I know I'm supposed to learn tactics, but . . .

B1ZMARK

You could try the book "The Woodpecker Method"

sholom90

What a great thread!  Thanks to all the contibutors.

Some initial simple thoughts on some of the comments:

Anybody who can see a move or two ahead and is paying attention already knows tactics, but now I'm beginning to see why practicing them repetitively is so beneficial: because (among other things) it enables one to see the patterns more quickly.  Pattern recognition.  E.g., early in one's career we've all been on the receiving end of Nxc2+ where the knight forks the rook and king.  And once you're stung by it, you never forget it, and that's something I *always* see.  (Same thing with Bxf2+ or Bxf2# -- e.g., scholar's mate or fried liver) But now I understand that that's just pattern recognition.  I don't always systematically scan the board the potential forks, or skewers . . . but (a) I will try to do more of that; and just as importantly: (b) with more familiarity with them (playing them over and over again in puzzles) it seems I will attain the level of recognition that I already have for the Nxc2+ fork, or the mate on f2/f7.

What a great thread -- thanks!

(BTW, one tactic that was in the chess.com lessons, but not in the table of contents of Bain's book, was the smothered mate.  That was a new tactic to me -- and I find that I'm looking for that now.  In a recent game I *almost* had one of those.  I lost the game (I completely don't care at this point), but I counted as a victory for me because I saw the smothered mate as a possibility, and that was a level of play I wouldn't have had last week).

MarkGrubb

There about 30 different mating patterns. Sometimes they dealt with separately, so there are books of mating puzzles. Chessable has a good course on mates. Other examples are Anastasias Mate, Arabian Mate, Grecos Mate, Morphy's Mate, and Opera Mate (named after the mate in Morphy's opera house game).

martinbchess

Predator at the chessboard vol 1 and 2 by Ward Farnsworth explains how you spot tactics in games. Every single example (around 1000 or so) is accompanied by a detailed explanation on what you should have spotted to initiate the tactic. One of the few books for novice players that explains the thought process you need in order to develop tactical ability

RussBell

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

Chessymesses
JugglinDan wrote:

And no, there is no Chessable course on the Bain book. I have the book and also a pgn of all the exercises. I used the PGN to make a private course on chessable, broken down into tactical motif and white/black to move.

Is it possible to share that book privately? I would love to play it. 

JugglinDan
sholomsimon wrote:

... (BTW, one tactic that was in the chess.com lessons, but not in the table of contents of Bain's book, was the smothered mate.  That was a new tactic to me -- and I find that I'm looking for that now.  ...

Smothered mate is a good pattern to learn. There is an even more general pattern that can often be a signal that a tactical opportunity is nearby: the trapped or nearly trapped piece. A King with nowhere to move, or very few places to move is a weakness to exploit or defend. This is also why pins against the King are strong: it limits the legal moves the pinned piece can make.