Former FIDE World Chess Champion Alexander Khalifman shares his thoughts on Chess Openings 24/7
Almost 50 years ago, more precisely – in 1966, the world of chess was changed once and for all – it was exactly when the first volume of Chess Informant saw the light of day. It is virtually impossible to overestimate the importance of the changes in the approach to opening preparation that followed immediately afterward both at the amateur- and top-level tournaments. In my opinion, the emergence of Informant was the main reason that sparked the “opening revolution,” which followed shortly thereafter.
Well, the times, they are a-changin’, and even the most advanced technologies from half a century ago nowadays often bring nothing more than a nostalgic smile to our faces. In the era of the Houdini-annotated online broadcasts, it would be an unaffordable luxury to wait half a year for new theoretical recommendations, not only for grandmasters, but for club-level players as well… Not to mention that the role of opening theory hasn’t become any less important; quite the contrary, I’m afraid. Nowadays the deciding factor to a game’s outcome could be a player’s knowledge of what happened yesterday on the other side of the world. Furthermore, these days that very factor seems even more important for chess amateurs than for super-GMs.
New times call for new technologies, and they have appeared. I can both applaud and feel a bit sad at the fact that “Chess Openings 24/7” come from the same fertile soil that gave birth to “Chess Informant.” It’s precisely the “24/7” that symbolizes the new times: new theoretical content no longer appears semi-annually, monthly or even weekly – it becomes available on?line, practically as we speak. I heard about this project only a couple of days ago, and couldn’t get off of it ever since. Even though they started working not so long ago, there’s more than enough interesting stuff on their site even now and, mind you – it’s for all tastes, styles and levels. And it’ll keep coming…
Foretelling the future has never been my forte, and I won’t be making guesses as to whether this project will be a harbinger of the new opening revolution. What I do know, is that “Chess Openings 24/7” will leave their mark on the world of chess. They have all the necessary prerequisites to make it, starting from their highly competent analytical team. A critically-minded reader might find my review a tad on the overly positive side and pinpoint the fact that the project is not without its shortcomings. I won’t argue with that – both the chess contributors and the development and design team will have to keep working on a number of issues. However, I find these minor deficiencies practically inevitable, and gladly recommend “Chess Openings 24/7” to all chess players, from amateurs up to… well, let Magnus decide for himself.