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Our authors and books

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Alexander Nikitin

Alexander Nikitin, born 1935 in Moscow, coached Garry Kasparov from 1973 until 1990. He was Kasparov’s chief second in his candidates and world championship matches from 1983-1987. In 1992 Nikitin seconded Boris Spassky during the latter’s return match against Bobby Fischer, and later in the 1990s he coached the young Etienne Bacrot. Other illustrious former pupils include Grandmaster Dmitry Jakovenko.

At just 17 years of age Nikitin became one of the youngest USSR masters of sport in chess, in 1952. He was awarded the title of International Master in 1992. Nikitin gained the titles of honored trainer of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1980 and of the USSR in 1986. He became FIDE Senior Trainer in 2004. Nikitin participated in several Moscow championships, and his best result was sharing 2nd-5th places in 1954. He also played in the USSR championship in 1959. As a member of the Soviet team he won the student world championship in 1955, 1957 and 1958. Nikitin shared 3rd-4th places together with Razuvaev and ahead of Taimanov at the Botvinnik Memorial veterans tournament, held in Elista in 2002. He was a senior trainer in the Petrosian School from 1977 to 1993, which he ran from 1984 after the ex-world champion’s death. Super grandmasters that Nikitin coached at the school include Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk and Boris Gelfand.

He is the author of a number of chess books in several languages, including on opening theory. In the 2000s, Nikitin assisted Kasparov in producing the latter’s autobiographical works.

Coaching Kasparov, Year by Year and Move by Move, Volume II: The Assassin (1982-1990), published in 2020

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Coaching Kasparov, Year by Year and Move by Move, Volume I: The Whizz-Kid (1973-1981), published in 2019

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In Coaching Kasparov, Year by Year and Move by Move Garry Kasparov’s long-term coach, second and mentor Alexander Nikitin tells the story of how he trained Kasparov from a brilliant but raw junior into becoming and then remaining the world champion. Volume I, the present work, covers the period 1973-1981, until Kasparov reached the age of 18. The author goes to great lengths to describe his educational approach during the early period to raise Kasparov’s theoretical knowledge and practical performance, covering both play and psychological training. 

In Nikitin’s blow-by-blow tournament accounts he describes how he handled various unexpected situations to get the best out of Kasparov with detailed recipes. His numerous insights will be of great interest to today’s chess coaches who wish to take a comprehensive approach to improving their pupils’ performances. 

The present volume contains 46 games fully annotated by Nikitin, including all 14 games of a blitz match played between the 15-year old Kasparov and ex-world champion Mikhail Tal on 26 December 1978 in Tbilisi that have never before been published and which are provided specially for the 2019 edition of this book. 

Most of the other games are well known, but Nikitin explains many of Kasparov’s decisions in those games from the point of view of the future world champion’s coach, providing the context of his young pupil's thought process and mistakes and tracing his progress. He also uses these games to illustrate and expand upon his coaching advice. This makes his commentary quite unique and instructive, of formidable practical use to budding players, coaches and parents.

Evgeny Vasiukov, Chess Champion of Moscow (2020)

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In this book his life-long friend and sparring partner, Garry Kasparov’s long-term coach Alexander Nikitin, presents a selection of games illustrating Vasiukov’s career and legacy. Opponents in this games collection include world champions and challengers Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Tal, Smyslov, Bronstein and Korchnoi, as well as other leading players such as Lev Alburt, Alexander Morozevich, Mark Taimanov, Portisch and Geller, among others. Readers will find the annotations both highly instructive and entertaining, in an informal style.

Evgeny Vasiukov (1933-2018) was a top-level grandmaster from Moscow who won the Moscow championship 6 times, and over 50 major tournaments in total, including the strong Manila 1974 tournament ahead of Bent Larsen, Lajos Portisch and Svetozar Gligoric. He participated in 11 Soviet championships and was a coach and aide to Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Tal, David Bronstein, Viktor Korchnoi and Efim Geller among other famous players. In particular, he was part of Karpov’s team of seconds in the world championship matches against Korchnoi in 1978 and Kasparov in 1984 and 1985. In 1995 he won the world senior chess championship. His play was notable for an attacking approach with swashbuckling combinations in the style of Mikhail Chigorin, as well as innovations in offbeat openings such as 2.d3 against the French Defense. He boasted positive career scores against Vasily Smyslov, Larsen and Bronstein. 

Welcome to the website of Elk and Ruby Publishing House. We specialize in publishing high-quality chess books.

We were founded in 2017 and have so far published 31 great chess books from excellent authors, listed below. We have more exciting books in the pipeline.

All of our books are available on Amazon and some are also available on the Forward Chess app for computers, iOS and Android (www.forwardchess.com). They can also be ordered online through select book shops, including Barnes & Noble in the United States and Waterstones in the UK. 

Specialist chess shops selling Elk and Ruby books include Chess4Less in the USA (www.chess4less.com), House of Staunton in the USA (www.thehouseofstaunton.com), The US Chess Federation Shop (www.uscfsales.com), the chess.com shop (https://shop.chess.com), Schach Niggemann in Germany (www.schachversand.de), New in Chess in the Netherlands (www.newinchess.com), De Beste Zet in the Netherlands (www.debestezet.nl), Chess & Bridge in the UK (https://shop.chess.co.uk), Chess Direct in the UK (www.chessdirect.co.uk), Variantes in France (www.variantes.com), Le Due Torri in Italy (www.scacco.it), Norsk Sjakkforlag in Norway (www.sjakkbutikken.no), La Maison des échecs in Belgium (www.marchand.be), Mat et mots (www.matetmots.be) in Belgium, Caissa in Poland (www.caissa-chess.com) and Skaki64 in Greece (www.skaki64.gr/e-shop).

