Saturday, July 31, 2010


From the middle of Illinois comes Ira Shoenwald, a teacher and chess lover. He is the 22nd person to register for the Last Chess Clinic #6. Ira is also taking a room at the Clarion Hotel. If you haven't done so already, I really think you should This event is only 3 months away, and you know what Last Minute stuff can be like. Clarion: 563-391-0123, Oct. 22-23.

The name "Last" was fortuitous and it hit me hard today as to why. I have great respect for Bill Glazer and Dan Kennedy as I am a member of their "Insider's Circle." Every year they hold two monster events and people pay thousands to come. They may have 800 or more people attending each one. What if they had an "Info Summit" or Super Conference, and it was billed as their Last One? I realized I would take out a loan to go. Sure, I know they are good, and I know that the cost has kept me from being able to attend, but I also know that when it comes to Information Marketing they are the best in the business. Then $3000 doesn't seem like much when they have made many of their members millionaires. The Chess Clinic is somewhat analogous. Costs a whole lot less, but still, properly introduced to you, can turn you into a much better chess player (if you wish). You will like the game more than ever. There is that GLOW Effect.

The Chess Secret book is nearly 100 pages already and I haven't added the "program" to it yet! Lots of good ideas in it, but there is ONE that pervades all the others and I see few people doing it... that's what this book has as its core message. I recommend it, but then again, why wouldn't I?

Thursday, July 29, 2010


An optometrist from Peoria, IL, Ron Suarez, won the $185 gift pass for whatever 2011 event I hold next year.
I was at artist Bill Hannan's home yesterday to pick up the artwork for Merlin the Magician and asked him to dip his fingers into an envelope stuffed with 21 paid registrations for Chess Clinic #6 and he drew out Ron Suarez' name slip. Congratulations Ron.


Normal Retail will be $99.95. It is packed to the gills with the RIGHT stuff and it will be offered, introductorily, for $39.95. Almost a dozen have signed up and the book has yet to go to the printer! I call it PRIVATE STOCK and will be offered ONLY to the following groups at a varied price. Clinic goers have first crack:

a) Chess Clinic attendees. $39.95;

b) If you attended a previous Clinic (not a Chess Festival) it’s $49.95. You will have 2 weeks to purchase and claim your copy at the $49.95 price.

c) Gold Card 2010 holders not at the Clinic. $59.95 good to the End of 2010.

d) Subscribers to The Chess Reports. $64.95. Two weeks to claim yours after the Clinic at this price.

e) Others. $79.95. Price good until the end of the year. Limited TIME offer.

All copies will be shrink-wrapped and get the usual Satisfaction Guarantee on Money Back within one year.


to get you to come to the Chess Clinic, my Last One (#6). In it, on page 7, a did a line by line comparison of the 16 reasons people go to Seminars and Boot Camps. We hit on 15 of them! Interestingly, I had 3-4 more that weren't on Dan Kennedy's LIST! I had not seen Kennedy's list until last night. Kennedy at one time was one of the top speakers in the marketing and information world, making millions of dollars. Maybe some of it will rub off and grow Davenport into a Chess Mecca. (I will have events like this in Chicago for the first person who writes me a good check for $3,000 to cover my basic expenses! I will return you money if we make the "nut." End of discussion.)


I've had two weeks off in the past 7 years so I am selling some of my stuff to take a week off. A list should be available either later tonight or go out tomorrow. Will go out first to those who have bought previously owned merchandise from me before. These items are from MY collection and include DVDs and books. If you wait around you will probably be disappointed. DVDs range from 35-50% OFF. Books are priced to move.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Looks like something from a Marvel comic doesn't it? It's a piece of Merlin the Magician done by my friend and artist Bill Hannan, the guy who designed all the t-shirts for my past Chess Festivals.

The rest of the art will be on the cover of the book I am preparing called: CHESS SECRETS. Subtitle isn't finish yet. Basically this book by myself will uncover a well "hidden" secret about how to get really good at chess, and almost anything else. It's been hiding in Plain Sight for years and the GMs and IMs absolutely understand what it is if they think about it long enough. Some may not have even been aware of what they were doing.

