Martin B. Justesen: The Tactics Ladder Vol. I

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The goal with this book training series is to create a training material that makes it possible to use spaced repetition on a large number of puzzles on an even level.

This book includes:

  • 1000 of the highest user-appreciated puzzles out of a database of 2,1 million puzzles


  • A methodical approach to tactics training to gain flow


  • A tracking table to follow your progress


  • For players rated between 1200 to 1600 FIDE


To do this I have used the Lichess puzzle database. It contains 2,132,989 chess puzzles that are rated and tagged. This has given me the opportunity to select puzzles of the same difficulty throughout this book. In this way, you should not experience that you run your head against the wall, but that you reach a good flow while solving. The Lichess data suggest that there is a good correlation between puzzle-solving abilities by puzzle rating) and chess-playing ability.

This is not science but can be used as a guide. I plan to make two books (one book on the opening/middlegame and one on the endgame) for each step with 1000 puzzles in each. If I succeed, the Tactical Ladder series will be 16 books and contain 16.000 puzzles. I have decided to make the intermediate books (1400-1600 FIDE rating) first and then we will see how it goes. This will, to my knowledge, be the largest chess puzzle collection ever published in print (if I succeed). It will also give the reader a chance to find a book that fits perfectly, not too hard, not too easy.

Puzzle selection

The book contains 10 chapters with 100 puzzles in each. Each chapter has a specific theme, while the last chapter is a test with mixed puzzles. The Endgame books will focus on the motifs that occur in the relationship between the pieces, e.g. tactical patterns that occur in Rook endgames. The middlegame and opening books will focus more on specific motifs like forks, pins, skewers, attacking the castled king, and so on. In order to sort out bad puzzles, I have used the Lichess data.

To sort out bad puzzles I have used the Lichess data. The user upvotes and downvotes each puzzle after each try. The puzzle is then given a popularity rating and only the best-rated puzzles have been used for this book.

The Solutions

The solutions given to the puzzles are without any explanations, variations, and annotations. The solutions are “only moves”, which means that you need to find them in order to solve the puzzles correctly. You might find other solutions, but one of your variations should match the solution given in the book.

If you are searching for a book with explanations and guidance, this series is not for you.

The Proposed Method

It is suggested that you solve each chapter 3 times. The best method is to write down the solution on paper and check the solutions afterward

The book includes a tracking table where you can fill out your results. Aim for scoring 90/100 puzzles or 90 % in each chapter. I suggest that you give 1 point for having found the full solution, and ½ point if you write the correct move but do not write down the full solution.


210 Seiten, kartoniert, 1. Auflage 2022

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