Questions tagged [tactics]

Questions relating to maneuvers that take advantage of short-term opportunities, such as forks, discovered attacks, skewers, etc.

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53 votes
10 answers
18k views

How do I learn to understand the middlegame?

I am trying to train tactics as well as my general understanding of the beginning/middlegame. I spent a good bit of time understanding endgames, per chessmaster recommendations and those I can ...
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14 votes
8 answers
1k views

How do you solve chess tactics?

Do you just grind them, or do you save some of the chess tactics that you miss? Do you ever annotate your chess tactics? Do you try to remember certain patterns and main ideas? Do you categorize ...
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35 votes
13 answers
78k views

Most effective way to achieve a 2000+ rating in one year, starting as a 1600?

I currently play at around a 1600 level, and have stagnated in terms of rating improvements for quite some time. I have always played chess recreationally, occasionally doing tactics puzzles here ...
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15 votes
5 answers
4k views

Effectiveness of a spaced repetition system (SRS) for memorizing tactical patterns for long-term skill gain?

After reading Micheal de Maza's article 400 Points in 400 Days and the paper Training in Chess: A Scientific Approach by Gobet and Jansen, I have come to the conclusion that effective gains in chess ...
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23 votes
5 answers
3k views

Examples of forced stalemate

The usual case one often sees specially in blitz play is when one side (usually the winning) mis-plays and then stalemate occurs with the losing side dodging a loss. But are there positions where ...
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  • 3,320
5 votes
3 answers
815 views

Solvable studies that computers fail to crack

Are there chess studies that require an outside of the box thinking that goes beyond the concrete calculation capabilities of today's engines (e.g. Stockfish)? I have sometimes seen certain endgames ...
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  • 3,320
24 votes
9 answers
8k views

Best ways for improving "tactics"

I have been playing chess for a long time, and I have been around 1850-1900 ELO for quite some time. I have always wondered which are the best ways to improve the tactics. Does playing more and more ...
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  • 405
10 votes
4 answers
3k views

How much time you spend on one puzzle?

I know solving tactics puzzles is one of the recommended ways to improve in chess. I spend around 30 min solving puzzles. How much time I should spend on one puzzle? During games we don't think 15-...
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  • 295
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

In Chess, are there simple "mechanics" that amateurs can learn to improve their game?

In the board game Go, for instance, it is often of great importance whether or not a stone can be captured in a so-called "ladder" (an often complicated formation). One of the things that separates ...
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3 votes
3 answers
467 views

How to improve my game

I am doing tactics 30 minutes a day, practicing end games for about 90 minutes and analyzing 1 GM annotated game a day. I can understand the logic behind why the move is played, but I can't apply it ...
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  • 67
3 votes
3 answers
433 views

How can I learn combinations without a chess book?

I would like to become better and stronger at spotting combinations. I can't buy any chess books at the moment. What's a good website for learning combinations?
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  • 1,897
3 votes
1 answer
120 views

Does this bishop sac when your knight is pinned to your queen have a name?

This is a common tactic in various openings. It goes like this: A bishop pins your knight to your queen You sacrifice your bishop with check to attract the king forward You give a check with your &...
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  • 139
15 votes
2 answers
494 views

How are online tactic exercises ratings calculated?

There are several sites that give you a tactics rating changing while you solve or fail the exercises. How do they calculate the problems rating? Do they use engines to calculate the difficulty or ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Where can I find databases of tactical problems, categorized and ranked by difficulty?

I'm toying with the idea of building a tactical training tool. For my idea to work, I need positions that are categorized by motif and difficulty. A lot of tools seem to have this, and I doubt they're ...
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7 votes
3 answers
2k views

The difference between Rad1 and Rfd1

I've always wondered, what are the main tactical and strategic differences between Rad1 and Rfd1 (or Rad8 and Rfd8 as black)? I know it's a subtlety, but my guess is there are some common principles ...
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34 votes
1 answer
5k views

Where can I find this game with a sacrifice followed by a long series of checks leading to a discovered mate?

