Computers and opening theory the bane of modern chess ?

79Abraxas79

When I see two top GM's playing today, it feels like watching two computers.  The opening lines can go on for 20 moves and more.  Who wins or loses seems to be based more on who has the better home preparation and memory then who is the better player.  

Capablanca, Fischer and many others have warned about this problem.  It seems to me that the top players today are young and play very antiseptic chess.  Technically proficient no doubt, but hardly appealing.   Those that try and deviate and play more creatively ie; Morozevich, Shirov etc, don't stay among the the top for very long. 

I was reminded by this when playing over the recent Nakamura - Eljanov game where the former deviated from theory and was roundly criticized and went on to lose the game.  His opponent joined in on the critcism in a later interview.  I guess Nakamura should have stuck with theory to God knows what move, before the two finally got around to actually making moves on their own. That or sprung some novelty prepared by a computer. 

I had really hoped that Chess960 would have replaced the old game by now.  Kill the opening, and we would truly see who is the most talented player around. It may very well be Nakamura.  To his credit, he does go against convention.  Very few top GM's these days even try.  This means however, that he may never be World Champion.  This style doesn't lend itself so well for match play.  He might have to temper his play, and play the more dry, technical, colorless chess that most of his top competitors play. 

NativeChessMinerals

Some deviations are bad and criticized, others are praised.

Fischer and Capablanca didn't warn about computers Laughing

Capablanca was worried about draws back in the day when anything that wasn't the QGD practically got a ? annotation.

Fischer faced the dilemma that chess was his life, but he couldn't keep the title forever. So either his life had to end, or chess had to end. In his cognitive dissonance, he predictably protected his life, and made chess the bad guy.

For years after both Capablanca and Fischer, chess has grown. It's grown in popularity, theory (not just opening theory), and given us great fighting games. 

I don't like how much opening prep dominates the very top either, but that level of play is farther away from us than most people realize I think. Anything is still possible for guys like you and me. So if anything, the bane of modern chess fans.

79Abraxas79

" I don't like how much opening prep dominates the very top either, but that level of play is farther away from us than most people realize I think. Anything is still possible for guys like you and me. So if anything, the bane of modern chess fans. "

Correct.  It has zero impact on me.  I play a myriad of openings equally bad. When one loses its flavor, I turn to the other. 



Diakonia

Unless youre Master and above opening prep is not going to ruin chess for the rest of us.

Ziryab

This game, annotated in Chess Informant 124, is one of many examples of current GM practice that challenges the OP's claims.

To avoid copywright violations, I have deleted all but the annotation to Black's first move.



RubiksRevenge

Chess 960 is the answer, but the powers that be don't want it for financial reasons. Imagine all the chess publishing businesses going broke when you remove their whole opening book catalogue, the elite players don't want it as home prep with computer help is their only way of staying ahead of the genuinely talented players. FIDE does have the ability to lead a change and could in my mind introduce Chess 960 for tiebreak opportunities instead of the blitz system they employ now. I also think there is an anti Fischer mentality by the higher up powers in the Chess world and introducing Chess 960 could be seen as supporting he weird views he held in his later years.

Apotek

It is true that at the very top level opening preparation is of paramount importance.These players are so strong that a slip in the opening may well cost the game.In former times,the term "opening" used to signify the first 8-10 moves.Nowadays however,the opening may be considered the first 25 moves or so and we see innovations on move 30.The bad news I think is mainly for the top GMs,who need to constantly keep up with theory and invest a hell of a lot of  time and energy in opening preparation.For the rest of us really there is no problem whatsoever,and weak players who memorize long computer lines are welcome to do so but it won't do them any good really.

NativeChessMinerals

Chess960 is not as deep, because you have to come up with things on the fly. In regular chess you can have deeper ideas, more difficult struggles, all that good stuff.

