Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A STUDY FOR IMPROVEMENT TIP

This morning, once again, I headed to an opening book--back to the Flexible French by Victor Moskalenko. I wanted to look at some of the notes from one of the games.

The idea of Black placing a Knight on h6 against the Advance French I first saw in a game of Igor Glek's, many years ago. I wasn't keen on it and never played it except in speed games. Now I have had more time to examine it since I want to get more details squeezed out of the French (for Black).

Therefore I played through the opening moves from the notes and here is what I found:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6. All pretty normal stuff. Then 5.Nf3 Nh6!?

These days White isn't taking the Knight but most of my opponents won't know that and they WILL take the Knight, so I have to be prepared for that.

6.Bxh6 gxh6 7.Bd3. I know the Bishop has to get out if White is going to castle but I don't know why it goes to d3 except for a future K-side attack. I would think it could be delayed, but hey... maybe other moves transpose.

When I went to put these into ChessBase in a database (DB) called "Tests for Openings" I couldn't remember (?) Black's move here. Then I got it, 7... Qb6. This is played in other thematic Advance lines as it attacks the pawn on b2 and threatens mortal danger.

White protects with 8. Qd2. Black now plays 8... Bd7. The reason for this move is to pounce on d4 and not allow a hurtful check on b5 which attacks the Queen after some exchanges on d4 (cf. the Milner-Barry--see, knowing other things in the French can help!)

Now I am at move 9 and I have no idea what White may do. He might castle. Or he knows that e5 could be a problem for him and he wants to shore that up. He know Black's K-side is kind of "iffy" too. But Moskalenko gives: 9.dxc5 and Black retreats his Q to c7, i.e., 9... Qc7. This IS a good move IF White plays dxc5. Why allow your Q to be attacked again with b4 and then dawdle around trying to reposition her? If the Q goes to c7 right away there is pressure put on e5 and later pressure on c5.

10.Qf4 defends the pawn (since White's dark-squared B is gone). 10...Bg7. The pressure mounts on e5, this is one of Black's goals. (You'd be amazed how fast White loses if that e5-pawn disappears with no compensation to back it up.)

11. Qg3 to attack the B/g7 and hopefully bring in reinforcements to the P/e5 with an eventual f4 or some Knight maneuvering (not likely). 11... 0-0.

And Moskalenko ends his comments here with "Black's pieces are excellently positioned," which is true.

The TIP is that Black can discover the moves (more quickly if he has seen them before) as the position unfolds. He must attack, White must defend. This flows from 5... Nh6.

If you want to know more, that is, "What's next?" you can go to the Reference Tab in ChessBase10, 2010 Mega package... but, you won't find anything! Depressing.

However, if you go back to the position of White's 9th move you will see (2) previously played possibilities:
9.Be2 and 9.cxd5 (in this last one Black's reply is 9...Bxc5, which Moskalenko circumvents with the better 9...Qc7.)

So you should be ready for 9.Be2 too. It's kind of a wasted move isn't it? At first he went to d3 and now he moves the B back. At this point there are no games from stronger players to guide you: 9...Rc8, 9...0-0-0, 9...Bg7, and 9...Rg8.

All are reasonable moves I would guess and in fact are also the first 4 moves suggested by Deep Rybka at 16 ply.

But, there is a 5th move you should look at: 9...cxd4. Then 10.cxd4 Nxd4!?! 11.Nxd4 Bc5 12.Nc2. Now Black has an idea for disturbing the equilibrium on the K-side AND the Q-side. 12...Bxf2+

What are White's responses? Two. 13.Kf1 and 13.Kd1.

Taking the last one first, 13.Kd1, Black goes after the pawn on b2 with 13...Qxb2. (Black can't take the R/a1 because it is protected by that darn Knight on c2).

White goes after the B/f2 with 14.Rf1. Black also notices that pawn on e5 looks good too. Smartly Black plays 14...Bb6 first. The material is balanced fundamentally, three pawns for a Knight. Most club players will duke it out. At this point you might consider "playing" this position at home against your computer. You will be faced with a variety of possibilities but in all cases it will help get your feet wet IF your opponent makes it that far without crumbling (they usually crumble).

The other move? 13.Kf1.

The TIP again is reinforced with looking at the notes. Then trying to recreate them either on the board or with the aid of database tools, and experiment. I've learned more about this line today than when I studied it several years back. Moskalenko helped greatly. But another source I would seriously suggest is the New in Chess Yearbooks, where I first saw some of this stuff mentioned. In the realm of full disclosure, I sell these NIC Yearbooks. I said all that to make you laugh because I see it in some of these hi-fallutin' blogs where the recommender of some financial windfall also owns stock or has some interest in thinning out your wallet. Right up front, that's always been my purpose, but to help you, to get you interested, I have to give you something good in return, right?

I hope this column today helped even in some small way. It shows how I study and think and it works. What more could you ask for?

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

HOW BUSY ARE YOU? ... and a few other things

I've been approached by those who want to become better players, and to get some "lessons."

As many know, I am working up a scenario for that but I have a couple questions first:
1) frequency
2) time

These are not necessarily the same, let me explain.

Every day I get information from certain businesses, outfits, whatever you want to call them. But for me, every day is out of control. It assumes I have nothing else to do. Or worse, it assumes I find them way too interesting. For example, I am a Type 2 diabetic. I signed up for information on how to do well without taking medicine. But he also has stuff on 15 other things which are not directly nor indirectly related. I just can't read everything (nor want to).

In the graphic arts field I hear from Tip of the Day, etc. Some good, some uninteresting, none bad. But it would be great (for me) if they would choose the best stuff and release it once a week. That's just me.

I feel like if I were communicating (let's say, through a newsletter), once a week I could handle. How about you? I could even phone now and then (I think phoning is over-rated but like I said, that's me--unless you have a recording device how are you going to remember everything that was said?).

Time: Everyone says they are busy, even retired people. What works, I'm guessing, is to set a specific time to go over some things if the phone is used... or a specific time to look at something.

For example, when I get up in the a.m. I go to the computer to see if there are any important messages or orders. Grab something for breakfast and go to the living room where I look something over (chesswise, games). This morning I am going to play through a game or two from the new book on Wojtkiewicz's chess play by Hilton and Ippolito (Wojo's Weapons, Winning with White Volume 1). I need to improve my play with the white pieces! Then shower and get something respectable on from the clothes closet. This is why I usually don't meet people early in the morning (before 10 a.m.)

You might have something going for you which is very different. Sometimes a quick discussion can quickly clarify things more so than any spreadsheet ever invented.

Other things: Planning is important in chess and so it can be in life. I don't mean down to the gnat's ass, but a general idea without wavering all over the place. If you are planning to play chess locally or at some tournaments, do so. Don't do it for one month and then next month give out the old "I'm not playing next month, I have too much to do" line. Prioritize. When you do, some of those other fleeting "ideas" can be pushed by the wayside. For example, locally, I've noted some players are actually starting to play in some out of town tournaments. Good for them. It's not just stretching your mind, it is stretching your attitude. By stretching your attitude you might become more flexible in your opening choices, your middlegame plans... that kind of thing.

