10 February 2023

The Final Years of Insidechess.com

My previous post on early chess web sites was Wayback to Insidechess.com (February 2023). There I made an initial observation about the Wayback record:-

The first entry for a working site is Inside Chess Online (January 1999). It links to the Latest Issue (Volume 12, Issue 2, March 1999), with further links to three (out of a dozen) articles from the issue.

There are at least four layers of the past that apply to Insidechess.com:-

Chess history: e.g. 1998-99 World Chess Council ... and more (m-w.com); my own account of the period covered by the following resources.

Inside Chess (magazine): e.g. Inside Chess Magazine 1999 (Archive.org 1999-11-04) • 'GM Yasser Seirawan, Publisher // Editor in Chief Michael Franett'; 'Vol.12, Issue 1 - February' [...] 'Vol.12, Issue 10 - November'.

Insidechess.com (web site): e.g. 24 January, 1999 Inside Chess Online (Archive.org 1999-01-25), starting with 'Adams - Seirawan match, Game 4' and including 'See the most recent Inside Chess issue'. This links to In this issue of Inside Chess Magazine (Archive.org 1999-02-25) • 'Volume 12, Issue 2 (March 1999) Latest Issue' [...] 'Publisher's Message by GM Yasser Seirawan; We ring in the New Year with a mixed bag of messages for this month's issue. I would like to give an overview of the chess world's affairs and make some brave predictions for the year to come. [...]'. • NB: The history of the web site can be reconstructed only partially, according to specific pages retained (haphazardly?) by the next resource.

Insidechess.com (Archive.org): e.g. https://web.archive.org/web/19980501000000*/http://www.insidechess.com/; Here there is a five year gap -- 2002 through 2006 -- where the site's home page was not saved.

A few months into 1999, we find In this issue of Inside Chess Magazine (Archive.org 1999-05-07); 'Volume 12, Issue 5 (June 1999)', with the following news:-

Publisher's Message by GM Yasser Seirawan [] When we started Inside Chess in 1988, our hope, among other things, was to fill a niche in the chess world for timely and informative news. Now, in our twelfth year of publication, we can look back with satisfaction and feel we have had some measure of success in accomplishing that goal.

Obviously, there have been many changes in and outside of the chess world since 1988. [...] In the year 2000, we've decided to greet the new millennium with an online-only edition. [...] Following this June issue, we will publish seven more print issues, ending with a final January 2000 issue.'

The last Archive.org capture of 2001 is Inside Chess Online (2001-07-22); the page is dated '19 July 2001'. It includes a link to 'Masterpiece Games third quarter financial statements', itself a list of links where the first is Masterpiece Games Inc. : The Company and its Directors. It starts,

Masterpiece Games Incorporated, (MPA) is a Vancouver BC based holding company whose shares are traded on the Canadian Venture Exchange (CDNX). MPA emerged as its own publicly traded company as the result of a spin-off from Grandmaster Technologies, Inc. (GMT) on August 22, 1997.

MPA has two assets International Chess Enterprises, Inc. (ICE) a Seattle, WA based company that sells chess products, and a substantial ownership position in Master Games Inc., a privately held Austin, Texas based company.

The Archive.org capture for 2007-05-16 informs, 'Coming Soon! This site is under construction.' For 2008-04-27 it says, 'Redirecting to...' Chesscafe.com.

I once featured an early version of that site in Chesscafe.com 2015 (June 2015), so what more can be said? Plenty, it turns out.


Plenty there might be, but not now. It's time to close the topic of early chess web sites and move on to something else. Following is a list of posts for the current series.

That brings us to this current post, where we ended with an earlier series.

So much chess history, all of it fading away on transient digital media.

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