21 February 2019

Chessable and 'Game Changer'

Chessable appeared on my radar twice during the past month. The first time was in connection with the 'Game Changer' book; see my recent post 'Game Changer' Excerpts for my next-to-last word on that. The second time was John Hartmann's book review in the January 2019 issue of Chess Life. The Chessable portion of the review started,

Chessable is a new website/"webservice" gaining quite a bit of mindshare with tech-savvy players. Part of this has to do with its association with IM John Bartholomew, one of chess' leading streaming personalities, who also serves as Chessable's Chief Communications Officer and co-founder. Bartholomew is a big draw in the streaming/esport landscape and his involvement with the platform has undoubtedly aided in its rise to prominence.

I make no claim to being particularly tech-savvy, which is confirmed by my having never visited the Chessable site. Hartmann's mention that the site was 'free to use' meant that it was high time to rectify the oversight.

Chessable.com describes itself as 'Learn chess online: openings, tactics & more'. Since taking up chess960 I'm no longer interested in studying traditional chess openings and since tactics trainers are a dime a dozen, I wasn't sure that the site had much to offer me that was both interesting and free. Luckily for me, the '& more' portion includes endgames.

Free access to the site requires an id and a password (entry no.248 according to my system for managing passwords), undoubtedly used to track progress on the Chessable material. I quickly located the free 'Basic Endgames' course and started using the service immediately. The key to the training is in repeating the material, an exercise which I found a bit tedious after a few minutes, but which probably works for anyone who has the necessary patience. The underlying theory is explained on the page The science that makes chess learning easier (chessable.com). Like most theories about learning, I imagine there is considerable controversy here, but I'll look into that some other time.

As for the material based on the 'Game Changer' book, see The game has changed! GM Matthew Sadler on how Game Changer can benefit YOU (ditto; 31 January 2019) by Leon Watson, who is described on the About Us page as responsible for 'PR & Marketing'. That promotional page points to Game Changer: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI - MoveTrainer™ Course (chessable.com). The comments include a couple of positive reviews by competent chess players who are also knowlegeable about MoveTrainer. All in all, the course looks promising.

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