We can be contacted at info@elkandruby.com and on Twitter @ilan_ruby

In Coaching Kasparov, Year by Year and Move by Move Garry Kasparov's long-term coach, second and mentor Alexander Nikitin tells the story of how he trained Kasparov from a brilliant but raw junior into becoming and then remaining the world champion. Volume II, the present work, covers the period 1982-1990, including the first four world championship matches against Karpov and the candidates matches against Smyslov, Korchnoi and Beliavsky.
The present volume contains 39 fully annotated games. These include 20 secret training games that Kasparov played against his grandmaster coaches Evgeny Vladimirov and Gennady Timoshchenko in 1982-83 that have never before been published and which are annotated by Grandmaster Dorian Rogozenco, national coach of the German Chess Federation and captain of the German national team. These games are provided by the Kasparov family specially for the 2020 edition of this book. The reader has a unique opportunity to gain an insight into Kasparov's secret preparation in those years, which were a new starting point in his career: he had to adjust his openings. Rogozenco is a big expert on Kasparov's games, having helped FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov prepare for his planned match against Kasparov in 2003.
Kasparov's legendary opening repertoire, which was to define trends in chess theory for decades, was created not just through deep analysis, but also via training games. The never previously published material in this book consists of 16 games with classical time control and 4 rapid thematic games. Testing the Catalan for the first time with white, searching for ideas in the King's Indian with black, preparing the Queen's Gambit with both colors, playing typical Sicilian positions and trying new openings (for instance the Tarrasch as the big surprise for his candidates match versus Beliavsky) - all this can be found in these games.
Further, the time records on most of Kasparov's original scoresheets (all of them pictured in this book) show that Kasparov and his coaches paid serious attention to such an important training aspect as the distribution of time during the game.
From intuitive positional sacrifices to precisely calculated combinations and instructive play in typical pawn structures - the training games provide a lot of interesting material for both players and coaches.
The other games, annotated by Nikitin, are well known, but Nikitin explains many of Kasparov's decisions in those games from the point of view of the world champion's coach, providing the context of his pupil's thought process and mistakes and tracing his progress as they together gradually out-thought Korchnoi and then Karpov. He also uses these games to illustrate and expand upon his coaching advice. His many insights include the preparation of the “cross-fire” strategy (playing the same opening against the same opponent with both colors) and a systematic approach to maintaining time discipline during games based on chronometric analysis. This makes his commentary quite unique and instructive, of formidable practical use to budding players, coaches and parents.

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Grigory Bogdanovich

Grigory Bogdanovich (born in 1949) began work as a chess coach in the early 1980s. He was awarded the USSR Master of Sport title in 1983 after successful results in the Moscow team championship, during which his famous opponents included David Bronstein, Artur Yusupov and Andrei Sokolov. Later, he was twice Soviet Correspondence Chess Champion as part of the victorious Moscow team. In 1990 he graduated for the second time, from the Higher School of Coaches, after previously gaining a degree in engineering and economics. He has recorded a string of victories in international chess tournaments, and gained the International Master title in 1991. Grigory lives in Germany and spent over a quarter of a century playing for Bad Mergentheim chess club (Baden-Wurttemberg). He has written several opening books in English and Russian as well as jointly authoring with Tomasz Lissowski a book on Szymon Winawer (published in Russian in 2017). He is currently writing a book on Rudolf Spielmann.

The Creative Power of Bogoljubov Volume I: Pawn Play, Sacrifices, Restriction and More (2020)

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Efim Bogoljubov was one of the world’s very strongest players in the 1920s and 1930s. Twice he played Alexander Alekhine for the world championship title (1929 and 1934) and he won the famous Moscow 1925 tournament, ahead of Jose Capablanca, Emanuel Lasker and many other stars. He also won the Soviet championship in 1924 and 1925, as well as a host of other international tournaments. His play featured many sparkling combinations, as well as a deep positional understanding.

International Master Grigory Bogdanovich has written a two-volume treatise on Bogoljubov’s life and games, covering over four hundred fully annotated games and fragments over both volumes. His analysis of Bogoljubov’s games is split into instructive themes, making his treatise a fantastic textbook for learning a huge range of winning techniques. In the present Volume I, which contains 194 games and fragments, Bogdanovich covers the topics of objectivity, imagination, combinational play, piece and pawn sacrifices, play with rook’s pawns, pawn phalanxes, restriction play, conversion of an advantage, exchanges and central strategy. Drawing on contemporary sources with the addition of modern computer analysis, the author provides annotations by Bogoljubov himself, Alekhine, Lasker, Mikhail Botvinnik, Aron Nimzowitsch, Savielly Tartakower, Hans Kmoch and many other famous players and teachers.

The biographical section will also be of immense interest to chess historians. It contains a number of original documents written by and to Bogoljubov previously unpublished in the West, and in some cases not published at all. They were originally selected by the late Anatoly Matsukevich, who had planned to write his own biography of Bogoljubov and who had obtained these documents from Bogoljubov’s personal archive. Topics covered include plans for a match against Capablanca and an earlier match against Alekhine before the latter became world champion, neither of which materialized. The book also contains a number of photos of Bogoljubov, from both chess and family life. With a foreword by Matthew Sadler.

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Genna Sosonko

Genna Sosonko (born 1943, Troitsk, Russia) is a Soviet-born Dutch Grandmaster who is widely recognized as the number one writer on the history of Soviet chess.

Playing career

Once ranked among the world’s top twenty chess players, Genna acted as second to ex-Word Champion Mikhail Tal and to ex-World Championship Challenger Viktor Korchnoi during world championship candidates matches. He emigrated from the Soviet Union to the Netherlands in 1972, where he continues to live.

He won the Dutch Championship in 1973 and 1978 (jointly). His tournament record includes 1st at the Barcelona Zonal Tournament 1975, 1st at Lugano 1976, 1st at Wijk aan Zee 1977, 1st at Nijmegen 1978, 3rd at Amsterdam 1980, 1st at Wijk aan Zee 1981, 3rd at Tilburg 1982 and 4th at Haninge 1988. He also drew a match with Jan Timman (+1 =0 −1) in 1984.

Genna played for the Dutch team at the Chess Olympiads eleven times, in 1974-84, and 1988-96. He won two individual medals: gold at Haifa 1976 and bronze at Nice 1974, and two team medals: silver at Haifa 1976 and bronze at Thessaloniki 1988.

