He has often been described as a genius. Long since retired from active competition, legendary chess grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic (born 1950) was a top-10 player for more than a decade. Ljubomir, who graced Montreal with his visits on atleast 3 occasions, has beaten virtually every top grandmaster of his time, including Karpov and Kasparov. He has also won numerous strong international tournaments, reaching the #3 top ELO spot in the early 1980’s. Some of his games are amongst the very best in the literature of the game.
The reasons why Ljubomir left competitive chess are not clear to me–he himself has described his departure premature–but fortunately for chess Ljubomir occasionally still finds time to show up at tournaments as a passionate spectator, or –even rarer–to actually play! During the European Female Individual Championship, taking place right now in his native Serbia (Belgrade), Ljubomir gave an interesting interview that can be found on the tournament site. I especially found insightful his views on chess computers:
”When it comes to chess profession, the biggest difference between these different times arises from great development of technology. In the period when chess relied on personal analyses and when it was difficult to find the information about the latest games played in tournaments worldwide, we depended on how fast we could get these pieces of information. That’s why we would analyse for days, sometimes even for months, to be sure if some line is playable or not. Nowadays, that is very easy, you turn on the computer and you can easily check if certain positions or openings are applicable or not.”
”In terms of openings, chess has developed a lot. But, it is my impression that the middlegame and endgame are still an Achilles’ heel of professionals. This begs the question: has the quality of those game phases stagnated because people got used to relying on computer knowledge? Or could this be because people get tired faster than before, because they spend less time on exercising their mental skills leaving that to technology?”
Ljubojevic later added:
”During my chess development, when there were no computers to rely on their suggestions, I was trying to get to know the secrets of chess with all my being and capacities I had. There is a difference when you see some picture on the screen, and you remember it, or when you come to that picture by deduction and logical thinking.”
”Today computers are undeniably very useful, for development of chess, science and other activities. But, according to my opinion, they have one deficiency, and that is they suppress some part of the intuitive talent in humans. I stand behind the opinion that for humans it is very important to have both types of thinking: rational and abstract. They are interdependent. Computers support the development of rational thinking, which has mathematical character. But, if a human does not cherish abstract thinking as well, I think even God will be angry at them!”