I was a Chessgames regular for almost twelve years. A lot of that time was fun; some of it was even edifying and helped me grow as a person. But those times are now long gone, and for the last couple years I've only been visiting this site out of habit and not enjoying it much. Most of my old friends here have left the site or only visit very irregularly, and intelligent newcomers tend to take one look at pages like the Kibitzer's Café and conclude - quite reasonably - that Chessgames isn't their kind of community. The new year 2019 is as good a time as any for me to retire and move on.
I'm sorry that the 2018 Holiday Present Hunt ended up being such a mess. I had no control over most of the things that made it a mess, but I was still associated with it and you had every right to expect better. I know I should have polished #20 more (or just submitted the original version of it, even though I was never fully happy with it); and I probably should have done more to make sure that hints were released in a timely manner, even if it meant posting them personally in the Kibitzer's Café where some solvers might miss them. Certainly I owe you all an apology for the atrocious puns.
Game Collection: Unusual themes III is back up, after almost nine years offline.
It feels appropriate that I should retire with the spruce avatar, which was my first and original avatar on this site. It's a fitting bookend, and a memory from happier days. (I was deeply depressed in the "happier days", of course; but at least I could be depressed together with friends, and temporarily forget about it all, one smile and one joke at a time, and it would help me cope. Not anymore, not on this site; which is a pity, this was a good site for it.)
Some people here still know where to find me outside Chessgames. If you ever find out whether <dakkie>'s okay and what he's been up to lately, I would appreciate the news. Other than that, please don't try to contact me about anything related to this site.
Perhaps one day I will return for a quick look and find that there's more friendly banter and constructive discussion and actual chess content, and less fighting and lying and harassment and acrimony and stupidity. I don't think that's very likely, not the way the site's been heading, but stranger things have been known to happen. Until then: goodbye, thanks for the good times, and may Nuklu be with you.