Friday, December 30, 2011

PURDY'S CHESS CHRONICLES #4

It's kind of extraordinary (I avoided using the word "amazing" since for 2011 it was voted at the top of the list of most overused, banal, and of irritating words. I am surprised "impacted" hasn't won that award for the last 5 years.--at one time it wasn't even a word!) that as one gets close to finishing up a topic that a half a dozen other thoughts and entries want to make their way in... and this morning, I am trying to help that along.


Purdy's Chess Chronicles is NOT a newspaper, it is a 50+ pages PDF which recounts many things which appeared in CJS Purdy's three magazines: Australasian Chess Review (often incorrectly called the Australian Chess Review), Check!, and Chess World.

It seemed necessary to do this because the early issues were in a big danger of disrepair (is there such a word?)... especially if they weren't bound. They were even scarce in their day and several times Purdy offered to buy back copies no longer wanted from subscribers.

While Purdy's Chess Chronicles is a preserver of chess, it also points out areas where Purdy was way ahead of his time in thoughts, actions, annotation, and inclusion. He really loved chess in Australia and New Zealand. He became an International Master in 1953 when he won the world's first Correspondence Chess Championship over some very tough rivals.

For $69.95 and an email address, you can relive the "days of yesteryear" which they talked about in "The Lone Ranger," only without Tonto. You can contact me, Bob Long, at bob@thinkerspressinc.com for more information.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CHESS SETS AND THE SATISFIED CUSTOMER

I've been online for a while this afternoon looking for resellers in Germany who answer their emails and might want to do business. It's not easy to find them. Looks like the Big Boys scare them off.

I noticed that almost EVERYBODY and THEIR BROTHER are selling chess sets! I had thought about getting into that in 2012 and now I am not so sure. Here's a few reasons:

1) Perfection by a couple companies is viewed as "the only way." I'm sorry to tell these geniuses that while they are copying old designs, the old designs weren't perfectly produced and yet they were great to actually USE! Now the NEW ones are supposedly perfectly rounded, tapered, rolled, carved, etc. B.S. One reviewer of "perfection" found flaws and who is the reviewer? A chess set Nobody (I know the guy).

2) I know of only one designer of "perfect" sets and they were cut in Delrin, a DuPont plastic which is so hard a blow with it would wipe you out. Why is it perfect? Because he was a first class programmer who knew how to tool and die and have the right sharpening and cutting tools. I've handle the pieces and while no longer made, I waited too long to get one. Makes the word "gorgeous" seem inadequate. When you go into wood you can do quite well, but perfect, probably not.

3) One designer and chess set pattern maker had a gorgeous description written up years ago about how he fiddled with this, fiddled with that, etc. I am sure he did. He also had his plastic pieces made outside the USA. Within no time the weights started rattling even though they were guaranteed NOT TO. He's still in business, maybe making betters sets. I notice he does know how to raise the prices, so let's hope so. If you are around a while you hopefully learn something. He writes well, of that I agree, but after all these years I can read between the lines and notice what ISN'T said as well as what IS.

4) Most hide where their pieces are made. All the good stuff (I'll make one other exception, possibly Italy) is made in India. The mediocre stuff is made in Poland, Germany, and lord knows where else... probably Russia too, maybe shops in former Yugoslavia. There are a few places that have their own studios and carve their own men or lathe them (or both) and they DO know what they are doing, but it can take them awhile to make a set. Working on it hour after hour is mentally and physically fatiguing.

You see, chess set making is really, really, boring. After you've made a couple it gets really tiresome (many amateur wood carvers give up after one set)... hence the need for machine shop precision where the "tweaking" is done via software.

5) Here's another thing. Seems like 50 is the magic number. "Only 50 made!" Do you have ANY proof of that? It's like autographed baseball cards, equipment etc. Unless you know the star and you were on the spot when he was writing, that doesn't mean anything except to the manufacturer who I am 1000% positive would let you look at his records! (Right.) Some years ago Fischer's "signature" was on something and it was mentioned on ChessBase.com (unbelievable). One look, for a nano second, told me it was crazy. But those who have never seen Fischer's autograph might believe it. I owned Fischer autographs from different sources for many years, before forgeries became the norm. He even signed a "My 60 Memorable Games" book I had, in Denver, on the spot, on the stage. I could reproduce Fischer's autograph 100 times better than these bozos, so if you want a real Fischer's autograph, you better REALLY be certain. Fischer's was not that legible, so when you see something nice, neat, and nearly "printed," rest assured, you are going to lose dough.

