Archive for April 9th, 2020

The horror of progress

In our modern high-tech society it has become possible to lose games in a manner previously unheard of. It involves a procedure developed technologically, one which is antithetical to the concept of chess itself and the manner in which it is played. If used even a world class player runs the risk of losing to a complete beginner. Are you wondering what on earth I am talking about? I am talking about ‘pre-move’. In bullet chess, the most absurd form of competitive chess ever created, you have the option of ‘pre-move’. In other words, making your next move before your opponent has made his based on what you assume he will do next. But if you get that wrong it can cost you the game instantly, as can be seen in the video below. I always thought that chess was a game where players thought deeply over their opponent’s last move and then via a complex decision making process made a move once a decision of their own making had been reached. More or less that’s how we play. To decide on your next move before you know what your opponent is going to play is not progress. It’s a dumbed-down version of chess that masters from the past would find demeaning and want no part of. GM Danny King calls the video below comedic. I’d call it tragic for this is an example of regression not progression. To call it chess is undignifying. To call it pointless, mindless entertainment for a mass media driven society is more to the point. The competitors will think of the money involved, the public will wonder what is wrong with the modern game and I will stop writing.

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All my life I have wondered what the title of the first book I ever read on chess was. So little is remembered that I can’t even be sure how old I was when I read it. I thought I was only 7 but perhaps not. It may just be possible that the book below, printed in 1982, making me 9 or 10 years old at the time, was that first book. It’s a possibility.

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