The start of this post may wind up sounding like somebody’s graddad doing one of those “I used to walk five miles barefoot to school uphill both ways” things; I am pushing 50 so I guess that’s natural — I don’t know. But I can vividly remember a pre-Internet time when chess advice wasn’t easy to come by.
Sure, there were chess clubs but they tended to be few and far between; besides, the guys there were your opponents as well, so you could never be sure you were getting a straight answer (that is, from the ones who would even speak to you — some of them just pegged you as a dumb kid asking foolish questions). If you wanted to get a recommendation on a good chess clock, or find out whether you’d be better off studying openings or endgames, or learn a good reply to 1.d4, you might get a dumb look, you might get stony silence, you might get a good answer, you might get a wrong answer. You just never knew.
The Internet changed all that. But now you have almost the opposite problem: too much information. There are a lot of chess sites and a lot of chess message boards out there (due to what I term the “balkanization of the Internet” — tons of message boards on identical subjects with more appearing all the time, compared to a single central repository); it’s hard to choose a particular place to go when you’d like to find some info or the answer to a question. Another problem is that you still don’t know the quality of the information you’ll receive because you usually don’t know the identity of the person with whom you’re communicating.
I’d like to toss a suggestion out to you: try The Chess Exchange. Established in 2003, we’ve been around a long time (and I say “we” because I’ve been there since dang near the first day; more on that in a minute). A lot of other chess message boards have come and gone, but after six and a half years The Chess Exchange is still standing.
The Chess Exchange has forums for beginning players (and we don’t treat beginners like “clueless noobs” or as though we’re “the clique” and beginners are “outsiders” — man, we’re here to help). We have discussion areas dedicated to chess students and teachers, especially folks who are teaching chess as part of a school curricula or as an extra-curricular activity. We have several specialized software areas, places where you can discuss that great new chess web site you found, areas to talk about the latest chess news. And, of course, there are forums where we discuss “hardcore” chess questions, like proper endgame play or the latest opening theory.
The Chess Exchange is a great place to ask questions and get answers, in part because you often know who you’re talking to. I’m there (you know me — well, after my nearly 20 years with ChessBase I hope you know me!) as well as folks like Jeroen van Dorp, our man in the Netherlands, the legendary “Tacky Patzer” himself, who’s been a popular chess message board raconteur since said boards were made of cork and required pushpins. Jeroen’s our ChessOK guy who’ll help you with your concerns with CT-ART and related products. The ChessCentral crew is there as well, including appearances by noted chess book author and Master player Sid Pickard.
We’ve always prided ourselves on running a friendly board there — trolling and flaming isn’t allowed — and we’ve been rewarded with a great bunch of posters and participants ; I honestly believe that we have the best chess discussion group on the Internet. Over the six years we’ve been around visitors to the site have contributed more than 14,000 posts to date, so even if you never ask a question there yourself you’ll still find our archives to be a valuable source of information. Just do a search for the information you want — I’ll bet you find it archived more often than not. And if you don’t find it, ask away! Our forum members will be more than happy to tackle pretty much any chess question you care to ask.
Please consider this blog post to be a sincere invitation to join one of the best message boards of any kind you’ll find online anywhere. The Chess Exchange is ready to help answer those nagging chess questions. Whether you’re looking for advice on tournament equipment or software, just arguing with a friend over an opening move sequence or the proper way to offer a draw, or simply looking for a good chess site at which to virtually “hang out”, you’ll find what you’re looking for at The Chess Exchange.
C’mon over! We’re ready to help.
Have fun! — Steve