What is the most easy way to follow a dozen of moves from a book ? I would like to edit a particular position and then see what the solution in a book (in my case "100 endgames you must know" in Villa's book) says. It is hard for me to follow just the notation in the book and actual moving pieces would make things easier. Is better some program or rather web page; which one ? I do not actually need to be advised by some engine, just editing and following the solution will be enough.


3 Answers 3


I do this by having two physical chessboards. One for the book and one for my analysis. It helps to have smaller "analysis" sized boards so that two boards do not take up too much space.


I use syzygy.com on my phone. Although it’s a tablebase engine, I use it for setting up positions of any scale including FEN input and playing through them. It’s just a single screen and no login or navigation is required. I feel a bit guilty because I am sure it would be good for my visualisation skills to just look at the diagram, but what the hey. I can also grab the FEN again easily to make a diagram or load into an online engine.

A bottleneck for me is the translation between text and spatial language. Maybe a mild dyslexia, maybe something to do with having learnt descriptive notation as a boy. I prefer animation if I am following a solution e.g. Chessbase.com or black & white figurines in the text if I must read from a book.

When I am composing problems I generally use Olive because that allows me to store lots of intermediate positions. It also has the built-in Popeye problem engine. If the problem is difficult, I may have a physical board in another room so I can shift to the other and get a change of posture and hopefully of perspective.

A physical board is particularly useful for solving or composing retrograde analysis because the physical pieces off the board gives me a count for pawn capture or promotion purposes.


Most authors expect readers to follow the moves as they read. By doing so you can focus on learning what the author is trying to teach you instead of leaving a good part of your attention to keeping track of the position.

The obvious option is a physical board but you can also use an analysis board on Lichess or open up a new Lichess study if you want to store your work (both options are free).

There's other software that can help you (like ChessBase for example) but it'd probably be a bit of overkill.

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