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Last night I once again started browsing on my Kindle, looking for any chess books that might have shown up. A new (within the last couple of weeks) e-book called "Tactics Time" came up, and I looked into it.
Authored by Tim Brennan and Anthea Carson, it's a collection of 1001 tactical puzzles culled from REAL GAMES by REAL PLAYERS, like the majority of us, i.e., not masters and grandmasters. Nor are the positions composed and organized by theme and motif, as is the case in a number of other (most) tactical books. Brennan has spent years collecting scoresheets from tournaments and playing over the games, looking for tactical shots where the game did (or should have) take a sudden turn.
Now, I've only played over the first few in the book--I'm writing this at 6:21 AM--but I'm impressed already. What really blows my socks off, though, is the BEAUTIFUL layout and appearance of the diagrams! They are large, clear, subtley shaded, and easy to read on both the regular Kindle and my Kindle Fire. One diagram per page, with the solution on the next page.
And here's the coolest part: I solved the first puzzle by putting the bishop on g5. Imagine my surprise when the solution was actually Bb4! At first I couldn't imagine how the bishop could do any good on that square at all. And then I realized that, since it was black to move, black was at the bottom of the board! Of all the hundreds of books and articles I've ever seen, out of all the thousands and thousands of diagrams I've ever glanced at, Brennan and Carson are the FIRST to make this supremely logical step. The side to play is at the bottom, just as it is in every actual game you've ever played in your life. This is great!
The book is only $4.99 at Amazon, and I can't recommend it too highly.
BTW, I'm just a player. I'm not associated with the authors or the publisher or Amazon in any way. I just found it last night and couldn't wait to share.
I agree with MSteen... this Kindle book is a revelation for players 1500 or lower... well worth the money... many of these positions look like the ones I find myself mired in in my not-so-picturesque OTB games.
The Tactics Time layout is easy to read and manage. I hope Brennan and Carson find the time to do another one.
it sounds good, but i don't really like the idea of only one diagram per page. well maybe that works on the kindle, i don't know, but i'd hate that in a paper book.
Yeah, I usually don't like one diagram per page, but on the Kindle, where you don't have to worry about the amount of paper you're using as a publisher, it works really well.
Also, on the iPad (I use the Kindle reader on the iPad) you can magnify the board to be the width of your iPad. I prefer the board to be bigger since it is (IMHO) closer to the look of OTB (sans the three dimensions).
With Everyman chess ebooks you can actually make the move on the ipad, the pieces move about, saves having to set up a board, incredible.
You need to download the free reader.
I really enjoyed reading Tactics Time as well - it's good to see a chess ebook that is designed so well for the Kindle! I was actually a bit surprised at how few books there were for players like us on the Kindle, so I wrote a short one called 21 checkmate puzzles - which is free (today only, unfortunately) on Amazon:
Let's hope more books are written like this!
Thanks so much :-) I just discovered this post today. Anthea and I really appreciate the kind words!
I just saw this review, thanks!
Be aware that the book is probably for players rated U1200 or U1000 USCF. During an exchange with the author, he claimed that the book is for club players U1800, and he made the claim on the grounds that the puzzles were taken from games where at least one of the players was over 800 or 1000. I don't know if I buy that that makes them geared towards players in the range of 1200-1800, though. I was able to run through 750 problems in a 6-hour stretch.
One thing I liked about the book was that they were from real games, not concocted in the lab. I also liked that the puzzles did not have motifs associated/attached, as if it was a game you were playing.
I don't find the author's claims incompatible with the content of the book.
Many chess coaches, including NM Dan Heisman, recommend that students drill themselves on simple tactics to improve pattern recognition.
If you're only doing tactics to improve calculation skills, you're neglecting one of the biggest benefit of tactical exercises.
Studies have shown that really strong players don't necessarily calculate more...instead, they recognize more patterns than weaker players and recognize patterns more quickly.
As a USCF ~1600 rated player, I can tell you that I got a lot of good out of Tactics Time. The problems are indeed not difficult, but I solved them all repeatedly until I could do all 1001 pretty much instantly. I definitely think it has helped my game a bunch (this is the type of thing that Dan Heisman recommends doing, and this is a perfect level of tactics for it). I have done extremely well in the last few tournaments I've played in (don't play often enough for my rating to catch up with my improvement, honestly), but even if I hadn't, I definitely feel like my tactical vision is improving using this type of thing.
Limiting the audience of this book to U1200 is not close to correct, imo.
You like de la Maza's training program, then?
The side to play comment is understandable, but there's a reason it isn't flipped on other books-to train you to see your opponents ideas
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