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 is Editor in Chief of ChessBase News in Hamburg, Germany, and producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast. He was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.
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Pieces in Motion Pieces in Motion 8/9/2018 05:10
The first Chess site I really liked and one of the best, its held up well through the years and still remains the best at what it does. I hope the site goes on and remains as well maintained as it always was. R.I.P.
flachspieler flachspieler 8/9/2018 06:35
I feel really sad to hear that Daniel Freeman died. He did such a lot for the chess community. For instance, he helped me to establish contact to the son of chess master Joseph Porath (1909-1996). Rest in peace.

Ingo Althoefer.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 8/9/2018 06:11
What a shame, but a tremendous contribution to the world.

Does anyone know what the cause of death was?

Very interesting person based on the quora profile. But some of the views seem unusual to me. Is it true that diamonds are not scarce and valuable? Also strange is the opinion on cryptocurrency/blockchain. The use of blockchain in voting systems has been established. The idea that the only utility for bitcoin is illegal activity has been debunked. It seems that opinions on bitcoin really are heavily stratified by age.
peterfrost peterfrost 8/9/2018 05:56
Just a wonderful site, of great importance to the preservation of chess culture and history. One hopes that Rex Sinquefield, who (commendably) contributes so much money to chess in ways I don't like, will recognise that the value of this site to the game exceeds ten Grand Chess Tours (with their ever speedier time controls), and will step in to save this monument to the game, established in his own country, for a relatively small sum. He could not apply his admirable chess philanthropy in a more effective way than this, and would win the respect of all of us (even those of us who dislike what has been happening with his elite events). C'mon Rex, be our hero!
Offramp Offramp 8/8/2018 07:54
It is very very sad. The good thing is that he accomplished so much during his eventful life.