Quality Chess newsletter – plenty of games and two new books

Dear Quality Chess Reader,

In the Quality Chess office we have had our heads down working to finish books and hiding from the winter storms. On February 17th we will publish Chess Tactics from Scratch by Martin Weteschnik. This is a fully revised and expanded second edition of Understanding Chess Tactics. The main changes are two completely new chapters and 300 new exercises/puzzles at the end of the book. An excerpt is available.

We also have a new format for an old classic – My System will be available as a hardcover, also from February 17th. Our hardcover editions and the 300 new exercises in Chess Tactics from Scratch have one thing in common – our readers asked for them. We do more than invite feedback and suggestions – we act on them.

Our games collection this month stretches to 25 games with most of the analysis by GM Keti Arakhamia-Grant. I recommend the ChessBase version which uses clever links and fancy features, but the material is also available in rough form in pgn or as a pdf.

Regards, John Shaw

Quality Chess

111 thoughts on “Quality Chess newsletter – plenty of games and two new books”

  1. Gilchrist is a Legend

    With the snow returning to the UK, it seems as if “Spring” is quite far from now. Still looking forward to Avrukh’s GM Repertoire books, and the first volume of what looks to be the longest GM Repertoire volume collection on 1. e4. Hopefully it will not split into six volumes 🙂

  2. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I looked at the newsletter–in Þorfinsson-Borisek with the Fianchetto Grünfeld, is the line with 13. Qc2 Nb4 supposed to be good for White?

  3. A pity that the cooperation between QC and Chessevolution came to an end. CE September and November were certainly the best chess periodicals ever published so far 🙁

  4. @boki

    I can’t speak for any of them as I haven’t bought any Chess Evolution books (been going thru the first Predecessors book and Opening manuals as of late), but is the January issue that bad? Could it be that they just needed to be coached by more experienced publishing editors like John and Jacob, and that now they’d be fine? I mean, while they have done a great job with Quality Chess, you can’t say that the people that work for Everyman or Chess Stars are completely inept either.

    Give the guys a chance, now that they’ve gotten a little coaching, before you complain about the disconnection. 🙂

  5. The books Arkadij did before collaborating with us were also very good so I am sure that the January issue will be quite good as well. There are many good publishers in the chess world and just because we do books the way we like them does not mean that we would suggest that we are better than the others (not publically anyway – unless it was unashamed promotion, such as the catalogue – which I am trying to put together at the moment).

  6. @Jeffrey Hall
    I like the fact that not everybody is doing chess books in our way. Even within QC we try to let the authors choose the direction as much as possible (although at times they do request our help) so that the books are not all the same. But we do what we think is best to the books, of course. I am not sure Chess Evolution would be my favourite periodicals, but they were great before we got involved and will be great now as well. Arkadij has a lot of passion and it will shine through any format and editing.

  7. I should maybe say, just to be clear, that the reason the partnership ended was that we did not sell enough books.

  8. Maybe the times for such periodicals are just over? The two big players have seen better times, at least in terms of quality. Maybe the market no longer believes in the format.

  9. Sigurbjorn Bjornsson

    The Chess Evolution books are expensive and therefore I can say that I ordered very few books as a retailer because I wanted to be cautious. I can now confirm that I would have been able to sell more copies than I originally anticipated, but even so the CE books are/were a little too expensive in my opinion.

  10. Ordered the January Chess Evolution–only because of a 10 euro discount. Maybe the books were too expensive, considering you can get Chess Base Magazine for half the price and a lot more content. But the depth of analysis is impressive.

  11. splinter22prime

    @Jacob Aagaard:

    -Could you give us maybe some details about the upcoming 2 Volume Playing 1.d4 Repertoire? Especially about Schandorff’s choices against 1…Nf6.
    -Is he again going for the principled/main variations?
    -I really liked his choices in the 1.d4 d5 Volume with 1 exception (Rb1 against the Triangle). Is he going to recommend the same move?
    -Also could the following choices make sense for the second volume?

    -Qc2 against the Nimzo
    -Bc4 against the Grunfeld
    -Bayonet attack against the King’s Indian
    -Modern Line (Bd3+h3) against the Modern-Benoni
    -Artificial castling line against the Benko
    -Bf4 against the Budapest

    I know that you can’t give us too much details but i think that by telling us some of the big choices wouldn’t hurt anyone. Just increase the interest: D

    2.Have you looked and found some new ideas against the Perenyi attack? In Cutting Edge 2 were some improvements over GM6.

    3.A new publishing schedule would be nice.Will you include the Playing 1.d4 volumes also in it?

