Flashy Coffee Time
How are you today? Wednesday already – the proverbial middle of the week. Also happens to be the last Wednesday of October. I hope you are having a good one!
On the Virtues of Old Chess Books
A friend of mine recently lent me a copy of his 1946 edition ‘Book of the Sunday Chronicle Chess Tournament’ and I spent this morning – over coffee, of course – flipping thru it with curiousity.
A charming little book written in the ‘old style‘ : elegance of simplicity and sufficiency. So very different from the ‘modern style’ of superficially attractive book covers and an excess of everything else, including ‘cut and paste’ of computer analysis to the point of dumbing down and removing the need for any human intervention.
This book (Sunday Chronicle), of course, was written with the public in mind. The games do not have notes, per se, but almost each game does have a diagram.
The diagram plays a very important role as it points out the critical moment of the game. In those days typesetting a diagram was expensive and time consuming … not like today where one need only press a key and presto: you can have as many diagrams as you like! Who cares about the critical position!
I especially like the spartan frugality of each round’s introductory summary:
‘Stone was slowly asphysiated. List played cafe chess. Fairhurst
was perhaps a shade too enterprising but won brilliantly. Pomar
scored a correct draw against a redoubtable opponent.’
Because the language employed is so well chosen to get to the crux of the matter, the reader does not need endless paragraphs and explanations giving the life-story of each game.
This is the ‘art’ of the ‘old style’ of chess writing. It is assumed that even if the reader is a beginner, he is not a total idiot and incapable of figuring things out on his own!
Today we are poorer because we substitute quantity for quality at every opportunity. It is just too easy with computers and word processors.
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The Fischer-Random Folly
Do people even play Fischer-Random chess? One of the most absurd ideas of Dvorkovich is to create a ‘World Championship’ for a game that nobody plays and that the public has never heard of.
What is next? The World Blindfold Championship? The World Nude-Chess Championship? I have an idea…why not organize the World Checkers Championship! Who cares that FIDE is supposed to be a chess organization…
Fischer-Random is an idiot’s game. It destroys chess’ heritage and dignity. It does nothing to promote our collective chess-culture. NOBODY even plays it at home!
That some sponsors throw big money at big name chess players to participate in a Fischer-Random tournament parallels the sad reality of some wealthy Russian patron throwing money at women to participate in the ‘Blondes vs Brunettes‘ tournament in Moscow each year.
Is this really the future that you dreamed of?