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drgandalf 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Better Tactics Book Tactics is my weakest area in chess. I have studied Reonfeld's, "Chess Tactics for Beginners" and found it outstanding for a primer. I have studied in part Alburt's "Tacics for the Tournament Player", Chernev's "Combinations", and Znosko-Borovsky's "Art of Chess Combinations. However, all three are too difficult for me.

For those who are familiar with the mentioned books, do you have any suggestions regarding some other book which would be easier than those mentioned?
buddy2 60 ( +1 | -1 )
Tactic good bets You can't be too bad at 1728, better than I am. But for a good read, as well as practical tactics, I like Josh Waitzkin's Attacking Chess (Fireside Chess Library). For an encyclopedic treatment try Laszlo Polgar's Chess (5334 problems, combinations, and games. I got it on sale for about 10 bucks. Best of all buy Ct-Art 3.0 Tactics by Convekta (they have their own website) based on M. Blokh's classic book on tactics. The program times you, rates you, breaks tactics down into difficulty levels as well as themes. Play a lot of blitz on ICC and others and get beaten to a pulp a hundred times, then you get sharper!
tovmauzer 5 ( +1 | -1 )
Not sure if it is easier... but "Art of Attack in Chess" by Vukovic is great book.
baseline 36 ( +1 | -1 )
drgandalf "How to Create Combinations" by Vladimir Pafneutief Hypermodern Press 1996 is a very nice book it also includes 50 fo V.Pafnutieff games He was a very well known California Master.

"Test Your Chess IQ: First Challenge" Cadogan Books has alot "425-450" positions in a series of tests which allow you to estimate your playing strength.
clemens 11 ( +1 | -1 )
What about.... Fred Reinfeld's "1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations"; I kinda like it, pretty cheap, too.
drgandalf 118 ( +1 | -1 )
I went through Reinfeld's 1001 books, and found them to offer great practice exercises. However, I am looking more for the basic theory, basic maneuvers, basic landmarks, rather than exercises.

I understand "Art of Attack" is more advanced than "Art of Chess Combinations". In a survey of books in terms of difficulty, ACC is rated 1200-1599, while AoA is rated 1600-2199.

Polgar's book is outstanding, but more a series of increasingly difficult exercises.

I have heard high remarks for Waitzkin's Attacking Chess. Buddy2, could you tell me more about the book and why you recommend it? Also, I have CR-ART 3.0. I find it very helpful, but I need more of a theoretical approach. What is this M. Blokh's classic book on tactics? Have you read the book.

Baseline, I will try to find out more on Pafneutief's book. However, the gap between you (2200) and me (1700) is significant. Brilliant players tend to recommend books they find easy, while the rest of us find them very difficult. I need a spoonfeeding book. Does Pafneutief presume much or are his explanations brief?

Thank you for your help, all of you.
clemens 36 ( +1 | -1 )
Is there such a thing as a theory of tactics? You can of course learn the basic motives which keep appearing in actual games (which you do with exercise collections), but apart from that every position is different and has to be calculated to the end, that is, if it is tactical in nature, of course. What is there to be explained by general rules of thumb and theories?
macheide 17 ( +1 | -1 )
drgandalf Dear friend,

There are many excellent books on tactics.

I'll recommend you one: "Chess Tactics for Advanced Players" by Yuri Averbach. It's a masterpiece.


chesstickle 15 ( +1 | -1 )
dude if you don't know any chess tactics how come you teach people to play chess? what exactly do you teach them? (or do you just take the cash and run??)
drgandalf 124 ( +1 | -1 )
Chesstickle You became a member this month. You do not know of the consequences of insulting posts. You claim to be 69 aged. At that stage in life, it is inappropriate to call anyone "dude". Being below 1400 GK rating is an ideal time to read and ponder and ask questions and assistance. But you have too low a rating to claim arrogance.

I encourage my students to remain humble when engaging in chess. I practice that trait also. I have spotted my chief current weakness, and I want to overcome it with the firmest foundation. I am humble enough to ask for assistance and to carefully evaluate the responses.

Unlike persons like you, I seek to improve deeply, not quickly. If you check my games, you will see I have considerable tactical competence. However, my theoretical foundation, my sureness, my incorporation of tactics into my chess experience is lacking.

Perhaps your skills need no improvement. My students ALWAYS seek insight, rather than victory. And, they improve firmly and solidly.

