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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49
votes
10answers
17k 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 ...
32
votes
12answers
73k 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 ...
32
votes
1answer
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) ...
27
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6answers
8k 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 ...
23
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6answers
8k views

Do you find websites like chesstempo useful for improving tactical skills?

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 ...
22
votes
9answers
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 ...
21
votes
2answers
3k views

Is three knights versus knight really winning?

Take a look at the following position, reached in the #40974 Tactics Problem on chess.com [fen "4N1K1/5P2/6k1/8/6n1/8/N7/8 w - - 0 1"] The engine gives +6.22 for white in this position. I already ...
20
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
20
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2answers
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 ...
19
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5answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
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 ...
17
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4answers
2k views

Who has the advantage at this point in the game?

I was playing the following game and at this point I thought black had the advantage but upon thinking about it for a little while was not sure. At this point in the game who has the advantage and by ...
17
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6answers
7k views

As a Beginner, is playing a lot of tactics chess (puzzles) a good way to improve?

I am pretty new to chess, and I play lot of chess puzzles: trying to find the best move for a given situation (which will not necessarily end-up with a checkmate). Is this a good way to learn chess ...
16
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8answers
7k views

Why is Carlsen being praised for his tie-break play, when Caruana made several game-losing moves?

I followed the three games live on chess24.es (for live commentary from GMs) and chess.com (for actual real time computer analysis). As per my understanding: Game 13 was mostly balanced until 19... ...
15
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2answers
443 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
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 ...
14
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5answers
24k 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?
14
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5answers
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
847 views

How can I find good tactics problems?

Say you have a database of a lot of games. How would you go about finding good tactics problems? I suppose you would search until there was a spot where the score shifted, and there was only one good ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it good to have a tendency to exchange pieces?

This is how I am playing nowadays. I can beat ~1500 player 50% of the time (the rest is due to tactical errors): Play the opening (upto 12 moves) Don't blunder At the point where my pawns and pieces ...
13
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6answers
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.
13
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6answers
14k views

What are the differences between tactical and positional chess?

Does one style of play have an advantage/disadvantage over the other? Are today's GMs mostly tactical players or positional players? What GMs should I follow if I want to be more of a tactical ...
13
votes
8answers
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

How to solve mate-in-N problems

Here is a mate-in-4 I have been trying to solve: [FEN "2r4r/b5pp/q3pp2/8/4QBk1/8/3R1PPK/4R3 w - - 0 1"] (white mates in 4). I have been looking at it for about half an hour but not solved it. My ...
11
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5answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
745 views

How did classic masters like Alekhine and Anderssen practice tactics?

How did classic masters like Alekhine and Anderssen practice tactics? Surely there was no chess.com or chesstempo at that time. How did the masters back then manage to increase their tactical ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Beginner Tactics - Why Isn't This Mate?

I was playing on chesstempo and came across the following setup: [FEN "k1r4r/p6p/5p2/3Q4/1R5P/PPqn4/3N1P2/1K1R4 b - - 1 1"] With black to move. I was unable to solve this tactic - it seemed to me ...
11
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4answers
3k views

Failing to understand a pin from a tactics book

I've began going through, over the board, 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations - 21st century edition. This book is a great supplement to my last question on studying tactics, and I feel ...
11
votes
4answers
519 views

Lichess puzzle 87510: How much calculation would a strong player do before playing Bg4+ when white has a range of (all losing) responses?

Lichess puzzle 87510 has this position. [FEN "r1b1k3/pp4R1/2q3RQ/4p3/5P2/bP2P3/2P1K2P/8 b - - 0 1"] The solution is 1...Bg4+,.after which White has 6 legal moves: 1...Bg4+ 2. Rxg4 Qxh6, ...
10
votes
4answers
345 views

What length of time should one spend looking for a combination, and what factors should one consider?

Taking time control into account, how long should one take when looking for a combination? Also, what factors should one consider when looking for a combination?
10
votes
3answers
688 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
875 views

When is a bishop stronger than a rook?

Usually the rook is stronger than the bishop. Are there situations (and obviously I'm not assuming equal material) in which the latter is stronger?
9
votes
8answers
18k views

Ways to quickly beat beginners

Are there any common tactics or combinations used to beat complete beginners quickly (or gain large material advantages)? By "beginner" I mean someone who is good enough not to get caught out by ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Must a player play tactical openings to learn tactics?

As has been said, Chess in 99% tactics/calculation. So, if a player is aiming to increase his tactical abilities should he play tactical openings like the King's Gambit, or can he play something ...
9
votes
3answers
752 views

How do I trap the queen once it pins my rook?

I am playing as Black in this game, and after 10. Qg4, I realize that White wanted my rook. I knew I could trap the queen once it went for the rook (11. Qxg7), but I forgot how. I went on to win the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is it a mistake to capture the forked rook?

In a recent game, I forked a queen and rook with a knight. After seeing no immediate threats from 8. Qf4 I immediately captured with 8. ...Nxb3. Apparently this was quite a mistake (a 213 centipawn ...
9
votes
4answers
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-...
9
votes
3answers
297 views

Would you look for mate, if tactics to win materials are easier to spot?

I'm black, I defeated a 1830 very easily in a 11 + 10 game and I had plenty of time, but I played fast and didn't see mate, he was low on time. Analyzing with lichess engine [fen "2k2r2/ppp5/7p/...
9
votes
5answers
499 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
256 views

Viewing the board from the other side

I have seen a few players going to the opponent's side of the board and then observing the position from that view. They usually do it when it is the opponent's move. Does it really help in ...
9
votes
1answer
378 views

Sacrificing Bishop for Two Pawns against Queenside Castling

Though queenside castling is less common, it is important enough to study. If your opponent has castled queenside, sometimes you have an opportunity to expose their King by sacrificing your Bishop for ...
8
votes
4answers
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
10k views

Losing the queen and then winning the game

Many years ago, I was on a mountain with some people. I was very young then, between 15 and 17 years old, I think. Some older people came and one of them started to play chess with me. I cannot ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Scandinavian Defence queen e5

I'm new to chess (around 1000), and I like to practice the Scandinavian defence. I started to check the theory related to it, and I've never seen a single source talking about this queen move after ...
8
votes
3answers
668 views

When is it right to start learning strategy after tactics

I have been furiously solving tactical puzzles for 6 weeks now and about three weeks ago I reactivated my account on chess.com. Long story short I have seen my "rating" go from 1280 to 1590 during ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Which one is more important between endgame studies and tactics?

One strong player once told me that you can improve quickly if you focus more on endgame studies than on tactics training. His reasoning was that endgame studies use a few pieces to cover most of the ...
8
votes
6answers
662 views

How did I go wrong?! Embarassing Loss

this is a recent online game I played. I'm usually about an 1800 USCF player, but I had this very disappointing loss to a 1400 level player. Stronger players might look at this sub-par game and wonder ...
8
votes
2answers
708 views

Can a single player's choice of opening dictate a more (or less) aggressive game?

Usually a player feels comfortable with few "positions" (unless he/she is a GM). That's why sometimes it's said that a player should choose and begin to study openings whose outcome results in a ...

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