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  1. 03 Nov '08 20:35
    They say the best way to improve up to a certain level is tactics.

    I would like to stress the tactics point a bit further (farther? skip it as Groucho would say ).

    It is very important to study tactics.

    Ken Smith (owner of Chess Digest and master level player) used to say "If you are rated under 1800, your first name is tactics, your middle name is tactics, and your last name is tactics !!! "

    The 1001 books by Reinfeld are great in this respect.

    I think in addition to mere tactics with a side to win, it is useful to look at how those tactics came about (lack of development/grabbing material/castling to early/oversight/etc.)

    Getting an idea of what caused the actual tactic to occur can help very much.

    That's why I usually prefer miniature games over bare tactics.
    1000 Best Short Games Of Chess by Chernev has 1000 miniatures where players of all levels go down in flames. Some games even have brief explanations of how the side lost.

    Another good book is 100 Soviet Chess Miniatures by Clarke.

    You kind of learn the ebb and flow of the game from studying the complete miniature.

    Another good place would be to study gambit openings. Many beautiful tactics can be found in openings that were later proven unsound.

    I am talking about lines like 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nxe5 dxe4 4.Bc4 Qg5 5.Nxf7 ? (5.Bxf7+ puts the line in trouble).

    Here's some nice tactics from the Smith-Morra

    1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 Nf6 ?! runs right into e5.

    1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.0-0 Ng4 when 9.h3 ?? runs right into Nd4 !!

    There are obviously many more exciting variations from studying gambits.

    I have actually been to that chess tactics site (emarald??) and didn't care for it. I felt rushed. The whole scoring system added pressure rather than enjoyment. I achieved 2100 in 1 minute chess (at FICS) just from studying miniatures, studying tactics in books, studying gambits, and experience from playing.

    I hope this helps anyone out there.

  2. 03 Nov '08 20:41
    Originally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    They say the best way to improve up to a certain level is tactics.

    I would like to stress the tactics point a bit further (farther? skip it as Groucho would say ).

    It is very important to study tactics.

    Ken Smith (owner of Chess Digest and master level player) used to say "If you are rated under 1800, your first name is tactics, you ...[text shortened]... ying gambits, and experience from playing.

    I hope this helps anyone out there.

    this is interesting Paul, how does one ,'study', tactics, surely it is just a matter of doing zillions of tactical exercises, is it not? fingers crossed, hopefully i am wrong!
  3. 03 Nov '08 20:48
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    this is interesting Paul, how does one ,'study', tactics, surely it is just a matter of doing zillions of tactical exercises, is it not? fingers crossed, hopefully i am wrong!
    That is the most common way and probably best. You can also practice setting positions up where common tactical themes are present... this will help you with pattern recognition also.
  4. 03 Nov '08 21:05 / 1 edit
    I am thinking of getting the cherven book, but it seems its quite collectible and a bit pricey.
  5. 03 Nov '08 22:01
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    I am thinking of getting the cherven book, but it seems its quite collectible and a bit pricey.
    Do what I do before a purchase.
    Go to amazon.com, ebay.com, half.com, abebooks.com, and labatechess.

    See who has it for the best price.

    I don't think that I paid more than $12 or so for my copy. If you don't see it for that price, just wait. A copy should pop up on ebay before too long.

  6. 03 Nov '08 22:06
    Originally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    Do what I do before a purchase.
    Go to amazon.com, ebay.com, half.com, abebooks.com, and labatechess.

    See who has it for the best price.

    I don't think that I paid more than $12 or so for my copy. If you don't see it for that price, just wait. A copy should pop up on ebay before too long.

    It is $12 on amazon before shipping. That may be too much. Bear in mind this is an old book and in descriptive notation.

    It's not a must have but I like it.
  7. 03 Nov '08 22:12 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    That is the most common way and probably best. You can also practice setting positions up where common tactical themes are present... this will help you with pattern recognition also.
    I think the 1001 Combinations/1001 Mates books have the tactics chaptered by themes. There is a final chapter called potpourri with everything, if I'm not mistaken. I seem to recall the Polgar book titled Chess with one,two, and three move combinations being similar. By playing the same or very similar tactic over and over, rather than randomly covering everything, I do think you tend to learn it better.
  8. 03 Nov '08 22:12
    Originally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    It is $12 on amazon before shipping. That may be too much. Bear in mind this is an old book and in descriptive notation.

    It's not a must have but I like it.
    I can get it on amazon.co.uk for about nine pounds, i don't mind the old notation, having the faber copy of my sixty memorable games by Fischer and seem to get by ok, although sometimes in the really long variations i could miss something. - thanks Paul another book that you recommend after recommending that i don't buy any hehehe!
  9. 03 Nov '08 22:15
    My gripe was mainly about studying openings/ opening books. Also, I dislike how every author comes out with a "must have" book that everyone praises for a certain period of time. Then in a year or less, the book is virtually forgotten, while the classics are recomended year after year.
  10. 03 Nov '08 22:16
    Do you want a list of THE CLASSICS ?
  11. 03 Nov '08 22:43
    Originally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    Do you want a list of THE CLASSICS ?
    not only do i desire a list, but a review as well!
  12. 03 Nov '08 23:12
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    I am thinking of getting the cherven book, but it seems its quite collectible and a bit pricey.
    This is a wind up. I'm walking into a trap.

    I posted this not two days ago.

    http://www.gambitchess.com/semi/db6.htm

    Get Chernev's 1,000 short games and Du Mont's 200 Miniatures. (they are free).

    Strip off all the PGN data - print them out and play them over on a full sized set.
    It's a fun way to to learn traps, openings, spot blunders and watch how to crush them.
    All these games are played by humans, Watch their lemons getting the treatment
    in the most instructive ways.
  13. 03 Nov '08 23:37
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    This is a wind up. I'm walking into a trap.

    I posted this not two days ago.

    http://www.gambitchess.com/semi/db6.htm

    Get Chernev's 1,000 short games and Du Mont's 200 Miniatures. (they are free).

    Strip off all the PGN data - print them out and play them over on a full sized set.
    It's a fun way to to learn traps, openings, spot blunders and ...[text shortened]... e played by humans, Watch their lemons getting the treatment
    in the most instructive ways.
    yes pawn ma man, awesome site, in this age of computers, my chess base program flicks right through these games, no need to set up the pieces, oh know its a lost art, but what are we to do, we are so used to convenience, love the games, almost every one brings a smile to the face - kind regards and thanks Robbie!
  14. 03 Nov '08 23:40
    'Chess Combination as a Fine Art' by Golcz and Keres (based on the writings of Kurt Richter) is the most beautiful little collection of tactics I have ever seen.

    I take this book everywhere I go and never tire of it (and believe me, I tire of most things quicker than a kid with ADD.

    I have an ancient copy in a felt cover and have never seen it reprinted anywhere. I wold love to reprint it myself so others can enjoy it, so if anyone has any info on it please let me know.

    Oh, and if you see a copy-BUY IT!
  15. 04 Nov '08 00:57
    Rec'd.

    And when you have solved the last one.

    You start from the beginning again.

    I have seen the bare positions in a PGN - there are nothing without
    the Richter notes (and clues). A delightful book to read and absorb.