Maybe part of what I’m seeing is because I’m exposed to such a small fraction of the chess blogosphere. Most of the chess blogs I read are from grizzled veterans, and reading between the lines, here’s the sense I get:

1. We are actually sick of seeing games analyzed on chess blogs, are subconsciously aware of this, and do the analyses more for our own benefit.

To be perfectly honest, I rarely replay over games unless something really caught my eye (then again, I don’t analyze my own games anymore, so there’s that.)

2. We read so many blogs, any posts more than a couple paragraphs are now a burden to read. Including this one. (Possible exception: David K’s blog)

3. The non-chess and tangentially related posts are now more interesting. These also tend to generate more comments.

: I agree with #3. I don’t blog about chess, and my posts generate much more interest and comments than Donnie’s. I guess I’m not boring, like him.

Of course, there are the people on vacation, are changing the blog’s focus, or who just quit chess for various reasons. Maybe it’s just that a lot of blogs are simply past their expiration date*, and the writers have lost interest.

Am I wrong? Is it just me?

In the meantime, while you ponder the above, I’m going to be an attention whore and link to Vicary’s blog for no apparent reason.


*: But don’t worry about me. Unlike most eggs, I don’t have an expiration date.

16 thoughts on “The demise of chess blogging?

  1. Tell me this is not true!:

    “1. We are actually sick of seeing games analyzed on chess blogs, are subconsciously aware of this, and do the analyses more for our own benefit.”

    All these historic games I’ve been covering, only to be ignored due to over load of information. Excuse me, I have to go by a quart of Cherry Garcia Ice cream and have a good cry. ๐Ÿ™

  2. Hey LEP!

    Although I have noticed a slight downturn in the chess blogosphere even in my short time being involved with it. Part of it might be that the newer bloggers, such as myself, are rehashing information that the “grizzled veterans” have already beat to death. This information is new to us so we are still very excited about it. I would liken to baseball spring training where the rookie can’t wait to get on the field while the wily veteran knows to save himself for the 162 game grind of the regular season.

    And I must say Blunderprone that I am reading every post of your series on Hastings-1895. I may not comment on them all but I am enjoying them all!

    Have a good one!

  3. while George goes and eats his Quart of Ice Cream, i now want to get a gun and shoot myself over tonights effort, before reading this, at writing shorter posts. well *haem* i guess this only means i didnt write a ‘long post’ but doesnt qualify as short. let me try again. this is practice in the new way. ๐Ÿ™‚ warmest, dk

  4. Hi, I broadly agree with what you’re saying. I think now that there are more and more chess blogs, it is less of a closed off group with everyone knowing everyone. There are still good blogs, and good posts out there. But a lot of what needs to be said has already been said. So a lot of blogs (like mine) are just people analysing their own games for their own benefit. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this really, as writing about a game helps you clear things up better and really think about what happened rather than just click through with Fritz. I subscribe to loads of chess blogs via Bloglines, and skim through most, but there are still good posts out there and sometimes reading the comments is just as interesting as the posts.

  5. Donnie called and asked me to leave this note saying he’ll answer you guys later, but has to leave for work very soon.

    In reality, I think he’s ducking the issue b/c he now thinks the post was a little over the top. We’ll see.

  6. Yes, it has become so tricky to find interesting NEW topics to write about that I had already a new chess blogger asking me for ideas what he could write about. And this just as I made it on Donnie’s Zombie list ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seeing myself on the Zombie list is kinda funny actually, because I will definitely take a break myself.

  7. Very interesting. Someone should do some blog archeology to quantify the patterns.

    It is true that in the chess improvement (as opposed to chess news) genre, similar topics end up beaten to death. There has been a sort of collective progress on chess improvement topics.

    Here’s my history of chess blogging:

    Prehistoric chess blogs
    Early on, the Knights Errant dominated the chess improvement scene, and they focused almost exclusively on posting things like ‘Man, I did my tactical puzzles today, it was intense.’ Back then, Man de la Maza, Sancho Pawnza, Temposchlucker, and a few others were the gods of chess improvement blogging. DG and Mig wrote the main ‘chess news’ blogs, and for DG part of the news was the Knights Errant, the first main connection between the two groups.

    For a while, almost all the improvement blogs were Knights Errant related. I was part of this growth spurt, as was Pale Morning Dun, J’adoube, etc.. The Kenilworthian and Susan Polgar came on the scene. The Kenilworthian was crazy good, a mixture of news, puzzles and improvement. So is Polgar, one of the first ‘Master’ level blogs.

