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Anthology of Chess Combinations (3rd edition)
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The Bottom Line

(April 2006) CD 'Anthology of Chess Combinations (3rd edition)' by Chess Informant (Informator), published 2005. 'One of the most popular books on tactics and combinations ever released is now available on CD for the first time. It comes with Chess Informant Solver's Kit, a new CI product for self-testing in the field of chess combinations with powerful features such as searching combinations.' [from the Informant site] Contains 2709 combinations, plus puzzle solving software.

Pros

  • Installation of the CD to a PC is simple and straightforward.
  • The combinations are well chosen and interesting, although of varying difficulty.
  • Select and search on criteria like player(s), result, year, and theme. Wildcards are permitted.
  • Search can be used to select a number of positions randomly.

Cons

  • Having to enter a userid/password each time you use the software is annoying.
  • Search criteria not saved between searches.
  • No warning on the difficulty of solving a combination.

Description

  • Note: This review covers only the CD, not the 576 page book with the same title.
  • No further need for the CD after the software has been installed on your computer.
  • Open the program and choose 'Select test'. Double click on a puzzle to open it in 'Solve test'.
  • Use the mouse to make the next move of the combination.
  • If your move is right, the program responds with your opponent's next move.
  • This continues until you have solved the combination.
  • Combinations are categorized by theme using a double classification.
  • Search puts the results in 'Select test'; scroll through the results while in 'Solve test'.

Guide Review - Anthology of Chess Combinations (3rd edition)

The first thing on which good chess players agree is the importance of tactics. The second thing is that combinations (combos) are the most beautiful examples of tactics in action.

The 2709 combinations on the Informant CD are categorized by theme: first according to whether the goal is a mating attack, a draw, or something else, then according to one of 10 tactical motifs like annihilation of defence, blockade, or deflection.

Most of the examples were played by the top players after 1966, the year that Informant started business. Kasparov is the most represented player, featuring in 47 games. Karpov is next with 30 games. Fischer is in only six games, one of those from his 1992 match with Spassky.

The earliest combination is from the 1842 game Cochrane - Staunton, where Staunton executed a mating attack using the clearance theme. The most recent are from 2005. The year most represented is 1994, with 117 examples.

If a combination is too difficult, 'Solve test' has functions to show either the full solution or the next move. Menu option 'Mode' switches between Practice and Testing; the hint functions disappear in Testing.

The board automatically resizes according to normal / maximized window size, and can be flipped. Menu option 'Settings' changes important visual choices like piece and square color.

Of course, your computer will solve many of these combos in a hurry, but that's not the point. Take the time to solve them yourself. Recommended.


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