In my possession is a huge collection of miniature sets (travel and analysis sets) and regulation size sets made out of all kinds of materials. I've just started selling them again. Sold a very nice one, locally, to the wife of a friend of mine. He went nuts and wrote me:

"Bob:
The last time I was at the shop, I couldn't help but look at some of the used sets you had. I told myself I'd come back and look them over more closely after the first of the year. But I figured I would be hardpressed to find anything in my price range, especially when the first one I picked up was a Jaques set. 
"Apparently the Mrs. was reading my mind. She got me a beautiful set complete with walnut box. Not that I need another set, I already have several wooden sets plus the plastic standbys, but nothing as nice as what I opened on Christmas Day. 
"Thanks for steering her in the right direction. 
"She now knows more about sets -- the different woods, the importance of being weighted, what a knight will tell you about the set, and the size of pieces -- than she ever thought she would.
"Those details mean a lot to a chess player. "
(name withheld)

Is he thrilled? Certainly. His wife also got to inspect the set on my premises. I even showed her other sets. My friend hadn't seen this one when he was in earlier, I brought it down especially for her.

It really does pay to know who you are dealing with. I've sold chess sets, the good stuff, since 1971 (Jaques, imported from a friend in Denmark). Though I have non-Staunton sets, I prefer the Staunton design. If you are interested in seeing some photos and getting my list (when it becomes available), let me know.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

PS: I've had discussions with "knowledgeable" chess set people. Maybe a few of them have learned a lot since I had talked to them, but expensive ISN'T the criteria except, WHEN it is! I recall one set I sold for $2,500 and this guy calls me up, freaking out. He's an expert on Staunton sets and there was no way it was worth that! So I asked, "Well Mr. Smartypants, what should I be selling them for?" He said he had his (same brand as what I had) for $1,000. I said, "I'll take all you have!" I wasn't joking. And to make matters worse, he had NONE! (I know this guy, he was lying to me. Once he realized I would buy 5 or 10 at $1,000 each all of a sudden, they weren't for sale. My respect for him plummeted after that. You can't shine up bad character [referred to as polishing a turd.])

I think I might have another set which was exclusively made for B.H. Wood, the publisher, years ago, of Chess. This may be a faulty recollection however. I have sold this set a couple times, bought and resold, same set. My records indicate it was sold for $2,700. So even if I do not have that one (one of a kind), I have one or two copies which were made (I think they were made for him too, but a different color from the original), for $500 each if anyone is interested. This is called pedigree but the only word you have is mine. These things don't often come with papers so when I see sets (and I've seen these offered by several different "manufacturers") with certificates of authenticity, brass plated, plastic insets, etc. I crack up. Anyone with the right equipment can make this stuff.

On the other hand, if you JUST LIKE the darn thing, and you can afford it, don't worry about all that other crap, just get it! Use it. Store it on your mantel. Hide it in your underwear drawer. Just don't get too anal. All the great old sets look like they have been used, even museum sets. Expect to pay something for them. When I hear people bragging about their chess set collection and the first thing they drag out is one made of onyx (or marble) from Mexico I want to leave town.


BOB

Monday, December 26, 2011

CHESS REPORTS PROMOTIONS... FREE SAMPLES

It was less than a year ago that I was on the tail end of finishing up The Chess Reports publication which had over 2,000 pages in the 10 published volumes.

Last night and today I was reminiscing, by actually looking through them, at how much really good stuff there was in them INCLUDING the contributions from readers. It's a slow process because now and then I get stuck on a couple issues and start reading. I find typos, and a few mistakes, but, you have to trundle on as they carried an enormously short deadline--one week in the early days.

I made up a stack of CDs to hold all 128 issues and I have it for sale at a very special price. The $199 is a steal, over 60% off of the regular retail of $545.00.

