19 March 2015

JP/Moon/Fischer

Let's go once again Down Memory Lane with Andy Soltis, where I quoted GM Soltis from the March 2015 Chess Life (CL) saying,

More chess literature is available today than ever before, thanks to the Internet. and yet more chess literature is being lost today -- on the Internet. The vanishing content appeared on websites that are now dead.

One of his most familiar examples was a controversial site by a controversial ex-World Champion.

Other doomed sites were personal blogs. even Fischer got into the act, on a Japanese site where he posted copies of personal documents, such as his book contracts. (It shows he got a $2,000 advance for Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess.) But the site died soon after Bobby did. some sites devoted to Fischer have also vanished.

By coincidence, I had been looking at this site just a few weeks earlier, while preparing a post on Fischer's Seiko Connection. The Archive.org address is home.att.ne.jp/moon/fischer/, where the entry for 2007-12-22 brings up a working index page. Unfortunately, the individual links lead mostly to other pages that contain only scanned images. Since the images are missing, the real content is minimal.

A big advantage to having a working index is that the page's text opens up new avenues for search. With that page as a guide I finally located an archive page with the two images used in the 'Seiko Connection' post. They are on a page under the Archive.org copy of geocities.jp/bobbby_a (note the 'bbb' in Bobby). Somewhat curiously, there is another *live* site at geocities.jp/bobbby_b/ (those three 'b's again), with an identical index page, but the links lead only to error messages.

Getting back to GM Soltis, the document he mentions was titled, '"Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" contract dated October 21, 1965.(13 pages)'. It turns out there is a fully functional copy of jp/moon/fischer (who is Moon?) at crashrecovery.org/..., with a working link that returns the entire BFTC contract. Some of the last links on that page go to crashrecovery.org/bobbby_a, giving the distinct impression that someone is trying very hard to keep *Bobbby's* site alive. Why bother? Other than the connection with its historical chess personality, the tasteless, offensive site has little of real interest to anyone other than a psychiatrist.

As long as we're discussing the dead site of the 11th World Champion, let's look at the dead site of the 13th's. Near the end of his column GM Soltis wrote,

You have to wonder about the demise of KasparovChess. It was the best chess site on the web when Garry Kasparov launched it 15 years ago. In addition to showcasing his own views and analysis, it provided an outlet for articles by unknowns. [...] Kasparov predicted a bright future for his site. "Frankly speaking, KasparovChess has no competitors at the moment, as this is a really new form of entertainment in the world of chess," he said. With solid financial backing and Kasparov’s expertise, his prediction should have panned out. But KasparovChess began shutting down in late 2002 after it ran out of cash.

When asked about kasparovchess.com, Archive.org says only, 'Sorry. This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.' On my page World Chess Championship : 2002-04 Unification, I have a few copies of kc.com articles (used with permission), but phrases from these articles lead only to my copies. Looks like kc.com is gone forever. Sorry, Andy, it was indeed a great site!

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