domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2015
Review: Chess tactics from scratch, 2nd edition by Weteschnik
Title: Chess Tactics from Scratch - Understanding Chess Tactics 2nd Edition.
Author: Martin Weteschnik.
Publisher: Quality Chess.
There is not much to say in the presentation of this book that is not said in its tittle. The book's aim is to present tactics to novice audience. The author has make a great effort in presenting the root of many tactical themes in a very pedagogical way in the hope that with such a study the theme will be fixed in the readers mind.
For me it is difficult to judge if this is the right approach. My gut feeling tells me that tactical themes are best trained by solving hundreds of exercises on that theme, but I must confess that as a 2200 player I am not the primary target of the book. Maybe lower levels do need this explanatory prose.
The books is divided in chapters each one explaining a tactical theme, and a final chapter with a collection of exercises (which comprises one third of the book) on those themes. As far as I know, the last chapter (and hence 1/3 of the book) is a new addition of the 2nd edition, while the rest of the book has been heavily revised.
The edition is on par with other Quality Chess books, excellent, and the length in the second edition is as I have come to expect with more than 300 pages, so you are getting a lot of pages for your money.
I have not much to say from the first 2/3rds of the book. I started reading it but soon found that my level was considerably higher than the material exposed, hence I was tempted to leave the book alone. However as it was a gift and it seemed wrong to not give it another try, I browsed through the exercises expecting them to be easily solvable. To my surprise, although the books is aimed at novice audiences, it had some challenging problems and it took me a lot of effort to solve the difficult problems (if I was able to do so at all).
The solutions have little diagrams if there is an interesting position long in the variations, so you don't really need a board to follow it.
I went through the 300 exercises in about a month and usually the solutions where spot on (there are some problems when the proposed solution is not clear cut, but the computer agrees with Weteschnik, so what can I say?), which for me is important, with some older books you never know if the exercise is flawed and when you don't agree with the solution you usually have a nagging doubt in the back of your mind.
All in all I like this book a lot, I now use it to start training sessions, solving as much exercises as possible in 15 minutes. If you have <1800 elo points, I recommend this book to you wholeheartedly. If you are stronger, maybe you don't need it as much, and there are a lot of other good tactical books, but it will be a good purchase nevertheless. If you are 2300 or higher, go buy stronger puzzle books, as you have nothing to do here.