FIDE, the World Chess Federation, awarded Sosonko the International Master (IM) title in 1974, the GM title in 1976 and the FIDE Senior Trainer title in 2004.

Literary career

Sosonko has authored seven non-technical chess books in English centering heavily on his chess life in the Soviet Union and his relationships with and memories of both leading Soviet players and lesser-known characters in chess history.

Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi (2018)

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Viktor Korchnoi was one of the leading grandmasters of the 20th century, coming within one game of winning the world championship in 1978. His battles with Karpov for the world crown were among the most important chess matches ever played. A man with a unique – and in many ways tragic – life and career, Korchnoi’s defection to the West in 1976 was a major event in Cold War politics. 

Grandmaster Genna Sosonko was Korchnoi’s coach and second during tournaments and candidates matches in 1970-71 and then a close friend of Korchnoi for decades. Indeed, Sosonko’s emigration to the West in 1972, which is described in detail in this memoir, had a key impact on Korchnoi’s decision to defect four years later. They would meet up at tournaments and at home and discuss chess, politics, and just about everything else. Their conversations constitute an important part of this book, in which Sosonko tackles difficult questions about Korchnoi’s personality and places much of his often challenging behavior into its historical context. This book, like Sosonko’s previous masterpiece The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, contains no games but focuses on Korchnoi’s life, from his early childhood to his final years. Further, it includes many previously unpublished photos from the private collections of Sosonko and the Korchnoi family.

Smyslov on the Couch (2018)

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In his third full-length memoir about one of the world's greatest ever chess players Genna Sosonko portrays a warm picture of the seventh world champion Vasily Smyslov, with whom he spent considerable time over the board, during tournaments and while meeting at each other's homes. Smyslov the man was far more balanced and spiritual than most of his contemporaries, capable of a relaxed and yet principled approach to life. Unlike most top players he was able to reach a very high standard in his chosen hobby - in his case, classical singing - even while playing chess at the very top. His natural inclination to see the best in people was, however, challenged as the world around him underwent fundamental changes late in his life.

The new freedoms of the post-Soviet era also engendered one of the most extraordinary polemics in chess history - David Bronstein's article 'Thrown' Games in Zurich (2001) - bringing accusations against Smyslov that forced him to defend himself at the age of eighty, by which time many witnesses to the events in Zurich were already deceased. In this book, Genna focuses in particular on that polemic, places it in the wider context of the so-called Soviet Chess School, and asks whether Bronstein's hurt and accusations were justified.

The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein (2017)

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First published in Russian in 2014 and written by Genna Sosonko – widely recognized as the number one writer on the history of Soviet chess – this is a truly unique book about the life and destiny of the great chess player David Bronstein (1924-2006).

Emerging from a challenging background – he narrowly escaped the holocaust in WWII, during which he starved, and his father spent seven years in a gulag – Bronstein faced Botvinnik in the world championship match in 1951 and nearly defeated him. But this ‘nearly’ inflicted a wound on David so deep that it would not heal for the rest of his life.

Sosonko knew Bronstein well. Their conversations – many of which have made it into this book – not only portray the thoughts and character of one of history’s most original grandmasters but also take us back to a time unlike any other in world history. This is not a biography in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, Sosonko’s fascinating book asks eternal questions which don’t have neat and simple answers.

With a foreword to the English edition by Garry Kasparov.

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Sally Landau

Sally Landau, born in 1938, Vitebsk, Soviet Union, was Mikhail Tal’s first wife, a highly talented actress and singer. Sally and Misha were married from 1959 to 1970 in a period that encompassed Tal’s two world championship matches with Botvinnik as well as many of his greatest tournament performances. Sally has lived in Antwerp, Belgium, since 1981.

Checkmate! The Love Story of Mikhail Tal and Sally Landau (2019)

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*** SHORT-LISTED FOR THE ENGLISH CHESS FEDERATION BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2019 *** 

Sally’s breathtaking story, first published in Russia in 1998 and which has been reprinted multiple times, is a memoir of her time with Tal, with whom she remained friends long after they divorced right up until his death in 1992. Full of detail about Tal and their life together, it is a tale of triumph and tragedy, love, parenthood, sorrow, jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Colored by a historical and social background including the Second World War, the Soviet chess scene, Rigan high society, the shadow economy in the Soviet Union, and Jewish emigration, it contains a fascinating portrait of Misha’s mysterious family and is illustrated with photos from Sally’s private archive. And it all just happens to be true…

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Maxim Chetverik

Maxim Chetverik, born in Voronezh in 1963, is one of Russia's biggest chess writers and opening experts. He has written books published in Russian, English, French and German on chess strategy, the Bogo-Indian Defense, Queen's Indian Defense, Catalan Opening, English Opening, Benoni System, Queen's Gambit Accepted, Sicilian Defense, Petroff Defense, Dutch Defense, Alekhine Defense and Albin Counter Gambit, as well as more general opening books and books on the games of Alekhine, Tal and Spassky.

He became an International Master in 2003 and is a regular tournament player to this day, as well as being a coach in his native Voronezh. His best tournament results include Budapest Open, 1st place, 1996, Open championship of Slovan Club, Bratislava, 1st place, 1998, Prague Open, 2nd equal, 2002, Kecskemet (Hungary) round robin tournament, 1st place, 2003, Stuttgart Open, 2nd place, 2009, Yaroslavl Open, 3rd place, 2015, Olomouc (Czech Republic), 2nd place, 2017, and Heraklion (Greece), 2nd place, 2019 .  

The Complete Bogo-Indian Defense (2020)

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This book is essential reading for both black and white in the Bogo-Indian Defense.

International Master Maxim Chetverik’s book covers the Bogo-Indian Defense which is normally arrived at after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+. This book additionally covers Catalan-Bogo hybrids, in particular, the Bogo response to the Catalan Opening with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+. Maxim is a big expert in this opening, having played it in 76 official games as of the publication date, and one of his full games as well as several fragments from his play are included in this volume.

