Wednesday, May 30, 2012


they liked the format of the current (and most likely previous too) World Chess Championship match.

Not that Gelfand had a lot of fans, but that "drawing" one's way to the title using "speedier" games rather than the Classical style of 40 in 2 or in the past 40 in 2.5 is just hokey.

A couple million bucks were at stake (but mostly the title), but the expenses of the players were undoubtedly profit eaters as well as the costs of enhanced computer equipment, etc... all used to produce a champion by one rapid game and electronics.

The advantage of the 24 game match is that usually there was plenty of "time" to play INTO the match and so a few wins here or there didn't take one OUT of the chances to win. Here, it seemed like the roll of the dice hung on every game. Is that chess or tension?

I think the players showed capabilities of getting good games but then would allow the opponent to defend like a genius or they would miss their own way. Most likely they were thinking, EVERY game, "What if I blow this?" Real champions don't do this, they have more belief in themselves than that. Time to bring back Tal.

The video commentators King and Martin seemed genuinely distressed about the course of events and what MOST likely would happen... and it did. I would like to have read their mind about what they really thought, in words, because I would've bet it was MORE than "disappointment."

No wonder so many admire the play of Magnus Carlsen.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The lowdown on e-Readers

If one wants to start an argument make a comment about someone's e-Reader that they may not like.

So far I have managed to avoid this. But I do remember the early days and they were kind of grim. There were a bunch of competing expensive pacifiers. I think it was in the 90s when owners would go out of their way to extol their limited virtues. In the marketing business we call these pioneering guys the ones with "the arrows in their backs."

As far as eReaders go, I do not yet own one (I don't want to pay $100+ nor want to be near a wi-fi station or pay monthly for that). I have seen many, I have talked with owners. In the VAST majority of instances it is a "badge of honor" or pride thing: "Hey look, see what I have!" Then, "Do you have one?"

Of course they are on smartphones too. Smartphones are "portable encyclopedias" with pretty pictures. But as someone MIGHT have written, they have NO SOUL but they often do have FAST answers and of course, we have to have FAST even if what we are doing doesn't matter all that much. Now people use them to cheat at "trivia" in church rec areas!

Where I think they MIGHT be valuable? On a trip, vacation where you might not want to lug around a bunch of books. But this doesn't sound like chess books does it? More like general reads I suppose.

Everyman Chess has "software" created books and there is NO interaction. Can't add or subtract. In my attempt to sell even ONE, a book by Sam Collins on the French, it bombed horrifically. I decided not to stock the rest even though they are prominently displayed on the Everyman website. In fact, one of the "converter" guys wrote to me looking for work. Apparently the chess enthusiasts of the world are not yet ready--if they ever will be.

On a recent trip to Chicago I chatted with a fellow (an older dude, like me) behind the counter and he said it best, "There's nothing like holding a book in your hand. It feels so much more alive." Well, I have the exact quote written down here somewhere, but that will have to do for now.

I remember picking up a book on Walt Disney at that B&N store. To me, it's just MORE fun to read, in bed, in the parking lot, anywhere, just like on a Nook or a Kindle. Nook is a stupid name because for years it indicated a "corner" of some universe where someone was going to write from and it was done repeatedly: "Knight's Nook" or some such. Trite.

The Kindle? Let's see, the very smart "Jeff Bezos" (smart: he got lots of people to invest in HIS fantasy. After many years of indebtedness (still? I've heard...), he succeeded. The investors in Facebook--what did they get? Well they got what they deserved didn't they?) came up with the name "Kindle" or was it a "lackey?" Lame to the max. I've figured it out, the HYPE made buyers forget the name. It caught on, just like the name "iPod." (I keep thinking of the Pod People and wow, who wants that?)

Sometimes it works... usually, it doesn't. My MAIN beef is with Amazon, the Wal-Mart of business ruination. The big-box stores are waning, as are the Malls. However, it was recently reported that if you ALSO sold food, like Wal-Mart and Target, you had a chance to survive. Do we even want that?

