New in chess
For the history of New in Chess we have to go back to 1968, when Willem Andriessen decided, with a few chess friends, to start publishing a Dutch chess magazine. It was an extremely modest beginning, with no more than 16 to 20 pages per issue, and no big chess names amongst the contributors, although they were all enthusiastic and hardworking. We had the good fortune, however, that the inception of Schaakbulletin virtually coincided with the emergence of Jan Timman as a chess player, and it was not long before we were joined by Timman, who went on to establish his name as an excellent annotator.
Shortly afterwards, other Dutch chess players swelled our ranks, notablyHein Donner. It was through his insistence that the magazine's formula changed drastically. In the beginning, `Schaakbulletin´ was little different from other magazines, containing mainly games, analyses and news. Under Donner's influence the written word got more and more important. He himself produced a great number of top-class columns and articles, and together with the interviews by journalist Max Pam and the chess curiosities of Tim Krabbé, they gave Schaakbulletin a unique identity. This `sandwich formula´ of text and analyses is still being used in New In Chess. Yet another characteristic of Schaakbulletin can also be found back in New In Chess, viz. the prominence of illustrations. From the very beginning of `Schaakbulletin´ we aimed for a slightly more playful chess magazine, with drawings, caricatures and a well thought-out cover. It's true that the editors sometimes received letters to the effect that `Instead of this illustration I would have preferred to see a chess game´, but generally speaking this formula went down very well indeed.
From 1972 on, we also started publishing a series of chess books, preferably, of course, game collections of our own contributors. From Timman we published Het Groot Analyse Boek andSchaakwerk, which were both translated into English, from Max Pam a number of interviews under the slightly confusing title `De Zuiverste Liefde is die van een Man voor zijn Paard´, from Donner the short story collection De Nederlander, and from Krabbé Schaakkuriosa, also translated into English, and `Nieuwe Schaakkuriosa´. Besides a series of tournament and opening books, we also published an Euwe biography and Hans Ree's first short story collection, magnificently entitled In Den Eersten Stoot Pat.
This `Dutch period´ lasted until the beginning of the eighties, the time of the advent of the computer. Another Dutch publisher, Elsevier, developed a data base system for chess games - still on a `mainframe´ then - and approached us with a view to marketing a number of new chess products under the name `New in Chess´. At the same time this enabled us to realize an idea we had cherished for years, to cross the Dutch language barrier. From 1984 `Schaakbulletin´ had an English language sister publication called NEW IN CHESS, initially appearing twelve times a year, like virtually every other chess magazine. In order to have more room for long interviews and extensive tournament reports, however, it was decided in 1985 to appear eight times per year with issues containing between ninety and a hundred pages.
In the meantime, New In Chess has won itself a place in the international chess world. Top players regard it as their platform, and there is hardly a chess player of distinction who does not contribute to the magazine on a regular basis. Timman, already `Schaakbulletin's´ editor-in-chief, took up the same function in New In Chess, nowadays assisted by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, who does most of the interviews and tournament reports. Before the start of New in Chess in 1984, another periodical was set up to deal with the ever developing stream of opening lines: the YEARBOOK series, for which the Dutch grandmasters Genna Sosonko and Paul van der Sterren were invited as editors-in-chief. The Yearbook , subtitled The Chess Players Guide to Opening News, is a quarterly publication. Genna Sosonko is, after Van der Sterren’s departure in 2003, still in charge of the Yearbook, assisted by supervisor René Olthoff and a choice of contributors.
The New in Chess team were the first to be able to use a database. All games and analyses were filed in the database, and could be reproduced in any order. This development was greatly aided by the drawing up of a good opening classification system, the NIC Key. By making the data base read in the games backwards, all transpositions and extra moves could be circumvented. This system was later adopted by all other database systems. In 1982, when the database was set up, it was contained in a `mainframe´, and the only people with access to it were the editors. As computer technology developed, however, it wasn't long before PCs had sufficient capacity to allow development of their own data base system. This gave rise to New In Chess's own data base: NICBase. Between NICBase, the more recent NICpublish and some other, additional programs, the New In Chess team are now working with a fully integrated system. Games, both in symbol language and in text, are filed in databases and are always available for both editorial use and publication. A light version of NICBase is now freely for consultation at our website.
New In Chess started by publishing the magazine and the Yearbook series, but in the meantime our range of publications has grown considerably. Over the last 10 years we have published a number of both English and Dutch language books. The most popular titles include 'The King' (Pam/Krabbé), 'Finding Bobby Fischer' (ten Geuzendam), 'Russian Silhouettes' and ‘The Reliable Past’ (Sosonko), 'Fischer World Champion' (Euwe/Timman), ‘Euwe, the Biography’ (Münninghoff), the series 'Tactics in de Opening' (van der Tak, Nijboer), and ‘Power Chess With Pieces’ (Timman).
In 2004 we started a new periodical, SECRETS OF OPENING SURPRISES, appearing twice a year (also in a German language edition called Schach ohne Scheuklappen). Editor Jeroen Bosch writes, and inspires others to write, a collection of tricky opening ideas, highly useful for players of all levels.
We are very grateful that after his resignation as managing director at his 65th birthday in 2003, Willem Andriessen, the founder of New In Chess, is still working with us a couple of days a week as senior consultant and book publisher.
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