Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Is world elite level chess still creative in 2018?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario National Master Former Gov.
    Posts
    3,280
    Blog Entries
    58

    Default Is world elite level chess still creative in 2018?

    In a 2006 Iceland radio interview, Bobby Fischer gave his view on why chess no longer satisfied him (presumably a reference to his motivation for inventing Fischerandom Chess):

    "[In] chess, so much depends on opening theory, so the champions before the last century didn't know nearly as much as, say, I do and other players know about opening theory. So if you just brought them back from the dead they might not do too well, because they'd get bad openings. You cannot compare the playing strength, you can only talk about natural ability, because now there is so much more opening theory, so much more memorization. Memorization is enormously powerful. Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get the opening advantage against Capablanca, or especially against the players of the previous century, like Morphy and Steinitz, easily. Maybe they'd still be able to outplay the young kid of today, but maybe not. Because nowadays when you get the opening advantage, not only do you get the opening advantage, but you know how to play the opening advantage – they have so many examples of what to do from this position. So it's really deadly, it is very deadly... that's why I don't like chess anymore... It's all just memorization and prearrangement, it's a terrible game now. A very un-creative game now."

    My first question is, in 2018 is world elite level chess "very un-creative"? A quick Google search revealed some encouraging opinions that it is not, at least.

    My second, relatively minor query is whether today a strong 14 year old could normally have a deadly advantage as a result of acquiring an opening advantage against an elite player of any era (my guess would be it's a no-brainer that it would not be the case, unless the kid himself was already an elite player).
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kitchener, ON
    Posts
    2,148
    Blog Entries
    37

    Default

    Very few 14-year-olds would have that kind of opening knowledge without also being quite strong otherwise. I guess the interesting argument would be, would a weak master-level player of today be able to defeat Steinitz or Morphy? In my opinion, yes, in isolation. I think Morphy or Steinitz would quickly learn what they were doing wrong, but in a short match or in a situation where they can't learn I think they'd have no hope. Not just openings either - they would lack modern endgame knowledge as well, at least pre-Capablanca.

    I'm sure there is still a fair bit of creativity in chess but when was the last time you heard about novelty prizes? They used to be at major events very frequently, now nobody bothers. So many games now never actually leave theory.

    Maybe we should have a system like they have in some other games - White gets to choose the first 6 moves (3 per player) and then Black gets to decide if they want to stay on the Black side or switch to the White side.
    Christopher Mallon
    FIDE Arbiter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Tecumseh, ON
    Posts
    2,296
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Who knows. Maybe Morphy and Steinitz have been playing with the more advanced heavenly counterpart to AlphaZero complete with tablebases with all 32 pieces.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario National Master Former Gov.
    Posts
    3,280
    Blog Entries
    58

    Default

    I've read on the net the opinion that Morphy had good endgame technique for his day (Steinitz I'm not sure about).

    There is Seirawan's saying "Good technique is good tactics". Soltis once observed that a good tactician can often make up for his otherwise lack of formal endgame technique. Canadian master Bruce Harper once opined that junior players can often figure out endgames, right while at the board.

    As far as openings go, Canadian IM Tom O'Donnell has opined that [even nowadays] openings don't matter much below 2400 level. Certainly in the past Nimzovich, Tartakower and, later on, players like Suttles and Basman, often got away with rather outlandish opening play, at least against lesser players or peers, as Steinitz did in his day. When Bird came out of retirement at one point, he knew he was behind on his opening studies, and so often trotted out 1.f4, as was named after him.

    If we assume nowadays Steinitz and Morphy would be about 1800 strength in the openings and endgames (prior to any study of modern material), but that they still would be 2600 or 2700 tactically, alone, my guess is that most 2200-2399 players nowadays would inevitably go down in flames against them, e.g. the instant they began to fritter away any opening edge they may have garnered at first in a given game.
    Last edited by Kevin Pacey; 08-17-2018 at 10:22 PM. Reason: Spelling
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario National Master Former Gov.
    Posts
    3,280
    Blog Entries
    58

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Mallon View Post
    ...
    I'm sure there is still a fair bit of creativity in chess but when was the last time you heard about novelty prizes? They used to be at major events very frequently, now nobody bothers. So many games now never actually leave theory.

    Maybe we should have a system like they have in some other games - White gets to choose the first 6 moves (3 per player) and then Black gets to decide if they want to stay on the Black side or switch to the White side.
    These days crushing/interesting tactical novelties (the most popular kind!?) would seem more pointless for a human to come up with without an engine at hand, and why credit a human for a tactical novelty in the opening when a machine quite possibly came up with it, or contributed to it? However IMHO lots of fairly interesting quiet, positional moves, especially in less violent openings, could still slip through the cracks of even a pretty comprehensive opening database like Chess Assistant. However, no one's rushing to make awards for them, even if they cause an opponent to become perplexed and lose a game (there's also that even quiet moves at times need to be assuredly tactically safe to play, or assumed not played before, again beckoning for a machine to assist the checking process). One thing that's obvious, but should be noted anyway, is that at the end of every 'book line', a given live game does sooner or later take an original course between human players, normally.

    I spent a lot of time checking out chess variants in the last few years, and IMO all lack something desirable chess has [still!?], though the good ones compensate for that to some extent. One thing that's relatively hard to find IMO is a variant that wouldn't take too long to play on average in terms of moves, yet also having ample good possibilities out of the starting setup. Fischerandom is one such variant, but note chess IMO has the best starting position possible for the given board and pieces. Still, I think Fischerandom could have more appeal as a way, if and when necessary, to avoid the consequences of overly heavy chess opening theory than having players choose the first few moves, or else draw them by lot. Nevertheless, even poor 8x8 checkers (solved and all) still is played in tournaments these days to some extent, even without drawing lots, never mind the playing of other variants of that.

    A link to a blog entry of mine, that mainly explains why IMO the present basic rules of chess make it so logical and pleasing:

    http://www.chesscanada.info/forum/en...games-of-skill
    Last edited by Kevin Pacey; 08-17-2018 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Adding link
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario National Master Former Gov.
    Posts
    3,280
    Blog Entries
    58

    Default

    Here's the wiki on Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess); I've given a sub-link that leads straight to the opinions of a number of GMs about this variant (and about chess by comparison, at times):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess9...y_grandmasters
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •