Introducing Puzzle Inception: The Future of Chess Puzzles

Want to train more than just tactics? Puzzle Inception is here! This exciting new puzzle mode lets you practice positional evaluation and tactical alertness, all in one package. Try it out for free during the open beta!

What is Puzzle Inception?

Puzzle Inception is a new mode that lets you train more than just tactics. Train tactics, tactical alertness, and positional evaluation with a new type of puzzle, the "Evaluation Puzzle".

What are Evaluation Puzzles?

In traditional puzzle modes, players are given a puzzle with the knowledge that a tactical solution is possible. But in Puzzle Inception, you won't know if there's a tactical solution until you evaluate the position. In Evaluation Puzzles, you must evaluate the position and choose from one of the evaluations:

  • White win
  • White edge
  • Balanced
  • Black edge
  • Black win

Some positions have tactics, some don't. This makes Puzzle Inception a more accurate representation of real game situations. It is also more exciting to play! If the evaluated position has a tactic and it's the only way to win, you'll be presented with the tactics puzzle right after the evaluation puzzle.

The Importance of Tactical Alertness

Tactical alertness is the ability to be aware of and quickly recognize tactical opportunities in a game. These can be anything from a simple fork to a complex combination involving multiple pieces. It is important because chess games often turn on these tactical moments, and being able to see them quickly and accurately can lead to decisive advantages or even wins. A player who lacks tactical alertness may miss key opportunities or fall victim to their opponent's tactics, leading to a disadvantage or even loss. Therefore, improving tactical alertness is a key aspect of chess training and can greatly improve a player's overall performance.

Training Tactical Alertness with Puzzle Inception

In Puzzle Inception, the player is presented with positions that may or may not have a tactic. This means that the player must carefully evaluate each position to determine if there is a tactic present. By not knowing in advance whether a tactic is present or not, the player is forced to consider all possibilities and maintain a high level of alertness throughout the game. This helps to train the player's ability to identify tactical opportunities, which is a critical skill in chess. Puzzle Inception challenges you to evaluate positions for tactics and non-tactical advantages, making it a great way to improve your tactical alertness.

The Importance of Positional Evaluation

Positional evaluation is the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a position. It's another critical skill for any chess player, and one that's often overlooked in traditional puzzle modes. Puzzle Inception lets you practice positional evaluation in every puzzle, helping you improve this important skill. And if there's a tactical solution, it can change the positional evaluation upside down, making it even more critical to evaluate the position accurately.

Examples of evaluation puzzles

Example 1

This endgame position is equal.

Example 2

Black has weakened the castling position by advancing the kingside pawns, but with Black's active pieces there is no immediate win possible. The correct evaluation is "White edge".

If you go to the solution view of an evaluation puzzle, you can see the computer evaluation expressed as text. You can also see the two best moves and their evaluation according to Stockfish 15.1 NNUE.

Example 3

White is a knight up, but Black has a huge attack on the kingside with an open h-file and all pieces pointing at White's king. Black is completely winning.

Example 4

At first glance, this position might look pretty equal. But if you are tactically aware, you might realize that both your pieces are attacked. Therefore 1...Qxc3 2.Nxc3 Nxh3 3.axb5 might look like a forced variation. You might then realize that your knight is out of play and White is winning the endgame.

However, the correct solution is that Black is winning! In the following tactical puzzle you will have to find the correct solution 1...Nxe2! 2.Qxc6 Nxd4+ 3.Kf4 Nxc6.

This is a typical example of a position that is much more difficult if you don't know in advance that a tactical solution is available. It is also a demonstration that what goes through your mind when you play Puzzle Inception is much more like during a real chess game.

Why is it called "Inception"?

I've named this mode "Puzzle Inception" because of situations like in the previous puzzle. There are several "layers" of variations going through your mind while you analyze the position, each of them connected to different evaluations - but only some of the variations are correct, and only one of the evaluations is real. This reminds me of the film "Inception" by Christopher Nolan, where people can share dreams which have several layers, and sometimes you don't know what is reality. (Fun fact: One protagonist is using a chess bishop to distinguish between dream and reality.)

Puzzle Inception Beta Test

Puzzle Inception is now in open beta test, and it's completely free to use. Select "Puzzle Inception" on the homepage to start playing. And don't forget to send me your feedback - I'm constantly improving Puzzle Inception based on player input.

Please note that during the beta test, Puzzle Inception does not automatically adjust the difficulty of the puzzles based on your puzzle solving rating. This is because it is a completely new mode and there is limited information on which evaluation puzzles are easy and which ones are difficult. Once the ratings of the evaluation puzzles converge, I will add options to adjust the difficulty.

Try Puzzle Inception Today!

Puzzle Inception is a new puzzle mode that challenges you to think beyond just tactics. By practicing both tactical alertness and positional evaluation, you'll be better prepared for real games and tournaments. Try it out today and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Martin Bennedik

Founder of, International Correspondence Chess Master

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Press Release about Puzzle Inception introduces Puzzle Inception, an innovative new mode that helps chess players train positional evaluation and tactical alertness