01 December 2011

DVDs as Cheap as Dirt

In the past I've remarked that as we approach the Christmas season, the number of Top eBay Chess Items by Price increases dramatically, then tapers off as the holiday season comes to an end. It's strange then, that three weeks before Christmas, I would have so few items to choose from. I could only find two auctions -- for items other than chess sets -- that closed during the past fortnight. One was a Capablanca letter that sold 'Best Offer' for US $1500:-

Original signed handwritten letter by World Chess Champion Jose Capablanca. Written March 21st, 1927, on letterhead of the Manhattan Square Hotel, during the New York 1927 Tournament, which was being held there, and while he was World Champion. Capablanca won the tournament comfortably with 14 points, ahead of Alekhine who had 11 1/2.

The other had a title that said, '215 CHESSBASE FRITZ TRAINER DVD CHESS COLLECTION LOT'. It sold 'Best Offer' for US $499.99. In fact, on the previous day the same item also sold 'Best Offer' for US $450.00. It's currently listed again for US $499.99. The description said,

This 215 DVD series is the entire collection of Fritz Trainers that includes openings, middle games, endgames, player careers, topical surveys, strategies, tactics, psychology, all related to the game of chess. This is the ultimate collection that is a must for any die hard serious tournament player. The DVDs require some format of a Chessbase reader such as Chessbase, Fritz, or Rybka. If you don't have any of these there's a free version of Chessbase Light that you can download off the internet that will play these DVDs with full function. This includes a few French and German titles as well. Total there are 202 English titles and 13 French and German titles.

The complete collection comes you onto a brand new Seagate 500GB 2.5" Expansion Portable External Hard Drive with a 1 year warranty included.

So what's going on here? My guess is that digital copies of the DVDs have been downloaded from the web, collected onto the Seagate 500GB HD, and offered to anyone willing to put up $500 for pirate copies of Chessbase software. This is another example of the ubiquitous phenomenon I first noticed a few years ago in Chess Torrents.

Given that the Seagate HD currently sells for about $70, the seller is making an easy $400 per auction. I have no idea how much Chessbase pays the GMs featured on the DVDs, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's in that ballpark. You can get more info about the various Fritz Trainer DVD titles on the Training page at Chessbase-shop.com.

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