Training

Questions and answers for COW Macintosh and Windows
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jegingrich
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:23 pm

Training

Post by jegingrich »

In the Training feature of Chess Openings Wizard - what is the difference between Random, Random with Coverage and Sequential with Coverage? Also, there is a section for specifying "Number in a row to complete" and "First time Credit". Can you clarify what these setting do.
MikeAtBookup
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:02 pm

Re: Training

Post by MikeAtBookup »

All good questions.

If there are three candidates (f5, Nf6, Nc6) then...

Random will play them randomly.
Random with Coverage will begin picking them randomly but over time will pick randomly from the ones that haven't yet been covered because you want to cover all the moves.
Sequential with Coverage goes sequentially (first f5 lines, then Nf6 lines, then Nc6 lines) until every line has been covered. Thus it will play the same line again, until it reaches a position where training has been completed. Then the second candidate move in that position, repeating until the entire tree has been covered.

"Number in a row to complete" means how many times in a row you have to play the right move before it is marked as trained.

"First time credit" is a handy cheat that keeps you from having to play the first few opening moves (or any number of variations) over and over again if you already know them. For example let's say you know the queen's gambit declined by heart and don't need to forced to play those moves three times then if "number in a row to complete" is set to 3 and "first time credit" is set to 3 then when you play the openings moves (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 for example) correctly the first time then it will give you a "first time credit" of 3 as if you'd played them three times correctly. If you miss any move on the first time through, no credit is given and you have to play it the required "number of times in a row to complete" training for that position.
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Mike Leahy
:geek: Head Geek at bookup.com
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

I have COW Build 160 on my laptop. I created a training file, moved it to dropbox, and imported it into COW for my Android tablet. I train on my tablet. Thanks to Mike and the team for making this possible!

Training has a lot of features and I've noticed from comments that different users go about it differently. That's not a bug; it's a feature!

What concerns me today is the time measurement that takes place as you train. I guess the idea is to see how quickly the user rattles off their moves. The thinking is that faster is better, showing better memorization of the material. I don't see it that way though, and I'll tell you why.

The opening that I am looking at has some typical moves for Black. They all make sense, but they are not all equally good in a given position. The positions may look alike, but sometimes Black has to play ...b5, sometimes ...a5. Sometimes Black plays ...0-0 when given the chance, sometimes he defers ...0-0. I want to study the position and identify reasons, or rules of thumb, that guide my choice. I'm in no hurry, I just want to get it right. The timing feature is a distraction for me and I'd like to turn if off. My ideal would be to play against White's best moves in all variations and get it right 100% of the time.
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

When I train on my tablet, I see the field "Complete:" with a line next to it. I never see an entry. It could be the number of successful completions, or something else, but I never see an entry. Are any statistics maintained for user review? If so, I don't know how to retrieve them.
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

Chessable and Modern-Chess also have training features.

I always felt that Chessable training put me in a straightjacket, having to memorize a long fixed sequence of moves. Maybe, I should give it another try.

The training at Modern-Chess has changed from earlier to later products. Their current interface is simple and intuitive. You play the move and if you play the wrong move, you get a "wrong move" notification and a "try again" button. However, it you get stuck, there is no elegant way forward. If you get stuck in COW, you can press the next move button. I find this better than just starting over, or trying every possible move in the position until I get it right. It took me quite a while to discover this feature. I think it should be more obvious, but I don't know how. Modern-Chess has a "progress in chapter" indicator, which seems nice.

The great thing about COW training that the others cannot match is that you design your own training file. I have COW game and theory files that are very extensive, combining everything in a position by position COW database. Once I come to a certain level of understanding, I can proceed to make a training file. I play through a key line and save it as a PGN file. I play through another key line and append it to the PGN file. I continue this way until I have all the key lines saved into one PGN file. I then create a new COW file and import the PGN file with all key lines. The COW file is suitable for training. The COW training Ebook is neither too simple nor too complex.

The COW training Ebook can be revised at a later date. It's also possible to turn specific lines on or off. For example, I have a training Ebook for Black which begins: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc 5.Bg2 Bb4ch. My Ebook contains the answers 6.Bd2, 6.Nbd2, and 6.Nc3. I can train on all of this with COW choosing randomly. However, I found that too challenging at first. Now I have simply deleted 6.Nbd2 and 6.Nc3, so that I train on 6.Bd2 only. Later, I will delete 6Bd2 and play 6.Nbd2 and train on that line.

It's taken sometime to get my methods down pat. Given my methods, I still don't use or understand "Complete Training," "Complete," or "Speed." I train on my Android tablet, which I never shut down. Consequently, I never stop training. I merely minimize COW when I want to pause my training. When I want to train I again, I return to the training Ebook as though I had never taken a break.

