Chess Informant published two issues per year 1966-1990, and since 1991 has published three issues per year. Each issue offers several hundred games or fragments of games from master play, many annotated by the players themselves. A board of leading players selects the best games of each issue, and these are republished in the next issue often with more extensive annotations. Each issue since Chess Informant 5 has included a combinations section with problems from recent play. A similar endings section has also become a standard feature.
For two decades prior to the emergence of computer databases, Chess Informant publications were a leading source of games and analysis for serious chess players. The publication routinely appears in the bibliography of texts on specific chess openings and other chess texts.
The Chess Informant system of codes for the classification of chess openings, and its system of symbols have set the international standard for organizing chess information and communicating this information across language barriers. The system of codes is explained in ten languages on the front of each issue of Informant, the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings, and other publications. Former world champion Garry Kasparov asserted "We are all Children of the Informant, and then explained that his own development as a chess player corresponded with the ascendance of Chess Informant's popularity. Other world champions, including Anatoly Karpov, Vladimir Kramnik, and Vishwanathan Anand, attest that Informant is central to their tournament preparation.
On April 1, 2008, Informant issued its one-hundredth issue .