Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mark Crowther of The Week In Chess Stepping Down

Mark Crowther. Photo © No permission given, but damn it, I love the guy.

Major news at bottom, and I am not being facetious. But first, usual preamble to rambles:

This really has to be short and sweet, for I have endeavored over the years NOT to, like the ever attention seeking Susan Polgar's blog, to be a news about news site.

I deliberately say her blog and not her specifically, since she deserves every respect as a person.  She does a lot for chess, and her intellect, upbringing and family of origin, and accomplishmens cannot be questioned.  But her blog, to me is silly.

Those who read the news don't need a blog of blogs to tell you to read stories.  If you care about such things, by virtue of activity and interest, stay connected.  That's a no-brainer.  Before Google was metacrawler, which aggregated the various search engines, such as Yahoo, Excite, AltaVista.  My god, those were the days.  Seems now like the internet equivalent of the early 80's or late 70's, playing Bachman-Turner Overdrive:

This write neither supports nor condemns this music
Sh-T.  Ok.  Lets get real.  I don't like it, but was the era.

Now instead of, Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire, Orbitz, Kayak,,, Car, you have the travelsite aggregator Trabago (sp) [1, 2]?

Anyway, I am off track, carried away again.  I have never done that before... OK.  Mark Crowther is leaving The Week In Chess, which has been integral to Malcolm Pein's London Chess Center.  This is huge.  To those of you who do not use TWIC, which has tirelessly and consistently collected, and distributed, massive amounts of chess games, and accurately at that (for free), this can hardly matter.  But for all the computer and web related aspects of chess, this is the temple upon whom all chess cognistenti worship.  May god bless him.

I honestly was stunned when I read this, nearly gasping for air, felt my chest tighten, seriously.  Mark and I have corresponded off and on for years, never at any length (except once, about the wisdom of his deserving a beer--or two, in one large and heavy rout of work), and both their privately and in print, I have never, ever heard him utter one single disparaging remark about anyone.  This man is goodness.  And if but once he did so, then whole non-unjustly.  Thank you Mark from all of chess.

[1] As though it were not obvious, I now work in this industry.  I am expressedly NOT a traveler, rather being happy to sit at home forever (true), as the Buddhists say, the body is a sack of flesh with nine orifices.

[2] This is embaressing--hard as I try, I cannot find it on the web.  I see them advertise on the web.  Latter!

[3] I unabashedly copy in full, but also linked here:

'The Week in Chess and the London Chess Centre end their 14 year sponsorship agreement.

'Mark Crowther - Wednesday 29th August 2012 The Week in Chess website and weekly on-line magazine and game file collecting together the leading games and results is created and edited by Mark Crowther. The London Chess Centre particularly through Malcolm Pein has sponsored and encouraged its production since 1998. This agreement has now come to an end although both sides will continue to cooperate for some time.

'"14 years is a very long time in the life of the internet and chess has seen many positive changes. I have been working incredibly hard on the TWIC website and updating the way that the magazine has been compiled since 2009. Whilst I've very much enjoyed increasing the amount of reporting on chess I've been doing, the additional work has also become unsustainable in the long term. I've managed to keep the weekly TWIC magazine games service free for all these years but in this economic climate I've got to look to make the best living I can. I think perhaps there has been the perception that TWIC was a bigger and better financed website than it actually was. A few thousand subscribers would enable TWIC to continue and become better, I will no doubt soon see if there is an appetite for that. It has been frustrating to see the London Chess Centre and myself get relatively little benefit from the production of the magazine while various commercial services have used it as a starting point for their paid for products. 

'In the end I decided that I needed to take stock and see what direction my working life should take which could even be away from chess and more towards other types of internet site. It could be that I work on many different smaller projects. TWIC will continue in some form at a new address shortly. I must place on record my gratitude to Malcolm Pein for his support over the years and I think I learned quite a bit from him too." Mark Crowther 29th August 2012' 


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