visayanbraindoctor: Excerpts of a discussion in Jose Raul Capablanca. Because of Watson's claim that <the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today> it might be more appropriately placed here.
<Jonathan Sarfati: Players with long careers can help us make comparisons across generations. Lasker, Botvinnik, Keres, and Korchnoi qualify. E.g. Botvinnik was already a top player when he was out-analysed, by his own admission, by the past-his-best hypertensive Capablanca, yet Botvinnik beat Spassky when Botvinnik was in his 50s and Spassky was first challenging for the world title. Later, Spassky still managed a level score with Kasparov. I think if Botvinnik were alive today, he would laugh uproariously at Watson's claim in "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" that the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today.>
I agree. 'Transitivity' does not always work. But then again 'transitivity' does not always fail to work. It's not an absolute proposition. Your post reads quite reasonable.
<Watson's claim in "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" that the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today.>
Keres vs J L Watson, 1975
Here is an old Keres crushing upstart Watson in a typical Keresian attack, just before Keres died of a heart attack.
Watson's statement in my honest opinion is ridiculous. Even an aged about to die Keres was much better than him.
Dec-27-15 Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor>, that game is most amusing. Keres played an unpretentious opening but showed his great strength in the middlegame. That's what Capa did and what Carlsen does now.
Yes, transitivity counts as a cumulative case, when there are top players who have played both the pre-WW2 world champs as well as Fischer and his generation. Even when these bridging players were past their best, they could still give a good account of themselves (Botvinnik, Keres, Reshevsky, Najdorf).
Dec-27-15 visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati> There is an issue revolving around the term 'modern'. Watson and many kibitzer followers of his conjure this word out of thin air, claim that today's players are modern, and from there conclude that <the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today>. The logic is so illogical that I find it hard to believe that many chess fans ascribe truth to it.
First let's agree to define what 'modern' is. According to Merriam-Webster, it is an adjective
<of or relating to the present time or the recent past : happening, existing, or developing at a time near the present time>
So what is the common modern manner of playing chess among top masters nowadays?
You just described it above:
<that game is most amusing. Keres played an unpretentious opening but showed his great strength in the middlegame. That's what Capa did and what Carlsen does now.>
Note that many of the sharp double edged opening variations that were so readily seen in top master play during the Kasparov era had been replaced by <unpretentious openings>. The present World Champion Carlsen seems to be spearheading this trend, which I find quite ironical because most of those who ascribe to Watson's false speculation in this site seem to be his fans. This is not to say that most of his fans are like that, I believe that many of Carlsen's fans find there is something wrong with what Watson is saying.
If we follow the strict definition of modern, then the modern way of playing top level chess nowadays is to employ an unpretentious opening in order to get into a playable middlegame, and from there let chessplaying skills rule further play.
Surprise! This is precisely the way the archaic Keres in Keres vs J L Watson, 1975 beat the 'modern' Watson. Yes Botvinnik would have laughed.
It is also precisely the way that Capablanca played most of his games. An unpretentious but sound opening that can get him into a playable middlegame, and then he outplayed his opponent with super accurate play. If that's not modern I don't know what is.