New in Chess (2011/4)

New In Chess (2011-4)

At the recent World Open in Philadelphia, a fellow chess player and I were discussing New in Chess and he was adamant about the notion that the Dutch-based magazine should move its stellar publication online. I disagreed. He reasoning was that the content would then become more interactive and it would be more consistent with what players are familiar with. I understand the rationale, but here is why I disagree.

  • Firstly, New in Chess is an excellent magazine, but would be just another good online publication now in direct competition with ChessBase DVDs. It has a loyal following and it is one of the few remaining international chess magazines out there.
  • Secondly, it has an excellent niche. With all other publications (including the Informant) going digital, this may be the very reason NIC stays in magazine form. It still has unique qualities and migrating the magazine online would actually weaken the brand and it may get lost in the competition.
  • In addition, you would not be able to charge a premium price for an online subscription and it is doubtful that you would be able to capture the same magic seen by the magazine. The fact that a magazine with old results and games can still command such respect in the Internet era is amazing.

Probably the most salient thought is that there is a different experience reading a magazine and going through the games on the board as opposed to rifling through 50 games in a few hours. Going through NIC gives you a greater sense of connecting with the stories and it is not the kind of media you skim through (as is typically done with lengthy online material). NIC is the kind of magazine that a non-chess player can read… and it looks wonderful on the coffee table! 🙂

I will admit that NIC will have to eventually migrate more of its content online since the print business is suffering, but there are debates on whether magazines of its ilk will continue to draw wide support given its quality of deliverance. Saying this, let’s review the latest issue.

Bobby Fischer as Seen by Harry Benson

The first thing you notice about the new NIC is the cover with Bobby Fischer in a very enigmatic pose. There is a wonderful story on Harry Benson’s characterization of Fischer through his photo lens. There has been so much emphasis on Fischer’s mental state (in later years) by people masquerading as psychologists and psychiatrists, that well-balanced accounts of Fischer are hard to come by. The article, “Bobby Fischer as Seen by Harry Benson” is an excellent piece showing a side of Fischer we do not often hear.

NIC’s Cafe is always an interesting read and this issue has an interesting exchange on the subject of cheating between NIC and chess software giant, ChessBase. The recent Candidates Matches were also covered and if anyone could put a good spin on a tournament where 27/30 games were drawn, then NIC was successful. One of the highlights of this feature was Anish Giri wonderful analyses.

2011 U.S. Chess Championship

There was a great feature on the 2011 U.S. Championship which gave a tour of the opulent club based in St. Louis, Missouri. It is a good read and it complements the interview done by Dirk Jan ten Guezendam, who gave glowing reviews of his visit. One of the controversies brewing is Gata Kamsky’s admission that he is the strongest player in the U.S. despite Hikaru Nakamura’s being #6 of FIDE’s list. This minor controversy was was precipitated by Nakamura’s critique of the quality of play at the tournament and characterizing Kamsky’s style as “dry.” We will hear more about this in the coming months as Olympiad is next year in Turkey and the two will still be teammates… hopefully.

Letter from the Soviet Chess School

Kasparov pens an interesting article about the Soviet School of Chess saying that the epitaphs written of its demise were premature. He defends this by pointing out the success of players like Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk and the recently-ended Candidates featuring seven of eight players from the supposed “Soviet School” (a moniker with no clear-cut definition).

The arguments are interesting, but highly debatable. With India’s Viswanathan Anand as World Champion and Asian federations among the fastest growing in terms of strength, we are clearly in a post-Soviet era where training methods of Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura have gained some currency. The debate continues.


  • Anand’s Challenger
  • Deserving and Worthy
  • A Club Only About Chess
  • Interview: Gata Kamsky
  • Law and Order
  • Champion in the Country of Champions
  • Hertan’s Forcing Moves
  • Bobby Fischer as Seen by Harry Benson
  • Opulence Is Bliss
  • All the World’s a Stage
  • Favourites Stumble in Tiebreaks
  • Letter from the Soviet Chess School
  • Just Checking



  1. I would love to have a subscription to New in Chess. My problem is that being older, 64, my money doesn’t go as far as it used to. I love the magazine. It is excellent. Perhaps if even just old issues were offered on line, it would increase the magazines popularity, and encourage subscription from those who can afford it.

    Joseph Crump
    P.O. Box 502
    Bristol, Florida

  2. I agree with Daaim on most of the points above. NIC is one of the few high quality chess magazines left still in print. Despite having a technology background I prefer to read my magazines and newspapers in print form even today.

    I look forward to receiving every issue of NIC in the mail and have been quietly buying old issues to review in my chess library.

    I disagree that NIC should move its publication online. The chess news community online is very saturated. There is a place for quality journalism and feature stories and it just feels better to see the fruits of that labor in print.

    NIC just recently changing the size of the magazine to a bigger footprint speaks to them feeling confident that their long term strategy is secure.

  3. From a business point of view, an online NIC would be a totally different product with a different price point. It is improbably that a subscriber would pay $96.00 for an online NIC. When a reader views documents online, the mindset is totally different, the interaction different and the reading depth is different. There are many studies on online media that study this phenomenon.

    If NIC was online, I doubt if I’d read it as I do now. The psychology may be that content we get online should be free and NIC perceived value may suffer. NIC may try to do some multimedia content to complement the magazine. Many magazines have tried using the web to drive traffic. They would keep exclusive content in the magazine and send you to the web for other information.

  4. I agree 100% with you Daaim. I do like their NicBase Online feature, which I think is a good thing for them to have.

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