600 Modern Chess Puzzles : Martyn Kravtsiv
Blurb from the publisher:
“The easiest, quickest and most effective way to improve your overall game is to increase your tactical vision. Many good positions are lost because a key moment is passed by and a player misses the opportunity to win by a beautiful combination. This book is designed simply to help you improve your play by seeing tactics better.” – Martyn Kravtsiv
Written along similar lines to Gambit’s earlier Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book, this new work presents 600 puzzles, mostly from the last two years, that are chosen for instructive value and maximum training benefit. To ensure that few will be familiar to readers, Kravtsiv has deliberately chosen positions from obscure games or from analysis. If you find the right answers, it will be because you worked them out yourself!
The solutions feature plenty of verbal explanations of the key points, and cover most of the logical but incorrect answers. The book is completed with a set of ‘no clues’ tests, and an index of themes that will be useful to coaches and those looking to focus on specific aspects of tactics – or just seeking extra clues!”
From the rear cover:
“The author is an experienced grandmaster from Lviv, Ukraine. His tournament results include tied first places at Cappelle in 2012 and the 2015 Ukrainian Championship, as well as being blitz champion of the 2008 World Mind Sports Games (at age 17). He represented his country at the 2017 World Team Championship and was a coach for the team that won silver medals at the 2016 Olympiad.”
Gambit Publications have their own YouTube channel to promote and publicise their products. Here we have GM John Nunn introducing this book :
Before going further we suggest you make use of the Look Inside option. This will reveal the Table of Contents.
Also, you may download a pdf sample.
Just like “Snakes on a Plane” you might imagine, from the title, you know what this book is about without reading it: well let us see!
The first mystery to clear up is what does the author mean by “Puzzles”? Almost all 600 positions presented are taken from actual gameplay during 2018 and 2019 or from analysis derived from those games. Strangely, there is a tranche from 2012
mostly from the author’s own games.
If you do have a phobia of problems, fairies or endgame studies etc then have no fear here: there are none of these.
From the “Warming Up” Chapter we have position #36:
Theodor Kenneskog – Klavs Stabulnieks, 48th Rilton Cup, Stockholm, 2nd January 2019
Does Black have a way to get the upper hand?
*(We have added the previous move arrow and these are not shown in the book.)
71 warming up puzzles of multiple themes are followed by solutions with explanations which is the continuing pattern for each chapter.
Chapter 3 contains 29 forced mates and here is an example, #92:
Vahe Danielyan – Chinna Reddy Mehar, Novi Sad, 20th April 2019
Can you see White’s mating idea?
Chapter 3, Your Choice, asks the solver to select between two plausible options more reminiscent of one’s thinking in a practical game situation when the clock is ticking. Here is an example (#106):
Marc Narciso Dublan – Kratvtsiv, Olivier Gonzalez Memorial, Madrid, 8th September 2012
Choose between 74…Ke4 and 74…Kg5
Chapter 4 (“Getting Tricky”) ups the ante and the difficulty is raised followed by 58 endgame puzzles graded into four levels.
Here is example #283:
Anthony Fred Saidy – Thomas Kung, Bay Area Open, Burlingame, 3rd January 2019
The game ended in a draw. Show how Black could have done better.
Tough Nuts is the title of Chapter 6 containing 43 challenging positions for example #313:
Jonathan Hawkins – Bogdan Lalic, Hastings 2018/19, 5th January 2019 (Analysis)
Black has a beautiful path to victory. Can you find it?
Chapter 7 is a tougher version of Chapter 3.
In Part 2 the book changes tack slightly in that the clue or clues for each position are not present. You are placed in a much more game like situation thinking for yourself. The Part is broken down into sections of Not Too Hard, Tricky Tasks, Endgame Challenges and finally Chapter 11 entitled Nightmare! including #562 featuring Hastings once more:
Thomas Villiers – PU Midhun, 98th Hastings Masters, 4th January 2019
Unfortunately, White did not find the killer blow and went on to lose.
The exercises are followed by an Index of Themes which is a clever touch removing this “clue” from the position as posed.
As is to be expected from a Gambit publication the explanations are crystal clear and instructive and expertly translated and edited by Graham Burgess. Petra Nunn does an excellent job of typesetting.
To have found 600 instructive puzzles from 2018, 2019 and 2012 is a real achievement and then to organise them for a range of students makes this book both enjoyable and hard work!
The author has produced another reliable publication from the Gambit stable and we are sure he will be asked to produce another in due course. We particularly liked the puzzles that created a game-like feel to the task. Highly recommended.
John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, December 28th 2021
Book Details :
- Hardcover :160 pages
- Publisher:Gambit Publications Ltd (16 Sept. 2020)
- Language: English
- Product Dimensions: 17.15 x 1.65 x 24.77 cm
Official web site of Gambit Publications Ltd.