The future of chess?

dgt 2010Today the Zurich Chess Challenge starts. The organizers invited some very strong grandmasters: Anand, Kramnik, Nakamura, Aronian, Giri and Shirov.

This strong lineup is not what makes this tournament special. It is the ‘new’ time control which draws our attention.

The new time control is 40 minutes + increment. The organizers call it innovation. I call it: same old, same old. This time control is nothing new. We even have a name for it (trumpets please):

Rapid chess.

December last year I played a tournament in Malmö. The first rounds were played according to a slightly different time control: 50 minutes + increment. I did quite well. They told me that this time control was around for years and years.

So Zurich organizers: what you try to sell as ‘new’ is not new at all. I certainly hope that this time control is not going to replace the normal time control for classic chess. Although I fear the worst. It was just announced that The Grand Chess tour welcomes two new tournaments in Paris and Brussel. It will be rapid+blitz events.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with rapid or blitz chess. It is just another way of playing the game. It can be great fun. But it should not replace classical chess. The quality of the games will suffer. And why the hell do organizers think that fast is better?

O yeah, they think it is more attractive. They are under the illusion that it will draw new crowds to the chess arena. Do they really believe this bullshit? The problem with chess is of course that in order to enjoy the game one need at least understand a bit what is going on. Otherwise it is incomprehensible and boring.

And now comes the kicker: the faster the game is played, the more difficult it is to follow. Understanding goes down the drain and with it the attraction. So the opposite might be true: fast kills the game. I hope the organizers will soon realize that this is the wrong way to go.

For me the real classic chess is: 2 hours for 40 moves. Or am I getting too old and grumpy?

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