Thursday, September 29, 2011


For years two players at a competing chess club were known for the King's Indian Attack by one and "anything" by the other. Now I've been told that both have been playing the Ruy Lopez of late. Interesting. Had their game gone stale? Were they too easy to prepare for?

Let's examine that last question--were they too easy to prepare for? One fellow (the KIA guy) was, but he still won games now and then and it required him to do almost NO work, or at least it looked that way. The other was potpourri--you were likely to see anything after 1.e4 (King's Gambit if opponent responded 1...e5), 1.f4, and other unpredictable second moves. But in MY experience with him, his success was very limited because he didn't know these openings any better (in most cases) than his opponent. If his opponent was the stronger player, he would usually go down like a Japanese Zero that had been hit by too much naval fire.

Some speculated it was his job, but I think it was his personality. He liked wildness, adventure, the unknown--anything to keep his opponent from getting an edge. But often that tactic didn't work except against those who didn't "know" him. I can't go into specifics on a blog, but suffice it to say, this tactic didn't work against me or others--it was just loose cannon fire on a rolling deck.

By playing the Ruy Lopez, if he has studied it at all, he presents all new problems for his opponents. But the thing about the RL is that it requires a certain amount of patience, which some players do not have, including him. Has age caught up? Maybe.

One reason for the CHESS TNT event coming next month on October 21-22 is to allow people to GET REAL. Fooling people ONE time is not enough for a legacy.

I remember one time going out of my comfort zone (I played the French as Black) and "figured," incorrectly, that my opponent would open 1.e4 and be really, ready for me (which usually means the Advance French). I CHICKENED OUT. Totally outside of my character. I played the Pirc, which maybe I had never played before, and because I knew how Black SHOULD play it. But, my opponent, didn't know what he was doing and I topped that off by PROVING I didn't know what I was doing either, and I lost a long battle.

A short while later, we had a chance to skittle or play blitz and I realized that DESPITE his prepping for the French, he knew NOTHING! He knew some mechanical moves, and soon as he was out of HIS book, maybe 6 moves, he played as if he hadn't studied anything at all!

The hardest hall to fight is not city hall, but chess hall. When players are entrenched and won't change, it is because they WANT IT to stay that way. They can lose, they can win, they can draw, but the needle on their rating basically doesn't change. If they play someone 200-300 points stronger, they go down like a kite in a rainstorm as if they didn't know their system at all. The MAIN reason for this is that the stronger player understands MORE about strategy, correct placement of pieces, taking advantage of weaknesses and all that "middlegame stuff."

For years I had heard about the weakened dark squares, the weakened light squares, and NONE of that made any difference to me BECAUSE my opponents couldn't prosecute a win by the use of that knowledge. So "technique" IS worth something... actually, a lot.

We hope to get into the various PHASES of a game's opening at the TNT event and hope you will come even IF you are wedded to what you play. As IM Martin also said, "It's also about having fun and being entertained too."

Running this event has SHOWN me a lot of things about chess player personalities and one is, you can lead a horse to water, and that may be all. But when it is pure cussed stubbornness to remain FIXED, then you are talking the MULE family, of which the horse is only a subset of!

Bizarre me, but as I get older, and read more and more of my library, esp. in conjunction with the upcoming publication TO THE POINT, the idea of experimentation has become extremely attractive to me. Why? Because principles of chess are pretty much the same in every opening, but the differences are in the NUANCES, and often a game can turn on the nuances of that opening. When you look at CJS Purdy's games and see Slavs, Lopezes, Queen's Gambits and the Colle, if you look further you will find he played LOTS of other openings too, and he did all right for himself.

G&L CHESS has a new DVD catalog which has just been released. If you would like a copy, send me your name and email address.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


For some time I have been contemplating a specific type of "chess newsletter." Again, like all Thinkers' Press, inc. "stuff," it will be unique. There is nothing like it anywhere that I am aware of. It will be in English (how invaluable?).

It won't be cheap by current standards (such as $20 for SCORE). Unique, interesting, and worthwhile stuff always costs money and is invariably gobbled up by those who want something others can't have or are too "cheap" to want (and who will be the first to try to make or   get copies of it).

When I was in the typesetting business I subscribed to the Seybold Report. $200+ a year for 12 issues. That was 30 years ago. I studied and read everything I could about typesetting systems and ended with getting the best, not just for MY client needs, but "best all around." I made a selection, then visited, several times, and at that point dropped tens of thousands of dollars to get what I felt would be very useful. It was. A $50,000 investment produced $70,000 EXTRA sales in the first 12 months. That's a good ROI.

About the same time I put out a magic newsletter called The Sorcerer's Eyes. Not only were people jealous of the title, issues are now very valuable. It too was in printed form. I had a well known close-up magician helping me write it too and I met some of the most interesting magic people in the world such as Slydini (look him up).

I subscribe, right now, to a marketing Newsletter for which I pay $500 a year for a monthly subscription. As a by-product of that, I hear from other "vendors" who want to increase my sales and who have some incredibly good ideas or "historical" (not hysterical) moments in which they SAY or WRITE something extremely useful for me and you. Yesterday I had one of those moments and if I had $2,000 and the time to implement I would have bought it sight-unseen. Sure, it probably would change the whole chess industry as I know it, but I am busy paying off a building mortgage, building a new website (already, I have almost 200 of 500 entries completed in just the last 4 days!), The Chess Gangs series, SCORE and catalogs. Time will tell, time is valuable.

But while in the shower this morning (many good ideas are born there and I have the water bill to prove it!) this long delayed (no pun intended--Bob Long) idea just made amazing sense!

I have teamed up with a reliable printer. Yes, you heard that right, this publication, called TO THE POINT, will be printed. No PDF download. So that means folded pages, put into an envelope, and mailed first class, every month. It will lay on your table or allow you to read it when going to bed, in the bathroom, waiting for a traffic light to change, a barge to go by (or a train), and you can glean and re-glean. No need to print anything out.

There will be NO Sample copies. This is my personal GOOD stuff (I am reluctant to send out Sample Copies of anything because life is NOT a risk-free business and at this time I send out NO sample copies of the Purdy Chronicles and ONLY the Premier issue of SCORE--Sample Copies actually LOWER the value of the final product as some people pop up every 4-5 months and ask for another Sample Copy and never subscribe). This is the stuff you might have once known but since forgotten. It will point you to new resources or old treasures (such as using you OWN chess library!). If you want to buy them (if you have to) that is up to you.