Once the "secret" is out there is a lot more to consistent winning than just knowing the secret. This will be covered too as well as many other analogies and a discussion of prodigies, geniuses such as Mozart and others... all is NOT as it seems. Merlin, however, was in HIS own class.

Initially the book will only be available to those who come to the Last Chess Clinic (#6). It is a $99.95 book, less than a dollar a page. But Chess Clinic attendees will be able to pick it up for $39.95. Guaranteed satisfaction or your money back. Shipping is FREE for now because you will be picking it up at the Last Chess Clinic. I already have almost a dozen pre-orders.

Other prices, other options, and so on will be outlined tomorrow. For the time being, I have to get the NEW Chess Clinic brochure out to everyone who wants a copy. Sign in to this Blog and send me an email at: and I will send you one at no cost nor obligation to you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I knew the book was good. I knew the author was good. And so I ordered more than usual. But I ran out of Soltis' Studying Chess Made Easy. I even have an order for it from Australia. This is what a reputation for writing very good books can do.

The book is a paltry $17.50 for Gold Card owners. I almost doubled my previous order today for this book and already 20% are already asked for.

As I wrote in TCR I think it was, it should have been titled Studying Chess Made Easier because "Easy" gives one the very wrong idea. Years ago Rueben Fine wrote Chess the Easy Way. A very good book by the way, but not easy. Maybe easier than some others, but it is the marketers that write that kind of nonsense. It gives people HOPE that there is an EASY way and all these other books are just hiding their secrets. We have enough conspiracy theorists as it is. If they are right only once in 1,000 tries they will tell you, "I told you so."

There are a pile of them on reorder, and the distribution house, Sterling in NY, keeps everyone on a tight leash. So it will take 2 weeks before more get here.

Do you want one too? Let me know I will put you on a list.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Naturally when my email is down it is frustrating because that's mostly how I conduct business. What happened? Someone took down a "broken" server and brought up a backup system but he neglected to make sure all customers were connected. This is about the 4th time this has happened (to me), about once a year. My webmaster, Kari, helped me get through this, God love her. But if you know me at all, this means changes for me in the future as this is not good for customers or for me.

In the really hi-tech industry of 99.9% uptime (such as 1&1) this means on average you can expect to have about 8.76 hours downtime per year. That might include "maintenance." So 48 hours is PRETTY BAD! I was out 48 hours--fortunately, Sunday is usually slow. But when I got up on Monday morning--same problem as the weekend--no service for email.

I know this stuff isn't "sexy" to most, but it is to me. It's lifeblood.

If you would be kind and willing and you wrote to me on Saturday or Sunday and you think it is important, would you please send again? Thanks.

"Something" about Lasker will be coming this year also. In the meantime, I will have several other announcements to make soon but while I could use the advance sales, I prefer to have the product at hand.

Tomorrow I'll be back to CHESS in some form or another.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


It's the weekend and normally I don't post on Sunday but I haven't received any emails since about noon on Saturday.

Of course this is most annoying as my business depends on emails. It's quite possible that Google is having issues and I won't know more until Monday.

But I believe you can leave messages to me in the box below the BLOG articles I write most every day. Try that if you need to get hold of me.


Bob JUST in case it finally does get through or call me at 563-271-6657

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I just talked with Ron yesterday. He is from Illinois. We were discussing the upcoming event and in the middle of the conversation I asked, "Do you want to sign up for this?" He said, "Yes!" He knows another attendee, Sam Naylor. Apparently they were playing chess in Quincy (IL) in the past and also Keokuk (IA), my home town.

This is great. You friendly chess guys and gal (Barb Fortune) have tied with last year's total and there are 3 months to go! Who wants to be the one to break the tie? (I know there will be at least one--but will it be you?) Someone else may want to be the one who gets us past the 50% mark. Others just want to come and don't care about those things.

Got a note yesterday from Andrew Martin and he is pretty gratified at the way things are going. He and I are planning some other things while he is here and possibly for the event also... but you will have to keep reading here to see what they are.

