Improving tactical skills – my approach

Improving tactical skills – my approach

Dec 24, 2014, 3:08 PM |

My tactical skills are pretty okay, relatively. But how to work on further improvement ?

… I’ll tell you the secret ingredient :)

Since quite a few months I eat my breakfast and then do this daily tactic puzzle first :


After that I do the daily 3 tactic puzzles from (easy, medium, hard) on (but several other chess websites have those 3 puzzles in their sidebar).


In addition to that I have been doing a lot more puzzles on


Here my statistics on :


If you scroll down on that page you can see 100 of the last puzzles I did there.


You can see the solve time, the puzzle rating, and the ones that I failed to solve.


Since a little while I have a new approach. Apart from the above mentioned puzzles I’m doing the following 3 steps almost every day.


1) Start with tactic puzzles on as guest, without logging in.


This is to warm up with a bunch of easy puzzles. Not to worry about failing or losing tactic rating points.


2) Do at least 5 “standard” tactic puzzles.


This is the serious stuff ! With the standard puzzles you are allowed to use “unlimited” time.


If you would want, you can leave 1 puzzle open for 3 or 4 hours and watch a film or go out, and ponder about the solution.


3) For fun do a bunch of “blitz” tactic puzzles.


This is for the adrenaline kicks. It can be fun and rewarding to solve those puzzles without 10 seconds.


But also, you can run into beautiful tactical positions or a GM game position from an amazing game (Like the wonderful “King in a cage” game from the young Ray Robson).


4) The following part is something I need to do more often.


After some 2 or 3 weeks have a brief look at the failed puzzles, and see if you tend to make the same mistakes again, or that you managed to break with the “bad habits” and learned something new.



As a bonus in this post I’ll give you some tactical fireworks from a game from GM Reinderman of today from the last round of the TataSteelChess tourney 2014.