# Are the Daily Puzzles too easy?

Sunday today so at least half the comments about today's daily puzzle are about it being too easy. So I did some research...

We all know (I think) that the easiest puzzles are on Sundays and they get harder through the week, with the toughest on Saturday.

It's probably in the nature of chess players to assume they know best, but let's for a moment assume that Chess.com knows what it's doing better than every single one of its members. You can't keep all of the people happy all of the time; you can only keep some of the people happy all of the time or all of the people happy some of the time. The latter is fairer to the greater number. So I'm going to assume that Chess.com is trying to set puzzles so that every member will find a puzzle that suits them at some point in the week.

In Tactics Trainer there's a nice graph that shows the distribution of Tactics Trainer ratings for all the people who use it. As you would expect it's a bell-shaped curve; a few people with low ratings, a similar number with high ratings, and the rest of us somewhere in the middle. I've done a bit of analysis and come to the following conclusion:

If your Tactics Trainer rating is below about 650 then the Sunday puzzle should be about right for you. If between 650 and about 850 then Monday's puzzle ought to be at about your level. If 850 to around 1000 then Tuesday. Up to about 1150 then Wednesday's puzzle should be right for you. Up to 1300 go for Thursday. Up to 1500 then Friday. Over 1500 then you are in about the top 15% and Saturday's puzzle is especially for you!

So if, like one guy who complained today, you have a ranking of 2135 and a Tactics Trainer rating of 1785, it's hardly surprising that you might have found today's Sunday puzzle too easy. But please don't begrudge 95% of members their bit of fun by insisting that the puzzles should be right for your level every single day!

For my part I'm in the Tuesday/Wednesday club, but I look at the puzzle most days and if I get it right on Thursday or Friday I'm chuffed. Sunday/Monday is usually easyish for me, but some of those puzzles can be quite elegant, so I never complain! So as far as I'm concerned Chess.com are getting it about right.

One day I'll get the Saturday puzzle and I may even post a comment to celebrate, but it won't be "EASY!"

You're right. They start out very easy on Sunday, and get harder through the week.  I think people who are always posting "Easy" about the early week puzzles are rather foolish. When the easy puzzles are posted, people don't need to be informed that they are in fact, easy. Maybe they want people to think they are geniuses because it's easy for them to do an easy puzzle. LOL.

woodshover wrote:

You're right. They start out very easy on Sunday, and get harder through the week.  I think people who are always posting "Easy" about the early week puzzles are rather foolish. When the easy puzzles are posted, people don't need to be informed that they are in fact, easy. Maybe they want people to think they are geniuses because it's easy for them to do an easy puzzle. LOL.

BUMP
6th March 2011, 07:49am
#1
by Josechu
United Kingdom
Member Since: Jan 2009
Member Points: 1

Sunday today so at least half the comments about today's daily puzzle are about it being too easy. So I did some research...

We all know (I think) that the easiest puzzles are on Sundays and they get harder through the week, with the toughest on Saturday.

It's probably in the nature of chess players to assume they know best, but let's for a moment assume that Chess.com knows what it's doing better than every single one of its members. You can't keep all of the people happy all of the time; you can only keep some of the people happy all of the time or all of the people happy some of the time. The latter is fairer to the greater number. So I'm going to assume that Chess.com is trying to set puzzles so that every member will find a puzzle that suits them at some point in the week.

In Tactics Trainer there's a nice graph that shows the distribution of Tactics Trainer ratings for all the people who use it. As you would expect it's a bell-shaped curve; a few people with low ratings, a similar number with high ratings, and the rest of us somewhere in the middle. I've done a bit of analysis and come to the following conclusion:

If your Tactics Trainer rating is below about 650 then the Sunday puzzle should be about right for you. If between 650 and about 850 then Monday's puzzle ought to be at about your level. If 850 to around 1000 then Tuesday. Up to about 1150 then Wednesday's puzzle should be right for you. Up to 1300 go for Thursday. Up to 1500 then Friday. Over 1500 then you are in about the top 15% and Saturday's puzzle is especially for you!

