Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PILLSBURY AND THE CLOCK SIMUL!

The new title from Thinkers' Press, inc., Pillsbury The Fencer just arrived! I still get a kick out of having worked on this one. Those entitled (a different kind of entitlement) to a FREE copy should see it arrive next week and with a copy of Alekhine The Executioner if you have that one coming too. There are 41 annotated games in this one plus an assortment of drawings and caricatures including the now standard "Kilroy was here" look.

AND....

GM Alex Yermolinsky will be giving a Clock Simul Saturday afternoon in Red Wing, MN at the Country Inn. The simul fee is $30 more than the $189 registration fee. Here's how it will work. Assuming we have 7 players, each will have 1.5 hours on their clock and Yermo will have 1 hour on his! And it is his job to keep track of all of you, so he will have his hands full, but GMs like to do that. Fischer gave a couple clock simuls and so has Kasparov (and I'm sure other top-notchers). He's looking forward to it.

I fully expect the Friday night session, a discussion of Viktor Moskalenko's book, Revolutionize Your Chess, to be groundbreaking! Yermo has now read it and said it positively can help different classes of players. Ed Reedy, who I am riding with from this area, has gone through most of it. Steve Lamansky likes what he has seen so far (55 pages last I heard). The book hasn't gotten much press and I strongly suspect the one complainer I saw in the New in Chess Yearbook hadn't read it or much of it! In fact, in yesterday's column, Seth Godin says "You're a Celebrity Now" (meaning his readers). And that means, he goes on to say, "Some people won't like you!" The "reporter" (himself) says, "You mean you didn't like her movie?" The responder retorts, "No I haven't seen her movies, I just don't like her!" This has happened to me too, from people who have never met me or who don't know me at all.

We are now in a society where people are busy, busy, busy doing nothing but texting, tweeting etc. They have to have something to "say" (I do neither of these.) even if it is meaningless. And if that doesn't work, then there is always room for Jealousy and Envy.

Fortunately, I have a great feeling about this weekend in Red Wing, and I have provided a Special Bonus Workshop on Saturday evening titled, "Heroes." Most of them, unfortunately, became "tainted," but getting work done has its own rewards. I will let you in on some Yermo Secrets too about "work" and "getting things done" but mostly it will be mine. Alex thinks these types of subject have now become MINE...haha. Well, they are usually chess connected and relevant.

Since 2010 I have been on the "trail" for secrets and most of them are in plain sight but it is stunning how most of us miss them. But they are remarkable secrets because they don't demand verification if you KNOW others who share them but just aren't broadcasting them. So be there Saturday night if you are registered.

Now to get those Pillsbury's out: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

BUSY ALL DAY

Working on filling the "Sale of the Century" orders for my Best Customers.

Tomorrow, a trip out of town to visit the Dentist. I need another Sale of the Century to pay for that as well as another "hole" in my head.

I will be issuing a set of catalog sheets soon to my occasional buyers, but first the catalog goes out to the Gold Carders and frequent buyers or more than "occasional buyers" although I think I let a couple of those slip through the net...aaaargh.

Back to another book project. Am also thinking about things to go into the third issue of Purdy's Chess Chronicles. AND, by the way, I am closing in on finishing up Chess EXTRAS.


Tomorrow the chess shop will be OPEN "if" I get back from the Dentist on time. Another Reason to read this Blog.

As always, contact: Bob Long for speaking engagements, book editing, and the usual etc. (I've done a lot of "etc.") by going to: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

THE QUALITY GOES "IN" BEFORE THE SALES GO "ON"

Do you remember the Zenith tagline similar to that?

Today I got a new newsletter from Quality Chess which, once again, leaves unclear what NEW titles are now ACTUALLY available from their distributors and WHEN.

Every time Quality purports to release new titles I get a "flood" (I wish it were so) of queries asking if I have them--probably because No One Else Has It Either! I'm sure Amazon advertises them too even though they don't have them.

There is a reason for this! These books originate from Scotland, not Iowa or New York. Most likely they are printed in China, Poland or someplace OTHER than the US. Therefore, there are shipping delays, usually two months. Sometimes the book is "finished" but it isn't printed. They must send out some kind of galley proofs to certain reviewers because the book may not show for another month after the two months I just mentioned.

The latest HOT title is Karolyi's books on Karpov. I have no problem selling that, IF I had it. As of a couple weeks ago, my distributor for the US did not have it and gave NO time for getting it.

Karolyi has NEVER sold well for me, no matter how much hype he got. Maybe THIS title was also worked on WITH Karpov somehow. Then that would make it special--even more so!

In the meantime, I have lots of Quality Chess books in my offices just waiting for new owners. Once or twice a year I make a special sale of QC books and offers to my customers. The last time involved the "character" of Malcolm McDowell's from Clockwork Orange. One person guessed it right (Bob Lynch), almost no one else cared.

The books, in general, are good, no doubt about that. The problem, from what I understand is that buyers do not want to PAY what the publishers think they are worth. Has it stopped them? No.... still publishing. They are making enough to stay afloat, so it seems.

contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Saturday, July 23, 2011

HOW A GENIUS TEACHER CAN BE PERVERTED IN WHAT HE WROTE

Cecil John Seddon Purdy was a genius of that I have no doubt. His writings have been copied and used by others and not really updated!

