25 November 2022

Wayback to Smartchess

Earlier this month on my 'World Chess Championship Blog', I posted Smartchess Interviews Karpov (November 2022). I noted,

A footnote to the interview mentioned that it first appeared on Smartchess Online in September 1997. I tried to find the original interview via the Wayback Machine, but failed. Smartchess.com appears to have been built using techniques that are incompatible with Wayback assumptions.

It turned out that the Wayback obstacle is easily overcome. Don't try to open its links in new tabs, then everything works. Starting with the web.archive.org link given in the 'Interviews Karpov' post, I followed...

'SmartChess Online' -> 'Back Issues of SmartChess Online' -> The SmartChess Archive for 'September 1997' -> 'Publisher's Message' -> 'Ron Henley's Mail Bag'

...and was rewarded with the press photo pictured below.

"Best Wishes!" - D.T.

For more on this blog from the chess-playing 45th U.S. president, see Donald Trump, Chess Master (October 2022). As for the Smartchess Karpov interview in September 1997, a page '"Karpov On The Net" by FIDE World Champion GM Anatoly Karpov' presented 'Two From Biel [1997]', two games annotated by Karpov. Another page, '"In Conversation With..." by Rachel Landry', who was Karpov's interviewer, had a different interviewee:-

GM Gabriel Schwartzman is a University of Florida student with a perfect grade point average, a successful businessman, a respected chess journalist and commentator, a licensed chess coach, the 1996 U.S. Open Champion and, as if all that isn't enough, he can checkmate you in six languages! At the age of twenty, Gabriel is a seasoned veteran of chess. He began playing at two years old and at seventeen, he was awarded the title of International Grandmaster.

Other columnists in the same issue were GM Walter Browne, GM Gabriel Schwartzman, GM Michael Rohde, NM Irina Krush, GM Ron Henley, NM David Koval, GM Alexei Shirov, GM Andras Adorjan, and FM Asa Hoffmann. That makes a lot of chess history to sort through.

The first issue of 'SmartChess Online' was dated August 1997 and the last was dated August/September 2003, a total of 45 issues. At some time in 2005, the site started redirecting to ClassicalGames.com. My 'Interviews Karpov' post had a second follow-up:-

In his interview with Smartchess, Karpov mentioned a couple of video series he was developing for Smartchess's 'WWW Chess Superstore'. I've featured two of these in posts on my main blog [...] How many more of these videos are still available on Youtube?

I started to look into that question, but ran out of time. The first problem is how to catalog them.

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