Book and/or CD version
THE CHESS RIDDLE OF THE SPHINX
ECC5 is the ultimate educational tool with systematic, carefully selected pro-level content
For ECC5 we are going back to our roots. In addition to the themes re-introduced in the 4th edition, in the 5th edition of the series the positions are now graded according to playing strength – basic, intermediate and advanced – just like it used to be in the well-known ‘white classic’, the 1st edition of Encyclopedia of Middlegames: Combinations, published in 1980.
Basic? Well, not quite. Perhaps we should say there is nothing too basic here. Even the starting level is challenging. In fact trying to solve some of the examples might drive you to despair! To be sure, throughout the Internet you will find a vast ocean of disordered, simplified tactics – but let others fool around and have quick and easy fun. For you, on the other hand, ECC5 is the ultimate educational tool with systematic, carefully selected pro-level content. Oh yes, the fun is still there, only on a completely different scale. Imagine the thrill you will get after solving – and surviving! – the Chess Riddle of the Sphinx.
The book (and the CD and Download) contains 3,001 classified and annotated combinations from all-time tournament practice. It will be appreciated by anyone who wants to raise their level of play or who wants their students to be fully primed for competitive tournament chess.
The electronic version is made with the Training feature incorporated into Windows based ChessBase software, which will suit coaches perfectly. With additional PGN files, ECC5 can be used on electronic devices as well (iOS and Android), though without the advanced features accessible only from CBH files.
Compared with the 4th edition there is approximately 5% new material, although with its new internal structure the book looks quite different. Nevertheless we do not think that readers who already own ECC4 need to acquire the 5th edition, since their book (proven bestseller!) contains all the essential features and has maintained its fine reputation.
For all those who are thinking of acquiring the Encyclopedia for the first time, let’s just say that ECC5 is the standard work on the art of combinational chess. It is designed to offer infinite pleasure for chess enthusiasts or training for would-be-grandmasters. Or both!
By Josip Asik, CEO of Chess informant
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHESS COMBINATIONS
Fifth edition (December 23, 2014)
Total of 3,001 all-time best and annotated combinations, Hardcover, 656 pages
Structured into 10 Themes and three new strenght sub-levels: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced.
Following the path of:
4th edition: Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations (2012), 3rd edition: Anthology of Chess Combinations (2005), 2nd edition: Anthology of Chess Combinations (1995), 1st edition: Encyclopaedia of Chess Middlegames – Combinations (1980)
a. Annihilation of defence : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
b. Blockade : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
c. Clearance : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
d. Deflection : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
e. Discovered attack : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
f. Pinning : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
g. Demolition of pawn structure : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
h. Decoy : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
i. Interference : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
j. Double attack : Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
VIDEO WALKTHROUGH (CD):
INDEPENDENT REVIEW (for 4TH EDITION)
Chess Informant (CI) - the publisher - doesn't just publish the Informant - the book. Case in point: the fourth edition of the Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations. This is an old-style CI book: there's no English (or any other natural language) in the body of the text; all you'll find are diagrams, chess notation, and their standard symbols. (One exception: at the top of the page the theme covered on that page is given in English; non-English readers are likely to find the equivalent in their language in the table of contents.)
Tactics books are a dime a dozen (metaphorically; the literal price is considerably greater), so what's different about this one; what do you get for your $? For starters, you get a lot of puzzles: 3001, to be precise. In general, the positions are challenging. Often knowing the theme will give you a good idea about the first move (you won't be shocked to know that in most cases the first move in the puzzles from the chapter "Demolition of Pawn Structure" will involve sacrificing a piece for a pawn in the general vicinity of the victim's king), but that's almost never enough to fully and properly solve the puzzle. Until you're around 1900 or so, you're probably better off working on other tactics book (or software, or tactics websites).
If you are 1900 and up though, it's worth considering because the puzzles are sorted by themes, which is relatively rare for advanced tactics books. In my view both kinds of tactics books are valuable: those where the puzzles are divided up by themes and those where one has no advance idea of what to look for. There are 10 themes in the book, each further subdivided into three sub-sections: "combinations with attack on the king", "combinations to achieve equality", and "other combinations". The 10 themes, with my occasional explanations and/or comments in parentheses, are:
- Annihilation of Defense [Typically removing a piece that guards another piece or a key square.]
- Blockade [Blocking a line, an escape square, etc. Not to be confused with Nimzowitsch's idea.]
- Clearance [Freeing a square or line for the benefit of another piece.]
- Deflection [Drawing a defender away from another defensive responsibility.]
- Discovered Attack [Not necessarily a discovered check.]
- Demolition of Pawn Structure
- Decoy [Not to be confused with deflection. The idea here is to draw the target piece to a bad square.]
- Interference [A move that forces the defender to block a crucial defensive line.]
- Double Attack
If you're a strong player and already have an impressive collection of (unused) tactics books, I wouldn't claim that this is the book for you, the one that will finally make everything fall into place. If you don't have a lot of advanced tactics books though, and especially if you don't have any that are sorted by theme, then it's worth considering - especially since the price range for 3001 puzzles is a good ratio. It's not worth getting if it's your 15th tactics book (meaning an advanced book for an advanced player), but if it's your first or maybe even your fifth, it might be.
By Dennis Monokroussos, ChessMind