Posted by: Lister | May 9, 2009

Chess Tactics Trainer

When I started this blog, I expected quite a bit of chess to crop up. But I only remember one chess related post out of the hundreds I’ve made. Anyway….

I use the chess tactics server, where I’m registered as FireGarden and QuickFire. The latter was intended as a trial to see what my rating would be if I was less concerned with accuracy. But I’ve kind of slipped back into the same mode of play with both accounts.

Anyway, plipsticks posted a link to some software he is developing. At this point, I chimed in that I’ve written one of my own. The important part of it (the chess board) I got from sourcefourge or some such freeware source site — I don’t remember for sure. The file I used was called “chessbrd”, but I can’t find it on google at the moment.

I’m not sure if I can upload zip files to this blog, but here goes: … [update] No. I can’t upload zip files. But I can upload jpegs. So try right-click, save-target-as with this ‘jpeg‘. Then you have to rename the file as a zip file. Sorry, I have no other way of uploading the files.

If the Zip file is available, then unzip the files to the same location. The program is now called “FireGarden”. Double clicking on it will open the CTPdemo file. If the latter is not in the same directory, you will get an error message and will have to close the program. (Another way to open CTP files is to drag and drop onto “FireGarden” or use Windows’ “open with” to assign the CTP file type to “FireGarden”).

The board is drag and drop, which I prefer to the click to-and-from used by CTS. You are only asked for one move in every position. The rating is intended only to rank the positions depending on how often you get them wrong. It means nothing else.

The problem selection process is convoluted and beyond defending — it’s based on the time you take to solve a problem. If you got the problem wrong, the solve time is set arbitrarily high. Also, every time you solve a position, the solution times of the other positions are inflated depending on their rating. The positions are sorted by solution time every 20 problems. Then you are given the positions with the longest solution time. The intention is that the ones you get wrong will be repeated in the next batch of 20. But once you’ve got a position correct, it shouldn’t come up again in the same session unless you run out of positions in the CTP-file.

The tab behind the board is a leftover from development, it simply lists the contents of the CTP file you opened. It is not intended for editing the CTP file, which you can do with Notepad if you like.

Oh, and by the way…. I’m unschooled in programming. I just make it up as I go along. I used a versio of Delphi 3, which came free with a magazine some years ago.

The 917 positions are taken from Reinfeld’s 1001 brilliant checkmates. I left out the study type positions at the end, since I prefer the realistic positions I’ve included.



  1. I should add that there are still some positions in the CTP file that have more than one correct solution. That’s inconvenient, sorry. It would take me some time to remove all those positions.

    And the program doesn’t display in the intended way on Windows XP. It seems to work fine, though.

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