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  1. 16 Dec '16 11:35 / 2 edits
    When I was playing in ICCF tournaments back in the 80's, some of my opponents from eastern Europe and I would exchange chess literature. Being an American I was curious what chess literature from Russia, Poland, East Germany etc. was like, since most chess players from those countries were generally stronger players than Americans. I was surprised at how little chess information was in these magazines. They were normally about 15-30 pages, contained about 10 - 15 games from local and national tournaments, along with a few interviews. (I was shocked to find the Russian magazine Shahmati - CCCP was only 12 pages and had an entire page devoted to checkers!) Today we have access to massive amounts of information on You Tube, and online openings sites with millions of openings and sub variations. So, does all this information really make for stronger chess players, or is chess skill more a matter of hard work, and making maximum use of the information we have?
  2. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    16 Dec '16 12:25
    Originally posted by mchill
    When I was playing in ICCF tournaments back in the 80's, some of my opponents from eastern Europe and I would exchange chess literature. Being an American I was curious what chess literature from Russia, Poland, East Germany etc. was like, since most chess players from those countries were generally stronger players than Americans. I was surprised at how litt ...[text shortened]... or is chess skill more a matter of hard work, and making maximum use of the information we have?
    If you want an example of hard work, look at Bobby Fischer. Of course he started out with an IQ of 180, that has to help🙂 Also Judith Polgar, lots of hard work but again, she started with an IQ of 170. You can be taught up to a certain strength, I have heard it said anyone can be trained to be expert level (USCF 2000-2199) but getting higher takes inherent talent that needs to be unfolded by good teachers and playing strong players.
  3. 16 Dec '16 14:37
    Originally posted by mchill
    When I was playing in ICCF tournaments back in the 80's, some of my opponents from eastern Europe and I would exchange chess literature. Being an American I was curious what chess literature from Russia, Poland, East Germany etc. was like, since most chess players from those countries were generally stronger players than Americans. I was surprised at how litt ...[text shortened]... or is chess skill more a matter of hard work, and making maximum use of the information we have?
    I also played ICCF tournamenst at same period 1979-82, and I played woth Americans, Argentinians, Germans and Soviet players. They expressed hunger toward Chess Informants. I had them for cheap price, and when I sent them a couple, only a couple, they had been so grateful, that they'd sent me mountains of chess books in Russian.
    They had tremendous good chess handbooks. I still have Nimtzowich "Moya Systema v Praktike", almost all Averbakhs ending handbooks, books abput Karpov, Boleslavsky, Rubinstein, "Perehod V Ensdpil" etc.
    AT the same time, I however abandoned chess being not capable for hard work as Fischer and Miss Polagr and without chess teacher (neither talanted nor industrious, I think my IQ is <90).
    But Soviet chess magazines were not so bad as you describe them now.
    They had more pages, and more games, although they valued checkers as equal sport. (Shashki).
    I have some issues of Shammati and 64 and Sahmati Bulletin from 1981 now, and I am leafing through them just now - a lot of dust arose Caugh Caugh... - look Queen Indian by Geller, I got that but I don't play the opening...
  4. 16 Dec '16 14:39 / 1 edit
    The key of their success (their=Soviet) is training system and State grants they had given to chessists. It was professional occupation in USSR.
    The offpsrings of Soviet Chess Training School are still the best and they offer best training services in the civilized world.
  5. 16 Dec '16 14:45
    Fischer found the way to lay his hands on Soviet chess magazines as soon is in fifties. He absorbed Boleslavsky's and Bronstein's ideas in King's Indian Defense, and Smyslov's and Sozin's ideas in Sicilian as white. He fell in love with Ragozin's defense at first sight.
    He destroyed Reshevsky in Accelerated Dragon Sicilian just by copying a gem from Soviet magayine (A Lion In A Mouse Trap game).
    He endured draw in tough ending at some tournament in 1959 (Zurich or Santiago de Chile or Mar Del Plata, I can't recall now) simply by copying the analysis he had read in some obscure Soviet chess magazine.
  6. 16 Dec '16 14:48
    Lion In Mouse Trap game
    Fischer vs. Reshevsky (1958)
  7. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    16 Dec '16 16:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by mchill
    When I was playing in ICCF tournaments back in the 80's, some of my opponents from eastern Europe and I would exchange chess literature. Being an American I was curious what chess literature from Russia, Poland, East Germany etc. was like, since most chess players from those countries were generally stronger players than Americans. I was surprised at how litt ...[text shortened]... or is chess skill more a matter of hard work, and making maximum use of the information we have?
    For most players what dominates games are tactical oversights. So what dominates playing strength for the majority of players is whether they spot what's in front of them or not. Technical knowledge beyond what's in an introductory endgame book only really starts to make a difference in playing strength between players strong enough that missed tactics don't dominate games. So I think that the effect chess information being more available has is more pronounced for stronger players. Spotting that one's opponents bishop has been sneakily covering f4 since the start of the game and not putting the queen there as I did in a pub game the other day dominates players' strength for players less than around 2,000.
  8. 17 Dec '16 00:31 / 1 edit
    I forgot to write 2 things.

    1.
    I didn't realize how privileged was my position being in former Yugoslavia and how those Informants was pure gold to my Soviet chess friends.
    2. Fischer said something about knowledge, how it was important, and he said this in the connection with the series of simoultan exhibitons he gave in Argentina in aftermath of his match against Petrossian. Even in 1970's Latin America was pretty much cut off chess communications.

    3.
    Information does mean stronger player.

    So there were 3 things after all...