I am looking for a chess game and frankly, I really know very little about it. I remember seeing it somewhere on the Internet. The game goes something like this. A player (either White or Black) ...
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  • 451
22 votes
6 answers
10k views

Proven ways to improve calculation speed

I've been working on my tactics using on-line resources like Chess Tempo. I found my improvement (as measured by my CT rating) over the last few months to be encouraging, but I struggle to translate ...
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  • 5,504
28 votes
6 answers
9k views

"Chess is 90% tactics" - should a player focus more on tactics in order to improve?

The following quote has been attributed to many chess masters; "Chess is 90% tactics" - from Teichmann to Capablanca. It has also been said that 90% of the games are decided on tactics and tactics are ...
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12 votes
6 answers
1k views

What are some helpful chess tactics training websites? [closed]

I like Chesstempo and chess.emrald.net[1]. Are there any others? Edit (25.12.2020): Since at least 2018, chess.emrald.net has often not been responsive.
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17 votes
5 answers
27k views

Tactical difference between chess and Chinese chess

Is there any difference in tactics between chess and Chinese chess? If so, which one is the most fun? What are the important things to learn from it?
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  • 173
5 votes
5 answers
425 views

Have we found every existing tactic?

Is it possible that there are missing or unstudied tactics, waiting there to be found? Maybe some of them have been played only by GMs and in so few times that they don't get to have a name on their ...
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  • 3,108
4 votes
3 answers
839 views

Overprotection and prophylaxis

My understanding (and I may be wrong there) is that prophylaxis is a wider concept than overprotection, and so there are some prophylactic moves that don't have anything to do with overprotection (...
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4 votes
2 answers
246 views

Is there a standardized chess test that can measure one's chess playing condition?

Chess players often say that in a given tournament they were "in good shape", or the opposite. One tournament goes well, another goes horribly wrong. One can also sometimes feel that your head is ...
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  • 4,263
15 votes
6 answers
5k views

What to do when your opponent doesn't play along in the opening?

I looked around and could not find an answer for this. I've studied a pretty good amount of opening theory and so I know the "correct" moves for some basic lines. Most e4 openings and a fair amount ...
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12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Fianchetto bishop vs. normal bishop?

I have found the following disadvantages of the fianchetto bishop: 1) The diagonal it controls is often blocked by the knight in its natural square. 2) The diagonal it controls is often blocked by ...
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  • 1,233
9 votes
5 answers
512 views

When playing a computer opponent what situations should I create to give myself a better chance of winning?

Normally when I play against a computer I try to avoid any positions where I feel the knowledge-base of the computer would give it an advantage. For example I find computers very strong in typical ...
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  • 1,698
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Chess tactics training

I am looking for a tactic training software for Windows/Linux/Symbian. I think that I know all tactics by now, and I want to train myself in using them. I do not want tactical software that separate ...
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  • 3,335
19 votes
7 answers
3k views

How to play for a draw

In this video: Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen Round 1 - 2013 Candidates Chess Tournament [FEN ""] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 And now, Kevin said: "You can tell that the game is ...
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  • 5,952
14 votes
4 answers
3k views

Giving up a knight and bishop for castled rook and pawn

The opening shown here is quite common. Is it generally a good or a bad idea to give up a kKnight and a bishop for the castled Rook and the f-pawn? In terms of their "standard" value, both ...
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10 votes
3 answers
775 views

Chess problem - don't understand the solution

Black to move: [fen "4rbk1/pp3pp1/1nq4p/8/1PP5/P3N1P1/Q2BrP1P/3R1RK1 b - - 0 1"] I've tried to solve this chess problem - black to move, find the best move. I couldn't work it out so I checked the ...
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  • 285
8 votes
4 answers
7k views

How do GMs “play the man, not the board”?

How do GMs "play the man, not the board" as some books say? Would that work for club level players or could they use other methods? Prepared variations? Trash talk? What are the ways one can ...
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3 votes
2 answers
315 views

Chess tactics #5: Yugra Governor's cup

I took this position from a game that has been played today at the Yugra Governor's Cup between GM Aleksej Aleksandrov from Belarus and GM Ivan Bukavshin from Russia. White (Aleksandrov) has just ...
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  • 1,537