Oh yes, I did play through Game 3 in the Flexible French yesterday. For some reason it was not memorable, not even the notes... maybe because it was a draw. There's an example of where I NEED to stretch MY attitude. On the other hand, I do recall Moskalenko saying something like "For a draw there was certainly plenty of action." Thus, it will have to be revisited.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, March 29, 2010

STEP TWO

When one gives advice it's a good idea to practice it yourself.

Thus, on Day 2 I looked at the next game in the French Advance section of Moskalenko's Flexible French (don't worry, over time I will look at other openings but the process given here is the same). It was Shirov vs. M. Gurevich.

Another terrific game. The subtleties where not just in the very extensive notes (which I only partially went through), but in the main moves themselves. And I did look into ...f6 in the French by John Watson in Dangerous Weapons The French Defence. It will take MORE study to know EXACTLY (is that possible?) to know when ...f6 is viable.

Moskalenko has proposed two very interesting games so far for his "lead articles." At one point Shirov does play ONE move which I do not understand (at all) and Moska doesn't get it either. It was possibly his undoing IF it was a wasted tempo.

Why read the extensive notes? Well, the answer seems obvious but if it is not, here it is: Your opponents are not going to play Shirov's moves and the reason for that is it is hard to get most of them to open a DVD or a book anyway. But, as you go up the ladder you will have opponents who DO know something or two about the Advance French OR it may be that the only opening they know much at all about IS the French Advance from the white side (even masters have run into this problem). I've faced both scenarios.

The "sideways" moves they play are often covered in the notes. Moskalenko's notes (except for that stupid one shot pistol featured as a graphic weapon) cover the sensible and sometimes the weird. Even stronger players don't play MAIN lines most of the time. Korchnoi, for example, seldom repeats himself even IF he knows the main lines (he expects his opponents will know them too).

In my case the notes contain those "what if" moments where I might wonder why White didn't do such and such. Sometimes they warn me that BLACK shouldn't play a certain move! Chess certainly is not one-sided.

So today I will play Game Three: Sveshnikov - Moskalenko 1993. I know it ends in a draw and those are not as exciting (for me) but yet they are necessary. In this case necessary because, after seeing Game 1, I realized that unless Black has a specific idea of what to do, White just prevents Black from getting ANY play and runs over him. But when Black's "correct" plan unfolds, White loses, move-by-move in the long haul. (NOTE: And I did pick up a tip in Black's way of preventing a Knight from being lost on the a-file.)

While I do wonder what Moskalenko has been doing since 1993 to now, I can often find the answer IN the notes as White keeps struggling to try something different and FAILS to get any traction. Is this why we don't see many games in the Advance French these days at the higher levels? (Just between you and me, when I play less than masters I've seen the Advance French frequently, more than any other white-side French).

SUMMARY: by playing one game per day (or more on the weekend) I hope to pick up some tips, some "feel good," and participate in some action for the near future. I'll do this from the white side too when I look at WOJO's systems with 1. Nf3.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Saturday, March 27, 2010

HOW TO STUDY CHESS: FIRST STEPS

I am asked this question often enough that I will relate to you some of the things I've done.

This is Saturday morning. I played 15 min. chess with a friend last night who couldn't catch a break. But after he left I thought about a couple of nuances--mainly a couple places where he could have played better and given me more fits... but, "luckily," he didn't. Did he go home and think about that? My answer would have to be "no" or he would have spotted them during the game or later said something.

Before pulling the covers up last night I took out Moskalenko's The Flexible French. One of the games we played was a contorted Advance French with myself being on the black side. I say contorted because I made a comment to him: "This is why you must KNOW an opening (to some degree) of more than 2-3 moves." 1. e4 e6 2. Nc3. What was that? I played 2... c5. Then 3. Nf3 and a few moves later he got e5 in but his game was a mess after some bizarre play on the Q-side.

I have to have some idea of how to react when faced with people's whose main desire is two:
1. Get out of the regular opening book;
2. Somehow win by not losing (??!)

I spent 20 minutes reading the chapter on the French Advance where Moskalenko beat the "master" of the Advance, Evgeny Sveshnikov. The next game presented was a win by M. Gurevich over Alexei Shirov. And finally, the third, Moskalenko drawing Sveshnikov several years later.

When faced with Sveshnikov's 6. a3 you better have something ready and know WHY you are playing what you are playing. In this case Black will concentrate around White's d4-pawn.

So I am up this a.m. ready to shower or breakfast, even though lolling around in bed is a "better" idea. I have the chess table set up, and Moska's book with me. This time, instead of "reading" the positions and following the diagrams I am going to go through three games today, the three I just told you about.

Oh yes, Watson's Dangerous Weapons The French was also mentioned by Moskalenko where Black plays ...f6. I better look at that too, somewhere throughout the day. Total time spent? Probably an hour. Result? I will know 5 times more about HOW to improve my play against White when I play some mainstream opponents! Yes, they do exist.

ANOTHER THANKS:
I want to thank an Australian customer and friend for signing up for a Gold Card this morning (that's a long way from here mate!) That makes it 20 card holders and if I get ONE more, that would show a 50% improvement over LAST year. I have some goodies in the pipeline!

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

CREDIT CARD MACHINE + THANK YOU

Had a new phone line installed today. Ran a test and the credit card machine is working so will take care of those that I went ahead and shipped on Tuesday.

Ordered a bunch of books to get people to resubscribe for the upcoming renewal time of The Chess Reports, Semester 9. Hardbounds. Can't give the title yet because I want to see the books, in the "flesh," as it were, before getting everyone excited (it's a nice book probably most of you don't have). Book will be mailed with an order from resubscribers (to keep my postage costs down--the post office increases their prices to COMPETE with Fedex and UPS instead of grabbing THEIR business!).

This premium is for the Platinum edition of The Chess Reports. Just another way of saying "Thank You" for your support in 2009 and continuing in 2010. I'm amazed others don't think of stuff like this but in all honesty I am glad they don't.

I have to get out this afternoon to see my tax accountant so sorry I can't stay... isn't that a miserable job for all of us who aren't as organized as some?

