What Now ?
Looking back I find I started this blog on September 24th 2010 just short of a year ago. The goal was to document the journey to Tarrasch V2. That journey is now at an end. What is more important, the journey or the destination ? For long periods of the journey I was exasperated with it, and worried it would never end. How could I ever finish this thing ? But now I have “arrived”. For a very short time I felt elated, but now I will admit to a feeling of flatness. What now ?
Initial reaction has certainly been muted. Not a lot of buzz in the comment section of this blog. Download stats show an initial burst leveling off fairly quickly. Just the same as for both beta versions. Just at the moment the danger is that Tarrasch V2 is just going to replace Tarrasch V1, without becoming significantly more popular (basically the background level of activity is around 30 V1 downloads a day).
I strongly suspect the problem here is promotion. Tarrasch V2 retains all the ease-of-use benefits of Tarrasch V1, and at the same time is vastly more functional. Objectively speaking, it seems a no-brainer that it should take Tarrasch to a new level in popularity. But for that to happen people need to know it exists, and there isn’t a mechanism for that in place. Downloads tend to come from a set of existing links, none of which are “V2 aware”, or from people googling for Tarrasch Chess GUI, i.e. they’ve already heard about Tarrasch. That is not likely to be a “V2 aware” source either.
I suppose I can choose to either “let nature take its course” and see whether Tarrasch V2 slowly picks up momentum (or not), or I can do some active promotion.
I started this post intending to write about the future of Tarrasch. Should I repeat the V1->V2 journey with a similar V2->V3 journey ? Or is it time to adopt a more mature process, making smaller, more incremental improvements, so V2.1, V2.2 etc. Or maybe I should simply declare victory and stop.
I will ruminate on these unanswered questions.