Questions tagged [tactics]

Tactics are the concrete maneuvers (e.g. forking two pieces with a knight, pinning a piece to the opponent's king, or unleashing a discovered check) that chess players use and combine in order to achieve their overall goals in a game. They are the building blocks which underlie successful strategies.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
38
votes
10answers
16k 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 ...
28
votes
12answers
51k 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 ...
27
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
21
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
16
votes
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... ...
16
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
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 ...
16
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Giving up Knight and Bishop for castled Rook and Pawn

The opening showed here is quite common. Is it generally a good or a bad idea to give up a Knight and a Bishop for the King-side castled Rook and the f-pawn? In terms of their "standard" value, both ...
14
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
11k 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
5answers
16k 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?
13
votes
3answers
718 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
966 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
938 views

What are some helpful chess tactics training websites?

I like http://chesstempo.com and http://chess.emrald.net Are there any others?
12
votes
5answers
2k 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
votes
6answers
457 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 ...
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
4answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
257 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 the following 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
1answer
619 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
3answers
551 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
919 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
4answers
2k 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
5answers
441 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
1answer
273 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
3answers
472 views

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

I am playing black in this game, and after 10.Qg4 I realize white wants my rook, and I knew I could trap the queen once she went for the rook (11.Qxg7) but I forgot how. I went on to win the game but ...
8
votes
3answers
788 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
589 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
1answer
294 views

Why is b4 the only move suggested by every chess engine?

The only move suggested here by every chess engine is 17. b4 Can anyone please advise why is it so important? [fen "r3k2r/ppp2pp1/7p/3pP3/3P2b1/5N2/RP1KBPPP/7R w - - 0 1"]
8
votes
3answers
253 views

Am I improving my tactical knowledge by explaining solutons to my wife?

I recently started to teach the game to my wife, yay for me :) So now she's somewhat comfortable with how the pieces move and the basic opening principles but as soon as she gets to the middle game ...
8
votes
1answer
215 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 The engine suggested ...
8
votes
3answers
205 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
738 views

Can it be useful for a player block with a hanging piece in a back rank mate situation?

Could the following situation possibly exist? It's White to play, and Black is about to get back rank mated. This is because the King's mobility is restricted to a single file. Then White gives a ...
7
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
246 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?
7
votes
2answers
387 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
250 views

Sacrifices, initial loss and a volte-face?

What is the most famous example where player was losing heavily (down on material) in the beginning with lots of sacrifices but came back strongly to beat or "pwn" their opponent? I am not asking for ...
7
votes
2answers
583 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
264 views

Why is `a5` a better move in this position?

I was playing with a friend and we come to the following position (me white): My friend played b5 but computer analysis says that this is a mistake and he should have played a5. Now, I don't see why ...
7
votes
1answer
619 views

Tool that suggests tactics exercises based on game analysis

Does anyone know of any common tool that can go throughout your game database (I have a couple of hundreds of my game's PGNs), and extract tactics that one should be training? I believe something as ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Sicilian Scheveningen versus Najdorf: What are some of the characteristics that differentiate the two openings?

I would like to compare the Sicilian Scheveningen [FEN ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 with the Sicilian Najdorf [FEN ""] 1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 ...
7
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'...
7
votes
2answers
403 views

Training tactics - doing more easy puzzles or fewer, but deep, puzzles?

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 ...