By the way, a book I superbly recommend is Andy Soltis' HOW TO CHOOSE A MOVE. The reason it didn't get much notice by me or others is the book looks, well, like a Batsford book! Which is to say, it doesn't distinguish itself. Soltis has more on this subject than anyone who has written before or since. I have 1 in stock. He is easily one of the best chess writers in the world because he almost always TELLS us something more than a little useful. This book is FULL of great examples and ideas. In fact, when I think back, what has made Soltis successful is the fact that he gives stories and examples taken from other chess magazines, etc. over the years. He must have a tremendous memory and filing system because Andy hates to use computers! The copy on the work shelf has got some really minor "distractions" attached to the front cover (impressions, a couple pin holes going through a few pages). $10. Only one I have. Retail is $21.95.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A SMALL (???) LIST... NOT REALLY

1. Ron Nurmi contacted me about registering (for this Blog) and wanted to know how to do this. Well, I looked again and he has a point.
a) If you leave a "comment," and you aren't aren't registered Google will tell you and ask you to verify which way you want to be seen. (My guess is this helps identify troublemakers, screechers, commies, and meatheads.) Too many believe this kind of nonsense is caused by kids, while I think it has to do more with those who feel left out and angry about something and that could include more than kids or even men.
b) If you want to be a "follower" of the Blog, I think you click on something in the "upper left corner." I hope I haven't put you into a complete daze. Ron says he uses Google Reader, whatever that is... maybe something that follows Blogs or other certain entities. I think you can sign up to even have this Blog emailed to you.

2. Dr. Julian Wan wonders if I would consider putting my catalogs online at some kind of download server site. I admit I didn't think about that. I've always had a concern about putting any of my stuff somewhere else where I couldn't control it, change it, or delete it. And then there is NO control (that I know of) which tells me who my stuff is really going to. Let me explain a bit:
Some years ago I vaguely recall two instances of people using MY stuff. One was cutting out my reviews and laying them on books or tables to give people an idea of what the book was about. Flattered? Sure. But I didn't receive a cent for my labors. I asked him to stop and as far as I know he did.
Another reseller was doing something similar and I had to admonish too, especially since the guy's wife hated my guts!! (I had never met her--didn't know her from Eve). He told her to cool it!

3. Another guy stole my mailing list (he worked for me!) and used it to promote his own stuff on the side. Naturally he didn't know some of my customers as well as I did and one of them told me. He also had the nerve to tell me I didn't handle my customers like he would have (and one of the reasons he went broke and is not around). I literally spent 20s or thirties of thousands of dollars to garner these names-- but it is OK to copy them down while I am out at lunch!
I like to keep control of everyone's info. I neither sell it nor give it away. When I sold Chessco some years back I did not include ANY credit card information. I asked my wife why people do these things and she said, "jealousy on the cheap."

4. I wanted you to be aware that March 31 is coming up fast and that is the deadline for getting your Gold Card. Last year I sold 14, and this year, 19 so far. It would be kind of neat to make 20, but my real point is that starting April 1 to the end of the year it will be $100. In this way it makes my 19 people belong to an "exclusive club." I already know a number of people who so far this year have paid for their card several times and still saved Big Time. With the proliferation of ChessBase DVDs, and I already know several more titles coming out (including Nigel Short) from CB, this would not only be a great way to save some bucks, but I do offer EXTRA SPECIALS that only go to Gold Card members (after all they have stuck their neck out for me and I reciprocate!) Plus there are always later-in-the-year gift times we don't think about until the last minute. And there will be a further discount on the next semester of The Chess Reports.

5. I have now transferred all of my regular inventory to my work area and it helps me keep a better eye on what to reorder--so I am doing that today! Some hot items (I shouldn't do this, but I like to kick the hornet's nest and see how fast I can run): Starting Out: the Reti; Build a 1.d4 Repertoire (Davies DVD), Revolutionize Your Chess by Moskalenko, San Luis 2005, and Sokolov's The Ruy Lopez Revisited. The last three are still in stock, the first two are being reordered... and some others whose names I have forgotten.

6. Sales of "The Chess Gospel According to John*" have been very good. Soon I will be advertising to dealers.

7. Overseas dealers WANT more of THE BUSY MAN'S CHESS OPENINGS VOLS. 1 AND 2, AND #3 (a LOT more!). #3 will be out in a few weeks. I am still debating about if and what equipment to buy to speed up the process.

It sounds like it ($$$) is coming in by the wheelbarrow load, but I still have loans, property taxes, etc. all standing by with their hands out. The only way to get ahead is to be so busy you don't have time to sleep--and then you die of exhaustion. So, some "fixes" are in the works. Wish I could hire an employee, but the profit margins are way too slim.

8. Oh yeah, soon it will be time to renew subscriptions for Semester #9 of The Chess Reports. More thinking about how to go about that. I'll have some answers in next Friday's issue, #103.

Peace,

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EASY TO REGISTER

Maybe Google is some multi-universe conspiracy. They have gmail, which a lot of people use, and I do also (to forward my email). They have all kinds of programs AND they own BLOGGER which I use to create these Blog Posts.

Some people are reluctant to register to "comment" on something I write. I am reluctant to register for ANYTHING (I get tired of filling out crap web forms, so I seldom do now), but sometimes I do.

However this time I would seriously appreciate it if regular (??) or regular-irregular readers would register. Some do and land no comments. Others want to comment, without registering, and so they email me. I can handle that but things have a way of getting lost in the shuffle.

Besides the fact that I am involved in a lot of projects, commenting shares YOUR thoughts with others who read this blog. If you don't want to comment, I'm cool with that. But I would like you to register IF ONLY to be indexed, or better indexed, by Google among the zillions of Blog Posts available. I have 20 registered, which is not a lot, but I know a lot more people read this Blogster than are registered because, they write me about something they saw on here. From overseas too.

There are tons of chess Bloggonies out there and many are full of baloney (besides me). They really offer nothing new and just swipe stuff from other sites. That's not the way I operate. My experiences, including today, tend to be chess relevant. I hear directly from informed people. And I've always enjoyed passing info along, even business info I should keep to myself.

I think this Blog would eventually be good, as I say "ultimately," to get some sponsors to help pay for the time, research, and culling of my personal chess data. And to expand. Let me give you an example.

You wouldn't believe how many times I hear from chess folks who want to know when Lasker & His Contemporaries No. 6 will be issued? As a matter of fact, today I ran across a SLEW of pages I have had set aside to produce #6. They were typeset almost 20 years ago and never used. I would have to re-enter all that material again because the only copy I have has been typeset in a non-editable form! If I had "ad" sponsors, I could take a time out, redo the stuff, and publish.

My guess is that this Blog Post doesn't accept advertising, though it's OK for Google to ask me if I would like to. So the first order of business would be to set up my own Blogsville and doubtlessly that wouldn't be too hard as there are so many templates out there--still, it takes time.

As much as I like G&L CHESS, my retail arm, the $$$ for me is in my publishing experiences and the type of goods I put out--that is, Thinkers' Press. What's interesting to me is that though many people have access to software, and are nuts about chess, very, very few of them form chess publishing companies! The main reasons for this are many and maybe I will discuss this sometime in the future.

In the meantime, please register. If we bump these numbers up, then advertisers get interested because they know they will be noticed. Advertisers LOVE to be noticed!

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

IT'S GOING TO BE AN INSANE DAY!

10 cases of items, from three different outfits, sitting inside my porch when I awoke.

I am going to start, right now, after a bowl of cereal, and get things to those who've been nice to me.

Here we go...

