For Teachers: Chessify Diagram Scanner
Chessify - app and web service

For Teachers: Chessify Diagram Scanner

NM HanSchut

As an online coach I primarily use Chess Steps, ChessBase, and Chessable for teaching my students. Recently I discovered a number of new chess tools that might also be interesting for other chess teachers. The first is Chessify (Youtube Chessify iOS). Chessify is an Armenian startup that has developed apps for iOS and Android to translate a chess diagram from a book or a screen into FEN or PGN format. FEN is the standard format for a chess position and PGN is the standard for a chess game.

Scan from Chessbase screenTo get a page full of diagrams from a book into Chessbase, I scan them first in Chessify and then send them as PGN to Chessbase. The app is very accurate and fast and besides scanning and exporting in FEN and PGN format you can also analyze the scanned position within Chessify with Stockfish 10. There are some minor differences between the Android and iOS version of the app. The iOS version has only cloud analysis functionality. The Android version offers both local (off-line) and cloud analysis with the same Stockfish 10. In the Android version you can also use other engines that have been installed on your phone like for instance Komodo.

Besides scanning I sometimes use Chessify during a game analysis with a student. It is my standard practice to perform a game analysis without any use of chess engines. It is about calculation and the thought process of the student. Yet, sometimes I want to check that I have not missed something important. At that point I make a quick scan of the computer screen and do a quality check in Chessify while the student continues to analyze the position without an engine.


Chessbase 15 was released in November 2018 and after using the program for 2 months it is now clear which new functions are most valuable for me.

 In Chessbase 15 you can now also   search for tactical motifs (Manoeuvres). In the image on the left you can see which standard   motifs are included. This makes it   for a teacher much easier to create   new exercises and include tactics   from recent games. The quality of   the search result could still be   improved. You would like to find   examples where the combination is   actually decisive. The current   search mask gives a lot of games   where one player has already a completely winning advantage and the combination was just the finishing touch to convert the advantage. 

Another useful new feature is Instant Analysis. When you load a game you will immediately see an evaluation graph of the game. This will be updated (improved) as you continue to work with the game. It is of course possible to turn this function off. This new function does not indicate moves but immediately shows what the decisive moments in the game were. This can be useful for a chess teacher when you are going to analyze a game with a student.

Finally, an example of how I include recent chess events in my lessons. World Champion Carlsen started the World Championship Rapid badly by losing in a better position on time in the first round. Frustrated he started the second game with:

Position after 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4

As a certified trainer in the Chess Steps Method this is a nice introduction to the

Step 2 plus lesson - Defending against Scholar's Mate.

White To Move. Carlsen played here 20.f3 and subsequently lost the game.

Can you improve on the play of the world champion and win the game?

Is there a difference between 20.Ne6 or 20.Ne8?

Themes: discovered attack, elimination of defence

Black To Move. World Champion Carlsen just played 22.Bc3

Can you beat the World Champion and win a piece?

Theme: Trapping a piece, Elimination of Defence