Old inChess

A new chess blog has appeared on the web: http://oldinchess.blogspot.com/
Upon discovery I sent an email to the author and received this reply:

Hi there Michael-

Thanks for writing and for your kind words. Sorry to have taken a few days to get back to you – it looks like I’m going to have to start checking this e-mail more often. (For a long time there was really no need, as very few people were visiting the blog and absolutely no one was writing to me about it. But now, after Old in Chess got a brief mention in the latest issue of New in Chess – which was quite a surprise! – and the Chess Cafe has begun to include it in their daily links, my traffic and correspondence have both started to pick up.)

You asked why I started writing the blog. I’ve always had an interest in chess history, and have written a few articles in the past. (You can find a couple of them in the Skittles Room archive on the Chess Cafe site.) Several years ago it occurred to me that it might be a lot of fun to present some of that history as current news – I didn’t know of anyone else who was doing anything similar, though there are a million chess blogs out there and I could well be wrong. As you can see from the blog, I made two earlier attempts to get started, in 1907 and 1910 (well, OK, 2007 and 2010), but both ended quickly owing to lack of time, demands of real life and work, etc. I’ve got a bit more time to devote to the whole thing these days, and, as I’m enjoying it so much, I hope to continue indefinitely.

On the blog, I take just a bit of literary license with certain details – for example, I usually pretend that games were finished in one sitting, without adjournments – but I do try to stick to the facts. I’ve also tried to develop an authentic-sounding, century-old narrative “voice.” To me it sounds consistent, at least – I’ll let others judge its quality. Some of my most enjoyable moments come when, while reporting happenings from a hundred years ago, I can wink at the reader and share an inside joke with him, for example:

(Written in the shadow of the long, awful period with two World Champions, stemming from the Kasparov-FIDE schism in 1993.)

(My tribute to the internet)

(A well-meaning profile of budding con man and future felon Norman Whitaker. My narrator thinks well of everyone, and can be a bit ingenuous at times…)

(A reference to Fischer’s 1961 article “A bust to the King’s Gambit,” which claimed 3…d6 as the refutation)

(Well, this one’s obvious.)

Anyway, I hope that’s some of what you were looking for. Let me know if you have any questions. I do intend to put my name on the blog sooner or later, but for the moment I think I’d rather maintain my anonymity, so if you do write about Old in Chess on your own blog (interesting stuff, by the way), I’d prefer to have you refer to me as just sjw.

Thanks and best wishes,

One thought on “Old inChess

  1. Philip Feeley says:

    Doesn’t Ed Winter do this for Chessbase? Why the need for another?

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