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Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna: Know when (and where!) to look for winning combinations [Paperback]

Emmanuel Neiman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Jan 2013
If only real life were like a book with tactics exercises! But during a game you are on your own. Nobody will whisper in your ear that you have reached a position that is, in fact, a tactical puzzle and all you have to do is solve it. What you need, discovered Emmanuel Neiman in his long career as a chess trainer, is a way to read the signals which indicate that, somewhere in the position you are looking at, there is a tactical blow. What you need is a Chess Tactics Antenna! This trail-blazing book provides a set of tools that enables the average club player to determine the moment he must look for win.

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Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna: Know when (and where!) to look for winning combinations + Invisible Chess Moves: Discover Your Blind Spots and Stop Overlooking Simple Wins
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: New in Chess (15 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9056914049
  • ISBN-13: 978-9056914042
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 1.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 513,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Paal
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everybody who plays chess knows how important tactics are, and how fast a tactical blow can end a chess game. There are a lot of tactics books on the market, but in my opinion no one quit like this. Strictly puzzle books like "Manual of chess combinations volume 2" for example are good books. The problem however are how this puzzle solving transfers over to a real chessgame. Having a puzzle in front if you where you know it is a combination and a chessgame where it maybe? maybe not? are something are to quite different things. Just starting from move 3 using up time and energy randomly staring around at the board probing "can there be something her?" - not kwoing quit what to look for - are probably not the best way to play chess. This book - as it title suggests - give you the tools to learn multiple key signals in a position that clearly implicates more often then not that a tactical blow are/or will be possible soon. This is one of the few chess books I will read two times from start to end just to try to make the signal detecting automatic. That you will find more tactics and win more games if you manage this are in my opninion without a doubt a fact!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it...don't think, don't dither, just buy it. 19 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Perfect for kindle! I have read many books on tactics, including all the famous ones. At the moment, my Elo is flouting between 2100 - 2130 range, though when I was younger, it was over 2200. I wish I had this book back then! One you know the basics of tactics - you know what a Pin is, and can tell your Decoy from your Deflection, this book is your next step forward. Buy it.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative tactics training for ELO 1400-2100: 4.5 stars 21 Mar 2013
By Christopher J. Falter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you often find yourself scratching your head when the game is over and saying, "How did I miss that 3-mover?", this is the book for you. My own experience confirms Neiman's thesis: the hard thing about tactics is finding them in the course of your games. Neiman provides 7 "signals" about potential tactics that you can, by studying this book and by reviewing your games with a coach or chess engine, train yourself to look for. The signals are:

* King position (leading to mate threats)
* Unprotected pieces
* Alignment (leading to pins and skewers)
* Knight fork distance
* Trapped pieces
* Crucial defender/overloaded defender (leading to "remove/deflect the defender" combinations)
* Impotent defense/defense too far away

Neiman starts by introducing each of the signals with a few examples (usually from recent play), then in part 2 he explores each signal in greater depth with more examples and a 6 puzzle quiz per signal. Neiman writes clearly and knows how to draw the reader's attention to the key elements in the positions. His analysis is sound as far as I can tell and usually covers the variations that I as a club player find interesting, even if a GM would discard them in a heartbeat. Occasionally he ends his analysis a bit early ("and white wins") when in fact you have to see one or 2 more tactical tricks. If you're rated below 1400 ELO you will probably find this frustrating, but you would probably be better served by a book with simpler examples anyway.

As I examined the list of signals, I wondered, "Where are the queen forks?"--they show up in my games at least as often as knight forks. Never fear, dear reader: Neiman discusses queen forks at length in the sections on unprotected pieces.

In part 3 Neiman discusses the process of analyzing and calculating variations once you've spotted a signal. Again I enjoyed the outstanding examples and explanations. However, I must take issue with Neiman's suggested thinking approach in the 7 position "Is There a Combination?" test. Neiman proposes that you first evaluate the positions to decide whether a combination exists, and only afterwards to calculate the variations. I found this approach to be quite unhelpful, as the positions all too often present signals that seem to indicate a combination, but in fact the combination does not work because of some subtle defensive resource that shows up only after analyzing a few moves deep. But you can get plenty of benefit by ignoring Neiman's thinking method and working the examples in a more holistic manner. I.e., if there's a signal look for candidate moves and analyze, if not then look for a move that improves your position or suppresses your opponent's counterplay. Do this until you're satisfied you've found a good move, then check the solution to get the feedback you need to improve.

The final 50-position test consists mostly of recent examples, and Neiman's solutions again emphasize the signals and analysis that can really help a club player. Unfortunately, though, Neiman more often than not provides a hint with each position that makes the solution much easier to find. The whole point of the book is that you don't get hints when you're playing a game, so why is Neiman giving hints in the final test?

Players with ratings from 1400-2100 will benefit from Neiman's innovative approach to tactics, his well-chosen examples, and his helpful explanations. Because of the problems with the tests in part 3 and part 4, though, I have to deduct a half-star from my rating. If only Amazon provided a 10-star scale!

The publisher provided a review copy of this book to me in exchange for my honest review. My ratings of the publisher's books have ranged from 3 stars to 5 stars.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope at last for the tacticaly blind?(preliminary Yes). 18 April 2013
By Harold J - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most tactics books give a definition of the tactic, an example or two,and then several problems to solve. Seldom is there more than a phrase or two about spotting the conditions that lead to the the tactic.( One notable exception is Dan Heisman.) This particular book is almost entirely focused on this aspect of tactics. It must be obvious to some,but maddenly, it isn't to others,like myself.
Here at last _seems_ to be a starting point for those of us who are not blessed with natural tactical vision( or maybe just too polite to know how to see what can be taken advantage of).
In the book , all the previous moves of the game are given for most positions. I don't know if this really helps but it certainly seems that knowing the game context of the tactic should be helpful.
A chapter that reviews the basic tactical themes and checkmate patterns is thoughtfully included.You should already be fairly familiar with these before buying this book. Variations are managable and (mostly)relevant .
Print and binding quality are good. The book is just the right size. My only complaints are 1) the main game notation is in line rather than column format, so it can be a little difficult to read ,2) I needed this 12 years ago and 3) It's very pink.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great primer on tactics 13 May 2013
By Jason Antonio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book on how to approach chess tactics. This book provides a "fluid" thought process on how to approach crucial situations on the board. I've read many book trying to advocate a mechanical thought process and this just doesn't work since chess is so complex and vast there are always exceptions to certain rules in a mechanical infrastructure.

