Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is happening to the chess blogosphere?

Who is posting regularly, what is going on out there? I haven't followed things, need to update my blog, sidebar, etc.. Let me know in the comments what you think (the three people still reading this anyway :).

As far as maintaining a 'ring' of sites, someone in comments to previous section pointed out that they end up with a bunch of dead sites, so it is better to have someone in charge of maintaining lists and such, trimming out dead sites, and blocking spam/ad sites from getting in.

It took about an hour a week to maintain the Knights Errant lists and membership. It worked out pretty well. We had a great group, and it helped a lot to have someone actively promoting it, and acting as a semi-official face of the aggregate. Once I stopped, Glenn Wilson did a good job but eventually he had to move on, and after that the Knights Errant slid into oblivion.

Some kind of ACIS (Adult Chess Improvement Seekers) idea is better than the Knights Errant, as the only thing people have in common is a desire to improve at chess, no obsession with de la Maza's circles. No requirements or anything other than maintaining active site to stay on the list. And of course, technically it should be 'CIS' (Chess Improvement Seekers) as children can get in on the action too. I was hoping it would really blow up.

Someone should volunteer to take over the ACIS stuff, I would be happy to give advice and help with starting an ACIS blog, a place to inform people and maintain a list. If I was still into chess, I would do it but I am very focused on work, baby right now.

I could also change the Knights Errant blog to link to the ACIS blog.

Or am I just being Quixotic, thinking there is a place to pool our improvement blogs into a loose coalition?

Or maybe we shouldn't limit it to improvement blogs, but have a chess meta-blog that keeps track of all chess blogs by category? That would be nice, but an infinite amount of work. It's better to have a coalition of people that want to be a part of it, that way the person keeping the list doesn't have to go out searching for content; it comes to her/him.

What do people think?


Anonymous Chunky Rook said...

I'm no longer posting regularly mostly because I've been slack with my chess training. :( I've also been quite active in my chess club and it's hard to keep up the energy at two fronts.

The problem with the ACIS approach (as opposed to the Knights') in my opinion is that it's almost too broad to bring people together... with the circles, people have something very specific to latch on to and compare each other's improvement etc., whereas with the ACIS it's a bit more difficult to create synergies due to the difference in skill level and emphasis and approach etc. So perhaps the endeavour is a bit quixotic.

So I think the ACIS needs some kind of social community aspect if it is to thrive ... a regular meetup on FICS, for example, something people can rely on, something they don't need to care about one week but can be sure that next week it's still going to be there, same time, same place. Like your local pub quiz. :)

11/18/2010 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Yes, the ICS forum has been a success partly because it is focused on one very specific improvement method, and this tends to produce a common language and understanding. That's a good point.

11/18/2010 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Phillidor5949 said...

There is a wiki for posting analysis of chess openings. Some of the articles also have history, facts, annotations, etc.

Good chess!

11/18/2010 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger LinuxGuy said...

I check TommyG's site for updates on most all the sites that I follow (which aren't that many)

The tactics thing is still the #1 improvement, IMHO, and other things matter far less - openings, endings, and even middlegames.

Perhaps I have played so many games that I have developed feel, but for me the important thing is tactics, not endgames nor openings, but I will study those that do arise out of my games.

It helps to go over classic games, but IMHO that helps more with technique and understanding than it does translate into OTB rating points.

Rolf's book, overcoming one's own psychological factors will probably help to improve OTB rating just as much as studying classic games. So tactics are still the most direct way to make a ratings jump at the class level, without needing to go see a shrink. hehe.

11/18/2010 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger LinuxGuy said...

BTW, I just wanted to say that I saw your 2 year old book reviews the other day, BDK. I was ROFL when you described getting that one ECO book from Eastern Europe.

Those videos were so funny. I even liked how "Buddy" came in at the end to help you take a step back from your "stupid chess books". haha.

I probably would have kept a lot of the ones that you chucked and chucked a lot of the ones that you kept, but chess books are not the important thing, anyhow.

What do we really need? A book on tactics, a best games collection, and an openings encyclopedia, not much really. I agree with quick rules of thumb, though, such as if you no longer enjoy an author, just toss all their books out. hehe.

11/18/2010 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger LinuxGuy said...

