Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today I turned to as I rolled out of bed and before heading for the shower and I see a Mr. Portman discussing the newest Fritz (13) edition. He's a good writer. I especially chuckled at the "could be improved upon" paragraph which wasn't much and yet raised an important point (the back button!). A nice issue too that he raised.

But what I really miss is DOES ALL THIS GIMMICKRY actually do anything other than "swell my head?" That is, does the "Bob Long Variation of the Muzio Gambit" really amount to anything in the scheme of chess openings? Nothing was devoted to this.

Some posts ago I asked readers who bought Fritz13 from me to comment on the "Let's Check" feature. So far, none have done so. I am sure there are some, like Kevin James in the Die Hard 4 movie, who sits in his basement all day long, and getting cookies from his Mom, who have spent untold hours deciphering Man's Plan for His Existence.

The idea of working hard on some variation of the Advance French and sending it to the German ChessBase servers to burp out to the rest of the world doesn't encourage me. So what if something I have done has my name on it? Isn't this the worst form of looking at oneself in the mirror all day long, first a full front face shot, then a profile, etc.? "What about that hair sticking out?" Good grief, we need one more narcissistic thing don't we?

Do I really relish the idea of taking something I have discovered myself and sharing it with potential opponents or even publishing companies? Or, wait awhile, and have some person add to the Bob Long line, the Zelda Xynx variation refuting the Bob Long line? This easily gets out of control. Something like the Sicilian Defense would be loaded full of lather or rather.

But there is this--maybe there is something I am not getting about all this. In Mr. Portman's article he seemed pleased but he gave NO examples of how he used this, on any opening. Nor did he say how FAST this analysis is when compared to "real time" use. Nor HOW does one move (on their own) deeper into the "French Fry" line for example. All he said was it was EASY (that is a common ploy in the marketing world and 50% of the time a total lie).

And then there are COMPETING lines (both with the same evaluation and different engines, etc.) Do I want to waste hours (and that's what I would be doing) looking all this over on my own? Do I not have a job and family to talk to? Was a Tutorial of all this provided on the DVD? No mention that I read. (I didn't completely read ALL of his paragraphs as some were increasingly long and dense.)

And speaking of other enhancements I am told there is an improved engine. What does that mean? Faster? More accurate? Higher rating? What?

Sorry, this review, nicely written, didn't tell me more than what I already knew or read except for the Back Button thing.

What do you guys say? I'll even listen to you who bought Fritz13 from someone else! This NEW feature sounds intensely gimmicky with very little useful value to me. Virtually everyone who bought one from me was to get a "new and improved" analysis engine, not one mentioned being excited about any particular features.

PS: Today or tomorrow I will be sending out, through the mail, Specials on famous chess players and their autographed books per Wray McCalester, a very old friend, and top notch friend, of mine. He's moving to Mexico next year. Not my choice, but then I am sure Wray has spent a lot of time thinking about this as he does with most anything.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


In 2002 at the Jumer's Hotel in Bettendorf, Iowa Thinkers' Press put on Chess Festival III.

The luminaries there were pretty amazing:
Prof. Raymond Smullyan, now about 90-91 and still going strong.
GM Jonathan Rowson, who then proceeded to tie for first at the World Open, and win the British Championship
IM John Donaldson, chess historian, player, and traveler
IM Malcolm Pein, publisher, and owner of Chess & Bridge (in London), and
Michael Fisher, chess player and Shakespearean actor (great fun too).

It wasn't our first, that would have been 1998. Others were 2000 and 2004.

It wasn't the first Chess Festival in name. I think Italy or some European place used that title. But at what we did I would like to think we were first and that was to invite audience participation, sales, workshops, and only at the end, a chess event such as the Triple Hammer where those who paid (80% of the attendees) played three masters simultaneously!

It was a hoot and the best of the four. I think 54 people paid $75 or so (an insanely small amount) to fly all those personalities here (except for Michael Fisher), put them up for 2-3 days and pay them. Clearly $4000+ wasn't going to pay for that. This is where SPONSORSHIP came in. It was sponsored by Thinkers' Press and that was done through sales of merchandise, t-shirts, etc. My staff was small: Rita, Nate, Diana, and my wife Sarah. You might include the KITCHEN staff as when Michael Fisher was doing his bit upstairs in the loft for 50-60 people, they all stopped working to watch him amaze and amuse (and he did).

As I said, it was a hoot. One of the evenings, probably Saturday, my wife and I hosted a free get together in a 3-room suite at the Castle Lodge. I think it was for "friends of Thinkers' Press. There was food of all kinds and a chance to get more intimate with our special guests in conversation, photo taking, etc. Everyone had a great time.

The next day, Malcolm Pein (pronounced Pain) told me he had been to chess parties all around the world and "this one was the best!" Maybe he said that in the heat of the moment BUT it was a pretty good time wasn't it? And it came AFTER the tragic 9/11 event the year before. While others were hiding in their basement, we took the RISK of doing something really cool for chessplayers, collectors, lovers, etc. They loved it. We're all ten years older now.

Now the Big Deal is the London Chess Classic, sponsored by whom? Malcolm Pein of Chess & Bridge. Everyone of note will be there. But more than that, there are all kinds of side events, not just a GM or IM annotating some games like in American tournaments, but special concoctions such as John Nunn and Vishy Anand taking spectators on an astronomical tour of the universe, a screening of "Bobby Fischer Against the World," etc.

