Review by former US Champion GM Joel Benjamin in December '07 Chess Life and US Chess Online - "...With innovative methodology Chess Exam and Training Guide: Tactics, aspires to rise a cut above other books in this genre...I love the creative and novel approach to quizzing, but the greatest strength of the book is the selection of positions. The variations of themes is impressive... The selections of positions and posing of questions is so skillfully done that every page is a learning experience..." Read the entire review here.


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Additional Details


I have been coaching for over 5 years in Ukraine and now for over 16 years in United States. Throughout  my coaching career, I have been working with pupils of all levels, from beginners to Grandmasters. Typical coaching process - is a perpetual circle.


    Evaluation   ------>  Training Plan ------->Tournament Participation ------> Re-evaluation


With the Evaluation been the most challenging and time consuming step in the process. I often compare coach to a doctor. The doctor is being taught how to help with your problem, but the toughest challenge is to identify what it is. At his disposal, the doctor has various tests that can compare where you stand with other people. Through the test, abnormalities will be displayed and the doctor will know what to focus on.


Well, the same idea here. I have collected answers from thousands of chess players of all levels (my students, friends, web site visitors etc...) to 60 exercises. The dataset I obtained is significant enough to provide credible answers. Now you and/or your coach has at his fingertips complete summary of your chess skills in the most important aspects of the game. What can you or he do next? Here are just a few options


Ř      Identify weaknesses,

Ř      Prioritize needs,

Ř      Correct the problems,

Ř      Check the progress.  


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Comments from Experts

Here are the comments from few world renown players, writers, coaches and just fans: 


Hi Igor,

I have been very busy of late and have only recently had time to go through the book. what I have seen looks very good.

Good luck!

IM John Donaldson (USA)


Hi Igor,

My main approach when I start working with my students - improving their tactical skills. You may play 30 good moves , then one slip and the game is over. Indeed the standard puzzle books are all combines well known examples copy from one source to another. What I found in your book - many new and quite good examples for reaching the main target - showing readers the way of improving the tactical vision and calculation.

My Congratulation and hope the next book about Endgame we could make together!

GM Boris Alterman ((Israel)



It is a wonderful and demanding book! It is actually too hard for my students under 1400 but for those at that level up through master (!) it is a terrific selection of exercises.

Regards, Fred Wilson, chess radio show host (USA)


IM Igor Khmelnitsky strikes once more with a fantastic book. The natural follow-up to his award winning Chess Exam, volume II is an impressive assortment of highly instructive, (and entertaining!) well thought out and selected positions. It isn't common for me to see an instruction manual that carries so many exciting and full-of-life positions I have not seen before, but C E II does just that. The material may vary from easy to very tough, but interestingly, it is presented in such a way, that the challenging stuff is still valuable for low rateds, and the 'easy pickings' are still fun for the masters. A very welcome repeating motive I have found in the book, was the high number of 'surprises' one finds. The obvious is often illusionary, and just when one may stop and think 'got it!', there could still be something 'behind the scenes' -- much like in so many of our own chess games. Seeing these, learning and rehearsing them, is sure to develop and sharpen one's calculations and sense of danger, and could well help in making the next step up the ranking ladder. I have not only enjoyed reading it, but am sure to 'adopt' quite a few of the positions for my own teaching repertoire.

FM Aviv Fridman, Experienced coach and award-winning journalist (USA)


What impressed me the most and is different from other quiz type books is that each problem is looked at twice--once with White and the other with Black to move or with a minor piece adjustment. This technique really helps understand the full use of all pieces on the board and I found very helpful for increasing my chess vision

Andy Ansel (USA)


For chess coaches the most instructive part is the training guide. Khmelnitsky explains the 6 major areas of tactics. He then systematically breaks these down into 29 distinct categories with detailed examples. These flow in a logical fashion and build on each other. Here is your lesson plan for teaching tactics to your students. I consider this the paragon for chess tactics instruction. 

Bob Lynch, chess coach (USA)


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Comments from Readers (send your comment)

Here are the comments from players like you who took the test:

Dear Igor,

I have worked through about half of your book. I think it is wonderful. I have not found any problems. I thought perhaps it was easier than your first book because it was focused on one subject (tactics) but after working through about half I have to say it is just as challenging as your first book. It is a real eye opener and I think it is helping me in my tournament games.

