New features ForwardChess and Chessify
ForwardChess and Chessify

New features ForwardChess and Chessify

HanSchut
NM HanSchut
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6

Chessify, best known for its diagram scanner and cloud engine analysis services, has released a major update to their app, including a PDF-scanner and video-search. Chess e-reader company ForwardChess continues to innovate and released a web-reader and a tactics trainer.

ForwardChess is the leading chess e-reader with a catalog of over 500 books from 15 different publishers, including New In Chess and Quality Chess. The advantage over an e-reader like Kindle is that in the ForwardChess app, you can replay games and analyze positions on a chessboard on the side of the text with or without Stockfish 11 running. Also, the platform offers a quiz mode for solving exercises.  I currently own 15 books on ForwardChess, and I like that I have the books always instantly available when I travel or teach students and that they do not take up physical space and do not age (smell, get damaged) over time.

So what is new with ForwardChess:

Until recently, you could use ForwardChess only as an app on Windows/Mac or a mobile device (iOS/Android). ForwardChess has now released a beta web version of their app. The main difference with an app is that with the new web reader, you do not have to install any software. Wherever you are, you can just login from a browser and study. So, for instance, if you are traveling for work and your employer does not allow the installation of any software, there is now a way to continue to study your favorite chess books from your browser. This new development also means that ForwardChess is now also available on other operating systems like Linux.

ForwardChess' new web-reader

In the Windows/Mac app version of the ForwardChess app, ForwardChess now introduced a TacticTrainer. In the ForwardChess app, there was already the quiz mode, which allows the user to hide the solution of an exercise and solve it for themselves first before looking at the answer. As you can see from the screenshot, Tactics Trainer measures how fast you solve an exercise, provides feedback on whether you solved the tactic correctly, and assigns you a rating based on the exercises that you solved. TacticTrainer also tracks which positions you have solved already. Every user can try out this new functionality with the free book Sac and Mate by Bill Harvey. It is great that when you buy a tactic book you now have all the exercises available in a TacticTrainer environment immediately. So now you can train, for instance, the Woodpecker Method within the ForwardChess-app!

TacticTrainer in the ForwardChess Windows/Mac app

What is next for ForwardChess? The company told me they are working on tools to facilitate more user-created content. ForwardChess has already published many books from independent authors but is going to support it further by providing authoring tools for content creation. The first version of these tools will be available later this year. ForwardChess plans to share the revenue between the author and ForwardChess on a 50-50 basis.

If you want to check out ForwardChess and the new functionality, then consider one of their current bestsellers: Game Changer100 Endgames You Must Know, Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual - 5th edition, Small  Steps to Giant Improvement, Kaufman's New Repertoire for Black and White or the Woodpecker Method.

Chessify gave us in 2018 the first reliable diagram scanner. I wrote about their new app in 2019, and it is still the best diagram scanner app. They expanded their services last year with cloud engine analysis services offering engine analysis by the leading engines Leela Chess Zero, Stockfish 11, asmFish, SugaR, and Allie & Stein using powerful computers.

What’s new with Chessify? This month they released version 5 of their app, and the new release came with many new features and a new pricing structure.

 

Registered User

Silver

Gold

 

Free

$3/month

$10/month

 

$30/year

$100/year

2D diagram scanner

30/month

unlimited

unlimited

Video search and views

-          YouTube

-          chesslecture.com Pro

50/month

0

unlimited

25/month

unlimited

100/month

Cloud analysis

300 sec

5,000 sec/month

40,000 sec/month

PDF book scan

0

0

10/month

 

The 2D diagram scanner converts a printed diagram into a digital format (FEN or PGN). Chessify states that the scanner has a 98% accuracy. My own experience confirms that the scanner is very good, and minor mistakes can be easily adjusted using the edit function. The only errors I get is that from time to time, a white queen is digitalized as a black one and that a diagram is shifted one row or one file. Using the correct lighting helps the accuracy of scanning.

The speed of Chessify’s cloud analysis is typically ten times faster than a local engine. As a reference, Chessify’s Stockfish 11 analysis evaluates 30 million positions per second.

The video search and PDF book scan functionality is new. With the video search, you can search for a specific position on Youtube and in the pro video database of chesslecture.com. You input the position by either by playing the opening moves or inputting the position. The remarkable thing is that the search takes you to the exact moment in the video where the searched position is being discussed. For example, if you are interested in the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf and there is 2 hour Najdorf-video, the search takes you to 26 minutes and 30 seconds. i.e., the moment when the presenter starts discussing that specific position. The search also shows you the number of views of the relevant videos which is handy for deciding which video you are going to watch first.

With the PDF scanner, you can now scan a complete book or document and analyze the diagrams in Chessify. Furthermore, the PDF reader keeps track of your reading progress and opens from the page where you left off last time. So, it is like having the book on Chessify instead of a collection of diagrams.

An example of how the PDF-scanner works in the Chessify app:

The 700 Chess Problems in the Chessify app

700 Chess Problems

The PDF-scans are organized in Chessify as a library.

Text and diagrams

The PDF-scans appear in Chessify in its entirety so not just the diagrams but also the text.

Analysing a diagram from the book

By clicking on the diagram you go to the diagram in the Chessify-analysis environment and you can analyze it with an engine or export it in a digital format (FEN/PGN).

The new features are currently available in the Chessify iOS-app. The Android app will be updated in the coming weeks. Chessify continues to be ad-free.

Finally, there are some additional features that I would like to mention:

- Online chat with customer service in case you encounter a problem with the app;

- Opening explorer using Lichess' database of 2 million games of 2200+ players

- Broadcast of major tournaments

- Chess clock