But... in order to get you salivating at the type of contents you can find I am giving away FREE issue #22 which was about SLOWING DOWN THE "BLUNDER" BRIGADE. All you have to do is request it with your email address querying mine (bob@thinkerspressinc.com) and I will send you one.

Those who have been buying Abbazia 1912 will find included with the first class shipment printed copies of two fantastic testimonial letters of those Chess Reports days. One is from USCF Expert Gary White and it's on staying current. The other is from another subscriber, Dale Suilmann and it describes the way he studies tactics (it's very good). These will be mailed free with any orders I receive requiring first class postage. He also says he is a "Purdy Man," meaning he gobbles up anything on CJS Purdy. And to that end, I want to inform everyone that issue #4 of the Purdy Chess Chronicles will be going out this week. A subscription is $69.95 for all 4 issues + the TWO Bonuses (Alekhine interview and a huge games index of the games reported in the various Purdy publications we have put together over the years).

Lots here to start out the new year.

Thanks.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

PS: By the way, since the post office is not working today, the Abbazia 1912 books will not be mailed until tomorrow. Most everyone else works today but the postal union grabs some extras. They don't believe the government will allow the PO to fail, but they might be surprised at how it's all reconfigured... and they may end up having to get a job elsewhere. You grab too much you end up with nothing eventually. Time to work extra days like everyone else (I may as well toss bankers in there but you already get the idea). Yes, I know Sunday doesn't count as a Holiday but we have President's Day and a host of other stuff coming up. The other businesses are open... which reminds me, I better get to the grocery store.

Friday, December 23, 2011

NO REST FOR THE NEEDY

At this very moment I know one chess person who has a LOT of money and still gets suppers at homeless shelters, food places, etc. He has $200K house (almost new), and gets thousands per month in income (part time job), disability, and other perks. It's irritating but no more, in fact likely much, much less, than big US corporations who get big tax breaks from Uncle Sam or outright cash (McDonald's in foreign countries). I love big oil's arguments. They feel they should be guaranteed 6-7% increases per year just like other stocks. There are no guarantees guys, not anymore.

Despite all that, and those losers!?, still give at this time of the year to reputable institutions such as the Salvation Army bell-ringers ensconced in front of grocery stores. Tip your waiters and waitresses well (they have kids too). Help the ladies who wrap packages inside bookstores. None of these folks are walking around with silver canes or walkers, they have more empathy than most. Finally, the SA is paying some of these folks to freeze their tush's off.

Put some real money in the collection plate. I've had people tell me they can't do such and such because they just bought a computer, an iPad, or their third smartphone. Those things, and their contracts, aren't freebies. Set aside some for the less fortunate. And if you really and truly don't have much, offer a great smile and a hello. That always helps even if it is only you!

I heard yesterday about some idiot in Utah who won a Lamborghini and wrecked it within 6 hours, driving too fast in bad conditions. I just saw another one of those Alabama Wal-Mart people postings. Depressing stuff. On the other hand, I just heard on NPR about the 5 Star  Taj Hotel in India and the fastidious, helpful, and over the top service the employees provided ALL guests when they were attacked by terrorists in Mumbai. Many of them lost their lives or the lives of members of their family.

In another statement of complete WTF!, the North Koreans announced that just before Kim Jong Il died, the mountain where he would be buried gave off a red glow. They embraced this idea but... I think we now know where the entrance to "hell" is!!

One last thought which I will cover in a future Gentlemens Chess Club newsletter: BE KIND to new chess players or new club players. I remember one time when 3 or 4 guys showed up one evening (not at my club, a different one I belonged to). You could tell they played chess with each other at lunch and probably other occasions (they did A/C installations). We paired them off against members of the club who proceeded to do their best at wiping them out!! They never came back. Sure, they weren't as good as they probably thought they were, that's common in chess... but there was too much "silent glee" at roasting and toasting the new guys. I am sure they "felt" the "you're new here aren't you?" vibes. Also who knows how many others they might have eventually brought to the club. For all their "thinking" prowess, lots of people, and lots of chess players, don't really manifest it.

Bad manners often go with bad character.

