ChessBase news – back to normal

by ChessBase
4/2/2011 – It was, of course, just an April Fool's prank. Not the Zhu Chen Magnus Tyrannosaurus story, though that was indeed quite incredible, coming exactly at this time. No, it was the idea that we could put the unbearably gaudy, blinking, flashing adverts on our page. We are now switching back to normal, with a special link for people who liked the blinky stuff, plus a selection of feedback messages.

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It wasn't easy, capturing flash films from news pages on the Internet and embedding them in our pages. We kept finding blinkier ones, and in fact enlisted professional help to make the page as obnoxious as possible. We believe we did a fairly good job. Naturally we had to lay an early morning decoy – the Zhu Chen Magnus Tyrannosaurus story – so that our super-alert readers did not spot the joke immediately. And it worked, as you can see from the first batch of emails that reached us before the real prank went online.

One thing we have done for our readers: if you ever feel the need to revisit the blinky flashy April 1st version of our web site you can do so here.

April 1st feedback

Now to our readers' feedback. We have made a semi-automatic selection of the large number of messages we received, and have anonymized the names of the readers, who may not always be glad to be identified as the authors of the letters.

I was wondering over the past two days how you're gonna do 1st April. You did a triple bluff last year, so what can be new? At first i thought maybe you'd bribed BBC and Discovery, but think that's far-fetched. So it means this is a true story. So what have you got up your sleeve this time?? The only logical conclusion seems to be that this is just something you discovered at the last moment to spice up your original plan (and that is yet to be spawned). Or maybe your prank this time would be to simply print 2-3 stories, all of them true.

Last year's April Fools joke about Carlsen being related to Matt Damon was much better than this story about the 'Zhuchengtyrannus'. Nice try, though.

Yeah, that's really really subtle 'news'. Great story and great mind who came up with this fact on April's Fools day! Especially the contradiction in the extra 'g' of ZhuChen and the surname of the dinosaur being 'magnus' – after the great Carlsen? it. Strike one!

Dinosaur's name after Zhu Chen? Hehehehe. Happy April fool's day, folks!

Luckily for my sanity, in the Google age it's possible to cross-check Zhuchengtyrannus in a second, and some of the stories are dated 3/31/11. Can't wait for your home page to become bearable again!

New giant dinoasaur found – named after chess champions? I bet my last dollar this is an April Fools hoax. Gone are those days that dinos were found... ChessBase news goes mainstream – with new commercial design? Nothing seems to be wrong with this, but Ibelieve this is also an April Fools prank. Go ChessBase!

I take it the new "spamming" look is an April Fool's joke. You had me there for a sec :).

I sincerely hope this came because of April 1.

April's Fool! OMG such a funny one!!!

Happy April Fool's Day! I thought I was at a discotheque with all the flashy ads, but of course I check in every year and there were (yet) no other candidates. Although admittedly not well concealed, I'm sure you'll get a few who forget the date and have a myocardial infarction over the new format. Those letters are the best parts of the annual jokes.

No, not everyone has accepted aggressive ads. Personally I find it horrible to have these images moving and blinking while I try to read. It is likely to discourage me looking at ChessBase news. It is a pity. At least accept only non-moving ads. Otherwise it is awful to read. You have to decide. If you want moving ads, please put them only on the right column, so that by making the window smaller we can hide them. I don't think I can hide the ads of the left column. Anyway I will let you know if I stop looking at ChessBase.

Please give us back the pop-ups (which I didn't like at all). The new site is really ugly.

For years I have paid daily visits to the very neat ChessBase site, for news and enterteinment. The new design, however, is just AWFUL, with all those tasteless, overcolored distracting ads. Would you bring back the informative banners please?

Your new design sucks, you guys just lost me as a reader. I will now look to other sites for my news. I came here for chess news, not ads. Good bye!

Congratulations! I think this replacing the pop-ups with ads is a very good idea. I like the look. I also hope you make plenty of money from the ads.

Nooooo, Chessbase, how could you? You are the last website that doesn't show pervasive Flash/Javascript advertising (apart from that popup which I forgive). You were the last beacon of hope for those of us who want to believe that people can live happily in an ad free Internet world. Now all is lost... you have betrayed us and now I fear it is time for us chess players to rise up, begin the revolution to liberate the Internet from the oppression of these ads. If Bobby Fischer could beat the Soviet Union singlehandedly than so can we triumph. P.S.: Good April Fool's joke guys, always looking forward to reading ChessBase on April 1.

