“ChessGames” Founder Dies

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  • “ChessGames” Founder Dies

    “ChessGames” Founder Dies

    July 31, 2018

    Daniel Freeman

    (born Feb-13-1967, died Jul-24-2018, 51 years old)

    (Wikipedia) - Chessgames.com was founded in 2001 by Daniel Freeman and Alberto Artidiello in association with 20/20 Technologies. They developed software to integrate a chess database with a discussion forum, so that all games and players have a unique message board. The concept was immediately popular as users can kibitz (post comments) on multiple games and pages throughout the site. The Kramnik–Lékó World Championship 2004 match in Brissago was broadcast live on the site. This led to substantial growth in membership and interest, which has steadily increased since then due to other live events and multiple site enhancements.

    Co-founder Alberto Artidiello died on March 1, 2015, at the age of 56.

    Co-founder and long-time webmaster Daniel Freeman died on July 24, 2018, at the age of 51. The site is currently being administered on an interim basis by a user with the handle "Sargon", a long-time friend and business partner of Freeman's who had assisted him with management of the site at various times.



    There is a photo of Daniel at:


    and this memoir by Sargon:

    Farewell, my friend Sneaky. We'll meet again someday in glory.

    Dan Freeman ("D") was one of my closest friends for over 30 years, starting from our earliest days at college, and then throughout our business partnership, which began in 1995. He passed away before his time and he'll be dearly missed. In his memory, I will do my utmost to honor his vision for this community from this moment forward.

    ChessGames.com was a labor of love for Dan, and will stand as one of his greatest legacies, and I will be attempting to fill Dan's large shoes by assuming administration of the site and database for the time being.

    Much of the Chessgames.com site's functionality is not documented, and was known only to Dan, but a good bit has become familiar to me as I've assisted him at various times since its inception. Additionally, Dan and I acquired similar skill sets over the decades.

    Nonetheless, I ask that everyone please bear with me while I begin this daunting process, which will be immensely challenging, to say the very least.

    Peace be with you, Dan.

    Best regards,

  • #2
    “ChessGames” Founder Dies

    August 7, 2018



    Interview with Daniel Freeman of Chessgames.com

    November 2006

    by GM Mikhail Golubev

    Chessgames.com is an online chess database and one of the most impressive and unusual chess web projects around. In an interview for Chess Today, some of secrets of their success are revealed by Mr. Daniel Freeman, to whom we are very grateful.

    >> When was the site was launched?

    We started in late 2001. We're looking forward to celebrating our 5th anniversary on December 10th of this year.

    >> Please, tell us how the concept of chessgames.com emerged, and who were the site founders.

    In a way, we started with the name and worked backwards. You see, my very good friend (and strong chess player) Alberto Artidiello, procured the domain name "chessgames.com" back in the mid-1990s, but hadn't done anything with it. I had been developing websites for several years with 20/20 Technologies, so we started talking about what he could do with the domain name. Alberto had seen how java could be used to conveniently let users view chess games. This concept was widened to include discussion forums, game collections, pages for openings and tournaments, etc.

    20/20 Technologies had just finished developing a large financial site, and we learned from that project how people love to be able to use a database and post messages at the same time. Searching a database can be a daunting task, but when you can communicate with other people doing exactly the same things you are, it suddenly becomes a community experience.

    And so we took the idea of a database integrated with a discussion forum, and applied it to chess. It was like a marriage made in heaven.

    >> What is the site's policy regarding inclusion of new games into the database. 408,000 games (which you have as of now) is not that much; from another point of view some rare games by top players can be found there.

    At chessgames, the ultimate purpose of the games is to start a discussion and foster a learning environment, therefore we try to avoid poor quality games from creeping into the database. We prefer one of the players to be at least master strength, but we do make exceptions. We're always happy to have games featuring fabulous tactics, interesting opening novelties, or that are highly illustrative in some way, even if played by amateurs. Our users help contribute to the database every day, and they almost always excellent contributions, so we are starting to acquire many incredible games that are virtually unknown to the chess world.

    Some of our members transcribe old chess periodicals, books, and even personal score sheets, for inclusion into the database. It's a lot of work, but with so many people working at it, great things can be accomplished.

    We are committed to building our number of games to roughly 750,000 games, which is our estimate of the total number of serious games ever recorded. I estimate we should achieve that goal in 1-2 years, but we see no reason to rush this process. It's more important to keep the database free from erroneous games, duplicates, and poor quality games.

    >> Which of the individual games in your database has most comments by visitors, and how many comments does it have?

    For the first few years, the answer to that question was always the same: Fischer's famous game against Donald Byrne in 1956, the so-called "Game of the Century." Today it has 625 comments posted. Kasparov-Topalov 1999, which Kasparov regards as his best game, has always been close behind.

    However, in recent years we've added some new features which pushed these games lower on the list. For one, we started broadcasting live games. With members busy discussion the position in real time, we found that it's not difficult to see thousands of posts made in a single day. In Topalov- Anand, San Luis, 2005 we had over 1,400 people watching the game live from our site, and the game last over 7 hours. At the end of the day there were 2,500 messages--five times bigger than the Game of the Century!

    Even more astounding was the enormous interest in our latest feature: The Chessgames Challenge. This is a correspondence game between the chessgames users and GM Arno Nickel. At the time of this writing there are 12,600 messages posted, and that's only after 18 moves.

    >> Do chess grandmasters contribute to your project, and if yes, in which areas?

    We have no grandmasters on staff, but several grandmasters are regular visitors.

    Some notable players have donated their materials to help enhance the site: GM Ray Keene has supplied us with many annotated games (many of them never published before), Dr. Eric Schiller provided us with some analysis and a large database of chess opening data, and GM Susan Polgar visits our site to chat with members on an almost daily basis. Canadian champion Lawrence Day is also a frequent contributor.

    >> One of the free features at your site is biographies of well-known players. Who is doing this, highly useful, job?

    Like Wikipedia, these are submitted by volunteer members that we call "biography editors." The volunteers have done fabulous work here. The biography editors cross-check each other’s work very diligently, so mistakes are hard to find and quickly corrected.

    >> Would it be correct to describe ChessGames.com as something like a "Chess Wikipedia" (but more specific than the real Wikipedia format allows)?

    We love the idea behind Wikipedia, but we don't try to be like them. We are happy to think of ourselves as a "worldwide chess community"- a place where anybody, from anywhere, can come to discuss anything they want about chess.

    >> Can you tell us, even if approximately, how many registered users the site has as of now?

    66,500 as of today. At any time, day or night, there are several hundred people using the site.

    >> Are you planning to expand your service to languages other than English?

    We would very much like to, but it's such an enormous task we are not going to be able to attempt that for some time. We have many users who do not speak English well, some not at all, and they still seem to manage to use the site very well. It would be ideal if there was a Spanish version, a Russian version, etc.