Getting Started With Chessable (Or How To Remember Everything You Learn About Chess)


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If remembering 80% to 90% of what you learn from chess books, videos, or private lessons sounds like an awesome idea, then you’ll love our first tutorial.

Spaced repetition is a science-backed learning technique which forces the brain to retain newly learned material through timely reviews.

To boost your learning and retention to epic levels, spaced repetition follows two rules of thumb:

1. Review the material just when you are about to forget it. So that the brain has to exert just enough effort to remember what was learned – and strengthen it.

Do this enough times and the piece of information becomes part of your long-term memory.

Recommended reading: You can learn more about how soon we forget what we learn by looking up Hermann Ebbinghaus’ 1880’s research on the “forgetting curve.”

2. Review the hard-to-remember pieces of knowledge more frequently than the ones you can easily recall. This way, you target your problem areas often enough until you overcome them.

And just as important, you efficiently use your limited training time by NOT revisiting information that doesn’t need it (yet).

Researchers put spaced repetition to the test about a century ago.

First in 1939 (H.F. Spitzer) with 3,600 Iowa students as the subjects. Then in the late 1960s when cognitive psychologists (Melton, Landbauer, and Bjork) experimented with timing repetitions to improve recall.

In both cases, spaced repetition proved extremely effective in boosting long-term retention.

Following studies only confirmed the initial findings. Soon, spaced repetition was recognized as a legitimate learning hack.

Fast forward today, it is now a mainstay in the mental toolkits of:

  • Lawyers
  • Med students and doctors
  • Programmers
  • Language learners

And now, chess players, too!

Within Chessable’s core is spaced repetition. Our founder David Kramaley built the platform as a personal chess training tool. One that will help him remember opening lines and missed tactics.

We have come a long way and added plenty of features to the site.

But Chessable’s purpose has remained the same since day one. And getting started has always been easy.

Here’s how:

Spaced Repetition Training With MoveTrainer

1. To get start, we need to get a course to learn first.

From your dashboard, go to Courses and click All Courses to see the entire Chessable course catalog.

Learning about Chessable

Chessable has hundreds of courses available on a variety of chess topics. But for now, let’s stick to the free ones. Click on Free (under the price filter, on the left) to filter the list accordingly.

Free Courses

Click on any course from the list. Or, if you want to follow along, get Basic Checkmate Patterns by IM John Bartholomew and CraftyRaf.

Basic Checkmate Patterns course page

After which, you should get a message confirming you now own the course. Click on Start Learning.

Start Learning message

2. Next, drill training positions and variations with MoveTrainer™.

Depending on the course, MoveTrainer™ will show you the moves before quizzing you. Such is the case with opening courses.

But if you’re training a tactics course like Basic Checkmate Patterns, it will show you an exercise position. Then ask you to guess/play the correct moves until you reach the end of the exercise.

MoveTrainer spaced repetition session

After learning or reviewing a line/exercise, MoveTrainer™ shows your progress for the entire session so far. From here, you can exit the session. Or, train the next position.

3. Let Chessable work its magic!

Remember how spaced repetition works wonders because of its well-timed repetitions and targeted reviews?

The only downside is that manually setting up reviews this way is too tedious for most people. You need to keep track of dates; repetition cycles; and whether or not you answered correctly.

Well, Chessable does ALL of that for you:

  • Track your performance
  • Adjust intervals accordingly
  • Schedule reviews

We can even send you email reminders in case you forget to log in and train.

Simply put:

You just need to show up. Chessable will take care of the rest!

So tomorrow, return to your dashboard. Click the Review button for your course to drill yesterday’s material (similar to what you did in step 2).

Review button on course

Bring the number of moves to review down to zero – and that’s it!

We just need to rinse and repeat the entire process until the lessons learned are committed to your long-term memory.

Wrapping Up

Spaced repetition is a simple learning method. But its benefits can prove game-changing on and off the chess board.

On the other hand, we also want to be selective in what we learn and review. How do we pick the right positions and variations to learn? And how can Chessable help you in this regard?

Tomorrow’s tutorial will pay special attention to this topic.

So stay tuned!

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