Monday, March 23, 2020

Free of charge part 3

Chess doesn't have many sponsors and I believe things will only become tougher. After the current ongoing biggest crisis since WW2 the first priority will be to put the economy back on the rails. This will cost many billions of dollars/ euros so do't expect that there will be any money for chess or even any other leisure activities.

We chess-players will have to take care ourselves about chess. However I don't expect much of this. Most chess-players aren't rich and are already now keeping a very strict control about their expenses. An example of this I mentioned in my article Papua New Guinea. In the last decade there was a clear shift from playing online for a fee to playing online free of charge.

I also always try to limit my expenses as the costs related to chess can very quickly get high as I calculated for myself in my article How much money do you spend at chess? So each time I want to buy something, I always ask myself if there exists no cheaper or even free of charge alternative which is legal and miss barely any important features. Therefore I haven't bought any new engines for already a couple of years as Stockfish and Leela can be downloaded free of charge. I want to add the remark that people possessing a computer with a modern graphical card, can better switch to the new T60 networks. The score of a very recently finished rapidmatch between stockfish 11 and Leela T60 network 62713 was 48-52 which corresponds to a progress for Leela of 3,5 points from 100 games (about 40 elo) compared to an earlier test made with one of the best T40 networks.

This blog is open for everybody so I don't earn any money with it. Logically I also try only to use free software to create the articles of this blog. First I used the free of charge KnightVision PGN Viewer. As Flash started to get refused by most browsers, I switched in 2017 to the free PGNviewer see my article new viewers. However for free unfortunately is also in most cases connected with less stability which is something I experienced in the last couple of months a few times. End of last year I noticed changed their script without any warning for the pgnviewer which destroyed the layout of all in my articles.

I assume few readers noticed it but I did update immediately after this problem occurred, the more than 1000 games in +600 articles to get them look again normal. It took me 8 hours in total to adapt for each of them the html code. It is no fun but I found it too pity to leave the old articles in such dire state although some other bloggers do see the Australian grandmaster David Smerdon and the Croation grandmaster Alex Colovic. I see at the statistics that my old articles are still very often consulted which I don't think is a surprise as I normally don't talk much about the news.

When 2 weeks ago I discovered for a second time that had adapted their script, I started to realize that maybe using free of charge software for the viewers wasn't the best choice. The damage was this time less serious as the second ugly scroll bar at the right isn't the end of the world. So I decided this time to update the html-code of only my most recent articles. You can clearly notice this from my article the novelty seeker. Other bloggers experience the same problem see e.g. an article of Alex Colovic.

If you don't pay for a service then there also don't exist any guarantees about the quality. It is no coincidence that did an extra effort for the bloggers using their own platform. I guess it was not too difficult to update the html of the older articles simultaneously with the update of the script-viewer so the layout wasn't destroyed.

To avoid new problems, I could transfer or continue the blog on Maybe this would allow my blog to attract a lot of new readers. On the other I would have to relinquish the unique identity of this blog as it would become just one of the hundreds or even thousands blogs which exist already on This doesn't sound attractive to me. Besides today my blog is found very fast by the search-machines like google and that would most likely not be the case anymore when I would use

Maybe I should after all buy Chessbase and start using their viewer which you can integrate on a blog. It is less likely that I run into the same problems when I pay for the software. Quality has a price. It is something which I recently also discovered by using the online database of chess.db. The database gets less and less frequently updated. My most recently played games of Brasschaat, Leuven and Cappelle La Grande are missing contrary to Chessbase. I know chess.db is for many players the free database to use for preparing their games but today this is a rather doubtful choice.

The financial model of chess.db consists of advertisement-revenues and I guess they misjudged this. To maintain a site like chess.db, demands a continuous investment of time and money. You need a lot of traffic to the site to live purely from advertisements. However investing less, leads to fewer visitors which very quickly becomes a vicious circle. So I doubt chess.db will remain on the long term.

Finally we should realize that this blog uses a platform which is only depending on advertisement-revenues. I use the one of google but google is no charity-organization. Google created the platform in the assumption bloggers don't bring only content but will also allow advertisements to be shown in their articles. Thousand of bloggers are doing this and attract millions of readers which generate advertisement-revenues. To stimulate new blogs, Google allows not to show advertisements but after a while authors are politely requested regularly to consider adding advertisements to their blog.

Till today I always refused to do that. I don't like it that my blog would be polluted by often irrelevant commercials and I am not interested in the scarce revenues. I do take hereby a risk. If too many bloggers take the same decision then it becomes uninteresting for Google to maintain their platform. In the terms and conditions Google clearly writes that it can stop at any moment with their platform without any warning. Again this is what you can expect when you don't pay for a service but even a paying service won't protect you from every risk. Anyway I am taking my precautions by regularly taking back-ups of all html-code of this blog. I don't want to see disappearing 10 years of blogging in a blink of an eye.


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