Monday, August 13, 2007

How did I get here?

This is fairly off topic for me as this blog is usually just about my chess study or chess games. But Blue Devil had a recent post that made me think a little bit this afternoon. I was about to leave him a second long comment when I figured this would come out smoother as a post on my own blog. His post was about what one can do to increase traffic to one's blog. Though he says himself that he's not that concerned with getting traffic to his blog and doesn't think other good bloggers are either. In any case, it started to make me wonder how I came to visit blogs and start a blog of my own.

By this point I am so used to reading chess blogs, I don't recall how I found them in the first place. I'm sure that I googled something like "chess improvement" or "chess study plan" or something like that. One of the first blogs that I ever read was Sancho Pawnza and sidebar links opened up a wealth of new territory.

Certainly people who read blogs will find new ones by following sidebar links and going to the blogs of commenters, but what about people who have yet to come in contact with chess blogs? How do they get here?

So just now I googled "chess improvement" and here are the blogs that come up:
7. Takchess
9. DK-transform
11. Temposchlucker
13. Fussy Lizard
14. The patzer's tale
16. Cratercat
17. Rook Van Winkle
etc. (Chess Confessions comes up 88, and I didn't have the patience to find The Back Rank)

Googling "chess study plan" turns up fewer blogs. So I am starting to feel at a loss for how I got on the chess blogging path. I also wonder how other people are doing it these days. What makes the chess blogosphere stand out of the background to your average web surfing chess geek? Maybe blogging in general is more popular than I realize and people are actually finding chess amongst the blogs rather than the other way around.

In any case, I've been enjoying chess blogs for over a year and I hope it continues.


At 6:02 PM, Blogger likesforests said...

I began reading blogs because they contain chess wisdom from people who had been studying awhile. I started writing since some of them required an account before posting comments. At first I used it as a weekly status to keep others in the loop about how I was doing, but then I began posting the lessons I had learned. Doing that helps others and reinforces the ideas in my own head. Now I wonder if a website would have been a better forum for lessons, especially given how sporadically I post them. In any event, I will continue to visit and read the few blogs I enjoy.

At 6:19 PM, Blogger Loomis said...

I totally agree with your reasons for why blogging can have a positive effect for a chess player. My current head scratching is how people get involved in this activity. What drew our current community to blogging and what is catching the eye of newcomers?

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a thought I've had for quite a while about all these chess improvement blogs - specially the "Knight Errant" ones.

Michael de la Maza (St. Michael to the faithful, among whom I would count myself) would be utterly appalled at the incredible waste of time blogging represents, that could have been plowed into real chess improvement.

Think about it for a moment. How much time do you all spend (1) reading other people's blogs, and then (2) writing in your own.

Now, how much time do you really devote to chess training?

Get the picture?

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Loomis said...

I think most people who blog have thought about their time management at some point. I have, and it doesn't keep me from blogging. You can take your pick from a large number of reasons.

As Temposchlucker commented on BDK's blog, he doesn't do anything that isn't helping him improve. Reading blogs is a source of inspiration and ideas.

Most people also need a few minutes break from difficult tactical exercises every now and again. A little camaraderie goes a long way in this department.

On a longer timescale, it's nice to have other people's success trajectory to compare with. I'm not the first person to tackle the problems in CT-Art. Just like MDLM's book is inspirational to the readers (let's face it, it's not much else), so are the blogs of other real people.

One of the main reason's for me to keep a blog is a personal history. I really ought to keep track of my progess somehow, writing down on the 'net where I'm not going to lose it makes perfect sense to me. The fact that other people can come read it helps keep me honest -- I'm less likely to scrap the whole thing this way.

In summary, it's probably not as much time as you think, and likely not as wasteful either.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger likesforests said...

"How much time do you all spend (1) reading other people's blogs, and then (2) writing in your own. Now, how much time do you really devote to chess training?"

I couldn't separate the two. I'm analyzing endgame variations while I write my blog, and tempo's blog is usually anything but passive reading. I suppose I spent 15 min here reading and commenting, but at this moment I am rather too tired to study more positions.

"What drew our current community to blogging and what is catching the eye of newcomers?"