Otherwise, Merry Christmas to all my readers.

Bob Long

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SCORE 10 IS IN THE ETHER

As I've mentioned before, when I am "silent" on here I am usually working manically to finish a project and completely overlook that I haven't done a Blog. Intensity it is, right on Focus.

As I finished up SCORE today with many more pages than I intended (by including a 2 page order form for one), I was watching Simon Williams' DVD Play Like Tal. He was killing me! Funnier than ANY other chess DVD I've seen! It's interactive so you get to choose moves. So far on the first three I got the first one on the first try, and 2 and 3 on the second try. I wasn't concentrating enough (necessary).

But Simon offers hints on HOW Tal played. His stories of Tal are incredible and so was Tal's "lifestyle." Drinking while drinking and smoking while smoking. If he took showers he probably smoked in the shower! But, for a small guy, he had an incredibly powerful and intuitive brain and it was as fast as lightning. There was one story about Tal actually "thinking" for 45 minutes before making a move. Later people said they were amazed at his "depth" of concentration. What it actually was -- a story in his head about HOW to get a hippopotamus out of a swamp. When he finally made the decision to let the hippo "drown," the image went away, he came back to chess and the move to make was obvious!

I have a feeling I should have ordered more but the distributor IS very fast with me so don't worry about that. $29.95 (2 DVDs) for the G&L price and $27.95 for the Gold Card price. Add $2 for first class shipping. (BTW Williams DVDs on the Sicilian Dragon are full of juice and chess healthiness while Sam Collins' "Killer c3 Sicilian" has convinced me of an opening I need to know for those "sometimes 1.e4" games.

If you want additional info on these DVDs and books I can send you a free SAMPLE copy of the current issue of SCORE but you have to send me your email address.

With that, I am off to look at a gift and purchase for Rita? Remember her? She hurt her left foot and is off work for 3 weeks and loves the REST! I've heard of "rest," what is it? Well, she has a job where she gets a check every two weeks and I don't... so I have to interest my customers in something... and maybe that issue of SCORE will help. If you are a PAID subscriber you should have your issue by now, or within an hour or so... it's a biggie and there is a lot of traffic on the web today. Bandwidth boogey.

Send those letters, orders, cards, and baseball cards right here to:

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

GOOD THINGS HAPPEN IN CHUNKS

You've probably heard that "bad news comes in threes?" So does good news.

I screwed up by only allowing two weeks for the next issue of SCORE, it should always be three or four. Well, it's possible issue #10 will be out this Friday as I have 50% of it completed with thanks to Andrew Martin. If it is out this Friday, then there will be a longer spell between #10 and #11.

Secondly, Purdy's Chess Chronicles #4 is almost finished and a big chunk of #5 is done, which won't be sold by subscription. Psychological reasons for that for me.

Thirdly, I got my boxes in today for my experiment of the PizzaPak Kit for To The Point. If I get that whole package out in December that will be a miracle and means I gave up on everything else, which is not quite possible yet. So expect it in January. Plus I have to go through a couple hundred games for the CD. Want you to LIKE TTP, not get turned off by it.

But, to continue on, it looks as though Abbazia 1912 might be here this week.

Sales have plummeted to the basement and I wonder whether the USCF 20% off of everything sale has anything to do with it? Those kinds of sales usually mean BAD news is coming. This is what makes it difficult to sell a commodity. After someone else has appeared to fail they have a giant sale and it kills the rest of us who have been doing this for years while the new people are still in diapers and resting on their laurels of "knowing everything." Tain't true, takes more than going to college. In fact, I think going to college hinders good marketing because it puts you into the mold of someone who only teaches it, and who doesn't practice it.

Anyway, am taking a day off tomorrow to see my friend Steve Lamansky in mid-Iowa. He promises food and fun and some chess "thinking." Hope I am up to it! In the meantime, while I am out of town, please flood my email box with orders, requests, that kind of thing. You'll make my Mom happy (she can let up on the CARE packages) and me delirious. When I get delirious then that means I have a few extra bucks and maybe can find someone to go to a movie with! Lots of good ones this week and next.