What ever happened to the Dick Tracy watch with video and sound? I think it is called a "phone," which I see more people looking at than where they are going!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


In Cleveland recently there was a vendor I met who told the crowd about an item named "SHOOK." We were all suitably impressed, even though I've been making them for some time ("Chess Gangs of New York and London"). As more details come to light, I'll share them with you. The two owners of this amazing imagery thing they had may be involved in the new chess training board I am making... we'll have to see.

Thanks for not being cranky about my not having a Blog up here every day like I used to. I've just been really, really busy. Does that mean that when a Blogger has something up all the time he/she isn't busy? Unless that person is getting paid to blog (what an ugly word), I would have to say "Not too busy at that moment."

According to my Blogger Stats about 70 other people read these pages who do not register! That is, about 1/3rd reveal themselves. I suspect the number is higher because I am sure some only check in here once in a while.

Lately I've been working, day after day, on "another secret weapon." Can't tell you what yet, but one VERY important aspect is that it won't be reported here. To receive it, benefits, and gifts, you have to send me your real name, address (physical) and email address. One MAIN reason is so that I will know WHERE to send the stuff by postal delivery ("Doh" as Homer S. would say). It has to do with chess, not insurance, not another darn credit card application, etc.

In some of my reports I will refer to myself as the "Secrets Guy" or "Secrets Man" because I've been turning up a lot of them and a new book in my Trilogy series will make its way into the ether in October of this year at the Fall Chess Classic. There's a whole lot more to chess than what you are fed by some web sites or even the FIDE Armageddon machine--really cool and entertaining stuff.

Some of you know that I spent 5 days in Cleveland a week ago and the experience was exhilarating. On the first day of the conference I was taught NOTHING I didn't already know, by some of the smartest guys in the room. (One Chicago guy said I could be teaching on the platform--but that's not so much my style.)

On the second day there were "cracks" showing. That is, wiggle room for me to learn a little more... and glad of it!

On the third day I sat next to a guy I really wanted to meet! Actually, he sat down next to me! We became acquainted and again, by accident, I met him and a friend of his later that evening for a 2-3 hour "bull session." It was fabulous stuff but did we talk about "business?" Hardly at all... but it became clear a couple days later that was the smartest move to make (if indeed it was even a move). The details will come out later in a Special Report--which will be made to a select few. It had to do with a Non-Disclosure agreement I had sent out earlier to 85 people, of which 40 replied! The other 45? A big mistake fellows, yet someone told me that my 47% response rate was almost off the charts (one guy, who I saw at the event, the main man, was getting 60%!--but he had done this for years--for me, it was my first time).

Why I've been busy: The quickie details are that I am currently working on many projects and holding some people's feet to the fire and others, not so successful at that. Sadly, just like employees, the stragglers will have to eventually be let go as a business can't be run on promises which do not pan out and probably NEVER would pan out. Some people want to be on the train with the engineer, the conductor, and the chef, but they are only along for the ride and have to be let off at the next stations when it turns out they have nothing meaningful to contribute, even if it comes to only "raising one's hand."

As "things" unfold, stay here with me. I will write when I have time (this is Memorial Day weekend, so I have an extra hour). Check your email boxes and your mail in the next 2-3 weeks if you are known to me. Will also entertain those who live in foreign countries too, if, you let me know who you are.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Anand wins today.

Read my Sunday post (yesterday).

Nope... no bragging... just reminding people of one thing told to all of us by the famous Yogi Berra who said: "It ain't over 'til it's over!" Darn, people keep forgetting this.

Remember Karpov-Kasparov, first match 50 games?

"If everything was certain--there would be no reason to show up!" -- Bob Long

Now... back to filling orders and answering questions (and tons more)!

PS: I have over 20 reasons for why YOU should attend my Fall Chess Classic with IM Andrew Martin, GM Karsten Mueller, and LOTS of other stuff (and people???)... including our fabulous "goodies" bag.

Price is $295.00 and probably the best chess money you will have ever spent! October 26-28. I do, seriously, encourage early registration, will tell you WHY in the brochure for this event. Request brochure today (it's brief, past attendees will get full details).

