According to few popular sites, my tactics rating is consistently about 400 points above my game rating (say, 2200 vs 1800).

Of course, partially it could be a fault of the process: when a tactics engine gives you a position, you know that there is some tactics. On the other hand, I almost always find combinations while observing other people play, in real time - and miss quite many while playing myself. It seems that I become too preoccupied with the plan, or something like that.

Any ideas how it can be healed?

  • For what it's worth, my chess.com tactics rating is 25-2600 and my blitz is 2000-2100. The rating scales are not aligned very well.
    – Cleveland
    Jul 19, 2017 at 23:09
  • Try looking at the board from the opponents point of view. The different perspective is like looking at a different game.
    – CWallach
    Jul 20, 2017 at 20:09

6 Answers 6


As you have noted yourself, an important difference between solving tactics and finding tactics during a game is that you know that there is something interesting when solving tactics. There are a couple other important differences. In a game, it comes down to your ability to discern a critical position from an ordinary one that only requires positional consideration. In long time controls, it is advisable that you treat every position as a tactical puzzle, at least for some amount of time. Of course some positions you know are not critical, but spending a little bit of time checking every move will help you be more tactically aware. And of course, you got to watch out for your opponent's tricks too.
I will ignore the question relating to having a 2200 tactics compared to 1800 elo because the scale may be different between the two and an 1800 rated player could have a range of tactical ability anyways.

  • While I agree with your points in general, let me reiterate my real problem: I see tactics in other people games, and don't see it in mine.
    – user58697
    Jul 19, 2017 at 23:31
  • 2
    That is very strange. I know this may come of a little mean, but I somehow don't believe that it is true, unless for some reason you like to only pay attention to the tactical aspect of games that you spectate. Jul 19, 2017 at 23:37
  • When you say that you miss tactics in your own games, is it that you don't spot your own opportunities or do you mostly fail to see your opponents tactics? Or is it both?
    – Philip Roe
    Jul 20, 2017 at 18:31

You have to have a strategically better position in order to 'force' tactics. Focus on strategy.

Tactics are how you win games, but Strategy is how you prove that your pieces and pawns are more impressive than your opponent's. Don't just think in terms of 'okay I'm going to play Nd4 to threaten a fork', but instead 'I'm going to play Nd4 to reroute to b3 so that I can push c5 and my knight will be on c5 putting a lot of pressure on critical points b7 and d7. Even if these threats are met, I will have a slight advantage after I bring all my pieces to the center.'


You're right that knowing a problem exists is the first step on the road to the solution, as opposed to a game situation when you aren't always aware that you're at a critical juncture. You have to treat every game situation initially as if there's a tactic present and convince yourself that there isn't before moving on. I've experienced the same problem that you have of missing tactics in my own game whereas I see them when I observe someone else's game. As you imply, I think that has something to do with the fact that you're in the middle of some plan in your own game and don't stop to see if there's something else you might have missed. As Emanuel Lasker once said, "When you see a good move, look for a better one". Maybe pausing during your game occasionally to look away so that you see the position with fresh eyes when you look back at it might help. That would be akin to your looking at another game position where you haven't followed the sequence leading up to it and see a tactic, as you say happens. Or maybe consider it parallel to how a computer generates a move, assessing each new position as it occurs.


My explanation is that the tactical rating has nothing to do with your chess rating.

Chess rating is measured by playing a chess game, not by solving chess puzzles. Those sites offering rating almost always overestimate your ability because:

  • They don't know how to do it statistically (you really need a PhD statistician to do it properly)
  • They want to make you happy
  • While these points are correct, I am afraid these do not addrees the OP's question. Dec 16, 2022 at 6:53

There can be a few reasons behind this.

  • Maybe you are solving the tactics based on a theme which does not reflect in your style of play.
  • Nowadays, tactics can be categorized based upon the openings, and the middlegames. You may be practising middlegame positions based upon QGD, and playing Sicilian where the board dynamics do not match.
  • Please do not look at the board constantly during a tournament game, and it is advisable to sometimes look here and there, looking at other people's games which would distract you for some moments and then give you a fresh look into your position.
  • Tactics arise when pieces are in touch with each other, or have contact. When pieces are in contact, make yourself a little more aware and careful, which would help you in finding the better moves.

Maybe because you become unaware of tactical indicators in your own games. Unprotected pieces, double attack, overprotection, intermediate moves/checks, etc.

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