While this solid opening remains part of the repertoire of top-level players, it is also interesting for club players to study and adopt. Its strategic ideas are easier to absorb than those of the Queen’s Indian Defense, and black will not be required to learn as much theory as in the QID. Sharp variations are rare, and tactics play very much a subordinate role to strategy. The key focus is pawn structures, with most pawns remaining on the board in generally closed positions. Yet black retains the ability to vary the pawn and piece setup to suit his taste.

114 deeply annotated games are grouped into 20 chapters with Maxim’s carefully considered recommendations. Many of the featured games and fragments are played by world champions and supergrandmasters, including Carlsen, Kasparov, Alekhine, Anand, Kramnik, Smyslov, Korchnoi, Caruana, Short, Gelfand, Topalov, Shankland, Nakamura, Judit Polgar, Ivanchuk, Yusupov, Ding Liren, Giri, Aronian, Svidler, Hou Yifan, Timman, and many others. Many of the games are drawn from the very recent past and are not covered in previous books on the Bogo-Indian. Indeed, a large number of games from 2018-2019 are included, hence this work, which is full of Maxim’s original analysis, covers the latest theory as of the publication date.

Strategic Plans: 75 Modern Battles (2019)

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Russian International Master Maxim Chetverik has written a strategy textbook containing 75 deeply annotated positional games that show players how to devise plans to handle a number of key strategic themes, such as when to open up the game, how to activate the pawn chain, how to carry out positional sacrifices and many others. Unlike most other textbooks, the strategic plans are viewed as battles where the plans of each player clash, and Maxim analyzes why one plan comes out on top.

Also unlike most other textbooks, all example games are drawn from grandmaster play in the 21st century, some played in 2018, and consider the plans right out of the opening stage. This makes the book of particular value to players wishing to better understand the strategies that the openings they play may lead to, bearing in mind the author is an openings expert with ten openings books published. The majority of games are played by elite grandmasters, including Carlsen, Caruana, Anand, Kramnik, Karjakin, Giri, So, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian, Mamedyarov, Nakamura, Gelfand, Svidler, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Leko, J. Polgar, Topalov, Kamsky, Morozevich, Korchnoi and Spassky.

Chetverik introduces and illustrates the concepts of macroplan and microplan, which provide a simple structural framework for players seeking to devise plans in their own games. The macroplan is the specific way to achieve the required result (usually, a win), for example, the successful exploitation of a queenside pawn majority. The microplan is a way of solving a local problem that involves several moves, such as transferring a knight from a bad square to a good one. Ideally, a macroplan is a chain of sequential and carefully calculated microplans.

This book is largely aimed at strong club players wishing to improve, or their coaches. The recommended Elo range is approximately 1,800 – 2,200, although it may of course be of interest to players a bit lower and a bit higher than this range.

The Queen's Indian Defense Main Line 4.g3 System (2018)

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International Master Maxim Chetverik has written an in-depth study of one of the most popular choices by white in the Queen's Indian Defense - the main line with 4.g3, where white fianchettoes his bishop. This line is often seen at top-level chess.

A key focus of this work is an examination of new lines that have recently appeared in the arsenal of grandmasters. The full range of continuations for both white and black are covered in this textbook, including hybrids with the Bogo-Indian Defense and certain Catalan, Dutch, Benoni and Hedgehog-type set-ups, as well as key themes such as hanging pawns, the isolated queen's pawn, white's four versus three ranks advantage, the closed center with the pawn structure being c4­-d5-­e4 against c5(c7)-­d6­-e5 and structures with semi-open files, making it an essential and comprehensive guide for players on both sides of the board in this variation.

Maxim makes this book particularly user-friendly by his focus on learning the key ideas through practical games, as well as his use of "land-mines," transposition alerts and key tips.

This book contains 181 full games in this line and several hundred fragments with detailed and original commentary by the author focused throughout on giving a balanced evaluation in what are complicated positions. Many of these games feature the world's greatest players, including world champions Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik, Kasparov, Karpov, Spassky, Petrosian, Tal, Smyslov, Botvinnik and Alekhine, and other top players including Caruana, Shankland, Nakamura, So, Mamedyarov, Aronian, Grischuk, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Harikrishna, Adams, Shirov, Gelfand, Topalov, Korchnoi and Timman.

Maxim himself has played over 100 official games in this line, making him a leading expert in the Queen's Indian Defense in general and the 4.g3 line in particular. Four of his games are in included in full in this volume, as well as a number of fragments.

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Alexander Kalinin, born in 1968 near Moscow, Russia, is a Grandmaster and a distinguished chess trainer. He has coached Daniel Naroditsky (USA) to win the World Youth Championship, European and Russian Women's Champion Grandmaster Valentina Gunina and Olympiad gold medal winner Women’s Grandmaster Olga Girya, among many others. He has previously written a number of books in English and Russian, including on Fabiano Caruana, the Slow Italian Opening, the French Defence, the King’s Indian Defence, the Sicilian Defence and chess learning methods. He has regularly commentated at the annual Moscow Open. Tournament successes include Champion of the Moscow Military Region (1987), and outright or shared winner of a number of international tournaments – Purmerend (Netherlands, 1993), Haarlem (Netherlands, 1993,1994 and1995), Wijk aan Zee master’s tournament, 1996), Leiden (Netherlands, 1997), North Bay (Canada, 1999), and Springfield (USA, 2001)

Alexander Kalinin

Sergey Karjakin: Best Games of the Minister of Defence (2020)

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Sergey Karjakin has consistently been one of the strongest chess players of the early 21st century. World U12 Chess Champion in 2001. The world’s youngest ever grandmaster at the age of 12 in 2003. World Rapid Chess Champion in 2012. World Chess Championship Challenger in 2016, drawing 6-6 in the classical games and just one game away from winning the chess crown from Magnus Carlsen. World Blitz Chess Champion in 2016. Tied for 2nd-3rd place in the 2018 Candidates Tournament.

