Learning chess aloud

Chess.com gives their virtual chess teacher a voice

Chess has captivated players around the world for over 1,000 years, a testament to its enduring appeal and strategic depth. Founded in 2007, Chess.com is dedicated to serving this large and dynamic community. The team continually explores new ways for players of all levels to engage with the game, offering innovative tools for playing, connecting, and learning online. 

Last year, a user of one of Chess.com's top learning apps, Learn Chess with Dr. Wolf, left a review: "Is there a way to get Dr. Wolf to talk through the lessons? My 7-year-old is struggling to read his commentary." Dr. Wolf, an interactive virtual chess teacher, adapts to the user's ability and helps them improve by talking through each move.

At the time, Dr. Wolf only provided text commentary without an audio component. The team recognized the potential to greatly improve the learning experience with a voice, but they knew the wrong audio component would severely detract from the learning experience. 

Partnering with ElevenLabs

Finding the right voice for Dr. Wolf was crucial to connect with a wide range of players and skill levels. It required finding a voice that was both authoritative and warm to maintain the personal touch of a seasoned chess coach. After sampling several voices from ElevenLabs' library, the team found one that was just what they needed. Soon after, they integrated the voice using ElevenLabs' API.

The response from users has been overwhelmingly positive. They have noted that the ideas seem to sink in more when they're able to keep their eyes actively engaged on the chessboard, and the game feels much more natural when all you have to do is listen.  

“The introduction of a voice for Dr. Wolf has transformed our app”, said Gabe Jacobs, the product manager on the Dr. Wolf team. “It's not just a feature—it’s brought a whole new dimension to learning chess online.” 

By bringing together educational expertise and ElevenLabs’ technology, the Dr. Wolf team found a new way to provide personalized, engaging 1:1 chess tutoring to players around the world. We look forward to continuing our work and exploring new ways to inspire and educate chess enthusiasts around the world.

Watch a sample below or take your chess game to the next level on the app.

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