Over the years I have created a few quizzes, some serious, and some less so. Almost, but not all, exist via my Chess Cafe column Novice Nook. I thought it might be helpful to create a short "quiz guide" in one place:
- A Tactics Quiz - This is a timed quiz of 12 fairly well-known basic tactics. I created a little formula to estimate your "basic tactics" rating. If that rating is below 2000, then it's likely that continued repetitious study of basic tactics will yield great benefits. Follow the quiz directions carefully or the rating formula won't work!
- Evaluation Quiz - Tests your ability to determine Which side stands better?How much better? and Why? in some carefully selected positions.
- Is There a Win? - Just because your opponent's position exhibits Seeds of Tactical Destruction doesn't mean there is a successful tactic waiting to be found. Howeveer, it does mean it is worth taking time to look for one. This quiz tests your ability to either find the tactic or know when to stop looking because you have determined there isn't one. Very practical and game-like .
- Criticality Quiz - Rate your ability to discern how critical/important a position is. This is a key skill which you use to determine how likely the move chosen in a position will affect the outcome of the game. Therefore, these are also the moves which should be allocated more of your thinking time.
- Novice Nook Quiz - A fun quiz about some of the philosophies and suggestions of my column on how to improve. I throw in some personal questions to help readers learn about the column's author - the answers are strictly my opinion!
- A Bain Rating Tactics Quiz - Similar to "A Tactics Quiz" but this is just for those who are repetitiously doing the puzzles in John Bain's Chess Tactics for Students book and want to know if they have learned the puzzles sufficiently well to go to another basic tactics book or possibly graduate to an intermediate book like the wonderful Winning Chess Exercises for Kids by Jeff Coakley (read "...for Kids" as a misnomer like "Novice Nook").
- Novice Nook Quiz 2 - Another fun quiz about my column, my works, and me. One reader possibly took it a little too seriously and suggested unnecessary narcissism .
- Is It Safe? Quiz - This quiz was created exclusively for the book "A Guide to Chess Improvement" and, as promised to the publisher Everyman, will never be reprinted in my other material... When you consider a candidate move or your opponent makes a move, an absolutely essential question you must ask, in either case, is "Is It Safe?". This means, "Can the move be answered by a check, capture, or threat by the other player that will forcibly either win material or checkmate?" If so, then, if the unsafe move is your candidate, it will have to be discarded (or labeled a sacrifice). On the other hand, if it is the move the opponent just made which is not safe, then you should seriously consider (but not just jump in!) winning the material; executing the checkmate goes without saying. This quiz measures your ability to calculate if a move is safe. Ah, yes, to take this quiz you must buy (or borrow) the book...
Bonus: it's not a quiz, but there is also a Novice Nook Chess Lists column as well.