I'm not jealous or envious--we did it first. I'd like to think it planted the seed in Malcolm's head. Would be fun to do again, but before I do that, I would rather write a book about the labor and expense involved because the mere thought would give those with a small staff a brain calamity. It could be done though picking new celebrities would be a monstrous job. I have one in mind who would electrify chess people, but not only does it take "Two to Tango," it take 3-4 or more. Ticket prices would probably be $250. At this time there are those who, no doubt, would think it was worth it, but not enough of them unfortunately. The cost of marketing could be the biggest expense. TPi would need some additional sponsors as "only a fool spends his own money" they say.

So as you read today, for you who came to that Festival in 2002, you might remember we were the Grand Daddy of the plush chess event.


Monday, November 28, 2011


NTD William Broich, from Des Moines, is looking for ONE FIDE titled player to come to the January event held at the Gentlemens Chess Club, 1101 W. 4th St., Davenport, Iowa 52801.

Bill's email address is:

The January event is: January 7-8 at the above address. If you are within traveling distance and would like to help Iowa get a CORE group of FIDE (International Chess Federation) rated players, we can go from there and you will be more than a little appreciated.

He told me the following have accepted:

Robert Keating FR
Luis Peralta
Jim Ellis FR
John Hartmann
George Eichhorn FR

Where FR = FIDE rated.
So he needs one more, and if you are passing through, just want to help out, whatever, contact Bill would you?

This one will take place in March, and hopefully the extra FIDE rateds from January can help with this. It too is at the Gentlemens Chess Club, same address as of this writing. The DATE: March 24-25, a weekend of course.

Once we get a pool of players it can be self-generating.

While I will be there it will be to sell books and equipment. I am not playing, not that I wouldn't like to, but business is first. He is advertising for 20 for March and hopes for 14. Take a tip from the Event Guy (I've had a few successes and a few failures), go for the 20 or even 24. It's $50 I think and a good cause (YOU!).

Bill wants to be an International Chess Arbiter if I have that right. Gets to fly to places like Pogoville, Antarctica, Moscow, and Dollyland. Seriously, give Bill a heads up. Talk is cheap, writing is cheap, so let's make it a real thing.


For the March event he is allowing any USCF paid member to play… isn't that you?

Friday, November 25, 2011


I've sent a Chess Gazette and two catalogs out in the past two weeks.

No response to speak of. I am hoping everyone got this Black Friday thing out of their system. Did you save any money? I didn't go out to buy anything and my business online purchases were made last week. No personal purchases yesterday or today except some sandwiches.

I also have been told my New in Chess Yearbooks (98 and 100, plus a couple other New in Chess titles) will be in late next week or shortly after that.

As I write this, late Friday night, I am finishing up Abbazia 1912 The King's Gambit Accepted. I hope you like it. It is the second book from TPi on the King's Gambit but this isn't so much about the opening as the TACTICS that I hope buyers will take away from this.

Blunders vs Poor Tactics
I've noticed in club play it isn't the occasional "drop dead" blunders that cause club players to lose, or miss winning, but the fact that their eye isn't sharped keenly enough to see even short tactics.

In this 90 page book there are LOTS of tactics to be found; if I were to delay this project another month, there would have been even MORE alternatives to point out--pitfalls others would fall into, but not US! (Haha.)

Lastly, 8 of the 12 King's Gambit Accepted games played in Red Wing, MN last July made it into this book in annotated form at the back. There was some interesting play by the way. I wanted to speed up play and thus chose the Game in 60 venue to produce MORE tactics. I am not sure this happened; maybe it produced more conservativism.

The book is $30.00 postpaid. $15 to those who were at Red Wing. Completely annotated> Games that have never been found were left out (no kidding!).

Quit worrying about your rating unless you have a real reason to (ego doesn't count).

Happy Post Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Recently I mentioned to my friend John Blackstone that in the past year there appeared, at least on the surface, to be a lot of games at these "big tournaments" where if there was a WIN, there was a better than even chance it was by Black. Go back and look at some of the "crime statistics" on ChessBase's daily web site and see if you agree.

John remarked that Fischer, back in the day, was not satisfied with "equalizing" as Black, but going for the gusto from the beginning, i.e., "crossing the line." John, a master originally from California, played Fischer in a simul which managed to make it as a note in Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games.

That was one observation. Another, back in the early 90s or late 80s, I had mentioned in the Chess Gazette that top chess players were really stretching to win a game, no matter how. Opening theory was not dismissed, but was undergoing heavy "re-evaluation." So STUFF was tried. There were experiments. Former "lesser" systems were given second thoughts. Later, when John Watson (another John!) came out with his wildly popular Mastering Chess Strategy, he said the same thing.

This morning another thought occurred ("pattern recognition.") There was commentary on the CB website about another round of draws, but not unexciting ones and this was the second or third round in a row (Tal Memorial) like that. I looked at the picture of Carlsen, that very talented kid from Norway. He's bearing down. But I "sensed" tiredness.

