Chess & Learning

Photo of Samuel Sonning
Samuel SonningFounder of
  • Noctie
  • Chess Learning

Introducing Noctie

How do you learn & master any skill?

Be it tennis, boxing or playing the piano, the process is similar:

  1. Pick one or more aspects of the skill to practice (e.g. your tennis serve)
  2. Perform the skill at a challenging level, paying attention to said aspect
  3. Get immediate feedback / error correction
  4. Repeat until you’re tired
  5. Sleep, then start over

I wanted to do this in chess. Consider what is required:

  • An opponent at my level, willing to repeatedly play practice games, where we play e.g. the same opening or endgame
  • Expert help + materials to create a study plan suited to my current abilities
  • Immediate feedback after each move (for example, a strong player standing behind you saying “Nice move!” or “Are you sure you want to do that?”)

I don’t have these things.

My opponents are people on lichess or who want to trick me and beat me, not practice rook endgames.

I get zero feedback after each move on whether it was good or not. Not even the game result is relevant – I could play a lot of bad moves and still win. Where’s the error signal that my brain needs in order for learning to happen, neurologically?

To get feedback on each move I need to go through the arduous process of analyzing the game afterwards. But this feedback is far away from the action in time which severely diminishes learning.

I don’t have a coach that can tell me what aspects of my game I should practice.

I try to read a bunch of books but don’t get the chance to practice what I’ve learned in real games. I default to what’s easy and rewarding – playing blitz games on lichess – even though I don’t learn anything from it.

What if I could create, using AI:

  • A coach that can evaluate my game and find weaknesses
  • A practice partner that plays exactly like a human at my own level
  • A way to give immediate visual feedback after each move

These things can’t be done with a regular chess engine. As anyone who has played one knows, they play very differently from humans and are difficult to adapt to your own level without forcing them to make strange mistakes.

And their analysis and feedback is based on deep, calculated variations which can’t be discerned from patterns on the board and therefore can’t be learned by your brain.

So I made a new kind of chess AI that has learned to approximate human intuition at every level from beginner to world champion and beyond.

Using this, we can create a tailor-made practice partner for everyone, that plays just like a human.

Unlike most humans you play against, this practice partner is willing to practice exactly the things you need, whenever you like

That's not all – we can even use the AI to give instant visual feedback after each move, unlocking the brain’s natural learning circuits.

This is the basic idea of Noctie.

Noctie automatically estimates the student’s skill level using AI, and adapts to play like a human at that level.

You can play from a given position, endgame or opening. The quality of each played move is evaluated with AI that emulates human intuition and instantly indicated with a color.

Finally you get custom exercises based on your mistakes, so that you can study them until you’ve learned not to repeat them.

This way we employ AI to make learning chess just as easy and rewarding as learning other skills.