There are quite a few tactical training programs and web sites around, all of which can be very useful. But this last week I was particularly impressed by two products based on the Dutch ‘steps’ method developed by Rob Brunia and Cor van Wijgerden.
The first of these is the Chess Steps web site which gives details of the steps method and has download versions of the Chess Tutor program. The second is the web site Chessity which has some fun exercises such as trying to solve problems faster than other users.
In both cases the key is the heavy emphasis on developing chess board vision, which all too often is paid lip services by teachers before they move on to things like openings. But without a thorough grounding in tactical play none of it will make sense and students will be left frustrated and unable to make progress.
Broadly speaking tactical play must be learned first before people move on to consider strategic concepts, and this is the route taken by most club players. How they progress from there is another story, and one which I’ll revisit at another time. Strategy is much harder to learn and there are fewer good sources available.