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Sharpen Your Tactics (Anglais) Broché – 5 septembre 1996

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Book by Lein Anatoly Archangelsky Boris

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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82 internautes sur 91 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
the tactics training book race . . . 16 juillet 2002
Par rationalist - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I have all these tactics books and the question is: which one? Well, it essentially comes down to this book or Fred Reinfeld's combo book. Hays' Combination Challenge is just Fred's book in algebraic notation (but useless if you already have Fred's book, unless you hate descriptive notation), and the other book in this genre, 303 Tactical Chess Problems, is for absolute beginner's (1100-1400). I'm personally 1650-1700 USCF (1750 ICC) and would like to tell the differences between these books in my opinion. Lein's book, above, has the following good points : 1) scrambled themes (like a real chess game, no hints as to what you're looking for), 2) the last 200 puzzles (the 4 stars) are harder than anything in Fred's book by a factor of 5!, 3) far more accurate, only found 1 error, so far, by my looking with Fritz/craty18, 4) algebraic notation, 5) many puzzles feature pins+skewers+double attacks+ . . . like REAL combos, not one ISOLATED amateurish tactic. Negatives: 1) overemphasis on mate and stalemate it feels like 75% of problems involve mating threat (in some ways, therefore, oriented to beginning players, and ruining the quality of better players by encouraging you to attack always, even if the position doesn't warrant it . . . so play becomes weak and trappy with overuse), 2) if you find a weakness in your play, like double attacks were weak for me with a Chessbase quiz, you can't get a 100 problems of that theme in one place with which to train (no thematic grouping), 3) the focus on combos of complexity versus single themes makes it hard to implement this stuff in your play -- e.g. you usually plan discovered checks, so having that motif in your head helps you plan. Lein's technique just sharpens tactical OBSERVATION not tactical PLANNING, and 4) some of the problems esp number 1000 and following (at least for me at 1700) are just too hard to do without a board (people who can do this whole book without a board are either not finished, lying, or over USCF expert class . . . Lein says in the introduction to use a board for 3 and 4 stars (although only the 4 stars require, the final position in my head on the 3 stars is occasionally fuzzy . . . ). In short, I prefer ol' Fred's book for actual training, and if I want to see a fancy combo I look at an Alekhine game or read the Informant combo museum piece (Anthology of Combos . . .). Also, my 6 year old son (600 rating) does the first 100 or so problems easily, and as the end problems are like 1900+, you can see the book tries to go from 400 to master, which is a little ridiculous, so that no matter who you are, only like 150 of the 1000+ problems are pitched right at your level. Fred's book is all about 1400-1900 I think, with some reservations at both ends of that range. So for me, my chess weight-lifting tool is still --- Reinfeld's book.
33 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great tactics - improvements of 1001 tactics format 24 juin 2003
Par Tim B - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I really liked the format of this book. I love tactics books. The kind with no text in them, and page after page of nothing but chess diagrams. The kind that people on an airplane look at you funny when you are "reading" them.
This book is very similar to the other tactics books out there, but with some improvements that I think are nice. One improvement is that the tactics are labeled with a * symbol to show how difficult the problem is. The more stars the harder it is. This is a nice break from the Reinfeld books which will have a mate in one followed by a mate in ten, and you have no idea beforehand how hard the problem is going to be. I personally like to have some idea of what I am getting into.
Another nice feature is that the answers show where the game came from. I think that this is a nice touch, and gives credit to the people that actually played the game. A lot of books don't do this, and you see puzzles where you know where the game came from - "Oh yeah this is the opera box game", etc, but the author gives no credit where it is due.
I also like that the answers are in algebraic notation, as opposed to descriptive ("e4" versus "pawn to king 4"). Reinfeld's books still have the old school style. One note is that the notation is not really standard. Bxe3 would be Be3, which is a little odd. I got confused at least once when looking up an answer and did not see the "x". I assumed I had the wrong answer when I didn't. But once you know this is the format they use, you can adjust. But it would be nice to see the standard used in the first place.
Overall great tactics book. If you like doing tactics til your eyes bleed, and want something that could be used as part of a "400 points in 400 days" type of study program, this is a good one to add to your collection.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Phenominally better than the Reinfeld book 31 juillet 2005
Par Steven - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book is spectacular. It doesn't just throw you in head first as the Reinfeld book does. It actually teaches you thematic combinations and how to look for them. In a deceptively simple way, this book walks you through foundational concepts and later on in to very sophisticated applications of it.

