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Sharpen Your Tactics: 1125 Brilliant Sacrifices, Combinations, and Studies Paperback – September 30, 1996
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Sharpen Your Tactics! features 1125 brilliant sacrifices, combinations and studies of chess by Grandmaster Anatoly Lein. Hundreds of these examples of chess wizardry have never before been available in the west. Sharpen Your Tactics! is a unique training book that will be of immense benefit to both the novice and the experienced chess player. Indeed, every class of chess player will benefit from the insights and examples provided by Grandmaster Lein. The examples are rated by difficulty, from easy to very challenging. The problems gradually become more difficult as the reader moves through the book, leading the chess player deeper into the world of high-level chess tactics. Sharpen Your Tactics! will significantly improve the playing of any serious chess student! --Midwest Book Review
From the Publisher
Sharpen your Tactics! is a delightful and most instructive chess combination book. The book starts with easy combinations and progresses to difficult. The unique thing about this combination book is that most of the problems come from master games played in the old Soviet Union and very few of these have been seen in the west. The authors suggest a systematic training method to get the most benefit from your study time. "Chess is 99% tactics" as Teichmann once said, and tactics will greatly strengthen your game after you have seen and studied the more than 1,000 brilliant combinations in "Sharpen your Tactics!."
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Top customer reviews
It is a lot of fun and I recommend it for adults.
For children, I would recommend the book "Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games". Although this alternative book is much bigger and intimidating, it starts with very simple chess problems and gradually grows in difficulty.
Even though there are 1, 2, 3 and 4 stars, that does not mean 4 discrete levels of difficulty. As you move on, the 1 stars get move involved. Smother mates start having vacant squares that the knight attacks in addition to the king. The two star problems sprinkled in are much harder than the 1 stars, but still doable. They are just the ones I have to work for. I even solved a 3 star. Some 2 stars are as easy as 1 stars, and some one stars are as hard as 2 stars, but that often is because I'm seeing a new pattern.
It seems like a lot of problems, but it takes me about 10 minutes to do 2 pages totally 12, with most of that time being spent on a two star problem. It is addicting and easy to do several pages in a sitting. Any time I don't want to get my work done, I go pick up this book and waste lots of time. I play online blitz chess, but I can't say I've seen a noticeable increase in strength yet. So far I'm just more familiar with certain types of positions.
The book is just a large collection of chess puzzles with 6 printed per page. Solutions are provided in the back of the book. The only problem with this set up is that it's easy to accidentally see the solution to the next puzzle. You really have to make a conscious effort not to look. The moves are given using standard chess notation. If you're familiar with that, you're good. Otherwise you'll need to learn it before you can use the book. There is a handy symbol key given in the beginning of the book to explain the meanings of such things as [0-1], #, +-, etc. As the majority of the puzzles are taken from actual games, the solutions also include the names of the players, and the place and year in which the game took place. Those that are not based on an actual game are noted as a theoretical position or composed position. Each puzzle is rated in difficulty from one to four stars. The book is organized so that the problems progress from easy to difficult, although in the middle of the book you will have 1 star puzzles interspersed with 2 and 3 star puzzles. There is no narrative of any kind to explain any of the tactics being used. It's all about learning to recognize certain recurring patterns. It's also important to note that not all of the solutions result in a checkmate. While there are some mate in one or mate in two type puzzles, there are others where you need to find the best moves to gain an advantage. Again, none of this is outright explained in the book. You need to just play through the moves and study the positions yourself.
The chess diagrams themselves are pretty crude looking. They are just plain, low res, black and white diagrams much like you would find printed in a newspaper. But they serve their purpose. In any case, I prefer to set up the positions on my analysis chess set and work out the problems using real chess pieces on a real board. As I mentioned earlier, you really need to play through the moves and the best way to do that is on a real chess set. But, I do like that the book is not overly thick, so it is not a big burden to carry around everywhere.
I've only begun using this book but I feel that it has already helped sharpened my tactics as the title of the book promises. And besides that, it's a good and fun way to keep my mind active in my free time.