Here's the gist. Last night while reading voraciously the brand new Caissa Editions book Pasadena 1932 which just came out, I noticed that once again those older tournaments had an eclectic mix of players. The winner was Alekhine. But Fred Reinfeld had a draw with AAA. Also in at 5 points was Reuben Fine, but Reinfeld had beaten him! Isaac Kashdan finished second and then there was a bunching: Reshevsky, Arthur Dake, and Herman Steiner. Dake in his game with Alekhine, won, and with certainty. On the other hand there were lesser lights such as Harry Borochow, A.J. Fink (finished last but beat Steiner), J.J. Araiza, Sam Factor (brother of the cosmetics magnate Max Factor), and Jacob Bernstein. The notes are great fun to read.

The real point is: DIVERSITY. When you have all that power at the Tal Memorial or any other big event like that, it truly turns out to be a mental endurance contest. There is no rest for the wicked OR the pure. Imagine, you are a top cat and in your room the night before your brain is saying "Oh who do I play tomorrow? Oh no, not him. I need a break, I am tired. I've just got to make sure I don't lose." Losing for these guys is a Major Suck (look at Fischer, his attitude was the same). It doesn't mean they don't lose and it doesn't mean they won't recover, but every day it is the same old same old. The occasional one day breaks don't help and nowadays games are played to the finish. It is obsessively relentlessly mind crunching and spirit draining.

If promoters want a little more winning action they should "dot" the scene with a few players who aren't the very cream of the crop. They will surprise you from time to time and they will be given a chance to compete. And naturally, some will want to prove themselves as Capablanca (Pillsbury, and others) did. The Big Boys get a chance to beat up on the mere 2600s and the "mere" 2600s get a chance to play the Big Boys. And we all know that saying, "Stuff happens."

By the way the Pasadena 1932 book is available now (errata sheet coming next week) and it's $44 but KNOW this, as good as the book is, and with the help of all kinds of contributors (and in hardcover), NM Bruce Monson added a chapter on Ladies chess and the parallel tournament (and another parallel tournament). What was so special about that? Two people: LaVieve Hines and Gabrielle Andrieux. Hines, hands down, was a MAN killer in the sense she had beaten many of the best (and fended off advances from men). She played Alekhine and lost in a simul. The second time her game was much better, but she did lose again. The third time, she was offered a draw by Alekhine who "smelled" eternal success was not going to happen. There was even a non amorous photo of the two of them and he spent some time at her "estate" and her mom's. He gave her opening tips and ideas in her further quests and she was punching men out all over the place and gave NO thought to the "women are inferior at chess compared to men" line. She "rebuffed" the advances of Clif Sherwood, who later became a writer on chess for the LA Times! But old Cliffie boy went after Gabrielle and when that didn't work out, he murdered her! (Norman Whitaker wasn't the only bad guy.)

The whole book is totally satisfactory, well done, and as mentioned in the first paragraph, John Blackstone also contributed to this one by finding some lost games of this event as Johnny had lived in LA for years. In fact John is a chess games' database sleuth and we expect to have more game databases from him in the near future. He and I are working on one right now. He did the recent one of Hermann Helms games column for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. That CD is temporarily reduced in price to $27.96 (regularly $34.95). Shipping is $3.50 in US.

Last night I sent out my new openings catalog for 2011 and my bulk emailing program kept stopping leaving 93 senders unsent! My guess is, I approached the limit for this month (and people say using the internet is free (!?)). So if you didn't get the catalog last night or this morning, please let me know and I will get one to you via the non-bulk sending. There are a number of new things in it and some cool Discounts you won't want to miss. I am already hearing from people.

While I am taking Thursday off (imagine that) my shop at 1101 W. 4th St. in Davenport will be open and I will have a lot of chess sets on display and for sale from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. I have not done this in years. A good time to get your Christmas shopping done. Little stuff, big stuff. Cheap and expensive.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Black Friday sounds ominous like some sort of calamity, but it's just retails' way of saying, "We need a cash infusion at this time of the year." Sure, some businesses like Wal-Mart don't need that, but for the rest of us, it's a great way to meet mortgage payments, insurance costs, property tax payments, and added payroll (which I won't have). Not to mention inventory invoices.

So this coming Friday, instead of taking a day off to squander and wander, I will be at the 1101 W. 4th St. SHOP in Davenport from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. I hope to have some chess sets, books, and other chess doodads there on SPECIAL to open the floodgates.

Of course, being Thanksgiving the day before, there will be no Thursday evening workshop. Will spend some time with my son Nate's family and friends and maybe even play a little chess! Hope you get a chance to do that too.

Am just about finished with a new catalog, this one a little different format, and fewer pictures (to make for a faster download) and only on TWO SUBJECTS : Openings and Chess History plus a few odds and ends.

All of a sudden three items are finally starting to move and maybe it's the holiday season or they have just been discovered, I do not know. They are three TPi products:
a) Lasker & His Contemporaries #6;
b) The Center Counter Rising DVD and 205 page PDF; and
3) The King's Indian Attack downloadable PDF.

If you are in town this Friday, stop by. BTW, there is no tournament this coming weekend.
The NEW catalog will be released tomorrow or Wednesday with another slightly different ordering approach, so make sure you have ink cartridge replacements handy to print it out. I print out virtually everything I send to my customers and possible customers for quick reference.