Most likely I will mail a copy of THIS announcement to people who have purchased from me this year because with them I will have at least a street address (those aren't needed so much with PDF downloads--except for my accounting program).

The newsletter will be tied in with another project which won't be mentioned at this time, except to say that I will be contacting professionals in all walks of life about getting "Fitness for the Brain" (Chess). If you want to be there when what really matters shows up, I seriously advocate Bob Long's new publication, a name you have always been able to count on. Love me or hate me, I am reliable.

Naturally, I would like you to subscribe; I have no illusions about who will subscribe and who won't. I have made no pre-determination. I will probably be surprised by those who do subscribe, and surprised by those who do not. Such is life. But, content is KING.

It will be TIP SHEETS of several pages (to stay within 2 ounces first class) to improve all phases of your game. I will be delving back into history as well as CURRENT status as I read so much chess anyway. In a surprise move for those who loll around all day looking at chess websites, I will not spend hours trafficking through websites UNLESS there is really something important there, which so far, I have rarely seen. Much chess that is online is "fodder" and written by people you wouldn't hire in your business (of any kind). I won't mention names. The tips material will have been gleaned from those who practice what they preach and know what the heck they are writing about. I may promote their products but not because THEY asked me to.

I will welcome verified tips, suggestions, and ideas from readers (no pay). This newsletter's FIRST issue will be out late October and then 11 more months after that about the same time each month, subject to the whims of the Post Office.

It will not be about Opening Theory though some is likely to be mentioned here and there with several prime suggestions in systems, variations, and what not... and why! For example, if some GM has been advocating some system for years, with success, how is he doing now? (In one case, not so well--you might want to know what slowed his success.)

Already I know the topics for the first issue. I invite the curious, the not-so-curious, and the chess savvy to join up. As I said, it will be printed and mailed and give YOU something "chessy" to look forward to EACH month! I hate to say it, but there are publications I receive EVERY month which I do not look at, at all. Some are chess. Most are cranked out, edited, and page filling B.S.

If you are interested in TO THE POINT, A CHESS TIPS NEWSLETTER, make sure I have your street address (you can contact me at:

Price? $195.00 for 12 issues or $20.00 per month with your credit card information. Satisfaction completely guaranteed for all the undelivered issues. Please do not photocopy and send to others as you will only be hurting yourself. It is likely the "others" will be future opponents! If I were you I would do it today, without delay, so you won't miss that valuable premier issue. 100 copies will be printed. No PDFs. Another advantage to this price is those who "review" chess products will not get a FREE look at this one. Too many reviewers are only interested in building their library, not in helping you. If you use PayPal, please add 5% to cover the conversion fees.

I am so fired up about this I can hardly contain myself. I have no idea how the present email list and customers will receive this, but as I said, a whole new group of people will also be notified, to whom a valuable newsletter like this is a drop in the bucket to what they are accustomed to paying (as I did and am doing in the opening paragraphs above.) I've seen financial publications, accounting publications, car publications, etc. and most of them are laden with advertising but still cost a pile. Mine will have limited advertising (pointer advertising, you can get that from the FREE "Chess Gazette", also from Thinkers' Press.)

Since 1971 I have been in the chess business. You can count on great product from Thinkers' Press, now and in the future. There will be NO discounts offered on this publication unless you want me to charge $300 for it, but have a special reduced price to $195 if you act within 2 weeks. Too much bookkeeping.

Yesterday I watched a very productive two hour webinar on how to take a business from zero to hero and I know this guy can make it happen. He's done it with hundreds. He treats money like I treat chess, but he also wants 10X as much for his stuff as I ask for mine. He's been in his business for 35 years, I've been in mine for 40.

When you read much of the current crop of chess publications, of any kind, except for perhaps the games (and that is iffy), NONE that I have seen or read are concerned about YOUR understanding (getting it!) nor improvement. I am not making this up, I get emails about this subject ALL the time! I write for YOU!

PS: There will not be, at this time, a website for TO THE POINT.  As you might've figured out, I am too busy. Don't count on Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, etc. either. I don't even own a smartphone.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


When anyone sends DVDs, CDs, Books via Media Mail (which I use most of the time) the packages are subject to inspection. I think this is where the bastards "lose" stuff. Open something up, take a look to see if the sender is conforming to their stack of regulations and, if they are honest, resealing the package and sending it on, no doubt causing FURTHER DELAY.

What I didn't know is that IF I include a sheet or two mentioning some upcoming product, that is considered "advertising." If a catalog is included via UPS, the PO has no control over them. If it is "advertising," I am in violation of, as I said, a stack of regulations. As Media Mail is the slowest form of shipping, it's pretty clear that urgency is not on my mind, or I would send it first class, which I do when I send DVDs in a light envelope and ship them first class. Thus, I am NOT trying to get First Class service by including something in with a book.

They STILL have this 13 oz. weight limit for packages because of "white powder" and "explosives" that losers sent through the mail years ago. A study was done of these types of people and the conclusion was: they wanted ATTENTION. While these whatevers get their attention, the rest of us have to put up with a system that slows everything down.

The post office really dropped the ball when the "internet" was becoming an interesting phenomenon and they are still pissed that the lucrative first class mail thing they had going was not operating profitably (but that didn't stop the unions in asking for more and more for their workers). The fact that utility companies and banks and tons of other people still use first class mail and bulk first class mail (presorted) is still lost on them. They can't imagine why people would choose to use other services. For one, the USPS isn't "competitive" like they used to be. If it isn't a book or DVD you are sending, it gets very, very expensive. And they are constantly trying to UPSELL at the crowded counters.

The last "S" in USPS stands for "service" but often, it really isn't. At my PO sometimes the LINE of waiting payers extends out the door into the lobby and everyone walking through in the background of the counter "pretends" not to notice. The postmaster hides in his office or offers to open a door for a little old lady. The amount of productivity lost is astronomical.

One friend of mine, who does do occasional counter work, claims he is the fastest counter person there. But he's not, he's the slowest! He chats with everyone and tells them stuff that only slows the process down such as 'This will get there in 3 days unless you go Priority, yada yada." Most of the customers don't ask for additional info. I just want my mail delivered to the right person in good shape.