In the meantime, don't "goose" people you don't know, it usually annoys them.

bob@thinkerspressinc.bob

Friday, December 16, 2011

ABBAZIA 1912 SHIPS

Just got word it shipped from the printer. What I think it really means is they are confirming (!) they are shipping. This company prints well but their understanding of English and declaratory sentences both off the web and online, is definitely substandard in line with many other web sites.

Do ME a favor readers, register with this website and through Google. Don't be such a Big Baby and give me all that crap about "having to do something," "getting emails from everyone, etc." It isn't true. Google DOES want to own the world and they will try to do that through their Android devices, not the Blogosphere.

ADVANTAGE: People read this web site because they like the content. I know several IMs who read it all the time and LOTS of people who contact me or tell me over the phone they do, but it looks like I only have 19 people who give a damn. When this was Chess Museum there were around 60-70 and I know way more than that. Now people think they are boxing and "ducking and weaving." We are living in a commitment-phobic era. A friend who works in a law office told me that "divorces are always up around Christmas time." Cowards! Get out of buying a present for someone you used to love but now, "Waaaaah, my life is so miserable."

Google gives more credence to preferences IF I have lots of "registered" viewers. And who knows, if I get enough I can have somebody put some "I'll pay you enough to keep you from starving" ads on here (I didn't say you had to view them!) You can bet your rump it won't be a chess advertiser, esp. Batsford, Gambit or Everyman. I have tried all of them. The only one who would advertise with me was, McFarland! Good company. Robbie is one of the good guys, the rest couldn't make a decision if a gun was pointed at their heads. So they say "no," or "contact me later." We need a Universal Database to keep track of all the wimps and limps in the world so that we don't accidentally hire them!

Christmas is coming and Santa knows who the REAL bad boys and girls are. (Think Washington DC first, then go down the list.)

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SINCERITY AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR AND A BAH HUMBUG

I just opened a virtual "Christmas card" from my main printer. Yeesh, how crass. Was it from the people I deal with, 3-4 of them? Nope. It was a corporate thing of people on sleds, etc. sliding down a snowy hill and of course not wanting to offend anyone, it said "Happy Holidays."

Totally sleep inducing, and I didn't feel even 1% better that they spent their time on me even if I spend thousands of dollars a year with them, year after year while they invent new fees to charge (an example: My Merchant Statement from my credit card company has 14 different fees they charge me each month including a "Data Breach Fee." That is, if someone hacks into their credit card records instead of THEM being responsible for their security lapses, each merchant pays a $5 fee! And it goes on and on like this. Keeping track of all this crap on their fee list hires more people whose job is to do diddly stuff.)

I wish my customers good things, acknowledge them, tell them when their packages will ship. Some call this personalized service.

I am sure I have customers who are Christian, Jewish, atheists, agnostic, non-denominational, and maybe even Muslim. Thanks for your business and "looking in" from time to time. You mean something to me as you help keep the engine of industry churning and allow me to buy groceries, pick up a few presents for others and so on.

On the slightly damper side I noticed the US Post Office has stamps for Kwanza. What a fraud! This isn't winter solstice, a religious festival or anything like that. It is a bogus attempt for attention after the Watts riots in California. Why is there a stamp for this? Why is there anything for this? Aren't Americans Americans? Do I tell people I am German American, or Irish American, or Plutonium American? Nope and neither do most others.

We have become, as a nation, so politically correct (PC) anymore that you can hurt somebody's feelings by looking cross-eyed at them. Who was originally responsible for this? Answer: Weak people  (wimps) because to start this height-challenged stuff, weight challenged stuff, it empowers their weak little knees and tiny little head. Are any of these people in thriving and ongoing businesses or do they work for city, state, and federal governments or teach in the university-college systems where they have the time (and get paid for it) to play act? Real stuff takes real work (even chess) not "make believe work" on someone else's dime and time.

Then again I have problems with days like Columbus Day, President's Day, Martin Luther King Day. Fine people all, but THEY never needed a holiday to prove it.

And by the way, we have this terrific Holiday Season coming up called Christmas and I hope you have a blast (Hannukah, etc.). If you are single, or lonely, join the club. I am looking forward to 2012, but then again, I am always looking forward to the NEW year. Do something with your family. Play some chess with somebody. Do Something.