What I found interesting about the Openings Pricelist/Catalog was TWO things:
1) Almost every opening is represented and some in inventory depth (Slav and Sicilian for example); and

2) Even though it is about 10 pages or so, it's lean. That is, there could be more titles listed but for those which aren't there is little customer interest. And there are a few titles I am currently out of and can't get in time to list with this catalog, so they will be added as a Supplement.

I've been mistaken about enclosing non-first class mailed catalogs in packages I send out, apparently I am not supposed to do this. Even though such items go 4th class, the post office wants their 44 cents. So the only way I can get new promotional material to you is through PDF downloads (whereby the post office gets nothing, to their ultimate detriment) or through first class mailings.

I've started a new spreadsheet for doing first class mailings. The spreadsheet will serve as a database to make occasional first class mailings to buying customers, something you don't see much of these days. If I can get a printer and label making to cooperate, regular buyers will hear from me more often via mail (called Direct Response).

All the time and one was in a 3 hour phone conversation yesterday to Las Vegas while sipping a hot chocolate in Barnes & Noble. I hope to tell you more about it in 2012. Designed to:
1) Help under 2000 rated players; and
2) Help those rated over 2000 to 2400.

But they are TWO different objects. Let's see what happens. This fellow could use the $$$ and I can use the Action, so stay tuned.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Most of us know that next week is Thanksgiving in the US and I think also in Canada.

Everyone pushes for Greeting cards, presents, and best behavior for the upcoming Christmas and Holiday Season but I want to offer something to my customers, and soon-to-be customers a month before that, for Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow, at the Gentlemens Chess Club at 1101 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA 52801, I am having a HAT DAY tournament (wear some kind of funky hat!).

But I want to do more than that. I have someone interested in Leasing/Buying my building and I would like to find out whether there is any chess growth potential beyond the 12 PAID members I have. Maybe a couple FIDE events there next year, my chess shoppe, a place to play and congregate.

I am aware at this time the hours are a little funky because there is only one of me. I think I could triple membership, and all that in time.

Last night I gave my 7th workshop lecture and 2 people showed. It was on an opening this time, the Sicilian Sveshnikov. Not real encouraging to me since I put a lot of time in preparing it.

But Thanksgiving is coming up and that creates all sorts of reasons for people to do other things... at least that's what "everyone" is telling me. In the late 80s and 90s I was selling chess products at a big tournament, every year, at Thanksgiving. There would be 100-150 people there, in Milwaukee. I made it to like 12-14 events! People were glad to see me and purchase everything I brought, and this was before the internet. Thus, people were going out of their way to have a fun time at Thanksgiving and it ran, 4 days!!!

Maybe because all those guys (and a few gals) are older now, their priorities have changed, but all I am saying is that, "It's Thanksgiving" doesn't really explain anything.


The Entry Fee for tomorrow is $35, $30 if you are a GCC Member or wear a Funky Hat. But I am going to drop everything $10, for a ONE DAY EVENT, Saturday. So regular EF will be $25, or $20 if you are a GCC member or wear a Funky Hat.

In the past week I have gotten RSVPs about NOT coming, but not one about COMING, so it is pretty hard to PLAN anything (tables, chairs, boards, etc.)

So let's see if this makes ANY difference. Round 1 starts at 10 a.m. Nov. 19th. Game in 60. Let's bring down the house.

Tomorrow I will have some of my Opening Chess Books there for sale. At present I am working on a NEW catalog.

See ya there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Probably I watch 85-90% of all the DVDs on chess which I receive so I can properly evaluate them. Once in a while I will forego the "pleasure" of doing that if, for example, a Grivas DVD is sent because he READS from his notes! Why not just put them on a PDF and send out? No personality, and even the content isn't interesting. I can't seem to find others who will agree with that sentiment, online. Maybe they are afraid ChessBase will quit sending them review copies! Offline they DO agree with me.

In some sense that is changing because now we have to Download the DVDs from Germany which means, at least to me, burning them to a DVD to watch them because storing them on a hard drive is going to use up space very fast. In fact, I don't know of anyone who stores CB DVDs on their hard drive. I'm sure there are some.

At any rate, I was online for a bit tonight looking for "The Baltimore Bullet," one of my favorite "pool playing" movies. I have it in VHS, but can't remember when I last watched anything on my TV. I see it is available as a Region 2 (Japan, Europe, etc.) I looked to see what one had to do to watch a Region (Zone) 2 movie. Good grief. Special cables, a laptop which eventually will get stuck on that particular zone, etc. The movie was good enough for VHS, as was the "Fourth Protocol," but not good enough to get a Region 1 label. Then there is the "Jigsaw Man" with Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier. Not available in Region 1 either.

But, as far as I can tell, the ChessBase DVDs play on all Windows machines, but not Macs! Lots of people have Macs these days, ask their competitors: Dell, Asus, Acer, Lenovo... and even wily but confused HP. But CB refuses to do programming for the Mac. In fact, CB does a lot of strange things. However, in order to save postage CB will be sending all DVDs via the internet now. That doesn't sound like a very quick method of sending unless somehow they have just compressed the daylights out of it!

The Good Thing!?
But here's the good thing about DVDs. Like anything else, you can watch them over and over. Unlike other things and Regions, to get better and better you probably will enjoy watching them again and again, esp. if you are selective in what you want to see, and you can easily do that. That's a biggie.

