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The Fun of Chess Tactics

by Matthias Wüllenweber - 09/06/2019

Why is it so much fun to solve tactical puzzles? The first reason has nothing to do with chess: Solving an interesting problem brings a sense of achievement. This releases a quantity of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a complex neurotransmitter and constitutes part of the brain’s neurochemical motivation and reward mechanism, often cited in pop culture as the “hormone of happiness”. It is the same substance your head gets overdosed with when you fall in love.

The second reason is what we perceive as beauty in chess. Chess puzzles are interesting when the solution involves a sacrifice, a surprising maneuver, a deviation from the ordinary. The third reason is more pragmatic but certainly the most important: For all amateurs, the fastest way to gain playing strength is to improve their calculation skills. The majority of games is decided by tactical inaccuracies. Solving tactical problems is the easiest way to train calculation and to become stronger.

 

This seemed sufficient motivation for further work on our tactical training site https://tactics.chessbase.com. You can now enjoy tactics in three very different disciplines: Classical Solving, Fighting and Sprinting.

Classical Solving

In classical solving, you get positions suitable for your playing strength. If you are logged in, the system calculates your tactical rating and selects positions accordingly. You discover the solutions without time pressure at your own pace. The emphasis lies on properly calculating variations. Some of the puzzles will be above your current tactics Elo. You can still crack them because each position has several hints associated with it. Hints can be meaningful expressions like “Find the mate”, “Discovered Attack” or “Sacrifice something”. The more hints you use, the less Elo points you will gain. But still the net result will be positive if the position is difficult.

The first hint for this position is “Deflection”

For the relaunch of https://tactics.chessbase.com we improved four things:

- All 90000 positions have been rechecked for unambiguous solutions. Also, for many existing puzzles, the given solutions were a bit short. They have been extended. Users can like or dislike a position after solving. We screened all dislikes and either clarified the solutions or simply deleted the position.

- All positions have been supplied with much more meaningful hints as mentioned above. Most positions now have hints that describe the tactical theme (e.g. “Fork”). A good hint makes your task easier without giving away too much.

- New positions are now added nearly daily from current master games. Therefore you will always encounter fresh material. Follow the link at the top left of the tactics web site to check the latest position added.

- The rating system has been modified: Failing an easy position is not hurting your Elo as much as before.

 

For some time now, https://tactics.chessbase.com has been offering a powerful engine for post mortem analysis. If you doubt the official solution, you can simply analyze it afterwards.

Just click on “Solve Tactics” to start solving. The first positions will always be an easy warm-up. Click “Next position” to continue after you solved and analyzed a position. Stop whenever you have enough, it does not matter how many positions you look at in one session.

Tactics Fight

While Classical Solving is all about careful and precise calculation, Tactics Fight is the quick and dirty approach to tactics training. You fight against another player. Whoever solves an easy position first gets a point and the next position follows for both. If you enter a wrong move, your opponent gets a point. The player to reach 13 points first wins. Entering the first move is sufficient, you do not have to prove the whole variation. When a new position pops up you have to concentrate very hard. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to guess a move rather than do a full calculation. There is a slight gambling element involved. The speed and adrenaline of Tactics Fight are comparable to one-minute-chess (“Bullet”).

If you want to practice the Tactics Fight without actually playing an opponent, you can kibitz a fight of other players. Kibitzers can enter moves and get feedback for it. The players do not see this and the next position is not shown before one of them enters a move.

To get in to the fight arena, click “Play a Fight”. You can then either click “Seek Fight” to start. Or you click “Kibitz Fight” to watch others. Challenge a friend with “Challenge Player”. Or wait for other players to challenge you. There is an incentive to fight weaker players: If you win 13-0, you get a big Elo bonus.

 

The high concentration required for Tactics Fight makes for efficient training. It is like the High Intensity Training (HIIT) in sports: Ten minutes of high effort can be as productive as one hour of mild exercise.

