ChessGames community mourns co-founder

by Macauley Peterson
8/8/2018 – We recently learned that Daniel Freeman, who co-founded in 2001, died on July 24th at the age of 51. Here are a few mementoes.

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"We started with the name and worked backwards"

A thoughtful reader alerted us to the recent death of Daniel Freeman, who launched together with Alberto Artidiello in late 2001. Since then the forum site's comments have begun to memorialise Freeman who was the webmaster and driving force behind the project (his co-founder Artidiello, who purchased the domain name in the mid-1990s, died in 2015).

In a 2006 interview with GM Mikhail Golubev, Freeman said, "In a way, we started with the name and worked backwards...This concept was widened to include discussion forums, game collections, pages for openings and tournaments, etc." 

Freeman was active on the question an answer site Quora and regularly answered questions on chess-related topics, for example:

"Is poker easier than chess?"

It’s an apples-and-oranges situation, made worse because in poker there is an element of chance whereas in chess there is absolutely none.

Consider this: if you sit down against the best poker player in the world in a heads-up game, and your strategy is simply to mindlessly push all-in on every single hand, you have between a 20% and a 40% chance of winning the match, depending on the blind structure. That means a chimpanzee can beat Phil Ivey 4 times out of 10.

If you sit down against Magnus Carlsen, there are no tricks you can employ to give yourself even a 0.001% chance of winning. You’re virtually beat before you make your first move.

"In a match between Mikhail Tal and Magnus Carlsen, who is more likely to win?"

Whenever I hear such “time travel” hypotheticals, I figure like this:

If you put Magnus Carlsen in the time machine and send him back to Tal’s era, my money’s on Tal. If you put Mikhail Tal in the time machine and send him to the modern era, my money’s on Carlsen.

Opening theory isn’t quite as important as you would think. If both players understand the nature of this curious match they will play the opening in a non-theoretical manner while still being perfectly sound. (Carlsen tends to play that way anyhow.)

There we learn that he was also highly sceptical of bitcoin and blockchain technology in general, despite being a libertarian activist in the state of Florida.


Macauley served as the Editor in Chief of ChessBase News from July 2017 to March 2020. He is the producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast, and was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.


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