Chess Informant is a publication that I look forward to getting in the mail several times a year. Yesterday after clearing up some delivery problems (forgot to update my address when we moved over the summer) I received the latest volume: Chess Informant 125 Enigma. Also known as Informant, this periodical is not like any other chess magazine out there. It skips the drama and the social elements that surround the fame of being a top chess player and focuses attention to the action on the board. Various articles cover topics such as openings, tactics, strategy, and key moments in the top tournaments from around the world.
Informant 125 introduces some small changes that many people might not notice, but those of us who relish in the advancement of the digital chess age appreciate them. For Informant, one of its main selling points with customers is the universal nature of access to its information. It is available in print form (pictured above), download in Chessbase and PGN formats, or a combination of the two. The Chessbase format enables users to browse the articles and play through the games using many of the same tools utilized in Chessbase Magazine. The PGN files open up the articles to any platform with a basic PGN viewer. For me, that is perfect because I enjoy reading in each of the formats, but the mobile nature of my work makes reading the articles on iOS much more convenient for me. Why is CI 125 so different? It all has to do with the formatting…
In previous editions, all of the games and articles came in a single PGN file which required foreknowledge of the magazine’s layout. In CI 125 the creative minds in Serbia have divided the digital edition into multiple PGN files that are separated exactly like the content in the print edition. This may not seem like much, but it completely eliminates the guesswork for anyone wanting to access CI 125 from a standard PGN reader. In addition, the Chessbase version has also been subdivided into categories that mirror the print edition.
Because Informant carries so much information it can be overwhelming at times. These small changes are effective game changers because it subdivides the information into digital categories that make it much easier to access, analyze, and digest.
Personally I enjoy reading the print edition and playing through on my travel set, but playing along in Chessbase or a PGN viewer is a great way to quickly explore variations or to try new ideas along with the professional analysis in the magazine. For the digital chess fan CI 125 is a great way to get started with the periodical. The universal access of the information eliminates many of the proprietary boundaries that limit the audiences of publications like Chessbase Magazine.