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MatPlus.Net Forum Internet and Computing Idea for solving training tool
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(1) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Saturday, Mar 2, 2019 12:12]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [19-03-02]

Idea for solving training tool


I have an idea for a solving training tool. Please let me know what you think about it. I have Unity, but I would need to learn programming in it first, and I write a lot, so if any real programmers would want to create that tool, it would be awesome, otherwise it will take months to years.

In any case, what I think about is a tool which has a chessboard on the left side with the diagram position.
On the right side there are several interface fields. At the top is a clock. Then there are four tabs. One for diagrams, one for notation, one for rejected variations, one for solutions. If you click the diagrams tab, you see all diagrams of the test listed in small. If you click on one that position goes to the board. On the notation tab, you see two windows. One lists the main variation, the other one lists side variations, organized in "eg" style, i.e. an "i" for the first side variation (with /i in color in the main variation tab linked to it) etc.

You can click on any move to reach its position.

When you have a diagram on the board, you have the stipulation below it, for example "Win" or "Mate in 2". You can enter your moves by either entering them in the fields for variations, or by moving pieces around. You can "upgrade" or "downgrade" variations from side to main and vice versa, but this is more for optics and organizing (to avoid too many embedded variations).

So when you start a test (which would consist of real tests with real time), a clock ticks down from the realistic time, for example 20 minutes for three twomovers.
You can enter and delete moves as wou want, but only get the solutions when you either submit the test or time has run out.
Your results and inputs are always saved, so for example if you switch to another diagram, your inputs for the other diagram are saved.

After the test, the intended solution is shown replayable, with a comparison to your entered variations. If variations match, you receive the appropriate points (for example the correct first move at a twomover).

To prevent abuse, only one first move can be entered. If you "overwrite" any moves, they go to the "rejected variations" so you can easily look at them again.
The "solutions tab" is empty unless the test is over, and contains the replayable solution. Note that while different variations up to checkmate should be included, the standardized test formula for points should be used, for example a twomover show the key and mate variations at "solutions", but only the correct key scores points, adding mate variations is only for easier understanding of the problem when replaying. Both the main and side variations are checked. So if a side variation is given as main variation or vice versa, it still counts fully. Of course, it is not possibele to enter multiple moves for the player trying to achieve the goal (if you do without "unpromoting" one, it is shown in a signal color, for example red [with options for red-green/red-blue blind people]) and gives no points unless one single move is chosen and the other moved to the rejected variations. For example, in a mate in three, you can have 1.X Y1/Y2/Y3/Y4 2.Z1/Z2/Z3/Z4 (with the variations each on a separate line or in the sidelines box). But if you have 1.X Y 2.Z or Z, both Z variations are shown in red to indicate that they must be reduced to a single variation or don't score, even if one is correct.

I hope it is understandable what I mean.


| .......... - TABS |
| .......... - [main]|
| .......... - [ ]|
| .......... - |
| .......... - [side]|
| .......... - [ ]|
| .......... - [ ]|
| .......... - [ ]|
| .......... - [ ]|
| .......... - [ ]|

Of course, the sizes for most elements would be adjustable.

| |
| EXIT |

In the main menu, "New Test" would allow you to start a new test. You can try "tournament" (a series of six tests, three at a time, like in a real solving tournament) or "single test". If you click "single test", you go to a screen with the available genrs (including fairies with later updates). If you click on "tournament" or "single test", you get a list of available tests and modes (for example "#2 - Polish Solving Championship 2002, 20 minutes, 3 problems" or "WCSC 2016 - full test, 2x2 hours, 3x3+3x3 problems"). Choosing a full test with 2x2 hours would give you a pause after 2 hours, at which point you can easily close the program to return later.

Of course, you can cheat easily, but the tool is not for comparison but rather for giving solvers a way to practice and test their skills. So you'd only cheat yourself if you use engines or solving programs.

"Results" shows your previous test results, twice ordered into several sections (by test genre - tournament or single test - and by stipulation: #2, #3, #n, h#, s#, eg [possibly later also fairy, retro, others])
"Redo Test" would allow you to redo tests you did earlier. This is not really recommended to do too quick, but if you want to do a test again after many years, that would be the option to use. The functionality could also be made available on the "New Test" screen, if already done tests are colored differently and pop a warning before starting.
"Practice" can be used to solve single positions (as opposed to multiple in a test), to solve without clock restraints, etc. - should be customizable.
"Options" would give options for different fonts, board colors, and notation, with presets to cater for various forms of colorblindness. If you are red-green blind, showing wrong variations in red and correct ones in green (where you were wrong) when showing the solutions is not useful for you.
"Credits" would include the programmers etc, as well as the sources for the various tests and problems (for example the WFCC website, Schwalbe PDB, etc.)
"Exit" lets you exit the program (obviously). It will give a warning if there is currently a test in progress (i.e. not on pause after the first three rounds).

If a test is currently in progress, the interface is a bit different. The options "New Test" till "Practice" are replaced by "RESUME", "PAUSE" and "ABORT TEST", the latter two giving a warning. "PAUSE" gives the warning that the test results might not represent real tests and as such a mark will be added to the results screen to show this. "Abort Test" warns that the test will be aborted and shown as such in the results screen. It can be redone at any time later with the "Redo Test" option, but might not represent real tests then.

The results screen would list results, and if clicked on them one could see what one had entered and what the real solutions were during that test. For an aborted test, no solutions will be shown. A paused test will be able to be resumed from here, or the latest paused one also from the main menu.

Okay, I hope I got most clear what I think would be a nice solving test program.
Of course, someone would need to have the motivation and time to create it. And also any input is welcome.
Maybe such a program already exists and I didn't know about it. But it could easily be modified or expanded to also cater for practical players, and as such sell some tactics bundles (or make available for free with other monetization such as advertisements) while having the program for problem solvers available either for free or for a not too high price, so everyone could use it. Maybe the tool could even be made "official", with solving directors (such as Axel) being able to enter their tests there (in an editor), print the solving sheets for tourneys, and submit them to the author to be added (of course, the latter only after the tourney is finished).

What is your opinion?

(EDIT: MatPlus Forum destroyed my formatting of the interface. Sorry for that!)
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MatPlus.Net Forum Internet and Computing Idea for solving training tool