So if, like one guy who complained today, you have a ranking of 2135 and a Tactics Trainer rating of 1785, it's hardly surprising that you might have found today's Sunday puzzle too easy. But please don't begrudge 95% of members their bit of fun by insisting that the puzzles should be right for your level every single day!

For my part I'm in the Tuesday/Wednesday club, but I look at the puzzle most days and if I get it right on Thursday or Friday I'm chuffed. Sunday/Monday is usually easyish for me, but some of those puzzles can be quite elegant, so I never complain! So as far as I'm concerned Chess.com are getting it about right.

One day I'll get the Saturday puzzle and I may even post a comment to celebrate, but it won't be "EASY!"

6th March 2011, 08:07am
#2
by woodshoverhttp://cssjs.chesscomfiles.com/images/icons/member/diamond.png); margin-left: 4px; font-weight: bold; background-position: 50% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;" title="Premium Member" href="http://www.chess.com/membership.html?c=icon">
United States
Member Since: Dec 2009
Member Points: 4319

You're right. They start out very easy on Sunday, and get harder through the week.  I think people who are always posting "Easy" about the early week puzzles are rather foolish. When the easy puzzles are posted, people don't need to be informed that they are in fact, easy. Maybe they want people to think they are geniuses because it's easy for them to do an easy puzzle. LOL.

Interesting post. What do you mean when you say that you did some analysis? How did you come up with the ratings for each day?

Two things came to mind, when reading your post.

Firstly, I wondered whether it would be possible to have a guide table for how long the puzzle might be expected to take depending on your rating? For example, Wednesday might be 1 minute for 1200, 30 seconds for 1300 etc.

Secondly, on lookking a bit further down the list of posts than I ususally do, I spotted some interesting comments. I don't usually get that far because of the reams of one liners which are really pretty pointless.

Thanks for the replies.

Woodshover. Yes, the "Easy" comments make the people posting them look foolish, but that's their look out. They are also very irritating (almost as bad as "First") which is more of an issue for the rest of us. Worst of all, as Juanitoz points out ,is that they get in the way of some genuinely interesting and perceptive comments. Yesterday's Sunday puzzle was a prime example:-

I got it pretty quickly and thought it was quite easy. I congratulated myself on having ignored the "distraction" of the phalanx of pawns waiting to promote, which I took to be misdirection by the puzzle setter, to take your eye away from where the real puzzle was. Reading through the comments I came across one where somebody proposed 0-0-0 as an alternative solution. "Well done that guy" I thought, I hadn't noticed that. But if you kept reading there were other comments where people had noticed that 0-0-0 wasn't possible because the setup of the other pieces meant that the rook must have already moved and moved back, or something like that; so the phalanx of pawns wasn't a diversion, it was the clue you needed to find the only true solution to the puzzle. Clearly an enormous amount of thought had gone into even this humble Sunday puzzle. Congratulations to the setters and how silly do those "Easy" comments look now?

What Juanitoz is suggesting, and I agree, is that a lot more people would benefit from the good posts if it wasn't for all the white noise from "Firsts" and "Easies".

Perhaps with enough peer group pressure we could embarass people into stopping all that!

juanitoz wrote:

Interesting post. What do you mean when you say that you did some analysis? How did you come up with the ratings for each day?

Two things came to mind, when reading your post.

Firstly, I wondered whether it would be possible to have a guide table for how long the puzzle might be expected to take depending on your rating? For example, Wednesday might be 1 minute for 1200, 30 seconds for 1300 etc.

Secondly, on lookking a bit further down the list of posts than I ususally do, I spotted some interesting comments. I don't usually get that far because of the reams of one liners which are really pretty pointless.

How did I come up with the ratings?