PS: Those (3) different sets of DVDs are here too by Lilov and Martin. What else? Chess Gospel and Chess Obits.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

PATIENCE

When some folks think of chess players they think of patience, taking forever to make a move, and that they don't want to play that "slow" game.

But, when I ask if I am patient, the answer has to be, "Not when I am waiting for a new book from the printer!"

I thought there was a chance that Gospel or Chess Bits would be here today... but they didn't show. I am hoping now that tomorrow is more kind. I have piles of books here waiting to go out with that book and I haven't contacted the resellers yet.

Some days life is nothing more than incremental, and I am still not used to that.

I ordered a new pair of glasses today with a new frame as the 15 yr. old one had broken and I was not interested in having it repaired. It was over $400. Now paying that off, THAT I can be patient for!

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Sunday, March 21, 2010

IVANCHUK VS CARLSEN

Magnus Carlsen has a better chance than Vassily Ivanchuk of becoming world champion. It's not just that Ivanchuk occasionally implodes, and you never know when, it's that chess is a "conventional" game where consistency counts.

Ivanchuk is not consistent except in one thing, he wins the Amber events to the extent he is called Mr. Amber!

And what is Amber? It is two games each against a variety of talented opponents. Each pair plays one game "blindfolded" and the other at "rapid" speed (game in 25). This is not regular chess although, amazingly, these games are included in databases of "conventional" chess such as 2010 Mega.

Ivanchuk is like Bronstein, and you know how that worked out in 1951? I might add, last year when Ivanchuk had a terrible result, he was "going to give up chess." He was serious! But he didn't. Mercurial? Emotional? Yes, and damn interesting.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Saturday, March 20, 2010

OPENING PREPARATION

Being prepared to play your next opponent, or a future opponent, assumes certain risks and memories. In the back of your head you might also think, "What if he doesn't play 1.d4?"

Then you have to speculate, "What might he play, 1.c4?"

The EASY answer is, it's a good idea to be prepared, in general, for a wide variety of openings subjects. Purdy nailed it when he said it is the overall skill set which matters--hence, being alert for opportunities can make preparation go even further.

I can remember a few times when I played e6. from the white side, early in an opening where my pawn went from e4 to e5 and then to e6. I had seen this "idea" against a particular Pirc Defense line in a Fridshteyn book. Ultimately the line fails and advantage goes to black, but Black has to either know that or suspect it.

It's possible I played e6 earlier than that book, but, it fascinated me. Fascination helps give us courage. We can see a game that is enthralling even if we would never get that position ourselves. But here's a secret: the more you play and learn, the better you get, and at some point you will see previous positions the higher up the food chain that you climb.

There's always that old desert island question, "If you were stranded on an island 'what ten chess books would you take with you?' " Of course there are a lot of assumptions in that question, but if that was the ONLY serious question asked of you, most would try to find books we admired which were full of games, or philosophies on chess, maybe even endgame tomes and so on. But I am not sure that would actually be true.

Have you ever been in the hospital for more than a day or two? Usually you aren't in peak performance condition, right? You might watch TV because it doesn't require much mental activity. Similarly, if you were stranded on a desert isle, you might be depressed, or spend fanciful time thinking about being rescued or saved from wild animals.

The unknown is one thing, the "known" plus preparation can exhilarate your looking forward to your next opponent.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, March 19, 2010

"LUCK" IS MERELY A SET OF CHOICES AND HARD WORK

Recently I went down to see a friend at the first casino riverboat in the nation (yep, in Davenport, IA).

He was playing blackjack and made a few bucks but the guy to his right was getting killed!

He had a bunch of chips, lost them all, dug into his wallet and fished out a hundred and dropped it on the table like it was nothing. He lost all that like it was nothing too and dig-dugged into the wallet he had stuffed in his right pocket for another, and his last, $20 (I notice these things). He lost at least, that I saw, $120 and probably much, much more.

He had no joy on his face. He didn't look overly depressed. I sized him up as an idiot with too much money--maybe easy come. After he left I asked my friend if the guy to his right was playing like a zero. My friend knows a lot of people there. He replied, "Yes."

Is the guy waiting for his time to run out (he was younger than I)? While I don't play Blackjack (or anything else), I know how it is played and have a reasonable idea of how to bet to maximize your chances. This guy seemed absolutely clueless.

When it comes to chess I see decisions made, on what to play, similarly to this guy's. How can one give their best when playing like nothing matters? It was a Thursday evening, how bad is that?

But you know something, in my HoH (heart of hearts), I think he believed it was just a matter of time before he got lucky! Then what would he do if he won, spend it all until it was gone?

I don't believe in luck as I've said in my book and as Dan Kennedy remarked in one of my recent Tip Sheets. What some people call luck is just a matter of "choices" made. As Henry Ford said, "The harder I work, the luckier I get!"

When you work hard, you increase your skill level. Your subconscious makes decisions you aren't even aware of. Prepare yourself, that is the BEST way to "get lucky."

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

AN EXPERIMENT

Good friend Julian Wan was wondering whether it is possible to post PDFs on this blog. I don't see a place to do it, but thought I might try to add it as an "illustration" to see what happens. If it bombs, I can remove it.

I see where I can link, so let's try that. Well, that didn't work because I have to have the material posted somewhere on the web and I am not there yet, but working on it. Let's see if it will take as an illustration (my guess: no). Unfortunately it didn't like the file format.

So it looks like I will have to move online sooner than I could.

BTW, issue #102 of The Chess Reports is now available.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WHACKING OUT--ADHD

Everyone's making a big todo about ADHD--Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I know one nurse who doubts its existence, clinically.

Often, as I have seen it, it is an excuse to deliver a reason for poor behavior or impulsivity. If it is a form of impulsivity, why the need for another acronym? One definition I saw when I Googled this was: may experience difficulty in following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks, or completing work within time limits.

I know someone who says he has this. In other words, he can't control himself. Yet, when it comes to focus and organizing play for gambling, he CAN concentrate, sometimes. I think it depends on his PASSION at that moment.

My concern is "chess." The other day he was scheduled to play one of the local club's strongest players. He went down in flames. Last week he beat one of the club's strongest players!

Even though he has almost no tournament experience with the Queen's Gambit, that's what he played. Why? Because he gets "tired of playing 1.e4," was the answer I was given. My behavior says to play what you know best. However, I once did betray myself and I got what I deserved, and it was against this same player. How did I do this?

I went irrational; took my brain out to the dumpster and dropped it in. I almost always play the French when facing 1.e4, even against very good players. This time, however, I chose the Pirc, a system which in the old days I used to beat up on like it was a rented mule. This time I wanted to get my opponent out of his preparation, which is legendarily spotty. He had the whole weekend to study and I didn't.

In a moment of freakdom I played 1... d6. Imbecilic. If I had thought for one moment that his handling of 1... e6 would be in his usual irrational style, I would have stuck with the French. Because? Because it has been my observation that even when prepared (whatever that means to him), at some point he gets like Ford, "a better idea." This so-called improvement is almost always bad.

