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Friday, January 2, 2015

A Great Article by IM Jeremy Silman

     On Chess.com Silman has a great article titled A Chess Engine Is Not Your Friend. A must read!
     Speaking of The Amateur’s Mind, he wrote. "Chess engines and databases weren’t around when I wrote that book (the same goes for the early editions of How to Reassess Your Chess), and I was using pen and paper, with a chess set on the table. As a result, The Amateur’s Mind was filled with errors. And, of course, once chess engines were a dime a dozen, the know-it-alls not only gleefully pointed this out, they claimed the book was terrible due to those mistakes."
     "But, that’s completely wrong. The Amateur’s Mind is an exceptionally instructive book, and like all my work, it’s about concepts that will help most amateurs improve their chess understanding."
     "The errors are unfortunate in that they have distracted people (thanks to chess engines) from the book’s purpose. And, once again, the people who allowed the chess engines to distract them walked away learning nothing."
     "So, should all books that have lots of errors be tossed into the bonfire? If that’s the case, any book written before the engine age is guilty and needs to be placed in front of a firing squad. This includes Alekhine’s brilliant books and notes, Capablanca’s comments on his own games, and on and on it goes. Take any old book or look at any old game and your chess engine will slice and dice it."
     "When amateurs look at master games, the point is NOT to find errors, but to learn enough to appreciate the game’s beauty, and learn the lessons that eventually will allow you to create that same beauty in your games."
     Well said!! Silman asks the question, "Is unknowable computer chess real chess, or a form of chess that our human minds can’t comprehend?" As I mentioned in my post on Peter Clarke, the game may have ended in a flurry of errors on both sides, but that in no way detracted from Clarke's attack. Who would you rather watch play...Tahl or Nezhmetdinov with their risky, often unsound sacrifices or Petrosian with his near flawless technique or Ulf Andersson with his 100-move Rook and Pawn endings?

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