 

Tactics Sprint

If “Fight” is the Bullet Chess of tactical puzzles, the new “Tactics Sprint” is Blitz. Speed is important but precision counts. In Tactics Sprint, you play against the clock. Try to solve as many positions as possible in limited time.

You start with a time budget of four minutes. You have to prove solutions, i.e. to play against a plausible defense. Every correct move scores a point. At the beginning you have three “lives”. Every wrong move loses a life. If either the clock runs down or all lives are lost, the sprint ends and your result is the numbers of correct moves you managed up to then.

The positions start with trivial mates and forks and then get harder and harder. Your progress is however rewarded with three helping factors that keep you in the game:

 

- As soon as you have reached 20 correct moves, you get five seconds added on the clock for each move you enter. This works like a time increment in Blitz Chess.

- For every 30 points, you get an extra “life”.

- For every 10 points reached, you get an extra free hint. Hints are very useful for tackling the harder positions at the end. Using a hint can save a lot of time and help gaining a lot of additional points from the difficult positions.

 

Click “Sprint” to start a Tactics Sprint: Careful, the clock starts immediately! Don’t guess solutions, a few seconds on the clock are not worth the risk of losing a life. If you are stuck, use multiple hints quickly.

Typical Sprint: Still two lives and five hints two use

 



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New: ChessBase Magazine #194

@ 28/02/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Mastering the Sicilian Najdorf

@ 21/02/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Last four seats left for the ChessBase India Group Tour to Dubai and Sharjah 2020

@ 19/02/2020 by Sagar Shah (en)
Endgame training with the ChessBase Magazine

@ 18/02/2020 by Martin Fischer (en)
NEW: Sicilian The Rossolimo and Moscow Variation Bundle by Jan Werle

@ 04/02/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
It's time for the ChessBase India Group Tour to Dubai Open and Sharjah Masters 2020

@ 02/02/2020 by Sagar Shah (en)
CRG Krishna wins Delhi Open ChessBase India Blitz 2020

@ 29/01/2020 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
NEW: A nightmare for the Najdorf

@ 07/01/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: ChessBase Magazine #193

@ 03/01/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Studying openings with the ChessBase Magazine, II: Creating a repertoire database

@ 15/12/2019 by Martin Fischer (en)
Announcing the winners of 3 ChessBase India contests

@ 10/12/2019 by ChessBase India (en)
NEW: Mastering Pattern Recognition in the Opening

@ 06/12/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
यहाँ मिलेगा आपको हिन्दी शतरंज विडियो का खजाना !

@ 12/11/2019 by हिन्दी चेसबेस इंडिया (hi)
New: ChessBase Magazine #192

@ 03/11/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW Simon Williams bundle: The London System with 2.Bf4 Reloaded & Tactic Toolbox

@ 30/10/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Training with ChessBase 15: Creating interactive training tasks

@ 26/10/2019 by Martin Fischer (en)
Niclas Huschenbeth recommends...

@ 06/10/2019 by ChessBase (en)
A new generation of FritzTrainers: for Windows and (now) Mac and iOS!

@ 27/09/2019 by ChessBase (en)
How to train with ChessBase 15

@ 24/09/2019 by Martin Fischer (en)
Tutorial CB 15: Finding critical moves (1)

@ 20/09/2019 by Martin Fischer (en)
Navigate the Ruy Lopez with Fabiano Caruana

@ 12/09/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Fun and instructive: the new search mask in ChessBase 15

@ 11/09/2019 by André Schulz (en)
Organizing databases in ChessBase 15

@ 07/09/2019 by ChessBase (en)
NEW: Nicholas Pert: Typical Mistakes by 1000-1600 Players

@ 03/09/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: ChessBase Magazine #191

@ 30/08/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
8 hours of training material to understand Vishy Anand better!

