A chess tactics server is a web interface (website or app) with a large selection of tactical puzzles. They are great tools for training chess tactics.
There are a number of very good chess tactics servers. Most of them are free, with an option to pay for more features. I recommend that you give all the popular chess tactics websites a try and decide for yourself which you prefer.
Here are the websites that you should consider:
- CHESSFOX Tactics Trainer
- Chess Tactics Server (chess.emrald.net – not available anymore)
You can do an unlimited amount of chess tactics puzzles here, for free! A premium paid membership on chesstempo gives you access to many extra features that can be useful for advanced training.
CHESSFOX Tactics Trainer
The in-house CHESSFOX tactics trainer has a few unique advantages over other tactics training tools:
- All the exercises are hand-picked for their instructional value and with a strong focus on training useful tactical patterns and motifs.
- The solutions to the puzzles are explained in simple language so that you don’t have to face the frustration of not understanding the solution.
Lichess tactics server is plain but useful. Give both a try and decide for yourself which you prefer. Or alternate them if you want a change now and then.
Chess.com is a good website for players of all levels. Their tactics trainer isn’t bad, but unfortunately I cannot recommend it for 3 reasons:
- You can’t disable the penalty timer
- You get only 5 free tactics served per day
- There are better free options
You can’t disable the penalty timer
The chess.com tactics trainer uses a timer and penalizes you for taking more time trying to solve the puzzles. I’ve seen chess students rush through the puzzles because they are afraid of the rating penalty.
Rushing through the exercises is damaging to your thought process.
We understand that in a real game you have a time restriction too, but in this case we are doing a specific exercise – training tactics – and it’s ok to spend a little more time on it. At chesstempo.com you at least have the option to train with the timer or not.
You get only 5 free tactics served per day
5 free exercises per day is not a lot, particularly if you consider that there is no limit on how many exercises you can do on the chesstempo or lichess tactic servers.
There are better free options
The chesstempo website offers unlimited free exercises and you have the option to train against the timer, or not.
With all that said, chess.com tactics trainer is still a great tool, particularly if you are unfazed by the timer.
The chess24 tactics server has many features but I personally find the layout and functionality a bit clunky. Maybe you like it, so give it a try and compare it to the other options.