I'm trying to learn how to build a deck in Anki so that I can improve my play by creating positions that I need to learn and by improving tactics. I'm looking for a guide on that process.

  • If you are after spaced repetition, the puzzles on lichess do this en.lichess.org/blog/WDY6cCEAALYi5Xg2/puzzles-update – user1583209 Jan 13 '17 at 19:08
  • That's part of it. I was looking at creating some positions to help me work on endgames and I thought that I'd see if anyone else used the flashcard program to do that. But your information good to know. – Michael Mills Jan 13 '17 at 19:14
  • Can anyone explain what is the benefit of "Anki decks" in comparison with just using tactics trainers like those on Chess.com, lichess, PlayChess, ...? Tactics are about pattern recognition, not about memorization of a finite set of positions/solutions, so the larger the "deck", the better I would say. – TMM Sep 21 '17 at 10:52

Well, what exactly do you want to know? The essentials are very simple: Have a "front side" showing a tactical position and a "back side" showing the answer. For the former you can just use images taken from scans. But there's also a note type available for Anki which lets you store positions in FEN notation. Search for "chess" on AnkiWeb to find it. This method is more memory efficient (and in some cases looks better), but might require a little more work than images, unless you also have the puzzles in e.g. PGN format.

I started out as an absolute beginner a little less than a year ago. I'm still a beginner and at the very bottom of food chain in the chess club I joined recently, but compared to from where I started I have improved a lot.

In my informed opinion spaced repetition in learning chess aims at pattern recognition. In other words: It's not about actually memorizing the solutions (so don't bother creating very short repetition circles), but developing an intuition for where possible solutions might be. In effect, though, it trains tactical intuition more than calculation. So I find that I need to compliment my Anki training not only with actual play, but also with solving composed mate-in-2 puzzles that I set up on the board to improve my board vision and calculation ability.

The specifics of what types of puzzles/questions are suitable depend on your level of play. As always with spaced repetition the cards should have clear, unambigous, easy to state answers. Though what exactly constitutes a "clear, unambigous, easy to state answer" probably differs from person to person and today I find solutions clear that were confusing to me a year ago. That being said, at my level basic tactics still work best. I gave up on creating more strategic cards for now, until my abilities have improved.

I guess that, since this is about pattern recognition, it matters what book you are using. I'm using Susan Polgar's tactics book for tactical motifs and the mate-in-two puzzles from L. Polgars 5000-something book for piece-interaction, mating patterns etc. Since solving puzzles on your smart phone is a great way to pass the time in the subway, I also have a deck with beginner puzzles from the 'Manual of chess combinations': unlike with the other two, I don't put any pressure on myself to go through this deck every day, but use it only when I want some 'extra chess'.

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  • "but also with solving composed mate-in-2 puzzles" - I hope you're not talking about extremely artificial mate-in-2 puzzles that composers come up with these days. In my opinion these do not contribute to your playing strength at all, as those positions have nothing to do with real games and real-life tactics/combinations. – TMM Sep 21 '17 at 10:19

Anki help you to review and to keep in your memory tactics and other things, but for learning you need to work, after work anki is the tool.

Best regards.

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  • 1
    Can you expand on how to use Anki to review? Otherwise you're not really answering the question. – Herb Wolfe Sep 20 '17 at 21:41

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