Several years ago I was in the Savannah area of Georgia at the Rincon post office. These folks kicked ass and didn't take names. If there was a line they brought another person out. But it didn't matter a whole lot as the line moved quickly.

Here, and I am sure elsewhere, people come in to buy ONE forty-four cent stamp. They ask why there is no longer a machine in the lobby, etc. (It was removed years ago.) If these nitwits were allowed to just drop their ONE letter in the mail, for FREE, the USPS would save a LOT of manpower dealing with these people, immediately. That saves money. Of course, as soon as that happens, people will come in and ask for TWO stamps.


Sunday, September 25, 2011


Previously owned chess books and magazines acquired over the weekend.

A list will be in preparation. Bound Chess Review, New in Chess magazines by year, lots of older chess books in hardcover and softcover.

All at prices to make you wet your pants.

If you want to be on the list let me know. I will say this however, owners of Gold Cards will get the list first. There are reasons to own the Gold Card besides getting new books cheaper than at the regular rate... I mentioned several times that "first dibs" would be one of them.

Gotta go...a late night. Did see the movie "Killer Elite" with Robert DeNiro, Jason Statham, and Clive Owen. A definite cut above usual. "Lion King 3D????" Are you kidding me?

PS: Oooops. Almost forgot to mention two other things. One being a GIFT for subscribers. Those who subscribe will also get FREE a "Chess Tips" pad where they can "time stamp" what they've learned and insert it in an appropriate book or magazine.

The other thing is for those who want something REALLY nice to use and study with. A catalog I am preparing (in color). Yours free when completed. Unfortunately, I am "scared" that I will not have enough product on hand when the catalog launches in time for Christmas, but I am ordering tomorrow, and will "supersize" it to make sure.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011


He says:

"Absolutely astounding up-to-date monograph on the Gruenfeld -- Thank you, Bob and GM Stohl!
"Martin's Sunday morning simul has made it easy for me to decide to stay over Saturday night and play -- just more weekend fun!"

In the last 20 years I have had folders of testimonials. Unfortunately, I didn't pull a lot of them together into one convincing book which would have made my so-called competition irrelevant. But, I might should those folders appear!"

You get the feeling that Ron was very happy with issue #6 of SCORE and excited about the simul here on October 23rd given by Andrew Martin for CHESS TNT... the explosion for opening study.

Want to subscribe? Just $20 and your email address.


Thursday, September 22, 2011


I didn't let people put me off by their reasons (i.e., excuses) for not doing something.

Sometimes people tell me the truth but don't see their own world as being so insulated, or worse, unwilling to do anything about it if they do.

Over the years I have had customers, friends, etc. tell me how "lucky" I am that I am my own boss. That is not really true (with few exceptions). I have to respond to my customers, who ARE my boss. 95% of my customers are great. The 5% who aren't usually want twice as much as they are willing to pay for, and on their terms. Thus, it is easy to defer my attention to the 95%.

I suppose those 5% can see me as crochety, but isn't that their problem?

One fellow wrote a newsletter and included a bunch of coverage about his pet dog, let's call the pooch Alfie. When he wrote about Alfie, customers who had dogs responded. It was about relationship building, which is good, and done in the right way, it will pay the bills.

At my household there are no pets. My son has a big German shepherd who I get along with just fine, but my, he has such a large mouth full of very sharp and strong teeth. He used to bark when I came over, but now he hardly bothers; he likes being petted and fed kibble.

People have cats and goldfish and I get along with them fine, but I have no time, patience, or $$$ to kennel them when I go out of town, or take them to the vet (which I used to do when my kids were little.) So, I am pro animal. But I am also a businessman (as friend Jon F. reminded me today). My brother Larry has had Dobermans the size of a small house. The guy next door has a Rotweiler. None of these giganticus "animals" have eaten me yet. (Don't get me started, however, on those teeny dogs which bark all the time!)

But getting back to the newsletter, I think that is fine writing about a dog, etc. In my own way, I contribute. On the back of the books for the "Chess Gangs of New York and London," I mention that I play with my dog reX--where X is a different name for each publication. One fellow asked me how my "dog" was and I said, "Made up." It got a laugh. See? I can be playful, but I can be serious too. And to do both is where my chess clinics, festivals, soirees, and TNTs come into play.

On October 21-22, I have a two day CHESS TNT explosion coming. On Sunday morning (Oct. 23) my celebrity guest, IM Andrew Martin, will be giving a simul to attendees. The local newspaper will probably report on this, but will NOT do it in advance to help attendance. They only care about "news." However, anytime some "chess story" might come along, I will hopefully be their "go to" guy. Maybe pick up a couple locals for my newly formed Gentlemens Chess Club.

All of this takes time, and feeding Fido, at this time, isn't in the picture. Maybe in the future.

PS: Oh yes, David Rudel just came out with his Koltanowski-Phoenix book ($16.99 + $4 for S&H) on the Colle, which I do sell. Another work, very ridiculously low-priced, from Thinkers' Press, inc. If you have an idea for a book (it's on your brain), or better yet, have an actual manuscript, and want a chess pro to work on it (me), drop me a line.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Thursday evening, SCORE 6, in PDF, will be released to the 76 subscribers we now have, almost 4 times the original sign up.

This issue features GM and chess openings analyst Igor Stohl on both sides of the Gruenfeld: the Exchange and the Fianchetto. The prose and analysis IS a detailed 22 pages worth, in smaller type than usual, and profuse with diagrams to aid in your thinking, reading, and analyzing.

This ONE article, if you are interested in a dynamic defense, is worth the price of the whole subscription price (16 issues), $20, if you order before October 31.

A couple pages round out new books and DVDs, and then a page depicting all of David Rudel's books, published through Thinkers' Press, inc. including his new one, Koltanowski's Phoenix Attack--new stuff for the c3-future of the Colle.

Get up-to-date, subscribe to SCORE, the best bargain in chess writing on the planet. Less than 50 cents a week, over a period of a year.

