Book Review of The Woodpecker Method By Axel Smith & Hans Tikkanen

“Chess is rarely a game of ideal moves”

Chess is one of my greatest hobbies and I came across this fantastic book when I was struggling with my middle game tactics. From last month I started solving the easy level exercise and immediately can feel the improvement in my game. So, for today’s review sharing this practical book which I am yet to finish even for the first time.

About Authors:

Alex Smith: Axel Smith (born 27 June 1986) is a Swedish chess player and author. Smith earned the FIDE title of Grandmaster (GM) in 2016. He is the author or co-author of several chess books including this and Pump Up Your Rating

Hans Tikkanen: Hans is also a Swedish GM and a five-time Swedish Chess Champion. Tikkanen played besides his chess career, active football in the Swedish Division 5 Sydvästra B club Hallands Nations FF.

About Book:

Exercise is divided in three levels easy, intermediate and advanced with increasing complexity which requires much deeper level of calculation. The task is to find the best move (and supporting variations) and the best move could, for instance, be to force a draw, gain a slight advantage or even avoid falling for a counter-tactic in a seemingly obvious combination.

In preparation for writing this book, authors decided to check the games with decisive results which were contested between grandmasters at the 2016 Swedish Championship.

Benefits of method:

  • Tremendous increase in stability in time trouble.
  • Improved tactical vision.
  • Will significantly reduce blunder rate.

History of Method:

The name of the Woodpecker Method was invented by GM (Grand Master) Axel Smith and influenced by Hans Tikkanen (mean little woodpecker).

               The Method

First, author decided on the general rules of the method. He would solve a set of a thousand exercises (from various puzzle books) over whatever time period it took. Once he completed the set, he would take a break and then repeat the process again and again, getting faster each time.

With each cycle of solving, he aimed to halve the total solving time for the thousand exercises from that of the previous cycle. Eventually he was able to solve all of the puzzles within a single day.

Note: This book is recommended to only those who already knows the fundamentals of chess and it’s a practical book which requires a lot of practice.