Returning to chess

I just had a nudge from an old sparring partner who is looking to get back into chess again. What advice might you give?

Practise, study, review your games...  So much, so obvious.

But I also recommended a book as a good MOT:
Ray Cheng, Practical Chess Exercises

It offers you 600 positions (in sets of 8) for 'solving', so one of them will be a snap mate in 2... but among the others we might find something that looks like a mate in 2 but will fail because of some horrible smelly trap, or a delicate endgame finesse, or a promising attacking position where the best move is actually to win a pawn, or a position where the 'solution' is to avoid a haymaker coming your way, or a deeper tactic that takes a deal of head-scratching, or a positional coup... The exercises are graded in difficulty from one to four, and most sets include one at each level. I guess this as close to practical play as a book can get: you are faced with a variety of challenges, some straightforward, but some rather less so; sometimes you enjoy the chance to attack, at other times you have to defend, and you'll never know what's coming.

P.S. Apparently John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book also gives 250 mixed positions (which I can guess are tougher) but it seems to be out of print at the moment.

Chess Quotes

"Chess, like the tomb, levels all grades of conventional rank and distinction and reserves its high places for the best players."