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A Recap: Chess a never ending show!

by GM Elshan Moradiabadi


I was supposed to write this blog long time ago. Unfortunately, two things prevented me from doing so: first, my second residency this year at the Saint Louis Chess Club, second and main reason for this postponed article, is the never ending schedule of chess events and activities that have hit me up in the past three months!


When the Soviet Union started its domination over the chess world in 1948, Mikhail Botvinnik became the first Soviet player to  become world champion (the first in a long dynasty that ruled chess all the way till 1990 except between 1972-1974 when Bobby Fischer was World Champion), the Soviet school of chess was dictating its method and way of thinking about chess professionals to the rest of the world. One of the many characteristics for a good professional player was choosing the tournament and the number of games they were playing per year. Botvinnik was strictly instructing players to not play over forty games. Deep preparation, physical training, and several other factors were reasons for this recommendation.


However, recent development in AI and machine learning, availability of data and better algorithms, have made chess engines much stronger. 'Deep preparation' is now a task for a few hours rather than months or years. Every top GM could easily study and get a grasp of almost every opening and prepare oneself for a tough match in any format. Nowadays, every 'average' GM has an amount of knowledge on different openings while at the very top, elite GM(s) are capable of demonstrating deep knowledge in every off-beat line.


These developments and trends has made chess a never ending show! Nowadays we can see that chess events are taking place (most of them with live coverage) in every continent on a daily basis.


Garry Kasparov


Remember Kasparov's return in Grand Chess Tour? It is only a few weeks since the epic abrupt return of the legendary champion and we now have the FIDE World Chess Cup to watch in Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, where all of the top players in the world take part to decide the two seats for the 2018 candidates tournament in Berlin, Germany. Nevertheless, that won't be the end of story! While the World Cup is reaching its final phases (with the U.S. holding its hope to its last representative in the event, GM Wesley So, who at the time of writing this article in among the top four) the Isle of Man International Chess Tournament, by far the strongest open tournament, will start featuring the top players in the world including World Champion Magnus Carlsen.


As you can see, the players and coaches keep moving from one country to another because chess is now a never ending show on a 24/7 basis around the globe. If in the old days people had to travel days to see Mikhail Tal's firework on the board, Petrosian's strategic accuracy, and Fischer deep calculations, today top events take place concurrently with live and full coverage. Thus, I suggest chess lovers, aficionados, and enthusiasts sit back, fire up their laptops and enjoy this sleepless show!


Have fun!