by Steve Lopez

I'm about to start the seventh year of ETN and, as I do, I'm again laughing at myself. I remember that when I was offered the gig I was thinking that it would last three months, maybe six, a year tops. I assumed that it would be read by a few dozen people for awhile and then just sort of fade away. It started out as sort of a chatty little newsletter; I remember (particularly in the second year) putting a few of my own (badly played) games into it and making merciless fun of them.

Now ETN is carried on two different websites and linked to by scores of others. I get a lot of requests from webmasters to reprint particular issues on their own sites. The articles (and their author of somewhat dubious reputation) get mentioned, quoted (and sometimes misquoted) in message boards, websites, and even in print publications.

It's a weird and scary thing, how a patzer from Maryland, writing from a home office called the Skull Cave (which resembles a combination of library, war room, soccer & sci-fi shrine, and overall garbage dump), can reach so many people and do so dang near instantaneously through the electronic medium. Very scary, indeed, which is why I try not to think about it too much, except for once a year around the end of March/beginning of April.

But when I do, I'm reminded of how many people contribute in ways both direct and indirect to the success of ETN. I can't possibly name everyone (and a curious fact is that when I do try to do so, some of them get mad at me -- I guess it's no fun being a co-conspirator when the "secret" is out in the open), so I won't even try. But they know who they are and I do sincerely thank them.

And, most of all, thank you for reading these things, for putting up with the tangental asides, parenthetical ramblings, and strange jokes, for providing insights and feedback, and for using our software. I just hope that I've helped you out in some small way over the years. Thanks again.

One final bit of self-indulgence: Happy Birthday to Ami, who puts up with way more of my crap than anyone ever has or ever could. Thank you.

April 7, 2002
Creating training questions in ChessBase 8 -- how to make your games more interactive for your readers

April 14, 2002
Multi-diagram printouts in ChessBase 8 -- getting a bunch of diagrams on a page for those who still prefer a paper medium (Paper? What's that?)

April 21st, 2002
New ChessBase CDs -- a first look at World Champion Emanuel Lasker and Bird Opening

April 28th, 2002
Installing Pocket Fritz - Step by Step -- the closest I've ever come to providing Windows instruction in ETN; that'll go down in computer chess history

May 5th, 2002
From the Mailbag -- tips, tricks, and comments from readers who are way smarter than I am

May 12th, 2002
From the Mailbag - Part Two -- even more comments from more brainy folks

May 19th, 2002
New ChessBase CDs -- ripping the shrink wrap off of Hiarcs8, The Slav Defense, and How to Play the NimzoIndian

May 26th, 2002
Installing UCI engines in Fritz7 -- getting those freebies to work

June 2nd, 2002
GUIs and engines - not the same thing! -- exploring and explaining the world of modular engines

June 9th, 2002
Engine matches in Fritz7 -- it's not the WWE, but Queens sacs can be as much fun as piledrivers

June 16th, 2002
Downloading games from the ChessBase server -- yes, it can be done, but have the coffeepot handy if your modem's a 56.6

June 23rd, 2002
New CDs -- previewing ChessBase's Scandinavian and NimzoIndian 4.f3, plus some CDs by other publishers

June 30th, 2002
Elo lists in Fritz - Part One -- just how strong was Morphy anyway? (And I don't mean how much he could bench, either)

July 7th, 2002
Elo lists in Fritz - Part Two -- the nuts and bolts of how the feature works

July 14th, 2002
Opening lines -- vacation announcement, no biggie. But I did get to play chess in another country...
Engine tournaments in Fritz -- still no piledrivers, but 8-0 sweeps are cool

July 21st, 2002
Opening lines -- Maybe we'll see some piledrivers after all
Publishing engine tournaments on the Internet -- making the 8-0 sweeps available on the Net in "real time"

July 28th, 2002
Forcing Fritz7 into an opening - Part One -- answering a question I get asked a lot

August 4th, 2002
Forcing Fritz7 into an opening - Part Two -- here's the rest of the story

August 11th, 2002
Saving/Replacing/Deleting games -- back to basics on the differences between these functions

