23 August 2021

Talkchess Is/Isn't Talking

A month ago, in a post titled Stockfish vs. ChessBase (July 2021), I noted,

Talkchess.com is currrently returning '403 Forbidden; You don't have permission to access...' messages, so I'll come back to that forum another time.

I went back to the Talkchess forum once a week while preparing my weekly TCEC/CCC post and had the same message every time. For this post I decided to look into it more deeply. Talkchess is useful because it's the GOTO site for informed commentary on all aspects of computer chess. Other sites and forums might have more detailed info on a particular topic, but Talkchess is where the engine experts hang out to discuss with other experts.

The first obstacle was how to go deeper. The '403 Forbidden' message prevented me from looking at previous messages on the forum where someone might have already discussed and maybe solved the problem. Thanks to the Google search 'site' keyword and the Google cache, I was able to access a smattering of relevant information.

Suddenly, while I was preparing this post, the 403 messages stopped and I started receiving original pages from the site. Then, just as suddenly, the 403 messages reappeared and I was once again in the dark. The following links are a mixture of Google cache and Talkchess.com.

Forbidden (talkchess.com; May 2020) • 'Why can we not reach talkchess.com from Germany? I get this message : "Forbidden; You don't have permission to access /forum3/viewforum.php on this server."

Polish users cut off from TalkChess (ditto; July 2020) • 'I have a friend in Poland who is not able to access CCC. I remember that there was some European access problem a while back. Maybe it did not get fixed for Poland.'

And so on. It appears to be Talkchess policy that certain users are blocked. I couldn't find an explanation of why that is.

The recommended workaround was to use a VPN. Among other solutions, this is available in the Opera browser. I haven't tried this, because I ran out of time for working on this post. Maybe I'll tackle it later if I really, really need Talkchess. I can live without it for now.

[NB: Even when the original pages are visible, they seem to be lacking a corresponding CSS file to render them more readable. While it would be nice to have the CSS, too, I'd rather address one problem at a time.]

No comments: