Better Chess Vision. A Manifesto

Better Chess Vision. A Manifesto

Dec 13, 2014, 2:49 PM |

It is becoming necessary for the attention of chess teachers, instructors and educators to be drawn to one circumstance which seems to be so slight that they do not even consider it their duty to notice it. That thing is the following: they are responsible for the unchecked spread of a virus infecting an entire population. Where? In the mind of the chess beginner, causing a severe condition, called poor chess vision.

And chess educators, do they see it? No, they do not. Is this intentional? No, it is professional.

This what the human race in the 21-st century knows, cognitive neuroscience, brain-behavior relationships, educational psychology, learning theory, pedagogy, chess educators ignore.

Picasso's Blind Minotaur Led by a Girl theu the Night
Pablo Picasso, Blind Minotaur Led by a Girl through the Night (1934)


How is the infection caught? We are being infected during the very first hour of learning. Our teachers unwittingly infect us when using the traditional way which is slow-pace, ineffective and "fundamentally false" (Nimzovich). If then, one day, we ourselves teach someone chess, we are spreading the virus to them the same way.

This virus infects our mind, it takes over parts of our brain, programming us with habits and directions that point us away from where we should go. The virus direct us from what would otherwise give us a good chess vision and ultimately a life-time enjoyment in the game.

The infection and the resulting disease slow down our early progress in chess. Since this happens unconsciously, all we're aware of is that as we go, chess becomes less fun, more of a drag, and less meaningful. We all love success with our hard wired impulse to triumph. Without it, we may feel our motivation slipping away. We may get less excited about things than we used to. Finally, we may totally lose our confidence and interest in the game and consequently give up altogether.

The moment has come for us to raise our voices. There are moments when even the human conscience can take the stand and order chess educators to listen.

We can certainly begin to disinfect ourselves. What we need is a paradigm shift. This happens when one of the basic, underlying assumptions we've been living changes. Every paradigm shift takes some time and a bit of effort to penetrate the community to teach itself the new paradigm and even longer to become accepted by the general public.

The time has come for this old way of teaching to be replaced by a new one. No matter how dark the night may be, the horizon at the end must bathe in daylight.

Better chess starts with better chess vision. Better chess vision starts with contacts. I have made out my case here.

It is there that the entire future lies.

And the future will, what is being done, come to pass.

This is the aim, this is the harbor. Until yesterday, it was only the truth, today it is a reality.


The manifest is structured after Victor Hugo's manifest Pour la Serbie, 1876

"Il devient nécessaire d'appeler l'attention des gouvernements européens sur un fait tellement petit, à ce qu'il paraît, que les gouvernements semblent ne point l'apercevoir. Ce fait, le voici : on assassine un peuple. Où ? En Europe. Ce fait a-t-il des témoins ? Un témoin, le monde entier. Les gouvernements le voient-ils ? Non..."