He was the first world correspondence chess champion. That's not amateur time.

He wrote some thoughtful, right on books. And he himself recognized the genius of Morphy, Fischer, and others.

While not putting a whole lot of stock in high IQs, he said it was worth something. Kasparov supposedly has a hi IQ (for chess) and yet some things I have "heard him say or write" seem really screwed up. A lot of times this "ignorance" starts from a poorly understood premise and so everyone is capable of falling into this trap.

But I believe sometimes Purdy gets misquoted and therefore misunderstood and even worse, "mistaught" when teaching others.

For example, Purdy liked the "idea" of the Double Attack as often that is hard to meet in real games. Champs such as Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine were masters of the double attack. (See the Chess Gangs of New York and London series for examples.)

But sometimes they do not work, especially if one of the pieces attacked can jump in the way of the other piece which is being attacked. Knights are good at this. It only takes one bad "apple" (or example) to destroy the whole pie.

Einstein said: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."


In chess there is so much to know. For example, GM Reuben Fine was a firm believer in being exceptionally good in the opening because if no discernible errors were made which caused your opponent to lose, he must've misplayed the opening. So this is why there are so many refinements going on and Purdy would have loved them, and he did remarkably well in keeping up with them.


His book, My Search for Chess Perfection is back from the printer ($39.95) and it is one I really think every improving player should have because he not only gets to the heart of the matter with great examples, he explains the problems in a way that is remarkably clearer than most. I have been told this time and again. 

If you agree (or not) please send me a note telling me why you "think" so.


The picture of Purdy with the chemistry beaker was from the cover of our first book on Purdy's Search. The title for the book was changed from the original (MY Life and Games...) and given to me by Patty Scoville, an incredible colleague. Fastest selling book we ever had. My 1997 edition was $22.00. The new edition is set in larger type, artwork added, a huge index dropped in (took me days to create that). The page size is larger, the book has been "vetted" through many printings, and after 14 years, it's only $18.00 more. If I was a Republican it would now be $60. If I was a Democrat it would be FREE. But, I am a businessman, and you'll have to pay real money to get it.


Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

HOW MOST BOOKSELLERS DO SPECIAL ORDERS

The public is often so incorrect (i.e., wrong) about the way business is done that you have to figure they are wrong about many other things, most of the time. This DOES NOT mean that business isn't wrong either, more than you think. Take a look at the Murdoch publishing empire. Even if Rupert didn't know what the heck was going on (and going wrong) you can bet his son James did. But if you back up some years you can figure the "old man" did his share of "naughty stuff" because example begets example. This is why it is so important to know who you are dealing with and their character.

To have everything in chess there is, on hand, is a bad business model. I know, I came close to it years ago when we carried foreign chess books too (in 1998 we had about 2600 different things!) I only carried about 3 different clocks at any one time. Some of them were horrible.

The "ideal" business model is one that keeps generating good income without having to change anything. Today that no longer happens. It's not enough to have green and white chessboards, they now come in a half dozen different colors, most of which DO NOT sell. There are mousepads too. There are smaller boards. Does anyone make a good, affordable analysis set? NO! Even manufacturers, once they "give" you choice are averse to change. Once they have a so-called winner, innovation takes a back seat.

The picture to your upper right is the latest issue of Chess Informant 110, which just came in, along with my stock of 109. I'll be sending out "autoships" this weekend. Has Chess Informant adapted to change? I can say they have tried. They do CDs, different size openings encyclopedias, Best ofs, etc. but they are in a rut. Probably their best product is still the Informants themselves! They do not control all the draws which are played and which creep into  the analyses but they have them. Sometimes those draws are "ideas" which didn't pan out. (More on Kasimdzhanov's NEW proposal at a later date.)

Since a "smart" reseller can't possibly hope to have EVERYTHING how are special orders dealt with? If you don't have a decent-sized order going to that publisher at the time, the alternative is to order it from somewhere else at a smaller discount. Such places as Ingram and Baker&Taylor provide this service. My problem with B&T was that I would get 33% of my order! Even they didn't keep their stock up to date (or have everything) and they had many huge warehouses across the country.

I still hire myself out for chess or book consulting work. If you want to know which way to jump, or how far to stick your toe in the pond, give me a ring (563-271-6657). It will cost you something, but only a fraction of what it will cost you if you do something the market doesn't warrant and you end by spending zillions trying to make what YOU think is perfect for readers (who don't want it for various reasons) and it isn't.

But in my experience most do not want to "hear" bad news, they would rather receive it privately when no one else is around. Often these folks perceive themselves as "objective." Objective sells nothing, you have to rouse the intellectual and emotional nerves of the buyer or everyone would own a red car.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, July 21, 2011

AIR CONDITIONING IS NOW ON!

Not without some problems however in the beginning. It seems the tenant was playing with another breaker box trying to get power back on to keep the A/C going while he was still in my building! It didn't work, but he didn't set the breakers back to the original position so when the utility guy threw the main switch (which had been padlocked) there still were no lights, no camera, and no action!

Needless to say, some consternation was afloat. I started reading the manual, which, only served to increase the "fear" of paying someone $200 to come out and do something you could do for yourself if you knew what.

One breaker was off and when it was flipped the other way the lights went on. Woo hoo.

