Thursday, May 1

Chess Tactics Server

(Black to move and mate. Position from Inarkiev vs Kamsky, FIDE Grand Prix in Baku.)

The internet has so many cool websites that it is impossible to know each one. Sometimes you stumble on a great new site either by luck or upon another person's advice. When my round 4 opponent last Saturday suggested that I check out www.chesstempo.com, I was a bit puzzled. When I checked it out later, I was stunned. This chess tactics website is nearly everything that I could have dreamed of! Thanks to Alvin Pulley for this tip.

This Chess Tactics Server allows users to solve tactics puzzles and receive a rating. The standard rating requires only accuracy (get the correct solution) while the blitz rating requires accuracy plus speed (lose points if you take too long). The interface is quite easy to use. Best of all, registering for this exciting website is free!

Advantages:
  1. Over 25,000 problems! You won't run out anytime soon.
  2. A new problem pops up automatically (click on "last problem for session" to stop).
  3. Wide variety of puzzles so that you won't get bored.
  4. Harder problems have a higher rating and you get more points for solving.
  5. All problems are from real games.
  6. Some positions are easy (e.g. 1-movers) but the correct move is difficult to spot.
  7. Can view your solving history and go back to problems you missed.
Disadvantages:
  1. A few problems are dumb (e.g. a piece is hanging).
  2. It is frustrating when you find an easily winning move, but there is an equal or better one (e.g. winning queen instead of checkmate or two different mates in 2).
  3. There is no partial credit if you get the first move but mess up in the full variation.
  4. Standard ratings are much lower than USCF (I'm about 1800).
  5. Blitz ratings are higher than USCF (I'm about 2400).
  6. Can't search the database for specific types of tactics.
I recommend this site to all of my students as well as other chess players. With the CalChess Scholastics coming up in two weeks, now would be a great time to sharpen your tactics by solving a few hundred positions on www.chesstempo.com! One hint: When you find a good move, first stop and try to find a better one!

7 comments:

Phil said...

So... what's the solution to this one? I can't seem to find a suitable line (though I'm just staring at the image w/o a board to set it up on.)

Phil said...

Actually nevermind, I just figured it out:

... Nxg+
fxN B-g2++

or if white takes the knight with the queen:

... Nxg+
QxN B-g2+
K-g1 Re1+
RxR RxR++

nice one!

Hey is there a site where you can just paste in a position represented in Forsyth-Edwards Notation and then manipulate and play it versus a computer opponent?

jolly said...

Another chess tactics server that's very good is :
http://chess.emrald.net/

It's been around for a while and some of the problems are quite challenging, especially within the time constraints.

Soapstone said...

As jolly pointed out, chess.emrald.net is known as the Chess Tactics Server (CTS). Chess Tempo arrived second. I prefer the two modes and the smoother interface of Chess Tempo. Also, CTS is really discouraging because my rating is down near 1500.

fpawn said...

The puzzle solution given by phil is incorrect. After black plays Nxg3+ white responds Qxg3 attacking the black queen. If Bg2+ (double check) then black just takes the bishop with Kxg2. Black can try to win the queen on the g-file with Rg8, but now white turns the tables with Ra7+ and mate soon.

The move played in the real game is very tricky. It is mate in 7, but all of the moves are checks. Moves 1, 2 and 4 of the combination may be hard to find.

fpawn said...

I am familiar with www.emrald.net but never particularly liked it for several reasons. While www.chesstempo.com is not perfect, it is substantially better than the alternative (imho).

Il Cercatore said...

Another growing chess tactics server is www.ideachess.com