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  1. 01 Jun '09 16:29
    Is the best way to study tactics to solve many simple problems over and over again and gradually work up to more difficult problems?

    Or is it better to solve mainly difficult problems to train calculation?

    Also, in order to reinforce the motifs, is it necessary to 'see' the combination played out over a board and actually move the pieces, or is it sufficient to play it through in one's head?
  2. 01 Jun '09 16:51 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by skims
    Is the best way to study tactics to solve many simple problems over and over again and gradually work up to more difficult problems?

    Or is it better to solve mainly difficult problems to train calculation?

    Also, in order to reinforce the motifs, is it necessary to 'see' the combination played out over a board and actually move the pieces, or is it sufficient to play it through in one's head?
    Start simple and gradually increase the difficulty.The more patterns,and the more often you see the same patterns,the better.
    I believe it helps to actually see it played out over a real board though I guess this is open to discussion.Personally I don't do that anymore,to save time I work from the diagrams.

    It's also important to do tactics every day.Better 5 every day than 35 on Monday and none the rest of the week.
  3. 01 Jun '09 17:01
    Can anyone recommend a good, decent-sized all-purpose tactics book for the 1600 player?

    I'm looking for the sort of book that contains just puzzles (no explanation of motifs), with complete solutions, and is large enough to keep me occupied for a while. (Ideally the tactics increse in difficulty, but avoid long variations, since to follow those I'll have to get my board out )

    Surely such a book exists somewhere?
  4. 01 Jun '09 17:15
    Interactive methods are better than books, in my opinion.
    CT-Art 3.0 is excellent, has 1200+ problems & shows all the variations & tells you why a line is good or not so good.
  5. Standard member Blackamp
    Death
    01 Jun '09 17:17 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by skims
    Can anyone recommend a good, decent-sized all-purpose tactics book for the 1600 player?

    I'm looking for the sort of book that contains just puzzles (no explanation of motifs), with complete solutions, and is large enough to keep me occupied for a while. (Ideally the tactics increse in difficulty, but avoid long variations, since to follow those I'll have to get my board out )

    Surely such a book exists somewhere?
    Laszlo Polgar's (father and trainer of Judit and her sisters) 'Chess Middlegames' might suit you. 4158 positions and 77 motifs from actual games.
  6. 01 Jun '09 17:27
    Originally posted by Blackamp
    Laszlo Polgar's (father and trainer of Judit and her sisters) 'Chess Middlegames' might suit you. 4158 positions and 77 motifs from actual games.
    I already have this book

    It's simply the best book I've seen for mating patterns.

    As for general tactics training, it doesn't really suit my needs because the number of tactics problems is quite small and, if I remember correctly, the solutions are situated directly below the puzzle (I could be wrong about this).
  7. Standard member Blackamp
    Death
    01 Jun '09 18:42
    Originally posted by skims
    I already have this book

    It's simply the best book I've seen for mating patterns.

    As for general tactics training, it doesn't really suit my needs because the number of tactics problems is quite small and, if I remember correctly, the solutions are situated directly below the puzzle (I could be wrong about this).
    are you sure you have the same book? mine has motifs like 'minority attack', 'double rook sac', hanging pawns', 'positional piece sac', 'intermediate move' etc. etc. - much more than just mating patterns - and the solutions are all at the back. Polgar produced more than one big book like this, so maybe you have one of the other ones.
  8. 01 Jun '09 18:44
    Originally posted by skims
    Is the best way to study tactics to solve many simple problems over and over again and gradually work up to more difficult problems?

    Or is it better to solve mainly difficult problems to train calculation?

    Also, in order to reinforce the motifs, is it necessary to 'see' the combination played out over a board and actually move the pieces, or is it sufficient to play it through in one's head?
    I think the two are different things, and help with different aspects of your game.

    I believe the first (drilling through a lot of simple problems) helps you realize the tactical opportunities in a given position, like a bulb flashing, makes you say things like "hmm, that looks a little awkward doesn't it" or "would that work?", and the latter helps you accurately analyze the necessary lines with reasonable depth, which is pretty much the real thing.

    for the first, I would recommend chess tactics server, and for calculation training, definitely chesstempo.com standard.
  9. 01 Jun '09 20:44
    Maybe the best aspect of ct-art is that it often refers to the actual games in which the tactical positions came from, so if you want you can watch how they came about from a particular opening/pawn formation as well as memorizing a particular motif.
  10. Standard member Blackamp
    Death
    01 Jun '09 21:10
    Originally posted by philidor position
    I think the two are different things, and help with different aspects of your game.

    I believe the first (drilling through a lot of simple problems) helps you realize the tactical opportunities in a given position, like a bulb flashing, makes you say things like "hmm, that looks a little awkward doesn't it" or "would that work?", and the latter ...[text shortened]... end chess tactics server, and for calculation training, definitely chesstempo.com standard.
    that chesstempo.com looks pretty good. have you tried the endgame trainer?
  11. 02 Jun '09 06:33 / 1 edit
    I'd recommend: "The Complete Chess Workout" by Richard Palliser (has 1200 puzzles many from tournament games in 2007 just before it was published)

    Also: "The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book" by John Emms

    You might also like John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book. Not precisely what you're asking for as it has some text and the choice of seeing a hint prior to the solution and it has tests. Some of the solutions are quite a few moves deep too. It's also small in size so fits neatly in your handbag!
  12. 02 Jun '09 06:41
    Originally posted by Blackamp
    that chesstempo.com looks pretty good. have you tried the endgame trainer?
    I have, but only a few puzzles. I don't think that's the best way to go about endings. but I like the tactics training a lot.
  13. 02 Jun '09 15:15
    OK thanks for the suggestions!

