Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Hitting the Wall

| Permalink | 11 comments

Howdy all. I thought I'd be able to keep up here, but so far I haven't had a spare second here in San Diego. Apart from the www.uschesschampionship.com website, I'm doing the daily bulletins for the players and spectators and helping staff and players with their various computer problems. I literally have not been outside of the hotel since I arrived Monday afternoon, which is pretty pathetic.

Things should settle into a routine and get easier with each round, but I've been saying that for three days now. I'm going to put a sign on the wall above me saying "Next question: $5". I like to help, but it's hard to focus on analysis and the website for more than five minutes straight without an interruption.

Still, it's great! I don't want it to sound like I'm suffering; I love it. It's just that it's 4:20am, I've been up alone working on the site all night again, and I slept for three hours last night. (The core: results, games, downloads, analysis, annotated games, photos, report, poll, trivia, press releases, blog updates all day.)

So I'm getting tired and cranky despite the luxurious surroundings and living the chess fan's dream. I just got another personal lesson from Walter Browne as he came in and wanted to show me some lines from his game with Yermo. It's coming in Black Belt tonight, guys! Thanks to IMs Watson and Donaldson I don't have to do much serious analysis of my own, at least not for publication on the site. But I have to keep up with all the games so I can talk competently about them with the players for their analysis contributions and/or blog entries. This is the most chess-immersed I've been in a while and it's inspiring.

I'm very happy with the website. I only wish I'd had more time to work on the content before launch. (I had three days!) Player bios are still incomplete, many players don't like the ones we have for them, and it seems weird to roll them out now, not that I've had much time anyway. Thanks to everyone who has sent in suggestions and corrections on the site, especially Duif.

The ChampBlog was last-minute inspiration and it's far exceeded my expectations. Reaction has been tremendous from both fans and players. I know a few club events have used a blogging format to report on a tournament, but having the players unfiltered at such a prestigious event is very cool. As with my writing, I just make what I would like and hope others like it too. Forget press conferences and demo boards; I want a Linares blog and an Olympiad blog and a world championship blog! This is where the fans are, which means it's where the sponsors should want to be.

We have two IMs and the players themselves talking to an audience of maybe 20 people in the commentary room. They are also doing audio to the ICC, which is great, if limited. I doubt they ever mention the AF4C, Chessmaster, and the other sponsors. Meanwhile, tens of thousands visit the site each day. I hope the ICC is recording the audio; the system looked a little primitive compared to what's built into Playchess.com, but I haven't fooled around with it so I shouldn't talk. Still, multimedia is clearly the way to go no matter where you watch it.

(I was doing audio and even video stuff on my own for Real and then KasparovChess.com's "Champions Club" back in 2000, well before ChessFM and such. It was pretty raw, sort of like bad reality chess television, but it was fun. The ones I made for Real at the London 2000 Kramnik-Kasparov match were completely ad-libbed and I was as tired then as I am now, so they're a little embarrassing to listen to now. Plus, the technical glitches. I just put an oldie up for download here. It's of the 2001 Botvinnik Memorial, one of many clips that few ever saw. Real format.)

I hope to do some more blogging of my own, although I realized that it's not appropriate for me to do it at the official site in the ChampBlog. Who wants to read me babbling when the focus should be on the players? I just didn't know then that so many players would participate and thought some filler would be needed! Even if the gossip is fun, it's a distraction and should be separate. That's what this place is for, no?

My entries might not be as entertaining as Serper's or as linguistically cutting edge as Ross's, but I think my job security is okay until they learn to design websites. (Serper requested his first "boring chess" entry be removed after some haters on the ICC gave him a hard time about it. Sad, because he has a great sense of humor.) Next time around the players should have their own logins so they can blog at any time from their own computers throughout the event. I didn't have time to set something like that up this time around. In fact, they should be able to use the site as a blog and homepage permanently. I get asked all the time to put people in touch with various players for lessons or simuls, or just to pass on greetings and fan mail.

Okay, time to grab some sleep before I have to run in to set the live games link on the homepage to 05!


Maybe the sponsorships aren't mentioned as much as they should, so I did something about it. I went and purchased CM 10 and I love it! Then I sent an email to the folks at Ubisoft letting them know what I did and how much the fans in the USA appreciate their sponsorship and that it does pay off. The only thing was that I could only hunt down an email to investor relations. Perhaps you have an email address to someone who would like to be thanked? I don't want their email swamped by a bogus number of thank-yous, but it would be nice to let them know some of the chess fans are putting their money where their mouth is. Later...