The approach here is simple: It uses the analogy of a SIGNAL (which are the signs of the EXISTENCE of an element or theme of a tactic). This is something that I feel needs to be developed further with games and tactical exercises. If there are many signals...this increases the likleyhood of a tactic in the current position. Thus the ANTENNA goes up.

I've really dumbed down the book with a short summary, but the way the author fills in the details is a work of art. To benefit from this book you must incorporate the information (etch the method in your hide so its a part of who you are). And the best way to go about this is to work through THOUSANDS of problems (Sharpen your Tactics, Reinfield's 1001 combinations, etc all come to mind). And when working through the problems you must use the recommended thought process outlined in this work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for thinking patterns, especially looking for combinations 3 July 2013
By Ed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am enjoying this book. It lays out patterns for searching for combinations. But it is also about think patterns and evaluating positions. If you are rated below about 2100, this book will help organize your thoughts and and point you to finding tactical winning moves. I highly recommend it.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you need a tactical tune-up? 6 July 2013
By A.J. Goldsby I - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna; Know when (and where!) to look for winning combinations (Author: FM Emmanuel Neimann)

A book review by A.J. Goldsby I <July 3rd, 2013>

I got this book - in the mail - back in March of this year, so I am running a little behind on doing this book review. It's bad to be too slow, but no one cannot say that I have not spent sufficient time in this volume or not gone in depth for this overview of this book on chess tactics. (I have carried this one with me practically everywhere I have gone for more than three months. Doctor's offices, car repairs, chess club, the list is too long and too diverse ... and completely boring, so I won't spend any more time on this subject.)

First of all, the following situation has come up constantly (over the years) ... when I give a student, even one that is fairly low-rated, a chess problem and tell them, "It is White to move and mate in two," they can generally find the solution, especially if they look hard enough and long enough. However, when opportunities arise to find a killer shot in their own games, the chance for the quick knockout usually is missed or falls by the wayside. Why? And the author covers this exact situation in the third paragraph of the Introduction!

Now ... allow me to backtrack: Who is the publisher? ("New In Chess")
Simply put, NIC is probably the finest chess publishing house in existence today. Every volume comes close to being a work of art, generally no facet of these diamonds are left unpolished. (Good binding, good paper, solid proof-reading, excellent organization, etc.)

Secondly, who is the author? FM Emmanuel Neimann. Personally, I do not know the author, but this is where having an extensive network of friends and contacts comes in handy. The author is from France, and he has a very high reputation as chess coach, and he has already written at least one award-winning chess book. ("Invisible Chess Moves")

Now we return to the book. Naturally, I tore it apart looking for mistakes. I may have found points where I might disagree with the author to his approach on a few things, but I never found anything that I could label as an actual error. (This is rare for me.)

I am often told I am a good chess teacher. So one of the first things I looked for was a discussion of some of the common ideas that I also teach. A good discussion of "hangers," (unprotected pieces) is one of the areas that I often touch on when I teach chess tactics. One of my favorite games to illustrate this theme is the game, GM L. Christiansen - GM A. Karpov; Match Game, Wijk ann Zee, NED / 1993. (Black loses the game in under 15 moves ...) and we find this game on page #11 of this book!!

I could go on and on, but that would give away too much. I WANT you to buy this book, I can think of NO BETTER WAY for you study tactics if you are a player below 2200!!! (And I have RARELY given such a blanket endorsement to ANY BOOK! Ever!!)
I can only offer a few of my own tips to augment your study of this book.

#1.) Study tactics for at least 30 minutes every day. (How you study is just as important as what you study!)
#2.) There are several websites on tactics, looking for them with any good search engine will reveal just about all of the important ones. (My recommendation would be to spend at least 15 minutes a day on one of these sites. Find me on the Internet, you will see that I do this myself.)
#3.) See my web page on training. Study on a regular basis. Your schedule should be written down and you have to be totally committed to it. You should alternate between the three phases of the game. (Openings; middlegames, chess strategy and tactics; and also - of course! - endings.) Ignore any one area at your own peril.
#4.) Work your way SLOWLY through this book 3-5 times! (No, I am not joking at all. I have generally studied this way my entire life. I have already done a thorough review of this book, and I have already begun my first pass working my way through this book. Many times, when I am really interested in a game, I fire up my favorite chess engine ... and take it apart. This is a great way to learn on your own.)
#5.) Try to remember every chess position - with a tactical solution - generally has a theme. (I.e., King Safety, hanging/unprotected pieces, bad pawn structure, a piece on a bad square, etc.) Be sure to mentally enunciate the correct theme every time you solve a chess problem, especially one that deals with tactics.
#6.) Buy one more book with a lot of chess positions in it, there are literally dozens of these out there. (I give more specific advice on my website.) You should work your way through such a book at least 2-3 times.

I really cannot add anything more. In summation, this is a fantastic book, and I enthusiastically recommend this to any class of player, especially those players below 1800!!!

And if you ever beat me in a tournament, don't tell me it is because you read this book ... if you do, you may have to watch a grown man cry!
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