Evening Standard

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John Saunders
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Re: Evening Standard

Post by John Saunders » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:22 pm

I am reliably informed that the London bridge community is actively supporting the Evening Standard bridge columnist as we are supporting the paper's chess columnist. The basic argument is the same - the bridge puzzle is intended to entertain home-going commuters, not online readers. The bridge column has been going since at least WW2, I am told.
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Leonard Barden
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Re: Evening Standard

Post by Leonard Barden » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:10 pm

JustinHorton wrote:I note from Wikipedia that this was the oldest-running daily chess column in the world. One wonders whether the Standard even knew this.
The Standard knows the column has set a world record because I told the Managing Editor so. At 54 years 1 month without a day missed, it has passed George Koltanowski's mark of 51 years 9 months in the San Francisco Chronicle. It is quite possibly the longest-running daily column by a single writer not just in chess but in journalism. .
I disagree with the comments above suggesting that the Standard had some Macchiavellian plan to drop the print chess and bridge columns while players were away at their annual congresses. I'm sceptical of whether congress dates played any part in the timing of the decision.
The comments section to the online chess page has now been restored again so is available to anyone who wants to voice an opinion with minimal fuss.
I should add that besides the daily puzzle I do try to promote chess in London, so yesterday's column has information about social chess at the King's Head club in Bayswater and today's has details of Adam Raoof's Golders Green one-day on Saturday.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Evening Standard

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:14 am

I e-mailed the editor of the Evening Standard on Thursday about this after seeing a blog post by Adam Raoof (I had already noticed the absence of the chess column from the printed edition of the newspaper, but it was Adam's blog post that spurred me to actually write in).

On Friday I received a brief but courteous reply from the editor (Geordie Grieg), which was nice of him (I hadn't actually been expecting a reply). Not sure where things go from here. I know several chess clubs of which I am a member have been circulating news about this to their members, but it would be nice to know what sort of responses other people have been getting and who else has been writing in, and where to look for updates on this.

I also discovered these forums when Googling for news about this, but that's another story for another time. :)

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Re: Evening Standard

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:23 pm

I just received the following email:

Dear Justin

Thank you for taking the time to write to us about the chess column. Firstly, may I say we absolutely agree: Leonard Barden is a chess columnist par excellence. His experience and dedication to the Evening Standard is incomparable. As a long-standing member of the Evening Standard editorial team myself, I cannot overstate my admiration for the commitment and loyalty that Leonard has shown to the Evening Standard over so many years - far more years than any of us on the paper.

I am delighted that Leonard has agreed to continue writing his column for the Evening Standard. It is now appearing each day on our web site, standard.co.uk. The web address for this is http://www.standard.co.uk/chess.

It may be helpful for you to know that I have arranged for the puzzles page on the web site to be redesigned to include a direct link from this page to the chess and bridge columns, and this will be introduced next week.

We absolutely understand the points you make. I am sure you will appreciate that pressure on space in the printed paper means hard decisions have to be made. We would love to be able to include material each day for every aspect of interest of all our readers, but I am sure you will understand that this is not possible. We are continuing to review which columns can appear daily, and we will consider the position with the chess column over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, I hope you will be able to go online and enjoy Leonard's daily column on standard.co.uk

With my thanks for your time and interest, and your support to Leonard and your commitment to the Evening Standard,

Best wishes,

Doug Wills
Managing Editor

I suspect this is not a personal email: as I've tried to show in reproducing it, my name is in a slightly different font size to everything else, suggesting that a lot of other people have received the same.
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: Evening Standard

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:27 pm

The same thing has appeared on the ECF website.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Evening Standard

Post by Adam Raoof » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:37 pm

From: Mark Rivlin <mark@createservices.co.uk>

Dear Mr Wills

I am a keen London-based club chess player and this is the second time I have had to write to the Standard regarding the withdrawal of Leonard Barden's chess column from the print edition.

I know you have received many letters of support from players and chess fans to reinstate the print column and I have read some of the replies you have sent. Your standard (excuse the pun) response paraphrased is: 'yes, we're sorry too, we love Leonard, we're delighted he has agreed to go online, sorry no room in print edition' is complete nonsense of course.

There are hundreds of online sources for chess, the beauty of Leonard's column in print is the very fact it is (or was) in print; that it gave so much pleasure to so many people as we struggled to get to and from work, an oasis of calm in a packed carriage or bus. Leonard's quirky, entertaining background stories which accompanied the daily puzzle were a delight, the carefully chosen problems testing thousands of players.

Yours sincerely
Mark Rivlin

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Martin Benjamin
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Re: Evening Standard

Post by Martin Benjamin » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:53 pm

I received the same standard response, headed "Dear Antony", which is an indication of the time spent compiling the reply. I have sent this follow-up:

Dear Mr Wills

Re: Leonard Barden's chess column

Thank you for your reply, although I suggest that a little more attention to detail is paid when firing off what is evidently a standard, prepared response. Perhaps a modicum of care would have enabled you to address me by my correct name rather than writing "Dear Antony".

Given the praise you lavish on Leonard Barden, I find it hard to believe that you can not find room for a column which occupied approximately one twentieth of one page in a publication of over 50 pages, and which was a gateway into the rest of the paper for its loyal following of thousands. You also have missed the fundamental point of why I am petitioning you (along with many others, I suppose). Finding chess material online is easy. The unique selling point of Mr Barden's column was that it could be read on the way home. The chess column was my incentive to buy or pick up the Standard over the years, and once I had read the column, I would read the rest of the paper. Sadly, I no longer feel any desire to pick up my copy on my way home.

Yours sincerely

Martin Benjamin

Scott Freeman
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Re: Evening Standard

Post by Scott Freeman » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:37 pm

Was interested to read the post by Justin Horton and the email he received from the editor. Amazingly enough, I can join him and Martin Benjamin in saying I received an identical reply except for the salutation "Dear Scott." I have replied to him but still await a further reply. Am sure we can all compare notes if and when such a reply does come......!

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