@ 29/08/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Christian Bauer: The nasty Nimzowitsch Defence

@ 19/08/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Preparation made easy: the ChessBase 15 Playerbase

@ 15/08/2019 by Nadja Wittmann (en)
ChessBase 15: Online help and manuals

@ 12/08/2019 by Nadja Wittmann (en)
Chess Friendship Band and ChessBase India Pen for all orders placed on 8th August 2019

@ 07/08/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
NEW: Sergei Tiviakov: Queen’s Indian Defence – The Modern Approach

@ 31/07/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Share games with ChessBase 15

@ 24/07/2019 by Nadja Wittmann (en)
This International Chess Day, ChessBase India launches 12 new T-Shirt designs!

@ 20/07/2019 by Amruta Mokal (en)
Getting better: The ChessBase 15 Training Database

@ 15/07/2019 by Nadja Wittmann (en)
Five Points to You

@ 15/07/2019 by Avathanshu Bhat (en)
NEW: Nicholas Pert: A Sicilian Stunner - The Kalashnikov

@ 14/07/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Mega cool: The games update of Mega Database 2019!

@ 09/07/2019 by Martin Fischer (en)
NEW: Erwin l’Ami: The Shining Sveshnikov Sicilian

@ 05/07/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Make chess art with ChessBase 15 raytracing

@ 05/07/2019 by Nadja Wittmann (en)
ChessBase 15: The new fast reference search

@ 03/07/2019 by Martin Fischer (en)
The launch of ChessBase India App

@ 02/07/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Review of ChessBase 15

@ 19/06/2019 by Carl Portman (en)
How to share games on social media with ChessBase 15

@ 16/06/2019 by Nadja Wittmann (en)
ChessBase 15: Replay Training - part 2

@ 14/06/2019 by Martin Fischer (en)
The ChessBase India Matrimony Portal

@ 01/04/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
NEW: Yannick Pelletier: Anti-London System

@ 26/03/2019 by ChessBase (en)
The boy who attacked Celebral Palsy - Samarth Rao wins the Dennis Kow Scholarship for Rs.51,000

@ 26/03/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
ChessBase Magazine (CBM) 188 with a new layout!

@ 19/03/2019 by ChessBase (en)
Pack your bags! It's time for the ChessBase India Power Tour to Spain

@ 16/03/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Do you want to start playing the main lines after 1.d4 with White?

@ 27/02/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
CBIJ #13: Meenal Gupta - The Sunshine Girl from Jammu & Kashmir

@ 20/02/2019 by Avathanshu Bhat (en)
This Valentine's Day gift your loved ones ChessBase 15 hard copy

@ 14/02/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
All ChessBase 15 tutorials at a glance

@ 08/02/2019 by Nadja Wittmann (en)
ChessBase India Calendar: The place to get all tournaments around the world

@ 05/02/2019 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Reviewing the new-look ChessBase Magazine

@ 03/02/2019 by Davide Nastasio (en)
This March - April 2019 plan two strong open events in Sharjah and Dubai

@ 24/01/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
ChessBase India turns three years old

@ 22/01/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
K Rathnakaran wins the ChessBase India Bhopal Blitz

@ 03/01/2019 by Niklesh Jain (en)
What did this 10-year-old play here-Solution!

@ 25/12/2018 by Avathanshu Bhat (en)
What did this 10-year-old play here?

@ 22/12/2018 by Avathanshu Bhat (en)
CBIJ #12: To the children, for the children, by the children!

@ 18/12/2018 by Avathanshu Bhat (en)
The exciting new features of ChessBase 15

@ 02/11/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
Celebrate this Diwali with ChessBase 15 and huge discounts!

@ 02/11/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
CBIJ #11: What it takes to become a national champion?

@ 25/10/2018 by Avathanshu Bhat (en)
How a bunch of Indians went to Spain and gained 4359 Elo points!

@ 13/10/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
My experience of spending 50 days in Barcelona

@ 19/09/2018 by Kavisha Shah (en)
Priyanka K wins the MKG Scholarship for Rs.50,000

@ 02/08/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
Nihal on the cover of the ChessBase Magazine 178

@ 04/06/2017 by Sagar Shah (en)