Thinking methods are at the heart of the chess struggle, yet most players devote little conscious effort to improving their calculating ability. Much of the previous literature on the subject has presented idealized models that have limited relevance to the hurly-burly of practical chess, or else provide little more than ad hoc suggestions. Here, experienced trainer Valeri Beim strikes a balance by explaining how to use intuition and logic together to solve tactical problems in a methodical way. He also offers advice on when it is best to calculate 'like a machine', and when it is better to rely on intuitive assessment.

Valeri Beim is a grandmaster who lives in Austria. He has won numerous tournaments and plays in the Austrian and German leagues. For many years he was the head trainer at the chess school in Odessa, and he was also the trainer of the Israeli Olympiad team. This is his fifth chess book; see also Understanding the Leningrad Dutch, Chess Recipes from the Grandmaster's Kitchen, Lessons in Chess Strategy, and How to Play Dynamic Chess.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"...a very substantial entry into the "how to think in chess" field. If you have not read my review of Beim's earlier How to Play Dynamic Chess, please take a minute to do so, as my appreciation of the Grandmaster's serious commitment to improving his student's / reader's chess remains unabated - if anything, it is enhanced by the current text." - Rick Kennedy,

"One of Beim's insights is that, when we find a beautiful combination that fails, we're often halfway to finding the move we should play. The opponent's strength that breaks our attack is precisely the target we should set about undermining. ... As Beim progresses through his examples, he draws out a number of useful principles for practical over-the-board play. Ways to spot candidate moves, which moves to calculate first, when to halt calculation on one candidate move and turn to another, the changes in calculation that occur depending on whether one is attacking or defending, and more, all come to life through the examples Beim has gathered. ... Beim shares with us a set of tools that, once mastered, appear well-designed for rapid, effective calculation in the critical positions that separate the master from the amateur. It is a worthy contribution to chess literature, and a challenging and intriguing read." - Derek Grimmell,

"An excellent book! It explains tactics and how to see them very well. I highly recommend this book to any intermediate or advanced player looking to improve. A complete study of this book will extremely enhance your tactical abilities!" - Andy May,

"An excellent introduction to a critical chess skill, including 100 exercises for the reader to practise what he has learnt." - Ray Edwards, BCM

"This is an excellent book for all chess-players wishing to hone their tactical skills." - PHL Hughes, Chess Post

"…a very good book." - GM Jonathan Rowson, New-in-Chess

"Beim's new book, issued by Gambit Publications, combines well-selected games and fragments with instructive problems and studies -- a trademark of Beim's previous excellent books. It also includes 100 positions for the reader to solve." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

"He also advocates regular practice at solving tactical problems as the means to improving ones tactical ability and pattern recognition, and to that end there are 100 practice positions included in the book for the reader to tackle. These go some way beyond the standard "White to play and mate in 2" type of position, and I found them really tough to crack, though I hope I have benefited from the experience. A few years ago many chess books incorporated interactive sections of this kind, but this is the first book in a long time that I have encountered that included such a section. That in itself is a good reason to buy it." Alan Sutton, En Passant

"A moment of glory for chess literature" - Hans Petschar