Newsletter Issue #80 Tactics Time 
Hot Pockets

Don't judge a cover by its book. - Woody Paige, Denver Post Columnist

tactics position 80
his game was played by Phillip Brown, and long time DCC member Randy Schine at the Denver Chess Club.
   In the position on the right it is White to move
   Answer below.
   Today I want to talk about one of my favorite chess tactics books: GM Lev Albert's "Chess Training Pocket Book: 300 Most Important Positions and Ideas (Comprehensive Chess Course Series)".
   You might know this book by its cover that features Lev Alburt with a blonde beauty in a LBD (Little Black Dress) standing behind him with her arms draped around him as he looks at the chess board.  This cover is somewhat silly, but maybe contains the not-so-subtle marketing idea that beer sellers have been using for years - buy our product and get the girl!
   One reviewer on wrote: "Don't be put off by the dreadful Madame Tussauds style cover, it's a great book". 
   Another reviewer wrote (directed at Lev Alburt): "this cover is an insult to all chessplayers, men and women who take the game seriously, respect your work, and hate to see it denigrated by some misogynist book cover designer."
   It is funny also, because they recently came out with a sequel, Chess Training Pocket Book II: How to Spot Tactics and How Far Ahead to Calculate (No. 2), which features the same picture of Lev Alburt, but the girl has been photoshopped out!
   Here are some of the things I like about this book:
  • The physical size of the book is great, and very easy to carry around (which is why it is called a "Pocket Book").
  • The left side of the page contains 4 chess tactics problems, with a nice easy to view board, and the right side of the page contains the answers.  This avoids having to flip to the back of the book to find the answers.
  • The answers contain some text and explanations (similar to my newsletters) and tell who the players are, and if the winning move was actually played.  To me this makes it more interesting.  Some tactics books are so terse, they will only give you the first move of the answer!
  • The problems are common themes that occur over and over in actual games (very important!).
  • Not all the problems have a solution. Some are trick questions, where the apparent solution fails because of a hidden resource. This makes you look at each position more critically.  This is something that I should do more of myself to keep you guys on your toes :-)
   And for the record, I actually like the cover of the book.  The reviews on Amazon gave me quite a few good belly laughs!  I might try to replicate a similar photo for my blog :-)
   Here is the complete game:
[Event "September 2011 DCC Tuesdays"]
[Site "Denver, CO"]
[Date "2011.09.27"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Brown, Phillip"]
[Black "Schine, Randolph"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E65"]
[WhiteElo "1607"]
[BlackElo "1699"]
[PlyCount "51"]
[WhiteTeam "12693448"]
[BlackTeam "12544184"]

1. c4 g6 2. g3 Bg7 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nc3 O-O 5. Nf3 d6 6. d4 Nbd7 7. O-O c5 8. e3 a6
9. Rb1 Rb8 10. b4 cxd4 11. exd4 b5 12. c5 dxc5 13. dxc5 Bb7 14. Bf4 Bxf3 15. Qxf3 e5
16. Bg5 h6 17. Be3 Re8 18. Rfd1 Qe7 19. Qc6 Qe6 20. Qd6 Bf8 21. Qxe6 Rxe6
22. c6 Nb6 23. Bxb6 Rxb6 24. c7 Rec6 25. Bxc6 Rxc6 26. Nxb5 1-0
   You can play through this game on the Denver Chess Club site here:
   26. Nxb5 clears the way for the white rooks to get behind the passed pawn on c7.  Fritz 12 called this move "a forceful and devastating end".  In the game, black resigned, because of 26. ...axb5 27. Rdc1 Rxc7 (only way to stop the pawn from queening) 28. Rxc7
   Happy Tactics!
   Your Friend,
   P.S. If there is a favorite chess tactics book that you would like to review, recommend, or have me review, let me know!
Tactics Time
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