And on page 128, THE AGENDA, outlines all the coming up features of doing business with G&L CHESS, my retail arm--such as getting back into the wooden, Staunton, chess set business. A PDF catalog is being launched. 10 years ago I remember getting in 9 aluminum footlockers of chess men--just the good stuff. And, we sold them all, later including sets to the Icelandic Chess Federation. G&L CHESS knows chess sets. Your catalog, when available, is FREE upon request.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I have been reading the 5th edition of the USCF Rulebook so I can be recertified as a Club TD. Typographically, the book is a nightmare. The material is okay, but the design of the book for usefulness is out of control.

Today I got a list of "rule amendments" based on the recent USCF Open and Delegates' thing. Too many cooks are spoiling the broth!! For sure.

If you look at the fee schedule for being a member of the USCF it's a "hash" system, designed by people who know nothing about marketing or how to get members.

Two points to consider:
1) Most kids don't have money to spend (throw away), when anyone has it, it's the parents. So don't aim the whole issue of Chess Life to kids and how little Timmy is doing. Get the parents attention too.
2) This one is a killer. Do a study about aging and time away from playing rated games. The rating system ISN'T perfect and so neither is this strategy (or any strategy) but it will be a wake up call and straighten things out one way or the other.
a) Those who are rated must play in at least one tournament every two years! Otherwise, their rating will suffer from "slippage." Can you see the HOWL of protests? I can. Time for a "benevolent dictator."
b) How much slippage? Would be age and time dependent, just like IQ tests are. Can you think as clearly now as you did when you were 20 (okay, I am leaving out stupid Friday nights)? Very doubtful. Are you faster or slower at calculation? My guess? Slower.
c) Depending on such a table, and lack of play, your rating decreases. We have seen ratings go down for people who ARE playing! So... they should go down for those who do not play.

Because there is a whole class of people out there who are scared to death of playing because of their "rust," and this would make their rating fall (if they did play). So, if a message was sent to them saying, PLAY or HAVE YOUR RATING DECLINE by PROXY, it would get their attention. Thus, when they had a 2100 rating and are now the strength of a 1900, their rating would show, 1900. What their real capability is, not their "brainwave" fantasy.

What would happen next is that in all discussions of the USCF, the guy (gal) who hasn't played in years (think of Dan Heisman, Bruce Pandolfini, or, friends of yours) would be saying: "Yeah, that damn USCF dropped my rating. What do they know? Just because I haven't played in 10 years instead of being 2200 I am now 1950. Isn't that a crime? I could kick their ass (whoever that is!)"

We could quit listening to the old stories about how great they were, tell them we have looked up their recent rating and found out that Woody Woodpecker could beat them! Maybe even zombies or vampires too.

It would cause SOME people to get back into chess, and show they haven't lost a step (or not!) But it would swell the number of players, tournaments, as all the "coulda been a contenders" came back to prove themselves. Or suffer the consequences. I HATE fraud.

There are many things in the Membership Plan, and in the Rule book which could be changed (deleted, slimmed down, and so on). But would they have a chance of being passed? My guess is that the old farts and the politicians would be heavily in favor of the word, NO. To them "progress" means discussing these things with Fred Flintstone, or maybe Wilma, definitely Barney.

You want to popularize chess? Get the WOOD out, woodpushing ON the board, not in an armchair.



Sunday, September 18, 2011


Petrosian the Punisher is the sixth title in the Chess Gangs of New York and London series. The cover art was done by my son, who has done all the covers... and he even added Petrosian's famous 5 o'clock beard. The Pacman character was added instead of the "logo" of Marvel's "The Punisher" to round out the comedy. You can see the Moscow "onions" in the background. This is part of the fun of doing this.

While I have been gathering some games it seems like I have little or nothing on the man from his simuls of places like Chicago and other trips he has made. In general I am looking for games that aren't in ChessBase, 30 moves or less, where Petrosian flattened the "regulars." And he could do it too. I've seen games where his opponents gave up and no one knew, possibly for minutes, why.

Send them in PGN of CBF and I will use and credit. It would especially nice if you were there and could offer some insight.

This book will be a little longer than usual, carry more games (hopefully), and fill a void in Petrosian literature. The price will be higher too, $15.95. You can get one FREE if your purchases from G&L CHESS for the months of September and October total $100 or more.


Friday, September 16, 2011


produced No Comments in the comment box.

Does this mean I write on this Blog too often, or that no one reads it?

I recall once when several of us were on the altar singing on a Friday Night healing Mass that the congregation was just sitting there, doing nothing, hoping for a miracle for whatever their ailments were. This was before the Mass.

I stepped to the microphone and said, "We are not the paid entertainment, this is for everyone to do." On the next song, it was much more lively, and results were produced.

The parish priest had just come from the Confessional and as he walked past me he said, "I heard your announcement." He had a big grin on his face, which the congregation couldn't see.

It doesn't cost anyone a dime to write something here. You get the benefit of my years of experience, perhaps you could offer something in return besides a photo of yourself off to the side.

Seldom do I have anything to say on Facebook, so this is me... and I need you to, not be you... that is, say something so I know you are alive out there.

When I quit my Chessco blog a couple years ago because my gig ran out with Chess4Less, I got all kinds of calls for "Where are you?" This Blog is the same kind of stuff, and it is Friday night... my Birthday, and I am at home writing this instead of at Texas Roadhouse wiping out a big steak and then heading over to the now non-existent Borders Books.

Lets get alive folks. I have read many blogs on the net (not chess) and some are funny, some are thoughtful, but 50% or more are from people who can't spell, can't think, but have a forum to spout off whatever is on their (not "there") mind (?)

If chess were racist, anti-screwed up lifestyles, or political, there would be all kinds of commentary... so people need to rise out of their seats and say something that represents their feelings and not wait for the other guy/gal to lay a bomb.

Back to work, what I do best...


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today the onus is on you to produce something for the little white box below.

I know the things I've wanted, and many I have gotten.

But... what do YOU want from this game, its publishers, its players, and the game itself?

I'll take your answer "off the air."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I like Vassily Ivanchuk... a real chess brainiac. I like Grischuk too. But I hate these "qualifiers" which start out as Classical chess and descend into blitz chess. Does a world champion have to be good at both to be a world champion?

Why not have a World Blitz title and the regular chess title? This Farce by FIDE really does have to go. Ivanchuk makes a mistake and he is out. I would love to see Ivanchuk be the Candidate because you would see some interesting chess from a guy who once dropped out of chess (for what, two weeks?).

