Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Some time ago (about 5 years maybe?) I stumbled on the idea of converting my old copy of  " STUDY CHESS WITH TAL" which was a great classic written by the World Champion in collaboration with his then trainer Alexander Koblenz. I'm often curious as to who the guy in the old cover is. Koblenz wrote many great books on tactics and strategy in Russian but so far this has been translated to English:

It took me close to 10 years in hunting down the out-of-print book from an old bookseller in UK who offered it used at  US$15, where most second-hand booksellers were pricing it way above US$50. Naturally I treasured the book and thought many times if I should want to undertake the project to convert the notation from descriptive to algebraic. A painstaking job no less - finally I decided to start work on it last year during this time when my students are having exams and I had a little more spare time on my hands. But lo and behold! I found this!

Someone at Batsford must have read my mind and saw the potential of releasing it in algebraic! This is indeed a blessing for all attacking players who have not played over the comments made by the trainer. There were great insights given in how Tal would prepare for the sacrifice when he smelt one in the air, as well as the World Champion's understanding of the workings of his pieces once they roamed freely on the chessboard. The intuitive notion of choice of Tal's moves are indeed useful lessons for any chessplayer, noticeably when Koblenz often prepares your state of mind to think like Tal with very useful questions just before the sacrifice. This book has elevated my attacking play better in my opinion than Vukovic's Art of Attack which in my time was the definitive attacking manual. In fact, I have structured my chess lessons very much in his style of leading the player into the train of thought to understand the concept at hand. It is very much more effective to learn this way as the lesson becomes interactive rather than a lecture.

Naturally I recommend it but I think there are very few copies available in the Singapore bookstores..I got mine the very day I knew it was available. Let's see if you can too!

1 comment:

  1. Well done John.

    You do walk the talk, unlike many others who are members of NATO.

    Salute :)