Eventually I found there was a big A/C breaker and I flipped it the other way also, and voila! A/C went on. Set it at 78 because I won't be there until tomorrow and welcoming Ankeny, IA buddy and Red Wing attendee, Steve Lamansky! After 1 pm we go to lunch on Steve! Thank you Steve.

By the way, for customer satisfaction, I will have free pop or bottled water while you browse. Yesterday I put some Mountain Dew in the cooler to make that available. It's now getting very cold.

And SPEAKING of yesterday? How'd it go?

96 degrees and sweat like crazy. I had 5 people come in and it was 80% business! Yessir.

I also have a huge stack of Chess Informants low-priced at $10 each except for the first 4, which are $25 each (3 times that on eBay). All are in good to super condition. More info, if they aren't sold out, in time.

Just had to leave to let the gas man in! Where is the coordination with this company? That's taken care of.

Will put pictures up of the guys who were here yesterday. Thanks George, Roger, Rick, Isaac, and Mark. Let's see how this goes. I've got a lot of the place cleaned up. Then will be vacuuming and painting. But first, the end of the month, Red Wing.

The brave folks who came will long remember the coolness after the heat/sweat is gone because WOW, such an improvement.

Thanks for checking in.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WILL HAVE AIR CONDITIONING ON THURSDAY!

Though I couldn't get the power on today (Wednesday) for the store opening (will anyone besides Mark C. be here?), it will be on tomorrow--thanks to an anonymous benefactor (my daughter! The evicted tenant had run up quite a bill... thank you Chris and Ed).

Stuff will be laid out on tables and signs taped to the wall.

Some orders to fill and I better get to the shop. See if I can find some table cloths first. No bookshelves and maybe there never will be, just wide open space and eventually tables set up for tournaments/events.

Nothing new for me... have moved a number of times (but have gotten considerably older). Hopefully, new to you.

The address?

THE CHESS CENTER, 1101 WEST 4TH ST, DAVENPORT, IOWA

A brief post today.

Picked up about 5 new SCORE subscribers yesterday... thanks gentlemen. Hope you were one of them. If not, it's just $20. One guy, in jest (he says), asked if I was punishing former subscribers with the low price. Then he admitted the LOW cost was probably designed to attract new fans (that's true). BUT, I will do other favors for those who subscribed to Semester 10 besides giving them an Index. I just need to catch my breath. Another subscriber said it was SUCH a deal, what would be the concern? (Told him, "I have no idea.")

As usual: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

PS: As you can tell, I have had NO time to work on the web site. As many have found out, it doesn't matter except to the really lazy (who aren't lazy when it comes to price comparisons!!) Doing it this way, it is a lot easier to build a stable and longer-lasting relationship as we get to know each other.

It just occurred to me a few days ago that 1% of my email list people are coming to Red Wing. The percentages won't change but the number of the people needed on the email list to make something like this viable for the future would have to grow 3 times as much. So if you know anyone who finds the way I conduct business, compatible with yourself, send them on and tell me you send them. There will be a gift in it for you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

PREPPING FOR THE MOVE DOWNTOWN

Yesterday in an original post that has since been corrected, I incorrectly listed my MAIL TO address, which is the same as it has been for years: 1524 LeClaire St., Davenport, IA 52803.

The address of the site where I am moving chess merchandise to today is:
1101 W. 4th St., Davenport IA.

I told a friend "I will pay dearly for that mistake" when I sent out 700 emails because if there is anything I have noticed over the years there are people who "skip read" and often miss the salient stuff. Have done it myself, especially on TV programming in the past. I had to listen closer to whether something was Central Time or East Coast time. Funny thing, after missing the show I noticed life still went on.

Anyhoo, I am moving stuff down to the shop today. Locks have already been changed. Starting up isn't the same as starting over, but it takes effort and resources. It's all kind of busy. And hot down there if you do too much work.

Been working hard as I mentioned before on David Rudel's NEW book on the Colle but I can't give it away. His groundbreaking research is impressive and the title and contents will delight you I am sure.

And of course there are the Workshops to prepare for at Red Wing.

Oh yes, no antique chess sets down there until I get the A/C working again.

Mark Capron is coming by tomorrow from Iowa City, hope you do too.

Back to it.

As always, contact me at: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, July 18, 2011

THE CHESS CENTER OPENS WEDNESDAY JULY 20

Located at 1101 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA. 


Please do not send mail there however. Send mail to my other office: 1524 LeClaire St., Davenport 52803.

Tenant is finally gone. I've already been down there with a garbage bag policing the area, sidewalk, inside. Will have more to do tomorrow.

There will be lots of good stuff for SALE Wednesday and Friday (note hours below) so I can raise cash to pay the utility bills and get the lights back on. Hence, for a week or so there probably won't be any A/C... sorry. Next month I have to take the former occupier to court to get (try) money he owes me. While I would ordinarily say "Good luck on that," I KNOW a very good bill collector. Why is he good? He knows where the guy lives and what he owns unless tonight he moves everything to another country. Anything's possible.

How Good of a SALE?
Almost everything there (that's new) will be a minimum of 25% per cent off. Some things will be 50% off. But here's the KICKER. Only this week, only this Wednesday and this Friday. TWO DAYS.

This SALEincludes Books... DVDs... Equipment such as chess sets and boards, and hopefully clocks will be here by then. Maybe even big discounts on magazines.