Vandros57

An alternative to Chess960 would be a selection of starting positions. For example, positions where the King and Queen remain on the standard squares and shuffle all the other pieces on the 1 and 8 rank. It wouldn't make opening preparation disappear only more diverse, and it could be used for tiebreaks...

hhnngg1

You don't need CHess960. Chess has so many movees that there is no way even a computer, let alone a GM can stay in book the whole game. 

Even in well known lines, there are many, many ways to deviate without entering a losing position. 

The top GMs arent there because they only know theory. They're still top (very top) at Chess960 variants and win because they are better players. Carlsen in particular, loves playing out of book, and has no problems playing through tough endgames.

wickiwacky

If you have the time and like studying openings, play classical chess. If you dont; play 960. Problem solved.

Diakonia
RubiksRevenge wrote:

Chess 960 is the answer, but the powers that be don't want it for financial reasons. Imagine all the chess publishing businesses going broke when you remove their whole opening book catalogue, the elite players don't want it as home prep with computer help is their only way of staying ahead of the genuinely talented players. FIDE does have the ability to lead a change and could in my mind introduce Chess 960 for tiebreak opportunities instead of the blitz system they employ now. I also think there is an anti Fischer mentality by the higher up powers in the Chess world and introducing Chess 960 could be seen as supporting he weird views he held in his later years.

chess960 is a threat to chess?  really?  

The only "benefit" to chess960 is its different, and removes the need for opening theory.  But unless youre Master strength or above, why the desire to remove opening knowledge?  You worred that your usual class opponent might have prepared a novelty on move 14 of the berlin, and is waiting to spring it on you at the club next week?

People need to quit trying to reinvent the wheel.  

Apotek

Chess variants are a joke.Chess is more than good enough as it is and it will stay that way.If some people  don't like chess maybe they  had better search for another game rather than try to distort it.

Diakonia
Apotek wrote:

Chess variants are a joke.Chess is more than good enough as it is and it will stay that way.If some people  don't like chess maybe they  had better search for another game rather than try to distort it.

I dont think chess variants are a joke, but if youre coming up with them simply because youre "bored" with chess, or your need more excitement, then maybe chess isnt for you. 

mcostan

The point of the game is to win, not to play different positions to see if you can win with them. Unfortunately for me I will not live long enough to get bored with chess. Or maybe it's fortunate.

mcostan

The point of the game is to win, not to play different positions to see if you can win with them. Unfortunately for me I will not live long enough to get bored with chess. Or maybe it's fortunate.

PossibleOatmeal

Some people like the opening phase as is and don't consider it a problem.

Ziryab
Becky_the_Stabber wrote:

For me playing and finding my own moves is more fun, and every game I play is kinda new instead of starting only at move 20.

Every game that I play is new unless it ends early. I've played a few identical games that end before move ten.

I neglect opening theory in favor of endings and middlegames. Even so, I spend a few hours per week honing my openings.

Diakonia
Becky_the_Stabber wrote:

I react to the ever more complex opening theory by not learning it.

Only "theory" I know is the lines that have developed themselves by my own play, which means they are probably none too solid, but my opponents aren't computers, so it doesn't matter.

 

Yeah, I'll never be a 2000 player like this, but who cares ?

As long as you're not a professional try to remember games were being created to spend spare time in a fun way.

If learning theory does that for you, fine.

 

For me playing and finding my own moves is more fun, and every game I play is kinda new instead of starting only at move 20.

Well said Becky!  

You would be amazed at how often i hear young players bragging how they know certain openings 10-20 moves deep, and recite chess engine analysis.  But they have no clue why they lost a game?

final_wars

79Abraxas79 [edit, sorry Diakonia]

"When I see two top GM's playing today, it feels like watching two computers."

Indeed, I no longer look at current grandmaster games, If I want to play over a good game or two I will select say a game by Karpov or Capa.

Your opinion on this new game would be appreciated, positive or negative comments are welcome, but it seems to me that it is a taboo subject in the chess world, nobody ever says anything about it.

Regards

Warlord

Final Wars

www.finalwars.com