The Death of Chess

Mar 30, 2011, 2:45 PM |

Computers have killed the Royal game. There is an article on Chessbase today ( titled: Cheating in chess: the problem won't go away.

The article is by Frederic Friedel, and there is a PDF of full anti-cheating proposal to FIDE I urge you to read. In the introduction, Frederic writes, "The danger is two-fold: 1) As new cases of cheating become public, players will start to believe that "everybody is doing it, so why shouldn't I." 2) The chess public will become sensitive to the subject and cease to believe any brilliant game, saying, "Okay, how did they get the moves from the computer?"

Number one reminds me of the steroid scandel in Major League Baseball. Although some (most?) players used something to enhance their prowess, some did not. I refer you to the book The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayer's Inside View by Doug Glanville for the opinion of one player with integrity who did not use drugs, to his own detriment. 

As for number two...I hate to be the one to break it to Mr Friedel, but we are already there! I am a fan of the Royal game and have been for over four decades. The sad fact is that, from reading chess magazines, including his own Chessbase, it seems that computer programs are responsible for most, if not all, theoretical novelities in the opening phase of the game. It has become commonplace for the top level GM's to write something like, "I had this position on my COMPUTER (not BOARD) in my room before the round."

Frederic's proposed solution is,

The anti-cheating mechanism I am proposing requires that the moves of a game do not leave the playing hall for a certain period of time, typically for 15 minutes after they have been played.

I recall reading somewhere about something Bobby Fischer said concerning the fact that every game has a 'critical' point. Mr Freidel writes, "Strong players do not need a continuous stream of moves, just computer assistance in key positions in order to win a game and an event." His own words would seem to refute his proposed time delay! Provided the player has time to wait for computer assistance it would seem to matter little how long he would have to wait for the much needed help. For a time delay to work, it is rather obvious it would need to be much longer; like after the game has finished!