Now to show you this is Bob, not a substitute, send those orders, cards and letters in. Be glad to hear from you unless you have a hang up about this PC thing.


Last comment for the day: Thank you for reading this blog, for putting up with me, and for doing business with me if you do (and I hope you do). Life is a Quid Pro Quo in reality and I hope I give you good products and time for your $$$. I feel better already.


Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FINALLY... NEW ITEMS HERE

G&L CHESS is putting out a 6-pager today of newly acquired chess books and DVDs and with a mention of several which are coming.

A special sale will be on for 2-days only to see if some of the "dead" can be wakened (a very tough obstacle by the way).

New in Chess 98 and 100 will make their appearance too.

In the interests of book cover design I have depicted Broznik's new 1.d4 BEAT The GUERILLAS. It has a "jungly-looking" cover but NO gorillas. The "jungle" is probably just a garden or forest with a green-filter lens, so, that's kind of fakey.

The book, however, has some genuinely interesting "non-fake" chess openings under the glass. I'm sure the nose in the air pundit sniffers will have some interesting things to say about this. From my viewpoint it brings to the table things we have heard about or even had to play into (or out of).

There will always be opponents who want us to think originally while perhaps that is not as true of them (after all, they know in advance what they intend to do).

Here is a rundown on extremely varied contents:



How does one deal with Black’s aggravating weirdities after 1.d4. The books is strong on content, useful games and “complete” like I have never seen. Here’s what I mean:

Part 1: Various 1st moves, Englund and Zilbermints Gambits(etc.), Dutch Benoni, The Woozle, Polish Defense, Owen’s Defense, 1…Nc6, Keres’ Def., the English Defense.

Part 2: Queen’s Gambit variants: Marshall, Austrian, Baltic, Albin, Schara-Hennig, Delayed Stonewall.

Part 3: Indian Specialties: Snake Benoni, Vulture, Fajarowiz and Budapest Gambits, and the Black Knights Tango.

Broznik believes that White shouldn’t have to put up with this stuff even if it only shows once in a while. 224 pages. G&L price is $21.50, the Gold Card price is $18.95. SIX dollars off of the $24.95 retail.

Your copy, if you are on my email list, should arrive today. If you aren't on said list, contact me and I will make sure you get one.


bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

SATURDAY TOURNAMENT

THANKS
First off, I want to thank out of towners Steve Lamansky and Earl Zismer, who drove quite a ways to come Saturday.

Then I would like to thank Ed Reedy, Roger Kromphardt, Joe Willett (and a new GCC member to boot!), Justin Gilbraith (who joins GCC on a monthly basis), and myself (Bob Long) for coming to play.

Entry fee was $25 unless you belonged to GCC which almost all did.

We were done somewhere between 3 and 4 p.m., starting at 10 a.m.!

Steve was nice and footed the bill for pizza from Harris and it hit the spot. Thanks Steve. As you know I have free water and pop at GCC (Gentlemens Chess Club).

RESULTS
There were three place prizes and a trophy.
1st: Bob Long (my friend Allan Savage thought it was "rude" to win my own tournament and I agreed with him but I wasn't even going to play!) When it looked like we were going to have an "odd" number I was asked by the top-rated guy there, Steve Lamansky, to play, so I joined in. Once the event got started, another came making it 7. Back to "odd" again.
So I got the trophy to my own event too... and I would like to make this an annual thing not because I love annual events but because of the "comment" below.
2nd: Steve Lamansky -- we had a nice tug of war didn't we Steve?
3rd: Earl Zismer (who donated his winnings back to GCC--thanks Earl, cool!)



COMMENTS
Annual thing: The kudos were many when it was over: UNRATED (lowering the pressure cooker part), fun, no scoresheets, no rankings or ratings, AND, when you were done you just played whoever was available. If you had played them before, you switched colors. No histrionics, problems... everyone was having fun. I had brought down a ton of work to do in the event I wasn't playing (I try to avoid playing at my own events) and got NONE of it done, but I had fun... which for me is not a too often thing.