All the best,

Jimmy Sweet (USA)



Based on what I have read so far, you clearly have another winner here. The book follows closely the model of your first book with a focus on tactics. In each case the problems are well chosen with an ability to instruct as well as entertain. I spend a lot of time doing tactics problems in books and online because I know this is an area that I need to improve in and I am pleased to say that all your chosen problems were unfamiliar to me ( no small accomplishment!). Many of them contained tactical elements that I had seen before but used in new and instructive ways which taught me things about those tactical elements that had heretofore eluded me. This is not a book for beginners, but it does fill a real need to bridge the gap between tactics problems and the problems faced when playing a chess game. Congratulations on this fine book. Don't let it be your last!

Gary Houlahan (USA)


Hi Igor,

I have completed the book and I think it is excellent. I thought it was well written and I find how you work out the statistics very good and I believe that most of them are pretty much correct to my playing skill. It will never be 100% correct of my playing skill unless it's a book of thousands of pages with millions of questions. But it is very helpful and I really enjoy the Chess Exam books.

Thanks for writing a great book again.


Dennis Holland (Australia)


Dear Igor,

Your books may be the next step in test or quiz books. Up to now most are just collections of positions grouped by type of maneuver or some notion of difficulty. Yours is the first to try to analyze the wrong moves and why people pick them.

Thanks again!

Julian Wan (USA)


I loved your new book! The puzzles and explanations are first rate. I hope your next book will deal with positional chess.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Calvin Hori (USA)

Dear Igor,

As you probably remember, my strength is Candidate Master (Current ELO FIDE 1918) and all my technical valuations are related to this. I read all the book, without a chessboard, and I did not find any mistakes, both in writing and in solutions. The tests are great, because stimulate the reader to look at the position from both sides. Too often the players in tense tactical position consider only what they can do, without looking to opponents threats. In this kind of positions, this incomplete approach can often be fatal.

Another interesting approach is the one related to the worst possible move, very illuminating. If people cannot determine what the best move is, they might be helped from knowing what wrong is.

As you know, there is a quote saying that "the more I know, the less I understand" but with your book, we can easily turn it in "the less I do not understand, the more I know". You bring the reader by hand, giving him possible choices in order to have a guideline in answering.

Last but not least, there is also the way to open the mind with "unusual chess". I found both brilliant and funny the one called "the half move"solution, simply related to pick the knight up from its square without moving!!.

You can eventually use my name for free, I have no problems with privacy and so on. I wil also soon record my results on the website. I want to thank you for this opportunity and I do hope that my comments might be helpful somehow.

Truly yours

Michele De Lillo (Italy)



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Published Reviews (links and pdf format)


Joel Benjamin, GM, former US Champion (December '07 Chess Life and US Chess Online) 


...With innovative methodology Chess Exam and Training Guide: Tactics, aspires to rise a cut above other books in this genre...I love the creative and novel approach to quizzing, but the greatest strength of the book is the selection of positions. The variations of themes is impressive... The selections of positions and posing of questions is so skillfully done that every page is a learning experience...


Read the entire review here.

Michael Jeffreys for 

... The thing that makes his books so good, as I mentioned above, is his eye for great material.  All of the positions he selects are interesting and usually the obvious try is not the best.  Also, he mixes up his problems so that each turn of the page brings a new adventure, i.e. they are not in any type of “thematic order” like most puzzle books.

Read the entire review here. View a YouTube video clip here.

Bob Long, publisher (

A Great Book on Tactics ... Many know about Igor’s first book, "Chess Exam and Training Guide." He had a lot of quizzes in it. By the time you get to the end of the book, you have some idea of how you can improve your chess. In a way, this book is a continuation of his first book, but with the emphasis on tactics... This book is the best tactics book I know of, and more complete than any other. Many other tactics books are LAZY selections. Khmelnitsky has not only chosen well, but he has put thoughtful work into it too.

Full review -

Richard Roseborough for

Chess Exam is an ambitious and interesting project intended as a supplement to those types of books (traditional tactics workbooks with hundreds upon hundreds of exercises arranged by motif). Above all it is a unique and creative attempt to help students spend their study time more efficiently... and because the reader is constantly getting feedback about his efforts, and because he is able to compare his results with others, it is infinitely more interesting.

Full review -


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Sample Pages (pdf format)


The Exam consists of 60 diagrams and 120 questions of various difficulty. Also you get 29 detailed reports with training recommendations. 


Table of Contents -   (View Now

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Preface : (View Now



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