Since you do not know me, my strudents, my teaching methods, what I charge, and how my students perform, maybe there is wisdom in your not sounding like a trouble-maker. Quite frankly, no one is interested in pettiness. Prove your worth on the chess board.

chesstickle 33 ( +1 | -1 )
? arrogance Do you know what arrogance means? if so you don't use the word properly. I have neither stated nor overstated my competence. My point is what does an average player such as yourself have to teach but the basics to poor players. Why not let your students be taught by somebody who knows what they are doing?

..And don't be so ageist....dude
buddy2 97 ( +1 | -1 )
meanspirited It's amazing what kind of mean-spirited, nasty people jump out from under rocks when you ask an honest question. I was a teacher for 35 years and was always asking questions about my field. But there was always someone who said "and you call yourself a teacher?"
I don't agree with clemens about a "theory of tactics." There ARE patterns (like backrank mates) which you recognize after a few losses. These patterns (skewer, fork, x-ray, etc.) can be learned so the player can see them almost immediately.
Josh Waitzkin's Attacking Chess begins by breaking down combinations by types, then goes through his career as a beginner, junior, and on up, showing in a quiz fashion where he went wrong or right.
I'm sure you're aware of the controversial Rapid Chess Improvement by Michael de la Manza that claims one can shoot one's rating up into the 2000 range by intensive study of TACTICS. A lot of top players call it garbage,but I think he has a point.
buddy2 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Blokh book Oh, Combinational Motifs by Maxim Blokh. "CT art 3 is based on this tome," according to de la Manza. He says it's difficult to work with because the combinations are arranged by theme and not difficulty. I've never actually seen the book. Convekta might sell it.
I read somewhere that ALL combinations are based on double-threats. At first I thought that was oversimplification, but the more i thought about it the more it sounded right.
mercy 87 ( +1 | -1 )
What a freak!! Some people just need to keep their comments to themselves. Especially when it is evident that they do not know how to play Chess.

drgandalf never said he does not know tactics. he simply said that tactics is his weakest point. My OTB rating is 2175+ and I am STILL taking lessons from people better then me while teaching people at or below my level. I can shoot up to 2500+ and I will still have a lot to learn from other players. Even from players rated lower then myself. drgandalf has the right idea!! I had some of my biggest learning jumps just from identifying my weaknessess and then working on them.

brobishkin 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Dr. Gandalf... If "Tactics for the tournament player" or "The art of chess combinations" was too complex... Try "Tactics" from the Winning Chess series by Yasser Seirawan... He has a great way of explaining each chess tactical term... Try it...

r_lawrence 20 ( +1 | -1 )
If you're interested in cd's .. I have a great tactical training cd which covers many motifs and gets progressively more challenging. Its called the Tasc Chess Cd .. from Intelligent Computer Chess Products.
macheide 23 ( +1 | -1 )
buddy2 & mercy Dear fellows,

Thanks a lot. It is very refreshing to read your posts. I agree with you both, but english is not my native language. You said exactly what I think.

Thanks again.

Your friend,

drgandalf 82 ( +1 | -1 )
I wish to thank buddy2, mercy, brobishkin, r_lawarence, and my friend macheide for their comments.

I have studied Seirawan's "Strategy" and found it easy and enjoyable. Although I learn more from Alburt's books, I believe Seirawan IS the correct answer to my problem. Then, I will follow that up with Alburt, then Znosko-Borosky, then I will try Pafneutief. I will also use CT-ART 3.0, Reinfeld's 1001, and Polgar's massive exercise books.

I learn best from a book, if I already know 75% of the content. Studying books on the same topic with increasing sophistication may be a sound way to invest my time.

Thank you once again all who contributed responsibly on this thread. Many other players who are in need of tactics training will find your comments important also.
clemens 22 ( +1 | -1 )
buddy2 That is exactly what I said! I said that there are motives which you learn by doing exercises (or, as you mentioned, by losses), but I think that a few patterns to be learned cannot be called a "theory of tactics".
buddy2 69 ( +1 | -1 )
Misunderstood OK, clemens. Sorry about the misunderstanding. The closest thing to a universal "theory" as I said, is the double threat theory of combinations, if it can be called that. De la Manza in his much maligned book Rapid Chess Improvement mentions 1. improve piece mobility 2. prevent opponent from castling 3. trade off pawns 4. keep queen on board. He is of the opinion 99% of games are decided by tactics, not deep strategy. The other end of the stick is SEEING the tactic when it's under your nose. The thinking part has been written about by Kotov (How to think Like a Grandmaster) Silman, and others. How many of us have analyzed games and seen brilliant combinations we missed completely OTB!