Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Any New Ideas in Chess?

For 1600 years mankind has been accumulating chess ideas. My first lesson from my great uncle Justin "Ducky" Power (BCC member) was:

"Always make a plan and try to execute it. A bad plan is better than no plan at all. Eventually you will learn to make good plans."

Having some paper route money in the mid 1960's I bought New Ideas in Chess by Larry Evans. It

Evans (right) helping Fischer prepare for his World Championship match,

as Ducky Power looks on.

was my third chess book and in a very over simplified way it talked about concepts like Time, Space, Pawn Structure. Upon this book I built the framework on which I hung chess ideas. Looking today at its reviews in Amazon it's obvious old timers reek of nostalgia about the book while contemporaries looking at the book wouldn't understand it's importance. But people have to understand that in the 60's there was no internet; no Barnes and Noble; kids like me didn't know the USCF; and most libraries had a limited chess book collection. The market place was sprinkled with many mediocre/redundant books by Fred Reinfeld and IA Horwitz (although each did write a few very good books). And now people are selling for $25 a New Ideas in Chess originally I paid around $1.50 for the book?!

As we know in the late 1800'ds we had Steinitz, Tarrasch, Lasker, and Capablanca publishing and lecturing their perspective of the key ideas in chess. The classical school was later challenged by the hypermodern Nimzovich and Reti. After World War II the Soviets and the School of Botvinick organized, systematized, and codified chess ideas. Today new dynamics exist, but I feel it's driven more from players sifting the internet cloud for games in the hunt for specific positions that will challenge specific opponents. Kramnik's Berlin variation of the Roi stopping Kasparov in 2000 is an example.

Have all the major ideas in chess been discovered? Will there be any new chess concepts to be developed in chess or are we collecting and creating computer cooks to spring on our opponents? Will Magnus Carlsen give new ideas to us when he becomes world champ?

Please Comment.

Thank You

Mike Griffin


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