Last April, I resumed my chess practice. This time, I decided to try Aimchess. It’s an impressive app that tailors exercises and training to your online games. By linking your accounts from platforms like Chess.com or Lichess.org, Aimchess analyzes your results and highlights areas for improvement. Even though this website is not as popular as Chess.com or Lichess, it has solid backing. Moreover, in 2021, Aimchess was acquired by Play Magnus Group, a chess company co-founded by former World Champion Magnus Carlsen.
I decided to practice throughout April and May, alternating a weekday training regimen with online Blitz games each week. In this two-month period, I played a grand total of 150 Blitz games. I won 60 games, lost 82, and drew 8. I’ll share more about my rating changes below 🤓♟️.
What’s Different About Aimchess
Many chess platforms offer similar features, but Aimchess stands out. Its interface, design, and usability are top-tier, and the way information is presented is attractive and intuitive. Here’s a glimpse at the Daily Plan dashboard in the free version:
The premium version was enticing, but considering my practice time (no more than 15 minutes at a time), the free version was sufficient. If you’re considering practicing more than that, a premium membership is definitely worth it, giving you access to a more comprehensive and personalized training plan.
In the first quarter of 2021, I carried out a chess project. That was the first of my ‘hobbies in foreign languages’ projects. Back then, I used some tools provided by Lichess.org. I haven’t used them frequently since then, and for that reason, I don’t know exactly what they look like these days. But, anyhow, I think those are excellent training resources as well.
My Daily Chess Routine
Aimchess recommends a five-day-per-week practice routine. I embraced this, practicing from Monday to Friday, typically in the morning. A session would take 10-15 minutes and comprised the Daily Plan and occasionally the Daily Tactics Challenge.I enjoyed the technical Endgames at the start of each session. The Defender and 360 Trainer were also beneficial, challenging me in areas I had previously neglected. I often struggled with the first few exercises, but that added to the fun!
Tactics were my favorite area to practice, as this is where I’d previously focused my chess practice time. However, I realized that mastering other aspects would also boost my game. The Advantage Capitalization was critical, but I found it difficult to assess whether I was making good moves until I cross-checked with the engine analysis. This was the one area I didn’t enjoy as much.
Embracing Mistakes as Learning Opportunities
One of the highlights was the Retry Mistakes section, which revisits your previous games’ mistakes. Having tailor-made exercises like this is invaluable for improvement. They’re unique from standard tactics based on online or famous games. This feature promotes a healthy approach to mistakes: you start seeing them as opportunities for learning rather than simply failures. As you tackle these familiar scenarios again and again, the app fosters a mindset of continuous improvement. You commit the correct moves to memory, better preparing yourself for future games. It’s a nice blend of self-reflection and forward-thinking preparation.
Adding a Competitive Edge: The Daily Tactics Challenge
This was an entertaining feature, adding competitiveness to my individual training. Each day brought a new tactic challenge. You must solve as many puzzles as possible within 10 minutes, without making more than three mistakes! Additionally, the leaderboard aspect serves to motivate and challenge you further. Seeing the progress of others can spur you to keep improving, providing a goal to strive for and a benchmark for how you’re doing. It’s not just about beating your own best scores, but also seeing how you measure up against other global players. It takes the solitary aspect out of the practice and introduces a community element, making the training experience more engaging and exciting. I didn’t do this every day, but I kept it as an optional practice.
Here’s how the Leaderboard looked on May 29th:
Players adopted different strategies – some completed over 25 puzzles in less than 5 minutes, while others took their full 10 minutes to solve a few more. Many days, I made it to the Top 10 Leaderboard. I practiced in the mornings, so I’m not sure if I held my position there until the end of the day 😄.
My Blitz Performance During April/May 2023
I wish I could tell you my Blitz rating at Lichess.org increased by 100, 50… or even 10 points after these two months! That was not the case 😅. Even though I practiced more in the past two months than in the first months of the year, my chess rating went down. Not what I expected, but it doesn’t surprise me either.
In the first quarter of 2021, while doing my ‘Chess in Italian’ project, I experienced something similar. I practiced every day, but my Blitz rating mostly stayed the same or even decreased during the first two months. After a three-month period, however, I ended up gaining 45 ELO points.
What’s most interesting is that in September 2021, I reached my highest Blitz Lichess ranking: 2333. I guess, the results of some practice are seen sometime after the period in which we train? 🤔 I think next time, I should focus on other variables such as my opening choice, what time I play my Blitz games, in which device (cell phone or desktop computer?), and how many games in a row I play.
My Best Win and My Worst Loss
Here’s a game I won against one of the highest-ranked players during the past two months (a Candidate Master, CM, with 2331 ELO points at the time of our game).
But I also lost games against lower-ranked players, such as the next one (the opponent had 2027 ELO points at the time of our game).
Resuming my chess practice with Aimchess has been a fun and rewarding experience, even if I wasn’t able to increase my ranking. From its tailored daily plans and unique Retry Mistakes feature, to its competitive Daily Tactics Challenge, Aimchess offers an innovative and comprehensive chess training program. If practice makes perfect, this app not only facilitates practice, but focused, personalized practice that makes a discernible difference.
While there were parts I found less enjoyable, such as the Advantage Capitalization, the overall package offered by Aimchess, even in its free version, is impressive. It is a tool I’d recommend to anyone looking to improve their chess game while having fun at the same time. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, Aimchess offers an engaging way to take your skills to the next level. This journey has reminded me that learning is a continual process, and even in a game as ancient as chess, there are always new strategies to uncover and skills to sharpen 😊.