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Panning Across Canada

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Charles Vlasov
Charles Vlasov

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Good planning is central to good chess. A plan gives meaningto manoeuvres and tactical devices, forming a coherent whole that brings uscloser to our goals. The modern understanding of chess planning has evolvedconsiderably since the days of the "grand plan", whereby a player might eventry to map out the whole course of the game. Nowadays, top-class playersappreciate that the opponent's ideas also deserve respect, and our own plansmust take them into account too. Modern grandmasters plan with great purposebut also flexibly, ready to adjust or even change direction completely when thesituation demands it.

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Chess has an extensive literature. In 1913, the chess historian H.J.R. Murray estimated the total number of books, magazines, and chess columns in newspapers to be about 5,000.[18] B.H. Wood estimated the number, as of 1949, to be about 20,000.[19] David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld write that, "Since then there has been a steady increase year by year of the number of new chess publications. No one knows how many have been printed."[19] Significant public chess libraries include the John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection at Cleveland Public Library, with over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 bound volumes of chess periodicals;[20] and the Chess & Draughts collection at the National Library of the Netherlands, with about 30,000 books.[21]

Around 1200, the rules of shatranj started to be modified in Europe, culminating, several major changes later, in the emergence of modern chess practically as it is known today.[64] A major change was the modern piece movement rules, which began to appear in intellectual circles in Valencia, Spain, around 1475,[note 4] which established the foundations and brought it very close to current Chess. These new rules then were quickly adopted in Italy and Southern France before diffusing into the rest of Europe.[67][68] Pawns gained the ability to advance two squares on their first move, while bishops and queens acquired their modern movement powers. The queen replaced the earlier vizier chess piece toward the end of the 10th century and by the 15th century had become the most powerful piece;[69] in light of that, modern chess was often referred to at the time as "Queen's Chess" or "Mad Queen Chess".[70] Castling, derived from the "king's leap", usually in combination with a pawn or rook move to bring the king to safety, was introduced. These new rules quickly spread throughout Western Europe.

The first modern chess tournament was organized by Howard Staunton, a leading English chess player, and was held in London in 1851. It was won by the German Adolf Anderssen, who was hailed as the leading chess master. His brilliant, energetic attacking style was typical for the time.[80][81] Sparkling games like Anderssen's Immortal Game and Evergreen Game or Morphy's "Opera Game" were regarded as the highest possible summit of the art of chess.[82]

In the interwar period, chess was revolutionized by the new theoretical school of so-called hypermodernists like Aron Nimzowitsch and Richard Réti. They advocated controlling the center of the board with distant pieces rather than with pawns, thus inviting opponents to occupy the center with pawns, which become objects of attack.[89]

The number of grandmasters and other chess professionals has also grown in the modern era. Kenneth Regan and Guy Haworth conducted research involving comparison of move choices by players of different levels and from different periods with the analysis of strong chess engines; they concluded that the increase in the number of grandmasters and higher Elo ratings of the top players reflect an actual increase in the average standard of play, rather than "rating inflation" or "title inflation".[117]

Online chess is chess that is played over the internet, allowing players to play against each other in real time. This is done through the use of Internet chess servers, which pair up individual players based on their rating using an Elo or similar rating system. Online chess saw a spike in growth during the quarantines of the COVID-19 pandemic.[164][165] This can be attributed to both isolation and the popularity of Netflix miniseries The Queen's Gambit, which was released in October 2020.[164][165] Chess app downloads on the App Store and Google Play Store rose by 63% after the show debuted.[166] saw more than twice as many account registrations in November as it had in previous months, and the number of games played monthly on Lichess doubled as well. There was also a demographic shift in players, with female registration on shifting from 22% to 27% of new players.[167] GM Maurice Ashley said "A boom is taking place in chess like we have never seen maybe since the Bobby Fischer days", attributing the growth to an increased desire to do something constructive during the pandemic.[168] USCF Women's Program Director Jennifer Shahade stated that chess works well on the internet, since pieces do not need to be reset and matchmaking is virtually instant.[169]

The chess machine is an ideal one to start with, since: (1) the problem is sharply defined both in allowed operations (the moves) and in the ultimate goal (checkmate); (2) it is neither so simple as to be trivial nor too difficult for satisfactory solution; (3) chess is generally considered to require "thinking" for skillful play; a solution of this problem will force us either to admit the possibility of a mechanized thinking or to further restrict our concept of "thinking"; (4) the discrete structure of chess fits well into the digital nature ofmodern computers.[173]

With huge databases of past games and high analytical ability, computers can help players to learn chess and prepare for matches. Internet Chess Servers allow people to find and play opponents worldwide. The presence of computers and modern communication tools have raised concerns regarding cheating during games.[182]

* "Stonewalling - How to turn this frustrating opening into your opponent's Watergate", by IM Larry D. Evans (not the former 5-time US Open Champion GM Larry M. Evans, who was a friend of Bobby Fischer); pp. 34-36 of the December 1981 issue of Chess Life magazine (the pdf may be slow to download)...

Back issues of Chess Life magazine can be downloaded as .pdf files from the United States Chess Federation (USCF) Chess Life and Chess Review Archives here (your download might be slow, so be patient)... 041b061a72


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