By the way, I blog through "Blogger" and they seem to have some new bells and whistles for these Blogs, but I will only be able to check out what they have when there is time. Right now being creative and working for you is more important (seems that way anyhow).

Still working on The Chess Secrets book and haven't nailed down an exact title yet. Am also playing with some other ideas as there is no staff here to help produce. All from the horse's mouth and not from the other end, hopefully.

Congratulations Ron, and thanks for signing up. You'll wonder how you got along without coming. Oh yes, Ron purchased a Gold Card too, as the rest of you can from the emailing I sent out yesterday. Good through Sept. 16th, 2010. I know people who have saved hundreds of dollars using their card. Others like the convenience of knowing it is there and available should they see something they want and then--Pull the Trigger. Instant savings.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Former Chess Festival attendee Mark Capron (Iowa City) is coming .He said the latest brochure (emailed yesterday) hooked him. What about you? Do I need to try harder? As someone once said (Ed Koch??), "How am I doing?" Mark also wanted the very fine new book by Soltis Studying Chess Made Easy. I think it would have had an even more important title if it had been named, Studying Chess More Focused. Am running low and since their distributor in NY takes forever to get things from, I won't have more until mid-August. Have 2 left now I think.

By the way, I miscounted the number who have registered and corrected it on yesterday's blog. It is now 20. I expect another tomorrow (maybe?), that would bring it to 21, the number I had for last year's event, at the last minute. One of the features of yesterday's emailing was to get sharp youngsters to come, ages 12-20, or "prodigies."

Greg Delaney, one of the first to sign up for the Last Chess Clinic (he of Wisconsonite status), suggested I bring some complete sets (at least one for him) of my magazine SQUARES to the Chess Clinic and he could pick them up. Great idea.

It seems like such a small thing and yet it would give others a chance to see what I was putting together some years back. I have a couple dozen small things to do for the Bourse (Sales Table) at the event including trying to find someone who can run it for me so I can more fully participate in the event itself! For those who remember my earlier Chess Festivals I would have one or two people handling sales, my daughter would schmooze people at the door and make sure they were registered and feel welcome. Sometimes I had others do the pairings for quickplay events. In all, it ran pretty smoothly and yet, I still was busy. So busy in fact that I would only hear snippets of what the work-shoppers were teaching to their raptured audience.

If there was an odd number for some lesson-play events I would fill in.

By picking up the 8 magazines at once at the event, you'll save postage because, they ARE heavy. That glossy stock causes that. Ordinarily they would have cost about $80, but I will have some at the Clinic for $30 a set including the scarce #8 (the last one).

Unfortunately, I was informed yesterday that Roger Gottschall's chess event is held in Ames (Iowa) the same weekend as the Last Chess Clinic. I'll miss you Roger. As I recently related, there is no perfect weekend. If I dodge something in Iowa then something in Peoria will hit another weekend, or Kansas City, or Omaha, or Chicago, or Minneapolis, or the World Open. There are lots of chess events in the USA but almost none of them are conducive to commercial sales success.

And as Walter Cronkite would say: "And that's the way it is, July 23rd, 2010... and you were there."

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Dr. Tom Michlowski is coming to the Last Chess Clinic (#6). He's been aching to do this. He wants to see Andrew in a BAD way--Lessons!

And Dr. Julian Wan (Ann Arbor, MI) Pediatric Urologist and lecturer at University of Michigan, one of the top schools in the world, is coming--that means if these guys, who are as busy as all get out can come, you should be able to come too, right?

Michlowski heads up a huge mental health complex and he is CRAZY about chess! That's mental health for you; so busy I only get letters or phone calls from Tom, no emails!

19 PAID... 31 seats left.

I am shipping out a new brochure today on the Chess Clinic, seriously designed to win the rest of you over. 8 pages of stuff including 3 pages of new material, tips, factoids, and photos.

Remember, Oct. 22-23, 2010 at the Clarion Hotel on 5202 Brady St., Davenport, Iowa. Call the front desk about reserving a room for one or two nights. 563-391-1230. Tell them it is for the Chess Clinic and you will get the SPECIAL (no joke, no fraud) price of $74.