What Else?
Purchasers of $25 or more (retail) will be given a COUPON good for $5 off of purchases in August. If your retail order is more than $100 (net), then I will give you a $10 Coupon for August. (I really want to get the Air back on.)

I intend to have events there eventually, do my packaging there, etc. BUT KNOW THIS... if I sell the building, of course all bets are off, so I urge you to get in to the above address THIS WEEK. No slouching, no reasons, no etc. GOOD DEALS only.


Here are the HOURS!
Wednesday -- July 20 (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)

Friday -- July 22 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

If business is GOOD (that is, people keep coming in to buy, I will stay open an extra half hour. If not, I close on the DOT. Have publication work to do to and get ready for Red Wing.

If you have a GOLD CARD and want to shop on Saturday, let me know and we might be able to arrange a time on the phone: 563-271-6657.

If you are looking for something in particular and want to make sure I will have it at the shop, let me know and I will bring it down... and you'll still get the Big Discount. I may have some used stuff too.


As always you can contact me at: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Saturday, July 16, 2011

BIG BAG OF "STUFF" FOR THE WEEKEND

USCF NON-PHONE SERVICE
The other day I went to the USCF web site to see what they charged for certain items I am carrying now in the equipment line and how they figured shipping costs.
Total nightmare. I clicked on the item (in this case a carrying bag) and it said, in effect, "Hey Floyd you have to enter the quantity amount first before checking the cart." There was no place to enter the quantity amount! I looked at some other items just to make sure and they did have a place for the Quantity. (Competing for messiness, legalism, and just in general a rotten web site is Wholesale Chess, which may be the worst chess web site I have ever seen.)

I checked my invoice from my supplier to see how much shipping costs via UPS were, they were high, about $4.00+ for each bag I stocked! I know they get their bags for less than my wholesale price or else they are really crazy. But after I totaled it up, they make about $2-4 on each bag they sell. This is insane and goes toward explaining how they don't make any money, or very little, on their sales. Just like in the days when Al Lawrence was "running" it.

But what I really noticed was that they offered NO LIVE telephone service and I KNOW why. People who order by phone take way too much time to get their order in. Or, they have crazy questions. Or they want preferential treatment. Or they want to return something. Or they are incompetent at using a web portal. All these reasons and more. This takes time and as Einstein discovered, Time = $. How do I know this is true of the USCF? Because it has happened to me too (phone sales), BUT, I had a friend named Wray McAllister who used to work there. (He's even pictured in my out of print book, The Chess Assassin's Business Manual.)

Myself, I try to avoid using the phone when I can. But I still get those who ask "how much is..." so and so when I have mentioned it at least twenty thousand times. Or, who order from catalogs I haven't used in months instead of the current offerings. Virtually all of my business with wholesalers or distributors is done using email. The BIG advantage of using email is that it CREATES a copy of what you sent in the "Sent file." Over the phone it can creat, Disagreements, who said what? A real life example I may have mentioned in one of my writings. A lady, in front of me at an ice cream counter, is upset because she was given a chocolate shake with MALT in it! She's giving it to the counter girl in spades. I just leaned in and said, "I heard you too, you ordered it with malt." (That stuck in my mind because, I don't like malt.) But an email creates a record. 

SECRET: Emails are processed before anything else at my place, but, unlike the USCF, I do take phone calls. I do make things right if there is a goof (whomever's fault it is). I do answer questions, but briefly. So if I am a little short (as in brief), I am not mad at anyone, I am just trying to get off the phone to get work done and make a profit. I don't often promote my phone number. For example, while I sell SCORE at $20, if I am on the phone for 20 minutes answering questions about it, I haven't made a dime and in fact I've lost everything that SCORE would pay for! So I don't answer questions like that, it is simply, "I'll send you a brochure." Some people want to yack because THEY have some free time.

No one gets rude with me and my customers know that, but I know people who have been rude to those who used to answer USCF phone lines. Invariably they wanted something they weren't paying for, which often was, to chat about something. Some people won't buy anything unless they read a review. That's another good reason to subscribe to SCORE, I have lots of reviews. In issue #3 there is one major review and 6 smaller ones. If I want to get mail, all I have to say is, "Reviews on Amazon are almost worthless." And most of them are. I am not referring to just chess reviews, but reviews on other subjects of which I am quite knowledgeable. Some want something for nothing and if they buy a book HOPING "X" is in the book, they want to return it because "X" was not in there. Morons. Is your time worth ANYTHING? As many know, I read on all kinds of subjects and have for 30-40 years. Now that we have the eBook with us, so far I am NOT overwhelmed. I saw a friend's "Kindle" at a computer store the other day. He was showing "sharing" features with members of his family, etc. Yeah, right, sleepy time. I briefly saw a picture of a Scribe I was absolutely taken with and asked him to GO BACK to that as I wanted to find out more. The idea was for a book cover I want to do. He couldn't find it! It wasn't simply "BACK" it was probably some advertisement! If I ever get one of those things (hmmm) it will be those with NO ADS in them in the first place.

Enough.