This best games collection begins with a biographical chapter, discussing the Russian grandmaster’s rise from early childhood to the chess elite. It contains 66 fully annotated games and 9 fragments, illustrating the distinctive feature of Karjakin’s style: a harmonious blend of subtle positional understanding and an acute sense of dynamics.

50 of the games are grouped according to learning themes: direct attack on the king; attack in the center and on the queenside; combined attack on both flanks; opening wins; symmetrical pawn structure in the center; positional sacrifice; defence and counter-attack; and endgames.

The author is a grandmaster and Distinguished Coach of the Russian Federation.

Sergey Karjakin wrote in his foreword: “The annotations are captivating and not overloaded with computer variations; instead, the author provides practical explanations so that the reader can use this games collection to study all three stages of the chess game.”

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Valentin Kirillov

Valentin Kirillov (1938-2017) was a Latvian chess master, coach, and journalist. He took part in numerous Latvian and Baltic states championships, as well as the 1967 USSR championship in Kharkov, the USSR team championships, international tournaments in Hungary, Poland, Finland, France, and the Czech Republic, and the German team championships, playing for Godesburg (Bonn) and Brakel (Dortmund).

Mikhail Tal’s second (1968-1976), coach and captain of Latvia’s national teams at Soviet championships, Deputy Director of the Latvian Chess Club, head coach of the Latvian Republic and of the Latvian members of the USSR National Team. Executive Secretary and Executive Director of the Latvian Chess Federation. He worked as a chess coach in several countries abroad.

Kirillov wrote and edited chess columns for various Soviet and Latvian publications. He authored a seven-volume treatise considered to be the definitive Russian-language work analyzing Tal’s games, among other books.

Team Tal: An Inside Story (2017)

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First published in Russian in 2016, this book of memoirs describes key events from Tal’s life, portrays his mentors and opponents, and reveals previously unknown facts and funny stories about the Magician of Riga.

A real collectors’ item for all true Tal fans, it provides color on Janis Kruzkops, who was Tal’s first coach and who died tragically young, Tal’s mentor Alexander Koblencs, and the chess masters to whom Tal was close, including Genna Sosonko, Aivars Gipslis, Janis Klovans, Alvis Vitolins, the young Alexei Shirov, and Kirillov himself, as well as the mysterious doctor Joseph Geikhman. It also traces the efforts of the Latvian chess community to preserve and build on Tal’s memory after his death, in particular with the attempt to establish a Tal museum and hold regular tournaments in his honour.

With a foreword to the English edition by Alexei Shirov.

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Sergei Tkachenko 

Sergei Tkachenko (born in 1963, near Odessa, Ukraine) is a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017. He has won the studies section of the Ukrainian Chess Composition Championship six times and has won prizes, many of them for first place, in over 100 international chess composition tournaments.

Sergei coaches the Ukrainian chess composition team. He is also the press secretary of the Chess Composition Committee of the Ukrainian Chess Federation.

Sergei is an award-winning author who has written 18 chess books (in Russian), including compositions and on historical themes. He is deputy chief editor of a Ukrainian chess composition magazine called Problemist of Ukraine and has a regular studies column on the ChessPro website. Sergei is a member of the Ukrainian Union of Journalists. He is a historian and archivist, a mechanical engineering graduate, and additionally spent five years studying theater production.

Yakov Vilner, First Ukrainian Chess Champion and First USSR Chess Composition Champion: A World Champion's Favorite Composers (2019)

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Yakov Vilner (1899-1931) was one of the leading Soviet chess masters in the 1920s. He won the Ukrainian championship three times (1924, 1925 and 1928), the Odessa championship five times (1918, 1923, 1925, 1926 and 1928) and competed in five USSR championships, his highest position being sixth equal in 1924. His attacking, combinational style delivered many memorable games and he regularly played against strong contemporaries such as Bogoljubov, Romanovsky, Bogatyrchuk, Verlinsky and an upcoming teenager called Botvinnik.

Vilner was also a leading chess composer. He won the USSR composition championship for three-move problems in 1929 and in total he won prizes at 30 chess composition competitions.

In this historical work illustrated with rare archival photos from the period, Sergei Tkachenko tells the story of a man who, despite suffering constantly from the respiratory illness that would eventually end his life at the age of just 31, was a leading chess organizer and journalist in Ukraine as well as a player and composer, against a background of major social and political upheaval that significantly impacted the chess world. It was Vilner who, in 1919 as a member of the Revolutionary Tribunal in Odessa, managed to save Alexander Alekhine from the firing squad, which Tkachenko wrote about in his book Alekhine's Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution. The latter work was short-listed for the 2018 English Chess Federation Book of the Year.

Tkachenko has selected 49 full games and another six fragments, annotated in detail by Vilner himself, Tkachenko, Romanovsky, Bogatyrchuk, and other leading players of the 1920s. The author has also included all 95 of Vilner’s known problems and studies, some of which are fairy problems, as well as many earlier versions and related compositions. Like in Tkachenko’s other collections, all 95 compositions are set on the right-hand side of the page with the solution overleaf.

This book will be of great interest to fans of Soviet chess history, exciting games collections and problem solving.

Bishop and Knight Save the Day: A World Champion's Favorite Studies (2019)

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Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just a bishop and knight in the finale, yet manages to win or draw. There are no more than six moves in almost all solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams.Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a bishop and knight in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of how the bishop and knight pair combine.Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. This is the seventh book in the World Champion’s Favorite Studies series by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Oleg Pervakov's Industrial Strength Endgame Studies: A World Champion's Favorite Composers (2018)

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Oleg Pervakov (born in 1960 in the city of Kirov) is widely recognized as Russia’s greatest living chess composer. He has composed nearly 500 studies and he has won the individual chess composition world championship three times: in 2004-2006, 2007-2009 and 2013-2015.

