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Monday
Nov112013

High Level Chess

There's a feature article on businessinsider.com about Chess 2. Well actually it's about original chess, but it sort of reads like an ad for Chess 2. It explains how in original chess that draws are more and more of a problem and that high level play is becoming less and less interesting.

This quote is especially distressing:

So Anand encountered a "mild surprise" in the opening moves that left him "flying blind" (meaning the board was in a position with which he had not previously studied) and because of that he decided to not keep pursuing the game. He just engineered a draw.

Most real people are "flying blind" after the first couple moves of the game, and it's the challenge of trying to solve a puzzle against a live opponent (who is also flying blind) that makes the game so fun. At the highest levels, Grandmasters go very deep into the game in positions they have studied exhaustively, and then the moment they feel uncomfortable they search for the emergency brake, and consider themselves happy to escape with half a point.

Intuitive understanding of the game and moments of brilliant improvisation are the most exciting aspects, and yet memorized lines of play are so deeply entrenched now that when a top player encounters anything outside of memorized, studied lines he heads directly for the draw. It's really the opposite of what you'd hope.

Another unfortunate quote:

They have several games yet to go where they can produce some fireworks. But if these first two games are indicative of future play, then this match won't do anything for the world of chess. Instead it will do the opposite of promoting the game. It will be a reminder that at the highest levels, chess is a bore that you don't need to pay attention to.

Oh well, at least there's an alternative coming.