? Mikhail Baturyn Chess - Sharp Tactical Skills
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Sharp Tactical Skills

Some people say that chess is nothing more than tactics.  Even if I do not completely agree with this aphorism, I concur that tactical skills are the most important skills for a chess player.  Chess strategy is absolutely useless for a player who is not able to recognize common tactical patters or calculate variations correctly.  Such a player would lose numerous games because of simple tactics or simple miscalculations.

The tactical skills consist of tactical-pattern knowledge and ability to calculate variations.  The tactical-pattern knowledge is easy to acquire.  A player just needs to learn common tactical elements (such as double attack, attraction, distraction, pins, skewers, discovery, etc.) and then practice them regularly until the player is able to recognize the patterns instantly.  The ability to calculate variations is also trainable.  With proper practice, it is possible to significantly improve in chess calculations.

I strongly believe that chess students should acquire sharp tactical skills as soon as possible.  I introduce simple chess tactics immediately after students learn basic chess rules and become familiar with chess notation.  I also insist that my students become really proficient with well-known tactical patterns, meaning that the students should not only understand the patterns but also be able to see them quickly.  Such tactical proficiency is a must for growing in chess. 

I have developed a strong system for training beginning, intermediate, and advanced tactical skills during the course of my coaching work.  My numerous students used this system and many of them were able to become excellent tacticians.

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