It’s been quite a ride so far as Campfire Chess celebrates its eighth birthday today! I started writing this blog shortly after closing an astronomy blog I had run for about 10 years called nightShifted Astronomy. Throughout its time, this site has covered world championships, local events, personal struggles, and a variety of topics throughout the chess world.
Campfire Chess began in May 2014 as Off My Chess and has taken many forms throughout the years. I am proud of the work done here and look forward to continuing as I keep playing chess and work to help others get to know the joy of the world’s greatest game.
Happy Birthday, Campfire Chess – A Personal Chess Journey!
For the love of God, please stop destroying your platform. Campfire Chess runs on a nearly 10-year old WordPress installation and for many years it was unbeatable as a blogging and content management system. More recently it seems that every time I log into my site to make an entry I am confronted with some unnecessary and extremely destructive redesign of basic features. At first it was the Gutenberg editor that divides paragraphs into blocks. Fortunately, there is a plugin to remove that nonsense and return to the classic editor.
And now it’s widgets. The small blocks of interactivity on the right side of Campfire Chess are done with WordPress widgets and until recently, it was a very easy and basic function of site management. Now it’s received its own Gutenberg upgrade an it literally destroyed my sidebar. Fortunately, there is a plugin to remove that nonsense and return to the classic widgets…
Are you noticing the pattern yet?
Come on, guys. Stop ruining a good thing. When the top plugins on your platform are designed to remove some of your most recent added features…take a freakin’ hint.
Non-chess rant over!
Game on, campers!
It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m almost finished with the code refresh and cleaning out all of the junk here on Campfire Chess. You’ll notice that quite a few things have changed. Some are subtle and some are not so subtle. I’m still in the process of going through all of the old content to determine its historical merit. Some older content has been removed because the YouTube videos they reference or the websites/products they reference no longer exist. The world of chess is always changing and so will we. Here’s a brief overview of what’s happening so far:
- More regular updates of news, events, and games from top players as well as local games and events.
- Completely redesigned the Downloads page. More game collections are on their way.
- Realigned all 300+ posts since the website opened to make sure they align with proper categories.
- Removed 10+ posts referencing websites, products, and YouTube videos that no longer exist.
Additionally, I’m working to add some new features to the site as well.
- Started working on the chess utility. Right now it’s just a board that can be used for quick online analysis. Eventually it’ll include libraries and openings, but it’s just basic at the moment.
- More interaction and cross-blogging with Chess.com. Campfire Chess is now a Chess.com premium member and I’d eventually like to feature the content on this website alongside their top blogs as well. You can view certain content from this site cross-blogged here.
- The YouTube channel for this site is dead, but I hope to revive it before the end of the year with some new content. I just have to decide what kind of chess content I’m going to feature.
I’m very excited to be bringing this project back to life and I hope that you’ll continue to take the journey with me. The best way to engage with Campfire Chess is on our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve gone almost completely through 2020 without a blog entry here on Campfire Chess. There are many reasons and excuses that I could list, but I’m not sure that any of you are interested in those. If there’s anyone out there still reading the site, then you might be wondering: where the hell is the new content? Well, the truth of the future is much more complicated than I would like to admit. Suffice to say that I have the funds and resources to continue to maintain the site and will do so for as long as I can. I have no intention of taking Campfire Chess off-line anytime soon. In fact, I would love the opportunity to begin writing again regularly. It’s my hope and dream that I’ll be able to do that relatively soon.
In the meantime, to slowly restore site operations and to get myself back into the habit of writing and playing chess regularly, I’ve gone through the campfire chess social media accounts with a fine tooth comb and cleaned out a lot of the junk that has accumulated over the past few years. Hopefully by focusing on the social media accounts to begin with, I’ll be able to work up enough of a content catalog to begin writing again with some relative consistency.
The first order of business here on the website is for me to finally finish the updated downloads page that I’ve been working on for the last year and a half. No, that doesn’t mean that the downloads page is going to be some incredible and earth shattering project. What it really means is that it’s a small update designed to make accessing the information on the page much easier that has taken far longer than I would ever have expected for something of that size. With that in mind, I’m not going to set a date for the possible release of an updated downloads page or any changes to the site because I’m not sure if I’m able to keep those deadlines at this time.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Campfire Chess throughout the years. Your love and support has not gone unnoticed and is deeply appreciated. I still share a passion for chess although my life’s responsibilities and interests have taken me elsewhere. The site will continue to live on and new content is coming. I can only hope that I’m able to produce said content within a reasonable span of time. Until then, please continue to enjoy the archived content that is still posted here on the site and take advantage of the materials available in the downloads page. I look forward to journeying ahead with you all.
Whew! This place is dusty! There are spider webs all over the place and it is obvious that the power went out at some point on this website because there is a funky green mold growing in… Oh, nevermind. Greetings, Campers! Welcome back to Campfire Chess, an amateur chess blog that has seen better days. Seriously.
So, today you might have noticed (or not) the first official blog post since May 2018 and the first significant visual upgrades since 2017. Well, I decided to re-open the site’s core this morning and I was shocked to see how neglected it had become. At one point, Campfire Chess was my crowning (pun intended) achievement! It was heartbreaking to see how much the challenges of the past year had allowed it to decay.
Fear not, however! I have cleaned out the dirt, busted the spider webs, and made some minor upgrades to the site’s visuals and operational elements. It is my hope over the next few months to get back to regular chess blogging. Before I do that, I have to get back to regular chess playing, which is something sorely lacking for me these days.
