Many of you requested follow-up from my first video. Here is solve chess tactics vol. 2. The consensus was that I should do all ten problems using the same approach as in the first video. Ok, here it is!
Note: In my first video I suggested a beginner should try solving 10 tactical problems per day. But that doesn’t mean they have to be solved in one sitting. You can do a few in morning, a few in the afternoon and the rest in evening. Do whatever your schedule allows.
Is there one approach to solve chess tactics?
No, of course not. There are so many different ways to calculate tactical moves. Do what works for you. I offer my 3-step approach because it’s simple and easy to follow. Always look to evolve. Don’t be satisfied by what you think is the best approach to solve chess tactics. Experiment. Read other blogs and see what resonates with your playing style.
Online chess tactics
Playing chess tactics online is faster than flipping through the pages of a book. The challenge with online problems is that they are not composed by humans. On Lichess, a computer reviews all the human played blitz games and creates new problems based on its analysis. When it finds a major change in its evaluation, it stores away the move to be part of the tactical puzzle database.
The problem with computer-based selection is one of quality. Sometimes the CPU will select tactical problems where the solution is a subtle move that a typical human would never find. Lichess players get the option to vote up or down a problem once they complete it. This helps to vote out problems where people find the solution too difficult to find.
Books for solving chess tactics
Using books to study chess tactics is the traditional method for amateur players. This is slower than online chess sites but the quality is higher. That’s because the author’s carefully choose the problems in their book. They do this to teach an underlying theme or approach to a chess position. One example of this is one of my favorite tactics books, “Chess Tactics for Advances Players” by Yuri Averbakh. Don’t be intimidated by the title. The book has many great examples of chess tactics that many of us see in our games. Consider adding it to your chess library!
Lessons learned from this video
Look for counterplay. Just because you can win a piece doesn’t matter if you get back rank mated. So look to see what your opponent is up to before you quickly grab a free pawn.
Trapping your opponent’s queen. One of the best feelings in chess is to trap your opponent’s queen. This is especially true if it catches them by surprise. As you saw in the video, I missed the subtle Qc1!
Discovered check. Some moves jump out at you. Discovered checks are sometimes hard to see but like all tactics, they need to be carefully calculated.
As I mentioned above, solving computer-generated chess problems can be frustrating but also enlightening. Computers can often show you ideas that you would never normally think about during your game. Randomly generated chess tactics, can provide a level of insight (and surprise) that books might not. The best example of this is how Lichess gives you tactics from all phases of the game: opening, middlegame and endings. Traditional chess books usually focus on middlegame positions. Use both approaches and see what makes sense for you!
Some of you have asked me to do tactics videos on a recurring basis. I will consider doing that but for those of you that haven’t, please me leave feedback with your thoughts below. I hope you enjoyed solve chess tactics vol. 2.