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I know daily tactics training is very beneficial. However, what is the best way to do so?

Lets say I have 15 minutes a day. Is it better I do 3/4 puzzles in detail, spend 5 minutes on each analysing each move in and ensuring I get the puzzle correct or is it better to do 20-30 puzzles, each one based off only a few seconds of thought (however at the same time seeing many more positions)?

Also, is it better to see many new tactics, like chess tempo, or to get a book and do the same 100 puzzles until you get them all right?

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    Welcome to Chess Stack Exchange! Your original title was very broad, I've tried to make it more specific. – Glorfindel Sep 20 '17 at 12:03
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I would say it really depends on your skill level. If, like me, you're a relatively weak player, playing lots of "easy" and "medium" puzzles is probably more beneficial. You want to train yourself to recognize patterns and interactions that are likely to come up in a game. In that case, seeing lots of different tactics is probably best.

As you get stronger, the basic tactics from "easy" and "medium" puzzles will be almost always seen by both players (you still need to recognize them because if you miss your opponents simple fork, you're going to have a bad time). Focusing on harder puzzles will help you find those more complex patterns and tactics in your games. In this case, both lots of tactics and complete understanding of every puzzle is probably the desired outcome.

I've listened to GMs talk about puzzles where they look at it for hours and when they have a "solution" they still don't actually know if it's solved until they consult an engine, the puzzle creator, or their coach. (Compared to a simple forced mate in X puzzle).


Additionally, it's all about where your strengths and weaknesses are. If you're really good at a particular type of tactic, de-prioritize continued training of that tactic and focus instead on your weaknesses.

Most people have a bias where they would rather do 5 puzzles they're good at and 1 they're bad at, which is fine if you're doing it purely for entertainment, but if you're trying to improve, reverse the ratio.

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There are several "methods" on how to study tactics. One has you solve x number of puzzles in a certain amount of time. Once you can do that you reduce the time allowed and repeat solving them. You continue to reduce the time until you can solve that set in some small time allotment. I found that working on very hard problems (typically in Chess Informants) until my head hurt was very beneficial; basically refusing to look at the answer until I really did exhaustive analysis in my head. However, GM friend of mine recommends solve mate in 1 puzzles! I think all of the above is the way to go.

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