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Back to Basics: Tactics (ChessCafe Back to Basics Chess) [Paperback]

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Back to Basics: Tactics (ChessCafe Back to Basics Chess) by Dan Heisman

Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 7" Height: 10"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2007
Publisher   Russell Enterprises
ISBN  1888690348  
EAN  9781888690347  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent introduction to tactics  May 8, 2008
As a USCF 1790-rated player, i bought this book for a quick tactics refresher. I read the book, solving all the puzzles in a few days (while noting major errors on examples 2-70 [1...Kh3] and 2-120 [1.Ne4#]) The #1 greatest tactics primer is still the immensely enjoyable book, Winning Chess: How To See Three Moves Ahead. This book by Heisman not as enjoyable, but a bit easier and therefore perhaps an even better starting point than "Winning Chess". Also worthy is Chess Tactics (Batsford Chess Book).

Especially valuable for the improving player are Heisman's early sections on "counting" and piece safety, because proper evaluation of a tactic is impossible without accurately tallying the "body count" of a series of exchanges. (while being mindful of any "zwischenzug", of course!) The only other book that competently covers "counting" ideas is the VASTLY underrated Lasker's Manual of Chess, though Lasker labels the idea something else that escapes me at the moment.

Make no mistake, B2B:T is about how to win material. There were times when i would think twice about snagging a certain pawn because i imagined it would grant the opponent some sort of extra piece activity (counterplay), but on checking the answer i saw that Heisman's comment was only, "wins a pawn." That is probably well enough, as the book's intended audience is usually afraid of phantom threats when they ought to simply win the material, and usually in a game i'd probably end up taking the pawn anyway. There is a short section on checkmates, but it is insufficient in itself. You will NEED The Art of the Checkmate and (secondarily) How to Beat Your Dad at Chess (Gambit Chess) to complete your basic study of checkmates.

This book is full of practical pointers and wisdom, many of which go a long way toward instilling objectivity in a player rather than emotions like hope, fear, greed, overconfidence which invariably spell poor results at *any* level.

This is a solid & worthy 4-star book for its stated audience (under 1500). Higher-rated players can read it with very little time investment (while unfortunately paying the same purchase price), so the book can benefit a wide range of players.
Very Clear and Logical  May 6, 2008
I was familiar with Dan Heisman's articles on a popular website, but this is the first book of his that I've come across. Like his articles, it is intended for chess players from beginner to average club level. Also like his articles, it is characterized by clear and logical writing, with well chosen content reflecting his vast experience as a chess teacher. One of the things that separate this book from other tactical books is that it covers what Heisman calls the Counting tactic. This refers to positions where a piece is attacked and defended a number of times, and the player must count whether a sequence of captures leads to a net material gain. It also covers the possibility that the defense is inadequate due to defending pieces being more valuable than the capturing pieces. For a lot of the kids I coach, this is one of the main tactical issues they face in every game.
Execellent introductory book.  Mar 20, 2008
My rating is just above 1000 and this book has perfectly organized presentation on the common tactical techniques that I need to improve my mid-game. It may be too basic for 1500-rated players, but for me it is the best chess book I have ever read.
A truly instructional book on tactics!  Mar 8, 2008
I am relatively new to chess study, and found most puzzle books just a little too hard to really deal with. I bought the Reinfeld books and just felt lost.

Then I saw a review of this book and decided to give it a go. MAN, has it helped me. Heisman gives a wonderful primer on each type of tactic complete with a section of puzzles just on that tactic. Then he goes into a section of checkmates, and a wonderful (and difficult) section on defensive tactics.

Finally he wraps it up with a long section of puzzles that cover all the various subjects in the book. This is a wonderful book for those who are new to chess tactics and feel a little overwhelmed by the various puzzle books. I know the book is working because while going through this book I would get one of my Reinfeld books and open to a random puzzle and more times than not be able to solve it! Before, I was just staring cluelessly at the Reinfeld puzzles.

This a great book written by someone who takes education very seriously! Highly recommended for those who need work on basic tactical understanding.
Great book on tactics  Feb 28, 2008
I'm around a 1200-1400 player trying to improve. Most chess books are unfortunately excruciating to read. With the exception of Logical Chess : Move by Move, most books are a chore to sit through. I've had a few other books on tactics, but just working through problem after problem with no explanation gets old fast. "Why is the move that I thought about a bad one?" "Doesn't this move win as well?" "What are the basic patterns of a certain mate or tactic?" These are all questions that most of the books don't answer, but Heisman's book does! There's text and even essays on certain themes and tactics, to make sure that you understand what they are and how to use them. This book includes Double threats vs double attacks, opening traps, checkmates, defensive tactics, how to avoid tactical self destruction, as well as the usual removal of the guard, forks, skewers, pins, discovered checks, and trapped pieces. It's all there with more than adequate explanations ,as well as helpful tips and mini articles scattered throughout. This is definitely easy to read and that makes a huge difference. It doesn't matter if a book has 10 million problems if it bores you to tears going through it because you'll never pick it up. I'll be lloking for some more Heisman books later on. Great work !

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