That being said, 1000 Checkmate Combinations is an excellent book containing a wealth of tactical examples, including 456 (!) exercises. The solutions could perhaps have been more fulsome and detailed, since usually only the main line of a combination is given.
This is an excellent collection of beautiful, instructive and interesting games and Neil McDonald does a sterling job of elucidating and explaining their finer points.
We are given a good number of mainly modern games and positions, rather than the usual tired examples (or classics as they are sometimes called), with a fair number of them Daniel’s own. As you might imagine, Naroditsky’s annotations are especially candid and lucid when he comes to commentate on his own games.
Igor Khmelnitsky’s Chess Exam and Training Guide: Tactics is a brilliant diagnostic tool. If you love tactics and combinations, you will love the book. And as you work through the test positions, you will assess your tactical skill, learn a lot and be royally entertained.
For anyone thinking of starting a chess-related business, there is much of substance here; moreover, often a page will have side-notes or glosses on the main text. Digressions (a good thing, in my view: Laurence Sterne built his reputation, or at any rate his masterpiece, on them) are plentiful and rarely fail to amuse or instruct.
Overall, this is an excellent tournament book that I will continue to revisit and refer to in the future for two reasons. First, because it is a great source of opening information and ideas. Second, because the eventful games and insightful notes and analysis provide excellent material for analytical work.
Finally, the design of the book is attractive to the eye: the mix of black and blue type; the layout of the diagrams: four per page, with solutions on the page facing; the use of text boxes for pull quotes and take-home messages. Altogether, this creates a good impression, as does the book’s compactness.
There is an occasional dry wit, too, which is no bad thing (e.g. after a cool positional display by Adams, he remarks that ‘the Hedgehog wasn’t so much squashed as slowly marinated’). There are a plentiful number of diagrams and the text is clear and well-spaced, however, one would have liked to have seen an index of players or complete games. Other than that, The Sicilian Bb5 Revealed is a model of its kind.
The meat of the book is contained in chapter four, where Grivainis gives twenty six of his best games, arranged by theme (e.g. “Positional Wins”, “Defending Attacks Against the King”, “Middlegame Struggles”). In the main, Grivainis appears to be a solid positional player, but with a drop of poison. Like Lasker, he seems adept at tailoring his play to combat his opponent’s style. And he has a penchant for the Trompowski Attack.
Marat Makarov’s The Endgame is a treasure trove of instruction and ‘need to know’ information. Undoubtedly, a careful study of the many splendid positions in it will be sure to reap rewards in your own play.