The secret to tactics training isn't that you spend hours and hours and then you finally figure out that one puzzle. You do loads and loads of EASY diagrams that have repetitive tactical themes until you begin seeing them in your sleep. Suddenly your attacking prowess doubles. You see mates that you never saw before. You get the patterns, you understand what it LOOKS like. And then you begin to apply multiple patterns in combination. And that's the beginning of high level chess.

This book does exactly that. Not only that, but you will see some amazingly simple combinations that will literally take your breath away: ridiculous combinations from Tal for example (where he sacks three heavy pieces and then mates with a pawn).

This is easily the best tactics book I've purchased (among Winning Chess, Reinfeld's, and Lev Alburt [though I like the Lev Ablurt book too]). It is certainly usable for all but very very beginner. If you are ranked anywhere above 1100 then this book is for you.
25 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good Selections, But Revised Edition Needed 25 juillet 2005
Par 2 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Sharpen Your Tactics! presents a diagrammed position from 1125 games and studies, each with a tactical device ready to be unleashed. Occasionally the solutions include one or two brief variations. The diagrams are rated in difficulty from one-star (easiest) to four-star (hardest). The problems are excellent, but the book has major problems and needs revision.

Many of the exercises, perhaps 70% of them, appear in the Convekta chess tactics programs: Chess Tactics for Beginners, Chess Tactics for Intermediate Players, and Chess Tactics Art 3.0. If you use those programs, this book feels redundant.

Just like the Convekta programs, this book splits many combinations into parts. First, they give you a diagram that asks for the final move of, say, a three-move combination. Then, maybe four pages later, they give you a diagram that asks for all three moves of the same combination. Your chances of getting it right are increased from your earlier experience. I like this touch.

As I was checking the solutions, something seemed amiss, and I started giving them to Fritz. Over the course of a year, I found 16 clear errors out of about 150 positions checked. It seems a likely conjecture, then, that perhaps 10% of the alleged solutions are flawed. I am talking about very serious flaws, too, where the defending side can hold against the recommended moves. Rechecking the solutions on Fritz is a ton of work. We should not have to do it. The publisher and authors should computer-check everything and issue a revised edition.

I purchased Sharpen Your Tactics! two years ago, and it is falling apart. The cover is off and many pages have come loose. I hold the book together with rubber bands. (Apparently the success of Reinfeld has given publishers the evil idea that an exercise book sells more copies if it falls apart.) The paper is cheap, the diagrams fuzzy. It is hard on the eyes.

Aside from a brief introduction, Sharpen Your Tactics! has no words. In contrast, Alburt (Chess Tactics for the Tournament Player) gives nice definitions of diversion, decoy, skewer, etc., and comments on the solutions. Moreover, John Nunn, in Nunn's Puzzle Book, gives you verbal setups, hints, and crystal-clear explanations of every solution. Regrettably, Sharpen Your Tactics! gives no verbal explanations of anything. This silence diminishes the value of the exercises. Many times I could not understand why the tactic worked until I set it up on Fritz and played through some side variations. This takes time and effort and should have been included in the price of the book.

The best thing about Sharpen Your Tactics! is its selections: these examples are remarkably similar to what we see in tournament games. This makes it different from Reinfeld, for example, who gives many "beginner positions" where one side has all his pieces developed and the other side has made only pawn moves, producing at best a patzer's wizardry useful only against the neighbor who learned how the pieces move last Tuesday. Most of the positions in Sharpen Your Tactics! are from actual tournament games between titled players. The remaining positions are well-selected studies that have obvious practical application.