As there are 7 puzzles per week I assumed that the ideal would be for 1/7th of the members to find the puzzle to be at the right level for them each day. So the lowest 1/7th would find the Sunday puzzle perfect and the top 1/7th would find the Saturday puzzle right for them.

I thought people's Tactics Trainer rating would be the most appropriate for puzzles.

By rolling your cursor over this graph in Tactics Trainer

you can get how ratings are distributed in 100 ranking point intervals and with this data you can calculate that the bottom 1/7th have ratings of below about 650, the bottom 2/7ths have ratings below about 850 etc... It's a bit rough but good enough for these purposes, I think.

I'll leave it to you to decide how you extend that to an optimum time for solving each puzzle ;-)

I suppose easier would be for Chess.com to put a rating against each puzzle. A kind of acknowledgement that the easy puzzles are easy and the hard ones are hard! :-)

mohandisusa wrote:

what i noticed is that during sunday puzzles are so easy...am i correct?

Yes, I think so. The puzzles seem to get harder each day from Sunday up to Saturday, then easy on Sunday again. Everybody seems to agree on that but I've never seen anything to say it's an official policy.

For info: I posted this on the Daily Puzzle discussion today.

All you "First" and "Easy" people, please show some consideration and stop clogging up the forum and getting in the way of intelligent comment. Agree? Disagree? Why not take a look at the below discussion and we can sort it out there.

I have never gotten stumped. I think they need to move the puzzles up a notch or two.

StupidDrip95 wrote:

I have never gotten stumped. I think they need to move the puzzles up a notch or two.

Well you are obviously a good player! Ranking 2075 and Tactics Trainer rating of 1407 (I looked you up - hope you don't mind). According to my logic above, the puzzles from Sunday to about Wednesday are probably a waste of time for you. You ought to find the Friday puzzle about right and the Saturday puzzle quite tricky, but perhaps do-able. So perhaps the hard puzzles aren't hard enough - which doesn't necessarily mean that the easy puzzles are too easy

Thanks for the input.

There are daily puzzles?

I remember reading that, when Botvinnik was preparing for one of his many WC matches, he mentioned that what he needed the most work on was two move combinations. Of course, a puzzle and an in-game combo are two different animals, but it does demonstrate the highly considered value of reinforcing even the simple things (like mate-in-one - which has been missed even by the greats).  Puzzles don't have to be difficult to have value, though difficulty does add another layer of interest. If one requires extremely difficult problems, I'd suggest working problems rather than puzzles - a whole different genre.

I'm curious if the chronic complainers are among the few puzzle contibutors.

They could be graded by levels of difficulty 1 to 5, as on chessgames.com. Of course, I agree that even level 1 should be something resembling a puzzle and not just finding a Knight fork, and level 5 should probably be something that is solvable by, say, expert level player.

Batgirl - about whether the many complainers are amongst those that contribute puzzles. I was getting there too. I saw on one of the forums that chess.com were asking for contributors. Interestingly they ask the setters to say whether the problem is easy, medium or hard. Easy for whom? I doubt very much whether I could set a problem that the top players would find interesting.

Fezzik - well I was quite clear that all this is all based on an assumption. "I am going to assume that..." I said in the original post. And the assumption is that chess.com are somehow being democratic about this and trying to please the lowlier members as much as the top flight playersAnd if that is the case then perhaps they ought to be organised roughly how I said, and then I was interested to know whether different people, of different abilities, felt that the most interesting puzzles for them were on the days I suggested. I never said that they are graded that way because I have no way of knowing how good you would need to be to find the Saturday puzzle interesting or easy. I wish I did! Mate in one isn't a puzzle for you because you're a good player, but how can you know whether a 500 rating wouldn't get some satisfaction from solving it. Could be a 5-year-old.

Atos - On chessgames.com, when there's a level 1 puzzle, do people still complain that it's too easy?

I always thought the daily puzzles are just for beginners, but there's some method to their madness. Thank you.