In recent months I've twice used Archive.org as the source for posts related to historical web sites -- Soltis's Sites and Chesscafe.com 2015 -- i.e. 'ancient' chess on the web. Since I'm using the same resource for a series of posts on my World Championship blog -- where Zonal Qualifiers C17 (1997 Groningen) is the latest example -- this post is a summary of the technique I use for the basic research.
An Archive.org search starts with an early chess directory. One of the first was Chess-space.com, for which two domains were used:-
- 1997-12-10: chess-space.com
- 1999-01-17: chess.imaginot.com, 'Chess Space: Do not adjust your browser. This is Chess Space.'
The given date is the earliest for which Archive.org currently has a record of the domain. An important general directory was Yahoo.com:-
- 1998-12-02: dir.yahoo.com/Recreation/Games/Board_Games/Chess
The best early chess-specific directory was probably Chessopolis.com. Here is its list of other chess directories (which has links to the various Chessopolis categories on a sidebar) for research in new directions:-
- 1999-09-03: chessopolis.com/links.htm
Another comprehensive source was About.com, originally known as Miningco.com. Along with the other categories from the period 2002-2008, I maintained the last two links given here, which are lists of other chess directories:-
- 1997-07-01: chess.miningco.com
- 2002-11-18: chess.about.com/cs/otherdirectories/index.htm
- 2005-10-30: chess.about.com/od/directories
The directories help locate specific chess resources of a certain period which can be explored for info related to a research topic. It should be understood that the pre-2000 record is particularly incomplete and spotty, both for Archive.org and for the various chess directories. The rec.games.chess 'newsgroups' help fill in the blanks. Here is an example of a search related to 1997 Groningen.
These links taken together are just a starting point and provide uncountable useful directions for further exploration. Happy hunting!