Tactics Trainer & Calculating..


The only way forward if you want to make any progress.

For sure I have made considerable progress over the last number of months in terms of tactics but realize how false my rating is due to the fact that I still continue to guess the 1st move in many of the problems.

Anyone else find themselves engaging in this bad habit??


I try to play TT every day hoping I eventually learn something but so far only get annoyed more and more.

Yes, on some occassions I guess too, not because I want to but more to not get slaughtered by the rating system which is sad really cuz I thought it was tactics training and not speed training. Hurray, you solved it, unfortunately 5 seconds later than average, here have -4. I really do need my time, mostly not to find the solution but to find more than one solution since TT sometimes says, why did you take that rook while you could have taken a pawn? Here have -13.

The more I play it the worse I get, this sure can't be the idea behind TT. I will keep on playing it cuz some solutions do make me smile.


Who cares about what your rating is?

The purpose of tactic rating is to feed you problems of suitable difficulty.

Personally, I prefer to calculate the whole tactic first and then play the moves in rapid-fire. This has improved my ability to calculate moves fast and somewhat correct. Recommended.

What I miss is:

- A "I don't know" button, so I can respectfully fail a problem without having to guess on something (quite often a guessed move is correct)

- Alternative correct moves. In practice i prefer a mate in 6 without sacrifices over a mate in 5 with two rook sacs. This because I am human and will miscalculate occasionally, and prefer the safe mate over the risky but shorter one. 


To feed you with problems of suitable difficulty you need a rating.

When your rating increases your skills are getting better and the problems you get are more difficult.

This is why I care about my rating.

An "I don't know button" is a possibility but the whole set up of TT then should change otherwise you get rewarded for pressing the "I don't know" button and penalised when thinking longer than average.


I find this, against the clock thing very irritating.


It is irritating to me too, I've got the clock scroll bar switched off and that has helped me. Do not be mistaken, the time keeps running.


What i mean is you get the puzzle right, but because you,re slow you still lose points! Very irritating. You got time on your side JTL, only 671 attempts. And SeppDietrich at 98 attempts you,re practically a virgin.


Yes i engage in the same bad habit.

stanhope13 wrote:

What i mean is you get the puzzle right, but because you,re slow you still lose points! Very irritating. You got time on your side JTL, only 671 attempts. And SeppDietrich at 98 attempts you,re practically a virgin.

Lol.....I hope not, it's my 4 th time resetting TT with about 8000 tactics attempted....around the block a few times.


I agree that with the amount of time you get for certain puzzles, you really are forced to guess. I used to get bent out of shape, but I realized that if you keep playing the puzzles, it will pop up again for you, unless you sink or rise permanently.

The puzzles with an option to look at chechmate possibilities or perhaps an echange requiring a sacrifice, as part of a mating net can have many variations to calculate quickly. I have racked my brain before on a few of these only to discover their was a piece to take en prise.

I don't agree with the decision to incorporate these puzzles. OTB games aren't that confusing or difficult. The reason is that you have the advantage of following the progression of the moves. In my game I will know if there is a free piece for the taking, if I should be looking to see if I can win an exchange, or if there is a possible mate for me.


Agree, the timelimit is way to short. 


Talk about inflated TT ratings, ...boy I feel ya. But I can tell you, after decades of digesting every "Tactics", "Combinations", "Positional Sacrifices", "Great Combinations by Historical Players", "Strategic Sacrifices", combinations in data-bases, all things (like Lazlo Polgars Big Book) and just a huge craving for all things "Chess Tactics" (almost to the unintended selective exclusion of diligent duty spent in pursuit of other aspects of the game, yet not completely so, ...but nonetheless an abject fascination, like a sudoku addiction); one does develop an "eye" for cool tactical patterns, geometric pattern recognition endemic to the various tactical themes (and you must study these if aspiring to developing tactical proficiency, ...like zugzwang, zwischenzug, double attack/fork, discovered attack, windmill, smothered mate, clearance sac, skewer, under promotion, weak back rank, etc, we all know 'em). But I found that after mastering these concepts and playing through various examples of each, cements them in your mind, such that you become aware & sorta anticipatory when these positions present themselves. I prefer chess book libraries (at my age :) and envy younger players who've mastered & enjoy the use of engines, only as a more holistic tool to perfect balanced chess proficiency & skill required of progressing in tourney play. My life circumstances, professional, parenting, other hobbies and competing interest, ...for example, I love building computers and reading, are just competing time objectives and life choices (Just my plate). But having enjoyed reading and playing through remarkable chess tactics & combinations literature and playing many thousands of relaxed coffee house games and blitz (particularly when I was younger), I got to a point in blitz, when "out of the opening" (safely :), so to speak; I managed a not insignificant number of "wins", utilizing aggressive tactical play, against far superior opponents (some titles masters). As a result, they always enjoyed playing me (and courteously gave me the time-day :). Playing online is so utterly different, most particularly blitz & bullet (rapid fatigue, 2D situational awareness after decades of not, seriously tired eyes & majorly carpal-tunnel :) and clearly & brutally illustrates the theory of entropy, ...the inevitable decline with age.

