The deadline is looming for another blog carnival, once again on the theme of chess instruction, and I have nothing suitable to submit. After noticing that neither of the last two carnivals featured any posts from Chess Blogs - Chess.com, I decided to survey the many blogs to be found there.
Chess.com maintains its own list of top blogs -- Top Bloggers - Last 60 Days -- but I wanted to look at all blogs. Currently third on the list of top blogs is Blunderprone, a mirror for the forthcoming carnival host, including the original announcement for the carnival: Come one! Came All! Chess Blog Carnival III Coming soon.
I've been following all Chess.com blogs for the last year or so. It's not hard to do, since each blog page and each blog aggregate has its own RSS feed. The blogs represent a real mixed bag, both in chess strength and in writing style. The biggest advantage of the site is that it offers chess specific tools for constructing a blog post like standard diagrams, game viewers, and puzzle constructors. The biggest disadvantage is that the posts don't seem to do particularly well in the search engines. If you don't follow them, you probably won't see them.
I looked at all Chess.com posts written since the beginning of the month and, if one seemed promising, looked at other posts on the same blog. The qualities for mention in this current post were: written in English, on topic, at least one post in the last month, more content than a single uncommented game in a viewer, at least five posts total, and (as specified for the carnival) instructional. I didn't pay much attention to each blogger's chess rating. Content and style count for a lot more than chess strength.
From that exercise I worked up a short list that was finally whittled down to the following list.
- gotdatpiff's Blog : Opening surveys
- panderson2's Blog : Tactical galleries
- LuckyTiger's Blog : Essays & games
- Osiris27's Blog : Philosophy & games
- mauerblume's Blog : Endgames
Two more blogs get special mention because they don't fit the same mold as the others.
- SirIvanhoe's Blog : External blog support, 'Mostly a game cache for games featured on my blog: The Pied Chessman.'
- Spektrowski's Blog : Tal++
The chess blogosphere has always been volatile. Good blogs appear out of nowhere, then disappear overnight. If you think I've overlooked a good *instructional* blog, just mention it in a comment.
Later: For some reason, call it intuition, I half expected this carnival submission to be ignored, but it was included in Chess Blog Carnival III: The Renaissance Faire Edition.