Tuesday, June 2

Practice Tactics at ChessTempo.com

(Black to move and win. Final position from Mamedyarov vs Kurnosov at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow. White resigned in disgust and then accused his opponent of cheating. Instead of being a bad sport, maybe he should have worked on tactics puzzles instead.)

This post has been reprinted from May 2008. The internet has so many cool websites that it is impossible to know each one. Sometimes you stumble on a new site either by luck or upon a suggestion. I came across the chess tactics server www.chesstempo.com on advice from one of my opponents. This chess tactics website is nearly everything that I could have dreamed of!

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. They are still growing; since last year, they added two endgame puzzle categories. Best of all, registering for this exciting website is free!


  1. Nearly 40,000 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.
  8. Solve endgame puzzles, both theoretical and practical.
  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 a better one (e.g. winning queen instead of checkmate or different mates in 2). This has improved.
  3. There is no partial credit if you get the first move but mess up in the full variation.
  4. Standard ratings are lower than USCF. Ratings seem to be closer to USCF now.
  5. Blitz ratings are higher than USCF.
  6. Can't search the database for specific types of tactics. Premium option.
I highly recommend this site to all of my students as well as other chess players. One hint: When you find a good move, first stop and try to find a better one!

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