Room ONLY for the first 24. IF (and I emphasize this) we get MORE than 24 by an early date, the event will be moved to a local hotel. I emphasize this is a DISTINCT possibility. I already have FOUR PAID (and two promisers I believe (for a change)) and I haven't even pushed this! I learned some really cooool things in Cleveland. Details will go first to the Leapfroggers and those with Black Gold Cards for 2012 and 2010 and 2011 attendees, first.

IF you want to jump to the HEAD of the line, send $295 right away to:
Bob Long, 1524 LeClaire St., Davenport, IOWA 52803.


Sunday, May 20, 2012


Last week someone asked me about the Anand-Gelfand match and I said, "People underestimate Gelfand. They think Anand is superior and think that Gelfand is "Old School" (he's not). They also think (???) that Gelfand is afraid of Anand." People at THAT level are never afraid of their opponent--same is true in boxing.

As I was driving back from Cleveland today I called my friend Johnny B in Las Vegas and he said, "How's the match going?" I replied, "I don't know, it was tied after 3 games when I went to Cleveland and I haven't seen anything since then (I did not take a computer with me)." But he only knew about the first two games and we both agreed that Gelfand, while terrific on defense, people just don't realize how tough he can be. And he DOES know how to win. And he can "grind" with the best.

Yes, Boris has a little Euwe and Bronstein in him... that is, unpredictably he can "blow" a game. But, when he's on, he's on. Anand, I see tonight (Sunday) has his work cut out for him! The match is only 12 games (which most of us think sucks). On the other hand, we all remember when in their first WCC encounter Anand finally won, only to have Kasparov come back in the next game and shove Anand off the board.

So... it's not over, but the idea that 82% favored Anand? That's ridiculous. I have a feeling Anand's own odds were much lower for this match.

Anand has done nothing for chess in terms of popularizing it here in the USA. Maybe Gelfand and his team would. This is what chess needs, a popularizer. Kramnik did nothing. These guys are NOT entertainers. Tal was, Kasparov was, Karpov at least knew how to grin. Fischer popularized chess because of himself and in spite of himself.

So... I have no problem with Gelfand winning this.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Last night at the Gentlemens Chess Club a guy came in, due to a mention of the chess club in the clubs section of a newspaper, and showed me a chess set, made of painted porcelain. Nothing new there, my brother painted a set years ago and gave it to me for my birthday--but nothing like this. This whad more than a little detail.

Each piece was wrapped in newspaper.

He wanted to know if I was interested in "buying" it.

I mentioned to him, nice fellow that he was, that it was a collector's item, a curiosity piece and I wasn't a collector of sets and neither was anyone at our club. He went through the usual, "I was thinking of putting it on eBay, etc." thing.

So fellow readers of this Blog, if you are more than a little interested (it has a neat story which I will not relate here), let me know. He wanted to get it off his hands, one of those buddy-buddy partnership-investor things.

They were American Indians, for both sides of the board. I assume different I didn't look at all of the.. Don't ask me why. Maybe they threw away the cowboys (I am kidding). They looked pretty nice (I didn't have a camera with me) and there was clearly a lot of work in them, but it's not my cup of tea. If you want to know a "round about" price I would guess $300 to $1,000.

Jacking it Up!
For anyone who wants to get into even more money I have a fantastic Chinese ivory set (before the importation of ivory was illegal). But it's about $5,000 and these days everyone wants to plead "poor mouth." If I listed it for $1K it would probably not last a heartbeat. The detail is unreal. I've seen similar sets listed for about $47,000 in Canadian money so the $5K is a huge bargain. I've also seen another set similar to this go for about $12,000, so my price, as I said, is a steal. I've had to deal with hagglers in my business and they act like they are always getting the worse end of the stick. Sincerity "written" all over their faces. Puleeeze. Want it or not?

