Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knowledge is power or protection?

Over at Mark Week's blog I made an interesting but I think inaccurate comment that I thought Chess960 was struggling for these reasons:
  1. Ageing demographic in the western world nations and in China. The older community are reluctant to play Chess960 because it is new and different
  2. The ever decreasing young demographic is being drawn into the computer gaming mass market and therefore Chess960 is outcompeted
However I think that this is more accurate but not exactly correct either:
  1. The ageing demographic in the western world nations and in China is actually a good thing for Chess960. This is because the older demographic like Chess960 because it is less memory intensive and they can still play Chess focusing more on concepts and a life time of chess experience, rather than speed memory and prearrangement.
  2. The ever decreasing young demographic actually love traditional chess because they can utilise their young, sharp and speedy memories to great effect in the opening by using existing chess theory that is freely available especially in the internet age. Traditional chess is actually ideal to the young cohort (especially in youthful countries like India), because blitz chess is especially suited to memory prearrangement.
However I think there is even a better explanation, that is so simple, it is essentially Occam's Razor and I think is at the very heart of why Chess960 is slow on the uptake:

Knowledge is not power,
Knowledge is protection.

When we try to protect ourselves with knowledge, it appears like we are more "powerful" but actually what we do is to destroy diversity and simplify our lives in order to feel safe. But is that actually helpful to us?


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