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Chess tactical concepts?



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 20th 05, 11:43 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

By reading and applying the knowledge I found in IM Jeremy Silman's
book "The Amatuer's Mind" my rating (on online correspondence chess
site ChessColony, my OTB rating in tournaments is only updated yearly)
rose from the 1300s to the 1600s. I am now able to pick apart
imbalances in most positions, and form excellent plans based on those
imbalances.

However, I seem to be hopeless at tactics. I keep blundering away
pieces and missing tactical oppurtunities for my opponent. I am not
good at spotting tactical oppurtunities for myself either, but I am not
hopeless in that aspect. And this tactical ineptness is severely
harming my rating.

My problems with tactics seems very atypical, so let me explain:

I. My ineptness in winning with tactics:
1. I fail to spot tactical oppurtunities to win material, etc.
(although I do spot them quite often, I miss enough to list this here)
2. I spot a tactical oppurtunity, but often there is a fatal flaw in it
and the refutation leaves me hopelessly lost, often in material.

II. My plans being thwarted by tactics:
1. While carrying out my plan, I blunder away a piece or into
checkmate.
2. My opponent uses tactics to prevent me from carrying out my plan
(such as constantly attacking my Queen when my plan utilises advancing
a passed pawn).

III. My plans successfully leading to a strategically won position
which I subsequently lose due to tactics:
1. I blunder away a piece or into checkmate
2. A tactical attempt to win is refuted and my position collapses or I
lose material.
3. My opponent gets unexpected counterplay which loses me the game.

IV. Losing due to tactics in the opening
1. I blunder away a piece or into checkmate (sometimes into a line
which leaves my King horribly exposed)
2. My opponent creates tactical threats which thwart my opening
strategy (e.g. as Black, my opponent has a Knight fork on c7, and to
prevent it, I have to play ...Qd6 which blocks in my d-pawn and
prevents me from developing my QB and QR)

I would appreciate advice that would help me deal with my tactical
problems.

In school, I seem to score well in subjects which require me to
understand and apply concepts, which is possibly why I improved so
quickly with The Amatuer's Mind. Is there a book which teaches me
tactical concepts? Or is there a way to learn tactical concepts?
Hopefully learning tactical concepts will help me stop blundering away
pieces and losing otherwise won positions.

When posing this question in other forums, people recommend I do
puzzles. This method has 3 flaws:
1. In puzzles, I know there is a combination, so I spend 10 minutes
looking at it until I find the solution. In a real chess game, how
would I know when a tactical oppurtunity for me or my opponent arises?
If I treated every position as a puzzle after every move, I'd lose on
time in OTB tournaments.
2. Many puzzles are way out of my depth. There is no way a 1600 player
like me can spot combinations of the depth of Rotlewi-Rubinstein unless
he has seen the game before.
3. Doing puzzles is like memorizing opening theory. OK, so you can
solve 1000 tactical puzzles. But what are the chances that one of the
1000 positions will appear in a real game? Even if it appears, can you
remember seeing it and the winning/losing combination?

Not forgetting my aim is how to avoid losing due to tactics, rather
than how to win with tactics.

  #2  
Old December 20th 05, 12:04 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

One of my games illustrates the tactical problems I face. In that game,
I built up an overwhelming position, but my opponent gained unexpected
counterplay and I blundered away a piece and the game.

Analysis of the game is also very much appreciated:

[Event "Prepare for an enjoyable game!!"]
[Site "http://chesscolony.com/chess.pl?bd=3902363"]
[Date "2005.10.11"]
[White "hildanknight"]
[Black "manhattan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1200"]
[BlackElo "1577"]
[TimeControl "1/604800"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Qf6 4. Nc3 Nge7 5. O-O a6
6. Ba4 b5 7. Nxb5 axb5 8. Bxb5 Ba6 9. Bxa6 Rxa6 10. Qe2 Ra8
11. Rd1 h6 12. a4 Ng6 13. b3 Bd6 14. Bb2 O-O 15. Bc3 Nf4
16. Qe3 Qg6 17. Nh4 Qg4 18. g3 Ne2+ 19. Kf1 Nxc3 20. dxc3 g5
21. Nf5 Kh7 22. Nxd6 cxd6 23. Rxd6 Rad8 24. a5 Rda8 25. a6 Rfb8
26. b4 Ne7 27. Qd3 Rbd8 28. b5 Qh3+ 29. Kg1 Nc8 30. Rd5 d6
31. c4 h5 32. c5 h4 33. cxd6 Nb6 34. Rxe5 Kg6 35. Rc5 hxg3
36. fxg3 Rdh8 37. Qd2 f6 38. Rc6 Nd7 39. b6 Ne5 40. Rc3 Rac8
41. Re3 Nc4 42. Qd4 Qxh2+ 43. Kf1 Qh1+ 44. Kf2 Rh2# 0-1

  #3  
Old December 20th 05, 02:34 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

In article .com,
J.L.W.S. The Special One wrote:
By reading and applying the knowledge I found in IM Jeremy Silman's
book "The Amatuer's Mind" my rating (on online correspondence chess
site ChessColony, my OTB rating in tournaments is only updated yearly)
rose from the 1300s to the 1600s. I am now able to pick apart
imbalances in most positions, and form excellent plans based on those
imbalances.

However, I seem to be hopeless at tactics. I keep blundering away
pieces and missing tactical oppurtunities for my opponent. I am not
good at spotting tactical oppurtunities for myself either, but I am not
hopeless in that aspect. And this tactical ineptness is severely
harming my rating.


A good book I recently read is "64 things you need to know in chess":
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1901983676

These two books by Murray Chandler look good too, although I haven't
studied them. Despite the titles, they are good for all ages!

"Chess Tactics for Kids" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1901983994
"How to Beat Your Dad at Chess" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1901983056

Cheers
Tony
--
Tony Mountifield
Work: - http://www.softins.co.uk
Play: - http://tony.mountifield.org
  #4  
Old December 20th 05, 03:44 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

Thank you for your well thought out
post. I hope that _way stronger_
contributors would pitch in as well! 8)

J.L.W.S. The Special One wrote:

By reading and applying the knowledge I found in IM Jeremy Silman's
book "The Amatuer's Mind" my rating (on online correspondence chess
site ChessColony, my OTB rating in tournaments is only updated yearly)
rose from the 1300s to the 1600s. I am now able to pick apart
imbalances in most positions, and form excellent plans based on those
imbalances.


Obviously, you are a conceptual type.
This is _very_ good.


However, I seem to be hopeless at tactics. I keep blundering away
pieces and missing tactical oppurtunities for my opponent.


A "sanity" check based on a "pass" is the
usual suggestion (no, no, this has absolutely
_nothing_ to do with your mental health!! 8) )
Basically, before you move, you ask yourself:
if it were my opponent's turn to move and if
I were in his shoes, what would I do?

I am not
good at spotting tactical oppurtunities for myself either, but I am not
hopeless in that aspect.


"Quality" practice makes perfect here...

And this tactical ineptness is severely
harming my rating.


As well as reducing the fun in playing,
right? 8)


My problems with tactics seems very atypical,


Oh, no, you have lots and lots of company...

so let me explain:

I. My ineptness in winning with tactics:
1. I fail to spot tactical oppurtunities to win material, etc.
(although I do spot them quite often, I miss enough to list this here)


Tactical motif recognition is the issue
here. "Quality" practice should address
this.

2. I spot a tactical oppurtunity, but often there is a fatal flaw in it
and the refutation leaves me hopelessly lost, often in material.


This is more difficult. Tactical motif
recognition is largely schematic. The
specifics of the position may prove the
motif to be a mirage. It is _exact_ and
_exacting_ calculation that is required
here. I will let other, more experienced
posters comment on this thorny issue.


II. My plans being thwarted by tactics:
1. While carrying out my plan, I blunder away a piece or into
checkmate.
2. My opponent uses tactics to prevent me from carrying out my plan
(such as constantly attacking my Queen when my plan utilises advancing
a passed pawn).


