Today’s Vintage Chess Humor
ChessReview, 1969. The 1960’s saw a number of social changes that challenged the status quo with respect to authority figures. The Hippy Movement, the Sexual Revolution, the Anti-Vietnam War Movement and the Civil Rights Movement all played their parts in undermining the traditional pillars of social hierarchy that had been more or less accepted as normal in the western world.
But was there a comparable movement within the chess world? No, I don’t think so. Prodigies were still few and far between. In 1968 the World Champion was 39 years old. His challenger in 1969 was already 32. Bobby Fischer was still in his mid-twenties; Tal was just a year older than Spassky.
Today we see the demographics have changed a bit, but not that much. Carlsen is almost 30 and it is likely that his challenger will be similar.
But what has changed in the chess world are the effects of the information/technology revolution: it is becoming almost eerily common for a 12 year old to become a grandmaster today!
When I was younger it was thought that if a player did not become a master by age 21, then he would never become a grandmaster. Today, if one is not 2700 by age 16 then he is already washed up and had better stay in school!