I've been researching some games recently for personality #6 in the Chess Gangs of New York and London and "classic chess" was the epitome to me. Brilliant conceptions, dashing adventures, amazing results. Now, not even the contestants are THAT sure they are going to "go through" and then end up in another event, the world chess championship, where it too may be decided by "blitz chess." (Look at Grischuk's tactics, GET to the Blitz.)

The chess politicians from FIDE, including Kalmykia, Greece, and at least Turkey, are after the $$$ and not the good of chess. I can't see any chess UPLIFT in the US despite the events in St. Louis. The lethargy in the USA is palpable. I've been playing around with making it more prominent in the Midwest and am willing to listen to suggestions (write in the box below). As stupid as it sounds, maybe we should have events where there is lots of money, drinking, drugs, and smoking! Isn't that what the young college kids in the US do? I am not saying it helps their play, but it sure does get noticed and somehow, we really NEED to get noticed.

Brochures have gone out about the CHESS TNT event and if you aren't afraid of a little competition, I hope you will come. Prizes will be announced soon. I am constantly struck by how "tough" some people talk, but when it comes to "acting" on the tough talk, nothing is done.

I just finished reading a book by Robert Imbriale called Motivational Marketing. Mr. Imbriale has done all right for himself in the real world. Quite wealthy. Yet he admits in his book to having seminar classes in which people ask questions, make notes, buy his stuff, and in the end, DO NOTHING. A friend of mine asked me "why?" and I said the answer was VERY simple: People do not want their lives (what lives?) interrupted by having to do something unless it is SOOOOO easy, everyone could do it (with a guaranteed positive result).... and of course when that happens, it ceases to have value. It's that simple. If I could invent an audio tape which people could listen to, on getting better at chess, while they sleep, and it was for real, I could make a lot of money. But ONE problem would remain... they would have to do something with their knowledge and that might be asking just too much... like actually playing the game.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A really nice game (Ruy Lopez) is presented by IM Martin for the 2011 CHESS TNT (training and tournament) event.

He has some excellent comments on preparation, attitude, and a choice game from 2011.

I just finished a 6-page brochure which was emailed last night to those on my email list. Tomorrow I am mailing (with postage) the same thing to those whose email addresses I do not have.

It's kept the home fires burning and busy.

In the meantime, for the video go to:

There is your CHESS TNT YouTube video and leave comments if you would like.

For years I kept getting comments about having a chess tournament during a "clinic like" event. Well, here it is. Let's see who comes.

As Andrew says, a tutor IS the fastest way to learn and Martin is one of a small (handful) of FIDE Training Masters. I think you will like this.


Monday, September 12, 2011


When teaching a chess audience it's always helpful if they can see what you are doing or saying, OR, what someone in the audience is suggesting.

Today I got a big demo board in the mail (finding Big Demo boards that are worth anything is a Big Project in itself.) I am having a friend at a sign company fix it up, make it rigid, and we will put it on an easel, or whatever. It got me to thinking when I talked with Craig about fixing it up. He made a suggestion too which might be patentable! But I would need an engineer or draftsman to complete the works.

At any rate, I tested the magnetic pieces and they were great. So this Thursday, with the discussion of the Philidor position and some other endgame stuff, everyone should be in rapt attention! LOL.

Actually last Thursday worked out pretty well. One attendee, Mark M., noted that we spent 45 minutes on a simple position, trying to decide what the white King should do when the winner move was moving a PAWN!!! Sometimes we make it so hard on ourselves. I took several exercises from the endgame section of ChessBase Magazine--just another reason to get that--and I have several of them at very favorable prices.

This morning I went to a silk screener with a mockup of the shirt (CHESS TNT -- atomic testing Oct. 2011) and the logo for the embroidery of the Gentlemens Chess Club knit shirt. It will have to be "banana colored." However, to compensate for that, I am getting lemon-colored envelopes to make direct mail requests for additional members to the Gentlemens Chess Club.

Back to work tonight on the presentation to get people to come to the CHESS TNT event. I'm not sure what the hold up is. I'm telling you now, the comraderie is worth the cost itself! The event ISN'T sponsored by Wal-Mart, it's not made in China, it's not adding to problems with the Ozone layer, and it is the least expensive event I have run in years.

GCC has 7 members so far, and the subscriptions KEEP coming in for SCORE.

If you want to know HOW you can get a $100 poster donated in your name to be put on the wall of the GCC, contact me for details. I've had some interest, but no one has pulled the trigger yet. The poster would be big, 30x60 inches. Famous chess players.

Hopefully, later this week I will have a NEW 5 foot poster on my front door of the GCC, in yellow and black-- it will be more noticeable as people drive by and say, "Maude, what is that? Looks like a big chess piece on the window."


Saturday, September 10, 2011


Anytime something is planned it's always important to thank those who showed because they made the effort and took the time, and I did for the Bob's Birthday Bash which ended several hours ago.

Also, want to thank Earl Zismer who drove down from Dubuque and who finished in first place and Lt. Col. Kevin Hyde who took home the bacon for top finisher in the 1500 and under group. Kevin took the prize money and used it as a credit for the next such gig, which could be the October 21-22 CHESS TNT which will be located at the Gentlemens Chess Club.

Also want to thank Chris and Ed Palmer for bringing the cake and Breyer's ice cream for the celebration, and "conveniently" losing the reimbursing ticket! Chris is my daughter. When we ran the Chess Festivals in 1998 through 2004 she played "door host" and greeted all comers and got to know them "cold."

Want to thank Jim Morney and Jerry Moore  for coming to spectate and watching what goes on at one of these things. I am sure that Jim will be the eighth paid GCC member in no time as he couldn't get enough, and stayed for all the games (though he wasn't playing) and then there was some skittles afterward.

Before I forget, thanks to Kevin for giving me the heads up too on submitting info online to the USCF instead of by mail.

You guys are great!


Friday, September 9, 2011


Bob's Birthday Bash tournament will start at 10 a.m. tomorrow. At Noon daughter Chris will deliver cake and ice cream! Let the fun begin!

One person told me they won't play in Saturday events because he is rusty and afraid of dropping rating points!! At least he is honest. Should I have stopped playing chess when I was 2071? Now I am 1860 or so. And I am rusty.