I hope this description helps users to set up their own COW Training Ebooks. Once some of the more common techniques are identified, it might be possible to simplify the interface, making it more intuitive for users who are just starting out.
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

For some reason, comments and diacritical markings (! etc.) are blanked out during training. I think a comment providing a rule of thumb or indicating an exception, could provide a useful hint without actually revealing the move. Also an "!" or even an "??" might reinforce a point.

The good news is that the new multimedia feature comes to the rescue. After 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 dc4 5. Bg2 Bb4 6. Bd2 c5 7. Qc2, I recorded the following: "Normally Black retains the tension. This is the exception." When this position comes up in training mode, an icon is displayed showing that an audio recording is present. Playing the audio note is optional, inobtrusive but easily available. If I decide that I like to hear my own voice, I may pepper my training file liberally with voiced comments. Who knows?

I build COW Ebooks and training Ebooks for my own use. However, I can see COW Ebook authors using training features in their products.

I have an Ebook and a Training Ebook for this opening, as explained in prior posts. That is what I recommend as each serves a separate function. I'm sure some COW user would want to have one Ebook that can be used for games and analysis, and also be used for training. If that works for you then fine. I went down that path a short distance and decided against it. However, I recognize that many strategies are possible. Good luck.
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

The voice note feature works on PCs and, I assume, Macs. It is not available on my Android tablet.
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

I have set my Training to "Random with Coverage." That is a good approach, but challenging. Today, I tried "Sequential with Coverage." That seems to provide more focused and orderly training. I expect that at a later date, I will want to challenge myself by going back to Random with Coverage.

I have set COW to rewind to the Starting Position. That way I get the flow of the game. It seems natural. Real games start from the initial position. I tried rewind to Last Branch, and that is O.K. too. If I were studying the Marshall countergambit in the Ruy Lopez, I would probably want to resume study from 8...d5.

When COW trains, it plays it's move instantly. Sometimes I do not realize that it is my move. Perhaps one could choose a delay for the opposing side.

I have always selected "Hide Information." Today I did not Hide Information. That did not last long, as the information provided was not helpful. I'll either continue to hide information, or put some extra effort in deciding what information to display.

It makes sense to me that the voice recording feature is included on the PC and Mac, but not on tablets. Perhaps the tablet could have a limited play back option.
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

I extensively used a dedicated training file. It differs from my regular COW Ebook which is more complete. I used the training Ebook both to learn the opening, and to learn how to do training in COW.

Recently, I further simplified my training file so that I could see what it was like to complete training. I eliminated many branches (candidates) for this exercise. I was able to complete training. I saw the training progress bar and training statistics for the first time. Looks good! Congratulations on a well designed product.

I turned comments on. My existing comments were not useful for training purposes. I wiped them out and put in new comments. The new training comments note an opportunity or danger in the position in question. This guides thinking towards the right move. This works both in terms of COW design and in actual chess learning.

In short, COW is a great product. One can be instantly productive with COW. One's productivity can increase over time by learning how to use COW better.

Mike has provided sample COW files. I suggest he also provide a sample COW training file. Below is a greatly simplified training file, complete with helpful hints.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 c5 7. Qc2
Comment: 7.Qc2 provides Black with an opportunity.
7...Bd2 8. Nbd2 cd4 9. Nc4
Comment: White threatens 10.Nd6ch!
9...Nc6 10. O-O
Comment: Now Black is ready for the key move in the 7Qc2 variation.
10...d3! 11. ed3 O-O
Comment: END. Material is equal and black has good control of both the d4 and d5 squares.

By the way, the complete training Ebook contains branches for 7.Qc1, 7.a3, 7.Bxb4, 7.dxc5, 7.0-0, 6.Nbd2 and 6.Nc3. The 7.Qc2 line above was chosen as it is, far and away, the simplest line. With all the branching this opening contains, training is essential.
FreeRepublic
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

Re: Training

Post by FreeRepublic »

FreeRepublic wrote: Tue Oct 25, 2022 12:14 pm When this position comes up in training mode, an icon is displayed showing that an audio recording is present. Playing the audio note is optional, inobtrusive but easily available.
The preceding is very well executed and I wonder if the same approach could be implemented for the comment text field.

As it stands now, one can go to the "Commands menu", choose "Training ..." than select or de-select "Hide Information." The decision applies for all moves while training.

In the same way that one can choose to listen to an audio note in a given position, one could choose to reveal the text note for a given position. If this were implemented, one might implement progressive hints for a given position. If the general audio note is not sufficient, additional information can be provided in the text note, or vice versa.
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