    4.Both Chess Evolution volumes were great and it’s a shame that QC won’t publish anymore volumes but this 2 volumes convinced me to buy the first 3 volumes and also buying the January issue.

    Like always…keep up the good work!

    PS: Thanks for the great Newsletters!

  12. @splinter22prime
    1) you are wrong about probably all your projectings (not sure about the Budapest).

    2) yes, this idea is well published everywhere, e4 instead of d4.

    3) yes, sometime soon. And it wil.

    4) thanks!

  13. Hello
    here are my ideas regarding Mr. Schandorff`s repertoire:
    nimzo: f3 or sämisch/rubinstein
    king`s indian:sämisch or 4pawn
    grünfeld:3.f3 or exchange with nf3
    benoni: 4pawn or kapengut
    benkö: refusing with Dc2 or 3./4. f3
    I am curious to know if i make more points than splinter…

  14. [Quote] On February 17th we will publish Chess Tactics from Scratch by Martin Weteschnik. This is a fully revised and expanded second edition of Understanding Chess Tactics. The main changes are two completely new chapters and 300 new exercises/puzzles at the end of the book[Quote]

    I am wondering how many (comparing to the original value) people will like that book. It seems that the additional excercies at the end of the book is “a must” – when dealing with such a subject like tactics or combinations. I have this (original) book and I did not fully understand why there was no “testing your knowledge” (in a form of excersises) at the end. Nearl all the books (with the exception of a few) has got that “bonus” and I think it is absolutely needed – in my opinion it is like summing up all the material and checking how good we are (what is our tactical eye and level of understanding of tactcis).

  15. @Jacob any update on whether we will see hardcovers of GM3 ever? Also what kind of paper is used for the GM4 & GM5 which are currently available, the old bulky one or the sleek one you are currently using?

  16. I just wanted to say that Grandmaster Versus Amateur is an absolutely delightful little book! Thank you Quality Chess for putting it together. I enjoyed every chapter very much.

  17. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Is Schandorff’s books based on a update of the lines from the 2009 book, or completely different lines? I suppose it sounds similar to Avrukh’s GM1/GM2 repertoire, how many pages will this book be approximately?

  18. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    About 2 x 264 pages, I think. Maybe 2x 300. The first book is updated, but is to a great extent the same book. The second is based on the principles of the first book, aggressive space grabbing 1.d4 lines with the bishop coming out via the f1-a6 diagonal, rather than as with Avrukh, where it almost always goes to g2.

  19. News about Schandorff sound very interesting – seems, that f3 is kind of a key move in some variations, like it is already in the QGD and Slav lines of the book. One great feature was the use of model players for some variations (like Botvinnik in relation to the aforementioned)..Hopefully this will also be continued…

  20. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard

    That sounds like 7. Bc4 against Grünfeld, some sort of 6. Be2 e5 7. 0-0 line against the King’s Indian, Bd3/Nge2 system against Modern Benoni, either 4. Qc2 or 4. e3 against Nimzo Indian?

  21. I bought the Tarrasch book which is wonderful- it is full of new ideas, great explanation and importantly it is honest. I also see from the introduction you are planning to do more work with Nikos. Anything planned?

    What happened re the book on the French?

  22. @Gilchrist is a Legend:
    Obviously I thought about the same choices but I was surprised that Jacob wrote that all my guesses were wrong so you should look at edgar allan poe’s choices above that involve the move f3/f4.

  23. @Grant
    Nikos and I work together as a team and probably will do for a long time to come. We are truly blessed that he came to us and we are very grateful for his attitude and work. His energy will help with a lot of projects, currently John’s 1.e4 books – then my 1.e4 books. As it has been up to this point – when you see the name John Shaw, you will know that I am heavily involved. And for the time being, when you see my name, you will know that Nikos is heavily involved. John and I have always been team players more than individual stars (which is why things have gone well for us at times, I like to believe). My name will be used more on covers and I will have the final say on everything with my name on the cover, but know that Nikos is working as hard as I am.

    Regarding the French. I do not want to say too much at the moment, but we have a contract for two volumes on the French signed and the author has sent chapters. It will be a log process before the books comes out – maybe a year, maybe more – but they will almost definitely exist eventually. This will be based on the Winaver and written by my personal first choice back in 2008 – who was eventually convinced to do the books by Andrew Greet at the end of 2011.

  24. @splinter22prime
    Most people are having 1-2 hits. Only I am not telling what they are right now. The choices in the main lines are actually quite logical if you read the first book (and like the approach). White is aiming at gaining space in the centre and playing main lines that stand the test of time.

