This is part 2 of my review of http://www.chess.com . Over 50,000 tactical problems are on the site covering all the usual themes such as forks, skewers, pins, in-between moves, overloading, double attack and many more. Your progress as you solve the puzzles against the clock is rated. Each puzzle is treated as your “opponent” so that if you solve it correctly you gain points but it loses points and vice-versa if you make a mistake. The ratings should be reasonably accurate when hundreds of thousands of members have attempted the puzzles. You can choose not to be rated and to tackle the problems by tactical theme or at random.
Lessons are presented in a “Chess Mentor” format. You are presented with critical positions and asked to find the best moves, again being rated on your performance. There are over 100 courses grouped under such subjects as openings, endgames, strategy and tactics. Each course has about 20 lessons exploring a different theme. For example, the 8 Strategy courses include weak colour complexes, the art of exchanging pieces, Silman’s lessons in strategy and roots of positional understanding.
There are 6 courses on Attacks including lessons on checkmate patterns, the initiative, pawn storms and premature attacks on the king. Openings has 18 courses including 40 challenges in the King’s Indian, 41 in the Sicilian and 3 about exploiting opening errors by your opponent. There are 13 Endgames courses covering, for example, knights, bishop v knight, opposite-coloured bishops and pawn play. Games has 6 courses based on the games of such great players as Carlsen, Kasparov and Capablanca.
On the Home page, clicking on Share brings up several links such as News and Articles which includes tips on avoiding time trouble, why chess players blunder and finding your real weaknesses. Forums takes you to member’s discussions of various aspects of the site and general chess matters. There are also links to a vision trainer and to chesstv which is an online TV channel specialising in chess. The new site interface seems to be error-free and the site is well worth a visit whether you want to learn something new or just review the basics.