This is on its side, should be upright. 30.5x39"
MM the Fabulous Marilyn
Oh, and if you are interested, I have a great, large, red marble matted print of the 1949 Marilyn Monroe print that was reissued by Playboy some years back (80s, 90s? Maybe a 50th anniv. 1999? I think it too was a very limited edition, superb work). An original print went for $6,500 recently. This one is as good, though doesn't have Hefner's Initials on it (fly to LA and get him to initial it!) and the gold enamel framing is beyond belief. This thing is quite large, probably big enough to piss off your wife unless she is a collector/investor type chick. I was a MM collector for awhile back in the day. She reminded me a lot of someone I knew very well, who, like MM, is also now gone.

We have one life to live on this earth, may as well have a little fun while here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


One thing I have been told, over and over and over, this past year (!) is that older guys HATE losing to "kids." I don't know how old these kids are, but I suspect they range from 8 to college.

I am positive some have quit playing because they get paired with kids whose rating shows NO reflection of their strength because at school, in clubs, they tend to play each other. I know how that problem could be solved but the USCF pays me nothing and the big tournament directors don't care or KNOW what to do. They should care, it affects their bottom line... That matters to me.

1101 W. 4th, Davenport IA
But one thing that is seldom mentioned is the "smirks," slobby attitudes, the "I know more than you do" look on their faces and that really HURTS the egos of the "older guys." No respect and isn't that what "gangs" are about? Respect.

That's why I love the name for my chess club, the Gentlemens Chess Club. No room for snobs, dickheads, or loudmouths. I am running a tournament this weekend, through my GCC member Joe Willett. It is FREE. It will be interesting to see who shows up. I'm not making money off of this GCC anyway, so it's no problem for me to throw out the unsuitable. But, I give everybody a second chance on stuff like that.

In the meantime, I have begun work on Special Report #4, which is not free (like #3 was recently). It will be called TAR BABY or something like that, as in, "Beating the Tar out of Brat Kids (Babies)." Already have a cartoon in the works. To be a member, if you are at all interested, even if you can't make it here every week, "Ya never know." Cost is $50 through July. You also get previous reports and future ones, totaling 6.

While my response anticipation is not HUGE (??), I have 5-6 members (Country Gentlemen as George Eichhorn would call them) from out of the area! "Ya never know."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TWO THINGS TODAY... All Right, THREE (or more)

A couple days ago I released Report #3 from the Gentlemens Chess Club, #3, to anyone who requested AND blog readers have requested... but a lot more could have (you still can). It was 5 pages and absolutely FREE. When I say FREE that's what I mean. There was no salesmanship to get anyone to join GCC to read the first two, which are available to Club members only. I've already sent them out (#3). Soon we (Cody and I) hope to have the online web site up and going at it and you will be able to download directly from that.

Why Does Anyone Do FREE?
Actually the main reason is to build trust and a relationship so that at some time in the future "some" will feel comfortable in doing more with my company, The Chess Butler; maybe translating into a big sale. I take a few minutes to establish  my relationships (yay or nay), some others take longer but since I am in the "chess niche" I want to attract potential customers to what I do. Personalities vary all over the map but I have a legion of folks, from years past, who feel strongly about dealing with me. Some I've met in person.

Recently I was in Chicago and an old-time friend told me, "chess resellers are hurting because of Amazon." That's true, I've experienced it myself. But chess resellers are also hurting themselves when they don't carry my TPi products because people DO WANT them! Resellers have the mistaken notion that they alone know what is best for their customers. None of us know that. I get orders from around the world from people who say, "Why don't the resellers in my country carry your stuff?" The answers are simple: shipping is not cheap anymore, there are debilitating tax laws in countries like Germany, AND they think they know what their customers will pay!? As I used to say: "Morons!" Still true. So I sell to their customers instead, directly. (Did you think I had totally reformed?)

