Review of Strike Like Judit! by Charles Hertan


Strike Like Judit! – Published by New in Chess – 2018 – 256pp

Like many people I was already familiar with FM Charles Hertan through two prior endeavors. One was his former tactics column in New in Chess, and the other was his incredible book Forcing Chess Moves which was recommended to me by several strong players who pretty much universally agreed that it revolutionized the approach to searching for tactics in games.

So it was with great delight that I sat down to his latest offering, also published by New in Chess, Strike Like Judit!: The Winning Tactics of Chess Legend Judit Polgar. I have been a fan of Judit for almost as long as I have been playing in tournaments. I distinctly recall her bursting onto the international scene as a pre teen girl, and began following her career almost immediately.

This book is broken down into six chapters. They are:

  1. Geometry lessons
  2. Sicilian Slayer
  3. The art of calculation
  4. Endgame Empress
  5. Shots!
  6. The classics

Unlike FM Hertan’s previous book this is not just a puzzle books with positions for solving where the reader is looking for the final shot. Instead, the positions given are tactically rich, and then analyzed in some depth by the author.

One really nice feature of this is that instead of just a diagram with a “White to move and win” style, each position is given multiple diagrams, in many cases there are both game position diagrams and analysis diagrams. This makes it possible to read this book without the use of the board for most players of even moderate strength like my own (my peak Elo is 1896) which is useful for developing visualization skills.

In a few (albeit rare) cases complete games are given, but most positions are more like this one, which is taken from the Sicilian Slayer chapter.

The game is Polgar – Kientzler-Guerlain from the 1986 U16 World Youth Championship. It is White to move.

To see the rest of this review, please click here.

Best Chess to You,

Patriarch Fan