Saturday, November 14, 2015

Learning about your blunders

Posted by Andrew Ooi

One of my hardest task while giving Java tuition many years ago was assessing students and adapting the lessons to help them. I have to find out their misconceptions about programming, something easily formed when they initially start to learn the subject. The process of finding where they are weak at and correcting it is painfully slow and laborious. I'd rather teach a class of student straight up instead of one to one teaching. It's so much less tiring.

That is why I think personal coaching is very challenging no matter what field, be it chess or programming.

Today, there are automated tools to take away some of the tediousness about learning about one's weakness.

I like this online analysis tool. It checks your whole game for mistakes/blunders. Of course you can fire up an engine on your phone or computer or tablet to do that but I wanted one that can check the whole game, not just at a certain position.

I played a blitz game on FICS on the Mac and not wanting to start up Windows and run Fritz for analysis, I found this online tool at

Just cut and paste the game from my ChessX FICS client in PGN format and the website starts analysing my whole game.

The most valuable info is of course the moves where mistakes were made and what was the better alternative moves.

The graph shows the evaluation of the position. Above zero, White is better and below zero is better for Black. It also shows the move number where an "accident" occured.

You can of course use Fritz to do whole game analysis and get all the same features but this is a very good online alternative.

Now at least you don't need a coach to do the work of analysis and finding errors in your game. Sure, a human coach is still invaluable to give directions of areas to improve and to come out with ways of eradicating weaknesses.

It's a good tool particularly if you build up a database of positions where the critical blunder takes place. A review of this database should help one understand better where it is blunders often happen.