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Chess – Puzzles aka Problems are they worth it?

I was watching “The Queens Gambit” and when she goes to NYC with Benny a few friends come over and one asks Beth if she does “Problems” aka Puzzles or Tactics. She replied that they were just positions that never happen in an actual game, that used to be my thinking as well. Now I hugely disagree after spending more time doing puzzles myself and increasing my rating nearly 400 points in a week. My game play in rapid just today was night and day different positionally because of the next level of puzzle solving I have been doing lately.

If you ever watch chess players stream most if not all of them do puzzles daily. I will reference scenes from The Queens Gambit because they are very accurate below.

  1. It works out your thinking muscle and improves calculation speed. When Beth sees the pieces and moves them in her head or before starting her opening she’s plays a few before moving the first piece depending on opponent. You’ll improve this with puzzles.
  2. The positions do come up in games or you can easily set them up, even those simple but sometimes hard to spot back rank checkmates happen all the time. By knowing what’s possible its a huge advantage defensively and offensively.
  3. They are fun I’m at almost 2000 puzzles tried on Chess.com and will see this number climb exponentially. Puzzle rush is a timed mode of 3 or 5 minutes to see how many you can do correct in that time. Survival is no timer and stops when you made 3 incorrect moves.

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