If you were "thinking" of coming you should have called. People tend to draw their own conclusions as to when something will be finished and I dare say they often are incorrect. The time control was 10 minutes, no delay. But I gave an option of 15 minutes if both players agreed and I will report all games but my first one were 15 minutes for each side.

While I was going for a "perfect" no losing streak (wins and draws) I would like to mention here that Earl upset that applecart by beating me at the end of the tournament. He said that was for beating him at the beginning. Thanks Earl for a lesson in "revenge."

The "impression" I got was one of "let's do this type of event again!" What I liked was no paperwork to the USCF and no sending then a rating fee either.

If more had been there we would have had a SINGLE round with each player. Those who had to leave early for work, or had something else on their menu could... that was one tremendous feature. If your results weren't going so well and you wanted to leave to take care of something else, it would hurt those who hadn't played you, so there was a tendency to "pick up" games as soon as possible with little to no waiting around.

But I am going to begin "ruining" things by advertising in Chess Life and getting who knows who because I have a mortgage, utilities, and taxes to pay on this building.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, December 9, 2011

TOURNAMENT TOMORROW LAST MAN STANDING

Some of the details were posted yesterday, please refer to that.

Joe Willetts is coming but the only one 100% confirmed. Does anyone out there have an IDEA of what to say or do to get people to acknowledge they will come? I don't mean the entry fee in advance is much lower than the one at the door because in my experience (these days) and from what other TDs have told me, it doesn't make much difference. People look at many tournaments as "disposable," "take them or leave them."

Joe joined the Gentlemens Chess Club last night, making paid member #13 and Justin Gilbreath has the type of job where he can't always be sure that on Thursday evening he won't be called into work, so he is looking at a Monthly Membership. Which by the way folks is $12.

So I want to congratulate these Gentlemen and also look forward to the first LADY who joins.

BTW it's $100 now. The deadline was Nov 30 for the $50 fee, it has passed. However "Country Gentlemen" can still join for $50 (must be more than 90 miles away.

That's it for today... will be down at the shop photographing chess sets for a new catalog.

What have you been up to? Getting any chess gifts for Christmas? Pounding the doors down of Amazon.com?

Gotta go...

contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SCORE AND SUPPLEMENT

Been busy as you may have figured.

1) SCORE #9 is due tomorrow but I am trying to send it out today.

2) Supplemental BONUS and Holiday Catalog goes out this evening and includes BONUSES (which I call BONI) if your order exceeds $60. FREE books. You probably don't own them either.

3) ABBAZI 1912 the King's Gambit Accepted tournament book, full of tactics, vim, vinegar and bizzaro comments by winner Rudy Spielmann is at the printer. As I mention in ads in SCORE 9 and the Catalog, only 100 will be printed (unless the demand is over the top, which, being a tournament book, is doubtful). It will be shipped in the USA for FREE. It is 89 annotated pages. The Muzio Gambit (and its decline) is kind of interesting. Spielmann won 1000 crowns and then he immediately moaned about the type of tournament and how the King's Gambit sucked more than a Hoover.

4) Have to prepare a game for tonight at the Gentlemens Chess Club. I already have it picked out and invite you to show at 6 PM at 1101 W. 4th St in Davenport, IA.

5) Sent out TUXEDO JUNCTION newsletter Sunday or Monday for the LAST MAN STANDING tournament this weekend at the GCC. $25 ($20 if you are a GCC member). One day, Saturday. Starts a 10 AM and is UNRATED for a change. The concept of Last Man Standing started with my knowledge of the Bruce Willis movie. Details for asking (bob@thinkerspressinc.com)

6) I am working on 2 books for another author at the moment and... I am looking for my manuscript for the Feb release of MODERN CHESS BRILLIANCIES HUSTLED. Sometimes there is just too much going on.

Also hope you make some purchases to keep this enterprise going. Been a tough year.

Gold Card renewals are ready for 2012. $50.

Later...

Bob

Monday, December 5, 2011

FAILING THE TEST

After three weeks or more of waiting for my Certified TD results on the Local TD level, I finally got an email telling me I flunked! I missed 9, allowed to miss 8. Another guy I know, a pretty sharp Army colonel missed 8 and squeezed in!

