Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chess Lifeless

Being confined to the house recently gave me time to catch up on some chess magazine reading. The Brits at CHESS MONTHLY advertised a special of three of their recent magazines for only ten dollars and I took them up on it. All I can say is, "What a deal!" I have been purchasing them at a local bookstore for full price and even at that rate the magazine is "cheap at twice the price." By the time Borders gets them they are a few months out of date, but still worth the price. Wish I could say the same for the USCF magazine, CHESS LIFE. I usually thumb through it, and only go back and read an article if I read a comment about it in a future issue. I read an article about Ray Robson because I read a letter concerning the article on him. I see that NM Rusty Potter, in a letter in the current issue (June), heaps praise on the coverage of the passing of GM Larry Evans in the March issue. I know it's around somewhere, but I've yet to lay my hands on it. Hopefully, it will turn up... The thing is that by the time I read the best chess magazine on the planet, New in Chess, and Chess Monthly, I do not spend time reading Chess Life. Why should I spend time with a third-rate magazine when I can spend my time with much superior magazines?
I gave the June issue of Chess Life some scrutiny and what I found can only be described as pitiful. WHERE'S THE CHESS? There are seventy two pages and only eleven full chess games! Granted, there are many snippets, but I loath and detest those truncated games! I want to know how we got to the position on the board. I realize some editors prefer snippets in order to save space for other things. In this issue that would be young people acting goofy. There are far too many full, or almost full, pages of zany pictures. If you count the two pages on the new chess movie, which is mostly pictures, and the two pages of the winners of the North American Open, which could be much smaller in order to provide room for actual chess games, there are more pages of pictures than full chess games! Chess Life has turned into the 'picture chess magazine'...
Then there are the two pages of statements by the four people running for the THREE positions on the board. It seems like there are four pages in issue after issue. How many people voted last time? And how many fewer will vote this time now that a potential voter had to go to the trouble to register? What a waste of space. It is a good thing more people do not run for office. Imagine if twenty people were running...
I am old enough to remember when Chess Life was a great magazine. I also recall when it was a good chess magazine. I have lived long enough to have seen it devolve into a shadow of what it used to be. The sad truth is that it has become an embarrassment.

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