Recently, in Chess Gazette 159 I recommended the 3 series set by Viktor Bologan of his famous Sicilian DVDs, and I still do. If YOU didn't get one of my DVD catalogs, send a request and I will fire one off to you. In the meantime I will be working on getting the numbers up at the HAT tournament this weekend at the Gentlemens Chess Club. And a USED booklist, and a Catalog.

So keep sending those cards, letters, and orders in to keep me in the mood.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Well, we do it when we have faster access to good DSL speed. That's one reason, another is it takes all day to get it done and I want to send it before going to bed!

Veteran writer, author, and chess historian John S. Hilbert has graced several pages with his great review of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle CD and accompanying story. In return for that favor I have listed a batch of Hilbert chess books which we should be getting soon. I love mutual back scratching but it isn't always easy to find that in the chess business. Everyone is trying to hang on to their customers with a clenched fist. I don't think that works. People want content as well as FREE!

Page 4 is for chess futurists and what are some of the possibilities at Thinkers' Press.

Later pages give more details on new publications.

Lastly, a nice sample of the output of Mr. Mordecai Morgan is offered on the "Previously Owned" pages, or an excerpt from List #3 from the Hong Kong Collection.

If you don't have something from me by Wednesday morning, and you want CG 160, write and I will send you a copy. Will need your name and email address, or course.

G'nite Gadies and Lentlemen!

Monday, November 14, 2011


These days TESTING is required to be even a local TD, at least every 3 years I was told.

The test questions can be quite tricky. You only need 80% correct to pass, but it is not necessarily an easy 80%.

I am reading the 5th edition USCF Rulebook which is monstrously large... 370 pages.

There's already been a slew of changes or additions which came AFTER the 5th edition. I haven't read those yet and probably won't. Hopefully, they are for the MORE advanced tests!

In general the authors Tim Just and Daniel Burg have done an amazing job if they aren't in the bughouse by now. Constantly keeping track of "claimant" and "opponent" must've been a daunting task and I wouldn't want to see their original EDITS!

The index probably has most of the information (for looking something up) but often only ONE word is used to describe a situation. If it is a problem in pairings don't look for "troubleshooting" or "problems," you won't find those, you better go to Pairings and then go through nearly three columns of indented subheads! There are many examples of this.

Speaking of Subheads, wow! Whoever did the typography for this book has absolutely NO imagination. The MAIN heads and variations are in bold, which is OK, but when it comes to indexing, nothing. Here's the DEAL with indexing a book like this and even computer manuals (which also often do a lousy job): make sure your READER can find what he or she is looking for. If you have to twist your arm or your pen a little more, so be it. For example, FORFEIT. The index has "double" and "non-appearance." Okay, that's fine and true. But then there are "reporting forfeits," "writing the info on a WALL CHART," or "on PAIRING CARDS." That's twice as many entries as formerly and probably there could be several more. The indexer has to be a TYPE of mind-reader. This is one of the big failings of computer manuals too--if you aren't thinking o the exact word the author is, you waste a lot of time trying to figure out what word (if any) the author used to describe a particular item/issue.

There are professional indexers and I suspect they are of varying degrees of competency, like anything else. The design/layout programs CAN do some of this work IF your brain can keep track of ALL the possibilities, and one will reach a point where it most likely can't. When I created the 20 page index for Purdy's My Search for Chess Perfection, I couldn't be more happy than when it was completed! Ideally it's good to do an index outline.

There are extremely FEW illustrations in the book, which makes reading incredibly tiring.

A few rule things are not what they USED to be, so you have to read carefully and understand slowly because the questions can be tricky, or, in my opinion, "incomplete." For example, annoying or harassing an opponent; there are various penalties and remedies. In one instance it was stated that White kept offering Black a draw. What is "kept?" I think most of us would say, "repeatedly and not just 2-3 times but many, many times." The Director gets called in and rules that White is a ninny. (I would have warned him and then forfeited his ass if he kept it up.) Then White APPEALS the Director's decision!! (Stall tactic.) I realize that in the past (maybe still) there were directors who took NO account of extraneous situations and made dumb rulings, but the director should be able to say, "Look bozo, I warned you not once but twice about annoying your opponent. If he thinks the situation merits a draw, let him offer it to you. In the meantime, You are fired!"

It's precisely because of people who are late, don't show, rude, have improper equipment, don't understand the basic laws, play with their pieces, etc. that books like this are so fat! There is not even a place where the authors say, "All things being equal," or "Common sense dictates..." because there are, unfortunately, a lot of people out there with NO common sense. They are, bluntly, pains in the asses. They should be banned from civilization, not just tournament rooms. Some of them are the higher-rated players who are there for the money/prestige only and will go for ANY edge they can get. (See next paragraph.)

Mr. Coolio
In 1988 I played in the US Open in Boston. EVERY set on the 100 tables were of the standard club variety. In the rulebook it states that organizers have the right to do this. But my opponent, a well-known master, took it upon himself to dump a bunch of broken wooden pieces onto the board and then ask, "Is it OK if we use my set?" He also had the white pieces (he doesn't even get choice of equipment). He was a total ass. Being outrated and not wanting to cause a scene (my girlfriend was there), I said it was OK though I was burning with fury inside. He got crushed in under 30 moves and I loved every minute of it. Sometimes you can push people too far. Years later, on the other side of the country, he tried his intimidation stuff on a different subject with me, that time he didn't get away with it.

