Tactical skills are paramount in chess. More than anything else, a player’s ability to find tactical solutions determines how successful he is over-the-board. No endgame scheme, opening idea or strategic plan, however brilliant a concept it may be, is of any value unless it is accurately calculated and implemented.
The best way to develop tactical skills is to practise them by tackling new and challenging positions. This book provides a wealth of chess puzzles to test just about every facet of your tactical ability. It is very unlikely that even those who have read many other chess puzzle books will recognize more than a handful of these positions. Franco has searched recent events and used powerful computers to seek out previously unpublished puzzles, and has also drawn extensively upon Latin American sources that he has been scouring for brilliant examples over the last three decades.
Following the pattern of Gambit’s hugely successful Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book (by John Emms), the book begins with 100 relatively easy positions suitable for novices, and ends with 100 extremely tough puzzles, which provide a mind-bending challenge even for grandmasters. There are 1001 puzzles in all, including themed sections and graded tests, all with detailed computer-verified solutions and verbal explanations of the main instructive points.
Zenon Franco is a grandmaster from Paraguay who now lives in Spain. He is an experienced chess trainer, his most notable former pupil being Paco Vallejo, now one of the world’s top grandmasters.
Gambit books by Franco: The Art of Attacking Chess, Chess Explained: the English Opening, Chess Explained: the Modern Benoni, Chess Self-Improvement, The Giant Chess Puzzle Book, Grandmaster Secrets: Counter-Attack!, Winning Chess Explained
Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.
“After working on a copy of The Giant Chess Puzzle Book by Zenon Franco I will recommend it to any player from 1000 USCF and up, as well as to coaches looking for high-quality material to conduct tactical training sessions” – Miguel Ararat, www.gainesvillechesstraining.com
“Most of the positions will not have been seen before in other publications and you will not fail to improve your game – certainly your tactical awareness – if you have the discipline to work through this lovely book. Chess problems are like life. We are given a question and we don’t always know the answer. Is it right to turn away and not try to find that answer? Maybe we should just roll up our sleeves and meet that challenge head on; after all the answers are all there, waiting to be found. Enjoy the journey and absorb yourself in just some of the delightful mysteries of the 64 squares.” – Carl Portman, Defence Focus
“Franco’s book is good for beginners and casual players...many positions aren’t too difficult. The writer is from South America, and has sourced many combinations from little-known master games played in that continent. Gambit chess books often have the advantage that their writers take care to select original or very recent examples...” – Antti Parkkinen, Suomen Shakki
“Puzzle books must be one of the most popular genres of all chess books. They are great fun to read and arguably very beneficial for your chess. The Paraguayan grandmaster and trainer (Vallejo Pons was one of his pupils) has put together a collection of 1,001 puzzles, ranging from the easiest to the downright diabolic, to delight and infuriate. He has not resorted to ‘old chestnuts’ and many are very recent. Enjoyable.” – John Saunders, British Chess Magazine
“...anyone looking for new tactical material will find it here” – Frank Große, schachtraining.blog.de
“Solving chess puzzles from a CD or DVD has certain advantages to a book, but one area where the latter is still superior is the depth and explanation of the solutions. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case but this reviewer can think of no software presently on the market that offers the in depth explanations similar to what Franco provides.” – IM John Donaldson
“Fresh puzzles with detailed solutions and explanations and a lot of text as well.” – Martin Rieger, Rochade Europa
“Tactics remain the cherry on the cake for all lovers of chess...this is pure enjoyment. There are 1001 diagram positions, with the first 100 relatively easy, while towards the end even grandmasters will have to utilise their brain-power. And with the various tests everyone can bring their tactics up to scratch...” – Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad
“Puzzle books are great fun specially with the unique material from Zenon Franco,where the most of these exercises have never seen in print before! Conclusion: Highly enjoyable!” – John Elburg, chessbooks.nl
“You may wonder how an author can produce yet another 1001 positions that will be unfamiliar to the reader. The answer lies in the nationality of the author, who originates from Paraguay, for he has drawn a large proportion of the positions from games that were played in Latin-America, and which rarely reach European eyes except as bare entries on a database. ...Overall I think that this is one of the most challenging puzzle books that I have ever attempted. But, as has often been said, ‘no gain without pain’.” – Alan Sutton, En Passant
“There’s a great deal of fun to be had from this puzzle book, which should suit players who like to test and improve their tactical prowess. Anyone who tackles even just a reasonable percentage of the puzzles should be able improve their own vision and awareness.” – Sean Marsh, marshtowers.blogspot.com