Young chess players who today live on the internet might be shocked to learn that personal computers were a rarity in the mid-1980s. At the beginning of that decade chess study consisted of countless hours pouring through stacks of books – you know, those bound paper objects that needed the page turned manually when you got to the lower right hand corner. And a physical chess board had to be set up on which the book moves were played.
Before you say, “Eww! Gross!” imagine TWO chess boards, one to play out the main line and one for the notes and variations. Yes children, that’s how grandpa learned the game and some of us (somehow) actually got good at chess before computers took over the world.
Fast forward to the 21st century. Is it an accident that more and more pre-teens are becoming chess Masters, or that 9-year-old Samuel Sevian recently earned his Master rating? If we assume that the human brain hasn’t changed much in thirty years the only explanation lies in electronic computerized chess study. Today’s chess player can literally see dozens of chess games in the time it took Bobby Fischer to play through a single game – and he could absorb a chess book very quickly indeed!
Humans adapt, and chess Luddites who disdain technology handicap themselves needlessly. Paper chess books will always be with us, but we suggest that “the trend is your friend” and that all chess players should at least try an electronic chess book.