Fees: $150 at the door if there are any seats left.
$139.00 otherwise, unless you own a Gold Card for 2010--which makes the price $125.00.

For a limited time, I am selling Gold Cards 2010 for only $50 IF--you've never had one before (basically, that's it). Offer is good through September 16th.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I do not post names of potential Chess Clinic attendees unless they have actually paid. I'm funny like that but as you might've figured out, I've been "stuck" a few times. Lots of lazybones talk tough, but it's the ones who deliver that matter to me.

In the meantime I am fine tuning a book, and The Chess Reports for this Friday has been completed.

Am sitting here thinking, "How do I get people to purchase stuff?" Some think that is easy, but it's not. Getting people on lists is first hardest thing to do, selling them something is next hardest. I hear from people who love to read what I send out, but that's it... After a while sometimes guilt takes hold and they ask to unsubscribe.

"The Chess Museum" isn't for everyone, and neither is the chess business. Who wants to deal with everyone? I have enough problems with people who order a couple boxes of stuff to be shipped overseas, and somehow, repeatedly don't answer emails or send the funds. The boxes are still sitting here waiting for the $$$ transfer. If I don't hear from them soon, I will tell you who they are. Famous for this kind of behavior. You might be shocked to find out who it is but they aren't in Germany, or UK. Then they have the gall to want me to purchase stuff from them!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Omaha, is now represented at the Last Chess Clinic and not from Warren Buffett but Bob Woodworth. Welcome Bob. Nice to see you returning after the 2002 Chess Festival (that was the one right?) and one of the Store parties I had, maybe it was the wine & cheese one or the steak fry "unbelievable," I can still taste it).

It looks as though Bob has a friend coming also, who we will mention when we hear from him. In the meantime, Bob gets a REFERRAL prize for next year's event--whatever that may be. In fact, it may not be announced until the 2010 Clinic. I'll take a more active role this time because lots of things are happening. Like last year, I will probably have the Sales Force and Store open about 9 a.m. on Saturday so that the lectures can start promptly.

Omaha is 300+ miles away, at the opposite end of Iowa, out West. Surely we can expect some people from Indianapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, and Des Moines.... all of which are a lot closer! Hope so.

Well, back to newsletter creations. If you have something, or your company has something, that you need created or moving along, contact me about times and rates. I've been doing this since 2006. Get through to me at:

Monday, July 19, 2010


I haven't put out an advertorial in quite some time so I will be releasing one today. Yes, items will be sold, but all will be wrapped around stories and details as it makes everything, hopefully, more interesting. There's been some new things and what with the Chess Clinic I haven't had as much time to deal with them except in the pages of The Chess Reports (Semester 9, $59.95).

So I will keep this short but be sure to check your email. At the same time or tomorrow will be some additional information about The Chess Clinic. If 50 people just signed up I wouldn't have to burden you, but a few told me they like to see how I market this thing (sigh). I translate that as, "Okay Bob, what can you do to seduce me into coming?" Probably nothing if you have to be that convinced.

When I proposed this Last Chess Clinic thing it was partly to see how many of those who have told me, over and over, they were going to come, but never did... if they meant it. One person has signed up!

The only thing I am planning to mention, in the future, is the TPi Inner Circle. But the details are not yet in place and that Group has nothing to do with the Chess Clinic unless I announce what it is AT the Chess Clinic. More details later.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I am happy to report two additional names who will attend the Last Chess Clinic: Roger Kromphardt from Davenport, Iowa (!) and Bob Rasmussen from Denver, Colorado. I've known both of these gentlemen for years. Roger, the lucky dog, recently retired from Government Service.

