ChessTempo is a website that helps thousands of players develop their chess skills. All members of our Chess Team are required to obtain a free membership at ChessTempo. To do so, obtain an email address if you do not already have one. With your parents' permission, you can obtain a free email address from any online provider, e.g.,, or If you feel that you can do this, please do so. Or you might want to work with a current student to help you sign up. But for some students it is may be simpler to simply ask one of the coaches to assign and obtain your username/password credentials.


Use your email address to enroll at Chess Club members are required to select usernames that start with ct. This ct.prefix indicates that we are members of the Conrad/Tasby/JackLowe chess teams. Select a brief, easy to type unique username that includes your own name so that the Chess Coaches and other Club members can recognize it (to play chess online). For example, ct.zar, ct.vung, etc., are the simplest and best choices, but if your first name has already been taken by somebody else (even if they do not use ChessTempo anymore), you might have to include your last initial. Thus we have some players like ct.michael.e and ct.jennifer.s. 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 three exceptions (jerryi, mohammad7, and csgibson88). Mohammad Faroz and Jerry Isaacs had usernames before we simplified to the ct.prefix format, and we elected not to lose our old ChessTempo records. Chuck Gibson is not a club member, but he has agreed to play long correspondence games against select Club Members.


A second requirement is that we all use the same password: abc123. This helps our coaches in reviewing your statistics and helping you with problems that you have worked.


Here is the list of ChessTempo usernames that we have reserved: ct.alexis.h, ct.alpha, ct.asmina.67,, ct.april, ct.august, ct.aung, ct.banana, ct.bravo, ct.carlos2, ct.ceulian, ct.charlie, csgibson88, ct.david.h, ct.december,, ct.echo, ct.edgar, ct.eggplant, ct.emilio.m, ct.faizal.m, ct.february, ct.foxtrot, ct.franklin,, ct.hotel, ct.htway, ct.india,, ct.jennifer.s, jerryi, ct.jessenia.t, ct.juan, ct.juan.a, ct.juliet, ct.june, ct.keonine, ct.kilo, ct.kyle.l, ct.leonardo, ct.lima, ct.march, ct.michael.e, ct.michael.l, ct.mike, ct.milkshake, mohammad7, ct.mohammad.f, ct.naomi.p, ct.november, ct.october, ct.oscar, ct.papa, ct.paul.anthony, ct.prat,, ct.rodrigo.h, ct.romeo, ct.saddam.a, ct.sana.u, ct.sang.c, ct.seng.m, ct.siang.c, ct.sierra, ct.tango, ct.tha.h, ct.thomas.p, ct.tilantb, ct.twa.bee, ct.uniform, ct.valeria, ct.victor, ct.villegas, ct.vung, ct.watermelon, ct.william.t, ct.xray, ct.yicheng, and ct.zar.k. Many of these usernames are not active.


All Club Members are expected to be trustworthy and 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 willp 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 , and RD is also used to determine if a user is currently active. For problem ratings, having an RD less than 70 is the trigger for becoming active. When your RD is high, you receive larger rating movements. As your RD decreases your rating becomes more stable, and you receive smaller rating adjustments. My experience is that it is better to work a few problems every day than to skip ChessTempo for long periods of time and falling into the inactive category.


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.