But I believe you can whip yourself into better shape by playing, not by NOT playing!

Bruce Pandolfini did this 50 years ago (quit playing rated chess)....lame.


Thursday, September 8, 2011


On the new Killer Endgame Dvds by GM Nick Pert he said, "It's not that easy!"

Tonight at the Gentlemens Chess Club we proved it. After conducting an "endgame workshop" which showed that simple positions can be anything but simple, we had several boards trying to mate with two Bishops. Each took turns and it looked rather elusive.

Roger S. said that one GM said these kinds of things happen so seldom that they aren't worth knowing. With 5 min. chess being very popular these days that is no longer true. And sometimes if you are desperate and have inferior material you might want to swap down to be the lone K against the "animals." You may draw because of the 50 move rule (no capture has been made nor pawn moved in the last 50 successive moves)!

Most endgame books do not have this info. Silman left it and the B+N out but so have others.

One book which does discuss it is Karsten Mueller's and Frank Lamprecht's Fundamental Chess Endings. They say the longest win is 19 moves (must be perfect moves!) Reuben Fine's Basic Chess Endings says 18 moves.

Gentlemens Chess Club member Mark M. managed to do it. First with cooperation from his opponent, on the side of the board, and then in the corner without the cooperation of his opponent. Congratulations Mark.

My advice sir, ignore the GMs, they aren't playing for you. And the ones who suggest it isn't worth learning probably know how to do it. Not too long ago I heard a story about some GM not being able to deliver the N+B mate in the required time.

I sell Karsten's book if you are interested, and I think we all should be.


PS: Bob's Birthday Bash is this Saturday at the Gentlemens Chess Club tournament, 1101 W. 4th, Davenport, IA. Starts at 10, EF is $25. Game in one. Four rounds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


For the time being anyone can receive this newsletter beyond those who are already members or those in a closely defined geographic area. Why?

Because, who knows? As I wrote some time back, the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco has many dues paying members who don't live near S.F. It also helps when promoting an organization through Press Releases though it is too late to get one out this week (impossible to remember everything and to remember to put it on a calendar.)

This Thursday evening I will instruct on some  endgame aspects, which I am sure will be easier than reading a book or watching a video because it will be easy to participate. Last week there were four people present and at critical points of the game I would poll attendees for suggestions or comments. Everyone has a thought! At the very least, an idea of something they would consider.

So it's kind of a painless learning experience. AND, in attempt to get more to show up, books and dvds will be given away from my personal stash.

Come if you can. Afterward we can all skittle and even I will play! In the future there will be rated Thursday night games.

You have to play to keep the rust from forming. A quote I found in On the Endgame by Purdy was quite compelling, "Errors are the lifeblood of chess."

The week moves fast when you are busy, right? This Saturday it's time for another rated tournament. There will be some cake and ice cream as I celebrate Bob's Birthday Bash on September 10 (real birthday is later this month). It's $25 for the entry fee. 4 rounds, Game in 1 (60 minutes). We can do the 5 second delay depending on what clock you use. Two sections, 1500 and under and over 1500. Everyone has a chance. See ya there!

PS: Oh yes, I hate last minute telephone registrations for one simple reason—pairings are made and sometimes the telephoner doesn't show up. What then happens is someone is screwed out of having an opponent, which is NOT right. However, you can have your credit card on file with me and I will charge your account with the idea it is more than likely you WILL show up. Why does this happen? Don't ask me, but in my experience, it happens more than once with the same people. So let's be GENTLEMEN, which has been a pleasant experience so far. Fourth newsletter goes out today. Ask to be put on it--who knows when you might come by. And I will be open from 1-3 p.m. too.

PSS: Rotten weather (bad snow or rain, for example) and Holidays the store will remain closed. The only Holiday on Thursday is Thanksgiving and there are none on Saturdays.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Some of you might know that I have been looking for panelists to write for the revised edition of The Chess Gazette. Issue #159 will look like none of its previous brethren and that is being done on purpose. Yes, there will be product news, pictures, and stuff for sale, but now... additional things too.

I've been looking for writers with experience... or even NEW writers who hopefully have something interesting to say. I have contacted 4-5 people so far and some who might come on board, I should hear from soon enough (I hope). After "thinking" how easy all this writing that Bob Long does, now they are going to get a chance to prove it. Going by the slowness to answer, it may have already proved that good writing does have value.

However, one very fine gentleman (see picture) has stepped forward and already submitted an article. It is so good and so lengthy it will be broken into two parts... and it has a photograph and one heckuva an amazing story. I won't reveal that here except to tell you the author is famed chess historian John Hilbert, from Buffalo NY.

John has written with me before, in issue #5 of Lasker & His Contemporaries, which won a Cramer Award for best new publication. A really nice obelisk and check came with this award and it is due to John's submission, as I never submit anything for awards. I've probably stated my reasons before.

John has turned out 10 books, I think all of them in hardcover, and of course we will be stocking those (and have been, off and on over the years). They will also get PR because I appreciate so much what he will be doing for us readers.

It takes a little burden off of me to do something like this every month. If you have something worthwhile to say, contact me. I would love to have a stable of writers to use in some sort of rotation. There is no pay for this (sorry) but a chance to expose your own work. I have some other ideas and people to contact, so, as I usually write, "Stay tuned."

The issues of the Chess Gazette for the time being will be FREE but you have to give me your email address. Then they will be sent to you once every few weeks (3-4) to peruse and enjoy. The variety of chess topics will be wide. What John will show us in articles 2-3 is how discovering a game on our Brooklyn Daily Eagle CD lead to an amazing discovery beyond the chess and a topic so fascinating it is hard to believe. This CD by John Blackstone and Herman Helms (the original editor) sells for $25 + $4 for shipping (USA). It contains more than 2,500 games from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and "notes" about where to get MORE information. Input in ChessBase format. It's a stroll through some pretty fabulous history.

I just finished re-reading GM Jonathan Rowson's article republished in New in Chess The First 25 Years, An Anthology 1984-2009. If I can get more of that book, they are $35.00 each (and they are only distributed in Europe for some reason) + $5 for shipping (in USA). Please allow 3-4 weeks for me to get more. In Rowson's article he discusses objectivity, subjectivity, and doing reviews. And he reviews the same way I've been reviewing for 25+ years. His column had some dissenters, who I figured were mainly of the "I'm only interested in the 'analysis'" type, an area where the vast majority of our readers readers (TPi) do not belong. To each their own, as long as they belly up to the bar, eh?

