Is Online Chess Masking the Spirit of Traditional Chess?


The World was in awe on February 10, 1996, when IBM’s Deep Blue beats Garry Kasparov. This was the first record of a computer defeating a human in chess. What followed up with such an event is building stronger technologies that could challenge the intelligence of man. After the event, Garry Kasparov, in an interview said that, “For machines to beat humans, it doesn't have to be perfect it just has to make less mistakes than a human. Humans eventually get less vigilant and make mistakes from tiredness. Machines don’t.”

In a very recent interview he made a statement which stated that he has been convinced by the fact that if humans and AI work together, the future can live up to the expectations of high ‘augmented intelligence’.

In all of this are we forgetting the real chess spirit?

The ‘game of kings’, the ‘strategic board game’ and a lot has been named to the glory of chess. The widely played, modern form of chess was derived from Persia that was spread from India. And now presently, all these new formats of chess like the multiplayer chess, 3D chess are all an online chess. With the mingle of Chess and Technology, new advancements are being made that suits the daily schedule of man.

However, will this make us forget what made us learn chess, in the first place? Is online chess overshadowing the grandeur of a traditional board game played between two players? There is a lot to learn from your opponent if you are sitting across each other, strategizing, calculating your next move. While in online chess, though you are receiving a lot of data about your game as well as your opponent’s move, you clearly will lose the interest in the game.

Losing the beauty to analytics

Every game has its unique charm that lies in learning it step by step. If you are just starting to learn chess, playing against a computer or a virtual opponent won’t let you enjoy the game. It’s too mechanical to start with. Learning over a traditional board game would fetch you greater insights than using a computer. However, you can always improve your game over online platforms, they are not advisable to start learning via online gaming. Somehow the beauty of the game is lost in managing analytics. As a beginner, you try to focus on picking up moves through trial and error method, keenly observing your opponents making a move, finding out a pattern in the game, etc. It also helps you interact with other players on a more personal level, at the end of the day our opponents can prove to be your friends. While in online gaming it’s more competitive.

Counting only on online platforms for learning chess wouldn’t let you grow in the game. There is much more to chess than just moving your knights and rooks. If you want to stick to chess as a hobby, its good to practice on screen, but the demographic figure of chess is larger than it is actually pictured. There has been a lot going around the world to include chess in Olympics. If that’s so, being just an online game won’t let it win its way top to being an Olympic sport.