Usually when I buy a new book, I tend to go to the name Index given at the end of the book just to see if the author considered any of my games worth publishing in his book!
I remember there was once a small note in a book written by the famous opening expert Schandorff. The book was titled Playing 1.d4: Indian Defences.
I was quite elated because my name came in the book thanks to a theoretical battle I had in the Grunfeld with M G Gahan in 2008. However the author immediately suggests a novelty i.e a move that I hadn't made! So there was nothing really to be proud about.
But today as I flipped the pages of the book written by one of my favourite authors: Jacob Aagard, I was pleasantly shocked!(yes shocked. surprise would be just too mild).
There you can see my name, second in the list!
And which book are we talking about? The book is none other than Attack and Defence which was released in December 2013.
It is the fourth book in the Grandmaster Preparation series. The book is aimed at ambitious players and I am sure strong Grandmasters are using this book to improve their play!
The position comes under the section of the "only moves". Here you see that I have had the talented young Indian GM S P Sethuraman on the ropes. His g7 point is about to be destroyed. He has to find the only move to stay in the game (which he didn't yet I left him unpunished). And guess what?!! This is the last position in the only move section and according to Aagaard this is the most difficult position on defence that he has ever put in his books. Now that's something really to be proud of! Have a crack at the position and then check the answer which Aagaard has given below.
I am sure you are wondering, how does Aagaard find such positions? If Sethuraman had found this stunning defensive idea with Rf4 then I am sure it would have been easier to identify this game. But he hadn't and the right move remains in the notes to the game. So does Aagaard meticulously check every game in the database or scans each one of them under the watchful eye of Houdini?!! That's just too much to ask for! My guess is that he found the game when I published it New in Chess yearbook 106 in the year 2013. Here is the article that I wrote in the yearbook. I am sure if you go over the game and my analysis carefully you can learn a lot.
I have clearly mentioned all the analysis in the note to the 31st and the 32nd move in this article. It is commendable that Aagaard was able to find this nice position and maybe he kept it safely in his database and classified it under the heading of "only move". But it is sad that he doesn't even mention that he took almost all the analysis from this New in Chess yearbook source. About 32...Ba5+ He mentions that white must have forgotten about this move, while in my annotations I have mentioned that I had missed this idea. It would be nice if Aagaard would have mentioned the source from which he took the analysis.
On the other hand, there is the chance that he found this position without reading my article in the yearbook. But I think the chances of that are really very slim. What do you think?!!
PS: This article does not in any way belittle the efforts taken by Aagaard. He is doing a great job by writing such high quality books and helping players all over the world to improve. I have always had immense respect for him and shall have it in future too. But it is my opinion that such a famous author who is writing a book that is being read by so many players must always give the source from where he took the analysis.
On the next day after I posted this on Facebook, Jacob Aagaard replied. This is what he said:
I did not use your annotations. I go through TWIC looking for examples. If I do see something in Chess Informant or somewhere else that I want to use, I find the game in my database and start analysing it from scratch, as I try to form my own opinions and try to avoid replicating others work or mistakes.
Regarding copyright. The moves are not copyrighted. They are information. If our engines find the same moves, they are not to your credit either. However, if I use words or illustrative lines from somewhere, I do give the reference.
But as said, this example I am pretty sure I found in TWIC.
Although I would have checked the Yearbook as well. I just think I saw this game in TWIC.
Regarding my method, it is not a secret. I go through 100s and sometimes 1000s of games a week looking for something interesting. It is time-demanding work, but also quite rewarding. Less than 5% of the examples in my books are something I have seen somewhere else. At times I mention the source, as said, also when it is not a legal requirement. When I copy someones original work, I hope I always mention it.
SAGAR: So the discussion regarding copyrights ends here. The author did not take the position from my yearbook and hence he has no need to provide the source. After all moves are never copyrighted.