Plans are only as good as the available
tactics both for carrying them out as well
as countering them. It appears that some
contemporary chess theorists are suggesting
that the "plan" may not be as monolithic
as it was perceived to be, say, a generation
ago...


III. My plans successfully leading to a strategically won position
which I subsequently lose due to tactics:
1. I blunder away a piece or into checkmate
2. A tactical attempt to win is refuted and my position collapses or I
lose material.
3. My opponent gets unexpected counterplay which loses me the game.


As per above...


IV. Losing due to tactics in the opening
1. I blunder away a piece or into checkmate (sometimes into a line
which leaves my King horribly exposed)
2. My opponent creates tactical threats which thwart my opening
strategy (e.g. as Black, my opponent has a Knight fork on c7, and to
prevent it, I have to play ...Qd6 which blocks in my d-pawn and
prevents me from developing my QB and QR)


Opening theory _presupposes_ that the
player be familiar with tactical traps.
This is an integral part of studying it!
Unfortunately, line memorization often
swamps other _key_ aspects of study...


I would appreciate advice that would help me deal with my tactical
problems.

In school, I seem to score well in subjects which require me to
understand and apply concepts, which is possibly why I improved so
quickly with The Amatuer's Mind.


This makes lots of sense. You are a
conceptual type, no doubtt.

Is there a book which teaches me
tactical concepts? Or is there a way to learn tactical concepts?
Hopefully learning tactical concepts will help me stop blundering away
pieces and losing otherwise won positions.


Yes, you have heard it _all_, right?


When posing this question in other forums, people recommend I do
puzzles. This method has 3 flaws:
1. In puzzles, I know there is a combination, so I spend 10 minutes
looking at it until I find the solution. In a real chess game, how
would I know when a tactical oppurtunity for me or my opponent arises?
If I treated every position as a puzzle after every move, I'd lose on
time in OTB tournaments.


I agree. Most players who swear by such
books and CDs seem to gloss over your
very, very valid point.

2. Many puzzles are way out of my depth. There is no way a 1600 player
like me can spot combinations of the depth of Rotlewi-Rubinstein unless
he has seen the game before.


Agreed.

3. Doing puzzles is like memorizing opening theory. OK, so you can
solve 1000 tactical puzzles. But what are the chances that one of the
1000 positions will appear in a real game? Even if it appears, can you
remember seeing it and the winning/losing combination?


Again. This is the issue of quick
tactical motif recognition. Do not
let "macho" comments about this make
you feel congenitally inferior. This
is a complex issue that many people
talk about shooting from the hip,
without, perhaps, too much reflection
on what may be involved here.


Not forgetting my aim is how to avoid losing due to tactics, rather
than how to win with tactics.


Conceptually, the ordering is right.
Interestingly enough, the two goals
will always be well correlated in
practice.

Hang in there,

Major Cat

  #5  
Old December 20th 05, 04:35 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

J.L.W.S. The Special One wrote:
My problems with tactics seems very atypical, so let me explain:

I. My ineptness in winning with tactics:
1. I fail to spot tactical oppurtunities to win material, etc.
(although I do spot them quite often, I miss enough to list this here)
2. I spot a tactical oppurtunity, but often there is a fatal flaw in it
and the refutation leaves me hopelessly lost, often in material.


That's entirely typical.


II. My plans being thwarted by tactics:
1. While carrying out my plan, I blunder away a piece or into
checkmate.
2. My opponent uses tactics to prevent me from carrying out my plan
(such as constantly attacking my Queen when my plan utilises advancing
a passed pawn).


As Dan Heisman recently said in one of his Novice Nook columns at
chesscafe.com, in general, material considerations almost always trump
positional considerations. If your plan fails because your opponent was
threatening to win material or the game, you chose the wrong plan.


III. My plans successfully leading to a strategically won position
which I subsequently lose due to tactics:


This is just a special case of (I), I think.


