How Many Chess Puzzles Should You Solve a Day? (A Guide)

It is recommended to solve 20 chess puzzles a day for beginners. This will improve their tactical awareness. A player should do this for a month or two before studying the other aspects of chess. Switch between opening and endgame chess puzzles to get the best result. 

Solving chess puzzles is still one of the best and quickest way to improve your tactical awareness, solving specific number of puzzles per day should lead to significant progress. 

However what is the right frequency to this? I think that this is something that I can answer. I have been playing for years and I have learned a lot.

Learning the right amount of puzzles per day can be the difference in achieving something and wasting time, I think that this article will allow you to pick the right amount in your situation. I have many insights, I’m sure it will be helpful.

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Important note: The range given below is higher than what other websites recommend since I advise people to only work on puzzles for a period of time (not indefinitely). I do not recommend solving chess puzzles for total beginners.

Does solving puzzles make you better at chess?

Solving chess puzzles does make you better at chess. Chess puzzles contain tactical-oriented positions that can appear in real games. Solving chess puzzles quickly also allows you to navigate time troubles better. You can easily spot a tactical trap even being low on time.

Are chess puzzles good for your brain?

Chess puzzles are good for your brain according to modern research. Chess requires critical thinking components that reduce the decline of neurons in the brain. It can help mitigate cognitive decline that comes from age and manage mental disorders like dementia.

If you have some time to dedicate to chess then a goal of 20 chess puzzles per day is not that far from reality, I for example can finish such in a 30 minute to 1 hour time frame (including analysis). 

This is not that hard core (some even goes higher) and can still lead to significant tactical improvement.

Some say that this is too much since they analyze chess puzzles for too long while in fact most of these problems can be done in some 1-3 minutes. 

We are no longer living in the newspaper era, back then chess puzzles really took some time to crunch since one might not be available for a long time.

People will analyze many different variations in one chess puzzle and wait for an answer in the next newspaper segments, however with online puzzle websites, the game is different. 

20 puzzles a day can be done in under 1 hour, at least that is what I have experienced.

This is the line where it is a substantial amount yet not too much that your brain will just fizzle out and never learn, it is quite a conservative number. 

Beginners will definitely learn a lot of tactics and the how-to combinations with this range, although I agree that it takes some dedication.

People who have only begun learning chess might not even be able to sit for 1 hour just playing chess, however “real beginners” shouldn’t be working with puzzles anyway. 

The beginners I am talking about are those that know how to play yet cannot compete with more experienced players.

If you are a beginner in this type of improvement then this is a reasonable amount, 20 puzzles a day can be done until you think it is already substantial. 

You will not be doing this for years anyway, just on a period of time where you will be focusing on chess puzzles only.

How long should you spend on a single chess puzzle?

You should spend no more than one minute on a single chess puzzle. This should be more than enough for you to get a solution. Beginners will have a harder time solving the puzzle in a minute, but that is why you should practice. Most puzzles are not that hard and this is a good timeframe.

I have said that 20 chess puzzles per day is quite conservative, this is because I have known people who want to improve so much that they have reached higher. 

These are those that struggle with the tactical aspect and want to improve relatively quickly.

There are some out there that just want to improve their technical proficiency as soon as possible, for these individuals a 30-40 puzzle per day goal is fine. 

Going further is pointless in my opinion, and I I believe that you will receive a diminishing return after solving your 40th puzzle for the day.

This is one of those “putting in the extra work” type of thing, where you will only go slightly above the recommended sets in order to become slightly better. 

40+ puzzles per day is too much though, at this point you should just play and analyze.

However, working on 30-40 chess puzzles a day can lead to significant improvement

Most people are able to withstand this range and can still learn from each problem that they solve, even if they may not answer all of them.

If you apply this advice then you might be able to graduate from the “puzzle phase” and not do one puzzle altogether, there are other aspects in chess that you have to learn after all. 

Putting in the extra work will allow you to finish this faster, your tactics will be on point in practical games.

I will recommend 20 chess puzzles per day if you want consistent progress, however I understand that not everyone has the time and energy to shoot at this range. 

There is another goal that you can set though, I mean, something is better than nothing.

If you are a little bit conservative then 10 puzzles per day is a good start (since it wouldn’t be a bother), it is a number that will cause improvement but not too time consuming that it will affect your daily life. 

I get it, not everyone has time to solve chess puzzles so this is a conservative range.

You wouldn’t be able to graduate fast from this “chess puzzle phase” but you will gradually improve and get there, although it will take more time. 

10 chess puzzles a day can take you somewhere, as long as you are dedicated to do it consistently.

If you are going this route, I suggest that you take more time in each of the puzzles even though you are not doing a lot (so you could get a lot of value for each one). 

This way you can kinda supplement the amount of sets that you are losing, just expect that you wouldn’t see as much progress.

What is the fastest way to solve a chess puzzle?

Here are the fastest ways to solve a chess puzzle:

  • Look for checks.
  • Look for checkmates or forced combinations.
  • Look for hanging pieces.
  • Look for forks.
  • Look for double attacks.
  • Look for a trapped piece.
  • Identify when your king is in a dangerous tile.
  • Look for pawn or piece captures.

This is ordered from best to worst.

Do Grandmasters do chess puzzles?

Chess grandmasters do solve chess puzzles from time to time. Super Grandmasters like Carlsen and Giri are especially fans of chess puzzles. they can even recall where it is played and what year. Grandmasters don’t solve as many puzzles as a commoner, but they certainly still do it.

30 minutes to 1 hour timeframe for chess puzzles, counting puzzles by the time

If you have noticed, all of the measurement above is dealing with a specific number of puzzles, however this is not practical for everyone who have limited time. 

There is actually an alternative that you can go for, which is to solve puzzles by the hour and not by the count.

Another metric that you can use to measure is by the minute/hour, this is good for individuals who skims on puzzles frequently so they can get as many things done. 

A lot gets lazy after setting a goal of 30 or 40 puzzles per day, counting it by the minute can allow you to learn at your own pace.

There are many benefits in solving puzzles by the hour, especially if you are a slow learner and doesn’t have as much time. 

You are able to solve puzzles without being pressured to hit a specific number, this will allow you to move slowly but consistently. 

I have never tested this approach of solving puzzles by the hour but it can theoretically be effective, this is especially true for people who takes more time in analyzing every individual chess puzzle. 

Counting the metric by the hour will allow you to overcome learning only by the quantity and not the quality, this might be the one for you.

Conclusion

Solving chess puzzles can be a fun yet also an excruciating activity, some really do get bored in solving these problems but wants to improve tactically. I still think that this is one of the best way to improve your tactical proficiency, you should try doing it with these sets.

It is not like you will do it indefinitely, in fact you will probably to need less since you won’t be solving a lot of puzzles after this phase. I hope that I have given you the right idea for the right puzzle frequency, thank you for reading.

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