Furthermore, the progression of problems is extraordinarily well thought-out. With helpful sequencing, the exercises steadily deepen your handling of the pieces, as you learn step-by-step how knights on outpost squares so easily generate forks, how rooks on the seventh rank threaten everything, how queens become monsters when they are centralized, and even how tactics help you win a variety of practical endgames. When you do such a fine sequence of problems, you feel as if you are not simply learning tactics but actually taking a chess course.

In light of how similar the selections are to the Convekta programs, one wonders if they are both borrowed from some standard work available in Russian. Although the problems have no labels by topic, you can deduce a series of topics: near the beginning you go through winning a queen, then winning a rook, winning a knight, winning a bishop, and finally winning a pawn. Then you go through knight checkmates, bishop checkmates, rook checkmates, queen checkmates, and pawn checkmates. Next you get a set of drawing combinations. Then you get a series of the best combinations of each year starting from about 1860 and continuing to the late twentieth century. Then you get a number of attacks on the uncastled king, then attacks on the queenside castled position, then attacks on the kingside castled position. The book concludes with many problems where you sacrifice material to destroy the pawn protection around the enemy king and deliver checkmate.

That same progression of topics, with many of the same positions, appears in the Convekta programs Chess Tactics for Beginners, Chess Tactics for Intermediate Players, Chess Tactics Art 3.0. Yet in Sharpen Your Tactics! these topics go unlabeled, perhaps because it is cheaper to produce the book that way. With its poor binding, its unchecked solutions, its cheap paper, etc., this book virtually screams out, "We made it on the cheap!"

In sum, Sharpen Your Tactics! has outstanding selections, but nothing is explained, the pages fall out of the book, the diagrams are unclear, the paper is cheap, the themes are unlabeled, and about 10% of the "solutions" are wrong.

To judge Sharpen Your Tactics! in perspective, we might compare it to perhaps the best tactics exercise book available in English: NUNN'S PUZZLE BOOK from Gambit, the only chess publisher run entirely by Grandmasters. It also has good selections, but every solution is clearly explained, its binding is strong and attractive, its paper is high-quality, its print and diagrams are crystal-clear, and its solutions are computer-checked. Nunn's Puzzle Book sets a high standard that Sharpen Your Tactics! fails to meet.

So may we respectfully suggest a revised edition of Sharpen Your Tactics! Let us see computer-checked solutions, a strong and attractive binding, higher-quality paper, clearer print and diagrams, and explanations of the solutions. These welcome improvements would bring Sharpen Your Tactics! up to standard, making it a truly superb tactics exercise book.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
My favorite collection of tactical problems 27 octobre 2006
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I've had this book a little over a month now and am about 20% of the way through. The book is nothing but problems, 1125 in all, with clear diagrams and highly accurate solutions in algebraic notation.

The goal of the book is to build up your recognition of tactical patterns. To achieve this, the problems are annotated not by motif, but by difficulty. The goal is to work through all the problems relatively quickly. If you get stuck, look up the answer and move on. In general the problems progress in difficulty, but the patterns built up working on the earlier problems help solve the harder ones later. Marking by difficulty allows one to decide when to "give up" and look at the solution, unlike the Reinfeld book for example, where you never know if you are simply being blind, or you've hit one of the really hard problems.

This book has no hints...no "spot the Pin", no "White has just opened the position, why was this a mistake?". So for general practice it is a little more realistic. This book does NOT explain the motifs. If you want that, try Nunn's "Learn Chess Tactics" or one of the similar books by Polgar, Littlewood etc. These books are also better if you find you have a weakness in a particular motif and want to practice just that one (my favorite here, is Muller's "ChessCafe Puzzle Book").

The key is, though they are not labelled as such, the problems are organized by motif and pattern. As you move through the problems you will come across a series of closely related positions. For example, you might get 10 back rank mates in a row, then 10 knight forks. I often find I will hit the first of these, struggle a bit (though usually the first in a series is one of the easier ones), then the second one is quicker because the pattern is starting to establish itself, and so on. So the book really does contain "hints", but my experience is that discovering the pattern yourself cements it more than having it explained and then exercising a series of examples.

For me at least, this approach seems to work better than that in the classic Reinfeld books, and "Sharpen Your Tactics" has replaced them at my bedside.
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