960 ways to strengthen your tactics!

Jun 15, 2011, 6:31 AM |

many players are often looking for ways to strengthen their tactics. We buy book after book of Chess Puzzles. We pay money to chess websites for "tactics trainers". We study Master's games annotations looking for the best ways to employ a Fork, Pin, Skewer, Discovered Attack, Double Check, Discovered Check, Windmill Attack, Sacrifice, Under-Promotion, etc. Surely there must be an effective way of practicing tactics without spending lots of money or drudging through "studying".

The answer is simple: Chess 960! Chess 960 is a version of chess designed by Bobby Fischer. Simply put, the starting position is a random set up of the pieces. The reason it's called 960 is because there are 960 different possible starting positions. This completely eliminates "opening theory". Let the Tactics begin. Rather than get bogged down in the quagmire of opening theory and opening traps with who knows how many variations, simply enjoy chess for it's tactical content.

If you approach each 960 game like a puzzle you will do well. No need to buy puzzle books!

If chess is 90% tactics why do we spend so much time studying openings? An average chess player would benefit more by studying and practicing tactics first, then endgames, and then openings. "The end is a good place to start."

For all you S.A.T. test takers here is a phrase for you: 960 is to Chess Players as Lifting weights is to an athlete. Strengthening the muscles an athlete uses for their sport makes them a better player of their sport. Strenghtening our tactics and puzzle solving skills makes Chess players better in the same way. So hit the tactics "gym" and start lifting 960!

I always have at least one 960 game active in my online chess on chess.com at all times. Try it and enjoy.