Note: This post is showing you how to analyze your chess games “after” the game is over, with the intention of self-improvement. Please do not use this knowledge to analyze an on-going game, as this is considered cheating and is something a self-respecting chess player would never do.
One of the best ways to improve in chess is to at least run through a basic analysis after a game and learn from your own mistakes and your opponent’s. With the “Analysis” feature on Chess.com, you can see the best move at each turn, as well as a live computer evaluation of who is in a more advantageous position in a given time (positive for White, negative for Black).
However, free accounts on Chess.com only have limited access to the “Analysis” tab, and if you play as often as I do, you’ll soon be blocked by a pop-up that asks you to upgrade to a premium membership. Many friends of mine have testified that the premium membership on Chess.com is well worth the price (especially the lessons), but if you’re not willing to pay just for the game analysis feature, I’ve got good news for you.
Lichess is an open-source featured-packed chess website, and the second most popular chess platform right after Chess.com. The UI may be a bit primitive and counter-intuitive in comparison to Chess.com at first, but you’ll soon get used to it.
Open up the Analysis board on Lichess
On the Lichess website, head over to the “Tools” tab on top, and click on “Analysis board” in the drop-down. Notice the PGN text box below the chessboard: this is where we will import the games we played on Chess.com for free analysis here on Lichess. PGN stands for Portable Game Notation, and according to Wikipedia, is a “standard plain text format for recording chess games (both the moves and related data), which can be read by humans and is also supported by most chess software.”
Find a game you’d like to import
Moving on to the next step, go back to Chess.com to find a game you’d like to analyze (completed games can be found under your profile). Click on “Analysis”. (If no pop-up shows and you still have the quota to analyze your game, you might as well stop this tutorial and just analyze the game on Chess.com.) Find the “download” icon somewhere on the bottom right of the page. Copy the whole PGN section, go back to Lichess’ Analysis board, and paste the values in Lichess’ PGN text box. If you see 2 checkboxes above the PGN section in Chess.com, be sure to check the one in a human form.
In Lichess, the final step is to click on the “Toggle local evaluation switch” on the top right corner (or press keyboard shortcut “lowercase L”) — and voila! You can now browse through each step with the left and right arrow and see what the engine suggests at each move. You can even adjust the evaluation “depth” if you are feeling adventurous.
Of course, you could always just play on Lichess and directly analyze the game after it’s over. However, as much as I respect and support Lichess’ open-sourceness, I find the UI/UX, cheating detection, and overall player quality on Chess.com better. That’s why I mostly play on Chess.com and only turn to Lichess for analyzing games, studying opening repertoires, or creating personal chess notes.