Nice one this year!! You're the only website I know that publishes two stories every April fools, thus making it so confusing to figure out which one's the prank. BUT ... none of your advertisements are active links; hard to see you making money off ads that go right into a "site not found" page. Happy April Fools, guys. Keep it up.

Pleeese remove the new irritating flash advertisement immediately.

Okay, so you've gone mainstream and have adverts all over your webpage... April fool!!!!!!

Pure horror. I cannot believe my eyes. What happened to the wise guys in Hamburg? Really, trust me I am an expert, even in selling wine with girls from the Virgin Islands. Six bottles of premium wine for $34.99, impossible. Can't be good! But very nicely done April fools day joke.

I was thinking: what a bad taste! What has happened to ChessBase? So many banners – aghh! But then I noticed the date! Very clever, Frederic! Very!

I love the jokes you guys do. Those crazy ads, that don't work. Have to be this year's!

Looks absolutely terrible with a thousand and one moving lights and banners circulating on either side of the central Chessbase column. I would enjoyably log onto your site a few times each day but am afraid will no longer do so. Pure and unadulterated intellectual enjoyment is one of the many lures which is chess. Your previous website more-or-less seemed consistent with this idea. Now, it has been swept away by the advertising frenzy which is so prevalent in our world. I am thankful that the many quality chess books which exist still preserve this chess purity. Your new website unfortunately looks absolutely terrible to me……(Please keep my entry under the title of “anonymous” if you would be so kind as I don’t want it tangled with the advertising frenzy now present on your web page. Of the many admirable qualities of your previous website you seemed to genuinely respect the feedback of your readers. I hope your attitude will remain the same).

If you have to include advertising, I’d ask you reconsider the numer of adds. It’s daunting and disturbing. Also, comparing yourself to other news sites admits a lack of leadership and ingenuity. Most importantly, however, is that if you must include advertising, please, please, PLEASE make them static. The high speed animations are horrifically distracting and amateurish! I can stomach advertising, but the animations are simply rude!

I am surprised people complained about the pop-up windows. Most of them, I didnot buy, but I got the excellent DVDs by Gustafsson and Bologan because of this. You are providing a great page free! Come on, folks, become real! Thanks ChessBase for changing the chess world for the better.

Will Taylor
I enjoyed your April Fools’ Day story as usual – an inventive way to counter criticism of the new(ish) popups. I hope you don’t make lots of money from the new ads today and decide to keep them! Incidentally, you are featured in my (less interesting) April Fools’ Day story:

Training with Kasparov – Posted on April 1, 2011 by Will
I have some extremely exciting news today! In July, I will be training with the greatest player of all time, former World Champion Garry Kasparov, for the whole month. The first half of the month will be spent in New York, where Kasparov will just have attended the North American Youth Championships, and in mid-July we will travel together to the World Team Championships in Ningbo, China.

Kasparov was told about my project by ChessBase‘s Frederic Friedel at Viktor Korchnoi’s recent 80th Birthday Celebration in Zürich, and was apparently immediately interested in it. Fred showed him a recent game of mine which I had sent him, where I managed to beat FM David Eggleston with the white pieces in a Sicilian Najdorf, and Kasparov said it ‘showed promise’ and expressed an interest in helping me. [Here's the full April 1st report by Will Taylor, whom you may remember from this story]


Certainly you caught me! I had a lot of laugh, and feel honored to have been published. Never I think did I fall so deeply in an April fool. Today I opened your page, and immediately noticed that it was all "normal". Only then did I start to think. Thank you ! I found it very funny, especially that I fell into it!

I get caught every damn year. This year the dinosaur HAD to be true, and the banner ads false....just because it was so counter-intuitive. But alas, I get no credit because I was scared to hazard that guess until AFTER you gave out the answer.

I know you meant is as a joke, but I actually prefer those ads that you can just ignore to your normal ones that I have to actively remove.

Google Gmail Motion

This is Google's April Fool's prank – in two days it got almost three million views

BBC historical April Fools jokes

The most famous jest of them all: a 1957 BBC report on the Swiss spaghetti harvest

Another famous one: the Flying Penguins story, in perfect David Attenborough style

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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