By Chad Lieberman
A chess player should never underestimate the power of a strong tactician. Having an ability to recognize tactical situations is a priceless tool to have in your chess arsenal. Exhaustively knowing tactics can pull you out of a strategic jam or even save a completely losing game.
How does one develop this faculty of tactical recognition? As with other subjects of study, there are several ways to do this. You must find the method that is most effective for you. Some people will choose to solve hundreds or even thousands of tactical puzzles and others prefer to create their own. Whatever works, you must internalize the tactics.
A great way to do this is to create a pocket-sized book of diagrams and puzzles. Whenever you have a free moment, you can spend several minutes studying these themes. This will allow you to fully grasp the geometry behind the position and then recognize similar instances in future games.
Another great way to learn how tactics come about in real game situations is to study the games of the grandmaster tacticians that preceded us. My favorite is Mikhail Tal.
This week's game was played in the Candidates Tournament in Bled in 1965 against the famous Bent Larsen. These two players put on a tactical fireworks display.
Good luck on your tactical endeavors and please never forget the undeniable truth: tactics win games.