Review: Chess Tactics for Champions

Oct 19, 2015, 6:46 AM |

The past few years I've been focusing heavily on tactic training, as recommended by many chess trainers. It started with the Seven Circles back in the second half of 2013, using the first 1200 problems from the 

Manuals of Chess Combination 1A and 1B. From there, I went on to do similar repetitious study (though not seven iterations!) of other tactics problem sets.

Now I'm tackling Chess Tactics for Champions by GM Susan Polgar and am in my second of four planned iterations. I completed the first iteration in 15 hours from 9/15/15 to 9/28/15, in one hour a day sessions. My overall score was 89.39%.

Now, for the second pass, I'm doing 2 hours sessions and hope to have it completed in 12 hours. The third pass will be to complete all problems in two days and then all problems in one day for the fourth and final pass.

The Book

Chess Tactics for Champions is a very nice selection of just over 500 intermediate-level tactics broken into the common tactics motifs. I call it intermediate because most of the problems are about equivalent to Manual of Chess Combinations 1B mixed a bit with Manual of Chess Combinations 2 (which I'm also slowly working through with a board and pieces). So, I would put the ratings of the problems between 1300-1800, which is slightly harder than most beginner's tactics books.

In addition to having wonder problem selection, the book gives a few pages of explanation on each motif, which is helpful for the rank beginners. More experienced players can always use the review.

Here is a representative problem from the book.

Wrap Up

I definitely recommend this tactics book as either a first book on tactics or as a second or third problem set after going through a beginner's book (e.g. Manual of Chess Combinations 1A or similar).