# Tactic fluctuations

I don't understand why my tactics rating is fluctuating between from below 1300 to above 1500. Some days it seems so simple, the next day totally impossible. Is such a huge difference only due to my daily form, or does chess.com change algorithms now and then?

The rating range of the puzzles handed to you is terribly vast; they may be close to +-500 your rating, if not a larger margin.

This is why some puzzles feel extremely simple & natural yet others feel like running into a brick wall.

I understand what you mean, I'm at 1400, and get puzzles from 900 to 1900 - but this variation happens every day - I don't get 900 one day and 1900 the next. But still I have a feeling that some days it is much harder than another day, and I doubt it is due to my daily form. But I'm not sure. Thanks anyway!

i think tactics are choosen randomly from a pool of tactics

i dont know how the algorithm works, but maybe i think if you get right several times in a row, the algorithm try to complicated tactics

It's helpful to get a wide range of tactic problems with large rating fluctations because thats what you will encounter when you play a game of chess. Even if you play at a 1300 level you will often encounter situations in games where one position is a 900 level and 10 moves later, it's a 1900 or higher. It's helpful to see the mate in two, but it's also helpful to see the 5 move tactic where you come out a knight ahead. Both could happen during the very same game.

Let me use an analogy.  When you are a kid writing a math test, one question might be addition, another division, and you just need to do it.  That's what is expected.  When you were learning math, though, you did dozens of the same type of problem in a row, ideally until it became easy.  Then you could move onto something different.  Said another way, there's a difference between learning and testing.

The same is true for chess tactics.  The tactics trainer does an excellent job at testing your current tactical ability, but it doesn't really improve it (just like writing a math test by itself won't make you appreciably better at math).  Considering your tactics rating has remained more or less in the same spot, that suggests you are not improving, which makes sense.

I bet you would notice faster and more noticeable improvement if you worked your way through a dedicated tactics book, one arranged by theme.  Think of it as homework, studying for your upcoming chess test.

My opinion, taken from my experience learning music, is that to learn tactics, you should ignore time. Otherwise you end up just making an intuitive guess instead of rigorously trying to calculate out the variations. Sure you can give up if you just don't see it after a while. But I think actively trying to find an idea is better than being passively fed the solution when you give up. I have been doing tactics problems on chess tempo, and my rating for tactics has gone up 200 points since April when I started.

Thanks a lotty, folks - great stuff here. But look at this, please:  I understand that each puzzle comes from a large scale of different difficulties. But is your own actual tactic level fluctuating as much as mine? Within the same month i went from 1300 to 1500 and then back to 1300!

200 rating up and down is pretty common. My tactic rating has been stalled around 2400 for 3 months( dip as 2200+ or high as 2400+)

Thanks, drmrboss. Makes two of us. Do you think it is due to daily/weekly/monthly form, or changing algoritms from chess.com? Maybe I'm a bit paranoid blaming chess.com.

i am in the same boat

and what i did is work/study a tactics book for now

the tactics trainer is a tester- not a trainer

i needed to really tighten up the basics- really hammering them home motif by motif- only then does the book go into more complications

it’s a lot like learning multiplication tables (even if the reasons “why” are not understood yet- 8x6=48) before jumping into more complicated equations

do a tactics book and then hop on the tactics trainer afterwards

Same here!

vlunne wrote:

I don't understand why my tactics rating is fluctuating between from below 1300 to above 1500. Some days it seems so simple, the next day totally impossible. Is such a huge difference only due to my daily form, or does chess.com change algorithms now and then?

As long as youre learning, it doesnt matter.

vlunne wrote:

Thanks, drmrboss. Makes two of us. Do you think it is due to daily/weekly/monthly form, or changing algoritms from chess.com? Maybe I'm a bit paranoid blaming chess.com.

Puzzles are pretty unpredictable, usually +/-400 of your rating.

In my experiences, sometimes I get a series of  2700+,2800+ puzzles and failed constantly, but sometimes I may get as easy as 2000, 2100 puzzles and get green records.

As I am a free member, I can do "5 puzzles per day " only. So in bad days , I may lose 50 elo straight but I may get 50 elo straight in good days.

As you are paid member, you can do more and you may lose more in bad days.

My suggestion is

1. Stop when you are in bad mood

2. Dont guess, and dont give up easily. Try to spend some time until you can find the solution. For me, I can solve some puzzles in 1 min but some puzzles may take more than 10 mins.(average 2-5 mins)

Wow - i'm beeing too impatient i guess. Great advices. Will do!