ChessBase Account Tactics: checking with an engine

by Albert Silver
9/12/2017 – The Tactics app in the ChessBase Account suite is a wonderful tool that allows one to work on tactics and calculation skill while having it adapt the difficulty to the player. The snag is when you are sure you have the solution, but are told it is wrong. In this tutorial, you will learn how to have the engine analyse your wrong moves, to learn why they failed.

Learning can be addictive and fun

There is no question that analysing tactics and puzzles is both addictive and fun. There is definitely a sense of satisfaction when you solve a tough position that eluded you, whether it was the key move, or some later part of the solution that had you stumped.

Tactics Training with a ChessBase Account

The Tactics app of ChessBase Account allows one to indulge in this without end, and it even adapts the difficulty of the puzzles to your own rating. If a position is really hard you can ask for a hint, or even the entire solution. But what about the ones where you were certain you had the right answer, but are told you’re wrong? You look closer, trying to find the refutation to your move, but cannot, and even after seeing the solution, you are left with the nagging feeling your move was just as good, or at worst did the job as well.

You might be tempted to set up the position in ChessBase or Fritz to consult the engine, but the fact is there is no need, and you can analyse all your moves directly in the app. Here’s how:

If you're stuck, try a hint, or check the correct answer

The first step is to finish the position, whether by asking for the solution via the button, or by simply trying alternate moves until you find the one the app claims is the right one. Whatever the case, you need to solve it first, or lose all the Elo attributed to this position. Once over, there is no notation window, which can lead one to think there is no way of going back to test a move earlier in the position. Not so! The trick is to just use the arrows keys on your keyboard.

Press the left arrow key to go back moves until the position you want to analyse

Then turn on the engine by pressing the Engine button at the top. (Note that sometimes it takes a few seconds to start.)

The engine fan icon will switch on a chess engine right in your web browser


Some positions can be very challenging. Having worked through the solution, there were moves that were confounding at times. Let's check with Fritz!

Fritz shows you the score

As soon as the engine’s analysis appears, just play the move you wanted to test, and see what the engine says and what its reply would be. Still not sure? Just enter as many moves as necessary until you have answered your question.

Another use for this is to test moves which were not asked in the solution, but which you calculated. This happens fairly often, and it's a way you can quickly check that your calculations of this other line were correct and free of mistakes.

Being able to check these moves is a big plus for one’s sanity, so by all means make use of this option. Have fun and happy solving!


Other ChessBase Apps:

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
Feedback and mail to our news service Please use this account if you want to contribute to or comment on our news page service


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

Mrudenko Mrudenko 9/12/2017 07:39
Great tip! I have been wanting something like this for a long time to check alternative lines.

I wish we also had the ability to either download the FEN of the position, or have some sort of position ID shown and an input box allowing it to be revisited again in the future (in which case ratings adjustments would need to be disabled of course).
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 9/13/2017 08:26
Did you know, Albert, that the engine Sjeng, has the same function in the game of go?