotch Gambit, and I think it is with a 2 d4 move order. (i.e. 1 e4 e4 2 d4 exd4 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Bc4. Just my hunch though, but I think it could be correct.

    I doubt Gawain would choose the 1.e4 e5 2.d4?! move order to reach the Scotch Gambit, he never has in his own games, more likely it will be the 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 move order and against the Petroff 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4! which is a killer at Club level. The Elephant & Latvian have never been reasons to avoid 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 if anything quite the opposite.

    Returning to the position after 1.e4 e5 2.d4?! exd4 3.Nf3 and now the very flexible 3…Bc5! is the move suggested and used by most Petroff experts and it has scored excellently in practice.

  34. @Topnotch

    I completely agree with you. I have seen some Gawain Banter Blitz sessions and now I have a little clearer ideas.

  35. John Christopher Simmons

    Reading through Short’s “Winning” really enjoying it, and would get my vote for book of 2021 so far.

    Just to show not a complete Quality chess fan boy, would vote for Life & Games of Vasily Smyslov. The Early Years: 1921-1948, for book of 2020.

  36. On my wishlist:

    1. Book on Classical Sicilian
    2. Book on Najdorf covering the Gelfand variation. (6.Bg5, e6 7.f4, Nbd7)
    3. d4 repertoire för white with sharp lines (eg Mar del Plata 9.Ne1, Nd7 10.Be3, Botvinnik variation, Geller-Tolush)

  37. The d4 GM repertoire could also cover lines like Nimzo 4.f3 or 4.Qc2, Grunfeld/KID 3.f3 (instead of Mar del Plata), Dutch 2.Bg5. In Geller-Tolush the trendy 6.Be2 is the way to go I think.

    So a bit like the style of Schandorffs d4 repertoire (serve and volley as Lars describes it) but even sharper, more up to date and deeper analysis.

  38. @Bebbe
    Well, I doubt whether it is possible to have a GM repertoire book with your favorite lines. Usually there is some reason why lines as 2.Bg5 against the Dutch or Nimzo with 4.f3 never became main weapons of the elite players. Your wish is more suited for a Coffeehouse repertoire with 1.d4.

  39. @Kulio

    Of course all my favorite lines will not be included in the GM repertoire. My point was a GM repertoire in the same spirit as Schandorffs. The author will of course chose the lines. If we assume Nimzo with 4.f3 is Coffeehouse style. My other suggestion 4. Qc2 against Nimzo is definitely not coffeehouse. Lets replace 2.Bg5 against dutch with 2.g3 and it is not coffeehouse.

  40. @Bebbe

    I’ve said for a long time the Classical Sicilian needs a book.
    I’ve played it lots but stopped after getting duffed up repeatedly in the Kozul lines where White plays f3.

    I think the Najdorf is much better.

  41. @Bebbe
    Sorry, a slight misunderstanding. You are not happy with the Avrukh books? His recommendations are valid still. The Roiz book about the Nimzo delivers good reasons why Avrukh decided for the Catalan. Actually I play a mix of the repertoire recommended by Avrukh and Schandorff.

  42. @Kulio

    I am very happy with Avrukhs repertoire but dont want to play for instance the Catalan or slav with e3 all the time. The problem with Schandorffs analysis is that they dont hold up anymore. Avrukhs analysis are still holding up very well.

  43. Has anyone read Swapnils book Playing the Petroff? Are there many sharp variations or is it too dull? I was thinking of adding petroff to my repertoire as a solid complement to the sicilian inspired by Gelfand and Caruana. I think the Petroff is actually rather tactical which suits me well.

    I like his recommendations against 5.Nc3(opposite side castling) and in the mainlines with 3.Nxe5 and 3.d4. I am however afraid that the positions after 5.Qe2 and 5.d3 are too dull.

  44. @Bebbe
    I think once you get to 2200+ White is pretty well prepared against the Classical too. I find that Black is hanging on trying not to get overrun, the NajdorfSlayer I feel Black gets more of a share of attacking chances.

    But that just from my experience.

  45. @The Doctor

    If you are just hanging on something must have gone wrong. In the Kozul it is often about trying to break through on the queenside or forcing an endgame in which black relies on the bishop pair, more active king and the central pawn mass.

  46. @Bebbe
    I’m fully aware of the strategies associated with the Kozul, I have studied the Thinkers Chess book
    by Kozul and have checked out Shankland’s Chessable course on the Classical Sicilian, but when I play 2200+ players I always find that White’s attack is faster.

    But this is only in online Blitz, maybe I need to play it regularly in long play games OTB.

