Posted on December 10, 2018 by Wesley Surber.

We Will Be Back

Attention, Campers!

Campfire Chess has been dormant since the summer, but fear not! It is not dead. I am prepared to return to regular chess blogging shortly after the new year, so check back in January 2019 for updates!

In the meantime, congratulations to GM Magnus Carlsen for retaining his World Chess Champion title. I was rooting for Fabiano (USA, USA), but alas, we will get it next time!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Posted on March 16, 2018 by Wesley Surber.

Rising from the Ruins

I’m typically the kind of guy who likes to keep to himself. I prefer to lead a normal life and spend my day causing as little trouble for people as I possibly can. I started playing chess regularly in 2014 as a way to reign in a serious lack of focus that eventually turned into a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 2015. Chess is the thing that kept me grounded through serious turmoil.

As I wrote about in December I was faced with a significant illness that affected my ability to write here on Campfire Chess regularly. I took time off to work on some serious problems in my family situation. Unfortunately those problems were unresolvable and my wife left me in late January of this year.

To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. I was wholly traumatized by the loss of a person who I thought was my best friend and lifelong companion. I lost a home and what seemed like everything that was important to me. I put the website and all of its social media accounts up for sale for a short time before family and friends convinced me to do otherwise. There were many sleepless nights following that last blog entry of 2017 and there are some even today. Yet, I’m still here.

Today marks the first time since December 2017 that a new entry has been made on Campfire Chess and I’m here to tell you that the site will press on! I will continue to play, broadcast, study, and write about chess here on the blog in addition to the social media accounts and the Twitch channel.

The hurt is still very real and will most likely remain for years to come. However, getting back to things here will help me to get past this tragedy and move forward in a way that will ultimately help me and my two beautiful daughters.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support Campfire Chess by visiting the site and participating on the social media accounts. You are all my family and I love you dearly.

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Wesley Surber.

A Message from the Editor

Dear Campers,

I hesitated to write this because life situations can change so dramatically in such a short amount of time, but I feel that it is necessary before going into the holiday season. Campfire Chess started in 2014 as “Off My Chess” and was mainly a side-project to document my love of chess and efforts to get better.

Since its inception, Campfire Chess has published a quarterly magazine, game reviews, product reviews, original PGN content, and much more. There are hundreds of posts in the archives spanning the past few years and I was even blessed to stream games and commentary live on Twitch. Earlier this year, Campfire Chess also started its YouTube channel to produce and distribute original video content. Without a doubt, 2017 has been among the most challenging and rewarding times for the site. On average, CampfireChess.com sees as many visitors as a strip mall comic book store, which is fine with me!

Before you start to wonder if this is “goodbye”, I want to assure you that it is not. However, I have decided to take a hiatus from writing about chess to focus on some other things in my life that I consider more important. In the interest of transparency, I can say that my home life has suffered over the past few years due to a serious illness I have carried. One day I hope to write more about that illness and the struggles that come with it, but for now, rest assured that my days of playing chess are far from over. Chess was originally one of the ways for me to manage that illness, but things became so bad in 2017 that it might have caused more damage than it helped.

However, I plan to continue playing chess on lichess.org and other places. I might even stream or publish new video content, but I will not be updating CampfireChess.com until sometime next year. That way I can refocus some of my energy toward healing myself and working to improve the quality of my family life.

That being said, please let me say “Thank You” to the chess community for the unbelievable support I enjoy for Campfire Chess. Since its inception, this site enabled me to correspond with many of my chess idols including some of the world’s top players along with the most creative and beautiful minds in the game. Those relationships have enriched my life in ways I never imagined possible and I look forward to building more of them when my break is concluded.

To be fair to me and to my family, I will not be putting a timeline on my hiatus. However, I assure you that the Campfire Chess Facebook Page along with the Instagram Page will continue to be updated regularly. If you are on social media, please consider following those pages as they have morphed over time into the primary means of communication for the blog.

Thank you for the support these past three and a half years. I look forward to many years of enjoying the royal game and its wonderful community in the future.

Sincerely,

Wesley Surber

Editor, www.CampfireChess.com

Posted on November 6, 2017 by Wesley Surber.

Campfire Chess Marketplace Now Open

Do you have an old chess set, clock, book, or trinket lying around that you want to get rid of? Amazon and eBay offer great ways to buy and sell, but Facebook’s Marketplace has recently been offering ways for communities to be built around buying and selling goods. Personally, I have had much success with these groups trading old VHS tapes and memorabilia, so I am pleased to announce the opening of The Isolated Pawn: A Chess Marketplace by Campfire Chess!

Membership is open to anyone interested in buying, selling, or trading chess goods. Membership requires a review to prevent spam accounts from joining, but I promise to review and approve membership requests as soon as possible.

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Wesley Surber.

Looking ahead…

Greetings, Campers!