    Probably late 2005, we had an explosion of non Knight errant related improvement blogs, and the friction really started. Multiple threads of people saying the circles were stupid, many people modifying the circles (this started in early 2005), and lots of very healthy discussion of the best way to improve. The blogosphere became less incestuous as smart critical people came in.

    Perhaps the best of this genre were from Quandoman and Patrick (the dead Chess for Blood). Both were very solid players, both cocky, and both had strong opinions on what sucked and what didn’t. Oh, and Dutch Defense Ookmeister. Loomis was kick ass and set many of us straight, but never in an asshole way.

    Since then, things have simply exploded. Most of the bloggers (other than temposchlucker and the ‘chess news bloggers’) of those older times have disappeared. Chessloser, LEP, glenn wilson, pearson, and lots of others I look at as the new breed that began in 2007.

    Just as the first wave of change was from circles-narcisissm to general chess improvement, then things shifted to even more general. Now we have lots more funny blogs, blogs that mix chess in with other stuff (e.g., mythology and his stuff on meditation).

    I see a healthy chess-o-sphere. Perhaps we are simply witnessing another shift in center of gravity rather than an all out heat death. Glenn Wilson with his great software, likeforests with the My System summary. Things are much more idiosyncratic, ungroomed, eclectic. This is probably somewhat inevitable in the blooming, buzzing confusion that is the blogoshere.

    The average lifetime of a chess blog is probably about 2 years. Hence, it is inevitable that every so often, people will look around and be like, “Hey, where the fuck is everyone.” But everyone is still here, they are just different people now.

    It used to be that when the “Knights Errant” secretary job changed hands, it was a huge deal in the blogosophere. Boylston would report on it, everyone would get all scared. Now things are just stable, and that world is sort of funny and quaint and small. Now that the ‘sphere has stabilized, there is nothing to worry about.

    At first there were like two dozen of us. Now there are two dozen billion chess bloggers.

  8. I forgot to add:

    In my day, we typed our blog posts on a machine running Windows ME, backwards, in freezing rain.

    On what generates the most interest: controversy, always controversy. Almost without exception, those posts with the most comments involve someone getting pissed off at someone.

  9. It’s very rare to have much in the way of substance or a semblance of intelligence on this site. So I appreciate all your insights. Your ideas and observations all deserve responses that are something close to cultured and coherent. Which I have no energy to give now at midnight, probably won’t be until tomorrow night.

    (Mascot, again I remind you, do NOT respond in this post. We don’t need any of your games.)

  10. @BDK. wonderful. what a blast to read. your brain is such a beautiful occurance.

    if we have archaelogy of chessBlogging, then inevitably we will have revisions such as deconstructing chessBlog archaelogy, post-reformation chessBlog, archaic chess Blogs, Dioneyssian chess blogs, and of course, Appolonian chess blogs. i came in, in June of 2006, so this puts me into the mid-diversification stage.

    then come the nihilisitic chess blogs, authoritarian, democratic, green chess blogs, sustainable chess blogs, chess blog anger resolution, fundamentalist chess blogs, mahayana and hinayana chess blogs, theravaden chess blogs, natural chess blogs, heuristical chess blogs, terroristic chess blogs, and combative chess blogs. chess blog withdrawl, chess blog recovery, chess blog envey, chess blog restraints. chess blog difusion, chess blog accumulation, chess blog collapse, chess blog reconstruction.

  11. You heard it here first:

    Secret Undercover Announcement–I’m going to be moving to a new state, new big-time-power career (hehehe) and that’s why I’m on blog hiatus right now. Structural World-Historical factors have ought to do with it (in my case). I love BDK’s archaelogical dig, and dk’s list!

    In approximately two weeks I’ll be posting consistently again, and I plan on going more in the humor direction. If I can pull it off…

  12. @Blunderprone: Don’t worry, I said it to be shocking and aggravating. Kind of like the Enquirer, except without the journalistic integrity. (On a serious note, I do enjoy reading about Old Timey Chess.)

    @Tommy: There’s something to that. I don’t know whether it has to do with the material or the format or what that makes things seem old-hat.

    @David: Hmmm, maybe I went too far as to imply people should write shorter posts? Everyone’s blog should be what they want to be. (Your long, multi-topicked posts give your blog the unique flavor it has.)

