06 February 2013

Endgame Training with Chessimo

Due to the recommendation of another member of the Spokane Chess Club, I recently added Chessimo to the chess applications on my iPad. Chessimo is also available for the iPhone and Windows PC. Chessimo uses repetition to develop memory, and consequently chess skill. It offers tactics training, endgame training, opening training, and other features.

The endgame training seems useful, but occasionally the software recommends one move over another that leads to checkmate in fewer moves.

Consider the following position

White to move

The pawns stand on the same squares as in a key position in Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual, 2nd ed. (2008). However, Dvoretsky has the kings on b5 and b7. Black is on move. White has the opposition, but it is insufficient to win. With the kings beside the pawns, as in the Chessimo exercise, White wins by seizing the opposition, executing an outflanking, and exchanging the a-pawn for Black's pawn. The king is then in position to escort to the c-pawn to its promotion square.

Chess engines accessing tablebases reveal that 1.Kd7 is the best move. Chessimo prefers 1.Kd6, which I played. After 1...Ka7 (Rybka played 1...Kb7 when I tried the position against the engine), I attempted 2.Kc7.

Chessimo pops up with the message, "This move is very good and leads to the same conclusion. Please continue with the highlighted move."

My move leads to checkmate in two fewer moves. Moreover, Chessimo's solution leads to the intended position  two moves later. I understood the position, and attempted to play the most precise move. Chessimo steered me towards a weaker move that still wins.

On their website, the developers of Chessimo claim, "If the answer isn't the most accurate one, the software shows the correct move." In this case, their claim is false. A less accurate move is favored over the most accurate one.

Empirical Rabbit made similar observations in his review of Chessimo's endgame training nine months ago.

For $7.99, the tactics and endgame training offered by Chessimo's iPad version is a lot of bang for the buck, but it should not be used to the exclusion of good endgame books. The repetition built into the program would be more beneficial if careful editing improved the favored solutions.


  1. For $7.99, lot of bang for the buck. Lol, lots of repetitions for the buck. Six correct answer required for the same question on an ongoing unit question to forever reach unit 51( 160 hours minimum if you are a strong player to answer correctly and to advance as mention http://empiricalrabbit.blogspot.ca/2012/05/chessimo-endgames-01.html). Request to have no repetition software changes before you spend your buck. Tx

  2. With the PC version, the initial position is automatically written to the clipboard. I can then easily analyse it by hitting Ctrl-V in Shredder Classic. Is it possible to do anything similar on the iPad?

    In answer to the previous comment, the new positions in each Unit appear at the beginning of the Unit and Cheesimo says when it is about to repeat (by default on the PC version). It is therefore not difficult to do a once through.

    1. I noticed that comment in your review. It does not appear that the iPad app saves the initial position to the clipboard.

      When I want to test my idea, I take a screen shot, or just move back and forth between programs. The Shredder iPad app uses a click and drag function to set up positions. Hiarcs for the iPad is easier because I can touch a single pawn and then touch every square that holds one. This process is easier when there are only a few pieces as is usual in the endgame. Isn't that the definition of endgame!