  47. @The Doctor

    I seewhat you mean. My opinion is that the Kozul is more suitable to classical games. It is a difficult variation to master and it is difficult to play it in blitz. It is easier to play on auto pilot for White. I play it in online blitz anyway to learn it well.

    The Thinkers chess book on the Kozul is great by the way. I suggestiv that you have patience and use it in classical games when the covid situation allows for classical games.

  48. Jacob Aagaard

    If you play the French, there is also 3.exd5. Sicilian 3.Bb5+. You cannot force the opponent to be ambitious. Even Alekhine has 2.Nc3…

  49. @Jacob Aagaard

    I agree that you cannot force the opponent to be ambitious. I am however not convinced by all the examples. In the Sicilian with 3.Bb5+ and Alekhine with 2.Nc3 black has much better winning chances than in the Petroff with 5.Qe2. Just look at the statistics.

    5.d3 often leads to an exchange french after 5.-Nf6 6. d4, d5 and I can live with that since there is still lots of play left. 5. Qe2 is however really dull. Maybe 5.- Qe7 6. d3, Nf6 7. Bg5, Be6 is a way to make it more interesting. Or is 7.-Be6 just better for white?

  50. What happened to Cheparinovs d4 repertoire from Thinkers Publishing? I have the first volume which is about 1.d4, Nf6 2.c4, g6 3.f3. It is supposed to be 4 volumes.

  51. Thanks so much Bebbe for this highly relevant question on the Quality Chess blog. I will immediately email Thinkers Publishing and chase this up for you. Better yet, I’ll see if I can track down Cheparinov personally and find out exactly what his plans are for this series. Can I also help you with any matters relating to Everyman or Chess Stars? After all, that’s what the Quality Chess blog is here for.

  52. @Andrew Greet

    The question was not intended for the QC-team but for the chess book buyers commenting on this blog. I understand that the question is not relevant for QC but rather for your competitors. By the way is it not allowed to discuss books from other publishers on the QC-blog? If so I will stop and appologize for violating this rule.

  53. There is no censorship regarding discussion of books from other publishers. It just seemed to me like a completely bizarre question to ask, not only on our blog, but commenting on a thread about two books of ours which have absolutely no relation to the subject of the Cheparinov books. How do you expect our other blog readers to know such things anyway? Why not just send an email to Thinkers Publishing and ask them?

  54. @Andrew Greet

    Then we have very different views of what a “completely bizarre question” is.
    I can think about much more bizzare things than commenting on chess books
    on a blog for a chess publishing company.

    I agree that it didnt fit the topic of the thread at all. Sometimes the blog readers knows much
    more than expected but I will contact Thinkers Publishing instead.

  55. I consider myself as being a member of chess books buyers. Therefore in my opinion it is at least inapprobriate to ask questions concerning a competitor in a quality chess blog. The question about the Cheparinov books is easy to deal with. Cheparinov has read the blog here and intends to insert your wishes of a 1.d4 repertoire in his books. 😉

  56. This information is probably already been made available and I’ve simply missed it, so sorry for that….is the excerpt for the Berlin Defence expected to be posted in the near future?


  57. @Bebbe
    I have heard about disagreements between authors and Thinkers and probably read the same stuff on social media as many others. I am not sure Cheparinov is included in this group. However, I do know that his wife is a newly elected member of parliament in Bulgaria!

  58. The response from Andrew could have been stronger. It’s absolute muppetry to ask about other books and publishers here like Bebbe did. It’s inappropriate and it’s rude. Where’s my face palm emoji…?

  59. @ Bebbe…

    Stop spamming this thread with irrelevant rep suggestions and inappropriate questions, willya?!
    Think first…ask not.

  60. Nigel Short’s Winning is a very interesting book. He has had quite a long playing caree and is still quite lethal. I remember watching the original Kasparov-Short championship games and his later games do not suggest that he has lost any of his ability to attack.

    On another tack, any possibility of an updare to Schandorrf’s repertoire books on the Queens Gambit and Indian Defences?

    Are you still intending to do the Queens Gambit Accepted book? ( I appreciate that you probably don’t have dates for it yet)


  61. Hi guys, thanks for all the hard work your books have been a big help in helping my chess improve.

    I have a few questions if you wouldn’t mind answering.
    Regarding one of your earlier books. I have been looking a GM Rep 6 (The Sicilian Defence).

    I know it’s been a while, but was wondering how well the lines lines stand up these days, particularly the lines with 6 f4 e6, 6 Be2 e6 and 6 Be3 e6.

    I think the Vigorito book is outstanding and have used it as the core of my Black repertoire for the last few seasons and online, but have always had a soft spot for the 6…e6 lines. Is there any plans in the future of updating these lines?

