"We will not see a machine replacing a human being in our lifetime. Man will be able to beat a computer in at least one game for a very long time," Kasparov told a press conference in Moscow a week after settling for a draw in a six-game match with the computer Deep Junior in New York.Grandmaster Peter Biyiasas (Canadian champion in 1972 and 1975) once said, "Chess was more fun when computers were patzers.”
Maybe I am stuck in a time warp but for me the days of descriptive notation, wind-up clocks with mechanical flags, adjournments, Interzonals, round robin American and Soviet championships, ten-player Hastings Christmas tournaments, buying chess magazines and chess books from Europe, Tahl and Fischer. What was better…Tahl’s tactical prowess or Petrosian’s defensive brilliance? Masters were rare as hen’s teeth and IMs and GMs were mythical people who lived in faraway lands and they never played in weekend Swiss tournaments. Another thing about GMs…they wore suits when they played (and often smoked at the board). Those were more interesting times. Stahlberg, Larsen, Pietzsch, Ivkov, Gligorich, Pachman, Robatsch, Bilek, Parma, Szabo, O’Kelly, Tringov, Lehmann, Ciocaltea, Uhlmann, Gheoghiu, Donner, Najdorf. Reshevsky, Fischer, Lombardy, Evans, Bisguier, Benko, Weinstein, Addison, Robert Byrne, Berliner, Steinmeyer, Kavalek.
Corresdpondence chess involved pre-printed move cards, rubber diagram stamps, lots of postage stamps, a notebook, blank score sheets, postal recorder albums, knowing the ICCF Numeric Notation Grid, books and magazines for research and positions jotted down on scraps of paper and stuck in your pocket so you could analyze when you had a few spare minutes. Waiting a week or two for an opponent’s move (even longer if you were playing international CC)…that was correspondence chess at its best. Engines, databases and computer programs with their cloud computing have destroyed a lot of the magic.
Somehow these days of the Internet, engines, and games by world championship caliber players that have been sanitized by engine analysis until move thirty just doesn’t do anything for me. My wistful longing for the old days, the tournament and the players that inhabited them, won’t go away.