Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Patzer Chronicles, Vol. VIII: The Rating Game

Since I have not played any live games this week, I have decided to discuss my training strategy (yes, I really do have one).  The strategy  is centered around solving tactical problems, since this is where players of my level need the most improvement.  So, how does one know if one is getting better at tactics.  Well, one way is to play chess and notice if there is any improvement in tactical ability and/or results.  This is fine, but I prefer something a bit more quantitative.  Fortunately, there is such a method available (God bless the internet).

On websites such as or, one is awarded a rating, much like the rating garnered from playing games, by solving tactical problems.  Chesstempo is the site I use most often for tactics training.  This is a free site (although a premium membership is available) that offers unlimited tactics problems.  It also separates its problems into "blitz" and "standard".  So you get two separate ratings based on the type of tactical training you work on. has a tactics trainer as well.  As a basic (free) member, I am only allowed to work three tactics problems per day.  Premium members get unlimited problems.  The site tracks your progress, shows a history of problems worked, with results, and shows a nice graph of how your rating has changed over time.  Three problems per day is not much, but with my cheapskateness and other sites with free tactics play, it is sufficient.

Armed with these resources, I am going to track the changes and trends of my tactical ratings along with my playing ratings.  I will post my tactics ratings in the Study section of blog entries.  I have already been reporting my playing ratings for each site which I play on (both live and correspondence games), and I will continue to do so.  But I am going to report the change in rating as well as noting any historical trends.  I may even share some of the more interesting puzzles in my blog.  What fun!

So, with that in mind, here is the list of my current ratings (as of 2/25/2012):
Tactics Trainer:  1482
Live chess: 
Blitz: 1216
Standard: 1268
Correspondence:  unrated

Blitz: 1528.1
Standard: 1705.1

Correspondence:  2120

Note: At present, I am unable to retrieve my ratings from FICS.  I bought a new laptop and I haven't downloaded the BabasChess interface yet.  I tried logging in to the FICS site at but I can't seem to remember what password I used.  I have disconnected my desktop computer which had my information on it.  So, until I get it reconnected, or find something with the correct password on it, I am S.O.L. when it comes to my FICS ratings.  I considered starting over with a new account, but I am not sure I want to do that.  I would hate to lose the games I have already played.  For now I will continue playing elsewhere and start tracking my rating at FICS when I figure out how to log in, or start over.

That's about all for now.  I should be posting another update in a day or two.  I have some news on the correspondence front.  Or, perhaps I will wait until next week when I have (hopefully) some live games to report.

Try not to let the suspense kill you.

Until then, happy mating!

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