Tuesday, October 20, 2009

#585 Star-Ledger Complaint

I'm breaking my hiatus to complain about the Newark Star-Ledger pulling the chess column from its 10/18 issue.

Here is the email that I sent (minor edit for grammar) :

I was disappointed to find that the 10/18 issue of the Newark Star-Ledger did not feature the usual chess article by Steve Doyle & Peter Tamburro.

Their column, long a weekly staple for the NJ chess community, has been the NY-area's best for the past several years. It provides better analysis than those in the Times and Post while highlighting games played by local amateurs!

In the future, I would appreciate that you don't skip the Doyle/Tamburro pieces. Quite frankly, they are the only reason I buy your paper on Sunday.

...the response I received :

Thank you for taking the time to write.

It was nice to know that there were a few fellow chess players out there who take note when the ChessMate column doesn't run in our Sunday section. (But surely you are getting a lot more in your Sunday Star-Ledger for your $2 than a chess column...)

As noted in the Sunday section, the chess column will return next week. We had to hold it this week because it came in too long for us to publish. Typically, Doyle and Tamburro don't write about matches that are longer than 30 moves, which is the ideal for the space we have allotted for ChessMate. Yesterday's column, which I pasted below (without the puzzle), was a match that went for 121 moves. The chess columnists wrote about 61 moves. I just don't have that much space for chess. And, yes, we did ask them to show restraint moving forward.

A relevant side note, I waited all day Sunday and yesterday to see if there were any other complaints about chess not appearing in the paper, and sadly we only had a handful of readers who called or emailed. On the other hand, when I hold Bridge or when the TV Jumble puzzle moved, I had an avalanche of mail.

I hope you enjoy the column below and that my reply satisfied your query.

Enrique Lavin
Assistant Managing Editor

... and my rebuttal :

Thank you for sending the omitted column. I realize there are space requirements but good games are usually more than 30 moves long. In shorter games, one person typically plays well and the other plays poorly. So, you see, 30 should not be the guide. 50 moves would be more appropriate.

I would be in favor of occasionally dropping the chess puzzle to fit in a longer game.

If you want to protest as well, contact Mr. Lavin at 973-392-1745,
elavin@starledger.com or the following address :

The Star-Ledger | Features

1 Star-Ledger Plaza

Newark, NJ 01702-1200


Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Lavin -- they should show restraint and not have long games. We are lucky to have the column -- though it is the only reason I buy the paper too.

Joe Renna said...

I emailed the SL also.
This was sent in response.
:Dear Chess enthusiasts --

Thanks for your emails and phone calls.

Below I've attached the column that did not run last week. I've also included a link to a NJ chess blogger, Chess Coroner, who was among the first to email the Ledger with the complaint. (Thanks for getting the word out, Jim, it's important for us to know what matters to readers -- especially if it upsets them.)

In short, it was about space: our chess columnists wrote about a 120-move match, and I just didn't have the room to publish it the summarized match at 61 moves

Note that we will have a 50-move chess column this Sunday.

Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Your move - Enrique

The chess blog that has my reply to readers this week: http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/chesscoroner/

Last Sunday's column: