21 April 2016

Bye, S&B!

I started this post with the intention of updating my Diigo bookmarks (last seen in Chessgames.com and the Odd Lie; February 2015), but after adding around 1000 links collected during 2015, I ran into the well-known writers' wall, aka writers' block. What to say next?

How about a piece on the Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog, which recently provided further, unwelcome evidence that the chess blogosphere continues to shrink. A 'GOODBYE AND THANKS' notice in its navigation bar informs,

This blog has ceased publication. The entry for 11 March 2016 was our final posting. Thanks to everybody who read, wrote for and commented on the blog during the nine and a half years of its existence.

I appreciate a blog that takes the time to say goodbye. So many just stop posting without any thought for their loyal readers who are left to wonder whether something has gone seriously wrong. As for why the blog stopped, that's no one's business but its own, and a post on the English Chess Forum, The Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog (ecforum.org.uk), gives no explanation.

Has it really been nine and a half years? In 2006, as part of my responsibilities for About.com, I was running my own forum, where one day a fellow named Tom Chivers stopped by to tell us that he had started a new blog. I don't remember seeing his First Post, (November 2006; 'It's the news the chess world has been waiting for'), but I do remember the second post, Puzzle, because I thought it had one of the worst chess diagrams I had ever seen, like a bad scan from an old, wrinkled newspaper. I eventually came to tolerate the diagrams and to like the blog, as many other people must have done, because it grew into a team of regular writers and soon won an award as best British blog.

My Diigo links return 90 S&B posts that I've bookmarked since 2013 -- the earliest is Absolutely fatuous (September 2013; 'hard to know exactly what to say about Andrew Paulson') -- and that doesn't include the many earlier S&B posts saved before I started trying to make sense of my bookmarks.

Thanks, S&B! Thanks for the many informative, thought-provoking posts that did exactly what a blog is supposed to do: Supplement the bigger stories reported by the mainstream chess news services, with the smaller stories and personal reflections that make chess the wonderful hobby that it is.

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