Chess comments

Every time there is a news article on rediff on Vishy Anand, a bunch of people scratch their itch to comment. From the comments the following become clear, and I wonder why they need to comment at all:

– Most people commenting have no clue about chess, the tournament/match details, the rankings/ratings of the players, the relative importance of the tournament/match, Anand’s chess-strength relative to other players.

– People are usually commenting on another sport, usually Indian cricket, and how it has let everyone down, whatever that means.

– Most comments are highly polarized with no sense of proportionality. In them Anand is either the King and is heavily lionized, or he is portrayed as a loser – the guy who always played second fiddle — again displaying a marked hyperbole.

– Most remaining comments are of chess not being encouraged (again displaying a lack of understanding of the sponsorship difficulty for a non-spectacular sport), or of politics in every other sport (as if the monstrosity of chess-politics is nothing at all.)

Why comment on a subject which you know nothing about, or you lack all the important facts, or cannot stay on topic, or you only have cliches and hyperbole to speak with? I am wondering if people are just trigger-happy and can’t keep their fingers off the keyboard, regardless of what the topic-du-jour is.

  1. Tiny Seal said:

    i guess people have an opinion on all things, no matter how little their knowledge about the subject is. Add to it the time to spare when they are reading such articles, which is usually while taking a break from work or getting away from a nagging spouse and/or kids at home, online comments galore are bound to happen!

  2. Trice said:

    I agree with Tiny Seal’s point, this group of peole is called “Loud Opinionated man with strong belifies” :), “no one endures these people in real life , which is why they tend to flock to the Internet”

  3. Neena said:

    We are surrounded by examples of people commenting on topics they know little about. Forum on NPR (people call in with little data), the various blogs out there, even elections…how many people bother to find out (is it even possible?) every little detail of propositions they vote on? Personally, I would rather have people speak their minds freely (and be a little annoyed) than not be able to comment in fright.

  4. Moonjungle said:

    OK I’m totally ignorant about chess matches. Maybe you can clue people like me on the how the rankings & strengths work are through another post. Why do they have men & women have separate tournaments?

  5. Mridul said:

    tsk, tsk first time you saw anand game being relayed at icc ? 🙂
    for each major tourny, it is the same, lot of crap gets said – you just need to ignore it !
    “set kib 2” should do it for you 🙂 (“help kib”)

  6. Unawoken said:

    Maybe I will do that (on ratings and rankings and strengths. There is a whole lot of things to be said on that. Unlike other sports, this aspect of chess is pretty well formulated.
    As to why they have separate men/women tournaments, it is basically because there aren’t enough women at the top level. And this is a way of getting more female participation, and also to get a broader set of people interested in the sport. Actually there is no such thing as a men’s tournament. It is just that 24 out of the top 25 GMs are men.

  7. semantic overload said:

    A lot of it has to do with how easy it has become to publish online. Imagine 10-15 years ago when you had to actually write your opinion to a magazine. People always thought twice about that. Questions like “Is my time worth the effort?”, “Is there any guarantee that my opinion will be published?”, etc. As much as web 2.0 is a great leveler, it has made it so much easier to publish what you choose, that the value of information itself is diluted. The comments you see on the chess news articles are merely a reflection of the aforementioned larger phenomenon associated with the Internet today.

    P.S: Could you please enable anonymous comments, at least comments from folks who do not have google accounts? I do not blog with blogspot anymore, and am not comfortable to use my google identity. THe reason I moved to my own domain to blog was to do so without having to reveal my true identity.

  8. Unawoken said:

    semantic overload,
    Good point. I agree. Random behaviour sans internal filters has probably not changed a whole lot, but we are exposed to more of it because of the internet.

    neena, I am all for people coming out to comment, I wish they took themselves a bit more seriously.

  9. Anonymous said:

    1. Indian people have opinions on everything…
    2. Blogs and the internet in general have enabled everyone to voice their opinions whether well-thought out and cogent or not!

    PS: I love the blog and am adding it to my feeds!! Keep writing….

  10. Unawoken said:

    Thank you anonymous!

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