I've played against the French Defense Advance where after 5 moves my opponent trots out an idea (no joke, 5 moves) that is not only "bad," but drops a pawn and he is put under eternal pressure, and loses.

If ADHD exists, and I am sure there is SOME form that does, know this--it seldom benefits that person--but it is also no reason to believe on that particular day that they will play like a berserker. Sometimes they take their medicine.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TASKS AT HAND

Changes are coming to The Chess Reports as it will exist in two formats.

The Chess Reports is the "chess house organ" of Thinkers' Press, inc. Issue #102 is due this Friday so I better head back to that.

After the release of #104, the final issue of Semester 8, there will be a 4 week break before the first issue of Semester 9. This allows for retooling, refueling, and bringing several projects to completion. The relentless beating over the head of readers takes its toll on quality as in "churning" out material and meeting deadlines. During the break I get a chance to soak up new information and begin using InDesign CS4 which I bought a month ago.

And, finish up some Purdy projects on the burner... a few well-placed reprints.

See ya tomorrow. (I will soon be working on the White Shockers DVDs in more detail.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, March 15, 2010

THE PROOF IS HERE


The book by Purdy now exists in printed form!

The proof arrived 20 minutes ago. It looks good but I want to take a last look. Should everything be all right, the order goes in today and the books should be here at the office in 6-8 days (or sooner).

I would like to list some Purdy written items I put on the back cover, notably:

You can imagine how a player would improve if he had a champion always at his shoulder.

It stands to reason that if you continue playing rabbits you remain a rabbit.

If a person retains an agile brain by constantly exercising it, his capacity to learn new things need not be wrecked by age.

The main desideratum in hess is avoidance of oversight.

Many players think they could play a good game "if only they knew the openings." This idea is really crazy... improve your intrinsic skill, which has very little to do with special openings.

Some people retract moves in "friendly" play without even asking--they are no better than professional thugs.

In good chess, ruthlessness is accepted as a matter of course, just as in any other game.

Chess differs so completely from war (players must move alternately and only one thing at a time).

The key to success in chess is the Double Threat.

This 197 page Handbook contains Purdy's Guide to Good Chess AND three selected chapters from Purdy's the Search for Chess Perfection II.

This is not a "kid's" book but it is good for beginners too, which might include kids. It is clearly good for players of an intermediate level. If you know everything, as some chess players profess, they won't need this book but will be required to show us why they are not a grandmaster.

Where the material shines is in its:
a) understanding of the problems of the average player
b) help for club-level chess
c) showing how strong players think
d) creation of a system to reduce screw ups
e) excellent choice of examples.

Was Purdy good? This is how good he was:
He was the first person to win a global correspondence world championship title.
He was many times Australian champion.
In correspondence play he beat the best players in the business.
He was a FIDE-rated International Master.
Considered the best teacher of chess in the 20th century.

Unfortunately, after Purdy's death in 1979, he is now recognized for his lucidity in teaching AND playing (esp. in how to find the best move to play on the board.) though thoughtful readers of his Chess World knew this a long time ago.

One last thing: brilliant stuff with an amazing understanding of chess ported to you.

The book is retailing at $24.95 + $4 for shipping. However, if you own a 2010 Gold Card you can get it for $15 + $4 for S&H (USA only). Shipping out of the country by "first class" varies depending on whether you are in Europe, South America, or Australia... so be sure to tell me if you are "from out of town."

I will also have a special pricing/sales sheet for larger orders (schools K-12), clubs, and the incarcerated. Be sure to ask if you are in that category.

My congratulations to the Purdy family (I have met John Purdy, CJS' son, and Frank Hutchings, Purdy's son-in-law).


Saturday, March 13, 2010

THE CHESS GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN*

Hopefully this will post for Saturday as this is being written on Friday.

Just got the word today that a proof copy of Purdy's book, his Handbook, to make you a really much better player, was posted today and I should have it by Monday. (They charge $30 for this service!)

I will look it over and make sure the page numbers are correct, nothing upside down, and that all the pages are there, plus, check the cover... then I give it thumbs up or down. If up, I send to the printer the quantity I want printed. Usually I have it 5 days later if I don't get a bad place in the queue (that's called screwing around and not getting back to them right away).

The book is $24.95 and it will not be on Amazon anytime soon. I want to ship to my buyers and dealers first. Actually this is my first new book for almost two years. SHipping is $4. If you have a Gold Card the book is $15 + $4 for shipping. If you live in Iowa I have to charge you an additional $1.05 for sales tax.

Also on tap, I am getting some subscriptions for The Chess Reports too! A few weren't aware that some long time ago they asked about a sample copy being sent to them!

Soon I will be working out the details for a Standard Subscription and a Platinum subscription. I think all this will keep my brain in good order. I took a little test today on the web about remembering numbers. They could've made it tougher. I got 11 numbers in a row correctly. Because I wasn't "fast" enough (probably gawking at something else waiting for the next number to show, I missed the twelfth). The test "said" seven is the average for people. I wonder how many your "average" chess master would get.

Deadline for TCR subs at the cheap $19.95 ends Saturday at midnight + 2 hours for Daylight Savings time turnover (yippee for longer lasting light outside!)

Love you guys!

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, March 12, 2010

SEVERE TIME MANAGEMENT

Good for what ails you.

Since this Blog is about chess you can take the info from Dan Kennedy's No B.S. Marketing Letter (March) and apply it to chess study, chess authoring, chess research, chess improvement, your daily reading habits, and tons more. It will be in the March Tip Sheet. (See below.)

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate hearing excuses from people. If you are late, and it's a courtesy thing, just admit, "I didn't budget my time to get here. My mistake." Now if that includes reading or watching CNN until the cows come home, you haven't been honest. The real reason the time wasn't budgeted properly was because you were spending wasted time on your computer monitor. 'Fess up.

People, in general, really love clarity and they forgive your "sin" almost immediately (let's not get started with the meaning of "forgiveness" okay?)

I've had people park in front of my shop for a 2 o'clock appointment and sit in their car talking on their cell phone. My appointment was agreed at 2 pm but now I have put my business on hold waiting for them to ring the bell. (My work is in another room so I don't always hear the buzzer... so around 2 pm I am alert for the buzzer.) I haven't heard yet, about a cell phone call that was really so important that it couldn't wait.

People waste tons of time, every day. I waste some, but not too much as I can't afford to. Really, neither can you.

If you respond, frequently, with "I don't have the time" is that true or a brush off? Can you just say, "I don't want to"? Are you afraid if you said that you won't be liked? Here's the news. If you lie, you won't be liked anyway--the other person most likely just won't say anything. (Young people are remarkably adept at B.S. lying)

The tip on time management will be published as the March Tip in all orders/packages I send out. I started doing this in January and several people have told me they like the freebie with their order. The first two were taken from books, this is from a newsletter I've always deemed "very valuable."

