Forcing Chess Moves

Charles Hertan

Reviewer: John Donaldson
New In Chess
382 pages

FORCING CHESS MOVES by FM Charles Hertan of Boston is a combination book with a twist — the author wants you to develop computer eyes. Through his many years of teaching, Hertan has come to believe that a key failing of all chess players, but particularly those at the club level, is their inability to find the sort of brute force tactics and combinations that computers instantly find. He feels that many of us miss them because they are counter-intuitive or unnatural looking.

To combat this deficiency, Hertan has written a big book (nearly 400 oversize pages) organized by theme that starts with an explanation and ends with a quiz. What makes FORCING CHESS MOVES a superior combination book are numerous fresh examples, good explanations of the solutions and two diagrams for every quiz position with one to solve from and the other on the next page with the solution. This means you don’t waste a lot of time thumbing back and forth. There is definitely no need for a chessboard with this book.

FORCING CHESS MOVES, which is neatly laid out with crisp clear diagrams, will be useful for players of a variety of strengths, but the target audience is likely players 1800-2200. If you work through it conscientiously you might be able to find the following combination – a sacrifice followed by seven forcing moves in a row – which was played after Hertan’s book went to press.

M.Rodshtein (2614) – T.Kotanjian (2545), Aeroflot Open, Moscow 2008
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0–0 a6 7.Bb3 Nc6 8.Nc3 cxd4 9.exd4 Be7 10.Bg5 0–0 11.Re1 b5 12.Qd3 Nb4 13.Qd2 Bb7 14.Ne5 Nbd5 15.Qd3 Rc8 16.Rac1 Qd6 17.Qh3 Rfe8 18.Bc2 g6 19.Bb3 b4 and now: 20.Nxf7! Kxf7 21.Ne4 Qb6 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.Rxc8 Bxc8 24.Bxd5 exd5 25.Ng5+ Bxg5 26.Qxh7+ Kf6 27.Rxe8, 1–-0.