Roger won't be staying at the Clarion for obvious reasons, but Bob has taken two more of their nights at the Clarion (register with them by calling 563-391-1230). Mr. Rasmussen has a particularly interesting note about coming. He has been a caretaker for his Dad for quite some time, a job that can be very grueling even if it is a relative, a close relative. But he is tying up the loose ends to make sure his Dad will be well taken care of, medications delivered, and such, and he is going to take a Chess Timeout for himself! I've been recommending such a stance for years because life can be hard, full of drudgery, and sometimes we all wonder, "What happened to me? Where is that kid who thought the world was his oyster?" The oyster is in Davenport, Iowa on the 22nd and 23rd of October at the Clarion Hotel. Friday evening and all day Saturday. Chess play, learning, fun, and solutions for less than $14/hour; that's really, really hard to beat.

I pay, naturally, for Mr. Andrew Martin's round trip to the states so he can be with you and I want to let you know that he has bought HIS ticket for the flight. He's getting to be an old hand with respect to the Q-C area and Chicago. I can still remember the first time I went to Chicago to meet him at the international airport and the wait while everyone went through customs' clearance. Now he comes directly to the Q-C Moline International Airport just like those of you who will fly here.

So look at this, an international flight, a drive from Denver, another drive from Oregon. There are very few real excuses for NOT doing something for Yourself. Last night, at 1 a.m. in the morning after going to see this terrible movie (Inception), I was in a booth at a restaurant I have often gone to and was reading John Maxwell's Talent Is Never Enough and once again I came across the subject of achievement, success, and liken his writings and thoughts to those of Success Seminars, and people looking to fatten their income and introduce MORE leisure into their life; even if they are a doctor, or a marriage counselor! The only problem is that in my opinion too much is written about sports and athletes and coaching. Let me tell you RIGHT NOW that I have met a very successful coach, a successful athletic coach who had and has all kinds of goals, successes and things like that and he is shallow and as phoney as a three dollar bill! Don't believe everything you read, work through it yourself, EVEN if it comes from me. Myself, I have no reason to lie to you, but this guy had reasons to lie to me. I spent a lot of time with him working on book publishing ideas and in the end, he was just another four-flusher who believes his money is more important than the ride. Here's "honesty" for you. I stood to work hard for $5-6,000 on a book for him which summed up his creeds, accomplishments, etc. But I had warned him from the very beginning, "Your book needs a lot of work (Yes, I read all of it). I suggest you have someone do a rewrite. Get your own person or let me find someone." After our second long meeting, he asked, "Do you really think I need a rewrite?" (which would probably cost him a couple thousand). Without batting an eye, I said, "Yes, I have no doubt."

For those few who will react that I was too hard on him, I neglected to tell you at the beginning he had been turned down (I even saw one of the letters) by 26 (I think it was) potential publishers, of all kinds!! The money meant more to him than a chance at really getting his story out there and probably get a better coaching job elsewhere. I wrote him again last year to ask if the project was still on. "Yes," he finally wrote back. But nothing was ever done. He was deflated, maybe more with himself than anyone else. He's "waiting" until the "right" time.

THE POINT: "Just do it!" Whatever IT is. Come to the Chess Clinic, my Last One. Forget all the reasons why you can't or won't. Open up your wallet and do something for yourself that will be with you for a long time. Seventeen (17) have already committed and from a lot of DIFFERENT states. If someone should come, internationally, wouldn't that be flabberghastingly great? Look at this as a Chess Vacation--a fun time that is even MORE enjoyable than winning or losing. Come with or by yourself. Significant others are FREE.

Depending upon his time and availability. Andrew has been known to take on Private Lessons, one person at a time. If you are interested let me know. Soon.

My stories, real anecdotes, don't need exaggeration. They are designed to illustrate a point and often, make a point. One thing the young guy doesn't have over me is stories. I've been in the chess business for 40 years and a lot of ink has flowed under the bridge. Can you make a commitment today? To yourself?

Friday, July 16, 2010


Yeah, I suppose this sounds like a ploy, but it isn't--to get people to register for the Chess Clinic.

I have a new physical mailing list of about 700 more names for chess stuff, most of whom are not on my regular mailing list. I had set the deadline of July 16th which I tucked into the physical mailer about registering for a chance at a Big Bonus product for early registration.

Just ran out of time, arms, and printer toner until I could see I would need another week (actually two weeks, but I am cutting it to one). The chief, cook, and bottlewasher are me. So in my latest mailing of 100 (I do about 100-150) at a time the slip was revised to add another week, that is to and through July 23rd. And so it has been done.

