Ankona is a web-based program for diagram imaging, storing and solving chess problems, written by Ilja Ketris (Latvia).

The site is commissioned by the WFCC.

The program uses web interface, has it’s own databases of problems and authors, uses popeye as a solving engine. So, at Ankona you can use all the pieces and conditions which uses popeye. This is my lovely and primary soft.

The advantages

  • You can work with any web-browser from any computer to use the program
  • You have your own database of problems accessible from any place
  • Graphical interface for diagrams
  • Solving interface with popeye as a solving engine
  • Supporting fairy stipulations, conditions, pieces – whatever popeye supports
  • Possibility to make problems private and public, to share your problems online with other users.
The disadvantages

  • Fairy pieces have to be entered into diagrams using notation
  • The server might be overloaded and too slow for solving

How Ankona looks?

You can use any Internet browser to connect to The first screen (or Home of Ankona) looks like this:

On the Top menu you see the options available: Competitions, People, ? (FAQ), and Login or register – at the right part of the Top menu. Most of actions with Ankona are possible only after Login. The only options you can use without registration are People and ? (FAQ). You can see the People screen right from here as well – just click People and you’ll get a screen like this:

The registration is necessary for composing and storing your problems and for using Competitions section. My Problems option will appear at the Top menu after you’ll get registered or logged in (for registered users).

You can try to sign-up  right from  here. For the registration you’ll have to fill in your email address (it will be used as user-name in the future), password, full name (when you start to type your name the system might show you the registered names starting with the same letters. It might be also, that you’re already there as the author, in this case just choose your name from the list). After registration or login the following main sections are available to you (on the Top menu): Competitions and My Problems.

My Problems Section

Use My Problems section for composing, storing, solving, sharing your problems. In case if you’re the 1st time visitor, you won’t have any problems, so you’ll the following screen:

Use New problem button to create your problem. In case if you already have some problems created – you’ll get a screen with the List of your problems, like this:

You can filter your list of problems, using the fields above: author, stipulation, label, reference. For label and reference you can use “%” for “any character“. Like in my example above I use references like web-1, web-2,… web-n for the problems published at this site. So, I can use filter web% to see the list of them.

Click on the problem from the list to get a Diagram-screen for it:

This is what you see about your problem and this is also what others can see in case if you make your problem public (available for view for anyone) or shared (then only a registered user of ankona, with whom you’ve shared your problem, will see it).

So, about the Diagram view. You can see here:

  • The ID of your problem (99854 in the example above) on the top part. This number you can see also in the address line of your browser. Like, for my example, the address would be
  • The diagram itself with its author, source, award, stipulation, twins, fairy pieces, conditions, etc. on the left central part of the screen, and the solution – to the right from diagram. The solution part you can edit as you like. In the example I’ve left it like it was found by popeye and added the comments manually.
  • The buttons to the left from the diagram: New problem – to create a new problem, Edit – to edit current problem, Clone – to make a copy of the current problem (this is very convenient if you want to compose the new version of the existing problem or to copy the shared problem to be able to edit or solve it), Delete – to delete a problem.
  • Let other users view this diagram – on the bottom left part of the diagram screen. You can use this option to show your problem to any other user of ankona. By default, all the problems are private and your problems can’t be seen by others. To share it with some other user of ankona, you have to enter his handle (registration number at ankona). All the handles you can see in People section. For example, to share your problem with me, you have to enter VY2J. After that, if you send me an ID of your problem – I’d be able to see it at ankona.
  • You may submit this problem to an open competition – on the bottom right part of the diagram screen. Ankona was originally planned for submitting your problems to FIDE Albums. But can be used for submitting problems to any competition (tourneys) if they are created. Use Competitions section to create your tourney at ankona. I’ve created Julia’sFairies-HSP-2012 tourney there, so you can submit your problem there, choosing the tourney from the list of competitions: 

Seems like this is all about the Diagram screen. Now I’ll show the Screens (or sections) for the Edit option. When you click Edit button on the left part from the diagram, you enter the editing section of your problem.

There’re 3 sections for editing your problem.

  • Catalog:

By default it looks like this:

You have Positions for white and black, the button to open FEN record, the button to open Fairy stuff, the diagram (empty for the new problem) and orthodoxal pieces you can use for composing the problem, the buttons for rotation, the stipulation and twins – at the left side of the screen.

