XAKEMATE is a chess training devoted to chess amateurs that want to IMPROVE. Thus is not for everyone.
We want to revolutionize chess training as a whole. As chess players ourselves XAKEMATE team found out that other chess trainings online fell short in many aspects.
As very journey begins with a single step we decided to focus in tactics training first. So we spotted a few aspects worth improving.
What's the problem with GAMIFICATION? Isn't chess actually a game? Yes, indeed.
And in addition to that, GAMIFICATION is not bad as such, it can be applied to make a chore much more attractive.
The problem with gamification is how it is applied. Or how it is applied to chess tactics. We found out that chess tactics level is adapted to users' level so that they keep them in their COMFORT ZONE.
If you "guess" (we will come to that later) the chess puzzle difficulty is raised, but if you fail the difficulty is mantained or drops. Thus if you have a winning streak you'll get harder problems, but as soon as you start to fail (and that's exactly where you should stay to improve) easier puzzles will be served to you.
Just imagine you step in the gym to improve the your strength, but whenever you feel the weights are too heavy for you just drop some weight to make things easier. You might get some tonification, that's for sure. But will you increase your strength?
Stress is needed to grow and you must step out of your COMFORT ZONE.
This is why, in XAKEMATE we set an exercise set at the beginning of the training and you have to go through it. Level will not be modified through out the training.
Interactivity rocks! doesn't it? Well, it does make things easier. You make the first move of the combination and the app responds. It makes everything much faster, right? But is that what we really want?
Well you may not want that. Chess is about thinking. Thinking about your pieces and your opponent pieces, about your moves and your opponent's moves.
Ever heard about coaches and masters talking about how playing blitz spoils your gains? This is because you reinforce the habit of moving fast, of reacting to whatever goes on in the board.
Well, we do believe that interactivity may create a bad habit too. The habit of not thinking about your opponents moves; of not checking the best response to your moves.
Puzzle after puzzle, this will sink in and lead to poor chess.
So we removed interactivity. In XAKEMATE you have to move your pieces and your opponents. You have to figure out the whole combination; your moves and your opponents.
Another surprising aspect of tactical training online is that it seems that tactical shots are only shown from the moving side's perspective. Thus during games you'll be trying to gain a pawn while you totally overlook a mate threat.
If part of tactical training is based on pattern acquisition, it is important to be able to spot them no matter which side of the board we are in.
So XAKEMATE will sometimes invert the board. The moving side is not always at the bottom. This will help you spot tactical shots for your oppponent and hopefully give you the chance to avoid them.
Another flaw we found is that once you fail an exercise and check the right answer, it's gone! Chances are that you may need more time to learn whatever you missed in the puzzle. But you have no control over it.
Well, we do believe that you should be able to revisit the exercises you failed. Actually you should be able to do it as many times as you need it. You should be able to repeat the exercises you failed; repeat the exercise, not only check the solution, but repeat the exercise.
Whenever your learn something you must repeat it until concepts are clear. Chess is not different and neither is tactical training.
You may have got lucky or inspired the first time you solved an exercise. So you should repeat it to be sure you "learnt" it. It will also help your pattern recognition, you'll be able to spot similar positions potentially leading to similar tactical shots.
You may have heard about RAPID CHESS IMPROVEMENT or THE WOODPECKER METHOD books. Both books stress the importance of repeating the same exercises over and over again. Curiously enough one if written by an amateur and the other is written by a couple of GMs. So the fact that repetition is beneficial to amateurs and masters seems to be proven.
So in XAKEMATE you'll go over the same exercise set many times.
Not every player can dedicate the same amount of time to train. You may be able to dedicate a full hour daily or just half.
You may think that other apps are rather flexible, if you have time you train and if you do not have time you don't, period. But that's not actually a training, is it?
That's more that you train if the mood strikes you.
In XAKEMATE you configure your daily dedication and then commit to the training, that is prepared for you.