The mailings went to big cities surrounding the state of Iowa but not Iowa itself (how many chances do they need?). Getting Iowans here is more difficult than getting someone from New York City! While I have had some success in sales over the years, selling people in this area or in Iowa is not easy. Part of it is, they "think" they know me--for whatever that is worth (nothing). Pretty much those who will not come to a Clinic LIKE staying where they are because they take no action to the contrary. Too bad. And some people were afraid they had to be chess stars to come. Who suggested that? If you are NOT a chess star, we want you!

So, if you register by July 23rd you've got a chance to be in a drawing for a FREE pass for Next Years event, whatever it is, and if it is. I'd like to do an Openings Workshop for 2011. Already ideas are swirling. I've "heard" of a few people WAITING for the next deadline (August 16th) because they prefer the idea of having a chance at getting a FREE set of White Shockers and Black Shockers DVDs. So I will make this OFFER:

Register by July 23rd, and when the winning name is drawn, by someone other than me, you can HAVE your CHOICE of a FREE pass to next year's event OR the White Shockers and Black Shockers set of DVDs. But for the second deadline, there will be no free pass thrown in to next year's event. If all this should make sense, get those registrations in earlier. There are reasons I want to close off these sales: It is work sending out flyers frequently, bookkeeping, and knowing how many sets and boards I will need as well as other logistics (emails, etc.) The sooner I can close the event, the better for you too because I can work on other things such as prizes, book revisions in time for the Clinic and so on. If you can, get your friends to come.

The success rate of returning people to my events is phenomenal and way better than national averages.

Bob Woodworth has already referred someone who is coming! REFERRALS have good offers too as I relayed in a recent emailing: $25 merchandise coupon OR a FREE copy of the updated "My Search for Chess Perfection" or $50 off the price of admission to whatever next year's event will be. Get 3-4 referrals and you can get in FREE! Do you love FREE? Many do. I do.

NOTE: I do not take registrations on the fly. That is, when someone says to me, "Bob, put me down as coming!" My standard reply, is "When you've paid, I will!" Should I be unfair to those who have already staked THEIR claim? I think not.

Quickie details: Clarion Hotel (563-391-1230), Oct. 22-23. (Looks like some more rooms are going to be grabbed, I wouldn't put this off). Details in all those flyers I have been sending out. If you aren't getting one it's because I don't have your email address. You can drop me a line at:

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Nice day isn't it? Thursday, cooler than Wednesday.

But all is exciting. Silver lining in the cloud thing you know.

Just got word of another future registrant for the Last Chess Clinic #6.

That will bring it to 18 "Most Likelies" with 16 confirmed. But on top of that, another is working out some domestic details and I think he will be coming, making every effort to come a long distance. THESE are the folks I want to meet and greet. I know some have other issues which may or may not prevent them from attending this last one, but the CAN DO ones excite me the most and they are ALWAYS the ones I want to help the most... it stands to reason doesn't it? Quid pro quo. Perish the thought but sometimes I wish I had a twin brother to help out!

That means that today I have been working hard on two things: future issues (plural) of The Chess Reports AND more on the Chess Secrets book, which is fun "work" but terribly time consuming. However, when one watches episodes of "Mission Impossible" you start believing one can do anything!

Now here's something I would like from you, any, or all of you. Today I was reading more of Masterson's Ready Fire Aim! One of the tenets Masterson espouses is getting ideas from employees. Some will have great ideas and others will have impractical ones (costs lots of time and money). I don't view my clients as "employees" but the principal is the same. In other words, WHAT ideas do YOU have in which I could convince more people to come? I still have other ideas in reserve but I can only do so much at once. And because of their prolific nature I make the mistake of not writing them all down, and so far have forgotten 2-3 good ones that cropped up in the last couple days. I keep thinking they will come back to me, but it seems, not without a lot of effort! What's wrong with using a notepad or recording device? Well, what can I say? I forget to remember that... so, let's get past that.