If this rule book was put into a Graphic Comic book format, it would be 10X easier to understand and a visual aid is worth a ton. As much as I admire the work the authors have done to get this book out, it will create migraines faster than dealing with cheapskates!


PS: There are many who read this blog, as I've mentioned before, and who are not registered. When someone makes a comment, especially a comment that is totally in error because of lack of information, or they can't read, it isn't easy to respond to them because they have no email address listed. I suspect some do that on purpose because they like to LET fly with some brain dead remark and KNOW you can't reply and show them the places where their "thinking" was ...

I read CNN online a lot and I am always astounded (no more) about the replies to an article they get. Often there are comments with absolutely NOTHING to back their assertion. I really do hope these people do not vote for anything or body or we are really in trouble next year. When Steve Jobs passed away, it seemed like everyone who didn't know him in any way, and who hated Apple, wrote in. Incendiary, lunatic comments. Hoping Apple fails. This company in the US employs tens of thousands of people and these mental midgets are hoping it fails!? They missed the bus and hope everyone else does too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


To make sure EVERYONE has gotten the latest Thinkers' Press inc. catalog I shrunk it 25% (so they would get to you faster).

I almost fell for another ploy whereby they would "work" with my bulk email provider and "guarantee" to send out my PDFs so they wouldn't get stuck in your Spam filter. Think about it for a second--is there an easier way for Amazon to collect additional names for their already huge list! And the cool part? They charge ME for giving them this info.

Anyway, the new catalog is on its way and hopefully faster getting to you.

Don't overlook the BONUSES either.


Friday, November 11, 2011


You should see the lineup of what it is like to suck air in other subjects! No joke.

First, let me say that what I am about to list does not mean that there aren't books in these areas which aren't good, probably some of them are. But they lack a couple features: marketability (an audience to target) and a reason to exist. By "reason" I mean other than a University Press cranking out stuff which hires editors, printers, proofers, designers... all people I love in those professions, but for which an audience of any valuable size is non existent. In other words, trees are suffering and so is the environment because of the plenitude of books on stuff few care about. These should be done (if at all, and I would vote thumbs down on 80% of them) in small press private quantities instead of enveloping warehouses and waiting for a landfill burial.

Some are reasonably priced (?), some are in "this will never sell" hardcover.

African-American Studies (job creation, not over national guilt)
History pre 20th century (beating subjects like Lincoln, Jim Crow, etc. into the ground, more books on the Civil War than those who died IN the Civil War!)
Ancient and Classical Studies, Anthropology (you mean all the "old stuff" is really bad?)
Architecture and Art and Graphic Design (the branch of unreality when it comes to making dollars but wanting others to pay for their excesses)
Asian studies (written mostly by non-Asians!)
Books on Books and Map Making (wow, lots of losers here too)
Classical Music and Opera (lots of time on their hands writing instead of performing)
Cookbooks (and yet there are big collectors of these)
Cultural Studies (Colleges love this stuff since you don't have to prove anything)
Economics and Business History (lots of incorrect second-guessers)
Fiction & Poetry (probably the BIGGEST losers on the list... everyone has a story... but not everyone can tell one well)
Film, Television & Theater (another cultural and artistic boondoggle, do not publish these)
Judaica (lots published but the buyers are too cheap? sort of like poetry)
Latin American Studies (the people about whom these are written have no money, so it must go mostly to professors (who often get them free)... Latin American chess books aren't very popular either)
Law (one might expect this)
Literary Studies and Memoirs... probably on a par with fiction (novels). Everyone has an opinion but few want to read others'.
Mathematics and Physics. These often sell well (if they aren't given away) but the quantities printed are often over the top.
Medieval and Renaissance. A time past and missed. Opinions and wishful thinking.
Military History. A major yawner but lots of aficionados.
Philosophy. Isn't this just a scientific sounding name for "opinion?"
Photography. Kept Kodak alive, for a while. Now with digital they are in trouble. Another great art form but way too many.
Political Science. You can tell can't you, in advance, what the losers will be because they have the biggest sections in the stores, the slowest sales, and absolutely no reason for that shelf space. Stuff like this didn't help Borders. Maybe argumentation doesn't sell.
Popular music. Lots of musicians out there. In fact in any "craft" where there are a lot of people employed (gainfully, or otherwise, you can expect to see books--except when it comes to blue collar labor because those guys/gals read books about OTHER stuff!)
Psychology. Well, no surprise here. Statistics coupled with opinions and theories.
Science and Natural History.
Social Science.
Sports and Games. Some of this sells but often are just photographs and stats.
Technology and Computer Science. The "older" it is, the less well it does.
Theology and Religion.
Womens Studies. Worth studying, not so sure about writing about.

Few books have been remaindered on:
Antiques and Collectibles (ah, making money off of old stuff)
Australian and the Pacific (a mystery to me)
Chess (Questionable, all the remainders are mostly from Cardoza!) Smaller printings?
Children (I think publishers are holding back because there are WAAAY too many of these)
Comics and Graphic Novels (lots of under 40s still buying this stuff)
Dance (my suspicion? few are actually written, but then there is always the merengue!)
Medicine.... Always expensive... Jury is still out.
Middle East
Occult and New Age. No accounting for taste I guess.
Pop culture and current affairs. The "People" magazine crowd.