Space Cowboy drew me in. His blog is long since gone... dk transform, tempo, he and I were chatting about how to learn tactics faster when he posted a link to his blog entry.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger likesforests said...

Or rather I think they did most of the chatting and I did most of the listening!

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

88? Oh, the humanity. I need to go comment on everyone's blog and ask them to link to me!!!

It is really strange how the chess blog subculture has transformed in just the past year. It used to be easy to keep tabs on everyone. Now it is impossible, it would be harder than keeping up with the literature in my field. Hmm. Speaking of work...

For me, it is a danger that blogging takes up too much time. Not the posting, but reading other blogs, posting comments, thinking about what they have said. If I am checking more than once every three or four hours, something is seriously amiss in my priorities.

I remember a couple of years ago there was a controversy that Wikipedia wouldn't allow an entry on the Knights Errant. A few of us were pretty pissed at the pedantic editors there. In retrospect, I don't really care. At the time we were such a small group and we probably had some insecurity about how much longevity we would have. Now I think we are here for a while (and the chess blogosphere will be around forever pretty much). I will likely be gone in five years, but I predict a group of 15-or-so active Knights with a very long 'Knights Victorious' sidebar.

Will DG still be keeping tabs?

Ahh, I feel like an old man.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Dan said...

very interesting topic. I have been thinking of this myself lately. I recently started my site out after a long look at my personal notes from all the chess books that I have read and thought to myself, "What on earth are you going to do with all these?" I have a bit of web savvy in me so I decided to build a site... come to find that I began to struggle with with the amount of time I play chess vs the time I spend posting and gathering chess information... When i was starting out, Dennis (The Chess Mind) offered great words of advice to me, "Don't let writing about chess get in the way of chess itself!"

I took this to heart, and in the end, i really only post updates to my site when I can't really sit and study with my tools. (eg. at work on lunch etc..)

The great thing about the chess community is that there are so many opinions, and SO many different ways to go about doing things (like instruction and studying etc.) However, the one thing that I really wish would happen is that I wish there was a mega site, a place with a HUGE community where people could interact on a forum, a place where Masters and amateur alike could come to interact. Unfortunately some believe that their knowledge should be compensated (and rightly so) i just wish that there were a central place where everyone could come get organized, well informed, discussion. Excellent instruction and good web design, without having to pay for it.

i know there are many different places out there that attempt this, but most are disorganized and hard to really "plug in"

For now, I'll stick to the blog community and those sites that offer good instruction and do my best to synthesize the MASSIVE amount of information to apply into my own game... and hopefully spread the love of chess on my way.

For me, my site is a way to organize my thoughts. To digest my ideas. A way for me to give back to the chess community by helping someone who might be lost like I was a couple years ago.

I love this game...

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous svensp said...

I came in contact via Mr. Nezhmetdinovs' blog, if I remember correctly. Alas, I'm not sure how I did land there, probably I was searching something along the lines of "chess flow" or "chess zen" (nonsense, but sounds nice), some search for overarching concepts in connection with chess.

I think there ar several people that are interested in such topics as the rise of the HipHop-Chess-Federation is showing. Maybe some of them found the chess improvement blogs that way. But I think more found it via a search for "chess" or "chess improvement" on technorati.

kind regards,

At 10:11 PM, Blogger allegroknight said...

I got started blogging because I wanted to make a diary of my chess progress and I wanted to try out this "new" blogging craze. I had started playing chess again in May after hearing IM Emory Tate speak at my local club. I have dabbled in chess off an on for years, collected a few books, but never really worked that hard at it and never really got any good (My highest USCF rating was around 1400, and that was back in high school over 15 years ago. Currently, I just "re"cracked 1200 :-). It's hard to explain, but Emory's excitement when going over his 1997 game against GM Yudasin just kind of inspired me. I came away from thinking, "You know, I just wanna know how good I can become if I apply a little effort to this." So, I started studying again. I was already aware of the de la Maza book, and decided that his program could form at least a part of my study plan. In looking for de la Maza information, I stumbled on the Knights Errant, and the rest is history.

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Sun Tzu Monkey said...

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