New in Chess goes digital

by Johannes Fischer
5/1/2014 – When the English language Dutch magazine New in Chess first appeared in September 1984, with tournament reports, analyses by top players, portraits and general interest articles, it rapidly earned the reputation of being one of the world's best chess magazines. Now, 30 years later, it has grown to A4 in size and over 100 pages long. And since 2014 it is available in digital form.

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New in Chess goes digital

The first edition of New in Chess was published September 1984, and was immediately considered to be one of the world's best chess magazines. It grew out of the legendary Dutch Schaakbulletin and won readers with comprehensive tournament reports, analyses by top players, extensive portraits, and diverse articles about the history and culture of chess. Informative, inspiring and of high quality.

An early edition (December 1984) showing a young Anatoly Karpov on the cover

Since then the chess world has changed. The Internet provides daily and up-to-date coverage of current events – with live-transmission of games, analyses, fotos, videos, and direct transmissions of press conferences in which the players analyse their games immediately after the round. A serious challenge for many print magazines. New in Chess reacts to this challenge with timeless articles and tournament reports, which emphasize extensive background coverage and comprehensive portraits of top players. This keeps the magazine inspiring and informative, despite the competition from the Internet. As the first two issues of 2014 prove. On the cover of the first we see Hikaru Nakamura declaring confidently: "I do feel at the moment I am the biggest threat to Carlsen".

Cover of issue 1/2014

A bold statement, particularly so, if one keeps in mind that Nakamura, when making it, in 23 encounters with Carlsen in classical chess, had not won a single game but lost eight while 15 were drawn. But as Nakamura has shown in his games in Zurich at the beginning of 2014 and in the seventh round of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir, he has reason for optimism. In the extensive interview in the magazine Nakamura shows himself confident, but also realistic and nuanced, when talking about the chess world, the World Championship match between Anand and Carlsen in November 2013 in Chennai, and his chances against Carlsen in general.

After Nakamura spoke his mind in the first issue of 2014, in the second issue of 2014 Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen have their say. Aronian talks about the charms of being surprised by one's opponent, and New in Chess editor-in-chief Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam tells about his adventures when visiting a Hamburger restaurant in Zurich with the World Champion.

Apart from reports about current tournaments or articles about chess culture and chess history – e.g. a close look by Mihai Marin at the style of Lajos Portisch in the first issue of 2014 – New in Chess offers a number of regular columns, which are a fine mix of topicality and timelessness. Jan Timman, for instance, regularly presents endgames and studies; Matthew Sadler looks at new books; Nigel Short provides intelligent polemics in his "Short Stories"; and Hans Ree and Genna Sosonko like to indulge in well told memories.

New in Chess appears eight times per year, for a while now in the larger A4 format and with more than 100 pages per issue. So far, so traditional, so fine. But the first two issues of 2014 offer something special: they are available in digital form.

New in Chess on the iPad

Once again the New in Chess team explores new ways, this time in the digital world. Now, you can read the magazine on an iPad, an Android and on Kindle Fire. Of course it includes a "game viewer", which allows the reader to play through games and analyses on the screen. For the Internet such a game viewer is standard, however, in digital chess books and in digital chess magazines it is, though very useful, comparatively new. However, it probably won't take long for the game viewer to become standard in digital chess publications.

The digital version of the magazine has lots of advantages, but, according to the publishes, it will not replace the printed version but supplement it.

Print and digital version in peaceful harmony

"Sometimes", explains Publishing Director Remmelt Otten, "people like to read the printed issue, but sometimes, for instance when traveling, they prefer to read the electronic version. Both is possible." At any rate, readers have reacted positively to the novelty. "The customers", declares Otten, "are enthusiastic." They were 30 years ago, they still are today, and they probably will be for a long time.


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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