Are Simuls Bad For Chess?

In this fascinating video clip the legendary Victor Korchnoi wonders about Nigel Short’s play in London. I suspect that his criticism of Short’s 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 h6 may have something to do with Korchnoi’s long standing contempt for the pushing of rook’s pawns in the opening; he has also been highly critical of 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 for example. But then there’s his King’s Gambit against Luke McShane in which Short appeared to be poorly prepared.

Why did this happen? Well my personal theory is that Short’s recent simultaneous display tour of the UK may be partly responsible. The habit of playing against weaker players is dangerous for someone’s chess strength because you become accustomed to weaker replies coming back at you. But this is something that is better known to coaches than it is to players, no matter how strong.