The Fall Classic
Already 3 have registered and one is promising to shortly (and I know he will). It's $295.00 because we have some extraordinary talent lined up and that is coupled with expense. We are limited to 24 so everyone can enjoy it immensely. It will be October 26-27-28. I have a schedule made out but want to check it over and add to it. Andrew Martin and I have worked out a DEAL (for our part) to give attendees something really cool, at a really cool price (I mean, insanely cool in the price department). Need to finish this up. Also, you can save $45 or so if you own a Black Gold Card ($55) off the registration price. It's almost like getting this plastic card for FREE for 2012. Then you can use it for a dozen other things. This year I have sold more of these than at any other time EVER! About 20% more. You can get FREE lists of previously owned products (otherwise $20). You get bigger discounts off of STUFF (books, DVDs, equipment). And more I am unable to think of since I was awakened this morning, in my sleep, to tell me I am now a Great Grandfather! If you want a Black Gold Card, the Deadline is May 12th to those who have never had one.

Looking for a Fictional Writer Who Understands Drama, Tension, and Reality
Rough of Pillsbury cover
I'll probably go to Craigslist for this and I KNOW I will be inundated with at least 100 writers who all think they can do this (and 50% of them should work harder on their skills). I recently advertised for someone great at Photoshop and Illustrator and I was pulverized. I did find someone, 30 years of experience, and we clinched the deal and got the cover designed in less than a week! This is a difficult concept for youth to grasp--ON TIME, close the deal, and get paid. It is for the new book I am about to publish in June, Modern Chess Brilliancies (Hustled) by George Gossip and Harry Nelson Pillsbury. Take a look. Kids ask, "How can I get experience if you don't give me the job?" Answer is easy: Work your butt off night and day instead of going out and getting drunk and having sex. That's how I obtained skills at many things: self-discipline and lots of hard work doing what no one else would do (such as working at 3 a.m. in the morning). The cover looks even better than this rough but I already had this available to go here.

New Books and DVDs
I got several boxes of books in and I will be creating a SALES sheet for them such as Eingorn's A Rock-Solid Chess Opening Repertoire for Black. I think many have been waiting for this one in terms of content. The subhead is: "The French Connection: winning ways with 1.e4 e6 and 1.d4 e6." A Gambit book. Took it to bed for night time reading last night. Great job Viacheslav.

Due to the knee jerk reaction (and the word "jerk" is appropriate), I have been limiting my purchases of new stuff to what I think I can sell to my existing customers PLUS a couple "passersby." I didn't used to limit inventory but rather, increased purchases as much as 20% a year. But the NEW people are often tire kickers: request a catalog, then go online and see if they can save the cost of sales tax by ordering it from somewhere else 1,200 miles away. (This happened last week from a customer in Iowa.) They urgently (???) need the item but are willing to sacrifice 4-5 days (or more I've been told) to save two bucks.

In the Diner Last Night
After two solid months of nose to the grindstone work, my friend Gary and I took the evening off and went to see SAFE because we both like the "slow pace" of Jason Statham! Our bill at "Steak and Shake" was about $15.00 and we tipped the waitress $5. Why? Not because we wanted to throw money away but because she was so attentive to us. Remembered us from previous "movie occasions," and because we wanted HER for any future transactions. She answered (a 11 p.m.) our idiotic questions with aplomb and humor. She wasn't even my "type" though she was cute. We would have tipped her $20 if we had it on us. Most of those people work very hard and are only guaranteed a couple bucks an hour for wages! When a bunch of us were in Savannah, GA a few years back for a Chess Clinic the guys (Jim Perry, Julian Wan, Dale Suilmann, Andrew Martin, Rob Long, and myself) were tipping $20 EACH for meals, or sandwiches, or buying wine because we were HAVING the best times of our lives (nope, no one was drunk). Funny stories with jovial hilarity, talking about everything except chess (and probably some chess). Did those servers LOVE waiting on us? You bet. Try it some time. You will go home feeling "insanely great" as Steve Jobs used to say. They won't forget you.