THE ABBAZIA 1912 PDF
This 75 -page PDF, book size, with annotated games for registrants of the Red Wing Chess Soiree went out this morning. It is automatically included for those who have plunked down their money. It is the Commemorative Red Wing edition. It also allows them to get the printed edition (which will have more stuff and a different format) at a HUGE discount. Whether I will sell this very helpful PDF, which of course can be printed out, I have not yet made up my mind about. In that PDF you also get a quote from the genius who won the event, Rudolph Spielmann, about why the King's Gambit should be omitted from play. He hadn't yet heard of Spassky, Fischer, Bronstein, and especially Magnus Carlsen or Joe Gallagher.

This PDF will be part of my Workshop talk on Preparation and Publication.

SIMON WILLIAMS DVDS
His new ones are here. I don't have them in huge depth because the ship time to me is quick, and I would like to find out what the interest is. They just came in yesterday and I have NO review copies to look at. Having seen Aagaard's games with Nick Pert and reading about Gawain Jones (and his new book on the Sicilian) I am sure they will be terrific. Of course the BRAINS behind these DVDs is GM Simon Williams. They are superior to ChessBase DVDs and anyone else's including mine. I have on hand several sets of Pert's two DVD volumes on the KILLER ENDGAME (retail is $59.90, of course my prices are less, see the recent Chess Gazettes I've sent out) and GM Gawain Jones on the KILLER GRAND PRIX. $29.95 retail, see CG #158 for discount pricing. I'm absolutely convinced you will get 10X as much material on the endgame on the Pert series than anyone every did on Dzindzi's earlier videos. Dzindzi's endgame stuff was first rate, there just wasn't enough of it.

MY FAUX PAS
Pillsbury the Fencer should have been here by now, but I won't have them until next week and it is MY fault, again. I didn't want a "proof" so I thought my order would be automatically filled. It wasn't. So I had to unleash the "forms" to get what I want. For those who have FREE copies coming, and have had free copies of Alekhine the Executioner coming too, I will mail everything out next week. I apologize for being an idiot on this. I'm also working on the Capablanca one and HOPE beyond hope to get that one right!

That's enough for now.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CHESS GAZETTE #158

An updated version went out yesterday. What were the updates?
1) Opening letter extolling the virtues of Khenkin's new book on Checkmates was eliminated not because it wasn't well written by Julian Wan, but because I have none in stock at the moment (which had been mentioned on the Order Form page)
2) The Order Form page has been revised delaying some items which won't be here for a week or more. (I needed more space to add some new items.)
3) Filled in prices for items that had since arrived.
4) Made a couple of minor revisions in the "Notes" column.

Worth looking at again.

SCORE
This chess openings' publication comes out every three weeks (as noted in my advertising and the first two issues) and in a few places, every four weeks to accommodate the 16 issues per year at only $20 per subscription. Must be the modern chess "steal" of all time.

This information HAS been published, several times. The next issue of SCORE, #3, is due out tomorrow, July 15th. That is mentioned in Issue #2.

It is chock full on the Benko Gambit, the wily Snake Benoni, and two games and some references to King's Gambits with extensive notes by Tony Jasaitis. Tony, get us some more Chicagoland readers okay? Thanks. Reader contributions are welcome, just make sure your moves and words are proofread because I have no way of knowing what you mean in some cases.

And, remember, the Shop will not be open tomorrow, and instead will move to next Wednesday. 1101 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA 52803. Thanks. If that somehow doesn't eventually work out, we will move the customers to my offices.

In the meantime, contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

WHY DOESN'T THE USCF HAVE LIVE SALES REPRESENTATIVES AT THE PHONE?
I'll tell you tomorrow if I think of it, and also tell you why I have always done business this way since 1978. There are real reasons.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

RETAIL PLANS FOR THE CHESS CENTER

My Building at 1101 W. 4th St. in Davenport, IA 52801 will not be available for retail business until next week (July 20, 22) and after that. The judge allowed my non-paying tenant until Noon July 18th to vacate, even though I told the tenant almost 3 weeks ago this was going to happen (they delay and delay the inevitable).

As I am being stuck with a large unpaid utility bill, you can bet there will be many good deals on recent and older merchandise next Wednesday including new club sets and boards and DVDs.

Once power is restored and tables and chairs are brought in, there will also be some Saturday tournaments every month as well as Instruction for those who want to get better. I can't think of a BETTER way of improvement then observing and commenting on well annotated AND interesting games! Ask to be put on my store mailing list.

Hours of business will usually be:
Monday and Wednesday (1 p.m. through 3 p.m.)
Friday (10 a.m. through 1 p.m.)
The rest of the hours will be used for publication work and packing and shipping.
Because of rated tournaments I will be open some Saturday. A schedule will be published.

In the meantime I will be in Red Wing, MN July 29-30 so the shop will not be open that Friday or Saturday.

Years of experience have shown me that "by appointment: is meaningless to many chess players who will make an appointment and then not show up resulting in my just wasting my time. So for the time being I will have "appointments only" for those who OWN my preferred card, The GOLD CARD... another reason to buy one.

Do Iowans Realize How Lucky They Are?
There are virtually NO REAL retail chess shops anywhere except in NYC.
Iowans and Illinoisans (and those from surrounding states) have a MAJOR opportunity here.

We will carry the following lines:
Batsford,
Chess Stars
ChessBase,
Everyman Chess,
Gambit,
McFarland,
Quality Chess, and
Thinkers' Press, inc. -- Books and DVDs.

563-271-6657

Thanks,

Bob Long

contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, July 11, 2011

SCORE #3 JULY 15

Comes out this Friday. Subscriptions are $20 for 16 issues including 2 back issues.