In this book, Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has selected 100 of Oleg Pervakov’s best studies. The selection is quite varied – from elegant short studies with six moves to romantic grotesques with many pieces on board and over 30 moves to the solution. Yet what all of these studies have in common is spectacular play by both sides. And watch out: they are tough! That said, Oleg’s compositions are never boring. You may buy this collection of studies to test your endgame tactical abilities, to improve your endgame understanding, or simply to appreciate chess in all its beauty.

Unlike previous studies books compiled by Sergei Tkachenko this book is not pocket-sized due to its longer solutions.

Alekhine's Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution (2018)

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*** SHORT-LISTED FOR THE ENGLISH CHESS FEDERATION BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2018 *** 

Sergei Tkachenko has written a fascinating account of Alexander Alekhine’s time spent in Odessa during World War I, the Russian Revolution and Civil War, as well as of the impact of Odessa on his later life. Sergei, an Odessa native and ex-world chess composition champion, has carried out original research drawing from Odessa, Voronezh, Cheka and KGB archives among others, as well as local newspapers from the time. His research, together with a review of Russian-language secondary materials, has dug up lots of new information and analysis on Alekhine, including on his trips to Odessa and their reasons, his service during World War I, his interrogations by the Cheka and his ties to the White Movement. Sergei portrays Alekhine’s Odessa relatives and the Odessite chess masters against whom he played a number of friendly and simultaneous games during his three trips to the Ukrainian city.

Sergei provides a detailed description of chess in Odessa from the beginning of the nineteenth century and through the upheavals of the early twentieth century, including the city’s leading chess organizers, the main and university chess clubs, and even high society’s chess-themed ballroom parties. He goes on to describe the chaos under Bolshevik rule during the Civil War, during which Alekhine was arrested by the Reds and very nearly executed. The author reviews the backdrop to Alekhine’s arrest and investigates the circumstances of his last-minute release. His heart-rending account of terror by the Cheka brings home to the reader how near the chess world was to losing its greatest player of the first half of the twentieth century.

This book then goes on to review the strong Odessa links with key events surrounding Alekhine later – his exile, failing marriages, plans for a match with Botvinnik, murky death and eventual burial ten years later.

Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution includes 24 complete games (some handicapped) with annotations from Alekhine, Sergei Tkachenko and Sergei Voronkov (co-author with

David Bronstein of Secret Notes), as well as five puzzles and one fragment. Alekhine played in 22 of these games and the fragment and set three of the puzzles.

Furthermore, the book contains around 100 photos, mostly of Alekhine’s Odessa contemporaries among chess masters and politicians, as well as of the places he frequented in Odessa and key publication clippings and memorabilia.

With an introduction to the English edition by Boris Gelfand.

Tigran Gorgiev, Maestro of Practical Studies: A World Champion’s Favorite Composers (2018)

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Tigran Gorgiev (1910-1976) was one of the Soviet Union’s best endgame study composers. In his lifetime he produced around 400 studies and wrote three books and 101 articles with chess compositions. The vast majority of his endgame studies are of a practical nature, meaning that the positions presented could have arisen in over-the-board play. This makes them particularly useful to study for practical players as well as study fans. 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has selected his 100 favorite Tigran Gorgiev studies, revising some of them and providing explanations suitable for less experienced solvers. There are no more than six moves in most solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams.

This is the third book in a series of studies and problems compiled by Sergei Tkachenko, in which each book focuses on a particular composer, published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Mikhail Zinar's Difficult Pawn Endings: A World Champion's Favorite Composers (2018)

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Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has selected 100 pawn endings composed by the leading Ukrainian problemist Mikhail Zinar. 

Zinar is a prolific endgame expert who has produced several hundred studies since the 1970s, with a focus on pawn endings. His works have appeared in many leading Russian-language chess publications, including Chess in the USSR, 64 – Chess Review, and Chess Bulletin. He collaborated with Yuri Averbakh

on the second edition of Averbakh’s Chess Endings (1983), in which he revised the theory of “corresponding squares”. In the foreword, Averbakh wrote: “Chapter ten, devoted to corresponding square systems, was written by chess composer M.A. Zinar – a big specialist in pawn endings. Otherwise, this chapter would have looked out of date.”

Zinar co-authored a Russian-language manual for creating pawn studies with Vladimir Archakov in 1990 called Harmony of the Pawn Study. He collaborated with Tkachenko in compiling this book.

This is the first book in a new series of endgame studies compiled by Sergei Tkachenko, in which each book focuses on a particular composer, published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

Nikolai Rezvov, from Child Burglar to Grandmaster: A World Champion's Favorite Composers (2018)

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Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has selected 100 studies and problems by Odessite chess master Nikolai Vasilevich Rezvov (1921–2013), which will help you to appreciate the splendor and depth of the royal game. 

Rezvov lived a long and tragic life: it was at the age of nearly 90 that he was awarded the titles of Ukrainian chess composition grandmaster and FIDE chess composition international master, and his love of chess kept him going through life as a child laborer, WWII solder, prisoner of war and later prisoner in the Soviet Union. His compositions appeared in leading chess magazines such as Chess in the USSR, 64 – Chess Review and The Problemist, and he won many prizes. Several of these compositions were produced jointly with Sergei Tkachenko.

The readers will find these studies and problems highly educational, illustrating many theoretical and combinational ideas that can be used in the readers’ own games. Some of them are simply breathtaking in their beauty and originality.

This is the second book in a series of studies and problems compiled by Sergei Tkachenko, in which each book focuses on a particular composer, published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

One Pawn Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)

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Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one pawn in the finale, yet manages to win or draw.

With the exception of three studies, there are no more than six moves in any solution, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams.

Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single pawn in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the pawn's resourcefulness.

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union.

One Knight Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)

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Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one knight in the finale, yet manages to win or draw.

There are no more than six moves in most solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single knight in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the knight’s resourcefulness.
 

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions.

This is the second book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

One Bishop Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)

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Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one bishop in the finale, yet manages to win or draw.
 

There are no more than six moves in any solution, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single bishop in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the bishop’s resourcefulness.

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions.

This is the third book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

One Rook Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2017)

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Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one rook in the finale, yet manages to win or draw.
 

