The Week in Chess reaches 1500th issue

by Albert Silver
8/12/2023 – For almost 30 years, the pioneering chess resource The Week in Chess has pushed out its weekly content, even before the internet was readily available in numerous major countries. Founded and spearheaded by Mark Crowther, it has managed to survive the decades of change and evolution, always fighting the good fight, and this week reached the milestone 1500th issue. Our warmest congratulations!

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With so many valuable resources, so much larger, having dominated their eras and then floundered and folded, it is a true testament to the resilience and perseverance of its founder, Mark Crowther, that the lone voice of The Week in Chess has managed to weather so much time and turmoil.

Mark himself has provided an ample history of TWIC at his website, detailing its origins, the evolution, the long partnership with Malcolm Pein and the London Chess Center, and more. TWIC remains a fascinating and anachronistic resource with its singular value as a summary of every possible event in a given week (with at least one titled player). While ChessBase certainly offers its own powerful subscription service that automatically updates its own databases, TWIC is more than a repository of all the games. It is also crosstable porn at its purest. Have you ever liked to stare at the crosstables of events, who came first, who came second, their rating performance, their result, and more? That is TWIC through and through to this very day.

However, its role has changed over time, and I'd like to share my personal introduction to it back in 1995. The Internet was only made available in Brazil to companies in May of 1995, later for the general public in September. My uncle had a fledgling clothing business that took him regularly to Asia and he was fascinated with all tech, always bringing back the latest gadgets. Naturally, he acquired this newfangled service and a 14400 baud modem, and told me to go crazy and learn everything I could about it as he had no time personally. 

The Internet then was a bizarre digital Wild West, with odd legacy services still found everywhere, and chess had few resources that stood out. These were the news groups (AKA Usenet), FICS (the Free Internet Chess Server) and... TWIC.

The early days of chess online when the Internet was more a digital Wild West

It is important to understand that at this time, chess itself like so much more, was not fully digitalized, and access to proper games and information was still very much in the hands of legacy resources like Schachwoche, a small printed magazine whose raison d'être was to provide pages and pages of games in pure notation every week. When I lived in Paris, it had been easy to peruse the latest issue at one of the chess stores, but here in Brazil such luxuries were unheard of, even in a major metropolitan such as Rio de Janeiro.

TWIC was already in its double digit issue, providing a centralized resource with a clean presentation and meticulous notation. Every game until the day of its publication that week was there, except it was free, instantly available from anywhere around the world, and never dependent on the vagaries of mail. Suddenly, that curtained barrier had been pulled away, and a new world was being born.

Here is a glimpse at the first issue of TWIC, published on September 17, 1994, all in clean text and ASCII art, and when I began to access it in mid 1995, it was still very much like this.

This is what issue #1 looked like

Roll forward some 30 years, and while the presentation of the tables is no longer in pure ASCII, nor has it changed so much fundamentally. What has changed of course is the insane amount of events and games it must now cover to continue to fulfill its mission. Mark is frank about the challenge, but remains committed to this lifelong project, and while a variety of services are also offered, at its core, it is still the weekly magazine, with its exceptionally long flow of crosstables and results, and dates, and games, all manned by one person. 

This is a glimpse into issue #1500. As you can see, it has fundamentally remained the same, even if incredibly larger

One can only tip one's hat at such an incredible commitment and effort, somehow managing to stay afloat when so many, much larger than he collapsed over time or folded for one reason or another. Kasparov Chess, Chess Café, and many more well-funded beacons are now a part of the past, but that wonderful, fascinating and anachronistic resource that is TWIC still labors away, with the passion so many are unable to uphold for so much time.

Mark Crowther explains that he is strongly dependent on donations to stay afloat, and we hope he finds them and is there for another 1000 issues.


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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orris2k orris2k 8/12/2023 10:28
Congratulations and many thanks for your service to chess!!!
Eclipse2008 Eclipse2008 8/12/2023 08:24
Incredible Mark!!! Kudos on completing 1500th issue of TWIC.