Subjects this time: BENKO GAMBIT by IM Andrew Martin and information about the LATEST trends. You HAVE to read this and go through the games.

The secondary topic is the SNAKE BENONI which I first saw mentioned about 20 years ago in some German chess works. Andrew Martin also fills us in on what's going on there.

And If I can squeeze them in, there are some contributions by several SCORE subscribers + the Mail Column. Add a review of Bologan's THE CATALAN and there should be plenty for all opening fans. Comes to $1.25 for each issue!

While you can contact me at: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

You can write me, send credit card information, place an order, etc. at:

Bob Long
G&L CHESS or THINKERS' PRESS, inc.
1524 LeClaire Street
Davenport, IA 52803 USA

By the way, TPi (Thinkers' Press, inc.) is the publisher of the various C.J.S. Purdy books you have seen over the years. Want more info? Drop me a line at my physical address or through email. Thanks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

RED WING, MN STILL IN MY NEWS!

I still get questions about the Red Wing, MN Chess Soiree so apparently some are NOT receiving my PDFs or if they are, they aren't opening them! (This happens more than you might imagine I've discovered.) I could write a book about a subject like this.

Anyway, it is STILL on (why wouldn't it be?). It's still $189 and not going to get less expensive. It will still be at the Country Inn & Suites July 29-30. The phone number to register to stay overnight is: 651-388-9000 and be sure to tell them it is for the Chess Group.

Apple chess app. guy Andres Hortillosa said he was coming and filling us in on what is going on with his Smart Chess and the changes that have gone on.

This week, early I think, I will be mailing the preliminary package to all those who have already paid. It will include a book and some other things. AND, I do want to thank those who are coming and I WISH those who aren't coming would stopping asking me how many have Paid! Is that some kind of Sadism?

Years ago I got a really nasty, messed up mental case letter from a guy in the SW part of the country who was hoping for my event to be a MAJOR failure! If I decide to run it (which I did), and people pay to come, it is NOT a failure for them or me. I get more stories to tell.

Bizarrely, some are holding out for the "October 21-22" event. Just recently I listed this with no extra details. I will need 50 people for that one and if it is held it will be a Chess TNT event, a Teach 'N Train tournament. Details will be coming soon. I am hoping to have it at my chess shop at 1101 W. 4th St., in Davenport, IA because I own the building and that will save $300-400 in rental space but then I will have to spend at least that much for tournament tables and chairs! If Life is fair, it's been hiding that from me! Haha.

Details on that concerning what we will be doing, the cost, etc. will be announced in a couple weeks, or maybe at the Red Wing event as those attendees will get preferred pricing (I had always planned that as a REWARD). Finally, there will be a tournament, but there will also be teaching before each round, and there will also be evaluations. There will be prizes in the form of books and DVDs and it will probably be broken up into Above 1600 rating and below 1600 rating. Andrew Martin has already agreed to come. As I said, more details in time. We also expect to have some UNBREAKABLE OPENINGS DVDs too.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

CHESS GAZETTE #158 WENT OUT TODAY

after 3-4 days of wrestling with 3 pages that turned into 10!
But it is pretty up-to-date bookwise and DVD-wise except that I forgot to add in Bologan's THE CATALAN on DVD, which I am very much looking forward to viewing. Club players don't seem to handle these openings very well.

Still working on opening the shop, THE CHESS CENTER, next Friday. Already received congrats and good wishes from chess historian John Hilbert who is now conducting a chess history column for the British Chess Magazine. Naturally he saw the CD for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. These historians miss very little. ($28.50 postpaid in USA--2519 games and fragments.)

Tony Gillam (Chessplayer) and I are in contact once again as he gave me the go ahead to use some material from his Abbazia 1912 for my own book. Tony and I go a long ways back! It still IS about relationships. Andy Ansel let me borrow his copy because I sold mine many moons ago. Another great fellow and he came to our Last Chess Clinic.

I've got plenty to do over the next few days and I won't get it done jabbering here. I hope you will take the PDF I sent out to my readers (if you are not on my email list, please let me know) today, print it out, and then let me hear from you.

Am working on SCORE at the moment for next Friday.

As usual, you can contact me at: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

IS THERE AN EASIER WAY?

To be a reseller in the chess business requires that one be somewhat off their rocker. Let's face it, I know, and digging ditches is easier (yes, I've done that too!).

One of the hardest parts of this business is to get credible names to email to and to embrace them and tell them about your wares. It's not so much that I am an isolationist (although if you worked here you might think so) as that I wonder if chess players get out much.

What do I hear? The virtues of ICC being extolled, "But Black has the two bishops," and "Ya know, Fischer was nuts. I mean, he was a great chess player but on everything else he was whacko!"  Yes, I hear these things, read these things, sometimes as recently as the day before.

But the hard part is to get people's attention. You can't just do it on price although that will get some of the scavengers and you can't do it by meeting people at chess tournaments (where you find out that many of these fine folks will not purchase anything by mail), and you can't just do your only marketing on the internet, although the USCF has holiday sales as often as Roger Clemens has denied using steroids!  In fact I don't think any country has that many holidays.

Nope, what is necessary is to massage every possibility there is when it comes to media, persuasion, and possibly, bribery! But there is ONE thing that kind works, maybe in a small way, but I have had good results with it and that is PERSONA.

