I'm interested in the historical aspect of chess, particularly in how grandmasters prepared and analyzed their games during significant events like the World Chess Championships in the 1970s. My questions are:

What methods did grandmasters in the 1970s use to analyze their games for such high-level competitions?

Were there specific tools or resources commonly used by these players for game analysis at that time?

1 Answer 1


Before computer electronic databases chess knowledge was accumulated in books, magazines and tournament reports and word of mouth.

In some countries eg USSR top players had regular paid employment and the leading players could call on them to research the literature of published games to advise on say opening novelties and on the strengths and weaknesses of rival chess players.

In Western countries chess masters could not rely on much state sponsored help if any but could get access to private sources.

For example Bobby Fischer had the assistance of Robert Wade. You can check Wikipedia for added information. Wade had a huge library of chess literature and tournament bulletins at his home in London. He would prepare flip books for Fischer with the most up to date opening knowledge for specific opponents.

The flip book was in effect an analogue database with a tree-like structure.

So for example after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 the flip book would fork to a page where White replies Bxc6 with resulting variations of the Exchange Lopez, another fork to Ba4 and so on.

Correspondence chess bulletins were a useful source of information due to the immense amount of work put in by CC grandmasters on each position.

Fischer was very secretive and did not take kindly to any of his collaborators disclosing their help. (He and his acolytes liked to nurture the story of the chess loner taking on the behemoth of USSR chess all by himself.)

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