Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Linkin Centre

With a new year upon us, I thought I would offer one of my periodic reminders on the value of cross-linking within the chess blogosphere. Sidebar links are one of the key ways that we move from being a disparate collection of independent blogs covering the same general topic to forming an interactive community. The Knights Errant are a perfect example -- would they have the same reach, recognition and influence if each blog published exactly what they publish today but did not associate with each other through cross-linking? Not a chance!

So with all the new chess blogs being created, let me encourage those of you who have yet to include a listing of favorite chess blogs in your sidebar to do so. And for those of you who already have one, why not update it and add a few of your new favorites? A tighter, more integrated chess blogging community will benefit both chess bloggers and chess blog readers.
As many of you know, here at BCC Weblog I generally follow the "give a link, get a link" rule (as it relates to placement on the sidebar). For 2006, my inclination is to be a bit more disciplined about its application. Since there are always exceptions to every rule (and since I want to avoid being called a hypocrite), let's state them for the record:
  • The GM exception - That's right, if you are a GM (or are ghost-posting for a GM) then you are automatically included on the sidebar. GM Susan Polgar gets on, IM Ben Finegold does not (yet). Of course, Ben is hoping that it is only a matter of time; take a look at the URL of his blog. The GM exception also has application to the 30-45 day active vs. inactive principle, e.g. GM Chabanon gets more leeway as an on-again, off-again blogger than most.
  • The Mig exception - If you are Mig, you get on. Sure I wish Mig would join the greater chess blogging community, but he obviously hasn't been inclined to do so. Nevertheless, I simply can't ignore the most widely read chess blog (by a wide margin) in the world.
  • The "Who you calling a blogger?" exception - There are a couple of very influential chess sites which predate the chess blogosphere that I choose to consider as blogs based on their format (dated posts organized from more to less recent). Since they probably don't think of themselves as bloggers, I think it is reasonable to apply different standards to them. Chessbase News and Tim Krabbe's Open Chess Diary currently fall into this category.
  • The Knights Errant exception - All active Knights are included in the sidebar listings. Of course, the vast majority of the Knights do link here, often under the phrase "House Reporter." Currently, only two active Knights -- Druss and Guru -- do not. It would be nice if they did, but it's not the end of the world.
"Wait a minute," you say, "There are a few blogs on the sidebar that don't link here and don't fall under any of these exceptions." Well, yes, that's true. These are blogs that I enjoy reading that I am indicating my interest in cross-linking with. In other words, I'm playing the give-side of the give-get rule.

In the case of The 64 Square Jungle, I know that Chessdad64 would link here if only he knew how. Here's hoping he finally acts on his plan to move to a new blogging platform and update his template to include links. King's Gambit has been there for awhile, but to no avail. It may very well become a casualty of this year's more disciplined approach. Finally, I just recently added BlueEyedRook, one of my newer favorites. Hopefully he'll take the hint.

While we're still doing sidebar chatter, let me mention a few of the more recent additions: DreadPirateJosh (who sometime back voluntarily relinquished his status as a Knight), Steve Learns Chess, and Ajedrez por Sertal.

In addition, I removed 1.e4 Nf6 from the sidebar based on Michael Goeller's description at the Kenilworth Chess Club blog listings:
1.e4 Nf6 by Robyourcontent
An Indian chess plagiarist and pirate who deserves no traffic.
I haven't investigated this myself, but Michael's word is good enough for me.
In non-sidebar news:
  • A few 404 casualties - All About Chess, GM Maurice Ashley, Echecs & Blog, and The User X Perspective (where the error page states, "We are sorry, this site is currently frozen for a potential violation of our Terms").
  • And many new additions to the Active listings including The Buzzbeez, Blog of a Chess Nut, Chess Improvement Efforts, Chess Dude, ChessinTaiwan, Schachblatter, Deutscher Schachbund, and several others.

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