Yet, if afforded the opportunity to more completely study the game, putting in the time (particularly with today's information tools), of such a time consuming, jealous-lover, as the game of chess obviously is; I still can't say if I'd have made different choices. Probably not, ...if my wife had anything to say about it, lol. But, great discussion! It's one near & dear to my chess heart ;'). Thanks ErwinSachs! Best of luck in the TT trainer. Another thing, do many hundreds of positions "unrated", prior to attacking it for a measure of "rated" progress. Also, don't place as much emphasis or emotional investment in this "rating", as your actual tournament time control speeds (actual chess strength) shows. Break down and invest (if budget allows) in Tactics & Combinations Books and master the comprehension of "tactical themes". Amazon.com or even your local brick & mortar, used book stores can be a gold mine & treasure-trove of inexpensive book resources. Again, good luck and thanks!


TT needs an overhaul, I have resigned mymembership until they drop the time penalty system 


@ Sceadungen: Man, ...I hear ya! Further insult to injury, the higher up the ladder you ascend, allowing the ratings range in the settings equally high when solving "rated", ...the more brutal the unreal penalties, often (across the ratings range) even after successfully completing the problem (too darn slow in a thinking man's game)! What the heck is that? While I have the highest regards & respect for Danny Rensch, for doing a "rated, timed, preaching & teaching", over 2800, live video; man, ...you could almost feel his emotional pull in this direction (thinking-out-loud, yet almost sounding as though arguing for those "lost points" or for some aspect of "partial compensation" implied in his protestations), based upon his raw, evocative reactions, when incorrect! While not as committed to your position, with the strength of conviction of resigning my membership ;'), it's sure as heck why I don't train "rated" any longer. Man, ...I've sustained incoming hostile fire, as a consequence or my lack of artillery accuracy (so to speak), as bad as -23 points! I'm still wounded & all PTSD on the injury to my pride & psyche, lol! You said it. It is unbelievably brutal! Thanks for making the point Sceadungen. Just seems intuitively unfair. And, yes, I've heard and understand their logical & philosophical reasoning on the matter. There has to be a more "fair" & realistic process of point compensation, certainly short of point deduction for correct solutions, which aren't even ridiculously outta line or even, say, ...4 out of 5 correct, difficult finds in a crazy hard, highly-rated-problem, clock all psycho-tempus-fugit on us! Ya done gone and got my blood-pressure up, lol.


I'll try and find the link where a member of staff announced that when the all new and improved V3 of chess.com arrives later this year there will no longer be a time penalty for correct answers.  You may not gain any points but you will never again be penalized for taking too much time to get the correct answer.  No promises but I'm off to look...


DeepGreene's post:

  • Smile Be it known (in the interest of full transparency), that the changes made in December (see post #196) are still in effect: The server is preferring tactics in a range from 60 points higher to 40 points lower than your current rating.

    To date, although we have not changed the scoring logic, this change to tactics selection alone would generally reduce the size of ratings swing, whether you get a given problem correct or incorrect. (In other words, you're not going to see many ratings changes of +/- 22 if the problem's rating is proximate to your own.)

    So that's where we are today...

    However, with the advent of V3 later this year, we will be making another change to tactics logic (scoring this time) that we think most people will like (based on a recent survey). Here's what that will entail:

    - Percentile score remains at 100% until the player uses up half of the problem's average time-to-solve. (This is an extension.)

    - From that point on, the score drops steadily, reaching 50% at twice the average time-to-solve. At that point (a theoretical "draw" vs the tactic), the score stops dropping based on time. (It currently does this only after reaching 20%.)

    - Any time after that, if the player solves the tactic correctly, the server will assess whether the player should get any points for a 50% score (i.e. if the tactic is rated higher than the player). If that's the case, then the player gets those rating points. In all other cases, the player's rating does not change. A player's rating will never drop as a result of correctly solving a tactic.

  • 3 weeks ago · Quote · #86


Big time thanks for the diligence baddogno! I feel 20% less traumatized for past injuries ;').


I've been using it intensely and even at my level 1400 I find that there are many problems where I can't just guess the first move. I actually really like everything about it including the time penalty. Of course if you are just playing for the rating then you are not making the best of the system. I try and get the right answer regardless of time and if I lose points so be it - next time it comes round I'll hope to be faster! :)


When fixed I will come back, until then for the sake of my marraige I will stay resigned


I prefer solve tactics from books, the kind of books that come with lessons of tactical motifs and then the exercises (which you should write all the variations) .. I do not like very much online tactics which is random positions and make your own guess, they are valid but i learn more from tactics books