Is Online Chess Good For You?

Technology has changed a lot of things about chess in the last 20-30 years and the best players have learned to successfully evolve with these changes. Looking at our current World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand and the Challenger for the 2012 World Chess Championship, Boris Gelfand, we can clearly see how they have adapted to remain at the pinnacle of chess for the past 2 decades.

Vassily Ivanchuk has also set quite an example, as the Ukranian genius somehow keeps getting better at chess with age. Then we can take a look at the rising stars of this generation, no doubt led by the current highest rated player in the world Magnus Carlsen.

You also have to consider Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri, and Fabiano Caruana. These 4 players all earned the GM title around the age of 15 – something that Bobby Fischer did 50 years ago to completely shock the world. As I don’t think that children of this generation are getting genetically smarter, an environmental factor must be the explanation for the continuously lower age of grandmasters in the 21st century.

Technology Is Your Friend

Is Online Chess Good For You?
Is Online Chess Good For You?

In a recent interview with Anish Giri, the prodigy explained that he made significant strides in chess due to playing blitz on the internet. Giri stated that he was moving around the world a lot and that he was only able to encounter an extremely high level of opposition on the internet – thus enabling him to raise the standards of his own game.

This is a great example of how playing chess online can really help you take your game to the next level. On sites like ICC, ChessCube, FICS, and Chess.com you can always get a game against a solid player around your class.

Technology has also changed the game significantly in that the spread of information is guaranteed and instant. With live broadcasts of all major tournaments throughout the globe, you can keep up with the latest opening theory with just a click of the mouse. Playing chess online should be a positive experience with respect to improvement, however, you should be careful to take advantage of the good qualities and avoid common pitfalls that can seriously waste your time.

Can You Have Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Too much chess on the internet can have many negative effects such as decreased social functioning, shiny/pale skin, weird habits, and worst of all – superficial chess. The biggest drawback of internet chess is that the vast majority is played at increasingly lower time controls.

This encourages faster play and minimal thought, reinforcing horrible habits that can start appearing in “real” over-the-board tournaments. It is paramount to recognize the dangers of playing chess online and try to simulate real games as much as possible.

This entails playing fewer variants and playing normal chess at higher time controls (at least 10-15 minutes per game, really 30-60 minutes is optimal). Also, if you want to get better at chess you need to STAY AWAY FROM 1-MINUTE CHESS.

Bullet chess is becoming more popular every day with developing chess players, however it really is the worst thing you can do for your chess game. Focus on the positive aspects of playing chess online, like you can always get a game with a good opponent and it’s very easy to test out different opening systems in a relatively short period of time. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the black-hole perils of online chess and become a bullet addict who is constantly in need of a quick fix!

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