Personally, I don't know most of you, so this isn't about chastisement at all. It is about making the most of time for you and others to make that life you are living even better. Does TV, constant news junkeying, visiting 20 different chess web sites help you or just while away the day until it's time to hit the hay and then start over the next day?

I will be typing up the March Tip in a few moments.

Don't forget, I think we change over to daylight savings time tomorrow night. You have an extra hour to send me $19.95 to open up your mini-subscription (if you had one) to The Chess Reports.

NOTE: The TIP is very funny, true, and workable. The author is a multi-millionaire because of successful time management and he knows what he is talking about. He doesn't do email, blogs, tweets, Facebook, web sites, or even own a cell phone. He does accept fax messages! He's not against people controlling their day or their business lives with those tools--personally, he doesn't use them. He has a secretary (only employee)--but he does work with a business partner who handles all the OTHER stuff. (While I have a Facebook page you will hardly ever see me on it. My fax is: 563-322-8001.)

Here's how the TIP starts:
"Really, How Productive Are You?
I recall Iacocoa telling me he fought for an hour a day of productivity when at helm of Chrysler. According to analysis published in The WalL Street Journal (1-15-10), the average broadcast of an NFL game breaks down to..."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

QUALITY CHESS' BEST BOOK?

I just got in a book that I really like. The authors are two guys who have not really thrilled me in the past, but something happened this time... they went overboard on the really good stuff. I'm not saying that their other writings are not good, just that this one is way good!!

There are almost a dozen MAIN characters (chapters) in this book, and all of them are in the "shadows" of their main character, perhaps their boss, their student now or at another time, and that ├╝ber character will end up being someone very important such as Topalov or Kasparov--or, some other incredible facet of chess.

Most of the names in this book you have not heard of (unless you subscribe to Kingpin or have read SQUARES) but you will or should. These are (or were for those like Honfi who are not with us) very bright chess players who are gifted in chess at all kinds of levels such as correspondence, studies, training, and even blitz.

There are even photos (!!) on great paper to show you the inside of the inner circles around such commanding presences such as Kasparov. Book production-wise think of San Luis 2005.

To quote Karolyi from his preface:
"Most of the people featured in this book have recorded significant achievements, yet they remain virtually anonymous to the great majority of chess fans."

Other features are stories of problems, solutions AND their originators. This is a book you will like within 30 seconds of opening it. Being a lover of good typography, this is one of their best.

Here are some names to show you I am not making this up:
Petko Atanasov
Yochanan Afek
Gerardo Barbero
Alexander Shakarov (top drawer Kasparov aide)
Karolyi Honfi
Ashor Nadanian
Karsten Mueller (a tremendous person and friend)
Laszlo Lindner
Elmar Magerramov
and,
Oleg Pervakov.

There are testimonials that show Karolyi and Aplin did not choose chumps for their subjects in this 382 page book which retails for $29.95 (my regular discounted price is $25.50 and the Gold Card price is $22.50 + $4 for shipping).

There is really too much meat in this book for this short commentary to do it justice. Just know that... you'll really get your money's worth. Very many annotated games and lots of commentary which really fleshes out their subjects. I'll probably have to reorder.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

TAKING THE DAY OFF-- NOT!!

I was thinking of a time out from daily blogging but there are a couple of pieces of news worth passing on.

If you recently ordered something from my confrontational David vs Goliath sale, out of stock items should be here tomorrow with one exception.

As a reminder, the special $19.95 sale price on The Chess Reports expires this weekend (I often get last minute requests!)

I should have my proof copy of the new Purdy book by Friday, if everything is right with the world! (Yeah, right.)

Am working on another book on the "problems" with novelties in "scary" (maybe, maybe not) openings. Grandmaster Repertoire by Boris Avrukh, and Mihail Marin (on the English) believe you can stop a lot of tomfoolery by your opponent by playing MAIN lines instead of crap. But you would be surprised how many players only know ONE main line in their system (should be plural!)

I have a workbench full of new books such as Ruy Lopez Revisited, Genius in the Background, Revolutionize Your Chess and so on including the reprinted King's Indian Battle Plans. A special sheet will be coming in a day or two.

Lastly, David vs. Goliath #2 SALE will be issued very soon and I tackle Batsford books. I have the best of what they have, most of the rest of it, I do not carry... so the sale will be on good stuff--after that, Batsford is pretty much toast for me and my customers. Whoever runs their chess division could never run their own company this way. They would be dead meat.

Oh yes, the Naroditsky book is here too. 14-year old whiz kid writes on Strategy! I haven't had a chance to look it over yet.

One last thing: New in Chess Yearbooks. I have a discounted autoship program for both softcover and hardcover (they went out yesterday for #93 and #94 has already been announced!) If you would like to be placed on it, like in the old days, please let me know.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

RUNNING AMOK WITH HYPERBOLE


There is a new publication from New in Chess with the title New in Chess, The First 25 Years (an Anthology 1984-2009) by Steve Giddins.

I read NIC from near its beginning when Wim Andriessen was the editor&publisher and everything was black and white and there was quite a few pen and ink drawings. Then it changed format and eventually again to color. I still read it on occasion.

The lead off to promote says:
"No other magazine in chess history can boast such a glittering array of world class grandmasters amongst its regular contributors."

Probably true in totality though I remember Chess when Wood published it and even somewhat now under other hands. Many different top class writers and not all of them grandmasters (which does not make one a great writer).

Also claimed is:
"...NIC has been the most popular and widely-read chess magazine in the world..."
This is probably not true unless one stretches the phrase 'widely-read' which can include non-subscribers. Chess Life makes the same claim. Last I hear NIC Magazine had somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 subscribers. How many others read it I do not know.

Also promoted for the book are the many interviews which include nine world champions (including non-FIDE). I think this has been done to death and it will take up a lot of space.

How many leading NIC grandmaster readers actually pay to subscribe? Is it connected with game annotations? What are the rules?

If I get one chief comment about the NIC mag is that it is often "over my head." That's why I publish The Chess Reports (and still a few claim TCR is over their head!) I'll admit, I don't read NIC Magazine for the games.

If you haven't read NIC Magazine before (or read it much) you will love this book (400 pages, $29.95 retail). If they send me a review copy, I will cover it for you to give you a better idea of the contents.

It usually takes a bit of time to be received here in the USA. I don't expect it for 7-8 weeks but I have asked the distributor for any updated details.

Advertising and PR is always an "iffy" subject. How can one get the troops excited about a new publication without lying or seriously exaggerating? Friend Seth Godin wrote a book called All Marketers Are Liars. It was a good book but he changed the title to All Marketers Tell Stories, is that lying? Not really, he's just trying to be clear.

Actually, telling the truth is good enough and some have a better handle of creating interest, while doing that, than others. People have different "keywords" in their brain's lexicon which trigger a "buy" or "might buy" reaction. I spend several hours sometimes writing an ad, such as for The Chess Reports in the back pages of The Chess Gospel According to John* for example. Then I go to sleep, and in the morning it's not unusual for a little more tweaking to be needed. It goes to the printer today and hopefully I will have a proof by the end of the week.

