Are chess players improving? Could players of history compete with today’s grandmasters?

The Chessimist

Bobby Fischer at the chess board Could Bobby Fischer compete with today’s elite?

The following is taken from my response to this question in the Guardian’s g2 supplement, dated 25/09/2014. I will expand on this in a future post.

The fact is that computer programs have allowed for stronger tactical training, and most importantly, have increased our understanding of the game. There is also the additional factor of opening theory – the strongest sequence of moves in any given opening is always under scrutiny and over the years better solutions have been discovered in many early positions. While whether current champion Magnus Carlsen is better than say, Bobby Fischer was in his heyday, may be up for debate (Carlsen is probably a bit stronger, but both were well above their contemporaries in terms of rating), there can be no comparison between Carlsen and the earlier champions such as Morphy. However, earlier players shouldn’t be ignored by…

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