On Chess.com, I recently passed 2000 in the puzzle section. However, in 10 minute games, I can't reach 1600. How do I bridge that gap and increase my game score? Is 10 minutes maybe too short of a game to find/apply tactics? I have some theory/strategy knowledge that usually gives me an edge (or at least an equal game) after the opening moves.

  • The gap between my rapid and puzzle rating is also 400 points, probably that is just how it is, for the reasons I described in my answer.
    – B.Swan
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 23:39
  • 1
    The best answer is delivered by chess.com itself: chess.com/amp/article/chess-memes
    – Sleafar
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 6:47
  • 1
    The 3rd character in the question's body is a typo. It has to be a space. I couldn't edit because it was too short.
    – polfosol
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 19:50

6 Answers 6


Rating method.

On chess.com, my puzzle rating is 700 points higher than my game rating, but my chesstempo puzzle rating is only about 100 points higher than my chess.com game rating. In other words, puzzle rating on chess.com is not comparable with your game rating.

I'd suggest just keep doing 10 (or more) puzzles a day and ignore whatever the gap.

  • 3
    The entire first page of the puzzle rating list is people over 5000; the ratings are simply not comparable.
    – D M
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 11:09
  • 12
    Right, this is sorta analogous to asking why professional soccer players score so many fewer points per game than basketball players. The soccer players aren't worse: they just aren't useful numbers to compare.
    – amalloy
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 12:17

Is 10 mins maybe too short of a game to find/apply tactics?

Absolutely not. Tactics can be found and applied in all time controls. Its more about your ability to locate them and execute it.

How do I bridge that gap and increase my game score?

Puzzle ratings aren't necessarily a good representation of "skill". It is common for individuals to have higher puzzle ratings than their game ratings (Blitz , Rapid more commonly). This makes sense when you think about it as with a puzzle you are analysing a position more objectively. In game you are unlikely to be spending the same duration of time analysing the position and objectively making the correct move.

Ultimately the best way to boost your game rating is to complete lessons, study and play. Think how long you review puzzle positions (5 seconds?) , double that time for each move when you are playing a game.

  • 5 seconds for a puzzle? I'm clearly doing it wrong, I do about 20 puzzles a day and spend over a minute on each one, for most of them. Maybe I should spend less time on each and try to get more puzzles done
    – Darren H
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 11:41
  • 3
    In a puzzle, you already know there is a solution, and you only have to find it. In a game, you first have to find the "correct puzzle to solve."
    – alephzero
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 19:37
  • @DarrenH Analyse the position. thats much better I play a lot of blitz at the moment so i am trying to limit my time on a puzzle. When i was doing classical puzzles i would do maybe 5 to 10 minutes on most?
    – Dheebs
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 1:26

The first thing to know is that players in your rating range do make tactical mistakes, so you do get chances to show your tactical ability.

Look at your games and be honest, how many mistakes do you miss? This is the most probable reason, as nobody notifies you that your position is winning, so you are not looking as hard for a winning move. There is a great video about cues for when a tactical motif is present in the position: "How is your Tactical Awareness?" by ChessNetwork

Apart from that, chess sadly is not only tactics.

Formulating middlegame plans and technical conversion are two other areas where work put in will result in huge increase of play quality. Learning middlegame plans is best done by studying games in the openings you play and seeing what good players do once fully developed. Learning conversion is a matter of learning endgames mostly.


It seems that about 400 point gap is normal, it is for me on Lichess

However, being disciplined about what moves you consider can improve your rating. Do you consider all checks and captures on every move? What about all checks and captures your opponent can play against your main candidate move before playing it? Even simple checks like this can prevent a lot of blunders. Just take a look at your blunders and see if these checks would've prevented them.

It might be hard to do a check like this in severe time trouble, so 10+10 is probably better.


You're comparing apples and orange. When you do a puzzle, you can take as long as you like (unless it's timed) to solve it. And knowing that there is a solution is in itself an advantage, as opposed to a game situation when you don't know ahead of time that there's a winning move. And I don't think a 10" game gives you enough time to analyze all the possibilities in depth. Noted players who were skilled at quick chess became skilled before they began playing quick games. Botvinnik wouldn't even play quick games. I frankly think you should play slower games first until you become more skilled before graduating to the quicker ones. I know they're more time consuming and may not be as much fun, but you have to decide which is more important to you.


