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How the Internet has changed chess: Part 2

Thank you for coming back to read my continuing series. The biggest change I have noticed in the last 17 years is that there are now fewer chess clubs and weekend events and participation is much lower. Why is this? There are many reasons including fuel prices and the economy. However reality is simply the attrition of life. Chess players age, retire, and pass on. The new generation of chess players still is exposed to chess in many of the same ways the older ones were but technology has placed chess on the Internet and into their homes. Also, for the most part, Internet chess is free. I purchased my lifetime membership to the USCF forty years ago for $200. One could easily spend a similar amount just entering their very first rated tournament. If one is an absolute beginner at chess, this is a tough sell in light of free Internet chess play. I don't know the number of players who only compete on the Internet, but ideally a number of them will eventually enter and excel at real live over - the - board tournament chess. Chess.com has over 7 million registered members. To me this translates to an incredible market of interest in chess and many of us are working in tandem by publishing works on chess to attract interest and participation from this large pool of players.

 

The next big difference to me between Internet chess and real chess is two-dimensional versus three-dimensional. When you play on the Internet it's two dimensions. When you play live pieces are three dimensions. All serious players read chess books which of course are two-dimensional and we are used to looking at diagrams when solving positions. But there is no purer substitute for analyzing a game than with a full-size chess set and I mean the kind you would compete with in a real chess tournament. Since a lot of Internet chess games are played at rapid time controls one must learn to play on a two-dimensional board or lose the game quickly on time. The difference is if you play a standard time control game on the Internet you do have time to have a full-size chess set next your computer and use that when determining your moves. I have found a lot of players who play standard time control games online do not do this. Instead they analyze from the position on their monitor and play the entire game with this method. After having made 151 game analysis videos for Team 4545 league on another chess server, I have determined the top three reasons why players lose games. The first is they move too quickly and I think this is because they are accustomed playing blitz and bullet chess. The next two reasons go hand-in-hand; they neglect development and weaken their position in the opening. Many of these weakening moves are defensive in nature in order to prevent threats which have no merit. Instead these create new problems which could easily be solved by following my number one rule; develop your pieces. I laugh in jest a fourth reason exists. All players in this league have access to my videos but most do not watch them. Those that do watch them show high correlation of wins in regard to the openings and their strategies that I explain. Conversely I see plenty of players losing games to the concepts I have explained in countless videos.

 

As I note in my video lessons program it is ideal to play a standard time control game on a full-size chess set. Even for those that play chess one night a week the Internet allows you to stay home instead of driving off to the club and being away from your family. Now you can get your kids and your spouse involved in chess. You sit quietly and play your game, and they input your moves into the computer and relay your opponents’ replies on your board. As long as your family is quiet, everyone should be happy, you're all together at home.

 

I have always said way to drop the price of gasoline down to one dollar per gallon is to let people who commute more than 30 miles to work do their jobs at home. With e-mails, Web Cams, instant messaging, and other tools, the parent can stay home all day, get their job done, and further save money if they have to place their children in childcare while they're working. This concept can work well for chess in the future by following models of the past. In 1945 the USA and the USSR played a historic chess match by shortwave radio. In 1965 Bobby Fischer competed by Telex from New York in a tournament held in Cuba. In the 1970s a chess league was played in the USA by telephone. All major cities in the nation participated. All that was needed was an open telephone line and a runner to relay the moves from the phone to the other room where the team sat in order just as if they were at a real tournament.

 

Now let us consider just one application of this concept to real chess in the United States. This summer the U.S. Open Chess Championship is being held in Wisconsin. What if players around the country or even the world could drive to a designated location near where they live and through the Internet compete in this tournament. It seems to me participation in chess activities would rise. Objections that might be raised that unseen opponents might be using a chess engine to assist his play would be quelled simply because all these Internet players are competing in a monitored location.

 

I have something in mind along the lines stated above that will further assist development of chess participation and skill for the members here at chess.com. I will unveil it in my next blog. Thank you for your time.

Comments


  • 15 months ago

    mikenz7

    Enjoying you efforts. Small point not relevent to the issues you make. You mention the 7,000,000 on chess.com.

    At least 4,000,000 are totally inactive. 1,000's register and only playa game or two - discover they are no good and never come back.

  • 16 months ago

    msoewulff

    ok, I wanted to know if that was the premise. The claim is that one may be affected by the difference even if they really don't perceive the difference. Thanks "Lasker, Patscher, and Clavier" for helpful comments.

    To NM aww_rats most recent point: Maybe I am going to start playing "real" games in front of my opponents with flat 2-dimensional pieces. Ill print them out and paste them on cardboard. Also, I guess chess games ive played on the internet were just in my dreams.

