Chess Informant's classification scheme for combinations has three categories and ten motifs. The categories are I) combinations with a mating attack, II) combinations to reach a draw, and III) other. The motifs are a) annihilation of defense, b) blockade, c) clearance, d) deflection, e) discovered attack, f) pinning, g) demolition of pawn structure, h) decoy, i) interference, and j) double attack. Hence, the first Combination in Informant 113 (270) is designated Ia--a combination with a mating attack involving annihilation of the defense.
The combinations in the Anthology originate in games played from the mid-nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries. Both positions actually reached in play and theoretical positions that might have occurred are included. The printed text through the first two editions presents the combinations nine to a page with the classification information printed above. In the third edition, the classification keys are omitted from the problems, and are instead listed in the index at the end of each section.
The electronic version comes on a CD with its own software, the Chess Informant Solver's Kit. As in the third printed edition, the classification keys are hidden in solving mode. Through the solver's kit, it is possible to search combinations by player, event, date, reference number, category, and motif (sub-category). It is possible to scroll the list, or to select a random set. Once a set of problems have been selected, these can be viewed in a batch (HTML View) or individually. It is also possible to print the diagrams, creating a page or pages resembling those in the pages of the printed edition.
|HTML View of Random Set|
Problems may be solved in practice mode or in test mode. In test mode, the user's score is tracked. When a problem is opened, the user is greeted with the objective, such as "White to move, goal 1-0." By default, White is at the bottom regardless of player to move. But a single click of the mouse flips the board for those who wish to examine matters from the Black side.
|Solving mode, default colors|
The problems are of high quality. Although daunting, it behooves the ambitious player to work through every combination in the Anthology of Chess Combinations. Therein lies the most important feature lacking in the software. There is no record of which problems have been previously solved. I might remember that yesterday I was on problem number 50, but if a few weeks transpire between sessions, it becomes more difficult to remember my place in the sequence.
The Anthology of Chess Combinations CD is one of the best training resources available for club players seeking to rise in the ranks.