    You forgot communist chess blog on your list. (A Google search for communist chess blog lists Susan Polgar’s first. I’m not sure what to make of that.)

    @Dean: Yes, there are good blogs and blogs which happen to have good posts on occasion. Your comment, as well as David’s, make me worry I was trying to imply chess blogs “should” be a certain way–which isn’t a good idea, of course.

    @Sciurus: The zombie list is actually objective: no posts for one month, blog goes on zombie list, and I check it much less frequently.

    Find it interesting the new blogger should ask for advise. Wonder if he just wants to know how to get started or has some knowledge of chess blogs, and is trying to find a unique niche. (Advice: Anthropomorphic food has worked well for me.)

    @BDK: You’re posting again!

    Yes, most likely the chess blogosphere can be considered healthy, if maybe homogenized.

    Re: number of blogs. Somehow, it seems like when I started looking at chess blogs, each was a gem pretty much lying on the surface. Reassembler, then chessloser, then sort of branched out from there.

    It feels like there are the same number of gems, but more rock to dig through.

    Oh, and you should write a textbook on Chess Blog History and get universities to offer a course.

    @Robert: Announced here and not on your own blog? I feel honored. And good luck!

    You’re sufficiently witty to pull off a chess/humor site. But if you ever get stuck, go with the following:

    1. “Yo mama” jokes
    2. YouTube videos of people getting hurt
    3. Anthropomorphic food

  13. Hmmm… I started chess blogging in March 2003. And then blogged off and on and very inconsistently.

    But a big reason for my blog was to make sure that people knew the Houston Chess Club existed and how to contact it. They had a web site but it was frequently not working. I still get lots of hits for my Houston Chess Club schedule page.

    I soon created the Pandolfini Endgame Course Errata. A useful service it too still gets lots of hits.

    I occasionally posted games of mine and some other chess news or info on where to play chess in H-town but did not do much “blogging” and only one post during 2005-2006. I was content with my HCC and Pandolfini content. The commenting systems back then were crude or nonexistent so a lot of the blogging was one-way with no easy interaction. The tools for publishing games online were also crude (I used ChessBase) and while I could and did post games they were not integrated in the posts. I viewed my blogging audience as mostly a few chess playing friends that I regularly intereacted with (in person).

    But then I discovered BDK’s site and the knights and I was re-energized. It was an exciting community. It may be less of an exciting community today because the current knight’s secretary is not nearly as interesting as BDK. ๐Ÿ™

    He should work on that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Tacticus: good point, you were out there way before most of us. I should say that it seems only recently (last year) that you became higher profile, posting at lots of blogs, etc.. If the Knights Errant did anything, I think they helped form a nucleus of an online blogging community that helped people find each other. But my history is biased by that view, and by the fact that I’m mostly aware of the really big name blogs, and bloggers that post to (or are linked by) people stemming from that core nucleus.

    A more objective analysis could probably be done by Kenilworthian or Mark weeks, or a historian! ๐Ÿ™‚

    For all I know, there is an amazing blog that started in 1996, with amazing analysis of games, tactical studies, wonderful news and instruction, that I have never seen.

  15. A very interesting post, and comments. Being a newbie to the blogging scene it’s been an interesting journey. In my first year I shared lots of stories of tournaments I played in, and have shown lots of games. When I hit my one year anniversary and started writing about the same tournament a second time around(US Open, NY State Championship) it didn’t feel the same. Maybe perhaps the 1st time it was new, and the second time the tournaments weren’t as interesting. Dunno.

    Then I start asking myself do people really want to read about how I managed to blow a won game for the umpteenth time, or avoided getting a bye until the last round for the 2nd week in a row? Then I remember why I srated blogging in the first place. It’s kind of a journal of my chess tournaments that I have opened to the chess blogosphere. Yes I like when I get comments, and I’d like to think more then 10 people actually read it, but I write what I feel like it.

    I love the different styles of chess blogging I see. The news blogs like Susan’s are alright, but I prefer reading about ordinary chess players and what they’re doing. I also like a blog such as this one with lots of varied content that’s not necessarily chess.

    Tommy makes a good point about new bloggers who make discoveries and share them, and maybe it’s already been said. But that’s okay. Sometimes a new perspective on an old topic changes how we look at it.

    Like Dean I put my games up for myself, because by looking at them a little closer and analyzing them helps me get more out of them. I like it when someone takes the time to look at the game, and comment on something I may have missed.

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