Convekta recently sent me a copy of their latest tactics training CD. Chess Tactics for Intermediate players shares a common interface with many other Convekta products, and operates with the same practice/test cycle that programs like CT-ART, and Chess Tactics for beginners have popularized.
This particular CD contains about 1200 exercises collected by Sergey Ivaschenko, the same gentleman responsible for Chess Tactics for Beginners. Incidentally, it is a safe bet to assume that some of the exercises in this program are also present in the hardcover books by the same author (this is the Chess School series of hardback books that Convekta sells).
Since I've written in depth about the Convekta training program interface, I won't discuss it here. If you want more details, you should look at my reviews on www.chessreviews.com (specifically, look at the reviews linked in the Total Chess Training Review), and you can also check out the review of Mate Studies on this site. What I will do is give you a taste for the kinds of exercises on this CD. Also, this CD is similar to the Mate Studies CD in that all the exercises are timed. CT-ART, Chess Tactics for Beginners, Studies, and Strategy do not employ a time limit for solutions.
Convekta grades their exercises on a 120 point scale. I'm not quite sure of the reason for this, but this is what they use. The easiest exercises are worth 10 points, and there are about forty 10 point exercises on this CD. Loosely speaking, getting a 10/10 corresponds to an ELO of 1600. Getting 120/120 corresponds to an ELO of 2200. Also, most exercises on the CD are from older games (most are greater than 20 years old). Even in light of this, I found many exercises that I had never seen before. I have quite an extensive collection of tactical problem books and software, so I think that most of the people reading this article will find plenty of new material.
To illustrate the difficulty of a middle-of the road problem, take a look at the following position from Tal-Ghitescu, 1963 (white to move).
The solution is Bxg6!! (The full solution is available in here).
You won't find much in the way of text instruction. This particular CD is geared toward the player that is already familiar with all the typical tactical ideas and motifs. Of course, the exercises are still organized by theme, which allows you to pinpoint specific areas that need further study or attention. The themes used on this CD are shown to the right.
I would recommend this CD for intermediate players (not surprise there ;-)), or for those that have already worked their way their way through Chess Tactics for Beginners, or CT-ART. Although I would not deem the latter to be a prerequisite for this CD. Any chess coach will tell you that this type of diagram training is very good for improving tactical ability. This particular CD provides a number of new exercises for you to test and improve your skills with, in a very easy to use package.
Occasional refueling is required
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