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08-03-2021 - Decodechess.com site review

 

Decodechess.com

 

This is the first time for me reviewing a paying site. I stopped the whole activity on massimilianogoi.com until I finished this article because I promised that I would make an article for Decodechess.com and this was going on for a couple of years because of both the Goi Competition Book and the chess engines to continuously update, plus private stuff (my fault).

 

 

This site has a catchy graphic based on responsive technology and the latest styling in web design (HTML5, Cascade Style Sheet and Ajax), in line with the latest commercial webites. The fact that it’s responsive makes you able to use it even on your phone.

They didn’t want to told me how they did, but looks like they found a way to run Stockfish on your own computer without installing it! In other terms it runs through your browser. When analysing some position I’ve noticed by opening the Task Manager that the CPU usage was something like 100%, typical of when I’m using a chess program at its full force on my computer. So my guess is that they converted the whole Stockfish source into Javascript communicating with their server through Ajax, that’s impressive! I think we aren’t just facing simple programmers, we are facing great minds on this topic.

Pieces and chessboard are drawn in a very stylish way, colours minimalistic (blue tint), with the possibility to use a “Dark Mode” to reduce eyes stress and screen consumption. The care of the details is unbelievable and the attention to the graphic and the animations is just impressive. I like very much their design of the pieces.

The whole main site runs around a function nicknamed “Decoding” with which a game is dissected and any move is explained and evaluated with comments.

You can load an already existend pgn file of a game just by dragging it on the browser (this thing impressed me a lot) by clicking New Game -> Import. The app uses tabs, so you can analyse many games at once.

There is just one thing that I don’t like: the moves annotation is far too low and I can’t drag up the bar below the chessboard, the only way is using the lateral bar to raise the annotations.

By clicking on a move then on the fish icon you will make Stockfish start to analyse the position in that precise moment, you can also “dig deeper” on a position by clicking on the yellow button at the right of the screen.

 

Decodechess.com Dig Deeper

 

At the right of the page you will find the graphic with a raw extimation of the game trend:

Decodechess.com game trend

 

“Summary”, “Piece Roles”, “Threats”, “Good Moves”, “Plans”, “Concepts” - any part of the game is widely explained (for a chess software, at least). Any time I logged into the site I was impressed of what this application can make.

I could set up the chessboard, change the language, but I didn’t see where I can save the games which I worked in pgn or other formats (edit: I found it. It’s on every move, right click on it… odd choice…).

 

PRO:

- This site is evidently tailored for professionists or people who wants to improve in a serious manner their way to play.

- Great font styling and design.

- You don't have to install anything: just pay your fee and you're good to go.

 

CON:

- The app uses the local cpu to analyse the game, so if the computer doesn’t have a strong cpu the analysis will be shallow. A great add should be using a remote powerful machine for a higher subscription price.

- The lower bar should be movable to raise the annotation.

- Stockfish is the only engine. Although being the best, some user could prefer/want to use also another one.

 

One cool idea could be adding a games database so that the user can see who played on that position, and what those players chosed as continuation.

 

Decodechess website: https://decodechess.com

Decodechess Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DecodeChess

Decodechess Twitter page: https://twitter.com/DecodeChess

 

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