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Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games Paperback – August 13, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you love chess puzzles, this massive tome is for you. It's simply one chess challenge after another. With problems fit for beginner and grand master alike, Polgar's collection will feed your craving for years. Better yet, it's a major bargain. When I first pulled it off the shelf I was expecting a price tag three times higher. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bruce Pandolfini is perhaps the most experienced chess teacher in North America. He is the author of eighteen instructional chess books, and was portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the film Searching for Bobby Fischer.

László Polgár is a Hungarian chess teacher whose writing and strategies are respected and known worldwide. He holds the title of master coach and coached his daughters, Susan, Judit, and Sophia, to several world championships and 11 Olympic gold medals. They host the annual EU Polgár Chess Festival in Budapest.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Paperback: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579125549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579125547
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The word is WOW! Gigantic collection of chess puzzles. So many I have only just gotten started after a month!!! Question is which ones are going to help me improve my results in actual play. There are so many, and so many don't seem to be from real games and are filler. [...] But you get a lot of problems in this book and if you want everything probably ever made into a problem this is the book!
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Format: Hardcover
CHESS training in 5333 + 1 positions. By [Laszlo] Polgar. 1104 pages. Koln: Konemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 1994. ISBN 3-89508-094-2 (hbk). Reissued by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers as 'Chess : 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games', with a new Introduction by Bruce Pandolfini. ISBN: 1884822312 (hbk).
Laszlo Polgar (1946- ), Hungarian Olympic champion, master coach, and father and trainer of the famous Polgar sisters, has here given us a training book to beat them all, one intended for beginners and amateurs from the basic level to master candidate (2,200 Elo). Since it includes the basic rules of chess and explains, with the help of large diagrams, how each piece moves, and since the foreword and all explanatory matter have been given in no less than ten languages - English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Hungarian, Russian, and Japanese - it will appeal to chess lovers of almost any age, level, or nationality.
Basically the book consists of over 5000 problems, many taken from over-the-board play, and most of which can be solved within a few minutes - though if you're anything like me some will probably take you much longer! Polgar explains that there are "very few books containing chess problems, games and endgames which are not only easy to solve but elegant and instructive as well. And there are even fewer that offer a sufficient number for regular and intensive training over a relatively long period." His aim is to help us develop our tactics and powers of pattern recognition, and his book, which is great fun to work through and involves practically no reading at all, certainly does seem to improve one's ability to see the possibilities a position may hold.
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Format: Paperback
I am a scholastic chess coach, teaching kids from how the pieces move all the way up to about 1500-rated. I now require every student to have his or her own copy of this book! This school year, my students (cumulatively) completed more than 5000 of these puzzles, some more than 500 individually.

Polgar doesn't have a lot of text here to read, just tons of puzzles, most of which are game-likely situations. One of the hardest things to teach students is often board vision and cooperation of pieces into attacks and mating attacks. Through repetition, this book helps players learn the patterns that will present them opportunities in their tournament games. My players that are serious about their improvement have, without exception, found that this book has bumped their ratings at least 200 points (some 400 points!) in less than a year!

As a coach, I have found that offering internal club recognition for completing puzzles such as these also improved club-wide interest. Additionally, many of the puzzles you find elsewhere, whether in a book or on-line, will have escape possibilities from the stated "mate-in-two" or other move numbers. Of the 5334 puzzles in this book, my students and I have only found ONE with such a problem!

I would not hesitate to give this book the highest possible review rating as a teaching manual - you don't need to re-write the book when Lazlo has already done it for you
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Format: Paperback
To become a virtuoso in anything, the key is practice. Scarlatti wrote piano studies that were challenging, taught the basics of music theory through the composition, and sounded beautiful at the same time. Not all of the puzzles in this book are beautiful, but then neither are the positions I sometimes seem to find myself in when playing a 1300+ player. The thing I noticed about these puzzles is that they are very carefully organized, showing you every way a particular piece can mate with just a pawn companion, for example. In other words, variations. I have found myself beginning to understand the power and limitations of the pieces and pawns in a much deeper way. My latest tournament games were 30 minute games lost only because my opponents were able to avoid the inevitable mate by playing for time instead of any real equality. I need to speed up my calculation a bit, but my tactics are sound. This book will remain within reach as long as I am playing competitve chess.
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Format: Paperback
This has got to have more chess problems than any other single chess book ever written. If you want want is lots and lots then this book cannot be beat.

But the very fact that this book is so massive creates problems of it's own. A simple question to start with: Do you have almost unlimited time (years and years) to go over about every problem, instructive and not so instructive? Or are you more interested in having well selected problems that are instructive and focus on the most common patterns you are going to come across in actual play?

This book, is loaded with what I call a lot of "filler" problems and a lot of material that is quickly tossed in without much thought toward making this book logically progress from one pattern to another. Simple grouping of "general" types of tactics and ideas is not going to make it.

This book deserves some credit just for being jamm packed. But I would rather suggest tactics/problem books with a more well thought out direction. For a beginner or just beyond that level Bruce Pandolfini's, "Beginning Chess: Over 300 Elementary Problems" and for an intermediate player, Emms "Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book" have condensed plenty of problems into what is more practical to learn.
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