The Dv*retsky book "buncha self-serving Russians talking about their chess school", that one slayed me - I too got annoyed by how one book kept referring to another book by the same author and even said that you will find the rest of the game there! I had read the other book mentioned and was _still_ annoyed by it doing that, even though some of his books are quite an interesting read.

There is so much truth in so many of those comments for anyone who has read the same books that you reviewed. So freaking true, and I agreed with your description of S*ltis books/style as well.

11/18/2010 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger LinuxGuy said...

LEP's video was funny, too! The "knee-shot" of Judit Polgar had me cracking up. I read that 'Reassess your Chess: Workbook' too, and I felt like subconsciously the candid photos of GMs made me plod through it, wanting to be like them.

11/18/2010 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Linuxguy thanks for the comments. I'll have to keep an eye on TommyG I haven't looked at his site in a while. Hell, I haven't looked at any site in a while.

11/18/2010 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger takchess said...

As a Knight, I will say the testing of the common idea: the MDLM methodology and the idea of pattern recognition etc was facinating and fun.

I had a tendency to overreach and play on the edge of my tactical ability just to see where it leads. Not conducive to high ratings for me but alot of fun.....

11/18/2010 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

I think it comes down to what ails much of our economic infrastructure: lack of sustainable energy!

I hadn't posted on my own blog in over a month but now have posted three times this week. And if work (or other life stuff) kicks in to high gear (with finals coming up, I think it will!) I may not post for awhile.

I think that is where most people are with chess blogging at this point. Life happens!! And we can not always reconcile this with a frantic blogging pace.

Having said that, I do enjoy posting when I have something fun or new to say. And I enjoy seeing what others have to say on their blogs. AND more importantly I feel like I am in a nice happy place regarding chess. I am as in love with the game now as when I took it up 3 years ago.

But it is a more mature love. The lusty infatuation for the game is gone. Now I have a genuine and relaxed love for the game. I know the game will never leave me AND I know that I will always have the game even IF I do have to take leave of it for a week or so. Neither I nor the game get jealous of that missed time anymore! We are secure in how we feel about each other. This is a better place I think.

I am still consistently working on my game and don't worry about it if I can't for a few days. I am able to look long term. I have gotten better and will continue to do so at the pace that life allows.

I do wish I could get more OTB games in but I will when the timing is right.

In a way I don't think the chess blogosphere can sustain an organized group like ACIS. I do think the blogosphere can sustain a lower key pace of blogging where a bunch of old blogging friends can get together every once in awhile and share some new exploit in the game secure in the knowledge that they can take leave of each other for a time and it will all still be okay.

11/18/2010 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger E said...

Tommy is right. I mean, look at yourself!

11/18/2010 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

What if we start a chess improvement blog carnival that goes once a month?

That may give us the best of many worlds....

Not a general chess carnival (that would include chess news sites), but a carnival for posts specifically devoted to instructing others, describing one's trials and tribulations trying to improve, etc??

I might have time to set it up. I'll look into it. Jack le Moine's carnival is dead, and it was sort of political anyway and he wasn't focused on improvement but more political and news type aspects.

11/19/2010 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

Hey BDK,

The carnival thing sounds interesting. What exactly is it?

The only thing that would worry me is if it was set in stone at a certain time each month.

Part of what I was alluding to in my previous comment is that for chess blogging and chess to work as a long term love and hobby it is has to acquiesce to life. I know my job is unpredictable which causes me to be unpredictable especially with my blogging habits. And I don't even have a child! I do know that having a child means that all bets are off when it comes to the predictability of everyday life. :)

So maybe a somewhat fluid carnival setting? Where every once in awhile, someone tries to get one happening? Of course I am talking out of ignorance right now as I do not really know what is meant by a carnival. :)

11/19/2010 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tommyg: I think carnivals are an ideal way to bring together content from the previous month (one person holds the carnival each month, and reports on the best content from chess improvement blogs from the month--people have to submit their entries usually but sometimes the carny finds content she particularly likes).

You can find out more about blog carnivals here.

11/19/2010 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger wang said...