I am working on that! I promise! In the meantime, continue to check back here for new content or follow Campfire Chess on any of its social media platforms using the navigation menu above.
See you on the board!
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!
Campfire Chess started as a small side project following the end of six years running my astronomy blog and non-profit called nightShifted Astronomy. In the high days of nightShifted I would never have expected it to end, but that all came to fruition in 2014 when I closed the site permanently to focus on other areas of interest. Name, chess! I started Off My Chess as a blog covering my attempt to get better at the game and eventually evolved it into Campfire Chess covering news, views, and general insights about the game’s fascinating world of celebrity, hard work, psychosis, and political intrigue.
Today, Campfire Chess celebrates its three year anniversary! To mark the occasion, here are ten of my favorite posts from the last three years.
- Product Review – Chessmate Ultima Pocket Chess Set
- God and Chess
- Finding the Right Notation Tool
- Robin Williams and the Way of Things
- Published: 14 August 2014
- The Sad State of Chess on the Mac
- Published: 11 January 2015
- The Big Deal About Berlin
- Published: 10 February 2015
- The Sad Reality of Cheating in Chess
- Published: 06 September 2015
- Does Chess Need an Audience?
- Published: 18 October 2015
- US Chess Sends Open Letter to FIDE
- Published: 16 February 2017
- Iran Hosts Women’s Chess and Anti-American Chanting
- Published: 11 February 2017
Here’s to many more years for Campfire Chess and our game!
Contrary to what you might have heard about chess players, I am a (mostly) social guy! Campfire Chess is not my full time job, so everything I do here and on social media is a hobby (for now). But that does not mean that I half-ass my efforts with the site! There are social media pages for Campfire Chess on just about every relevant platform out there! Some of these pages contain exclusive updates and stories that are not found here on the main blog. If you are a social type, then check out Campfire Chess on its myriad of other broadcast mediums!
If the links above don’t work, try these:
Yes, this is shameless self promotion but can you blame me? Campfire Chess is about to celebrate its 3-year anniversary and I am happy introduce a new line of goodies available in the official Campfire Chess Store!
The two items above are just a small sample of what is available. Although I am biased, I will say that the coffee mug is one of the best coffee mugs I have ever owned. As a guy who spends a significant portion of his day sitting at a desk, coffee is a vital part of making it through the day without going off on someone. These mugs are great because they come with a small handle on the lid, which is convenient when your hands are full. They also keep your coffee warm for hours, although certainly not as long as a YETI or RTIC.
The calendar prints are very nice as well. Two options are available including the USCF Tournament Set calendar print pictured above and a print of my beautiful African Padauk chess set from back when Campfire Chess was just getting started.
I am pleased with the products offered in the store, but Cafepress is certainly not my first choice for products but it is the website with the most options and easiest access. My main problem with Cafepress is that their prices on some products is very high, which is a deterrent to higher markups on products. Therefore, the markup on most Campfire products is less than $2, but that money goes toward maintaining the website and developing programs to help spread chess news and awareness to others.
If you like the gear, head over to the shop and check out the new stuff!
Campfire Chess is coming up on its three-year anniversary later this year, which is excellent when you consider how quickly blogs come and go across the internet. It seems even better in the chess world where it seems like blogs pop up everywhere and die within months or sit idle for years. Since I started writing this blog in 2014, much has happened to promote the blog and to threaten its very existence. Before I go on, I thought it would be neat to break down some blog stats:
General Blog Statistics
- Campfire Chess Age (today): 32 months.
- Average “age” of Top 100 Technorati Blogs: 33.8 months
- Median Figure: 28.8 months
- Source: ProBlogger
- Campfire Chess Posts: 249
- Campfire Chess “unique” visitors: 22,500
- Campfire Chess “unique” visitor countries: 27
- Campfire Chess “top” post:
- #1 – Downloads page
- #2 – The Sad State of Chess on Mac
On an average, Campfire Chess receives about as many daily visits as a strip mall comic book store, which is pretty awesome and goes beyond anything I had in mind when I started writing here three years ago. So, where do we go now?
I had high hopes for 2017 but they were quickly destroyed by a series of unfortunate events. There is a high probability that my family and I will be relocating out of Texas in the coming months, which has put a significant strain on all of us. The subsequent stress and turmoil has reduced my chess playing from frequent (70-80% of my free time) to less than 10% of the time. In fact, my anxiety has peaked to a point where it is difficult to properly set up a board, let alone play a comprehensive game. That has caused me to consider putting Campfire Chess on hiatus for awhile until I am able to get myself together, so that is option one.
The second option is to modify the content of Campfire Chess slightly to use it as an outlet for dealing with my anxiety and document my attempts to get back into chess. When I started taking chess seriously in 2014 it was very relaxing and enjoyable. I still enjoy it and believe that it might be an effective means of coping with the stress of everyday life. So, that is option two.
In all honesty, it is likely that Campfire Chess will continue as it has been although with a reduced frequency in posting. I will post whenever I can but I am not going to be able to post as frequently about tournaments or other events as I would like until I am able to regain some of my grounding. That could happen tomorrow or it could happen next year. Suffice to say that regardless, Campfire Chess will soon be packing up its mobile device and a few chess boards as it relocates (temporarily) from the sand and sun of South Texas for the oasis of Seoul, South Korea.
Stay tuned, campers…