  25. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Then I suppose from one of the above posts as well as mine, that Four Pawns lines will be a key choice against a few of the defences. Alternatively, you could just tell us or give a preliminary table of contents? 😀

  26. If i may wish something: in Schandorffs book change teh recommendation against the triangle/noteboom.
    why not the “Marshall” Gambit with 4.e4 and then Ne2 instead of the main line Be2. Was analysed in one ot the last chess evollutions a bit

  27. @boki
    We are not going to make major changes to what we think is a good repertoire, but we will of course check if there is a very compelling reason to make this change.

  28. Ok, since the 1.d4 books have become a guessing game, here’s mine (being one that doesn’t currently play 1.d4):

    Nimzo – 4.e3
    Grunfeld – Russian Variation (4.Nf3 and 5.Qb3)
    King’s Indian – Petrosian (7.d5 in the Classical lines)
    Benko – Accept, King walk line (i.e. Allowing Bxf1)
    Benoni – Flick Knife Attack (a.k.a. Taimanov Variation, 8.Bb5+)
    Dutch – Main lines involving the Fianchetto of the King’s Bishop
    Garbage Defenses (i.e. English Defense, Budapest, etc) – Take your pick, White wins them all!

  29. Seth :
    I just wanted to say that Grandmaster Versus Amateur is an absolutely delightful little book! Thank you Quality Chess for putting it together. I enjoyed every chapter very much.

    It is a good book, and to me it showed the truth is to compete with masters you have to calculate.I have to say I hoped to see more from John Shaw as it seems he has the interesting story to the average player , going from with all due respect a mediocre chess rating to Grandmaster. There is another player in England called Jonathan Hawkins who has made a similar staggering improvement from mature mediocrity to GM strength it would be interesting to see a book written by them to reveal how the discovered the chess equivalent of the Holy Grail.

  30. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I remember a discussion about a book on the Breyer–what is the status of this project? I think it would be very worthwhile to publish a book on the Breyer in the future, either GM Repertoire or just a regular repertoire book for Black. I think it is a world-class opening that deserves a very detailed coverage, perhaps similar to Mikhaljewskij’s future book on the Open Spanish. Perhaps coverage could start at 7…d6, with a complete repertoire for Black with over 300 pages?

  31. My Guess for 1.d4 book content…

    Nimzo-4.e3 or 4.f3
    Grunfeld-Russian or Exchange with Be3.
    Dutch-Classical fianchetto
    Benoni-Four pawns or 6.e4

    Will there be any coverage of the Marshall Defense
    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d5. see it a lot in blitz, not that it needs to much coverage just curious.

    What is the name of the book, and when do we get to find out its real contents?

    very exciting!!!

  32. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Will GM6 2nd Edition include the new analyses from Ftacnik and the previous newsletters be included in the 6…Nbd7 chapter? I imagine if this is so, then the chapter should be at least 40 pages long. There have been a lot of new games recently with this line, I would probably guess due to GM6. It seems as if Ftacnik has popularised this line. Maybe it will overtake the 7…Qb6 line in popularity soon?

  33. Patrick M :
    Ok, since the 1.d4 books have become a guessing game, here’s mine (being one that doesn’t currently play 1.d4):
    Nimzo – 4.e3
    Grunfeld – Russian Variation (4.Nf3 and 5.Qb3)
    King’s Indian – Petrosian (7.d5 in the Classical lines)
    Benko – Accept, King walk line (i.e. Allowing Bxf1)
    Benoni – Flick Knife Attack (a.k.a. Taimanov Variation, 8.Bb5+)
    Dutch – Main lines involving the Fianchetto of the King’s Bishop
    Garbage Defenses (i.e. English Defense, Budapest, etc) – Take your pick, White wins them all!

    The King Walk against the Benko and Russian System against the Grunfeld are the choice for White in Kaufman’s new repertoire book.

  34. Gilchrist is a Legend

    @Gilchrist is a Legend

    I just checked 365chess.com, and 6…Nbd7 is the second-most played move after 6…e6. And 6…Nbd7 has the White wins/draw/Black wins ratio of 38,5%/23%/38,5%, compared to 6…e6 with 38,8%/25,4%/35,8%.