IV. Losing due to tactics in the opening
1. I blunder away a piece or into checkmate (sometimes into a line
which leaves my King horribly exposed)
2. My opponent creates tactical threats which thwart my opening
strategy (e.g. as Black, my opponent has a Knight fork on c7, and to
prevent it, I have to play ...Qd6 which blocks in my d-pawn and
prevents me from developing my QB and QR)


If this is a real example rather than something you made up on the spur of
the moment, you need to consider your opening strategy more carefully. If
you have the option of moving your queen to d6 before you've played ...d5
or developed your QB, you're almost certainly moving your queen too early.


When posing this question in other forums, people recommend I do
puzzles.


I'm going to recommend you do puzzles, too so I'll explain why it's not a
flawed idea.


1. In puzzles, I know there is a combination, so I spend 10 minutes
looking at it until I find the solution.


Firstly, ten minutes is probably too long to spend on a single puzzle.
If you can't do it after five minutes or so, you'll probably learn more by
looking at the answer than at the question because the answer is something
you couldn't work out on your own. Note down the puzzles you couldn't do
and come back to them a little while later (maybe a couple of days or a
week). See which ones you can do now that you couldn't do before and
you'll find that you're learning how to do the puzzles. The ones you
still can't do are the ones that rely on concepts you find difficult so
spend a little more time on them.


In a real chess game, how would I know when a tactical oppurtunity for
me or my opponent arises?


Because aspects of the position become familiar to you as tactical cues.
For example, if the back rank is weak, you try to work out how to get a
rook there to deliver mate. If there is an undefended piece, you look for
tactical ways to take it (e.g., fork it and another piece). If there is
piece whose defenders you might be able to distract, you look for ways of
doing that. You'll start looking for discovered attacks and so on.


If I treated every position as a puzzle after every move, I'd lose on
time in OTB tournaments.


By doing more puzzles, you get better at identifying the sorts of
positions that are likely to contain tactical opportunities so that you
don't need to spend too much time worrying about tactics in the rest. Of
course, you'll always miss some but that's in the nature of the game.


2. Many puzzles are way out of my depth. There is no way a 1600 player
like me can spot combinations of the depth of Rotlewi-Rubinstein unless
he has seen the game before.


So you need to find puzzles more suited to your depth. The Polgar book,
for example, has graded puzzles.


3. Doing puzzles is like memorizing opening theory. OK, so you can
solve 1000 tactical puzzles.


No, it's not like memorizing opening theory. You don't memorize every
position and its solution but you start to learn what kinds of position
contain tactical opportunities.


But what are the chances that one of the 1000 positions will appear in a
real game?


Higher than you think, actually. :-) I've never had a huge and obvious
tactical hint from a puzzle in one of my OTB games but I've won two or
three internet blitz games with Legal's mate, for example. On the same
note, I've often played OTB and online games where I've thought, ``This
position is quite a lot like one in that game I went through the other
week. I think the plan there was to do such and such.'' It's a good
guide for what to look for in a position.


Even if it appears, can you remember seeing it and the winning/losing
combination?


This question is a bit of a red herring, really. If you remember that
you're in a position like a puzzle you've seen but you can't remember the
answer to that puzzle, that's a really big hint that you should spend your
ten minutes working out the answer over the board!


Another advantage of doing lots of puzzles is that it will dramatically
increase your ability to calculate accurately, which makes it less likely
that the tactics you do try to play will go wrong.

You mentioned in your post somewhere (sorry, I snipped it because I didn't
think I had anything to say on the matter) that you're looking for a book
that explains the concepts behind tactics rather than just presenting
hundreds of examples. You could try something like Chernev's
`Combinations: The Heart of Chess' or Znosko-Borovsky's `The Art of Chess
Combination'. Both are reprinted by Dover and can be bought cheaply from
Amazon. I've only skimmed them, though, so I can't say for sure whether
they'd be what you're looking for. As I recall, Znosko-Borovsky has more
explanatory text and is probably more your style.


Dave.

--
David Richerby Permanent Indelible Postman (TM):
www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~davidr/ it's like a man who delivers the mail
but it can't be erased and it'll be
there for ever!
  #6  
Old December 20th 05, 05:16 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

J.L.W.S. The Special One wrote:

One of my games illustrates the tactical problems I face. In that game,
I built up an overwhelming position, but my opponent gained unexpected
counterplay and I blundered away a piece and the game.


