Why we love this game

by ChessBase
3/28/2010 – "The Magic of Chess Tactics" is a unique collection of positions and game fragments by German trainer Claus Dieter Meyer. Late last year a DVD was released, along with GM Karsten Müller, with more than three hours of video presentation. Louis Lima from chesscafe.com thoroughly tested it and found a new favourite among his Fritz Trainer DVDs. Buy it now or read his review.

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It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The Magicians

Louis Lima reviews "The Magics of chess tactics" by Karsten Müller / Claus Dieter Meyer

"Chess is an amazing, deep and difficult game, but at the end, in the highest sense, is logical, even if it seems paradoxical at first for the human mind." – Karsten Müller 

Prepare to be dazzled and challenged in this superb transformation of Müller and Meyer's book The Magic of Chess Tactics to Fritz Trainer format. Müller presents thirty-eight video lectures that highlight the creativity of some of the greatest magicians of the chessboard: Fischer, Shirov, Topalov, Bronstein, Tal, Nezhtmetdinov, and many others. Combine this with Müller's entertaining and dynamic style and you come away with a high-quality production.

One of best ways to improve your tactical ability is to roll-up one's sleeves and get down to business solving puzzles. You can sit back and enjoy these fabulous lectures, but I suspect Müller will soon make you feel guilty. He often stops during the presentation to ask what would you do in a given position. His question is followed by a pause, and just when you think he's about to reveal the solution, he will say "go ahead, take your time." You simply marvel at the creativity of the magicians or take the opportunity to improve your tactical skills. Some video lectures can provide a full day's tactical workout, as in the second video lecture presenting the game Shirov-Lautier, Munich 1993. In this nineteen-minute lecture, Müller stops no less than eleven times to challenge the viewer. Here are the first three:

White to Move – Find the mate yourself

White to Move – Find the refutation to Rd3

White to Move – How to strengthen White's attack?

The puzzles range in difficulty, but they are geared towards intermediate to advanced players and beyond. Given the amount of training material provided, it is advisable to set-up the positions over-the-board, so you are not glued to the computer screen. Magic of Chess Tactics contains three and a half hours of video divided into the following lectures:

  • 01: Intro
  • 02: Fischer, R – Donner, J
  • 03: Shirov, A – Lautier, J
  • 04: Topalov, V – Shirov, A
  • 05: Cross pin 06: Bronstein, D – NN 07:
  • Bronstein, D – Korchnoi, V
  • 08: Tal, M – Bronstein, D
  • 09: Samsonov – Nezhmetdinov, R
  • 10: Nezhmetdinov, R – Tal, M
  • 11: Polugaevsky, L Nezhmetdinov, R
  • 12: Stein, L – Birbrager, I
  • 13: Stein, L – Portisch, L
  • 14: Stein, L – Anikaev, Y
  • 15: Spielmann, R – Gruenfeld, E
  • 16: Spielmann, R – Thomas, G
  • 17: Tal, M – Koblentz, A
  • 18: Tal, M – Klaman, K
  • 19: Tal, M – Smyslov, V
  • 20: Tal, M – Benko, P
  • 21: Tal, M – Nievergelt, E
  • 22: Kunnemann, N.N.
  • 23: Analysis of Kunnemann – N.N.
  • 24: Queen and Knight: Anand, V – Radjabov, T
  • 25: Attacking combination 01: Müller, K – Zagrebelny, S
  • 26: Attacking combination 02: Caruana, F – Berg, E
  • 27: Attacking combination 03: Rotlewi, G – Rubinstein, A
  • 28: Attacking combination 04: Bagirov, V – Gufeld
  • 29: Attacking combination 05: Maroczy, G – Romi, M
  • 30: Attacking combination 06: Alekhine, A – van Mindeno, A
  • 31: Attacking combination 07: Nimzowitsch, A – Vidmar, M
  • 32: Attacking combination 08: Kasparov, G – Karpov, A
  • 33: Attacking combination 09: Panczyk, K – Matlak, M
  • 34: Attacking combination 10: Martorelli, A – Antunes, A
  • 35: Endgame magic 01: Szypulski, A – Silbermann, F
  • 36: Endgame magic 02: Short, N – Cheparinov, I
  • 37: Endgame magic 03: Geisler, F – Heissler, J
  • 38: Endgame magic 04: Analysis of Kunnemann – N.N.

There is also a supplementary Chessbase file of 384 tactical positions from which the video examples were taken. If you choose the training tab to hide the answers, you can take a shot at solving the puzzles yourself.

 While he discusses the solution of a puzzle, Müller dispenses valuable advice, such as, Don't exchange your attacking potential; opposite-colored bishops favor the attacker, etc. There are some fantastic lectures here that you will return to time and time again. Two of my favorites were the mad dash of pins and cross-pins in the game Fahnnenschmidt – Gutman, Germany Bundesliga 1987, and the epic duel Nezhmetdinov – Tal, 1961 USSR Championship. In the latter Müller paints a picturesque portrait of Nezhmetdinov with funny remarks such as "OK, this move is better, but of course Nezhmetdinov had to play the Nezhmetdinov move."

Overall, this is a superb production from Müller, Meyer, and the ChessBase team. Along with King's PowerPlay series and Mikhalchishin's The Secret Weapons of the Champions, Magic of Chess Tactics is among my favorite Fritz Trainers of all time.

Click here for the original review.

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