Of course there are subjects I didn't mention because the sample size is not easy to determine. But if you've been to many book shows, or remainder shows, and I have, the "losers" mentioned above are in HUGE supply and when you look through them, some of them are quite good, but for one reason or another, price, quantity, audience, marketing... they just didn't do that well EXCEPT for publishers who deliberately overprint and try to recoup their expenses from reselling remainders.

And by the way, just because it has sex in the title doesn't make it a best-seller. When I was in San Francisco many years ago, there was a store whose name I can't recall but they had a big section on gay and lesbian stuff. But, NO ONE was in there reading, buying, gawking, or paying any attention to those books and this was SF!! When it comes to rallies and complaining they show up, but when it comes to spending cash, that's a different story.

Properly done, marketing can change minds but it can't change real unadulterated facts.


Thursday, November 10, 2011


I guess Rick Perry put his "foot" in it last night. Today I put my foot on the power cord and accidentally shut the power down... creating a certain amount of chaos here!

That gets solved and my print runs out of toner and the new cartridge won't go in.

That problem gets solved and I have to shrink the catalog by taking out some photos etc. and it looks like it is going to be a SLOWWWW delivery night.

Personally, whew! But it looks to be the best Thinkers' Press catalog I have ever put together and that would be quite a few.

On top of that, I am 40 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS OF SELLING CHESS BOOKS! YES, 1971 Thru 2011. Thank to those who have stayed with me.

PS: Theoretically, my DSL line will be churning out catalogs all night. I hope you get yours with no problems. I have "overflowed" it.... Not on purpose, just the way it worked out.

Have fun and DO NOT overlook the BONUSES.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Iowa FIDE Round Robin 2

This event, directed by Bill Broich and held at the play room of the Gentlemens Chess Club (no apostrophe), will go on January 7-8 (Saturday and Sunday).

The first round on Saturday begins at 9 a.m. (then 2 pm and 7 pm) and on Sunday 9 a.m. and 2 pm.

The IDEA is to provide Iowa with a pool of FIDE rated players (not necessarily FIDE Masters, but FIDE rated players). Hence a need for TWO more already RATED FIDE players, who may be from other states.

The Time Control is GAME in 90 with a 30 second increment.

The ENTRY FEE is $50. Initially the prize for first place will be a Plaque, which I can certainly see as having historical value in significant ways such as leading other states in doing this, having an important event in the Eastern side of the state (thus allowing easy access by FIDE rated players from Illinois), and all this intersecting with giving Bill even more experience to obtain his International Arbiter's position--which I think is terrific.

Bill is going after something he has looked forward to accomplishing for quite some time. This requires commitment and I hope some other equally committed chess players can bring their name and rating forward. He would also liked to have some non- FIDE rated players throw their hat in the ring too. I think the requirement is that you must possess at least a USCF rating of 1800 (and a current USCF membership).

Naturally he would welcome those who fit these requirements from surrounding states if you so choose. The weather in Iowa isn't always horrible in January and if anything this offers a great opportunity to cross swords with a number of fine fellows whose names I recognize.

The drawing of LOTS will be done by EMAIL. I suggest you email Bill right away at:

It might also be your first opportunity to see the Gentlemens Chess Club HQ.

Time flies so "talking" to Bill right away would ease his concerns and those of the ones who want to attend. There is a certain ratio of FIDE rated players which has to be in the mix, hence the NEED for already FIDE rated players.

Iowa is the state of such strong players in the past as John Rose, Dan Harger, Jon Frankle, and Walter Morris. At least those are the guys I remember and knew, so give 'er a shot.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Lies are always disturbing, from wherever they come, and there are no GOOD ones. None.

But, I am not running for Prez of anything. If I start a new business or organization I am already President.

In the meantime... there are two things I want to focus on right away, Today AND Tomorrow.

Bill is looking for two more FIDE rated players for a tournament he has put together. And he wouldn't mind having a couple extra players who want to GET a F.I.D.E. rating too (International Chess Federation).

You can contact Bill:

I'll have more info tomorrow about the details, when and where (hopefully at my place in Davenport). Bill is going after an International Arbiter's title I believe. He's from Iowa, place of a lot of good stuff and the "Field of Chess Dreams."

So if that is in your mental "basket" give Bill an email holler. I know these little FIDE bonfires are sprouting up throughout the country, so perhaps you readers can be like "Starter Sourdough," create some "energy" for the next batch. He's had people who are "interested" but when he follows up with them, no more response... so at least I know when this happens to me, it happens to other organizers too. The "secret" to changing this, I have found it, is to GET new people. And that tkes a lot of energy and $$$ but it does work.

This afternoon I sent out a slew of FREE Chess Gangs of New York and London monographs on Capablanca the Mouthpiece. Another name for lawyer. I've got at least that many going out tomorrow but some will include the Pillsbury book. Later this week I should be getting the new Petrosian title.

