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This is the second in Seirawan's four volumes, taking the reader from the very basics of chess through appreciation of advanced play. He does a remarkable job of discussing tactics that usually appear only in books for advanced players and communicating them to anyone with a grasp of playing fundamentals. The first part of the book deals with basic tactics and how they can be used individually and in combination. In the second part, Seirawan introduces some of the great chess tacticians and their games, further illustrating tactics as they work out in real-life play.
"An excellent book to improve your tactical play."--Chesscorner.com
"Seirawan does a remarkable job of discussing tactics that usually appear only in books for advanced players and communicating them to anyone with a grasp of playing fundamentals." --Alude.com
"This book is the most thorough treatment of tactics that I have ever seen." --Evan Kreider, ChessPraxis
Not overly basic and not too difficult would be the way to size up the tactics in "Winning Chess Tactics" by Yasser Seirawan. It will be honestly admitted by 90 of all chess players that they win or lose most of their games due to the use of a tactic: May be a pin, or a fork, discovered attack or due to a backrank mate idea?
* Tactics are well organized by "theme". The idea of the tactic and limited examples are provided for each.
** The writing style is usually made clear and understandable. I found only a couple of places where I thought different wording could have improved the definition or understanding of a theme.
*** The quality of analysis is there - couldn't find any mistakes in analysis, but there were some silly typos.
**** Most of the important tactical themes are covered but I would also recommend getting a book on chess traps (i.e. Winning Chess Traps: Tactics in the Opening", or "101 Chess Opening Traps") to fill in the gaps and supplement this material.
This is one of the better books on general chess tactics and I can recommend it.
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There are three types of books that you should learn tactics from, 1. a general book on tactics that tells you what they are and explains the mechanics of them by name (THIS BOOK!!!), 2. a workbook that has hundreds of tactical puzzles to solve, and 3. chess traps book that covers tactics in openings showing how you get their from the start.
Seirawan's book is very clear and undstandable. A good starting place!
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I usually write reviews for books with little customer feedback; in this case, however, I make an exception. This book is intended for beginners, and being one, I feel it appropriate to share some what I hope will be valuable feedback. First, some personal chess background, which when reviewing a chess book is essential. I'm currently rated from 1300 to 1400 by the Chessmaster program, Yahoo, and Chess.net, which makes me an advanced beginner, I guess. I've just read and studied through the entire book, and the answer is YES you will improve. My rating increased by ~ 200 points. I did some research when I decided I wanted to start learning chess seriously, and found that after learning basic chess: piece value, movement, concepts on space, time, some basic openings, basic rook and queen endings, etc .. the next step was working on improving my tactics. This is the only book on tactics I've studied so far, but I've looked over a couple more. Seirawan's compares nicely. It has thorough explanations on tactical concepts such as pins, forks, skewers, decoys, windmills, and such. However, as any chess player with some experience will say, tactics is all about practice. This is where this book falls short. It has 92 problems that serve to strengthen tactical concepts, and 45 end book puzzles, with no clues. Though good for starters, this is nowhere near what a player needs to really strengthen his skills. I suggest buying either or both "The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book" and "1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations." Both have 1001 tactical chess puzzles, and by the time I work through one of these I hope to have improved a great deal. WCT has two main strengths.Read more ›
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There are many problems with this book, and it's a shame because the book has many 4- and 5-star reviews that will most likely overshadow this one. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to write a review on this book.
1. The tests in this book have several major problems. Usually there are 4-6 tests for each tactic. The first two questions are usually on par with the examples, or slightly harder. Then the questions drastically get tougher. Like one reviewer pointed out... one question will require a simple 2-move combination, and the next requires you to figure out the 100% perfect move-list for a 10-move checkmate. Sorry, I'm not a grandmaster Yassir! The problem is that the tests don't progressively get tougher. There are usually more tougher tests than easy ones too, which I think only demoralizes the reader when they realize that they can't figure more than 30% of them out.
2. Sometimes the first question is actually one of the toughest! This is rare, and it happens! Great method of instruction! (sarcasm). Another problem is that none of the examples are challenging, but Yassir expects the reader to use the vague general principle taught and exercise it to master-level strength in the tests. It's like the questions were purposefully tougher than the examples, and I don't understand the reason.
3. There are not enough easy tests to cement the pattern of the tactic in the reader's mind. In fact, there is often only 1 test of each pattern for the tactic being demonstrated. As we know, pattern recognition only happens with constant repetition, so the book is more or less useless on this front. Maybe the problems in "Chess Tactics for Students" were simpler, but at least I can recognize those tactics rather quickly at a glance.Read more ›