Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I destroyed my copy of Bain

A while ago, as penance for (yet another) dreadful tournament in Philadelphia, I took my copy of Bain and destroyed it.

Dan Heisman, my chess coach at the time, said that Chess Tactics for Students by John Bain was a good book to drill basic tactics, but he made two additional points:

  • Don't look at any of the supporting material for each diagram (other than White to Move). Otherwise the problems are just too easy.

  • The tactics in Bain are laid out by chapter headings like Knight Fork, Pin and Back Rank Mate - which also makes it too easy.

  • The solution? Destroy the book!

    Or more accurately, I took the book to Kinkos and asked the guy to chop the book up so that all I had by the end was 421 little diagrams with nothing more than "White to Move" and the problem number written on them.

    I shuffled up all the diagrams, and then photocopied them so they fit nine to a page.

    Slap them in a binder, stick the answers in the back and presto!

    Now I have a neat, random, easy problem set which is actually thinner and more useful than the original book.

    And that's what I used to do my first ever successful "seven circles" exercise!

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