Warning against comp dependence

While technology helps in picking out drug cheats, it’s a different story as far as chess is concerned.

CHENNAI: In May, Radiohead’s OK Computer will turn 20. The 1997 album has arguably influenced rock music more than any other in the 90s, as it spoke of the impact of technology on human minds.

In chess, technology has had a significant presence. While most players benefit from using chess engines, Viswanathan Anand says they reduce scope for innovation.

“Computers have had a profound impact. They have changed my game. You simply cannot train anymore without using it. It’s revolutionised every aspect. But, it’s  also dangerous, because computers play perfectly. It’s very easy to look at the screen and understand positions. Manually, there is no scope for evaluation and it becomes harder. If someone is telling you that your move is right, it becomes easy. So, one has to mix and match,” said Anand, after inaugurating a three-day chess camp for schoolchildren.

While technology helps in picking out drug cheats, it’s a different story as far as chess is concerned. Anand feels electronic cheating is a concern in chess. One high-profile instance is of Frenchman Sebastien Feller during the 2010 FIDE Olympiad. GM Cyril Marzolo used computer programmes back home and sent messages to coach Arnaud Hauchard. Arnaud would later send signals to Feller by sitting or standing at various tables.

“I have occasionally heard stories of substance abuse in chess. But the boost is not significant and we do have drug testing at World Championships. In chess, electronic cheating is much more relevant. It requires little assistance. During a game, at a critical moment, even the smallest information can be a game-changer. But we have measures like metal detectors to prevent that. It’s almost similar to airport security. They screen you and block signals,” the 47-year-old said.

The five-time world champion also spoke about psychological warfare. “It’s all about maintaining concentration. The ideal state is to make the best moves at the right time. But during games, you might think what your opponent is trying to do. So, it’s an important area. But if the position on the board is wonderful, then these things don’t matter. There are legitimate ways of doing this. You can look confident. There are bad ways, like making faces, hitting the clock hard and so on.”


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The New Indian Express