The Author field on the right part is obligatory field to fill in for saving your problem. When you start type the name – the list with the names will appear. You can choose a name from the list if it exists or type the full name – and it will be created. You can use either one name or any number of them. The other fields are optional. You can fill in the Source, Issue, Label and Award fields if you wish this info to appear at the Diagram screen for your problem. Notes and Reference will be seen for you only. You can use Reference for your own numbering of the problems. This field you can use also for filtering your records.

Public problem checkbox you can use to make the problem public – visible to everyone by the link: http:///[problem-ID]

For fairy problems:

Use Fairy stuff button above the diagram. Some additional fields will appear when you click it:

Here you have fields: Neutral pieces, Conditions, and Fairy behaviors.

To put any fairy piece on the diagram you have to enter manually its code with position. In most cases the codes in Ankona are the same as popeye codes. You can see the list of available pieces and codes at:

In case if your piece is not in the list – please send mail asking to add it either to the administrator of ankona or to me

Conditions – are the ones popeye uses for solving. You can see popeye manual for them.

And the list of Fairy behaviors looks like this:

For example, if you have white Queen Chameleon piece on a1 – you have to choose Chameleon fairy behavior and to fill in the field W: Da1 (Ankona uses FIDE-notation KDTLS !!)

  • Solving:

Ankona uses popeye as solving engine. If you click the button Solve with popeye – the solution will appear at the Solution field below:

Popeye “options” line you can fill if necessary.

It is set now, that the maximum time of solving is 30 seconds, because ankona works on one server, and in case of simultaneous complicated solvings it would simply stop working at all. So, it is convenient for solving problems of 2-3 moves. With more moves you can try it, but in case if it writes Solving… and nothing appears – better use Show popeye input button below to get the notation of your problem and to copy it into your local popeye-window (see my explanations about using cmd-commands or batch-scripts for popeye):

The Solution field can be edited. So, you can either edit the solution you’ve got by popeye at ankona, or enter it manually, or copy from another sources, or copy from your local popeye-window if you’ve used it for solving.

  • Versions:

In a Versions section you can save some different versions of your problem you might have during the process of composing. Remember, that these versions are only diagrams! All the other fields, like stipulation, twins, all the Catalog‘s info remains the same. Use Versions if only you change the nature or positions of the pieces:

 I believe this is all about My problems section of Ankona. Please write me or leave your comments in case if something is not clear or you have any problems with Ankona! Hopefully, I’ll be able either to help you or to assure that something you’d like to do is impossible for now.

Competitions Section

This is an interesting section for creating a competition (tourney) and  for online judging.

To be added later……

4 Responses to Ankona

  1. I hope you can explain us how we can copy the diagram and solution from Ancona to some (text) file. I saw that Ancona is good improved (with more fairy pieces and conditions) since the last my visit before some months. Keep going 😉

  2. JuliaJulia says:

    Diyan, I’m going to write much more about Ankona ( soon. New version of Ankona is coming tonight, the design is a bit different. I’ll make screenshots and explanations soon! For now I can tell that you can copy the solution as any text – select it with your mouse. But the diagram – copy as a picture. To do it click the right button of your mouse being on the diagram, choose “Copy image” from the menu. Than in your text editor (Word, OpenOffice) choose menu Edit -> Paste Special -> Paste as Bitmap. You’ll get the diagram in your editor! Another option is to use LightShot for making screenshots – you can download it from But I’ll show it on the examples soon! Thanks! Julia.

  3. madhatter5 says:

    Hi- it says I need the notation for fairy pieces, which I don’t know. Can I have a list of fairy piece notation?

    • JuliaJulia says:

      Hi! Most of the codes for fairy pieces at ankona are the same as popeye codes. The exceptions are 1-character fairy pieces (like Locust for example – it has “l” code in popeye, but 2-character code “LO” at ankona).
      For now only most useful fairy-pieces are entered into ankona (you can see them also at
      Code Name
      BP berolina pawn
      L bishop
      BL bishop-lion
      LB bishop locust
      CA camel
      G grasshopper
      KA kangaroo
      K king
      S knight
      LE leo
      LI lion
      LO locust
      MA mao
      MO moa
      NA nao
      N nightrider
      PA pao
      P pawn
      D queen
      T rook
      RL rook-lion
      LR rook locust
      VA vao
      If you need to add some more pieces – please send mail to or to me

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