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Gaining 100 Elo points with one book!

by Aanjaneya Phatak - 18/05/2019

By reading this book you will increase your chess skills, not only in attack and defence but also it benefits your level of calculation. This book has 13 chapters out of which 1-8 are about attacking chess and 9-12 are about defensive techniques. The Attack part starts with Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand's game from Wijk aan Zee 2013. If you are an Anand fan then you have that game at the tip of your tongue! The Defence section begins with quite an unseen game between Vallejo Pons and Aronian from Bilbao 2012. There are games like these before the beginning of each of the chapter, which give us the taste of the puzzles ahead. A review of Jacob Aagaard's book Attack and Defence from the GrandMaster Preparation series by Aajaneya Phatak.

The Quintessential book

Review by Aanjaneya Phatak

Attack and Defence by Jacob Aagaard is the fourth book in the GrandMaster Preparation series after Calculation, Positional Play and Strategic play

After you see the games, there are around 30 puzzles in each chapter. The book was slightly easy when the chapters based on attack are going on but the defence section is a real brain teaser. Overall, sometime you might feel like giving up on this book when the defence section starts, but gradually you will gain the practice and taste of defensive patterns. The last chapter 13 is something that I have never seen before. There are multiple examples from same game. It is a chapter I will leave it to you to experience it yourself.

The contents | Source: Attack & Defence excerpt


1. This book is flawless. You cannot find a single mistake in annotations and puzzles. What else you want from a book?


2. The text written by Jacob Aagaard is what makes our general chess understanding richer and inspires us to work hard. I could go on with the all the pluses whole day but the point I am trying to make is that this book is worth a go.

Preface | Source: Attack & Defence excerpt


1.When you read a book you want to organize your work, like in 7-14 days I will complete this book. But the puzzles in this book are not numbered serially. Like, in chapter one there are 29 puzzles but in the next chapter the counting will again start from number 1. Because of this we cannot organize our daily work. Like if there are around 330 puzzles and you want to complete the book in 10 days then you want to solve 33 puzzles daily. But no worries we can physically number them and organize our daily work. But I really hope that next time it is serially numbered which will save our time.

Chapter 1 | Source: Attack & Defence excerpt

2.There are no photos in this book. I know that most of you be like, "We don't care!" but when you are solving a book like this one, you need some inspiration. Like a photo of Anand, Carlsen etc. with their World Championship trophy. That will inspire us to work much harder on the book. Trust me I was so depressed after each problem I got wrong that I needed an inspiring photo. That was cured in Aagaard's new book Thinking Inside The Box but the photos are in black and white which should be improved and be made rich and colorful in the future editions.

Personal Experience:

After reading this book I increased my ELO rating by 100 points to 1734. 100 ELO points for one book! That is not a bad deal at all. I just have to solve 8 more books then I will be a GM! Of course it would not be that easy. But the point is that I could feel the difference in my level of play after reading this book.


1. Organize your work: I personally needed 14 days to complete this book. This was only possible because I calculated the number of games and puzzles in this book. But I can bet on it that you all will be faster than me in solving this book. As I think that if I gave my best I could have solved it in 7 days. I was distracted a lot. I hope that you guys would do your best unlike me. My aim was 14 days though. I am saying this because I was finishing 2 days worth of work in 1 day and did not do anything the next day.


2.Watch the games on computer: According to me there is no point in seeing the games on a board. It will waste your time and energy. Watching it on database will save your time and also you will see the stuff annotated by top players. Also remember the most critical part of the game is printed on the 1st page of every chapter. You should solve it by yourself on a chess board.


In the end I can only say that guys please purchase the original stuff. Jacob Aagaard has given a lot of time and energy on this book and I think he deserves his money. Please say no to pirated stuff. Thank you Jacob Aagaard for making my game better!

Read the PDF excerpt

About the Author

Aanjaneya Phatak is a 17-year-old chess player from Pune, Maharashtra. He is currently rated 1734. He is a self-taught player and uses books, DVDs and other material to improve at chess on his own.

The ChessBase India has all six books of Jacob Aagaard from the GrandMaster Preparation series listed. Currently we are out of stock for the positional play, but all other five books can be ordered from the links given below. The books came out in the order of Calculation, Positional Play, Strategic Play, Attack and Defence, Endgame play and Thinking Inside the Box. In a recent interview by Sagar Shah of Jacob Aagaard, the well-known author said that he would recommend people to begin the work on the series with "Thinking Inside the box" and then move onto the Calculation + Positional play and follow this up with Strategic play + Attack and Defence. The Endgame play book is quite tough and should be used by players above the Elo of 2200. The other books can be helpful for players with a rating of 1800, but to an ambitious 1600 like Aajaneya (above) the book proved to be quite useful as well. We wish you hours of enjoyment with the GrandMaster Preparation series.

1. Calculation - PDF Excerpt

2. Positional Play - PDF Excerpt (out of stock at the time of publication of this article)

3. Strategic Play - PDF Excerpt

4. Attack and Defence - PDF Excerpt

5. Endgame Play - PDF Excerpt

6. Thinking Inside the Box - PDF Excerpt

A author's take on his book - Jacob Aagaard on Thinking Inside the Box

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