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Tactics: Games vs. Problems


  • 3 years ago · Quote · #1

    Elubas

    I will put a question out here: Do you think that tactics are easier to spot in games, or in problems?

    The popular answer will probably be problems, because after all you KNOW there is a tactic during a problem, but I actually feel the opposite. It has actually been my experience that, after lots of practice so that I'm familiar enough with tactics, looking for tactics in my own games seems so easy compared to Tactics Trainer.

    I think it's because in a game I know the context of the tactics very well: I'm planning every single piece placement and naturally go through the nuances of them (most likely unconsciously) on each move. I get used to what the pieces control -- I know my knight on e7 will always control c8, g8, d5, f5, and my bishop will always be able to go here and here. In Tactics trainer, the position is totally irrational because you don't know what to look for yet; you have to get right to the point of the position in a minute or so, whereas people actually playing the game got used to the piece placements likely for hours!

    If you have been calculating attacks during a game for many moves, but never found anything, it would be easy to say "ok, let's do something else," and play a more subtle tactic. But if instead you faced that same position in a different environment -- in Tactics Trainer, you may see all those pieces aiming at the kingside and fail to consider anything else.

    Basically, I think the level of familiarity you get about any position; that natural feel you develop about what your pieces can and can't do, while playing in a game overpowers the uncertainty of a tactic's existence. It may depend on how comfortable you are at tactics though, because if you are really bad at them then obviously you will never find them in a game.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #2

    angrychess

    I enjoy doing chess puzzles more than playing the game Frown

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #3

    abhidl04xy

    i agree with you to some extent
  • 3 years ago · Quote · #4

    -shequan

    I think is true to a large extent. also, I think many of people who create the tactics problems are fully aware of the context in which their problems will appear and they play off of this to a certain extent. all in good fun I suppose (you know like a "gotcha!" kind of thing). (grumble).

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #5

    Elubas

    There are definitely exceptions though -- moves where, in a game, you would typically assume a certain move is forced (like a recapture), might be easier to find when you have a puzzle taking a piece from you and actually asking how to respond (as if to say, "you have a better move then just recapturing"). In that sort of case, it might become easy simply because you were asked to draw your eyes to a different idea.

     

    Still, in most cases, my original post applies in my opinion.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #6

    -shequan

    exactly though. there are many puzzles that play off the "you have a better move" mindset i.e. there really isn't some flashy combination leading to checkmate or some other thing, it really is just moving your queen a single square to the right to protect the pawn or taking the piece. don't tell me you don't think the people who create such puzzles don't do it on purpose. obviously they do. there really are a bunch of "gotcha" puzzles! probably do it to make the tactics trainer experience more entertaining or something.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #7

    browni3141

    I like this idea. I seem to have a little bit of trouble when looking at other peoples games. By trouble I mean it seems to take me much longer to find things I would find quickly if it were my own game.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #8

    Estragon

    Elubas makes an excellent point, but we can't really draw a general rule from it - as with so many other comparisons in chess, it depends very much on the particular position and the individual analyzing it. 

    To some extent, the two situations are different in the way we approach them.  As Elubas noted, we know there is a tactic in the puzzle, but not in our game even if we are on alert looking for them.  But the composer often attempts to make the key move difficult to find, and knowing it may be hard to find doesn't always help so much!

    For purposes of improvement, do both!

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #9

    -shequan

    we know there is a tactic in the puzzle, but not in our game even if we are on alert looking for them.  But the composer often attempts to make the key move difficult to find, and knowing it may be hard to find doesn't always help so much!

    this describes what I shall refer to as a "pure tactic problem"  many of them aren't "pure" though. a lot of them merely play off the "psychology of tactics trainer" for lack of better words, making them much more "difficult" than they would ever be in any other context.


    I also feel there are certain issues with the "consensus voting" scheme to assign ratings to problems, it doesn't seem to result in problems of increasing difficulty as you ascend that ladder as one might expect. instead you may get really thrown off by some mate in 2 problem encountered at around 2200 (that seems like it should be rated 1500) simply because you were looking for something much more complicated (and then a second later when you see the answer and realize what happened to you there, you start cursing people, throwing things at the computer screen and begin to believe the tactics mods are conspiring against you in some way)

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #10

    browni3141

    -shequan wrote:

    I also feel there are certain issues with the "consensus voting" scheme to assign ratings to problems, it doesn't seem to result in problems of increasing difficulty as you ascend that ladder as one might expect.

    I thought I knew how ratings were calculated for problems, and I didn't think it had anything to do with voting. Would you care to elaborate?

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #11

    Elubas

    Yeah, I thought it was just based on who passes and fails it, and how much time they take. Obviously the initial rating is arbitrary, but I would expect that to change quickly as many users solve/fail it.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #12

    OldHastonian

    Elubas wrote:

    Basically, I think the level of familiarity you get about any position; that natural feel you develop about what your pieces can and can't do, while playing in a game overpowers the uncertainty of a tactic's existence.

    The gradual process you describe  succintly answers the original question, in my opinion.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #13

    -shequan

    browni3141 wrote:
    -shequan wrote:

    I also feel there are certain issues with the "consensus voting" scheme to assign ratings to problems, it doesn't seem to result in problems of increasing difficulty as you ascend that ladder as one might expect.

    I thought I knew how ratings were calculated for problems, and I didn't think it had anything to do with voting. Would you care to elaborate?

    ummm obviously people don't actually vote for a particular rating for a given problem. the term "consensus voting" was put inside quotation marks for a reason.....get it? no? 

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #14

    msjenned

    Tactic Trainer here has funny solution. Some are good. Many just waste time. That is why maybe hard to spot when you play Live.


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