Today I am open to more and new ideas to get 50 paid people to the Last Chess Clinic. From those who are coming and from those who WOULD come IF only...


Contact me through:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Add another to the Chess Clinic, the last one, #6 in the form of John Hartmann (NE). Thank you for saddling up John, you are number 16! John was REFERRED by client Bob Woodworth who we hope also comes.

Am down the trail of finishing up Chess EXTRAS #4. As those who subscribe know, I am being like CJS Purdy on this one... LATE. This every 3 months' publication has stretched out to about 9 months as the commitment to Chess Clinic #6 remains strong (Festivals and Clinics are a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work. Lots of interesting bits included such as the REAL name of Irish-American chess player and author James Mason (sorry, you will have to subscribe to find out who: $65 for 6 issues or $50 if you have a Gold Card for 2010)). According to Chessmetrics by Jeff Sonas, in the mid 1870s Mason was second only to Steinitz in playing strength!! Lots of other goodies and perhaps I can tell you more about them as I lead up to final publication.

The Chess Clinic #6 T-shirt design is completed as you can see above. Already almost a dozen shirts have already been pre-ordered. Sizes printed will be L, XL, and XXL. I don't yet know the price but my guess is $18-22 because they will be printed on high-quality cotton fibre like others in the past and will be capable of repeated washings (you do wash them don't you?). This time only the actual ones paid for will be printed so that there are no left overs. Even if you won't come to the Clinic you can purchase the T by sending the appropriate amount +$5 for S&H in the US... price to be announced. This will be a commemorative piece since we've never done this before for a clinic. The design, based on a suggestion of mine, was done by Rob Long. Thanks Rob, another nice job. He's done T-shirts for many including Count Gor DeVol the famous Maryland TV host for Creature Features for 25-30 years (who was one of the first to use the TV medium). The caption reads: "I got my last CHECK up at CHESS CLINIC #6."

On the most recent Chess Life cover there was a big headline: Tiger from Madras Topples Topalov. I kept seeing Topless as I would walk by its sitting on top of one of my printers, but worse is that the "headline" is meaningless since Topalov was NOT the world champion. Then in a subhead which is also bad it says "Anand retains his title with the most stirring world championship contest in years." Isn't this debatable? What about Anand-Kramnik which really stirred the hearts and imaginations of everyone or Kramnik-Topalov? Is anyone paying attention here?

If you want to reserve a room at the Clarion Hotel for the Last Chess Clinic, please call 563-391-1230 and mention the clinic. Date: Oct. 22-23. Most are staying Friday and Saturday night, that way we can carry on forever even though Saturday is likely to be a full one. The Clarion is on Brady Street, a large hotel and on one of the main thoroughfares in Davenport, right off of I-80. I still urge early reservations as there will also be another convention there that weekend for tattoo artists! Show them WE are more serious than they.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I get occasional inquiries, especially when I am having sales, about the cost of Shipping to our Pacific Rim friends. Sometimes when I am down at the post office I ask for the price to ship a book (in a bag or box) to Australia or New Zealand. Today it was Seirawan's
Chess Duels. At 1 pound and 14 oz, the tab was $17.64 (this didn't count the cost of the Jiffy Bag nor the time it takes to fill out customs forms let alone the gas and time to take it to the Post Office.) The book had a discounted price of $22.50!

I'm hoping customers understand I have nothing to do with this. Now everything goes by Airmail and the rates are 3 times (3X) what they used to be. In one fell swoop, most of my foreign business sales have mostly been eliminated... how's that for Exports? You have to think that people who make policy are NEVER on the business end of anything (while the US subsidizes big American corporations abroad!) Postal employees make a very good living in the USA despite "authoritarian" conditions and "big brother" surveillance.

But soon our postal "SERVICE" will ask for another 2 cent increase, per oz., and still not have enough "counter employees" to whisk us through and make our "stay" quick and fleeting. At the Davenport PO the postmaster was overheard to say, "I have to stand in lines at the grocery stores and elsewhere, why should here be any different?" Well one reason you twit is the word SERVICE in your name. This stands for good service, not POOR service. Often I am there for 10 or more minutes waiting to be waited on by two clerks instead of the used-to-be three clerks. (The PO attitude is that as long as everyone finally gets waited on, what's the problem?)

