Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane
Finding Chess Jewels
By Michael Krasenkow
Everyman Chess, 2014
Krasenkow’s introduction gives some thoughts and tips on how to analyse a position and calculate variations, both when solving puzzles and in an actual game, and this is followed by about 250 tactical exercises arranged in three sections. Most positions have the neutral instruction ‘White to Play’ or ‘Black to Play’ but very occasionally there is a more specific question for you to answer.
The first section, ‘Jewels’, is by far the easiest, though by no means easy: you’re looking for a surprising single blow against which there are a few lines of defence; the second, ‘Brooches’, is of a medium level of difficulty, the combinations being more elaborate; the final section, ‘Necklaces’, is the longest (92 positions) and also the most challenging, not to say mind-boggling at times. If I say that the solutions in this last section extend over about a hundred pages and that one position takes up four pages of detailed analysis, you’ll get a sense of their complexity.
It has a straightforward, simple format (tactical puzzles followed by solutions), yet I found this to be a really engaging book, the most enjoyable I’ve ‘read’ (if that’s the right word for the kind of immersion it requires) for a long time. There is much beauty to be found in the combinations, most taken from Krasenkow’s own games, and his lucid annotations and rigorous analyses allow you to better appreciate it. It’s a useful as well as a beautiful book, since solving or attempting to solve these exercises will undoubtedly improve your combinational vision and powers of calculation.
About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org