Monday, February 27, 2006

Tactics Books: Brits vs Americans

I recently got two chess books on chess tactics in the mail (hey, I had to see if Amazon's new service, where they pay for 2-day delivery, was legit). Both books were highly rated at Amazon, and I can see why. The first, creatively titled Chess Tactics, by Littlewood, is a great overview. Each chapter contains four sections: one explaining the tactic, the second describing how to exploit it, the third describing how to defend against it (!), and the fourth contains problems. The second is Nunn's Learn Chess Tactics, a recent release. Each chapter goes over a tactic and includes problems. What is nice about the Nunn book is that the solutions section takes up almost a third of the book, as he provides unusually detailed explanations of the best moves.

For Precircle 3 in the Divine Tragedy I was going to read Seirawan's 'Winning Chess Tactics.' I am not so sure about this anymore. It just doesn't seem as good as either of the two books I just got. I will probably work through the two Brits' books in parallel for Precircle 3. Then, and only then, will I do the tactical circles.

In the meantime, I am still working through Wolff's excellent Idiot's Guide to Chess for Precircle 2. It is by far the best introductory chess book I own. While I haven't read them yet, the chapters on strategy look great, and include lots of helpful tests. My question is, where are the computer programs that emphasize strategic understanding for beginners? If I were better at chess, I'd make lots of money making programs! Perhaps Psalcido will exploit this hole in the chess software industry. :)

I have been spending too much time on chess lately, unfortunately, and will probably try to keep it to an hour a day from now on, until I am near the end of the Circles. It has become a kind of drug, and I need to cut back. I hope I don't have to go cold turkey....

5 Comments:

Blogger Patrick said...

Welcome to the 19th century. :)

It's great that after cutting your teeth on the 21st century "TV dinner method" you are now going analog stylie with some terrific books.

I started with Winning Chess by Chernev which is a LOT like the littlewood (snicker) book. Nunn's book i have read and it is also 10/10. [Art of Checkmate is the other tactic book that is dear to my heart. Got it $4 used.]

You can learn simple strategy from Weapons by Pandolfini! (especially about IQP)
Be a luddite; no need for computer proggy.

3/02/2006 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Pandolfini is good, but doesn't include any exercises. I prefer Wolff, because it is a more systematic approach to strategy and has exercises. I don't like the 'encyclopedia' style of pandolfini's book, though it does contain some great stuff.

For hard-core exercise crunching, I generally prefer the computer. There isn't anything for beginners I've seen for computer strategy.

3/02/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger takchess said...

I had both of those books out at the same time from interlibrary loan and liked them. There is a really sweet greek gift trap in littlewood from a queen pawn opening in one of the early chapters.

3/02/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger ronrag said...

hey dude... don't take chess seriously... it will only give you a lot of head aches! :)

3/26/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Ronrag, ya got that right.

3/26/2006 12:20:00 PM  

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