If you have good service, good character (honest, dependable and so on, good virtue stuff), and a relationship with your clients... this can spell good things. But the public is so mistrusting until they've heard good things from others, read them... and yet, some of the services out there are so bad I am kind of stupefied that anyone would use such services over and over.

But recently I heard from Rev. Don Miller in Jacksonville, FL. Don was glad I came back from Georgia and restarted my chess business. Here's what he had to say:

"Hi Bob....
Just a quick comment ... want to say that I am very impressed with the way that my orders have been handled! You have, indeed, the fastest shipping of any chess companies that I have done business with over the past many years as a player. I have felt (and feel) as if I am a very top of the list customer as I order with you, no matter what I am ordering. My last order, I received in three days! This was your normal shipping.  I have always had to wait anywhere from a week to two weeks to receive any thing that I have ordered from other suppliers... Way to go, Bob!"

Just when I thought he was done I got another email:

"It is refreshing to me to see that someone has retained the idea of what service is to their customers and I greatly appreciate that. Service, anymore is a byword to most companies as well as to their employee's... and I try to give a pat on the back and an atta-boy to those who deserve it when I am on the receiving end of good customer service these days. It seems more and more as if there is no service to the customer anymore in most businesses... and that is a pet peeve of mine. The first job I ever had back in the early '70's was a customer service job and I was taught what it meant to give the customer proper service... and rarely is that service ever given in today's business to customers; what I see mostly is rudeness and arrogance...   So a BIG THANK YOU!!"

You are welcome Don. If you think Don is on drugs, let me relate a recent incident at my local post office. Someone was complaining about waiting in line, why was there so few clerks on hand, etc. And the Postmaster walked out on the floor  (our post office gets all the rejects) and said, "Well, people have to wait in line at grocery stores too!" I wasn't there but a postal employee told me this had just happened, and I replied, "If I had been there, I would have reminded this cardboard cutout that grocery stores don't have the word 'Service' appended to their name either." Only a numbskull would ever say something like that to a good and repeat customer. And no doubt he thought his answer was clever.

So if you are new to this column, and your "philosophies" somewhat dovetail with mine, we are going to get along great and I intend to give you great service too. If you want flyers, catalogs, listings, samples, etc. just drop me a line at:

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THE CHESS STORE WILL OPEN SOON

At the moment I am in the process of sending out a one page PDF to those on my email lists. It gives hours of business (and days) + events I will be holding.

Already I have been contacted by an Iowa group from Ankeny (near Des Moines) about coming over July 15th. I told them to call the day before and see if my tenant has been evicted yet.

I may call it the CHESS CENTER with a sign on the door, perhaps some hours. I can't leave a phone number to call or I will hear from all the people who have nothing else to do.

I will need to get playing tables and chairs for events, and that will be in the future. In the meantime, if you would be so kind as to read what is on that PDF, carefully, no one should end up being disappointed. Hopefully, I will have things there for sale.

Hey, as always, thanks for your support...

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, July 4, 2011

CAPABLANCA -- THE CHESS GANGS OF NEW YORK AND LONDON #5

While the Pillsbury book, #4, "The Fencer" is at the printers' and due here in a week or so, the next one in the series, "Capablanca the Mouthpiece" is finished. However the art is awaiting and then the book will be sent to the printer, with 52 truly amazing and annotated games. I try to annotate in the "helpful" mode by explaining WHY the players do what they do (although the play by some of the losing contestants sometimes seems inexplicable). Or sometimes finding something we all will understand a little bit better. Sometimes the "tactics in the notes" are worth the price of the paid for book!

I knew he was good, and devastating in a very charming and likable way, like many lawyers think they are (oxymoron). It's not the way I would like to spend the July 4th weekend, but one does what one can, depending on the circumstances.

The Introduction details several characteristics about him which I think Club Players should seriously take to heart:
1) If you want to know how to play the Double KP games study Capablanca. He played them in a way which "looks easy" but in reality, he ALWAYS seemed to know WHEN to do the "hard work." That's why he won.
2) If you want to play the Colle, Torre, etc. QP type systems, Capablanca had them down to a science but he played with more vigor than you probably do. He was content with letting the game go for many moves, even 30, before he "allowed" his opponent to make a mistake by having an "idea." In the game with Alatortsev (white) you got the feeling that Al was playing for a draw, but Capablanca could see the win!

Capa didn't always play the move evaluated at "4.3" but sometimes relied on his skill in a "0.68" situation--one of those "inevitable" scenarios where he KNEW he could win whether you believed it could be done or not. He entered situations which theoretically "should" be drawn" but won them when his opponent didn't know what Capa knew.

As I have mentioned before, the games in this series do not include draws, just wins as White and wins as Black. I expect this booklet to be quite popular, like the Lasker one, and so am printing some extras. For those who make it to the Red Wing event at the end of this month, they will get this book FREE. (I have yet to get all the Alekhine FREE copies out, I hope to do that this week.)

Once again, a reminder if you want to know HOW to get this issue for FREE, all you need to do is spend at least $100 (shipping and insurance not included) in the months of July-August. Otherwise the cost is $12.95 + $3.50 for S&H (in the USA).

