Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Roll your own training site

When I was a lot younger than I am now, most software for my computer was written by myself. Back in the day (1978-1988), most home computers came shipped with a BASIC interpreter, and although you could by software (often on audio tape), a lot of the usefulness cam from writing your own programs.
However once the IBM-PC (and clones) hit the market, this all changed. Most software came pre-supplied on floppy disks, and while you could write your own, why would you. Of course home programming wasn't dead, but writing complete 'systems', rather than code to solve a specific problem, became rarer.
But recently I've got back into some 'home programming' via the 21st Century equivalent of BASIC, Javascript. Javascript contains a lot of the 'features' that made BASIC programming a simple but messy task, although it runs on your web browser rather than your desktop. This is not a problem though, as a typical web browser is very similar to desktops of yesteryear (as a software platform).
One piece of code I am working on is a simple chess training system to help improve calculation and evaluation. The first module is available at http://streetchess.net/training/ and is designed to help you identify forcing moves.  You are given a position, plus some extra moves, and you have to identify all the checks, captures and promotions following the extra moves.
At this stage the project is very much alpha, and there are some things that can be fixed and improved. I'm also working on a module that lets you improve evaluation skills (and combining look ahead with evaluation), plus a few other features.
The whole thing is free to use, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. (NB If you do like it, and live in Canberra, you can thank me by playing Street Chess!)


2 comments:

Pete (Ireland) said...

Interesting, and could well be helpful in training visualization of the board. At present it counts a pawn promotion as a capture, which is not normal usage, I think.

Shaun Press said...

A feature, not a bug! I decided to include promotions in the answers, as they are 'forcing' in the sense that the material balance has changed (and recaptures are the desirable response in most cases). But you are correct, forcing moves are usually considered just 'checks and captures'