I am having a SALE on inventory of Chess DVDs because I have to pay the Chess DVD distributor guy. The Euro has dropped like a rock but my DVD prices hadn't (from the distributor). I need a new distributor or to DO it myself, but then, I am dealing with the rigid Germans and I think you have to buy everything which comes out, in quantity, and that includes crap such as DVDs "made" by Grivas. I don't want to get into that trap (yet). You have to be a BIG buying force in order to pull that off where they give you great terms. In the meantime, the LIST will go first to Black Gold Card holders. What is left will go to everyone else. I'm telling you, there are a lot of great reasons to OWN one of those Black Gold Cards for 2012. Most of the time they just occur to me (the reasons) as I am working.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Whenever I hear someone call a Knight a "horsie" it makes me cringe. Some do it on purpose, others are oblivious.

Same way with "Castle," rather than "Rook." No one but newbies uses the word "castle" anymore.

The proof of "effort" to change is in the pudding they say. Report #3 goes out to members of the Gentlemens Chess Club today, via email. It's about "Getting back on your 'horse' " if you haven't played chess in a while, and a bunch of other things. Part of a 6-part series free to all members. It's for GCC members, but to introduce you to GCC for the last 6 months of membership, I will send a copy to anyone who requests it, at no charge. But there is a deadline. This Wednesday, May 9th. If I don't get your request by then, you will have to join GCC ($50).

Lots of good information including a picture of the next cover for "The Chess Gangs of New York and London."

Back to work.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Yesterday I had a book with me (New in Chess 101). In preparation for a "class" on Sunday I was doing some reading up on a subject I knew little about--the "triangle nature" of the Semi-Slav pawn set up.

Funny thing, while I had heard the Marshall Gambit mentioned for years (not the Ruy Lopez one), I never paid any attention to it. Now I have. It's exciting. For a pawn Black has to do a lot of tap-dancing with his King. One misstep and WHACK... thunder has struck and your opponent is dead meat.

I went through a couple games where White won and will go through at least one where White lost (the GM Sakaev doing both!) to find out what the "worry spots" are.

It reminded me once again about CHANGE and why so many people resist it. One politician promised "hope and change." We got the "hope" part right, but the change, not so much, unless change for the worse is "change" (which, it is).

I see people playing the SAME stuff, week after week, in the end, same results. Is there a fear factor here? Of course there is--fear of DOING new, non-routine work. YET I would bet if there was $1,000 on the line, the "non-changer" would be going out of their way to befuddle and confuse their opponent--thus, CHANGE.

Seems like something has to be riding on the line/bet before most are willing to do anything on their own, and get better (or worse) results, even if only temporary.

I don't know who said it but it surely is true that NOTHING succeeds like success. Have a little.

PS: Perhaps the best issue yet of SCORE is going out tomorrow. Gee whiz, 24 pages. Trying to get Season One subscribers to subscribe to Season Two. There is even a PAGE (this is HUMOR folks) on why people shouldn't re-subscribe. And a half page on WHY they should. let's shake the bushes and see what happens.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Hmmmm... something suspicious here. I lost a day!

I got to the keyboard this morning and was going to start my last quarter sales taxes for the state of Iowa and the date was MAY 1. What happened?

What happened is that I thought (?) Sunday was April 28th and it was the 29th. I mis-anchored it with the wrong birthday date for a friend. Don't think I've done that one before.

So it should be an interesting day. I will get knicked for being "late" and since I am late, I may as well finish up something else since the "penalty" will be the same, but then... when stuff gets put off, it is easier to do it again... blah blah.

Got an interesting email this morning from Rich Bohms. He took the bull by the horns and created his own weight loss program and it's working (slowly eliminating Mountain Dew was a big one). He hates exercise but he CAN exercise self-discipline and is and he wrote to tell me about it. Secondly, he has dropped, after lo these many years, his self-consumption with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. He happened upon a line which puts the kibosh on for White and now he is after some more "sensible" chess opening materials.

Can Rich have a second life besides weight loss and chess? Yes. He loves anything to do with the Indy 500.

My point? Chess improvement, life improvement IS possible. You just GOTTA WANNA. Really want to make a change. It's easy to cruise, then we are old, then we die. Postpone it for awhile... LIVE. In two weeks I will be in Cleveland taking my own medicine.

Back to finishing up SCORE this week for Friday.