Oversaturation

Too much of a good thing is still too much.

I love chess, looking at it, analysing, playing, working on it. I love to watch the best players play, the commentary is excellent nowadays and it adds value to the experience. I sometimes learn something new while watching.

The pandemic forced everybody to stay at home and chess content exploded as result. Incessant tournaments, one following another, streams, publications, webinars, coaching, all you can imagine is coming out on a daily basis, often a lot of them at the same time.

While it is better to have than have not, I think that currently there is an oversaturation of chess content. It feels like an insane schedule where everybody feels compelled to produce, produce, produce. I cannot keep up, but can anybody? Unless it’s somebody’s job to keep up with everything and they dedicate their whole day to it, I sincerely doubt it.

I feel overwhelmed by the bombardment of chess content and in view of my own commitments I gave up on even trying to keep up.

I follow the news and the games, but not live. When the day (or the tournament) finishes I’d download the games and check them quickly, mostly for opening information. If I had read somewhere that a game had been interesting for some reason, I’d check that one in more detail. Otherwise, it’s mostly browsing.

That is my best effort to try to stay afloat, yet there is this constant feeling of fear of missing out. I haven’t watched a second of any of the streams out there, though I’d like to, I’m sure Nakamura or Kovalenko have curious things to say. I would like to watch the events live, to spend hours following the games, as Svidler, Leko and co. have those rare insights that I’m after. But, no time for that, I have things to do instead of just observe.

For how long will this continue? Personally, I don’t see it stopping any time soon. Even when chess returns to the playing halls the online content will continue to blossom. Chess is moving in the direction of e-sports and I expect it to establish its place there. It may be different from the chess we are used to playing, with its premoves and disconnects, but that is the “new reality,” whether we like it or not.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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2 Comments
  • Richard Meulders
    Jun 26,2020 at 10:17 am

    Dear Alex
    It’s very comforting for amateurs to read that even someone who, as a grandmaster, is professionally engaged in chess is becoming bewildered By the enormous amount of chess information available today. In my own case i lost interest in competitive chess nearly 20 years ago and have only recently taken up the thread again. The changes with the ultimate years of the last century are of course enormous, not just in the vast output of material but also in its size and quality. If only I were some 50 years younger! Of course at my age (69) the clock is ticking frighteningly fast and the covid-19 pandemic is throwing a serious spanner in the works. I took part in the 65+ individual world championship at Bucharest last year, but who knows when that will be feasible again? It’s not so bad when you’re a youngster, but for veterans it’s a very gloomy prospect.
    Anyway, my feelings are that as long as one is relatively healthy and lucid one should carry on. I’m buying books and digital courses like a madman, maybe even against my better judgement, and studying them as well as possible. As far as the digital courses on Chessable are concerned, you are one of my favourite presenters. I like John Bartholomew for his confident competence, Kamil plichta for his enthusiastic competence and you for your calm competence, by which I am not insinuating you are not enthusiastic, only in a calm, more composed way, lol. So keep up the good work and i will certainly also come back to your blog and your writings there. best regards, Richard meulders.

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