Some PR is understated, other marketings are overstated, and it doesn't bother me if I am the higher-end of "middle of the road" because I think that is more accurate... and I love to tell stories.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

SYSTEMS

In the past couple days I have gotten at least four e-mails covering the subject of "systems." Laz Munoz's was long and detailed (I like that). The others were penetrating too.

I hope to cover this subject, at least in a Stage One approach, in the next issue of The Chess Reports. People are curious. What I can say right now is that Purdy's "System" is not full of smoke and mirrors as you will see when The Chess Gospel According to John* is released.

Someone even wrote to ask me if I use a "system" to solve chess problems. Not formally, but I will write about how I try to go about it. You can get these goodies by subscribing to all 13 issues of The Chess Reports for $39.95. I will have more to say about the two types of subscriptions I will be offering for Semester 9 of The Chess Reports (TCR): a Gold Edition and the Platinum edition.

PS: I will have some other good news coming out in a couple weeks also. Right now I am in the middle of some research. It will be announced here and in TCR.

Point of contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com for emails or the box below for comments to those who follow this Blog.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

CHESS QUIZ


There are 3-4 topics off the top of my head I could write about, but today I am going to finish up some bookkeeping... so, I'll keep it light.

ChessBase.com posted a picture today of a child chess prodigy and asks readers to figure out who it might be. They give some "clues," some of which, they admit, are a little exaggerated.

My guess: Nigel Short--who else's could have those lips?

You might like to use the comment box below to register your guess. ChessBase said they would announce who it is in a week, so you have a few days to get your guesses in.

Don't think this is an automatic "win" however. Years ago I ran a contest of "Who is this?" I think in an issue of The Chess Atlas. It was a younger picture of David Bronstein. One guess came in: Sammy Reshevsky!! So anything is possible and I have proof.

You know there are agencies who take on "imitators," people who strongly resemble the characteristics of someone famous. We've seen them for Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and movie stars. A guy I know told me about this drop-dead look-alike for Julia Roberts and he was going to recommend her to an agency in Chicago to see if he could pick up a few bucks on the side (almost all of his money making schemes end badly... so be forewarned.) I asked to see a picture (designers have this bad habit.) I saw the resemblance, both are females! No thin flared nose/nostrils, no long hair, no piercing strong eyes, no full lips, but yes, definitely a female! Glad to say this didn't go very far.

One more curious anecdote. There was a music dance hall here years ago called Fenders. Near the front door was a gal who did portrait paintings. I never saw her do anyone that looked like the person who was sitting in the chair. I asked my son Rob, who is a commercial artist, if he thought she ever drew/painted anyone realistically. Short answer, "No."

Here's the amazing part. The female artist and the guy who spotted "Julia Roberts" on the lam, they had dated each other! They must've been a perfect couple. I recall him enthusing over her portrait art ability.

So, I can think it is Nigel Short, it probably is Nigel Short, but who knows? Send in your answers... let's have some fun.

PS: And don't you love relatives who, upon seeing a new baby, say ridiculous things such as: "Oh, he looks so much like (fill in the blank)." Babies, at that age, seldom look like anyone except maybe another baby (no, they don't all look like the Gerber kid). And when they get older, it often gets worse: "Oh, she looks just like (fill in the blank)." Yeah, and Elmer Fudd looks like Sammy Reshevsky.

Friday, March 5, 2010

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY

The 101st issue of The Chess Reports goes out before noon today, central time.

The cover announces, and depicts, Thinkers' Press, inc.'s latest Purdy book. Eventually it will be covered in this blog but for the time being, first impressions go to the subscribers and mini-subscribers of The Chess Reports.

Many new books and dvds have appeared and a few pages are accorded those... and they keep coming in. I haven't heard anyone complain. There's always hope that subjects on which we are interested in will appear. E.g., a "system" to win chess tournaments. See issue #102 for info on that.

It's a crazy Friday. So I better get back to work. By the way, a Special Subscription Price is available for Semester 8 of The Chess Reports and is $29.95. This price is good through April 17, 2010. All copies delivered via e-mail. Each issue averages 12-16 pages.

Issue #102 will pass the 1500 pages mark.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, March 4, 2010

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE


Today I got a payment for an order of books from NY. New York is a great state if you've ever travelled through it. Manhattan is fun, but Western NY. the Catskills and such look like towns in Iowa and Illinois. Friendly folks. Neat architecture. Lovely is a good description.

I mailed a printed catalog to this former buyer. So far my return on investment (ROI) has been quite good and the pickup rate of 15% is higher than my emails which is about 2.5%. Yet, the knuckleheads and chuckleheads keep insisting that all the money will be made electronically. I suppose when some of these people fade away that might be true, but, isn't that obvious?

But think about this... what future? Occasionally I check in with Facebook, primarily to see what my kids or granddaughter are up to. And of course you can't help but notice your "friends" and the friends of friends. The amount of time wasted must be phenomenal. One friend (my real estate agent) related doing laundry and how her back hurt and she was looking forward to a visit to the chiropractor! Is this what I have been missing?

Another just keeps adding friends without rhyme or reason, possibly knowing 1% of the ones he's added. There won't be an eventual big announcement, that has already passed (none). It's time killing in action. Boredom, frustration and when you talk to people like this, often you find their life is seriously empty--but they play the game of looking busy.

The other day someone (in Australia) said my workaholism had preceded me. Well, I did laugh... but when you start over, a business or anything else, a lot of details need to be attended. In spite of my busy-ness he picked up ALL the back issues of The Chess Reports. That would be 100 of them! How he found out about me I have no idea. But the seed work has been going on since late 2005. That's how it is in most businesses. It takes some time to grow and it's a good idea to grow in the right direction.

For a while I wondered if I could do anything right. But persistence often wins out--added to a good offer! If you want me to make you a good offer, contact me. You will end up getting over 1500 letter-sized pages of stuff (in printable PDFs) which is bound to find a home with you somehow--the variety is overwhelming and I am just getting started.

When thinking about it the notion of non-repeats, variety, and timelessness surprised me. TCR is a publication which isn't really bound by being dated. Hope you give it a try. Issue #101 comes out tomorrow (every other Friday, before noon, Central Time).

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

THE ADVANTAGES OF IMPERFEKTION!


I had an order to fill for Andrew Martin's terrific book, King's Indian Battle Plans. I "noticed" I was out of them; they were not to be found in the stock area where they "should" have been. So last night I ordered more to be printed.

And, this morning I found the ones I had originally thought I had, on the bottom shelf. Oh yeah, way to go whiz kid.

So I have more coming in. This book had a revised reprint date of 2004. It retails for $29.95 but I have a bunch of them so I will sell, for a very limited time (to the end of March 2010) each copy for $24.95, postage paid in the USA!