I for one don't mind seeing the Daily Dirt take a back seat for a bit while you focus on the US Championship. The coverage has been amazing, almost as good as being there! I especially enjoy reading the blog - hearing their points of view and seeing their pictures helps make a connection with them.

On a technical note, I'm curious about how the live moves are captured and fed to the java client. Is there a dedicated PC for each board? A serial mux that all the boards connect to? What software is used? Of course, please feel free to delay responding until AFTER you get back home and have had a chance to get some sleep!

The site is wonderful, the blog is fantastic, the crosstable, participants list, press notes, immediately updated results are everything we could ask for. Even a full breakdown of prize fund and tiebreak rules. :)

Yes, I'd love to see a full bio of each player, but it's hard to do that in the middle of the event. In the future, maybe you can suggest to Af4c that in whatever packet they send out to people confirming their participation, they include a bio to be filled out (ideally online, as an option, to save everyone some work).

Give the players time to do it (or have friends, coaches, spouses, work on it for them).

And, and I'm serious here, let everyone know that they will not be issued their player's badge until the bio is filled in. But that's all for the future, of course.

Anyway, great work, hang in there!


Very, very nice work--congratulations!

Nakamura is a great fighter.Pushed till the end
against Serper.I hope he keeps this up.Some of the new young 'stars'like Radjabov have already been infected with that drawing disease-he is such a disaapointment
Well done Hikaru!!

I echo previous sentiments. The coverage has been amazing. I am a fairly new chess fan and the site has provided a terrific education. I think this type of web platform can set the standard for covering future tournaments.

I personally would like to see web coverage like this at the upcoming Scholastic Supernationals in Nashville to be held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in April 2005. That event should attract over 5000 players (and their families), including the creme of the crop of up and coming junior players. I also think this crowd would be a terrific fan base for the Top Echelon chess taking place in San Diego. I don't have a sense that bridge is in place yet.

I especially like the guest blogger feature. Hats off to the Ninja webmaster!



I know what you're going through there in San Diego. When I covered the Olympiad in Spain, it was really tough keeping on top of everything.
After returning, it took three weeks to get back to normal. Same when I was in Seattle for the U.S. Champs last year. I told Frederic Friedel that it's much easier covering from home than at the site. HOWEVER, it's good being at the site because there are so many things you can't get by following the event remotely... like the memories!

LARSEN PRIZE? Great site, great blog, great work! But who won the Larsen prize for fighting chess?


LARSEN PRIZE? Great site, great blog, great work! But who won the Larsen prize for fighting chess?


p.s. forgot to mention, the commentators did indeed mention Af4c, Eric Anderson, and Chessmaster multiple times thorughout the vent. John Watson was particularly assiduous in doing so. :)

As I am sure all are aware the Larsen prize went to Alex Fishbein who as far as I know did not draw a single game. Fishbein declined several draws and was probably had his eyes on the quite substantial the whole time. It is nice to see that such ideas can actually solve quick drawing. Overall some players just can't help themselves.

They cut off our internet access at the hotel on the last day when I was waiting to get the final prize list from the arbiters! I updated with the prizes and such right before I left once I got on the hotel wireless.

I'm back home in NY now, but Garry is here and ChessBase's Frederic Friedel is staying at my place and we're working until Saturday. (Reception for the women's Olympiad team tonight, not exactly work.) That sleep will have to wait until Sunday, I'm afraid. Yawn.

Still stuff to post on the Larsen Prize (rationale, comments from Jim Roberts, the man who sponsored it), and I'm going to post a few hundred large pictures. Then we have to move the site to a new host.

Thanks for all the kind words and support, it was good fun. You won't believe the video we have from the last night. Nakamura, crowned champ a few hours earlier, playing game after game of 1-minute chess in the lobby against all comers, but mostly against Gata Kamsky!

No worries--you did a great job, very much appreciated! It was a really fun site as well as very informative. :)

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 29, 2004 6:19 AM.

    Gonna Party Like It's Your Birthday was the previous entry in this blog.

    Kamsky 2.0 is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.