New Book "Is Your Move Safe?" now available

New Book "Is Your Move Safe?" now available


My 12th chess book, "Is Your Move Safe?" is now available both from the publisher Mongoose Press and from Amazon.

The idea for this book is simple and can be contrasted to other books: In almost all tactic books, you are told that the opponent's position is not safe, and are asked to find a tactic that will win material or checkmate (or, if you are behind, force a draw). In "Is Your Move Safe?" you are put in the common position (almost every move!) that you have one or more candidate moves and have to determine if each is safe. In other words, you are trying to prevent giving your opponent the same kind of tactics that occur in the other tactics books.

Depending on your opponent's level of play, the number of tactics he may give you might be only a few, at most, each game. But on most of your own moves, if you are not careful, you might give your opponent a tactic. Therefore, your tactical ability is more often used to prevent yourself from making unsafe moves that it is to find combintions winning material after your opponent's moves.

"Is Your Move Safe?" is a puzzle book with that in mind. Each position shows one or more candidates and you have to determine if they are safe. There are five chapters:

  • Basic Safety Issues
  • Openings
  • Middlegame
  • Endgame
  • How Many Safe Moves?

The final chapter focuses on those positions where the opponent has either put you in check, or made a strong threat. One of the first things you should do in those cases is to ask "How many safe moves do I have?" before trying to decide which is best.

Some other notes on the book:

  • 269 pages - if you count each candidate move given as a puzzle, there are hundreds of puzzles.
  • As in real games (from which many of the positions arise), the answers are not always Black and White. Sometimes a move may not be safe, but is a good speculative sacrifice, or it might be safe but not best, or even that good.
  • All answers were checked by a strong computer engine
  • This is not a book for beginners. There are some fairly simple problems, especially in Chapter 1 to introduce a concept, but on the whole the book would even be challenging to players at my level (NM). I would say a range of 1400-2300 would be about right. Below that a more more basic book on tactics like my Back to Basics: Tactics or John Bain's Chess Tactics for Students, would be more appropriate.
  • As with all my books, I not only give answers, but intersperse as much general, practical advice as I can. These "principles" or guidelines would then apply not only to the particular problem being addressed, but any position with similar aspects. Hopefully after reading this book, you will be much more aware of the safety of your moves and your ability to make them safe will be greatly enhanced Smile.

NB: Is Your Move Safe? was voted the Best Instructional Book for 2016 by the Chess Journalists of America.