< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 60 OF 60 ·
|Aug-17-15|| ||Eggman: <<wrap99>> I think you are underestimating the difficulty of learning the rules of chess by simply watching others play. It is not a prosaic accomplishment at all.|
I have no problem believing that someone could learn *most* of the rules of chess by watching. The difficult part, though, is to figure out what you *cannot* do, especially as it pertains to the pawns, e.g. that a pawn, unlike all the other chess men, *cannot* move backwards, that it *cannot* move sideways, that a pawn *cannot* move two squares forward *except* on its first move (and even then, can only move two squares forward vertically, i.e. when *not* capturing), that it *cannot* move diagonally *except* when capturing, and that it *cannot* move vertically *except* when *not* capturing. How many times to you need to observe a pawn *not* doing something before you can be sure that it *cannot* do it?
And how confusing would castling be? Can any two men perform a similar operation? Or just the king and rook? And don't even get me starting on en passant!
Heck, even the object of the game is confusing, i.e. the fact that, instead of simply capturing the king, we have these rules for check, checkmate, and stalemate (and why should stalemate, in which the player to move will lose his king no matter where he goes, be a draw?).
Like I said, learning *most* of the rules by just watching is not a great accomplishment, but learning all or even nearly all strikes me as highly implausible. This implausibility is evinced by the fact that listing a few of the more difficult rules has required such a lengthy post!
|Aug-17-15|| ||wrap99: <Eggman> I think it is reasonable to assume that both guys still had questions to ask about, as you suggest, castling (the rule that prevents castling through check although the rook can castle through attack seems like something that they would not have been able to derive by observation). But I think underestimating the abilities of a top chess player is very possible -- GMs are just extraordinarily able when it comes to things like memory. (I avoid the entire intelligence discussion.)
I was struck by Karpov memorizing a list of twenty interview questions after brief study or Fischer's memory feats. Deriving the rules would largely be a function of memory, I think.|
|Aug-17-15|| ||Eggman: I don't know if we're recalling different interviews, but my recollection is that Karpov read over a list of 50 questions, rejected 3, and answered the remaining 47 from memory. Impressive either way.|
As implied by my post, I don't believe that Karpov, Kasparov, Reshevsky, etc, are "making it up" per se - just exaggerating. Though if you're familiar with Reshevsky's character, making stuff up is something you shouldn't put past him.
|Nov-06-15|| ||TheFocus: <For a period of ten years - between 1946 and 1956 - Reshevsky was probably the best chessplayer in the world. I feel sure that had he played a match with Botvinnik during that time he would have won and been World Champion> - Robert Fischer.|
Pure BS. At no time was Reshevsky capable of defeating Botvinnik in a world championship match.
|Nov-06-15|| ||Petrosianic: Fischer wasn't good at concealing his biases. He's simply arbitrarily picked all of the time between Alekhine's death and the year before his own emergence. He didn't even shave it down a bit to make it look less like wishful thinking. This was said at a time when he liked the US, and was biased towards it, rather than against it.|
Of the games they played in the 1946-1955 period, Reshevsky scored +2-4=5. He might possibly have won, but could not be considered a clear favorite in a match.
|Nov-06-15|| ||keypusher: < TheFocus: <For a period of ten years - between 1946 and 1956 - Reshevsky was probably the best chessplayer in the world. I feel sure that had he played a match with Botvinnik during that time he would have won and been World Champion> - Robert Fischer.
Pure BS. At no time was Reshevsky capable of defeating Botvinnik in a world championship match.>|
I can't believe I'm taking Sammy's part against Mickey, but that ain't pure BS. Yes, even from 1951 on, Botvinnik would be the favorite, but if Bronstein and Smyslov could draw with him you'd be a fool to say Reshevsky would have no chance to beat him.
And of course Smyslov <did> beat him in 1957.
|Nov-06-15|| ||TheFocus: Reshesvky couldn't carry Smyslov's jockstrap.|
|Nov-06-15|| ||HeMateMe: could be some kasparovian revisionism. Because Fischer could beat Reshevsky, it makes Bob look good by implying that Sammy R might have been the best of the earlier generation.|
Were that the case, Reshevsky would have emerged from the Candidates at some point, and played a world championship match. He just wasn't that good.
It might have helped if we had supported such players with a stipend, so that Reshevsky didn't have to do tax returns, instead of studying chess. Had he been a full time player like Fischer, well, who knows?
|Nov-06-15|| ||perfidious: The argument has been made that, because Reshevsky scored +1 =3 against Botvinnik in 1955 on top board of USSR-USA, that such a score projects to a Reshevsky victory in a title match.|
While tremendously strong and evidently a top 5-10 player from circa 1935 to the mid-fifties, Reshevsky never quite stood out from fellow aspirants to the extent that one would have tipped him to claim the crown, unlike Smyslov, winner twice running of the candidates and eventual titleholder.
|Nov-06-15|| ||keypusher: < HeMateMe: could be some kasparovian revisionism. Because Fischer could beat Reshevsky, it makes Bob look good by implying that Sammy R might have been the best of the earlier generation.
Were that the case, Reshevsky would have emerged from the Candidates at some point, and played a world championship match. He just wasn't that good.>|
Basically, there were three candidates tournaments in which Reshevsky might have realistically hoped to win: Budapest 1950, Zurich 1953, and Amsterdam 1956. Of those three, he only participated in one: Zurich 1953.
At Zurich, he finished in a tie for 2-4 with Bronstein and Keres, two points behind the winner Smyslov. Bronstein has claimed that the Soviet authorities favored Smyslov, and we've all kibitzed about this at length. I certainly don't believe everything Bronstein said. But even if you didn't believe a word: there were 15 participants at Zurich; nine were Soviet; one was American, in the coldest days of the Cold War. Not ideal for Sammy.
