The internet has so many great resources to practice puzzles. The key is finding a platform that you like, as well as an effective one. Remember, that the main point of puzzles is to give you practice positions. You determine what move or sequence of moves you would play if you were actually playing the game. It's also great for recognizing common patterns.
With that out of the way, let's make the judgment on if Lichess puzzles are good for you or not!
Signing up for a Lichess account
Generally, when you go to Lichess, if you have not created an account yet, you will still be taken to the Lichess.org homepage, just not signed up. You see a “sign-in” button on the top right. You will need to create your username, password, add your email, and check all of the terms and agreements boxes.
Once you have signed up, you see the main menu, just with your username on the top right!
Practicing Lichess Puzzles, and some features
When you do finally sign up for Lichess, and you are on your account, go to the top right to hover over “learn“, and click on “puzzles“, and begin solving! Here are some features you will notice on the puzzles page.
There are a few features on the top left, on that box, you see the puzzle ID number. It's also listed on the link box. Most people don't utilize it, and there's no reason to blame them. But, you never know… you may want to review that puzzle again. So if you save the puzzle ID, you can always refer to it in the future. It also mentions how many times the puzzle was practiced. In this case, it was practiced over one million times.
You can also see what game it was played from. The game ID is probably not so important, because we also have the puzzle ID, but we can see in this example, this was a 5+0 blitz game between Lichess users jalelu and miquello.
Playing through the Lichess Puzzle Game
One cool feature that Lichess puzzles has, that not a lot of tactics trainers have, is the ability to play through the selected game from the puzzle. Do you ever see a puzzle, and wonder how it came to be on the chessboard?
You can see the moves list on the right side of the screen. You can go back to the beginning, and find out how the tactic appeared on the chessboard! It can be helpful to see how the game transpired so that you can apply it, or similar concepts to your own games!
Some downsides to Lichess Puzzles
Lichess puzzles, as well as any tactics trainers, have its obvious upsides. However, there are a couple of downsides that should be mentioned.
One downside is that Lichess puzzles, as well as Lichess ratings in general, tend to be inflated. Meaning that the ratings are higher than your actual strength. It's not uncommon you see a 1400 ELO player with an 1800 or even 2o00 Lichess rating, and they wonder why they can't perform like that in OTB.
The same can be said for the Lichess puzzles. Note how when you get one right in the beginning, it gives you way more points than they take away. This commonly leads to rating inflation.
Another downside that has been discussed is that the Lichess puzzles are primarily programmed by computers. This can be a downside because if and when a computer generates a problem, it will sometimes look for weird solutions, and suggest weird moves from the opponent's point of view.
Why you should give Lichess puzzles a shot
Lichess puzzles may not be for everyone, but it's worth giving it a shot if you haven't tried it already! The following features are somewhat unique to Lichess, and it may be different than other sites:
- The graphics are unique, as are all sites. It seems like a small detail. However, it does matter that you enjoy the graphics because you want to enjoy your experience with solving puzzles!
- As a lot of chess sites have, you have several good learning abilities with the interface. They can include retrying a problem you got wrong, toggling your puzzles history, and viewing your rating progress.
- As mentioned before, playing through the game that the puzzle was based on can be very beneficial, so maybe you could apply those concepts to your games! :)
No matter what site or platform you use, always remember that puzzles are vital for chess improvement. If you want to make any significant progress, practice puzzles every day! It's like going to the gym. If you skip a few days, you may find yourself out of shape in no time. Best of luck with all of your games, and puzzles!