My clients (customers) tend to be patient souls. When I sent out the DVD catalog a month ago the response was, well, weak. So a couple weeks later I sent it out again, and it was weak again but I did get orders from different people. Since then my supplier is asking for his money! Not everyone is ready when I am, I know that. At the moment I have been working hard on a new Thinkers' Press catalog and there is lots to show people. I've also had to design TWO new book covers. They are essentially done and I am happy with them (I am my biggest critic). One book is near finished the other has to be started. But I am going to promote them several times, before they are finished, to see what the response is. I am expecting the response to be favorable for a variety of reasons, but you will be seeing the results quite soon, I promise you.


Saturday, November 5, 2011


Holidays are just around that elusive corner. I want my clients to have a head start on good stuff, with new writeups, more clarification, more pictures, and an attitude of my olden days.

Just recently I was looking at some of my older catalogs and a certain wistfulness was there! The cost of printing them and the distribution them is extremely high now and it was tough back then. So I have the job of breaking things into smaller catalogs and still making everything look sensational because now I have access to color inside.

One thing which would make a HUGE difference is if those who receive these PDF catalogs would actually PRINT THEM OUT! Then they could experience the way it was, only better.

I have noticed, believe me, time and again, that people who read straight from their monitor MISS a lot and invariably ask me time-wasting questions which are almost always covered in the PDF. You know what this tells me don't you? They miss things when it comes to studying improvement from the screen too. In a way that's just wasting time.

So do yourself a favor too, print them out. I practice my own prescriptive advice (one guy complained to me it would use up the ink on his printer! Why does he even have a printer?) Anytime I want information I bring it to the screen, and when I need to reference or work from it, I print it out... that's why my desk is piled so high with stuff I have to get on a ladder to look over it!

Keene and Levy's book: Opening Repertoire for the Attacking Player, alg. edition. I just saw on some website that even though this site does not have ANY copies of the hardbound edition, it is $50+! Isn't that insane?

1) I think that is for the original edition in Descr. Not. 
2) I am looking for the alg. edition which I foolishly sold, and it is available, I believe, only in softcover.
If someone has an extra copy they want to sell, please let me know. I have an idea which is quite interesting. In fact, I have been looking for a very good "journal" made of paper with hard covers to record all my chess ideas--many of which no one has seen yet. I want to call it the Chess Lab. It only "sounds easy" if you have built up a lot of tortured experience. When Andrew Martin was here and we were driving around I mentioned 3 ideas to help another publication succeed. Then he pitched in with an idea of his own to help my Gentlemens Chess Club succeed even more. I have been to see those people but they are NOT in at the moment! Other things are happening including working on a RATE sheet for instruction for one on one and group "therapy."

And while I was at it, I noticed that some blogger idiot said that Keene had written more books on chess than anyone else. I suspect this BI has absolutely NO knowledge of what gets published in chess. Keene probably made this remark on some book and someone picked it up. Schiller and Reinfeld wrote a heckuva lot of chess books. Does anyone have any idea how much work it would be to write even 50 books? If Isaac Asimov were alive, ask him, he wrote 400+ before he went horizontal and though he was a certain amount of goofy, he was very smart and prolific. And the late Walter Gibson wrote almost 200 books just of the Shadow alone plus books on magic and all kinds of other stuff!

Keene's early stuff was good and lots of things with Keene's name on it at a later time weren't written by him. He just took the money.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


is ready to ship.

It's a PDF download, and runs 24 very COMPACT, letter-sized pages.

The very FIRST Supplement from SCORE, the Openings Publication.

There are a number of features and benefits:
1. Shows you what White CAN do when you have no clue as Black.
2. You can learn an Excellent Black setup as fast as White cranks out routine moves!
3. You get to watch games where strong players, including grandmasters, HAMMER White into oblivion (somewhere beyond the Twi-Light Zone).
4. Learn how to properly use a book AGAINST your White opponent.
5. Feast your orbs on the Mark Flowers collection of games against ONE opponent, 1800 vs. 1700 (who is an advocate of the KIA) and see how preparation with an excellent book can overcome "preparation" from another book. Black conquers. Completely annotated and not existing anywhere else.

Learn how you to can submit games for analysis for other openings projects and get PAID!

Only $7.95. No shipping or taxes.

Accept: PayPal, Visa, MC, Discover, Check, Money Order.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


It means I am swamped with things to do.

SCORE #8 for Friday is one.

The Petrosian book is at the printer.

The King's Indian Attack PDF is being formatted.

The Gentlemens Chess Club newsletter for this week was just produced.

Work on "To The Point" is also underway, and there will be some modifications. Working on a project of that depth and intensity shakes out certain aspects and brings together just the important stuff.

And of course, answer every day emails and get some orders out to the PO on Thursday.

Somehow, I found time to go to the gym for two days in a row. Try it.

May have another member for the GCC too as I was down at the shop for two hours today. When I see government employees get all the vacation days they get, sick/personal days, and a day off every time something "happens" it is pretty darn irritating to me. I worked for the Fed Gov. for 10 years and it was bad then and worse now. Judges that work four days a week, like senators too. These jerks have NO IDEA what the stress of real work is. And they even have staff to help them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Workshop lecture of another classic at 6 p.m. this Thursday. Then play.

Ten paid members now adding: Earl Zismer, Tony Britton, and Art Hernandez in the past week.

Talk of a FIDE rating event at Gentlemens Chess Club in January.

More later.