You would probably benefit from one of the chess tactical training CDs.
Learning to spot the various common tactical motifs quickly will help
you avoid many blunders. As will a quick counting check on all your
pieces to make sure you don't leave anything en prise or otherwise
undefended (ie attacked by more or cheaper pieces than you have
defending it).

Chess UK were selling off one for 5 earlier in the year would probably
be about the right level - Tasc Chess CD2 chess tutor.

Analysis of the game is also very much appreciated:

[Event "Prepare for an enjoyable game!!"]
[Site "http://chesscolony.com/chess.pl?bd=3902363"]
[Date "2005.10.11"]
[White "hildanknight"]
[Black "manhattan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1200"]
[BlackElo "1577"]
[TimeControl "1/604800"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Qf6


Is a bit cheeky. There ought to be some way to punish this, but I can't
see it. Nc3 looks a fairly natural response to me. O-O, d3, e3 also look
playable and perhaps marginally better.

4. Nc3 Nge7 5. O-O a6
6. Ba4 b5 7. Nxb5 axb5 8. Bxb5 Ba6


2 pawns for a piece isn't such a good deal unless you get something extra.

9. Bxa6 Rxa6 10. Qe2 Ra8
11. Rd1 h6 12. a4 Ng6 13. b3 Bd6 14. Bb2 O-O 15. Bc3 Nf4
16. Qe3 Qg6 17. Nh4 Qg4 18. g3 Ne2+ 19. Kf1 Nxc3 20. dxc3 g5


Black was doing pretty well up to here and would still be ahead if he
played 20 ... Be7. Dismantling the King's safe house isn't good.

21. Nf5 Kh7 22. Nxd6 cxd6 23. Rxd6 Rad8 24. a5 Rda8 25. a6 Rfb8
26. b4 Ne7 27. Qd3 Rbd8 28. b5 Qh3+ 29. Kg1 Nc8 30. Rd5 d6
31. c4 h5 32. c5 h4


Shuffling rooks ineffectually and then weakening the defence around the
king leaves black more exposed now. 33 Qf3 causes black more pain.

33. cxd6 Nb6 34. Rxe5 Kg6 35. Rc5 hxg3
36. fxg3 Rdh8 37. Qd2 f6 38. Rc6 Nd7 39. b6 Ne5 40. Rc3 Rac8
41. Re3 Nc4


40. ... Rhb8 would be better for black.

41. Re3?? was careless - it sets up an immediate knight fork for black.
41. Rb3 would still win for white

42. Qd4 Qxh2+ 43. Kf1 Qh1+


Serious material loss is now inevitable. 42 Qd4?? is very bad. Doomed...
The h2 square must be defended at all costs to stop blacks Q coming in.

42. Re2 holds things off for a good while longer. And the 3 passed pawns
may even be enough to hold out for a draw if black is careless.

44. Kf2 Rh2# 0-1


44 Ke2 lasts only a couple more moves.

In general it is a very bad idea to leave major pieces R, Q, K exactly a
knight fork apart unless you have no other alternatives. Or for that
matter to set rooks up on a diagonal for a bishop to skewer.

My analysis is quite rusty may not stand up to scrutiny. Corrections
welcomed - especially any opening traps for use against 3 ... Qf6

Regards,
Martin Brown
  #7  
Old December 20th 05, 05:31 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

After reading your post I suspect your problem is not entirely due to
"tactics." Tactics a "Forks, Skewers, Deflections, Pins, Discovered
Attacks, Double Checks, etc." If you know what these are and how they work
you should be able to see their potential before they are sprung and avoid
making the move(s) that spawn them.

In short, the first thing you should do after your opponent makes a move is
ask yourself "Where's the threat?" This will go a long, long way in
preventing "blunders," which at our level of play is the basic reason we
lose games to players of our own strength and occasionally lower. We lose
to higher rated players because they don't blunder and their positional
play is superior to ours. I have no idea how to improve the latter other
than trying to apply the ideas voiced by Silman and others. If I did, I
would be a much stronger player.