There are no more than six moves in almost all solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single rook in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the rook’s resourcefulness.

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions.

This is the fourth book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

The Queen Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2018)

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Learn great traps, turn losses into draws and draws into wins! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just the

queen in the finale, yet manages to win or draw.

There are no more than six moves in almost all solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single queen in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the queen’s resourcefulness.

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions.

This is the fifth book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

The King Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies (2018)

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Learn great traps, turn losses into draws! 

Sergei Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came second in 2000, 2004, 2013, and 2017, has collected 100 studies whose common theme is that white ends up with just one king in the finale, yet manages to draw. 

There are no more than six moves in almost all solutions, so experienced chess players can analyze the positions directly from the diagrams. Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving the king in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the king's resourcefulness. 
 

Some of these studies are classics from bygone ages. Others were originally published in the Soviet Union or ex-Soviet countries. Several are Sergei’s own compositions. 

This is the sixth book in a series of endgame studies by Sergei Tkachenko to be published by Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

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Alexander Galkin

Alexander Galkin was born in 1979 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. International grandmaster (1997). Russian junior champion in his age-groups (1989 and 1993). Russian under 20 champion (1999). Second in the Soviet junior championship in his age-group (1991). Second in the European junior championship in his age-group (1991). Member of the winning Russian team in the world junior olympiad (1994). World under 20 champion (1999). Member of the winning Khimik team in the Russian team championship (1999). Prize-winner in other Russian team championships for various teams (1996, 1998, 2003, 2008). Participant in two FIDE world championships (2000 and 2004) and the FIDE world cup (2007). Member of the Russian team in the European team championship (1999). Outright winner or prize winner in a number of international tournaments.
His pupils include outright winners or prize winners in Russian, European and world championships among juniors and junior girls across the age-groups. He was named Children’s Trainer of the Year in 2016 by the Russian Chess Federation. Possesses three university degrees.

101 Endgame Crimes and Punishments (2020)

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This endgame tactics textbook by Grandmaster Alexander Galkin, who was named Children’s Trainer of the Year in 2016 by the Russian Chess Federation, provides a large volume of practical knowledge. The vast majority of chess combination textbooks contain a selection of positions and exercises where the student is asked to find a tactic or carry out an attack against the enemy king. That way, they learn to develop their combinational vision and ability to attack. However, there is not much focus on the mistake by one of the players that led to the critical position where the combination or decisive attack became possible.

In this book, aimed at strong tournament players (1900-2300 Elo or fast improving juniors) the author introduces a wider approach to developing endgame tactics skills that a formidable chess player needs. Specifically, he presents 101 positions from games of grandmasters played in 2019, including super-GMs such as Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Alireza Firouzja, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alexander Grischuk, Wang Hao, Alexei Shirov, Samuel Shankland, Kirill Alekseenko, and Levon Aronian, in which he first explains the mistake made by one of the players in underestimating their opponent’s counterplay, then he analyzes how the game progressed where punishment for the mistake is meted out. After that, he returns to the starting position to demonstrate the correct or a more promising continuation. Therefore, the text is structured so that each challenge contains the starting diagram twice – before the moves in the actual game, and then, on the page overleaf, before the solution.

Studying these key fragments from grandmaster games will help a player to develop their endgame approach. Firstly, the student analyzes why a move or series of moves by one of the players was erroneous. What counterplay by the opponent did the player making the mistake underestimate? Secondly, armed with this answer, the student can review the position to try and figure out the better move. If the student is working with a coach, then the coach should first set up the position on the board, demonstrate the erroneous move played, and ask the student to find the refutation to that bad move. After the refutation is found by the student, the coach should once again set up the critical position and ask the student to find the strongest continuation for the initial player. This may be one or more moves, depending on the position. Naturally, in the case of self-study the student can change their approach, either trying to figure out the refutation to the error by covering up the subsequent text, or simply studying the moves in the game before trying to find the better continuation, which is detailed overleaf together with the starting diagram.

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Anastasia Travkina

Anastasia Travkina was born in 1992 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Woman International Master (2018) with a career high rating of 2304. Winning team member in Russian women’s blitz team championship (2016). European universities women’s blitz champion (2016). Winning team member in Russian students women’s team championship (2017). Prize winner in many international tournaments. She has coached children since 2008

111 Middlegame Crimes and Punishments (2020)

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Most chess games end in the middlegame. Therefore, to achieve good results, you have to play well at this stage of the game. This middlegame textbook by Grandmaster Alexander Galkin, who was named Children’s Trainer of the Year in 2016 by the Russian Chess Federation, and Woman International Master Anastasia Travkina, provides a large volume of practical knowledge. The vast majority of middlegame tactics and positional textbooks contain a selection of positions and exercises where the student is asked to find a tactic, carry out an attack against the enemy king or choose the right positional approach based on certain “rules”. However, there is not much focus on the mistake by one of the players that led to the critical position where the combination, decisive attack or positional improvement became possible.

In this book, aimed at strong tournament players (1900-2300 Elo or fast improving juniors) the authors introduce a wider approach to developing middlegame tactical and positional skills that a formidable chess player needs. Specifically, they present 111 positions from games of grandmasters played in 2019, including super-GMs such as Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Ding Liren, Anish Giri, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Daniil Dubov, Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, and Wang Hao, in which they first explain the mistake made by one of the players in underestimating their opponent’s counterplay, then they analyze how the game progressed where punishment for the mistake is meted out. After that, they return to the starting position to demonstrate the correct or a more promising continuation. Therefore, the text is structured so that each challenge contains the starting diagram twice – before the moves in the actual game, and then, on the page overleaf, before the solution.

There are numerous elements that a chess player should keep in mind in the middlegame and the authors have designed this book to address specific middle-game thematic mistakes: unsound sacrifices, creating imaginary threats, imaginary defense against threats, pawn-grabbing, give check or attack material – which is best?, wrong evaluation of changes to the pawn structure, lack of vigilance in decision-making, replacing strategy with tactics and taking wrong positional decisions.