  35. Hello
    it seems to me that the book of Mr.Schandorff will be very exciting, not the usually bishop pair, bishop pair…
    more relying on agression in the center and space gaining
    so here are my new suggestions
    nimzo: rubinstein with e3
    king`s indian:sämisch
    these two seem pretty clear
    grünfeld: exchange with nf3 and rb1
    benoni with f4
    hope i get them right….
    to my mind it could also be interesting to build arepertoire around systems with an early f3
    nimzo with f3
    sämisch kings indian
    grünfeld 3.f3
    benoni with f3
    benkö early f3 systems
    and so on
    maybe a repertoire for the “lazy attacker”
    however i hope we will see Mr. Schandorff`s new book quite soon
    have a nice day

  36. caropov :
    I’ve noticed in your recent newsletter that game no. 1 is missing.It starts with game no.2.Typo?


    It’s not a typo. In the ChessBase file, Game 1 is an introduction with links to many of the games that follow. The pgn file starts from Game 2 because the pgn format cannot handle all the links that ChessBase uses.

  37. Jacob Aagaard :@Gilchrist is a Legend We have been a bit delayed with this, perfecting Chess Tactics from Scratch (which is really perfect – they all are till you hold it in your hand!). I hope we will get it under control soon.

    I cannot tell you how much I love this book. It has helped me tremendously.

    I have been waiting for the second improved edition for over a year. Glad to hear that it is “perfect”.

  38. I noticed the cover design of John Shaw’s King’s Gambit has been revised to resemble a teen magazine. And someone is selling a copy for $999.99 USD on Amazon.

  39. Not a big fan of the pastel and weird font, but I am still going to buy it, even if you put Justin Bieber on the cover.

  40. Jacob Aagaard :
    @Jeffrey Hall
    We are not producing more of them. We keep the positive relations with Arkadij, but it was not really working to do the Chess Evolutions.

    Does the January 2012 issue of Chess Evolution maintain the formatting conventions used in the September and November issues that were produced in conjunction with Quality Chess?

    I am asking this question of anyone who has already purchased or seen the new issue.


  41. Jacob, I suggest that you consider following TRAINING books:

    1. GM Training: Tactical Play
    – selection of finest and the most important exercises

    2. GM Training: Calculation
    – selection of methods and various types of positions

    3. GM Training: Attacking Play
    – an exercise book for Attacking Manual 1&2

    4. GM Training: Defensive Play
    – an update of Practical Chess Defence which needs new layout and 2nd release

    5. GM Training: Strategic Play
    6. GM Training: Positional Play
    7. GM Training: Endgame Play

    Well this a totally rounded training, am I right?

  42. Will one of your books be on “technical chess” in the Training Series? I quite liked Excelling At Technical Chess so a more in depth and rewritten version of that book would be very cool to see.

  43. @Abramov Anjuhin
    I am going to use the title you gave them back in the day, not this time around! Volumes 5-7 will exist exactly like this. Volume 1-2 will be in the same volume. To a great extend there will be little of 1, as I already did this in Quality Chess Puzzle Book – where a lot of the words were written by John, but the selection and ordering was 99% me. Volume 3 on your list already exists – it is the two attacking manuals. The same with Volume 4 – Practical Chess Defence could have a different layout, but besides some blank lines before bolded moves, this is pretty close to the layout we will use for the new series.
    So, add the volume on training – title chosen, but not yet announced – we have all 8 volumes, but only in a nine volume pack!
    Maybe we will have a specific discount on our site for the perfect training series – including Psakhis book!?

  44. @WuvMuffin72
    The volume on endings will include 50-50 technical and concrete positions. Maybe a higher ratio of technical positions – I am not sure yet. This is the least completed section of all the books. I know exactly how and what I shall do, I have just been working on the other sections previously. I will indeed use the definitions from Excelling at Technical Chess, just as I will use the definitions from Excelling at Chess Calculation in the Calculation book.

  45. a)
    I like the “GM Training” title better, the “GM To Be” title kind of suggests ( to me at least ) that we are going to buy these books hoping to become Grand Masters after studying them, which of course is not going to happen no matter how good these books are, I think they will be great but not that great 🙂

    The “GM Training” title sounds more like advanced, hard, challenging workbooks, which in reality they are going to be, besides it matches well with other titles from QC such as “GM Battle Manual” and “GM Repertoire”.

    As I understand “Practical Chess Defense” is already a high level training/work book similar to the coming books, so I would like it to be included in the Boxset, with the name changed to “GM Training – Defense” or something like that.

    The attacking manuals are different kind of books so they dont belong to the boxset.