It's going to be another busy day. Birthday Bash tournament coming this Saturday at the Gentlemens Chess Club (1101 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA). I'll be sending out some flyers on this (PDF). Trying to figure out how to keep some ice cream cold. Food like cake and ice cream my be served at the beginning, while games are in progress. I don't believe there is a USCF rule against this. Hopefully I will talk about "rules" this week... what a Knightmare.


Monday, September 5, 2011


Not a slant at all really.

Many years ago I wrote a review of Brad Darrach's book on Fischer (Bobby Fischer vs the World). I had said that from my experience in New York, in Iceland, and in Denver, what Darrach wrote was true as far as I could tell. I reread the book a few years ago before selling my copy. I still believe what I wrote.

Now comes New in Chess issue #4 for 2011 and a terrific picture and story article on Fischer by his most noted photographer, Harry Benson. Benson not only writes well, but WAS a phone friend of Fischer's up to 2 months before Fischer died! He would occasionally get a phone call, often in the middle of the night. (Fischer could be extremely self-centered and inconsiderate. Benson didn't TRY hard to be his buddy and he and Fischer got along well)

Benson doubted that Fischer was crazy, he just felt woefully underappreciated, an area where Frank Brady doesn't say much in his ENDGAME (the book I gave to 21 of my top customers this last February). Who did Fischer feel the most underappreciated by? It was his own government before he went to Sveti Stefan! You'll have to read it to get the full impact. Great photos including one of Fischer lying on his bed with his winner's check in his hand, asleep.

Benson said that at least 80% of Darrach's book is on the money, probably 80%+ and at one point he opines, "maybe it's all true." I think it was and it made Fischer uncomfortable to be exposed for the way he really acted.

I ordered some copies and have the new version of the magazine on hand, large size, 106 very colorful pages. This time LOTS of coverage on US chess as well as Fischer. Also great articles on Gelfand, the Soviet chess school, Kamsky, and the St. Louis Chess Club. It's $12.75 for a copy plus $4 for shipping in the US and $11.50 for Gold Card members + $4 shipping.

Last night I put together a two-pager which will be dropped in the shipping packages of every order I send out. It is called ADVANCE PREVIEWS SEP. #01, 2011. In it I give two lines to each of new titles (books and DVDs) I have received whether in hand, or as review copies and to be received soon. I did something along this line many years ago and the backorders became a mess because I didn't make it clear enough which was which. I hope I have this time; TWO sections plus upcoming TPi titles. 7-8 were dropped into the various orders I had standing by for titles just received. This "news item" will not get emailed, just added to orders I send out. Just another reason to make G&L CHESS your one stop chess shopping experience. I really do desire YOUR business.

My Blog about the "Comfort Zone" we all have was, perhaps, the best one I have written and urge you to read it as I don't often write on Sunday.

Unknowingly, we let things pass because we are tired, beat up, worn out, and are faced with more things to do. No one I know knows this better than myself. There is a lot going on and most of us work hard to keep going. Now and then some good old R&R is a great feeling. So... taking my own advice, and that offered by Sarah, I took off for several hours on Saturday and drove to Burlington Iowa (as I watched spaniels bouncing of the hood of my car, it really was raining cats & dogs, but it was OK). I dropped into an antique shop (they have many) where I purchased a used Whisky Bottle Decanter in the shape of a Mississippi Riverboat Gambler. $12. I had seen it before and as a "Be Back" I did go back, several months later. And... I talked to the ladies there about renting floor space and a case to put chess sets in! You never know till you try.

Then I stopped at "Weird Harold's" and picked up "The American," starring George Clooney. I saw it at the movies where it didn't make much sense so I wanted to watch it at my leisure, which I did, and it made MORE sense.

Lastly, I got some food at an A&W (not really fast, it took some time to prepare...LOL) and drove home. 160 miles round trip. Today at 1 p.m., a picnic with Nate's family at West Lake Park. We all need a time out (I usually work most holidays unless I have an invite to somewhere)... and that's why I suggest the CHESS TNT event. Chances are you will make new friends, learn new things, and rediscover FUN again for only $99.

This week I would really find it keen if you would register with me. I will also publish a list of hotels and motels I recommend and phone numbers. (You usually can get a better deal with a local phone # than using one of those 800 numbers... a tip.)

Enjoy the Holiday for a too! Tomorrow, perhaps a revelation about a MYSTERY chess author for TPi after a hundred year silence!


Sunday, September 4, 2011


Writing is underway to encourage those who read this Blog to come to the CHESS TNT event Andrew Martin and I are hosting at the Gentlemens Chess Club in Davenport, Iowa at 1101 W. 4th St., home of some of the earlier Chess Clinics.

Today I was in church and looking around noticed it was 1/3rd full. As I ruminated on this some more, it occurred to me, in a deep way, that we have become a Society of "I don't feel like its." Some of us are overworked, underpaid, under appreciated, and we want to "stay home." We venture out for the job and groceries. And now that Borders is basically gone, what then? Best Buy...hardly!

Some take to drink, sex, smoking, drugs... supposedly all pleasure pursuits. We are too worn out to do much or care about much. We get tired of people asking effort from us, helping others, being responsible... and then, when we get three GOOD night's sleep in a row, all of a sudden, with the sun shining outside, we feel more like being HUMAN again!

Get some sleep. Forget about exercising your head off for a couple days, cut down on the Fast Food (I had to virtually eliminate it)... and do some sleeping. Do not load up on coffee, don't even get in or out of the run of making it.

Eventually, you will FEEL alive again, and then perhaps I can encourage you to come to the CHESS TNT event Oct. 21-22 in Davenport, IA by car or via the Moline International Airport.

What I HAVE noticed is that it is SELDOM about the $$$, what it is often about is "getting out of a comfort zone of just zoning out." The News is boring, there is another damn graduation party to go to, Christmas is coming up, somebody is getting married and we aren't interested in that, and the restaurant we sometimes eat at is getting mediocre.

Hope you feel better on Labor Day... and send me your $99 registration and sign up! It sure would make MY Labor Day nice for a change. And if you are getting fully charged, I am having my Birthday Tournament next Saturday at the GCC. There will NOT be a lot of candles on the cake... that's TOO MUCH comfort.

