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Wim Andriessen, Founder Of New In Chess, 1938-2017

Wim Andriessen, Founder Of New In Chess, 1938-2017

Wim Andriessen was one of those figures who, while remaining mostly in the background, changed the chess world significantly. The founder and publisher of New In Chess died on Sunday among family at his home in Alkmaar, The Netherlands. He was 78. 

Photo: New In Chess.

Andriessen was born on the last day of the year 1938, in the city of Wageningen. Like so many working in media, at tournaments or at publishing companies, Andriessen was initially a chess player himself. And a pretty strong one.

He was among the top 20 players of the Netherlands at some point, and even qualified for the 1971 Dutch championship, where he finished in 10th place. These games can be found in the database. He held well-known GMs Jan Hein Donner and Hans Ree to a draw.

1971 Dutch Championship | Final Standings

# Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Ree,Hans ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 7.5/11 38.00
2 Donner,Jan Hein ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 7.5/11 36.75
3 Scholl,Eduard C ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 7.0/11
4 Timman,Jan H 0 1 ½ 1 0 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 6.5/11 34.50
5 Hartoch,Robert G ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 6.5/11 32.50
6 Langeweg,Kick ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 6.0/11
7 Van der Weide,Piet ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 1 ½ ½ 5.5/11
8 Van Baarle,C John 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 5.0/11
9 Boersma,Paulus A ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ 4.5/11
10 Andriessen,Wim ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0 0 0 ½ ½ 4.0/11
11 Krabbé,Tim 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 3.5/11
12 Van der Vliet,Fred 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 2.5/11

Andriessen's biggest win was probably Lubomir Kavalek, the later top grandmaster who at the time was still living in Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia. Below is the game with commentary by the winner himself (translated into English by Chess.com). From the game and the commentary, one can see Mikhail Botvinnik's influence on Andriessen.

Andriessen, however, will go into history as a publisher who greatly enriched the chess world. 

It started in the Netherlands, in 1968, when he founded the legendary magazine "Schaakbulletin." Like with "New In Chess" in the 1980s, the magazine became quickly popular thanks to the many strong players sending in annotated games. "Schaakbulletin" is also very much remembered for the many stories that can only be described as pure chess literature.

In 1984 Andriessen founded "New In Chess." It quickly became the dominating international chess magazine that it still is today. Combining analysis of the strongest players in the world with tournament reports, side stories and columns is still a winning formula. The magazine, with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam as the editor-in-chief, is read in more than 100 countries.

Another major publication of the company is the "NIC Yearbook," advertised humorously with the tagline The only Yearbook that appears four times a year. With its characteristic black cover, this big collection of theoretically important games, presented in opening surveys, became a rival of the famous "Chess Informant," although serious players want to read both!

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A collection of yearbooks at Princeton University's library. | Photo Michael Goeller.

In the mid 1980s, when the personal computer was just starting to make its entrance into society, it wasn't easy at all to publish hundreds of games with diagrams and chess moves using figurines (a tiny knight or bishop instead of N or B). First at Elsevier publisher, and then at New In Chess, Andriessen was a pioneer for creating a digital publishing system that has been used for decades now.

Andriessen started publishing chess books as early as the seventies, and also at New In Chess he would continue to do so, but during the first two decades of the company the focus was on the magazine and the yearbook.

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Andriessen as drawn by his son Joppe.

On a personal note, it was Wim Andriessen who hired me for my very first job. During the almost two years that I worked for New In Chess in 1999 and 2000, he was a dedicated and critical publisher. He wasn't an easy person, I heard from many people, but Wim and I got along quite well.

After I left NIC, I only saw Wim a few more times. However, it doesn't surprise me to hear that, after his retirement, Wim spent a lot of time writing articles for the website of his local chess club in Alkmaar, and coaching youth players there. With his knowledge and experience, that must have been invaluable hours for the talents, just as Wim has been invaluable for the professional chess world. 

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