Today I sat down for the second time to focus on my tactics training with http://www.chesstempo.com.

One thing that I noticed yesterday that really came in to laser focus today is that I have a tendency to overly complicate things a lot of the time. There are many puzzles that I solved incorrectly because I would take an approach that would solve it while missing that there was a way to do it in fewer moves.

I’ve also started to notice that I have a tendency to miss tactics that involve pieces that hang in the middle of the lines. I also only notice loose pieces maybe half the time.

So those are things to work on.

After my session today my rating is 1579.7, representing a drop of 3.9 points. Insignificant whether that was a gain or a loss.

I also decided to start tracking how many problems I am solving correctly vs. missing. Today I solved 40 and missed 25. So again, this shows the percentage I will need to solve correctly in order to increase my rating.

I did email the admin of chesstempo regarding this challenge and something interesting I got back was this:

“Regarding your blog post, it is probably worth pointing out that to gain rating points you don’t really need to get that many more problems correct than incorrect to gain rating. The default difficulty setting (“normal”) gives you problems that are on average 100 points below your current rating. At that level of difficulty you get around a 66% success rate (again on average over a large number of problems, and assuming stable skill level). If you get higher than a 66% success rate, you’ll be gaining rating (again , on average over a large number of problems, short term fluctuations can lead to short term bursts of rating loss or gain). You can also change your difficulty level to change the success rate required to maintain a level rating. ‘Hard’ mode produces a 50% success rate over time if your skill level is stable as it gives you problems at your current level (on average). ‘Easy’ gives you problems 200 points below your rating, and you’ll get a roughly 80% success rate.” – Richard.

That is all interesting to know, although I think that I am going to just leave the settings as is and see what happens.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

So, I was intrigued, and so started to try this chesstempo.com tactics, and on my 2nd day, I just reached 1600.8 and 17 in a row right.

I’ve gotten 59 right and 15 incorrect.

At this level, all the problems are extremely solvable, but sometimes I have lacked patience.

Even though they show how much time you are taking, my impression is that the scoring is not affected by how long you take to get it right or wrong!

Which is of course a flawed system because tournament chess games are timed!

In this setting, all you have to do is take your time and actually consider every legal move, and it’s hard to not solve them at the 1600 level if you just take your time and consider every legal move!!

I don’t know that it’s necessarily flawed. I think that in training it’s more important to get the patterns down than it is to do so quickly. The speed will come as a byproduct of increasing the tactical prowess overall.

Yes, in a game you need to make a decision before you flag, and training should replicate a game as much as possible. But it’s also important not to be dogmatic just for the sake of it.

I took up chess over 50 years ago!

When am I going to get the patterns down?

When will that speed come to me?