    So this is the final list I would like to see included in the hardback boxset
    1. GM Training Manual
    2. GM Training: Calculation
    3. GM Training: Defense
    4. GM Training: Strategic Play
    5. GM Training: Positional Play
    6. GM Training: Endgame Play

    e) Make a special discount for this boxset 🙂

  46. @FM To Be
    a) GM to be is not the title. The title was suggested more than a year ago!

    b) We still have 1000+ copies lying around. We will definitely not print with another title before these have been sold. We are not a business first, but we have to be a business at least, to survive.

    c) There is a difference from a box set – and a big combined order option on our website :-).

    d) Take out 3. There is a lot of defence in Calculation anyway.

    e) Of course!

  47. Jacob:

    b) Then don’t hesitate to recommend the Defense book in the foreword of the new books, or in whatever other place it might seem adequate. It’s good service after all that you don’t rehash the already existing material. 😉

  48. You didn’t spot the irony.

    Others would use the opportunity to make a quick rewrite of the old book. Rephrase the prose, replace most examples (except for the absolute classics), shuffle the chapters around, add 100 exercises more. I bet an experienced author can do this quickly. Old wine in a new bottle.

    If you believe the Defense book is a good addition to the training series you should let your readers know. Same for the Attacking Manuals. Nobody is as likely to spend money on your classics as somebody who paid for your new training books and is satisfied with them. Some of them will be unaware that said books exist or won’t know what to expect from them.

  49. I even bought the old excelling at chess series after reading my first Aagaard book, and i donot regret it !
    Looking very much forward to these books. The endgame book, will it be about general principles, typical endg

  50. Jacob Aagaard :@boki I write them all. We just pay the authors for the right to their name…

    I like this idea. Use my name for a book. How much you willing to give me per copy sold world wide? Maybe 1 pound, or 1.5 Euro, or 2 American dollars per book? Use my name as the author of the next “Play The _______” book, since I’m not a GM and don’t qualify for the GM Repertoire series! 🙂

  51. @Patrick M
    Or the Grandmaster Guide series. Ah well, I will just do as with Nikos and co-write the book and say that the ideas were all yours, but I assisted in the process because we are so good pen pals!

  52. So I will buy some books “grandmaster training” by Aagaard, improve my rating to >2500 and GM-titel and sell you the rights for my name for GM-Repertoire 100, deal ?

  53. I’ve seen Lars Schandorff plays the Averbakh King’s Indian himself. ¿Maybe something about it in his next repertoire book? I think it could be an interesting option. Thank you.

  54. @Alberto Salas
    This is not what he has been playing recently, I think. At least he had chosen another variation already 18 months ago when he first started talking seriously about agreeing to this book.

  55. By the process of elimination from the clues above as well as looking at recent Schandorff games, I now conclude that Schandorff will recommend the following:

    Nimzo: 4.e3 Rubinstein
    KID: Sämisch
    Benoni: Modern treatment with h3 and Bd3.
    Dutch: Mainlines with fianchetto

    The others, I am not yet 100% sure of.

    Jacob, do I get a free copy of the book for getting all of the above correct?

  56. Riaan du Plessis

    Thank you for the prompt responce. I ordered it from Amazon.fr with some other books, but they say it is not yet in stock. I will buy the hardcover here then.

  57. @Riaan du Plessis
    The issue is that Amazon.fr will get it supplied from Amazon.co.uk, who in turn do not buy the books directly from us, but through a supplier. So, time is lost and we are paid worse, because they insist we need to use middlemen. No one wins except Amazon, who are now so big they can dictate conditions. In the UK they bought the major competitors. It is worrying, but I should haste to say that I buy about half my large supply of fiction through Amazon, all my chess books through chess specialists and all my e-books through kindle. So, I have resigned this battle too :-0.

  58. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I see the catalogue has listed a GM Repertoire book “Classical Slav”–does this mean 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e3 Bf5? And when does this fit into the publishing schedule? Same with French Defence 2 volumes.

    Perhaps a new publishing schedule to address these books? All of the books I mentioned are in the bold text, which according to the catalogue says 2012 publication. It is a surprise for me, but a good surprise, to see a Slav repertoire book; such a book was much needed. And including the two volumes on GM Repertoire French, another book on French that I did not see mentioned before. Is this a repertoire book too? Which books analyse Winawer and which Classical?

  59. Riaan du Plessis

    I received my hardcover “Chess Tactics from Scratch” on Thursday, just before the long weekend. I am so pleased with this book! Great paper quality, good printing, nice big diagrams – and just the content I was looking for. I got “Improve Your Chess Tactics” by Yakov Neishtadt the other day (published by New in Chess), and thought that it was good. But “Chess Tactics from Scratch” is definately much, much better. Congratulations on a great book. I have my eye on your Attacking Manual 2, as soon as I am finished with this one. And I will buy it from you in hardcover.

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