Original Review by Eric Schiller
Chess Exam and Training Guide
318 pages, softcover
This is an excellent book for working by yourself to improve your game. Working through the 200 exam positions will definitely improve your game, thanks especially to the detaileddiscussion of both correct and incorrect moves. The book works best for personal training, though instructors will find many of the positions suitable for use in classroom settings, too. There is a system for approximating your rating based on your results in the exam, though I’m not particularly convinced by the results. Many of the questions are tricky or quite difficult, and it is easy to see quite strong players making a number of errors. At the same time, the multiple-choice makes it easy to rule out some incorrect answers and improve the results gained by guessing. That said, perhaps working through this book will also help prepare students for standardized tests where the same techniques can be effective. There are many useful tips included in the book, and while the presentation is not systematic, you can learn quite a lot by just trying to remember as many of them as possible.
I can strongly recommend this book to motivated players who are willing to put in work to improve their play. This is not, however, a course of instruction. The book is exactly what its title says it is, an examination of chess skills combined with a training guide. A book like this is only one component of a good chess improvement program. You should certainly still go out and acquire collections of great games annotated preferably by the players themselves. However, this unique book is well worth the price of admission, especially if you are already rated between 1600 and 1800.