Argumentative Souls

I’ve been writing a review of two related ChessBase DVDs by GM Daniel King. Their both on the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense. There is a lot of discussion about making the e5 and or d5 pawn break. When to attempt them. How to go about them successfully. When to keep the pawn structure fixed.

This led me to the idea of writing a bit about pawn breaks. I had been weighing the option of discussing some middle game themes and pawn breaks was one possibility. Minority attacks was another. I’ll come back to both in future columns.

As I was considering what I was going to write about pawn breaks, I was doing a bit of research on the Internet. I should have followed my first instinct and instead read from classic texts on the middle game and blogs from well-respected chess professionals. The search results for “pawn breaks” reminded me why I almost universally avoid chess forums. There are too many pedants, snarky kids, and argumentative people — all just aching, it seems — to find someone … anyone … to get in a fight with.

When someone starts a reply on a forum with something like “Technically speaking …,” you know there’s a pendant just busting at the seams to show that their definition is the correct and common usage is wrong. They do this, I believe, not to help clarify but instead to grandstand. They’ll get in long, nasty, public fights over minutiae. This is the sort of behavior that creates hard feelings and to no good purpose whatsoever.

I read chess forums for a brief period of time at places like Chess.com. Wow! So much nastiness. I found Chess.com to be the most egregious example I visited, but there was plenty of nastiness on every forum I visited. I quickly tired of all the negative energy that surrounds chess forums, I no longer visit them.

And now … I’m tired of venting my own negative energy on this topic. 😉

Glenn Mitchell