Saturday, April 3, 2010


Whether you are a "regular" leader or not, there are people who will notice you if you are doing something different and having "success" with it. (Some even want your success to be a FAIL.)

Right now Apple inc. has brought out the iPad which has its fans and critics. The critics I don't totally understand (attention getters mainly, who believe their opinion matters). These critics claim to want what they want and are miffed they won't be noticed, but in reality, they hate Apple--a company which was a true underdog in 1997 and now has the "pack" following them (Apple). Anyone who likes Apple products "drinks the Kool Aid, etc."

Some years ago my youngest son came back to play chess at the club. He began playing 1.Nf3. He studied the Khalifman books and gained a very nice understanding of moving the Knight on the first move. Then his Dad, me, liked what he saw and began playing it. It had its quirks, but that was all the better. Also, the size of the Khalifman library showed how transposable it was, further maddening the crowd with the dark pieces.

Recently I had noted a few others at the club begin their game with 1.Nf3 and now one of my friends is playing it. Will it last? For a while, until the next great thing comes along. It used to be the Colle, then the Torre and sometimes the London systems--but you don't see much widespread adoption of any systems by 1.e4 players... so maybe that will be next.

It's nice to have some fun, mix it up a little, but beware, the critics who aren't spending their own money will often try to influence you spending yours. These people could well spend time improving their own games or openings instead of following you around like a Pied Piper.

I am betting that ChessBase will introduce an app for the iPad just as I believe they have done with the iPhone. Personally, it's hard for me to imagine myself wanting to spend much time looking at a phone--so it must be the portability aspect. If so, the iPad will do well. There's a kind of practice or analysis which when stored would have Alexander Alekhine as its FIRST adherent!


  1. The NY Times had an interesting comment. In brief, objectively as purely a piece of technology, the new iPad is not a huge leap forward. It can only run one application at a time, the phone system is not yet activated and it can't a myriad of things. But most people who use computers and smart phones today are usually doing one of these tasks: checking and sending e-mail messages, surfing the web or texting/talking. The iPad (except for the phone part) seems to be able to do all of these things pretty well; it is stylish (never underestimate that aspect - look how many people trade in phones just to have a "cool" one) and is easy to use. The iPad 2.0 will probably add the phone and allows two apps to run (e.g. music or video/e mail, music and writing notes). Finally the boomer population is getting older and the older segment of the customers have both money and weakening eyesight so a big screen device which is easy to use (like a microwave or dishwasher) might really take off.

    Agree with you that a chess app would be a logical addition.

  2. Response to J. Wan:
    I did read the NYT review and all the other major ones. I also looked at CNN and saw literally, hundreds if not more than 1,000, opinions one way or they other. In most cases the "cons" did not rely on Apple's website but things they had read on other postings.

    My take is this: since Apple is an innovative company (and always was while Jobs was there) you can count on seeing new apps and new ideas that have never been done before on this "gadget." Their marketing people learn from every launch and they KNOW that many of the naysayers secretly lust after these machines and wait (???) until version 2.0 or 3.0 or no one is noticing.

    But, if you want to be cutting edge in opening theory, you can't wait until version 2 or 3, it's all over by then in 98% of the cases. The Sveshnikov Sicilian is holding up, the Petroff is showing disturbing cracks.

    Go with what YOU would like to do. You will get there faster and better and ahead of the copycats. In the computer case the PC boys are peeing their pants waiting for the iSlate from HP... and we know from past experiences, out of the starting gate, it will be no Apple machine.