Chess is 99% tactics! This well-known maxim may sound strange but is really just an exaggerated basic truth: if you want to win more games, nothing works better than training combinations. Solving many tactical puzzles is what makes the difference for beginners and casual players. There are two types of books on tactics, those that introduce the concepts followed by a some examples, and workbooks that contain numerous exercises. Chess masters Franco Masetti and Roberto Messa have done both: they explain the basic tactical ideas AND provide an enormous amount of exercises for each different theme. 1001 Chess Exercises for Beginners is a great first tactics book. It helps you in identifying weak spots in the position of your opponent, in recognizing patterns of combinations, and in visualizing tricks.