Well i plan on coming back in full force in a few weeks. Grad school has really put a damper on everything non school related, much less chess. I have only managed a dozen or so OTB games in the last two years so needless to say I'm a bit rusty and/or out of it right now. I still think about the game constantly and have a lot of things to talk about and I about 3 weeks when school is finally over. Bottom line I'll be back in full force and ready to go. I like the idea of a group blog and think it would be cool to share thoughts and be a support group for chess addicts; there are bunch of people who visit my blog that never comment Di I think the effort would be appreciated. Let me know what u come up with. BTW I typed this whole post on ky phone with my cool am I? :)

11/19/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question, or maybe a suggestion. Has anyone ever tried giving group chess lessons by way of a blog? Is that really to far fetched? Not just ideas, or where to go to get some good info, but lessons? To crazy?


11/19/2010 06:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Chunky Rook said...

The blog carnival idea sounds groovy! Sign me up.

11/19/2010 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Group blog is also a good idea, we haven't done a lot of that but that would be very cool...

11/19/2010 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll start my own blog. That will fix things. I just hope my husband doesn't comment there from beyond the grave.

Mrs CL

11/19/2010 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

I looked at the carnival link and they do seem cool, although I think having them once a month again puts an odd pressure on chess blogging.

I understood the Knight's Errant as you all were focused on a particular goal. It was quixotic but that is why it was cool as a group endeavor. There was a charm to it.

I never quite understood the need for ACIS. In the broad subject of chess improvement blogs I don't see the need for such an organized movement.

Wang's schooling took precedence for awhile and he will come back. You have a child now and will float in and out of the blogosphere. I have a new job and am prone to fits of not blogging sometimes. Blunderprone has had to take a break. etc. etc.

And yet when someone has to drop for awhile we all welcome each other back. Heck, I deleted my first blog completely and then came back. I think the group thing puts a pressure on it that chess just doesn't need. As I said previously, even though my new job is kicking my butt (in a good way) and I have less time for chess, I still love the game. I love playing over old games. I love playing the game. I have no goal or pressure looming over it. I just want to learn, play, enjoy and get better.

Just my random thoughts.

11/20/2010 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tommyg: once a month there are 5-10 good posts in the blogosphere. Nobody has to contribute, it is completely volunteer, not sure what your worry is with a carnival. There isn't any serious pressure.

11/20/2010 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

Hmmm...Maybe I am misunderstanding the carnival thing....

Wouldn't be the first time. :)

11/20/2010 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

My time machine is broken... I'm searching Asia for rare earth metals for the new flux capacitor but I seem to be bumping into regulations and customs issues. Plus I had a fit at the latest scanner and some TSA wanted to touch my junk... it's gonna take me some time to get out of that mess too.

11/20/2010 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger gorckat said...

Anonymous said...

I'll start my own blog. That will fix things. I just hope my husband doesn't comment there from beyond the grave.

Mrs CL

Metaphorical as in his blog is gone, or real as in he is gone from us!?

11/21/2010 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He passed away. Chessloser is no more.

11/21/2010 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Gorckat chessloser is fine, there is an anonymous poster that likes to joke about such things. I allow them through because I find it funny, but many find it annoying.

11/22/2010 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger From the patzer said...

I think this carnival thing is the best way to go. Maybe its the insensitive people needs to atleast post one super blog entry a month.

Only problem is offcourse who is going to take control, responsibility of this carnival blog (or post on a current blog once a month)?

11/23/2010 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger From the patzer said...

Btw, i already have taken some update in the ACIS link department. The group started well but now we are a small group with little people posting regulary.

11/23/2010 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger gorckat said...

That's a relief, then.

So any idea why the blog went away? Is he rebuilding?

11/23/2010 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems for many chess becomes a millstone, rather than a pleasant avocation to pass the time.

11/24/2010 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

chesstiger: I will look into getting it set up, and getting the ball rolling, begging people to promote it at their blogs and such...I think it may be the best solution that circumvents the main problems, and would be a useful distillation of the improvement sites each month (or even every other month if we ended up not getting enough content each month).

11/24/2010 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

Great to see you trying to revive the chess improvement blogosphere. I've been so focused on my Black Belt prep that I wasn't posting very much. I finally did my test last week, so I've started to write a little bit. It's fluff at the moment, but I just trying to get back into a writing routine.

11/25/2010 09:36:00 PM  
Anonymous lefthandsketch said...

I'm the former author of Greenpoint chess and go club, and now the author of We post daily, and have big plans in the works. I think the idea of a chess blog ring is a great idea- and if this ever materializes please email me at so that we can apply.

12/09/2010 04:11:00 AM  

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