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Is Chess becoming a Battle of Memory over Strategy or Tactical Abilities?

Is Chess becoming a Battle of Memory over Strategy or Tactical Abilities?

Feb 7, 2018, 4:20 AM 1

I was doing some reading lately.  Bobby Fischer was always waiting for chess magazines to come out, especially those translated from Russian.  Before the computer/internet age, most people learned to play chess with their parents and friends.  Sometimes some good advice would be imparted such as try to control the center.  There were books and magazines and you could study the games of the "masters."

But if you wanted to become good in days gone by, you had to join a club.  It might be a chess club at school and later a "real" chess club.  You learned often by getting pounded, even if you had a high IQ or math acuity.   The players who won were the experienced players who read books and articles, learned openings and defenses.  

Today, before you get to a tournament, you can play online.  But the results are the same.  Those who study and learn what openings and defenses and at a time up to 15 variations have a decided advantage.  You must learn and learn and learn to get even above 1200.  I have been with Chess.com for over 10 years.  When I study my rating goes up to about 1400 -- and when I slack it drops to 900.

I have a Ph.D. in Statistics.  I seem to play well if I get past the opening in decent shape.  When I work on my openings, I play much better.  This has made me think that internet has done two major things for chess among many others.

The first is you can play without getting hammered in a tournament and learn online.  That saves embarrassment and entry fee money.  The second thing is that you cannot just be smart and play good chess.  You must learn a plethora of openings and defenses.

I doubt there will ever be a true story like the movie "Queen to Play."  Great players, because knowledge is easy to get to and many online study aids available, great players will have to have very good memories.

It used to be mathematicians often were chess champions.  That will (or is now happening) become very rare.  It will still take strategy and tactical abilities to become great.  But a fantastic memory will also be a vastly important ability. 

I personally know that at age 60, I doubt I will ever play in a face-to-face tournament.  I also doubt I will have a rating above 1500.  I play for fun.  It takes a lot more than brains to be a good chess player.  You must be willing to put the time into it.

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