    Kind Regards

  62. Larissa Steenbekkers

    Will there soon excerpts published about new books.
    Esspecially i am very interested in Jones Coffehous2

  63. Funny he admits it’s his first book… I bought the mighty French Defence Book published by who? Yes.. a ghost writer… Shame on this! I’m sure I saw a tons more in his name, but well, I’m getting older…
    Definitily he was a strong player and I enjoyed a lot some fights against Kasparow, but putting his successes in a book which has been analysed by tons of sources… Sry. Still angry about the honest story.

  64. @Marc
    Could it be you mix up Short with Karpov? His name was on cover as author on many books without adding a single word. The game collection of Short is a very fine book. Many updates of the old analysis, some inside information about the course of the tournaments. What are you complaining about?

  65. Does Nigel mention Kavalek in the book ? I got the impression he really lifted his level of play and when the two of them fell out his form dropped off. Does Nigel have an opinion on matters such as this or is it just focused on the games rather than the background? Thanks

  66. Adding 1.e4 to my repertoire via Gawain’s Coffee House Rep Vol 1 has really been fun. I’m still on the Sicilian section but it’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the book and vol 2.

  67. Can we hope for Jones to recommend 5 Rg1 against the Philidor Lion in his upcoming Coffeehouse Repertoire Volume 2 book? It would seem to be in the spirit of the books and I think it packs a punch when meeting the Lion.


  68. John Christopher Simmons

    JB :
    Does Nigel mention Kavalek in the book ? I got the impression he really lifted his level of play and when the two of them fell out his form dropped off. Does Nigel have an opinion on matters such as this or is it just focused on the games rather than the background? Thanks

    No maybe later, if there is a road to the worldchampionship book. “Winning” came second in ECF’s best book of the year. The winner, part 1 in an ongoing series about the soviet championships, was a good book too, but really heavy going in both the history and chess, plus I think it was a re-print of a russian edition book from some time ago. In my opinion “Winning” was a much better book.
    The criticism of the ghost written French Defense book was really quite amusing. I think the majority of 80’s era opening books were like this.

  69. There was a considerable series in BCM about the match, it was pretty favorable to Kavalek and quoted him extensively. I don’t know how much, if any, the articles had a political slan (PCA vs Fide) but Short wasn’t quoted much.

  70. @John A Johnson
    Yes I remember the Kavelek Files..,..Nigel a bit annoyed his background work all revealed. Hoping now time has passed and any Opening prep now out of date and Lubomir dead now we’d get all the gossip from Nigel ?.
    Really had Garry on ropes as white a number of times but couldn’t quite finish him but couldn’t hold as black but if he hadn’t started osing that first game on time the 1993 match when if anything he’s better in the final position and not allowed the might exchange sac on c3 in his first white game the story might have been very different,

  71. John Christopher Simmons

    I remember the Kavalek files too, particularly a description of Kasparov being a tank, and the best way of defeating a tank is a put a mirror to show fighting another tank, or something like this. These articles were written by Kavalek, so would naturally be favorable to him. Nigel Short himself might have a different opinion, or has Roy Keane would say he was just doing his job, which he was paid well to do. Don’t have any idea really.

  72. Of course the stories have a Kavalek perspective, but he was a pretty well respected author/journalist. It would be interesting to read/hear Short’s take on him. The tank comparison may not have done Kasparov justice.

  73. @John A Johnson

    The relationship between Nigel Short and Kavalel detiorated considerably with Short complaining of Kavalek’s decreasing work rate and increasing financial demands. I think they evetually settled their disagreements after Nigel terminated Kavalek’s role as coach. However Short wrote a decent obituary for Kavalek which I think sums things up nicely.

  74. Let’s get me straigth: I bought a lot books when I was young and I was really wondering sometime when ‘Nigel Short’ was presented as the writer.
    Now, maybe 10-30y late he thinks he can actually write a book?
    Sry, fuck off.
    I’m so much pissed he gained money for nothing and now he writes a book about old stuff.
    Sry pal, you should have when you we’re not in the age of dying!
    -my 2 cents.

  75. Great to see more incisive chat here ?.
    Apart from his long forgotten French book and some basic starting chess type books from 30 years ago I’m not sure Nigel has really bothered us with any other works so that’s a long time to hold a grudge. Did write some entertaining chess columns where at least he had an opinion even if you disagreed with it. Watching the Twitter spats between him and Peter Heine are still good copy though even now ?

  76. Ok, so Short put his name on a book 30+years ago, like many others in that kind of position. Why bother? Now he’s into FIDE politics – dark side party – and has to make friends with assorted weasels, good for him.

  77. Well if you are going to throw one “author” under the bus you are being too selective. Ghost writers aren’t unique to Short, nor is he the only miscreant in chess.

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