Studying these key fragments from grandmaster games will help a player to develop their middlegame approach. Firstly, the student analyzes why a move or series of moves by one of the players was erroneous. What counterplay by the opponent did the player making the mistake underestimate? Secondly, armed with this answer, the student can review the position to try and figure out the better move. If the student is working with a coach, then the coach should first set up the position on the board, demonstrate the erroneous move played, and ask the student to find the refutation to that bad move. After the refutation is found by the student, the coach should once again set up the critical position and ask the student to find the strongest continuation for the initial player. This may be one or more moves, depending on the position. Naturally, in the case of self-study the student can change their approach, either trying to figure out the refutation to the error by covering up the subsequent text, or simply studying the moves in the game before trying to find the better continuation, which is detailed overleaf together with the starting diagram.

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Jakov Geller

Jakov Geller, born in Moscow in 1986, achieved the grandmaster title in 2011. His coaches included grandmasters Jakob Meister and Marat Makarov. Jakov worked as a coach in Togliatti from 2007 to 2015, and his pupils have included grandmasters Ivan Bukavshin and Alexandr Predke, international masters Darsen Sanzhaev, Alexey Mokshanov and Rudik Makarian, and WIM Dinara Dordzhieva. The Russian team that Jakov coached in 2009 took first place in the U16 Olympiad. He was named Children’s Trainer of the Year in 2010 by the Russian Chess Federation. Jakov has won prizes in over 20 Russian and international tournaments and he has written frequently for Russian and international chess publications, including American Chess Magazine, Chess Informant and 64. Jakov has lived in Moscow since 2016.

Grandmaster Ivan Bukavshin: A Chess Prodigy’s Career in 64 Games (2020)

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Ivan Bukavshin, born in Rostov-on-Don in 1995, was a Russian chess prodigy. He was European U12, U14 and U16 champion and placed third in the world U16 championships among many other successes, gaining the Grandmaster title at just 16 years of age. Ivan finished third in the Aeroflot Open in 2015, behind Daniil Dubov and Ian Nepomniachtchi, where he put in a performance rating of 2803. Ivan achieved a series of 2700+ performances over 2013-2015. He tragically died in early 2016 at the age of 20.

This book, by his friend and coach Grandmaster Jakov Geller, takes a detailed look at Ivan’s life and career in 50 deeply annotated games and 14 fragments. Apart from Jakov, 20 other guest grandmasters annotate games in this book, including super GMs Dubov, Alexander Morozevich, Vladislav Artemiev, Vladimir Fedoseev, Maxim Matlakov, and Evgeny Alekseev. The list of Ivan’s opponents in these games includes Peter Svidler, Alexander Morozevich, Vladimir Fedoseev, Ernesto Inkariev, Richard Rapport, and Dmitry Andreikin.
This book will be of interest to active chess players seeking to improve their game, where they can learn from interesting opening novelties, spectacular attacking combinations and subtle endgame victories.

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Andy Mack

Andy Mack was born in 1970, in Bromley, South-East England. A keen chess player from an early age, he has competed three times in the British Chess Championships and achieved the title of FIDE Master. He also plays poker to a high standard, and has written a book entitled Omaha 8 or Better – Winning at Hi-Low Poker. In his professional life, Andy qualified as a Chartered Accountant and is a Director in a large accounting firm. Andy continues to live in South-East England. His favourite European city is Berlin, and The Berlin Defence is his first novel.

The Berlin Defence: A Novel (2020)

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That afternoon, Lothar sat down opposite Lev Ivanov, and with a furrowed brow, determinedly pushed his King’s pawn forward two squares, punching down the clock as he did so. When Ivanov ventured a Sicilian Defence, Lothar sacrificed first a Knight and then a Rook for a raging attack.

Lothar Hartmann dreams of reaching the big time in chess. Overcoming the mind-games of his opponents at the chessboard is a challenge in itself, but how will he cope when he comes face to face with the political manipulation and oppression of his own corrupt government? A tale told with dark humour of love and loss, hopes dashed and regained, it is a window into a world of tactics, psychological warfare and the balance of fate and opportunity, while asking fundamental questions about life’s purpose and moral choices. As Lothar begins to realise that his world is not simply black and white, and that the chess players themselves are pieces, moved across a board to further the reach of East German propaganda, he hatches a plan that defies all expectations.

Alexander Bakin, Vladimir Barsky, Dmitry Kryakvin, Dmitry Kurnosov, Svetlana Kurnosova, Igor Lysy, Pavel Ponkratov and Alexander Riazantsev (editors)

The Chelyabinsk Meteorite: Selected Games of Igor Kurnosov (2018)

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This book contains fifty illustrative games and a career overview of Chelyabinsk grandmaster Igor Kurnosov, who was tragically hit and killed by a car in 2013 at the age of just 28. At his last tournament prior to his death, Igor attained a super-grandmaster tournament performance rating in excess of 2700.

Kurnosov left an indelible mark on the chess world—he was a Russian youth champion, a member of the Russian national team that won the world student team championship and the Tomsk-400 team that finished first at the Russian championship. He won or placed highly at dozens of international tournaments.

The games in this book, with highly instructional commentary by Kurnosov’s friends and colleagues, or sometimes by Kurnosov himself, are filled with blistering attacks and subtle endgame play. They have been selected in part to demonstrate the progression of his career, rather than being his absolute best games. Igor had several signature openings, but he undoubtedly is best known in the chess world as a master of the Grunfeld Defense. According to Grandmaster Dmitry Bocharov in this book, Igor was one of the world’s leading experts in the Grunfeld. Igor was a sophisticated analyst, and many of his opening ideas are still relevant to this day. This book will be useful for both beginners and highly-rated players to improve.

Commentators in this book include such well-known grandmasters as Ernesto Inarkiev, Roman Ovechkin, Dmitry Kryakvin, Sergei Rublevsky, and Kateryna Lahno, while his opponents in these games include such names as Boris Gelfand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Dmitry Andreikin.

Published in association with the Russian Chess Federation.