Hope this helps.



"J.L.W.S. The Special One" wrote:

By reading and applying the knowledge I found in IM Jeremy Silman's
book "The Amatuer's Mind" my rating (on online correspondence chess
site ChessColony, my OTB rating in tournaments is only updated yearly)
rose from the 1300s to the 1600s. I am now able to pick apart
imbalances in most positions, and form excellent plans based on those
imbalances.

However, I seem to be hopeless at tactics. I keep blundering away
pieces and missing tactical oppurtunities for my opponent. I am not
good at spotting tactical oppurtunities for myself either, but I am not
hopeless in that aspect. And this tactical ineptness is severely
harming my rating.

My problems with tactics seems very atypical, so let me explain:

I. My ineptness in winning with tactics:
1. I fail to spot tactical oppurtunities to win material, etc.
(although I do spot them quite often, I miss enough to list this here)
2. I spot a tactical oppurtunity, but often there is a fatal flaw in it
and the refutation leaves me hopelessly lost, often in material.

II. My plans being thwarted by tactics:
1. While carrying out my plan, I blunder away a piece or into
checkmate.
2. My opponent uses tactics to prevent me from carrying out my plan
(such as constantly attacking my Queen when my plan utilises advancing
a passed pawn).

III. My plans successfully leading to a strategically won position
which I subsequently lose due to tactics:
1. I blunder away a piece or into checkmate
2. A tactical attempt to win is refuted and my position collapses or I
lose material.
3. My opponent gets unexpected counterplay which loses me the game.

IV. Losing due to tactics in the opening
1. I blunder away a piece or into checkmate (sometimes into a line
which leaves my King horribly exposed)
2. My opponent creates tactical threats which thwart my opening
strategy (e.g. as Black, my opponent has a Knight fork on c7, and to
prevent it, I have to play ...Qd6 which blocks in my d-pawn and
prevents me from developing my QB and QR)

I would appreciate advice that would help me deal with my tactical
problems.

In school, I seem to score well in subjects which require me to
understand and apply concepts, which is possibly why I improved so
quickly with The Amatuer's Mind. Is there a book which teaches me
tactical concepts? Or is there a way to learn tactical concepts?
Hopefully learning tactical concepts will help me stop blundering away
pieces and losing otherwise won positions.

When posing this question in other forums, people recommend I do
puzzles. This method has 3 flaws:
1. In puzzles, I know there is a combination, so I spend 10 minutes
looking at it until I find the solution. In a real chess game, how
would I know when a tactical oppurtunity for me or my opponent arises?
If I treated every position as a puzzle after every move, I'd lose on
time in OTB tournaments.
2. Many puzzles are way out of my depth. There is no way a 1600 player
like me can spot combinations of the depth of Rotlewi-Rubinstein unless
he has seen the game before.
3. Doing puzzles is like memorizing opening theory. OK, so you can
solve 1000 tactical puzzles. But what are the chances that one of the
1000 positions will appear in a real game? Even if it appears, can you
remember seeing it and the winning/losing combination?

Not forgetting my aim is how to avoid losing due to tactics, rather
than how to win with tactics.


  #8  
Old December 20th 05, 07:36 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess tactical concepts?

In article .com,
"J.L.W.S. The Special One" wrote:

When posing this question in other forums, people recommend I do
puzzles. This method has 3 flaws:
1. In puzzles, I know there is a combination, so I spend 10 minutes
looking at it until I find the solution. In a real chess game, how
would I know when a tactical oppurtunity for me or my opponent arises?
If I treated every position as a puzzle after every move, I'd lose on
time in OTB tournaments.
2. Many puzzles are way out of my depth. There is no way a 1600 player
like me can spot combinations of the depth of Rotlewi-Rubinstein unless
he has seen the game before.
3. Doing puzzles is like memorizing opening theory. OK, so you can
solve 1000 tactical puzzles. But what are the chances that one of the
1000 positions will appear in a real game? Even if it appears, can you
remember seeing it and the winning/losing combination?

Not forgetting my aim is how to avoid losing due to tactics, rather
than how to win with tactics.


