ChessTempo is a website that helps thousands of players develop their chess skills. All members of our Chess Team are given a free ChessTempo username and password. Your username starts with 'ct.' This ct. prefix indicates that we are members of the Conrad/Tasby/JackLowe chess teams. When you play online you can pull up an alphabetical list of everyone who is currently playing online or waiting to play online. So we (almost) all show up together in that list. There are currently only three exceptions (jerryi, mohammad7, and csgibson88). Mohammad Faroz and Jerry Isaacs had usernames before we standardized to the ct.prefix format, and we elected not to abandon our old ChessTempo records. Coach Gibson is an honorary coach who plays correspondence games against highly motivated Club members who want to improve their chess game.


All Club Members are trusted not to meddle with other member ChessTempo accounts. Any violators will be rejected from the Chess Club, and their names will be reported to the school principal for appropriate reprimand.


It is important to study AND UNDERSTAND the standard tactics problems that you fail to answer correctly. Then try to to remember the right answer (and why it is right). If you do not understand any failed problem, discuss it with the Chess Coach or another club member who might be able to help. In that regard (learning by mistake). We will teach you how you can go back and study problems that you have failed to solve. You need to work on those problems that accumulate in that special set at least once a week to help reinforce your learning. That file will contain all of the standard tactics problems that you have worked on but have never solved correctly (AGW = AlwaysGotWrong). As you rework your AGW problems, they will disappear one-by-one from the file when you solve them correctly. Work on the AGW file often enough to keep the number of problems in the set below ten or so. The AGW problem set can be selected under Preferences in your 'personal' file section for tactics.



How ChessTempo Works

Several mathematical rating systems have been developed to rank the playing skills of chess players. Elaborate formulas underlie each of those systems.


ChessTempo's rating system is similar to the system used by the American Chess Federation (ACF). If you register to become an ACF member, you will be given a provisional rating and then you will have to participate in a specified number of sanctioned tournaments to establish an official rating. Each time you play against another rated member, your provisional rating is adjusted according to whether you win, lose, or draw.


Likewise, ChessTempo first assigns you a provisional rating. It then feeds a problem to you that is a little lower than your presumed capability level. If you get a problem right, your rating moves up, and if you miss the problem it adjusts your rating downward.


You might ask, "Why does ChessTempo clobber my score so badly when I get a problem wrong and only give me a small rating increase when I get a problem right?". Maybe the explanation below will help you understand.


The difference in the ratings between two players serves as a predictor of the outcome of a game. Two players with equal ratings who play against each other should win about half of their games. A player whose rating is 100 points greater than his/her opponent's should win 64 percent of the time; if the difference is 200 points, the stronger player should win 76 percent of the time.


ChessTempo dispenses problems to you that are typically somewhat lower than your current rating. You will probably need to correctly answer 70-80 percent of your ChessTempo problems to keep your rating from falling. If you correctly answer 80 percent of the problems your rating will generally increase. If you only get about half of them right, and your rating will drop very quickly. If you guess at problems instead of studying carefully, your score will fall like a rock. Then the problems will become much easier, but it will take a long time to dig out of the hole that you create by guessing blindly at answers. This fact is very frustrating to some students, and we want to help you learn to approach the problems with discipline so that your playing strength will improve continuously.


The length of time that you take for each problem is recorded in your results. However, it is ignored for rating adjustment purposes. So it is to your advantage to spend adequate time studying each problem, rather than rushing and guessing. I have seen that some excellent chess players fail to improve their ratings because they are too impatient to look for the best move for each problem. I know that most of my wild guesses turn out to be wrong. The whole point of these training exercises is to improve our ability to reason out the consequences of our potential moves.




RD is a measure of rating stability; your RD score indicates whether you regularly work on Tactics problems to maintain Active status on ChessTempo. You need to keep your RD below 70 to maintain Active status. When your RD is high, you experience larger rating movements. As your RD decreases your score becomes more stable. It is better to work a few problems every day than to skip ChessTempo for long periods of time and lose Active status.


On ChessTempo, everyone starts with a standard tactics score of 1500. Individual students will progress at different rates. My experience was as follows: On 12/14/2015 I was at 1500, and after I worked about 10 problems my score fell to 671. When I had done about 50 problems my status switched to Active. My lowest Active score was 775 on December 23, 2015. Two days later, my score hit 1000 for the first time. About a month later (1/16/16) I got to 1200, and about two weeks after that (1/29/16) I got to 1300. It then took me about 18 monthsto get to 1400 on 8/16/17. As of 10/1/17 my status is inactive because I have worked only a few problems recently. It will take a few days of hard work to get back to Active status, and my score will probably vary in the 1350-400 range before it stabilizes again.


Mate in One Problems


You are usually penalized pretty severely if you fail a ChessTempo mate-in-one (M1) problem, so always look for these easy problems that have a high penalty for error. Check every problem to see if it is an M1. An M1 move always trumps any other move. As your ChessTempo rating improves you will probably see fewer M1 problems, so your M1 performance might actually decline as your chess game improves. You can avoid this paradox only by being careful. Two problem sets to help you improve your ability to spot M1 traps are [Polgar M1s] and [ChessTempo M1s]. You will find it relatively easy to solve all of these problems. But when you play 'real chess' or when you work on ChessTempo tactical problems you never know whether or not you have an M1 opportunity. Thus, there is a temptation maybe to grab a rook or a bishop before you study far enough to see the M1.