I was told which ones I had wrong.

Actually, I spent more time on this test than it was worth. I am still certified as a Club Level TD and have asked HOW SOON I can take the test again (I really don't even want to be a TD anymore--it's a thankless job)? This should have been on the Fail Report.

As I was taking the test, and mentioned some Blogs back, I could see some amazing "hair splitting" in the answers. Hair splitting results when you are up against a chess lawyer. A guy with nothing else to do but argue.

The Weird Part
Here is the weird part and I wonder if this has happened to you. When you were in H.S. or College didn't you pretty much know whether you had aced, bombed, or passed a test and you were usually right? Me too. Of course I am referring to tests with Multiple Choice (like this one) not essays where one might try to B.S. their way through an event of epic proportions!

I thought I had aced this test. So now I have to re-evaluate, look at the answers I gave (I kept a copy just for this purpose) and see if I can REASON my way to CONFORMITY. I really think that is what this is. The OTHER possibility is that there was a big sheaf of CHANGES I hadn't read! Reason: Time and this was for the Basic Level, directing tournaments in the neighborhood. So now I will read the SHEAF and see whether Up is now Down and IN is really OUT.

Not mad, just disappointed that it took so long to get the results (that's how mixups happen) and I wasted so much time on reading the Rule Book (which I've said before I took the test, was poorly designed). The point of these tests, I am guessing, is reasoning powers: mine vs. theirs so that a TD can make an ON the SPOT judgment in some sort of "iffy" situation. As I've said before, lots of these situations can be eliminated if there are hard and fast rules. FIDE now has it that if you are late, even for one minute, for the game, YOU LOSE! That's the way it should be. All this grandstanding, sleeping in late, mocking and all this other crap is just that, crap. It is Political Correctness AMPED up. As with victims of crime, there is little or no consideration for the GUY or GAL who showed up on time and actually planned to. Most sales people are on time or a little ahead of time because their livelihood depends on NOT ticking off the person they want to sell too. Being late ticks them off.

EQUIPMENT
And the clocks play an important part. EVERY chess player in an event should bring a working clock, chess set, board, scorepad or recording device. If you don't have the basic tools, you forfeit. How often have we been at tournaments where higher-rated players show their complete disdain for us commoners by not having ANY tools to use at the table? And these people have gotten away with this for years. Sammy Reshevsky claimed he didn't even own a chess set! We know for sure he didn't own a clock because he had the bad habit of claiming that the clock he was using was defective IF he lost on time. If I recall reading correctly one TD told him, in effect, "Tough Apples Buddy" and refused to consider Reshevsky's complaint of a defective clock. He had even been caught keeping his finger on the button so that his opponent couldn't push down his button! (Cleveland US Championship). This attitude is PC at its worst--fear of upsetting a muckety muck, or perceived muckety muck.

Other high rated players have coughed incessantly when it is your turn to play or keep knocking the clock over. I recently heard from someone who wants me to publish his book and he was a known offender like this. Folks, it AIN'T gonna happen! The word "lout" is in the dictionary for a reason even if it only refers to ONE person!

PS: If I was the person in charge of TD quizzes and I had a backlog, the solution is simple. I would take them home, grade them there while watching a DVD, listening to some music, etc. until they were caught up. It can be done and people do that. Being at work in the evening is no guarantee of accuracy, but if one takes their time and even only does 5-10 such quiz sheets, within a week or two, everyone will be caught up--but the problem is one workers often have--it ain't my job off hours. Well, employers don't feel that way (or shouldn't unless they have an employee mentality). I heard someone say recently they hadn't gotten a raise in 3 years. I almost asked, "And... have you done something above and beyond what you were getting paid for to merit such a raise?" But I knew I would get the "deer in the headlights look." If someone agrees to work for $15 an hour making widgets, they don't deserve a raise unless they have done something beyond making widgets. It's not in the Constitution. It's not a right. The only way I get a raise at MY company is to produce more and to sell more.

PS: Don't forget there is a tournament this weekend at the Gentlemens Chess Club. Last Man Standing, details tomorrow (I hope).