Item description for School of Chess Excellence 2: Tactical Play by Mark Dvoretsky & Ken Neat...
In this second book in his School of Chess Excellence series, Mark Dvoretsky looks at combinations and tactical techniques and suggests methods for developing a player's ability to calculate. Using a number of fascinating examples, he also analyzes methods of attack and defense. The book also includes special test positions and questions to engage and instruct the reader.
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Mark Dvoretsky is considered by many to be the premier chess instructor in the world today. His comprehensive, best-selling Endgame Manual has been recognized as one of the definitive works on the endgame ever published; his Analytical Manual is also one of the most thorough treatments of the middlegame ever to be released.
Reviews - What do customers think about School of Chess Excellence 2: Tactical Play?
Great book for advanced players Jun 17, 2004
Dvoretsky's book is for advanced players. In order to get maximum benefit one should probably have a rating of at least 2000 FIDE (app. 2100 USCF). At that level basic tactical skills would be in place. However, in order to develop further one must work with more complicated material, basically well-annotated complex tactical games.
This is where Dvoretsky comes in. The book is packed with complex games and analysis of very high quality, with additional observations and succinct advice about decision-making and psychology in tactical situations. In this book chess is a very concrete game - the master-teacher is a firm believer in the power of the specific example more than in overall synthesis or general conclusions.
If you are looking for quick fixes or easily digested "lessons", look elsewhere. However, if you have reached a certain level of play and are willing to put in the work (answering the training questions, doing independent analysis) its instructional value is very high.
I am rated 2200 ICC standard and have gone through about half of the book. In some positions I have managed very well, but in many others I have missed some points or the main point. I know that I am relatively weak tactically so I have to remind myself that rewards will come from the very fact of trying to solve these problems.
In short: a excellent book for hard-working advanced players
Excellent book for the serious player May 31, 2003
When I first looked at this book, I found it hard and a little plodding. Then going through the examples, I found my play improving, and beat two masters in quick chess. This is an outstanding book, perhaps the best I have read, though it requires time and thought.
A Highly Rewarding Study Jan 10, 2003
As a player with a growing but still modest chess library, it was only recently that I discovered Dvoretsky's name recurring in the books and reviews of players in-the-know. School of Chess Excellence 2 was my first foray into his writings and I have found it tremendously rewarding, though difficult, to work through. Chief among the book's virtues is its willingness to approach the games of chess legends and relative unknowns with equal respect and equal care, and to strike an excellent balance between analysis and commentary in doing so. Dvoretsky's own games, as well as those of his leading pupils, figure prominently in the work, and contribute a host of insights into the differences between planning and playing, succeeding and failing. The analysis itself is first-rate. As a player of average talent, I often find tactical analysis comes most easily in positions that are already themselves overtly tactical. By contrast, Dvoretsky excels at revealing the subtlety of tactical thought as it develops through the course of a game. As a result, he routinely shows a culminating tactical shot to be the punctuation mark to a rigorous process of continually seeking out the best move, rather than a stroke of brilliance arriving like a bolt from the blue. As a stylist, Dvoretsky can tend towards the self-congratulatory from time to time, though this may be as much a result of the difficulties of translation as anything else. For the most part he is likeable and accessible. I agree with previous reviewers that the ideas presented are both difficult and dense, but they should not prevent any player beyond a beginner level from comprehending the book and benefiting greatly from it, provided one is patient. I recommend it.
Practical and Complex Aug 21, 2002
Practical and complex, this book is a collection of essays, games, puzzles and studies focused on tactical play; especially interesting is how psychology enters into choosing moves. This book is not geared toward beginners, but any dedicated student could benefit if willing to put in the study time.