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Grazza

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  1. An article by me has just appeared at ChessCafe. Milton is featured too!

    1. Memfis

      Memfis

      Nice retrospective, I've never thought about just how "dangerous" it was to write chess books back when people didn't have chess programs and the authors had to do all the analysis by themselves. Managing an opening library must have been hell as well, having to deal with countless papers and to follow the latest findings all the time.

      I see that Alexander Kotov's books are known in the US as well. Just recently I've read his "В шутку и всерьёз" (1965), an inside look at a grandmaster's life (no analysis or anything, just stories and anecdotes). In one of the chapters he talks about the practice of adjourning games after 40 moves. I thought it's a shame that that wouldn't work today since we have computers, it sounded like an interesting part of the game, like an ultimate test of player's analyzing skills.

    2. Grazza

      Grazza

      Thanks - glad you liked it.

      Memfis said:
      I see that Alexander Kotov's books are known in the US as well. Just recently I've read his "В шутку и всерьёз" (1965), an inside look at a grandmaster's life (no analysis or anything, just stories and anecdotes).

      It's really only his book Think Like a Grandmaster (Kak Stat' Grossmeisterom) that he is widely remembered for in the West, and in fact just the first part of that book. It is viewed as a somewhat unrealistic model of how to think, but at least it gets people to think about how they think. A generation of players were probably too embarrassed to admit that they didn't think in that way, but in the last couple of decades there have been some critiques that present a more realistic view. Perhaps the most telling point is that even computers think in a much more flexible way than Kotov advocated, and his whole point was to get people to think more like a machine. Anyway, I felt pretty safe in this piece referring to Kotov's model as an archetype of excessively regimented thought.

      In one of the chapters he talks about the practice of adjourning games after 40 moves. I thought it's a shame that that wouldn't work today since we have computers, it sounded like an interesting part of the game, like an ultimate test of player's analyzing skills.

      Actually, there was a recent event that experimented with adjournments. It is indeed possible that they were abandoned without sufficient reason. At the time (early 1990s) it just seemed self-evident: computer use could simply decide the result of some adjourned games, so there should be no adjournments at all. The upshot, however, is that most endgames are now played with very little time to think, with the outcome depending on stamina and bladder stength as much as chess skill. We've swapped the occasional injustice for a general lowering of the level of endgame play. On the other hand, events can run on a faster schedule, with no need to build in extra days for adjournments.

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