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on 6 April 2017
This is the best chess book I've ever bought and I own hundreds. It covers every part of chess; the opening, middlegame and endgame, as well as every facet of the game; positional play, strategy, tactics, prophylaxis, everything. The trouble with tactics problems is that you KNOW there is a tactic, whereas in a match you NEVER KNOW if there is a tactic, unless you're lucky enough or good enough to find it. This book doesn't tell you whether it's a tactical problem or any other type of problem and herein lies the real strength and greatness of this book, it's just like you're playing a game of chess. You don't know what the exercise demands and you have to work it all out yourself, using just the chess knowledge that you have, exactly like a real game of chess. Genius! I've learnt so much about chess from this book and my game has improved massively. I wouldn't say it's for beginners, mostly for low to strong intermediates. The puzzles vary from fairly easy to pretty tough, but they're all solvable, so far! If you're a chess player between a beginner and a master and want to improve your chess you must buy this book and any books like it, it's essential.
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on 25 November 2008
For a strong amateur / intermediate player like myself, this book was well worth investing in! The exercises in this book are a mixture of mating combinations, strategy (pawn breaks etc.), tactics, endgame training and defense all of which can occur in a normal game of chess. The exercises in this book are some of the most helpful and practical that I have tried to date.

What I liked most of all about this book is that Cheng frequently shows you positions that look tactically promising, tempting you into attack. Often these tactics don't actually work because of the tactics against you! These problems certainly make you check and double check the position, just as in a real game. I thoroughly recommend this book to all budding intermediates ...
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on 21 November 2011
This book presents chess boards at various stages of games. You are only told who is to move next. It gives no idea of whether you are looking for a knight fork, developing pawn structure or mating in three. In other words it's like playing real games. I can get very good at finding knight forks if the book has a whole chapter on them. This dots around which can be disconcerting but means that you quickly learn to evaluate the board and find your best idea. Even better, often the initially attractive attack doesn't work out, so you need to be able to think it through.

One of the best books of exercises for actually learning to think rather than by rote.
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on 6 January 2014
This is a really helpful book. I've improved by working on the problems.
Lovely simple presentation.
The problems are not arranged into themes, but are presented 'raw', with more complex problems next to more simple ones. The idea is that readers will develop their real (playing) chess strength rather than merely their problem solving strength. As the author points out, real games do not come with "black to play and win using a fork" inserted at the board for help.
Possibly better for developing rather than beginner players.
I'm only of a weak / moderate club playing standard and this book is more than challenge enough for me.
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on 25 December 2012
By far, this chess book is from the greatest chess puzzles books made. It contains 600 chess tactics-strategy problems for all levels. The analysis of its problem is good, and when you go to solve one problem, the only you know is which side you play (no clues, no anything), but of course you can see the difficulty level or what tactic the problem is, if you want, on the right page.

Overall, the books is really really great! Somehow low price, good paper quallity!
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on 22 February 2017
One of the best little chess books I have (and I have a lot). Great for improving your chess rating and nicely laid out so that you don'r have to keep refering to the back for solutions. A friend and I use it regularly for weekly training sessions. Well done Ray and let's have more like it.
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on 13 November 2011
I used to be a regular social chess player but after a couple of years of not playing, I wanted something to kick start my memory an help me get my game back.

Sadly I'm not convinced that slapping a game in progress in front of you with no indication of the objective is a useful learning aid. In some examples I figured the best move, only to find that the objective was to provide the next 3 moves or vice versa. Instead I began reading the headline to the answer to gauge the objective and from then onwards I began making more progress.

What this book needs is more narrative; i.e. in this example Black has been forced to defend for the last 5 turns... this would at least provide more of a prompt in the direction that the game was heading.
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on 8 January 2014
I would recommend this book only if you are already a competent chess player and looking to expand your experience.
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on 16 September 2014
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on 14 February 2013
This is kind of a disposable book in so far as you can pick problems and spend as long, or short, an amount of time as you like working through each problem. So there are no long winded, multi route, analysis of games which can be a bit tedious.

However, there is one big flaw with it...The board layouts in the book don't have letter/number coordinates marked on them. Of course this makes following the moves listed in the solutions a long winded process. I wouldn't have expected that in a book that teaches people to play chess and relies so heavily on coordinates.

I am not sure if this flaw is present in both kindle and print editions, but the kindle one most certainly is.
That being said, for under £7 it's not a bad book for people wanting to improve their game without spending hours reading through scenarios that will never come up in real play.
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