12 July 2012

Importance of Feedback

Tactic Trainer vs. Chess Tempo

My former student and friend recommended Tactic Trainer for my iPad, and I have been using it steadily the past few weeks. It is simple to use. Not mentioned in my review posted last week, however, is the occasional frustration when I get a problem wrong. Using the arrows below the board, I can play through the correct solution. It is up to me to comprehend why my answer is wrong. Often a moment's study looking at my solution in light of the correct sequence of moves reveals my oversight, but not always.

This morning I erred in this position.

White to move

1.d6 Rc4

I found as much, but then rejected 2.d7 in light of 2...Bf6 3.d8Q+ Bxd8 4.Rxd8+ Kg7 and I missed that 5.Rd1 gets my rook back in time to stop Black's c-pawn. Eyeing c8 as a better square for my rook, I played


I thought Black would play 2...Ra4, but putting the position into Fritz 11 reveals two superior ideas 2...Rc5 and 2...Rb4.

It is a useful problem, but Tactic Trainer needed supplementation in order to complete the lesson. Contrast that need with Chess Tempo. In Chess Tempo, there are comments left by other users that explain certain wrong answers. For paying members, there is even more: the full game score and source, the top several computer lines, and the option of playing the position against the computer.

Moreover, Chess Tempo works great in Safari on the iPad. Tactic Trainer costs $2.99 once. Unlocking the full resources of Chess Tempo costs more, which can be paid monthly ($3.00 to $4.00, depending on level) or annually ($20.00 to $35.00). Chess Tempo also requires a web connection, while Tactic Trainer is fully resident on the iPad.

I have been paying for CT monthly, but plan to renew for the full year soon. Meanwhile, I will continue using Tactic Trainer as well. CT is a much stronger resource, but Tactic Trainer has its merits.


  1. Tactics Trainer does have a Analyse button, then you may play with the aid of an engine through the lines back and forth. Maybe you have an old version? do an update apps with itunes

    1. Thanks. Just got the update, which was developed to fix the crash problem with the analyze tab. Tactic Trainer is much better than it was now that all of its features work properly.