Annual Survey 2007

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
31 December is the day for looking back and we're going to do the same over here, because it's kind of a tradition already. It was a fine one, this first ChessVibes year. Yes, first, because the first thing we did in 2007 was throwing the old name Doggers-schaak in the bin and replace it for the now familiar and trusted ChessVibes. Back then, we couldn't expect what 2007 would bring?¢‚Ǩ¬¶

The big peak was already in January: the Corus Chess Tournament. Already in October 2006, in Hoogeveen, I had asked tournament director Jeroen van den Berg if it would be a good idea to film the "press conferences" and put them on the internet to offer them to the fans. I though that a top class player explaining his game with a demo board, could be pretty interesting for more people than only the journalists in the press room.

Breakthrough When I look back, Corus 2007 was no less than a small revolution. As far as ChessVibes is concerned, but also online chess journalism in general. For ChessVibes it meant the international breakthrough because for two weeks we had ten thousand unique visitors every day. The videos from the press room, with Anand, and Kramnik and all the others explaining their games, were immensly popular.

Especially the one with world champion Kramnik was appreciated very much, which becomes clear from the magical number of 64 comments that were left. (By the way, 100 comments were made under the article on the game Kramnik-Topalov, their first tournament encounter since the WCC match.)

We made some typical starters mistakes, like bad sound, but looking back I think we really were the pioneers of video chess journalism. Sometimes we were called "the new Mark Crowther", the well-known TWIC-journalist whom we met Wijk aan Zee by the way and who happens to be a great guy.

The others The other chess media immediately reacted. ICC were actually the first who followed with chess videos because they were already there in Wijk aan Zee. After Corus, Chessbase started to experiment with online videos during Morelia/Linares, but after that they mainly sticked to using the possibility of embedding videos by others. Chessdom started around May, during Sofia, and Europe-Echecs (from France) and Vijay Kumar (from India, always present whenever an Indian player is participating somewhere) have joined, and some Russians too. Curious whom we'll meet this year in the Corus press room!

Karpov During the prize giving suddenly Anatoli Karpov was also in Wijk aan Zee and what was the case? He was going to give a simul the next Wednesday in The Hague. After some phone calls I arranged an interview with him and the questions came from the ChessVibes audience. This resulted in quite a nice interview, imho.

Tour Shortly afterwards the first ChessVibes Blitz Tournament was organised. To strengthen the name ChessVibes some more and also because our editorial team simply like a good game of blitz. Here too we shot many videos of course, because as ICC discovered ten years ago, blitz and the internet go together very well.

After Wijk aan Zee we quickly had the image of "that chess site with all those videos" and we liked to keep it that way. The next super tournament started already in February in Morelia. Naturally Mexico was some bridges too far for ChessVibes (ahum) but we did manage to smuggle some footage over the Atlantic Ocean - e.g. some post-mortems, that other thing that gave us fame and isn't appreciated by every chess player around?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ During the Linares part we had Macauley Peterson making some videos for us when he wasn't working for ICC and here's an example.

A quiet period for ChessVibes followed. Anand won Morelia/Linares, Kramnik won the Amber Tournament in Monaco and in the meantime we received some nice (photo) reports by Manuel Weeks from cold Moscow and from the European Championships in Dresden.

On tour At the end of April I suddenly was a hometown journalist when I catched the news that the new Global Chess was going to openend in Amsterdam that afternoon, and I jumped on my bike with my camera to interview both Bessel Kok and Geoffrey Borg. And then my sabbatical started: I took four months off from work to play and cover lots of tournaments. In other words: ChessVibes on tour!

The first tournament was in Salou, Spain where I did a nice little interview with the Canadian GM Kevin Spraggett, in which he confessed that he was almost crushed by a IM! After Salou I traveled to Sofia, where I was invited to cover the Mtel Masters. I also met Macauley there and together we made this funny video. We also interviewed Gata Kamsky, who would win the World Cup in December.

Lectures Then I played in the first edition of the Porto Mannu tournament (Sardinia), a wonderfully organised tournament on a great location. I can recommend it to anyone and it would be nice to see some more international friends participating next year. They're already advertising in New in Chess Magazine for the 2008 edition (17-24 May) and ChessVibes will be present again. We'll surely film the GM lectures again, like this year when we did Aagaard, Rowson and Marin.

Budapest and Dortmund After Sardinia I went to Budapest to finally witness and experience a First Saturday Tournament myself. It was quite nice, and I played quite well. I also did an instructive interview with GM Mark Bluvshtein. Afterwards the next top tournament started: the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund. The anxiety was getting smaller and I started to ask questions to Gelfand, Kramnik and Hort.

The next stop was Paris, where Tregubov was my next victim, followed by the mega tournament in Pardubice. Meanwhile, Arne wrote a parody to the news that cyclist and Tour the France leader Rasmussen was fired. Quite a funny article, although many non-cycling fans and even my own mother thought it was a pity that those two editors were fired...

Mainz The tour ended with four days in Mainz, where ChessVibes was invited to cover the annual rapid and 960 festival. A great tournament to visit, if only because it's great to see hundreds of players, between 1200 and 2700, in one big hall, all starting to think from move 1. There were interviews with the winners of both open tournaments: Bologan and Navara.

Karlovy Vary ChessVibes is invited more and more to film at tournaments - great for us and great for the fans. In September we were welcomed in Karlovy Vary, the former Carlsbad, where a small but special tournament was held. There I interviewed Akopian and Timman.

Mexico This was a few days before the most important tournament of the year started: the world championship in Mexico. ChessVibes was doing great and almost anybody agreed that we couldn't be absent in Mexico-City. I had to go. And so on 17 September I landed in Mexico to cover the WCC till the end. This meant many press conferences, interviews with (of course) Anand, Van Wely and Heine Nielsen and a long, last video on the closing ceremony. An experience I'll never forget!

News After Mexico, ChessVibes went on to bring as much chess news as possible and the site tries to be a news site more than a blog now. (And every now and then we keep on strawing with videos of course.) This resulted in two scoops, like the player who got caught using PocketFritz during a game, or the young Belgian chess player who was lifted from his bed and told by FIDE he had to finish his game at eleven at night.

Many more things have happened of course, but I should stop now and perhaps start to look forward. (Not before I've mentioned the GM contributions here, here and here and the list of reviews). What will 2008 bring ChessVibes? Can't say. What will ChessVibes bring in 2008? More of the same, and more. Corus is going to be great again, and then we hope to be able to bring more good tournament reports. But besides that we have more plans, about which we cannot say more at this point.

On behalf of everyone who has contributed to ChessVibes, I wish all our visitors a happy and healthy 2008 with lots of great chess.
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