  • 16 months ago

    ClavierCavalier

    msoewulf, while adding some OTB games to an engine to analyze, I often see moves instantly on the 2D screen that I didn't notice at all prior.  I can understand what he means.

  • 16 months ago

    Patscher

    I have to set a real board because playing with virtual board hurt my eyes

  • 16 months ago

    LaskerFan

    Excellent and refreshing series! I like your ideas very much!

    @msoewulff, if you never practice in front of a real board but only online, you will have difficulty later on playing OTB. The OP gives a practical approach so that you can later on play both online and OTB.

  • 16 months ago

    A_Tack

    I'm sure it is of help to use a real chess set in standard time control next to the computer. But doesn't this actually violate chess.com fair play regulations? As long as you only move the pieces there after they moved on the screen, it's probably ok. Otherwise you have a clear advantage if you can check the new position on your chess set before you make the move on the computer I think.

  • 16 months ago

    zazen5

    With your years of experience you offer valuable insight into training and playing.

    One of the docs I work with was asking me why I didnt attend the recent chess extravanganza in Calgary because I am known at work to be obsessed with chess and Go(wei-Chi).  The entry fees are too high.  What is my incentive to spend time driving there and then paying when I can develop my mind for free and not take away from my family?  I just dont see the incentive because even if my rating were 3000(which will never happen) there is someone out there who is better.  That is the reality, there always is someone stronger.  Kasparov might argue differently, and I would love to see Kasparov go against a 9 dan pro Go wei chi player and get buried alive.  Yes, a different game, but he should be able to adapt, shouldnt he?  Maybe not.

    Your points on studying using a real board are old school and fun.  I have books on chess that I take out with a real board and for hours review the games of players I have never met and never will.  I also do this in between weight lifting sets, I make a move in the book, then stare at the board trying to see long term and short term implications, then I consult the book to see what happened, move by move, slowly.

    Sometimes it is a good idea to try and determine the moves without moving the pieces.  This is far easier in Go(wei chi) than chess, but I think it can be done, although it is very fatiguing and sometimes I almost pass out doing this.

    Your article implies the importance of patience in taking the time to do things correctly in training and playing.  Yes, time is very valuable and each move should ideally have many levels of thought that lie beneath it.  With blitz and bullet games I dont see this and therefore I dont play them, because there is no point other than reaction time which I can get driving in traffic.

  • 16 months ago

    SolomeoParado

    Excellent article. Thanks!!

  • 16 months ago

    NM aww-rats

    Well, you don't play a real game in front of your opponent with flat 2 dimensional pieces, so use the regular chess set for standard online games.

  • 16 months ago

    msoewulff

    I gathered that from the article. I was merely asking for the reasons why you think thats better. My observation is that I do not percieve any intrinsic or extrinsic differences in my play or my experience based on if what type of board I am using (physical or virtual).

  • 16 months ago

    NM aww-rats

    msoewulff: When you play a real game in front of your opponent it's in 3D, not 2D as the internet is. I believe it's better practice to play on a 3D board. Just not at blitz, which is noted.

  • 16 months ago

    msoewulff

    Can you please explain the reason you suggest setting up a real board? You mention the 2/3 dimensional difference. I don't notice a real difference in my perception between looking at a 2D board on a screen or looking at a 3D board on the table.

  • 16 months ago

    ClavierCavalier

    I agree that if it's from a monitored location, then it'd be fine.  I was under the impression that the person below me was talking about chess.com using cameras to stop cheating.

  • 16 months ago

    NM aww-rats

    Yes, you set up a board next to your computer for standard games. You do not move the pieces. No point in that, you're training for a real game with your opponent in front of you.

  • 16 months ago

    Patscher

    When I play Online, I set up a real board and set the actual position. THen I start to think. but WITHOUT moving pieces.

  • 16 months ago

    Vorax

    Interesting article, but I do believe that "The difference is if you play a standard time control game on the Internet you do have time to have a full-size chess set next your computer and use that when determining your moves." is not allowed on chess.com in Live Chess and would be considered "cheating". Just as when you play in a real tournament you can't have a second board in your lap and make your candidate moves there, you have to calculate in your head.

  • 16 months ago

    NM aww-rats

    ClavierCavalier: The players sit at a board, just as they would at a real tournament. The moves are relayed, just as I explained in the phone matches.

  • 16 months ago

    ClavierCavalier

    How would having a live feed prevent cheating?  It would if it was from over the shoulder and you could see the monitor.  You wouldn't know if I'm calculating and looking around the board or if I'm switching between windows to Houdini just by my face.

  • 16 months ago

    PATOMARK

    Also to prevent cheating, it would be easy to present a live feed via webcam of the competing players.

    Thanks for the article. 

  • 16 months ago

    tjmaxattack1

    like the article :)

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