Budapest and Amsterdam, he wasn't there at all. Whatever you think of him, he would have had a much better shot at qualifying for a match with Botvinnik with three chances than with one.
He was a very strong GM in any format, but he had a particularly good reputation in matches. He never lost one until he was in his late 50s. So I think the really tough thing would have been for him to qualify (which would have been REALLY hard) but if he had qualified, he would have had a good chance of beating Botvinnik head to head.
|Nov-06-15|| ||perfidious: Yes, it was only at 52 that Reshevsky first lost a match, in the playoff for a candidates spot after Amsterdam Interzonal (1964):|
Amsterdam Interzonal Playoff (1964)
|Nov-06-15|| ||HeMateMe: why wasn't Reshevsky at the two Candidates tournaments mentioned above, when he was a bit younger?|
|Nov-06-15|| ||Caissanist: I believe it was for economic reasons. Reshevsky had a wife and three young children, and worked full time as an accountant to support them; in those days it was impossible for even a world championship-caliber player to support a family off tournament prizes. He later wrote in his book <Reshevsky on Chess> that <Never again will I permit chess to interfere with the more important business of caring for my family.>|
|Nov-06-15|| ||Olavi: Amsterdam 1956 is a mystery. Bronstein and Keres conceeded the spot to him, they wanted to play the 1955 Interzonal in Gothenburg, counting on qualifying; getting an extra trip abroad (says Bronstein in The Sorcerer's Apprentice). 1950 he had a spot because of the 1948 WC; it's been said that at the height of the Cold War, the State Department forbade him, but he has also stated that it was his decision. I'm quoting from memory.|
|Nov-06-15|| ||Olavi: Reshevsky on Chess is known to have been written By Reinfeld, but of course those words can still be genuine.|
|Nov-07-15|| ||RookFile: I think that Reshevsky came ready with his openings for a match. Fischer in 1972 varied his openings against Spassky, which was remarkable. For the opponents Reshesky would play, he could make a real good guess at what openings to beef up on. So, for matches, he could transform his usual weakness into a strength. There certainly wasn't anything wrong with his middlegame or endgame play, so it's not exactly clear how you beat Reshevsky in a match unless you can do what Fischer did in 1972. Fischer in 1961 wasn't capable of that, nor were the others that Reshevsky beat in match play (Najdorf, Gligorc, Botvinnik in '55, etc. )|
|Nov-07-15|| ||Lambda: 1946-1956 is a really weird period of time for comparing Reshevsky and Botvinnik. In the late 40s, Botvinnik was obviously superior, he dominated the 1948 tournament very convincingly. In the 50s, there was almost nothing to choose between the top players, any one of a handful of players including both Reshevsky and Botvinnik would have a chance of winning a match against any other.|
|Nov-07-15|| ||keypusher: <1946-1956 is a really weird period of time for comparing Reshevsky and Botvinnik. >|
As for why Fischer picked that time period, I think <petrosianic> has got it.
|Nov-07-15|| ||Olavi: There is no denying that Keres won four supertournaments in a row, two of them USSR championships, and after that Smyslov became the dominant player, for 1953-58. Botvinnik was a good third, lest say, but Reshevsky not near.|
|Nov-07-15|| ||keypusher: <Olavi: There is no denying that Keres won four supertournaments in a row, two of them USSR championships, and after that Smyslov became the dominant player, for 1953-58.>|
Fair point. But Keres and Smyslov played in all three candidates tournaments during that period, to Reshevsky's one. Nor did Reshevsky play in tournaments like Budapest (1952) or the Alekhine Memorial (1956). He simply didn't have the same opportunities Soviet grandmasters had.
|Nov-15-15|| ||Howard: Agreed! Reshevsky would have hardly stood a chance against battle-hardened players like Botvinnik and Smyslov. |
He was certainly one of the top 6-7 players in the world for many years, but hardly a contender for the top spot.
|Nov-26-15|| ||RookFile: Tarrasch won some tournaments too, and Lasker toyed with him in their match. Match play is a different animal, and Reshevsky was a feared match player.|
|Nov-26-15|| ||perfidious: <RookFile....Fischer in 1972 varied his openings against Spassky, which was remarkable....>|
It was a matter of necessity: Fischer had already lost twice to Spassky in the Exchange Gruenfeld and would surely have faced the Saemisch, another bugbear, if he had tried the King's Indian.
As matters went, some of Fischer's favourite opening lines he actually used at Reykjavik came into considerable difficulties, hence more switching of systems followed.
<For the opponents Reshesky would play, he could make a real good guess at what openings to beef up on. So, for matches, he could transform his usual weakness into a strength....Fischer in 1961 wasn't capable of that, nor were the others that Reshevsky beat in match play (Najdorf, Gligorc, Botvinnik in '55, etc. )>
As of 1961, given Fischer's rigidity, though he was mixing it up a bit by then, not hard at all for anyone to guess what he might play.
Reshevsky may have been declared the winner in the match with Fischer and received the winner's prize after all the shenanigans, but that match ended 5.5 all.
|Nov-26-15|| ||Marmot PFL: Botvinnik never won a match as World Champion. Draws with Bronstein & Smyslov, then losses to Smyslov, Tal, & Petrosian. |
Reshevsky could have also beaten him in a match, but of course Botvinnik would win the return match.
Reshvsky's 104th birthday today(or 106th or 102nd, depending which bio you believe).
|Nov-26-15|| ||RookFile: <Reshevsky could have also beaten him in a match, but of course Botvinnik would win the return match.>|
I never thought of that, but now that you mention it, that would be a perfectly logical result for those two.
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