03 March 2015

Manual of Chess Combinations

In January, a young woman showed up at a youth chess tournament that I was running with an interesting book of chess combinations. She told me that this book had been recommended by her coach, who is a Russian master.* She also said that she was working her way through the book and finding many challenging problems that demanded creative and flexible thinking.

I looked up the book on Amazon and added it to my wish list. It is Sergey Ivashchenko, The Manual of Chess Combinations, vol. II (Russian Chess House, 2002).

I almost bought the book that day, but I waffled because I was also planning to buy the Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations, 5th edition (Chess Informant, 2014). At the 23rd Dave Collyer Memorial Chess Tournament, a used copy of Ivashchenko's was among the books that IM John Donaldson brought to sell. It was $10. I grabbed it instantly while he was still unboxing the other books.

Ivashchenko claims that this book is designed to lift players from 1600-1700 up to 2200 or higher. Hence, in theory, I should be able to work through the first two or three sections rather quickly, and then find more challenging problems. Indeed, I have solved a few of the early problems in two minutes or less. Nonetheless, a couple have proven more difficult.

After five minutes with Problem 15, I worked out the idea and verified that it would succeed, but I missed a nuance in Black's defense and so did not have the whole sequence correct.

White to move




*The young woman has been playing in my youth tournaments since fourth or fifth grade. She is now a high school senior. When she was in middle school, I coached her for a month or so to prepare her for the Idaho Girls State Championship, where she tied for first. She now plays as well as a solid A Class player, albeit with a much lower rating. I was happy that I was not paired against her in the Collyer. If she keeps playing chess through college, she will become a master.

2 comments:

  1. An absolutely amazing book. The group of titled players I train with is obsessed with it. I would have never guess, considering the book looks a children's book. What's wrong with the publishers in the East?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. An absolutely amazing book. The group of titled players I train with is obsessed with it. I would have never guess, considering the book looks a children's book. What's wrong with the publishers in the East?!

    ReplyDelete