3 misconceptions here, but #3 shows that you're on to something:

  1. There are other factors besides puzzles that influence rating. Even if chess is 99% tactics (In this case tactics is synonymous to puzzles?), I believe the pareto principle has a lot to say for that 1%. There's still eg endgames.

1.1. In particular, I bet you're talking more about chess not chess960. So openings are relevant too.

  1. Even if there's a relation between puzzle rating and chess rating, it doesn't mean there's an exact relation. It could be that the 2000 puzzle rating converts to 1800 rapid. For example this rating converter https://www.chessratingcomparison.com/graphs says 2000 puzzle is about 1378 in rapid.

enter image description here

Look at even the plus minus 187 and the scatter plot. I don't think that's even like 50% correlation. ( But then again I was never the best guessthecorrelation player.)

  1. There's even a (significant) relation between untimed puzzle rating and chess rating. I say more here: Is my chesstempo timed puzzle rating actually expected to relate to my chess rating or at least more so than any untimed puzzle rating?

People could get the same puzzle correct but at largely different times. Additionally, not everyone is doing the untimed puzzles the same way: People could take their time like I do or set an arbitrary time limit for themselves, eg 5min per puzzle. Thus, there's not really an expectation that there's gonna be that much of a relation between untimed puzzle ratings and regular chess ratings. I believe in theory an untitled player could even reach the same level as even a titled player in puzzle rating but still have a huge gap in chess (or chess960) ratings.

This is where chesstempo's blitz mode comes in: This feature is so beautiful and incredibly underrated in that it's so far the only thing I've seen of its kind in the history of chess. You're now graded based on your time relative to the time others have taken. Even if there's an inherent (yet unspecified) time limit of around 1 minute, it's still a 'reasonable' time limit in the sense that it's not arbitrary: The time limit is not the same for each puzzle and is based on your rating, the puzzle's rating and other players' ratings that you're expected to complete the puzzle in within the time limit. This is opposed to doing untimed puzzles where you might set an arbitrary time limit on yourself and as opposed to a hypothetical site that imposes, say, a 5 minute time limit on every puzzle (I think the hypothetical site is better than arbitrary self-imposed time limits but not as good as chesstempo).

  • Note on uniqueness: The closest I've seen to chesstempo's blitz mode is https://blitztactics.com/ which gets from lichess' puzzles but afaik the puzzles don't necessarily change ratings depending on the lichess' puzzle or player ratings.

  • Note on lichess: lichess' puzzle storm or puzzle racer aren't really like chesstempo's blitz mod because the puzzles and players don't really have ratings.

So what I think you're looking for (and what would be better for chessratingcomparison.com to show) is a conversion between chesstempo's timed puzzle ratings and your chess ratings. I think it'd be similar even to like a conversion between ratings between any 2 sites say chesscom rapid and lichess rapid.

In chessratingcomparison.com, the scatter plot definitely shows high or at least much higher correlation compared to the puzzle rating to chess rating above:

enter image description here

In fact, I don't think you even need chessratingcomparison.com for this. As long as you're playing regularly and doing puzzles regularly ('regular' is relative to the rating deviations of each rating system I guess), you should be able to get a feel that eg 1550 in chesstempo converts to about 1600 in chesscom rapid especially if after awhile, say, there's a period of the last 3 months where your rapid rating is about 1520-1589 while your chesstempo timed puzzle rating is about 1470-1539.


How do I bridge that gap and increase my game score?

If your timed puzzle rating is about 1550 (according to the aforementioned example I gave), then I guess there's not really a 'gap' to bridge.

As to what happens if there really is a gap? Well I have a feeling you'll gain enough rating with some more games if your timed puzzle rating really says so.

Bonus: I think that this conversion is even more accurate in chess960 compared to chess since there's 1 less factor involved, namely openings.

  • Good point re: ChessTempo's blitz grading. Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 12:56

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