I've been using chesstempo for quite a while solving lots of problems per day. What I noticed is that I don't feel that my tactical skills were improving. My results in tournament games were not improving either.

However chesstempo's estimate of my rating is more or less accurate (around 1950).

So the question is - did such websites help you to improve your tactic skills? if so, how many positions/hours per day were you solving? Did they provide accurate estimation of your rating (comparing to your real-life rating)?

  • HTML links, saving people googles since I joined SE… Maybe you could introduce it for those of us who don't use it ? What kind of problems are you solving, wrt your level ? Nov 29, 2012 at 17:19
  • Thanks, I added a link to the website My level is around 1900-2000. I solve mainly tactical problems, such as Double attack, X-Ray, Distraction, Mate in X moves. Nov 29, 2012 at 17:23
  • The article apronus.com/chess/trainingtactics.htm describes all the various options of using premium member features for training tactics at ChessTempo.com. Might be a useful addition to this discussion. Apr 22, 2016 at 14:26

6 Answers 6


I have not played enough or practiced enough on ChessTempo to really notice a difference in my tactical ability, but I am probably certain that if you spend enough time and I am not sure how long this is (it varies for each person) that your tactical skill will improve over time. I also never paid attention to my rating on ChessTempo as I do not know what my actual rating is.

One thing I am certain of is that ChessTempo and other similar websites or puzzles in books will teach you to stop and think before making a move no matter what or will teach you to look for a tactic — whereas before, I would make the first move I saw without thinking.

In the end, it probably does improve your tactical skills, you just have to be patient and not assume that your tactical skills are not improving by the number of games you win or lose. We often grade ourselves on whether we win or lose and I believe this is a big NO-NO. Especially if we lose, we often assume that we have not improved tactically, strategically, etc.


I am a volunteer chess coach in a couple Dallas Inner-city schools (a middle school and a high school). I am a mediocre player with a standard tactics problem rating of about 1400. Because I cannot give significant individual attention to 25 students with varying degrees of chess skill, I have utilized chesstempo extensively and have encouraged all of the chess club players to work standard tactics problems to improve their games. Largely as a result of this activity, our two chess clubs have managed to win several first, second and third place trophies as team and individual players in the city school district. Some of the students have worked over 3000 tactics problems. Many of them beat me regularly online and on the boards. Our best player has a chesstempo rating in the mid-1500s and he works problems approximately four times as quickly as I do. I firmly believe that an interest in chesstempo is a big factor in the success of many of our best players.

One big advantage of chesstempo that by playing virtually all of our club games on line the club members can play at their convenience. This allows them to play a lot more chess than if they could only play once or twice a week during our regular after school club meetings. It also gives me the opportunity to look at accurate records of their games and show them their strengths and weaknesses. I can then create a database that includes every club game that each member plays.

We are currently running an asynchronous inter-mural tournament (two schools in the same general neighborhood) on chesstempo in which 28 contestants are each playing 27 simultaneous games over a 60-day period. Thus they will log 378 games against each other and will have the privilege of playing every other interested club player. At this point in the tournament our strongest (and leading) player, a ninth grade student from Afghanistan, has won about fifteen games and has not lost or drawn a game. Eighteen months ago he had a mere understanding of how to move the pieces. Our players currently include 4th graders to 10th graders.


Perhaps it isn't the frequency of your usage, but the way of using it. Are you happy with your chesstempo tactics rating? If your rating has been stagnant for a while, find out why: do you have trouble with a certain problem-type? Or give up on problems after a certain time? While the free version of Chesstempo doesn't offer targeted tactics, you can certainly deal with the second problem by just not quitting. Take an hour or more if need be, but make sure that you're completely satisfied with your solution before playing out the moves. This got me from 17-1800 to 2100 on chesstempo, and helped greatly in tournaments. Also, if your playing strength is about 1900-2000, then tactics might not be the only reason for not getting better tournament results.


Generally solving tactics puzzles should be part of every player's training schedule. There can be several reasons why this did not help your tournament games:

  • Perhaps your play is limited by other factors (opening, endgame, strategy, ...), which you need to focus on!?
  • Perhaps you have a problem recognizing when it is time for tactics!? If you only solve problems on sites like chesstempo, you already know beforehand that something is possible which is a big advantage over the real game situation.

Also, in my experience, tactics training has the biggest effect on tournament play for beginners. At your level, you (and your typical opponents) should be already familiar with most tactical motives and most games are likely not decided by simple tactics. This does not mean that you should ignore tactics completely, but analyzing your own games should help you to find out your weaknesses and work on them.

It has been some time that I used chesstempo, so I don't remember exactly what kind of problems they have. For somebody familiar with tactical motives, I would look for more realistic/messy problems instead of streamlined/simplified versions. This will teach you to also consider defensive resources of your opponent, or teach you to decide between several promising continuations and also it is closer to the real tournament games. I know that the problems on lichess are taken from real games and that those on chess24 also include problems where you start from a worse position and have to find a way to draw. Both of these features I consider useful and they might exist on other websites as well.


The Question is not about how many Tactical Puzzles you were able to solve on ChessTempo but in your real games whether you were you able to bring out same kind of Positions .

There are a lot of Players who practice Tactical Puzzles day in & out and their rating does not take a major stand according to their expectations . Studies have revealed even if you practice some 1000 puzzles also with in 5-10 days doing nothing else your rating would stand the same or differ by a small margin for some people . The reason is even if you practiced those puzzles you got to take care of the Piece placement . When you solve a Tactical Puzzle you knew that there is a combination and the pieces are on the best squares which actually does not happen in majority of games . You need to focus on the Activity of the Pieces which is the original aspect in any Chess Game . Follow games of Players like Kasparov/Fischer/Alekhine and you will see how they carry out the attack instead of just solving the final combination.


I have not solved too many Puzzles from ChessTempo but other Websites like Chess.com and Chessgames provide 5 and 1 puzzle each day respectively . There are always two kinds of tactical puzzles what I have noticed . One is from the real games and the other is a puzzle which is manually set up to improve the Calculation Skills . The ones which are from real games I believe they are well enough to improve your ratings and even help you in pattern recognitions .The other is just for improving calculations .

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