Interview with Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic - Chess now and then, through the prism of technology, physics and philosophy - part 1
Yugoslav chess legend, former World No. 3, one of the best chess players from these parts ever, Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic, shared with us his impressions about the current state of Serbian and international chess, the influence of computers on chess and development of chess ways of thinking, and about the specificities of the profession of the modern chess player.
I belong to the generation which wasn't even born at the time you were at the peak of your career. So, for us, who belong to this younger generation, it is always very interesting to hear stories about the time when chess in these parts of the world had a much greater influence than nowadays.
When it comes to chess profession, the biggest difference between these different times arises from great development of technology. In the period when chess relied on personal analyses and when it was difficult to find the information about the latest games played in tournaments worldwide, we depended on how fast we could get these pieces of information. That's why we would analyse for days, sometimes even for months, to be sure if some line is playable or not. Nowadays, that is very easy, you turn on the computer and you can easily check if certain positions or openings are applicable or not.
In terms of openings, chess has developed a lot. But, it is my impression that the middlegame and endgame are still an Achilles’ heel of professionals. This begs the question: has the quality of those game phases stagnated because people got used to relying on computer knowledge? Or could this be because people get tired faster than before, because they spend less time on exercising their mental skills leaving that to technology?
But isn't it a paradox that now we have more grandmasters and more people who play chess than before? How do you explain that?
Chess lovers have always existed, nowadays and in the past. The only difference is that back then, their number was unknown. But, when the Soviet Union opened its borders, a large number of chess players from there immigrated to the West, which created the impression that suddenly the number of chess players in the world increased. While the Soviet Union was a closed country, we didn’t have this situation. Of course, with the appearance of Fischer, the West embraced the popularity of the chess game which gradually, owing to the fact that a large number of chess tournaments with tempting prize funds were organised, drew the attention of other chess players around the world. Therefore, from the 1970s already, the Americans and the English started to produce top chess players and managed to establish the balance between the East and the West. Today, China and India are big rivals of the western civilisation and equal competitors with the cradle of the chess game. This probably happened due to the world globalisation and huge progress of technology.
To be continued ...