Chess Tactics

I’ve found a new toy – the “Chess Tactics Server”:http://chess.emrald.net/index.php. It’s basically a free website where you go to solve thousands of chess problems. You’re presented with scenario where you have to choose the next best move (or set of moves) before the clock runs out and are rated based on whether or not you found the correct solution. The faster you solve it, the more points you get. Solvers start with a rating of 1500 (based on the popular “Glicko system”:http://math.bu.edu/people/mg/glicko/glicko.doc/glicko.html). Right now I’m hovering right around 1100, so I think I’ve hit my actual skill level at the moment. The goal is to improve my rating by doing more and more of these problems.

For chess enthusiasts rushing over there to check it, take notice that the site works best in Internet Explorer. Tell IE to _never_ check for newer versions of stored pages (Tools –> Internet Options –> Temporary Internet Files –> Settings –> Check for newer versions of stored pages –> Never), or else the clock will start counting down before the board even finishes loading.

It’s kind of fun, and you can solve as many or as few as you like and then go do something else for a while. So, if you like chess, go give it a look-see.

6 thoughts on “Chess Tactics”

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  2. Sounds like a cool idea. I get bored with chess easily, but maybe I could improve my skills with something like this and begin to see what else there is to the game. Alas, I signed in as a guest to check it out, and I can’t get beyond the !@#$ “Choose a set of pieces” page. Not a good sign.

  3. Does it teach you how to play chess or does it just rate you so that you can improve? I’ve always wanted to learn how to play, but I don’t know anyone who knows how.

  4. You have to know the moves. It also helps to know the notation (which I’m not good at) when you check the “right” answer — some of which I’ve disagreed with.

    I’m playing around as a guest until I get a little quicker on the analysis.

    A quick search shows this site might be good for the basics: http://www.chessguru.net/ Jim and his friends may have a better site.

  5. Susanna, unfortunately it doesn’t teach you how to play. I’m sure there are other websites out there that do; I just haven’t had cause to go looking for them. Maybe I’ll do a little research when I get a chance and let you know what I come up with.

    Jean, so far I haven’t had a single solution I’ve disagreed with. The reason why the final position is most advantageous isn’t always readily apparent; sometimes you have play another couple of moves in your head to see why it’s a better tactical position. Usually involves being able to go a piece up, or capturing the other Queen while retaining your own, or putting the King into checkmate. If it’s not immediate obvious, you can go into the ‘Session’ and review the problems to figure out why that particular ending position is better than the one you thought was better.

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