That event is $25.

Contact: for additional details to get out of the "rut zone."

Saturday, September 3, 2011


We have the literati, the cognoscenti, and the digerati. Somewhat snobbish folks. A little snobbery is good for the soul if done in a humorous way, i.e., playful, and possibly educating without sitting on too high a horse.

I am what some would call an "Apple snob." I admit it. But I have fun too.

Today I am giving away something to the readers of this column. All you need to do is tell me you read it in the "chesstoast" blog (contact me: and ask for the "Immortal Zukertort Game" against Blackburne.

This was presented last Thursday night at the Gentlemens Chess Club and it seemed to be favorably received by those present.

It's 3-pages in PDF.

Mr. Blackburne was writing about this event and I couldn't help but to chuckle at his comments and the fact that Mr. Zukertort "drew himself up to his full height..." But the comment about "bad plays" being found out by the audience bowled me over.

Let me know what you think.



Friday, September 2, 2011


Mark F. asked me if the dates of the CHESS TNT as stated in the Gentlemens Chess Club newsletter were correct. Answer: NO. Should only be October 21-22. On the 23rd of October Andrew Martin has consented to do a Simul and Tutoring, but it is not part of the regular venue. So... think October 21-22. Will be corrected in the next edition.

Last night at the first GCC Workshop, four attended: Mark F, Roger S., Ed R., and Rick R. Thank you for coming gentlemen. A game played at London 1883 (where Zukertort scored 22 of 26!) between Johannes Zukertort and Joseph Blackburne was dissected--an Ultimate Game. To the credit of all, once the initial Rook sac was seen, then the variations started rolling out. Mark, being the highest rated player there, often saw possibilities first but it was great seeing everyone else chiming in too with ideas which were often part of the plan. Adding to the levity was Blackburne's written remarks comparing the game to that of a badly written play with the author wondering if the audience "has found him out?" Then a game between Morrison and Alekhine, where Blackburne's recommended move of 9...c5 was played (and which he said he usually employed!) was shown. to devastating effect in 1922, 5 years before AAA became world champion. It was fun. Afterward we played some chess.

Because of the small grouping I didn't need a large demo (demonstration) board but I miss mine. Not because I ever loved the shape of the plastic pieces, but because it stretched large so everyone could see.  I couldn't find the pieces for Red Wing and brought a magnetic one from Wholesale Chess. It was a piece of crap. The magnets were either too weak (the Knights kept turning upside down) or too strong (risking pulling everything to the floor). I am sure this was another made in China piece of wonder work.

If anyone reading this knows WHERE I can get a board, say 36 inches square, that is not ugly, and doesn't roll up, I would be nicely obliged. I've spent time looking on the net for such a device and always everyone is carrying the same garbage. Portability is the "benefit" they all advertise but does that mean the pieces have to look ugly or have white backgrounds which are then placed on a dark square? Clearly these designers know nothing about chess or design. CHESS, in England, once had the best. Four pieces (quarters) which were screwed together, made of painted metal, and nice magnetic pieces which looked like those seen in a chess book about 1980 (not the German monstrosity that Gambit and others has foisted upon us). Should I have some manufactured? Where do the large demo boards come from used in tournaments for the leaders? Are they "home made?" China?..."pfui," as Nero Wolfe would say.

Don't forget... Saturday 10th is my Birthday Tournament. 4 rounds, one day, starts at 10 a.m. $25 entry fee. Something should come in your email if you are on my list.

Lastly (I think), I will be at the shop from 11 to 2 today (1101 W. 4th Street)... as usual. Last Friday 5-6 people showed up at various times. Gentlemens Chess Club has 5 members now, 2 local, and 3 beyond the 90 mile "barrier." Still amazes me that the out-of-towners would be more interested... but "they" say that is par. One reason? Locals "think" you will always be there for them, no matter WHEN they show up. Bookstores suffered from the same problem. Then when one disappears, the locals are surprised because as one said to a friend of mine, "I was a regular!" Rick had told me she didn't know the store had been closed for FIVE years!

When you build up a FAVORITE "haunt" you don't like to lose it!


Thursday, September 1, 2011


Andrew Martin and I (Bob Long) have been a team. We generate ideas back and forth and we hope they resonate. Entertainment is one of our CREEDS.
Recently Andrew did a YouTube video for SCORE, the new openings magazine by Thinkers' Press, also a company of mine (actually, the parent company). Here is the URL:

Now he is planning something else for the CHESS TNT (training and tournament) event October 21-22 in Davenport, Iowa at the Gentlemens Chess Club location (1101 W. 4th St.). He is going to give a SUNDAY simul for those who "hang around." In case you aren't aware, Martin went for (and achieved) the Guinness Book of World Records some years ago with 321 participants. Since then, everyone and their uncle has jumped into the ring. He made the SPLASH, they made the puddle. No cross examination for Andrew's feat but since then the "news" has been pretty damning for others who have beaten this record.

When I used to go to chess tournaments in Iowa the MAIN prerequisite the directors had was to funnel everyone out as fast as possible OR at the very least some players were saying: "I have to get home early"--solution: don't come, waaah.

Hence if you are here through Saturday evening you might want to stay over and play in the Simul he is offering. It is FREE but it you want to make a "free will" donation to help cover the cost of his airfare, I am sure he won't object. Some years ago Andrew gave a simul at one of the clinics and he did the job, wading right through the participants--but everyone seemed to have fun. There were even some good games (at least from my vantage point).

And Sunday at the Last Chess Clinic we had a great breakfast at ThunderBay Grille! Absolutely fun and great eating. (Actually, to minimize the hyperbole, it was incredible!!!)

One more reason to come. Sign up right now and pay only $99! It's a bargain. Starts Friday night and goes through Saturday evening. Or, thru Sunday morning IF you want to play in the simul. How often do you get to face a Londoner who also knows something about chess? After Sep. 16th, the price goes to $125.00.

PS: I know quite a few people who said they are COMING, but the advance registrations aren't proving it. I've had to learn the hard way that often, "talk is cheap." Unfortunately it all goes eventually to character. Think of it like this: if I offered YOU something and then didn't come through, then my chances of being scorned are quite high.