There is 380 pages on all the variations of ECO for the King's Indian--the E60-E99 series. Everyone's name is in there (it seems like). Most of the games were only 6-7 years old at the time, hence apropos and still so. The cover was designed around a concept for the "Battle of Britain," the movie.

Unfortunately at this time, there is no offer of a CD of the other 200-300 annotated games I had. I selected the best (they withstood serious computer testing) and the others were held in abeyance. Maybe when I get the DVD printer/burner I've been saving for I can produce my own.

Where Martin's book was different from the others is that EACH game in the book (and there are about 200 of them, annotated) contains the plot for the game, the MAIN IDEA. That's why so many people liked it. I got lots of mail saying so.

Limited time, postage paid, $24.95.

By the way, for all those who were wetting their pants in anticipation of selling Chess Bits and... Obits by Purdy for $160 new and $140 used, you've been busted. It is being reprinted and will still sell for $24.95, assuming my printer hasn't lost my files or his mind.

I have a theory about these outrageous prices on Amazon. These "sellers" who have the outrageous prices are really fronts for Amazon because as soon as I announced it was out-of-print the out-of-this-world prices appeared. No one else could've known this but an insider OR Amazon itself. This wouldn't be the first time Amazon has been caught playing "footsie" with your money. But their greed doesn't allow them to stop, they do something else. They should be called Imazon, for their amazing imagination for coming up with new ways to take people's money in a way that just seems unethical to everyone but them. (E.g., just read yesterday they were interfering with Apple on a "Daily Deals" offering of new music which pre-empted Apple's iTunes even though Apple had done the marketing and had the contract WITH the record labels. They just do not stop!)

Need me? bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

THE CHESS FLOOD


I'm sure some view the spate of chess books as daunting, but it isn't much different than it was in the 90s when I was also dealing with new equipment and the video (VHS) revolution.

But now there are some good things, better than average coming out. Some people like the gamut and order a lot of goodies which is great for me. Others are more selective with their time and money. But you all are important for my business improvement.

There is one group, maybe not as rabid as in earlier times, but the fellahs who want to stay current with everything. I do my best, but I've been limited by the distributors and when they see product. You see, the "big boys," ChessBase and New in Chess are foreign companies and they announce something new to everyone at the same time. Some people think it is a simple matter to order XYZ because they saw it somewhere.... ehhh, well not really. You'll have to read the fine print in most cases.

I have, on my workbench, the following new books ready to ship except where noted. I will be making up a small and supplemental list to help everyone but because I feel like rewarding the Blog readers (which includes many Chess Reports readers) for their support, I will list what is sitting here without touching on stuff which is coming in soon, but is not here yet (cuts down on the disappointment doesn't it? Okay, so it doesn't.)

1. Who Dares Wins! by IM Lorin D'Costa. Attacks, opposite side Kings. A valuable topic Euwe & Kramer once wrote about. Ret. $26.95
2. A Course in Chess Tactics by Bojkov & Georgiev. Looks like a useful book from Gambit but I am only working from my review copy. Ret. $22.95. A fancy cover which has nothing to do with the subject.
3. Revolutionize Your Chess by Moskalenko. Supposedly a new system to become a better player. My distributor finally got these. A fat sucker, poor use of Photoshop on the King on the flag (hire my son guys he knows how to do this). Ret. $29.95. Will be reviewed later.
4. The Scotch Game for White by Barsky. Ret. $ ??? Looks to be an excellent book. (Nice cover design)
5. Wojo's Weapons vol. 1. Winning with white by IM Ippolito and NM Hilton. A very fat book (400+ pages) on 1. Nf3 d5. I think this will be a big seller. Too bad Wojo isn't around to see it. And a thought: This is from Mongoose Press. What amazes me is how the smaller companies have such beautiful cover design (this one is excellent) and the big boys have such cheap, boring stuff. $29.95.
6. Theory and Practice of Chess Endings by Panchenko, Vols. 1 and 2. (Also a nice cover, Egyptian style). Ret. $??? (more in The Chess Reports). Very useful looking bits.

Now for two books from Everyman. The first is on the Ponziani for a special customer of mine, and by Taylor and Hayward. $27.95. New.
Secondly, a book I have been trying to get and which was finally reprinted: Chess Secrets The Giants of Chess Strategy by McDonald. $24.95. Features Kramnik, Karpov, Petrosian, Capablanca, and Nimzovich. This whole series is quite excellent and if you don't have them it is a great way to play through hundreds of annotated games and to get a feel for your own style and who you might like for your chess hero.

Plus, one last thing today. I have (17) followers on this blog, registered as such. I know many many more read this because I hear from them. But if you register then I think Google indexes me and the blog will be featured among other "top" blogs. I always thought the name "blog" sounded like a swamp (bog) but that's me.

If you leave a comment I think you have to "register" but I am not sure. Anyway, not to sound pompous or anything like that, this is an informational and entertainment tool for my business. Recently I looked at a number of chess blogs and they are "cut and paste!" Who wants to spend time reading something that originally appeared somewhere else? These are people with a computer who want to be noticed and have nothing else to do (and they are all over the world!!!)

If you want to know about DVDs, books, catalogs, new TPI issues, the past, the future of chess, then you can do well by tuning in here 6 days a week. Hey, thanks!

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, March 1, 2010

ANOTHER WAY NOT TO PLAY CHESS!

I am confounded and amazed when I hear players say, "If he moves his Queen there I will have him." I don't mean like an analytical solution such as, "I've got his Queen almost trapped. It looks like I have all the avenues blocked, and if I nudge him here, and he does this, then I've got him."

I'm writing about a lifestyle!

"If he moves his Q to a5 (when there is no reason on earth for the Queen to go there), then I fork him and QED."

I call that "Hope Chess" and it is quite popular.

Myself, I'm almost the exact opposite. I have no idea where he is going to move. But, if you analyze like any strong master or CJS Purdy, after a while you start limiting the places of movement. You go through a number of scenarios and in effect say to yourself (I hope to only yourself), something like, "My King is under attack (or some other piece), do I have a way to survive and maybe throw back the attack? Maybe this g3 defensive move followed by h4, the B to d3, etc." Then we look at whether this can play out. If we find a line is there a way I can play it without some unforeseen interruption?"

I remember years ago played a guy who was a tremendous counterattacker. Sometimes he was maniacal. The problem with that approach is that guys like me tend to stay on our toes because we know what he is capable of. I had been eyeing a sac on a pawn for 15 or more minutes. I analyzed the position to death. I didn't "hope" he would play a move that would win for me, I tried to find the moves he might play that would stop me cold.

Finally, I gave up and didn't sac the piece. It was unclear. He was patiently sitting there and I believe he was looking at the same sac and was hoping I would go for it! After the game I looked at it without the stress. It would have been bad, very bad. Sometimes you have to say "no" to your inner analyst. Maybe I was afraid I would only draw if something went wrong and I wanted to win so bad. I don't recall the outcome, but I played the pieces on the board, not my wishful thinking.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com