August 18th, 2002
The fine art of annotation - Part One -- how to annotate games electronically

August 25th, 2002
The fine art of annotation - Part Two -- putting in the text commentary

September 1st, 2002
The ChessBase USA Guide to Computer Chess -- OK, so it's not great American literature. But I structured it nicely...
The fine art of annotation - Part Three -- non-verbal annotations explained

September 8th, 2002
The fine art of annotation - Part Four -- lots of bang for your buck: why annotators who give tons of their own moves the !! mark are hopeless weiners, an obscure movie reference, some quick writing lessons, and I reveal that I'm still hopelessly in love with Kathy Ireland
New ChessBase CDs -- we look at Deep Fritz7 and Correspondence Database 2002

September 15th, 2002
Opening lines -- why I was sitting on the porch of the Pry House at sunset instead of answering your phone calls
King's Indian with h3 -- another CD preview

September 22nd, 2002
List formats in ChessBase 8 -- changing the way your game lists appear

September 29th, 2002
List format tweaks in ChessBase 8 -- and still more ways to change the appearance of the game lists

October 6th, 2002
Don Maddox's King's Indian Attack -- previewing this ChessBase CD

October 13th, 2002
Opening lines -- all about the new ETN page on the new website
The Panes menu is your friend [Fritz7] -- where did my notation go???

October 20th, 2002
Running Winboard engines in Fritz7 -- say the magic word "freebie" and everybody's suddenly your buddy

October 27th, 2002
Extra engine search info in ChessBase 8 -- make that engine give up its secrets!

November 3rd, 2002
Boris Schipkov's Dutch Defense: A90-A99 -- previewing this CD from ChessBase

November 10th, 2002
Odds and Ends -- various stuff, including how to find my ugly mug on the 'Net (dear God, why would you want to??)

November 17th, 2002
Fritz Endgame Trainer - Pawn Endings -- another preview and why you should study endgames

November 24th, 2002
Questions and Answers -- lots of short tips, and a really dumb typo for good measure

December 1st, 2002
World Champion Mikhail Tal -- previewing this CD bio of my all-time favorite chessplayer

December 8th, 2002
Game citations in ChessBase 8 -- cut & paste, cut and paste, whoops! Transpositions suck

December 15th, 2002
Rapid Transit Chess -- 5...4...3...2...1...MOVE NOW!

December 22nd, 2002
Opening Lines -- tips on sending us tech support e-mail queries
Fritz8 Q&A -- new stuff about the new stuff

December 29th, 2002
A quick look at some new Fritz8 features -- wonderfully descriptive title, that

January 5th, 2003
Opening lines -- hard-learned tips on upgrading your hardware
New 3D options in Fritz8 -- ooooooooooo, sweet!

January 12th, 2003
Odds and ends -- quick answers to short questions

January 19th, 2003
Opening lines -- Pocket Fritz in the loo; bzzzzzzt, crackle...
Windows XP issues -- have I mentioned lately how much I hate XP?

January 26th, 2003
Opening training in Fritz8 -- using and modifying this new feature

February 2nd, 2003
From the mailbag -- it's not as good as Mail Call on The History Channel, but at least I never call you "maggot"

February 9th, 2003
Latest releases from ChessBase -- previewing Big Database 2003, Mega Database 2003, Powerbook 2003, Shredder7, and Pocket Fritz2

February 16th, 2003
Creating a ChessBase opening key - Part One -- building a key the way Grandpa did: from scratch

February 23rd, 2003
Creating a ChessBase opening key - Part Two -- we just keep adding on

March 2nd, 2003
Creating a ChessBase opening key - Part Three -- and some final tips on the subject

March 9th, 2003
New ChessBase CDs -- we take a gander at White Repertoire: 1.e4 and The Franco-Benoni

March 16th, 2003
Theme blitz training in Fritz8 -- another new feature examined and why "blitz" in this context doesn't mean what you think it does

March 23rd, 2003
Short takes -- More fast answers

March 30th, 2003
Improvement for the average player -- how to get better at chess

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for Electronic T-Notes.