    I need to draw up a study plan for myself (~ 1 hour per day), sinc I'm just returning to the game after an absence of about 18 months, so need to first get back up to my previous level

    Any suggestions for a good study plan?

    What methods do people use on here to improve in tactics/middlegame play?
  14. Standard member Ramned
    The Rams
    02 Jun '09 15:48 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by skims
    OK thanks for the suggestions!

    I need to draw up a study plan for myself (~ 1 hour per day), sinc I'm just returning to the game after an absence of about 18 months, so need to first get back up to my previous level

    Any suggestions for a good study plan?

    What methods do people use on here to improve in tactics/middlegame play?
    I have, at least for the summer, a consistent 3-5 hour study plan. It DOES require a fee, as do most lessons in other arenas.

    1. Sharpen Your Tactics! I do 15 problems, in order. This is an excellent tactics book, seems that it would fit you perfectly if you don't already have it. It only has about 1100 problems, but there it provides at least 500 hours of study-time. This takes me 30 minutes / day. You can find the book probably for 5$ on amazon.com.

    2. Because I am focusing on tactics, as you are, I spend 1 hour on the Tactics Trainer found on chess.com. Unlike Sharpen your tactics, this server does not present a theme of combinations; rather it provides random combinations that are based on how well you perform. You get a Tactics Rating, and all of the problems there are rated, similar to the chess tactics server. However, you are NOT rushed on this server!. It is possibly THE BEST Tactics Server online. You must be a paying member of the site. Keep reading my post though, I assure you it is worth paying to join that site. If you wish only to use the chess.com tactics server for 1 hour / day, I recommend a 25$ annual membership there.

    For you, this above is a very solid 1 hour study-plan. But you gotta do it everyday to notice improvement soon!


    3. I do 1 lesson out of Silman's Complete Endgame Course. (15 minutes).

    4. I watch 1-2 online chess videos. Again, if you subscribe as a full member on chess.com, you will find videos by FMs, GMs, IMs, etc. They are 20-30 minutes long and go over all sorts of topics, from Rook Endgames, to analyzing games from the GM perspective. One of the best way to improve your game. The internet chess club (www.chessclub.com) also has videos analyzing GM games. To be eligible for this feature (and many, many more) it costs 95$ / year on chess.com, 60$ / year on internet chess club. (30 - 60 minutes).

    5. Next, I complete 10 lessons from 1 course in the program CHESS MENTOR. You can either find this online (type it into google) and purchase it, or, even better, become a premium member on chess.com because they have the biggest version of chess mentor. Basically, it is a program written by chess grandmasters and IMs like Jeremy Silman. There are hundreds of courses that cover everything you can imagine. Visit this link to find out more: http://www.chess.com/chessmentor/courses.html. (30-60 minutes).

    6. I also make use of cludi's chess blog. He used to be a user here - he has moved to chess.com. Lots of good stuff there - the best of which is the Test Yourself Videos. He sets you up with a GM game and you try to pick the next move, then he shows you the move that the GM made and you're evaluated. This takes a solid 90 minutes.

    7. I will soon be moving on to reading "The Art of Attack" in chess. This is a book that teaches attacking themes and a few defensive strategies. I plan to get through it by the end of the summer.

    8. Also will be going through "Pawn Structure Chess" by Andrew Soltis. This is a pretty advanced book going over how to reach 15 types of pawn structures and how they have been played by GM's. I also hope to finish this one by the end of the summer.

    MAXIMUM TOTAL TIME: 6.25 hours / day.
    TOTAL INVESTMENT: 100$ for the summer and ~500 hours of the summer


    Finally, typically on weekends, I'll play a few games on the internet chess club.
    ================================================

    If you wish to find out more about a chess.com membership, or more specifics about my study plan, PM me. My OTB Standard Rating has moved from 1500 to 1700 and I have used this study-plan for just 2-3 months. My goal is 1800 by the end of the summer.

    By no means is this an easy plan! I also work a part-time job so I admit that it is about impossible to stick to it every single day. In reality I only get an average of 3 hours / day. In the fall I will have to concentrate more on my studies...but I am considering going the distance in chess rather than going for a super-degree.

    Sorry for the loooong post hopefully you can adapt some of the ideas though. My endgame and tactics have already made significant improvement.
  15. 02 Jun '09 16:00
    I am not sure studying tactics is so useful... Can it even be studied? I never did so... don't you just get it with practicing? as mentioned above, even most tactics "training" is actually only practice. Wouldn't positional stuff be more useful to learn? As said in a another thread, what stronger players see is not so much tactical things, but first of all obvious positional mistakes...