Your problem is actually fairly typical. Most games are decided on
tactics, grand strategic plans. You need to do more puzzles.

But reading the above, I think you misunderstand how studying tactics
works.

What you learn, when you study tactics, is that simple themes recur time
and time again. The purpose of tactical training is to get drill those
patterns into your head, so that you can see them instantly.

As you do more and more tactics, you'll find that you see more and more
complex tactics quicker. So in a game, it's no longer a process of
stopping and looking for a combination, rather, the tactical
opportunities leap off the board at me - because I'm intimately familiar
with them.

More complicated tactics still require me to calculate to make sure they
work, but I'm so familiar with the ideas that it's not that I'm
searching blindly.

I've had really good results with the program CT-Art, by Convetka,
although some people prefer to drill with books. But I found that
program made drilling taste a lot less like eating broccoli. YMMV.

The way you learn tactical concepts is by drilling. There are some books
which aim to teach more than others (Chandler's "Chess Tactics for Kids"
and "How to Beat Your Dad at Chess") come to mind, and while I think
they're good starting points, they're no substitute for drilling.

-Ron
  #9  
Old December 20th 05, 08:20 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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Default Chess tactical concepts?

Your situation sounds quite typical.

Tactical exercises, drills, diagrams -- whatever you want to call them --
are a time-tested way to improve.

They can be very tedious, but they are also very effective.

I think every novice could benefit from these things:

1. Learning mating patterns.
- Chandler's "How To Beat Your Dad at Chess" is good.
- Renaud & Khan's "Art of Checkmate" is also good.

2. Being able to spot tactical motifs instantly.
- Winning Chess by Chernev & Reinfeld has 300+ exercises with some
verbal explanation.
- John Bain's Tactics workbook is recommended by many, but I don't think
it's a good value.
- Convekta's CT-ART is recommended by many. Lots of problems, good
value. I don't like the interface, but those who prefer to PCs to books
might have a different opinion.
- Reinfeld's 1001 Combos and 1001 Checkmates are probably the best
value. No words and old-style notation turn off some.
- Encyclopedia of Middlegames is good.
- I'd stay away from the Polgar book. Too many composed positions.

3. Recognizing threats.
- Dan Heisman wrote a book a couple of years ago on this topic.

Be warned: It is not enough to read these books once. I'd read one of the
mating pattern books and one of the combo books at least 3 times each.
Better still would be to read them so you recognize the patterns instantly.
This will take months -- possibly years.


  #10  
Old December 20th 05, 08:45 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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Default Chess tactical concepts?

I'll just add a "Me too" to what everyone else has said so far. See
this article:

http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman04.pdf

Get a book of about 200-400 tactical puzzles, and go over them over and
over until you can spot the solutions instantly. Then get another book
and do the same thing. Start with easy ones and work your way up. After
you master each book's puzzles, go back and redo the previous ones
again. They'll be pretty fast once you already know them. Repeat until
you're a grandmaster. Then give me lessons. :P

I notice a couple of people have mentioned Chandler's "How to Beat Your
Dad at Chess" as an instructional book, not as a puzzle book. I
photocopied it and put the examples on flash cards to quiz myself. It's
a great way to train yourself on recognizing the big motifs taught
there, and to practice visualization and calculation of tactics that
are sometimes as deep as 8 or 9 moves. I'd started with Bain's "Chess
Tactics for Students" and worked up to Chandler's book, though.

As for how to know if there's a tactic in a game, you just have to look
on every move, and expect to overlook things once in a while. As others
have said, you'll start to recognize certain patterns. You'll also
start to recognize certain indicators that there might be a tactical
opportunity at some point, such as a weak back rank, undefended pieces,
pieces whose defenders can be easily removed, etc. Even if there isn't
an immediate tactic, these things could cause one to come up, so you
just learn to keep an eye out for them.

I know it sounds boring, but redundancy really is the key to this
stuff. There are books that will tell you what to look for, but you
still have to train your mind to actually do so, and that only comes
from the experience of doing lots of puzzles and playing lots of games.

--Richard

 




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