Campfire Chess will be 4 years old in a few months and it has certainly gone through many changes in that time. From the website’s basic design to the brief run of Campfire Chess Magazine, the project has been a great way for me to explore my creative passions while promoting chess. Some of my regular readers might have noticed a significant drop in regular posts over the last couple of months and might have wondered if the site was reaching the end of its life.

While the thought itself is not unreasonable, I currently have no plans to terminate Campfire Chess. Instead, some major life changes in the past few months have led to deep introspection and a decision to change the website’s future direction…at least for now.

The Why

In short, I am very sick and my illness has taken a significant amount of time away from my chess playing and my writing. I have struggled to maintain the balance between life, family, chess and posting quality creative material here on the blog. Without going into too much detail, my recovery will require devoting much of my time to other tasks, which leaves less time for in-depth chess analysis or reporting. Campfire Chess is nowhere near finished, but its format and focus is about to change slightly.

New Media Formats

Although several projects have taken away focus from the blog in the past such as Campfire Chess Magazine, the blog will continue to remain one of the central points of this project. However, because writing is the element currently being affected the most by my illness, I am transitioning into some new media formats to augment the information I post here. Here is a breakdown of what to expect:

  • Twitch: I have recently started broadcasting games on Twitch for those who are interested in watching streaming games and interactive content!
  • YouTube: The new YouTube channel is designed for sharing clips of Twitch broadcast moments, game analysis, and other exclusive content. It is my belief that the YouTube channel will become one of the predominant methods of content creation and sharing outside of our current Facebook and Instagram pages.

Final Thoughts

Thank you to everyone that continues to support me and to support Campfire Chess as I embark on a new journey!

Posted on September 8, 2017 by Wesley Surber.

Realigning My Social Media Presence

I am working on a separate entry that will address the recent lack of updates here on the blog, but for now I thought I would take a moment to speak about upcoming realignments to the Campfire Chess social media presence. After careful thought and much soul-searching, I have decided to cease updating the Campfire Chess Twitter account. The platform itself has become incredibly toxic, which leads me to believe that it is in the best interest of this site to part ways with it. I will not close the account itself, but there will be no updates or posts on the account in the foreseeable future.

In addition, the Tumblr account will be closed this weekend because I simply do not use it. The remaining social media accounts will remain active for now.

Posted on September 6, 2017 by Wesley Surber.

Campfire Chess Game of the Week

Looking for something different? Things have been quiet here on the Campfire Chess blog lately, but head over to our brand new YouTube channel to watch our new content! I hope to add new game recaps weekly and other exclusive video content as I am able.

Posted on July 29, 2017 by Wesley Surber.

Cleaning Up My Soviet Travel Set

I love old Soviet chess sets and one of my personal favorites is a travel set I got from Etsy a few years ago, but it took quite a beating before I ever purchased it. So, I decided to take some time tonight to clean it up and try to restore as much of its original shine as I could. This is the same set I posted on Instagram earlier this week:

Time for some rest, relaxation, and study time! #CampfireLife

A post shared by Campfire Chess (@campfirechess) on

Here are some before and after images spliced together haphazardly using my iPad:

And here are some nice shots of the finished product:

Not too bad for about 20 minutes worth of work. In fact, it took longer to compile these photos into a blog post. 😁

Posted on by Wesley Surber.

Soaking Up Some Much-Needed Sun

Blog posts here on Campfire Chess have been quite anemic the past few months due to some things in my personal life that have taken precedence over chess and blogging. I plan to write more about all of it in the future because I believe it will be beneficial to my readers as well as my family and friends. However, for now, I am on vacation with my family and have taken the opportunity to soak up as many rays as I possibly can given that much of my life is spent behind a computer terminal.

With that, I have grown a new addiction over the past few months that has taken up much of my time on this vacation: watching streams on Twitch. Whether its watching Mambo-B destroy the enemy with his skills on Battlefield 1 or Swag_Dracula hunting down campers as Jason Voorhees on Friday The 13th: The Video Game. Yet, these modern masterpieces hide another gem lurking on the Twitch platform: chess!

High definition professional photography of a hotel room TV running Chess.com on Twitch.TV. (Image Credit: Campfire Chess)

Although the amount of streamers on Twitch devoted to playing chess is relatively small, I have found that there are usually 1-2 people playing chess online and streaming the video on the network around 75% of the time. Here are some good streams that I have been watching regularly that you might enjoy:

  • Full Chess Directory on Twitch – Typing chess into the Twitch search box brings up all active broadcasts and accounts.

  • Chess.com – The web’s largest chess website streams all of its broadcast material through Twitch including some platform exclusive events.

  • Chess Brah – Very cool blitz games and some instructional content with GMs Eric Hansen, Robin van Kampen, and an eclectic mix of other chess personalities. The name comes from a more contemporary surfer-style way of saying bro…I think.

Campfire Chess has its own Twitch Channel, but it is empty at the moment. One day I hope to start a regular stream when my personal life has stopped fluctuating and returned to somewhat of a sense of normalcy. In the meantime, enjoy the streams above and maybe I will see you in the chatrooms! I am usually on as CampfireChessTV. See you there!