Wishing you all a Happy 4th. Fireworks in Davenport last night were very nice. Fun being there with family too.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011

DEEP RYBKA IS STILL BEING SOLD ON CHESSBASE

ChessBase is still saying nothing about Vasik Rajlich and the Rybka issue. Some thought it was on the advice of their lawyers but is that so? I mean the program is still being sold, at least according to their web site.

A PRINTED CATALOG IN THE WORKS
Remember when TPi used to put together those giant 128-page catalogs for Chessco? The printing and mailing, not counting the weeks of time putting them together would run $10,000. I had to sell a lot of stuff to make up for that. Too much break-even.

Well, a smaller size, 6x9, is in the works for this summer - fall. Maybe 40 pages. By now including foreign books, huge serials like Chess Informant, BCMs, and the like, that will cut out some pages, but mainly it will be hardcore offers and a listing of all the goodies here at G&L CHESS. Still, I need to ask for those interested in getting one to forward three bucks to help with the printing and mailing.

And, maybe a map of how to get to the G&L CHESS CENTER STORE. Just trying to stir the pot some. Hope you'll help... we don't need the witches from Shakespeare's works. Lots of Toil and Trouble though.

Have a great Fourth of July.

Bob

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, July 1, 2011

RED WING POST AND SHOP HOURS + ADVANCE NOTICE

 The Red Wing brochure, #3, didn't go out last night because I added a page.

One reason for this Blog page is that sometimes when I send a PDF out, those who didn't read it (for whatever reason), can read some of the information here--but not all!

For example, in the brochure, #3 here are the tentative shop hours for G&L CHESS at 1101 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA 52803:
* Mondays (afternoon): 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
* Wednesdays (afternoon): 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
* Fridays (morning): 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
This is an attempt to skirt around lunch hours. While some used to visit during their lunch hours, Friday would be a good day for that (end of the week). The other hours are set so that I have time to pack orders and taken them to the post office (which is two blocks away from my downtown location). During the other times I will be working on projects such as the web site.

As mentioned on page 7 of the Red Wing brochure, I will have, in due time, books (new and used), chess sets, scorepads, clocks, etc. available for purchase.

If I should find a valuable person to sell or lease to, then my whole office reverts back to my home (1524 LeClaire St., Davenport, IA 52803).

No doubt some will be inconvenienced by my set hours but on the other hand, no one seems inconvenienced now, so we'll see how it goes. In the meantime, my phone # is still: 563-271-6657 for business calls.


ADVANCE NOTICE OF NEW, QUICK, USEFUL OPENING DVDs
Addressing a problem no one else has noticed, Andrew Martin and I have teamed up to create $24.95-$29.95 DVDs running approx. 90 mins.--and for the Club Player in All of Us.

Most likely a series of at least 8 DVDs, we have the first (4) titles worked out for Black, with something coming for White.

It's still in the creation stage and is not related to the SCORE journal. What we are attempting to do is to make the DVD video in England and design and burn it to DVD in the USA. The OTHER emphasis is SIMPLE, KEEP IT SIMPLE!

While it would be impossible to show all kinds of alternative lines, we are sticking with a routine of "main" systems where you can ask the "if" questions on your own. The problem with the vast majority of players is that they really don't know what the main lines of anything are except for WHAT they themselves play. Andrew, as a Master Coach (FIDE title), trainer, and openings' expert, has a very strong feel for this and I trust what he comes up with will not be tired-old-same-old. He's not like that.

A QUESTION I KEEP ASKING MYSELF...
Many years ago I played the black side of the Ruy Lopez, hoping to get the Marshall Attack as espoused by Frank Marshall, originally. My results were mediocre. I changed to the Nimzovich Defense, as Black, against 1.e4, and my rating climbed like a rocket. When I played 1.e4 and faced 1...e6 (the French), my results were, C-R-A-P. When I decided to include the black side of the French in my repertoire, I understood White a whole lot better and my results improved greatly (I won a lot of Alekhine-Chatard Attacks). SOMETIMES CHANGE IS GOOD.

The question I keep asking is, "If you are getting the same results (and your rating doesn't "wriggle" with the systems you are currently playing), don't you think a "change" is at least worth considering?

Let's be objective here. So Andrew plans to introduce things such as an "Unbreakable Repertoire for Black" for starters. This will include such systems as the Caro-Kann and Slav and offshoots such as 1.d4 d5 with no 2.c4 and playing against the English. This will be about 4 DVDs with 6 hours of play, but the DVDs will be individualistic. You can study as needed.

So the price will be amazingly affordable and you will get a GREAT BASIS for kicking ass. Like I said, the set will go for almost $100 to $120 in retail, but TPi will sell them for $79.95 (+$7 for S&H) or something like that IF you place your order and payment in advance. (That means an OPENINGS DVD for about $20 a piece!!) The money will be set aside in an ESCROW account so that if the series doesn't come off, again for whatever reason, I can fully refund the money with no problem. So if you want to get started right now, great. It sets up a fund to pay Andrew as soon as he is done. We hope to have these ready in time for the Oct. 21-22 Chess TNT event in Davenport IA (details not yet ready). You can save now. If you use PayPal or Credit cards, please add $3 to cover the cost of my bank charges or PayPal charges because I am working on thin margin on this. If you pay by check, Money Order, or cash, there is no extra $3 charge. They will sell for full retail AT the Chess TNT event and online.

Get goosed, get good.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com