Modern Players or Older Players?

  • #1

    Is it better to study modern player games as opposed to older games becasue modern players use better openings and have better over all strategy? I mean, isnt it true that any modern day player would have better end game savvy than say Capablanca? Same with modern players compared with older ones in regards to tactics etc?

  • #2

    Modern players for the openings. Cuz those are the openings you are most likely to be facing.

    For middlegames and endgames, study it all!

    The rich history of chess is a deep ocean. Don't be afraid to dive right in!

  • #3

    Those older masters would tend to be clearer and easier to understand.

    If one mainly had a good understanding of pre-1950 chess, what kind of rating would he be limited to?

  • #4

    My thought was the benefit of older players is that the opposiiton was somewhat weaker, so you could actually see plans being carried out.

    As opposed to modern games, where the plans are canceled out 10 moves before they are even begun, and fifteen moves before I see them.

  • #5

    Get "My Great Predecessors" (written by a couple of ghost writers and signed by Kasparov) and start from Steinitz (Morphy was a great player, but 95% of his opponents played extremely poorly).  You have a hell of a lot to learn from his games, and then you can proceed to the next great player... then the next, and so it goes.

    Are you really interested about the latest discovery of Nakamura's computer on the 34th move of a king's indian?

  • #6
    pfren wrote:

    Get "My Great Predecessors" (written by a couple of ghost writers and signed by Kasparov) and start from Steinitz (Morphy was a great player, but 95% of his opponents played extremely poorly).  You have a hell of a lot to learn from his games, and then you can proceed to the next great player... then the next, and so it goes.

    Are you really interested about the latest discovery of Nakamura's computer on the 34th move of a king's indian?

    I saw some of Naka's annotations and he was talking about what a fool human players are compared to the computer and how his computer found a better move than he did in the game.

    But it was pointed out that Polugaevesky, when he came up with that Najdorf variation, said the principals that he founded the variation on Nakamura had strayed from, and it was Naka who was the fool for not understanding the human side of chess.

    Anyway when I saw Naka's annotations were mostly quoting to me what his computer said I found that pretty worthless and lost some respect for him as a player.

  • #7

    I guess that Naka learned a couple of things the hard way playing Black against Magnus recently. Magnus picked an almost forgotten sub-sub variation of the Sveshnikov, and Naka replied with the "best line" according to computers, giving Black easy equality.

    The game did not last long, poor Naka was cleanly demolished... the game was painful to watch, let alone play OTB. Well, when asked about the game, GM Sveshnikov was extremely critical on Black's play- saying that his pet variation does not deserve such a poor handling, and strongly questioned Houdinamura's positional understanding.

  • #8

    There is nothing wrong with looking at the modern GM games, everyone's got a favorite player or players to support and so on. However, for pure learning purposes, the older games are essential to get to see basic plans in their purest form. In modern top level games more clear strategies are defused before they are realised and quite often it's just a tactical mess, sometimes based on deep comp prep. So study the old games, it's helpful! Especially so if they are annotated well and put into a strategical theme context.

  • #9

    There is no reason you should not study both the great masters of history and those of today.

    If you follow the progression from Steinitz onward, as suggested by IM pfren and IM Chessexplained above, you can follow the development of chess theory as you develop your own game.

  • #10

    Topalov also relied to much on computer, in fact he has powerfull computer. Yet he lost his title. 

  • #11
    ah93704559 wrote:

    I mean, isnt it true that any modern day player would have better end game savvy than say Capablanca?

    Well let's ask IM pfren -- is this true?

  • #12

    What does "any modern player" mean? 

  • #13

    A modern GM (or super GM, perhaps)

  • #14

    My estimate: most 2700+ are on a similar level, but not all. 

  • #15

    With all due respect to the OP, his highest rating is 1542 in online chess. I myself am about a quarter of an inch above him (and will probably be below in the near future). When players such as we ask questions about whether to study the great masters of the past or the present, it's like the beginning piano student asking whether to listen to the recordings of Horowitz or Brendel. Both are so far beyond our ken that the difference is laughable.

    From my pitifully low standing on the chess totem pole, though, my opinion is this: Study the great masters of the past first. They are the ones from whom you will learn great things about the middle and ending, about developing your pieces, about controlling the center.

    All of this is second nature to today's GMs, but only because they have ALREADY studied Lasker, Capablanca, Morphy, Philidor, Alekhine, and Marshall. For me to study the games of Carlsen, Nakamura, and Anand is to try to learn elementary science by going straight to the most recent discoveries at the CERN supercollider.

  • #16

    YES. You should study us old guys and learn a thing or two.

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