So if you hail from an international country, yes, I can look up the price of goods and possible weights online, and I have, but the FINAL inspection is the Postal Service where I still have to take the package to be shipped (no shortcuts there) and make sure the right customs labels are attached (there are two kinds). Sometimes the clerks disagree on the cost of a sending depending on who you use. Sometimes you say you want "cheapest" way and they interpret that as something else... so it is a good idea to KNOW what you think it will be. If it is over 4 pounds, then the receiver can get really hammered.

Just to let you know I am more concerned about YOUR service than my postal authorities are concerned about what you get and WHEN!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time going through James Mason's annotations of several of Lasker's and Pillsbury's games from the St. Petersburg 1896 tournament as found in the February issue of The British Chess Magazine.

It really shows one how much can be learned and I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. They didn't have computers nor huge databases of games then but Mason was a thoughtful man, a man with "no name" when he emigrated from Ireland to the USA. Chessmetrics calculated his peak rating at 2701 which I think might be asking too much from the mid 1870s (by working backward). He was second only to Steinitz (nice Trivia Question for you.)

Mason had several successful books but he was also known as a "drinker" as many were then (and now). I am not sure what drinking does to help one play better chess since I have beaten strong players who like to drink, several times. It seems to give them a "devil may care" attitude, but in Mr. Mason's case his notes from the game Pillsbury-Lasker where Lasker sacked two Rooks? Well, they are mildly notable. Of all the notes for that game, 4-5 of them were severely unreliable. Close, but granting "no cigar."

Of course Kasparov annotated that game in His Predecessors book and took big flak for some misjudgments, so Mason was in good company. Yet there was at least one place where Mason missed a perpetual check that it looked like Pillsbury had against Lasker but didn't play. It was noted in that issue of BCM that the players were in severe time trouble and I am thinking perhaps the annotator was also.

Still, the game, as it sat, was a jewel. Even the redoubtable Ray Keene featured it in his hilarious video series titled The 12 Best Games of Chess. There WERE some dandies on that list.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


If you have read foreign chess magazines or books over the years occasionally you will have seen chess caricatures of Tal, Portisch, excellent ones of Fischer and Spassky in Iceland, Korchnoi, and so on.

Not too many modern ones except perhaps Anand and Kasparov in England's CHESS Monthly.

When Andy Soltis and I launched two books in the 90s, Grandmaster Secrets: Endings and Grandmaster Secrets: Openings my son Rob drew all of them for me. He did a great job as various interested parties pricked up their "eyes," and yet still virtually nothing in US chess press. It could be two reasons: paucity of money, or paucity of talented artists. I suspect both.

Yet, for many years or so, there have been cartoons on chess. Most of them were OK in the art field, but it was usually the captions that held the looker's interest. Some were clever, and others repeated time worn expressions about such subjects as the "battle" between husbands and wives over chess extremes or interests and what was up the food chain and what wasn't.

There's been a lot of artistic chess manipulations on the covers of Chess Life but few that excited me. What is amazing is how many interpretations of chess there are by NON-chess players, and most of them way off base such as when one painter gave us a scene from medieval history only to embark on the details of a Staunton chess set which didn't happen until the middle of the 19th century.

Man Ray came up with a chess set design which was in left field but you could tell he knew something about chess. We know French artist Marcel Du Champ played chess as in the famous photo of him seemingly oblivious to a naked woman as his opponent (of course I don't buy this in real life yet there are examples of men caring more about TV sports than their own wife strutting sans clothes in front of a TV screen and being ignored with a "Move out of the way," comment).

Artists of all kinds have featured chess as a whole or in part of their works. The other day I saw a fantastic commercial, perhaps on CNN, showing two guys playing chess with a commentator freaking out in the background who would make Maurice Ashley look like he was on sleeping medication.

At our chess clinics there are many humorous moments, but no art. Has digital photography supplanted it?

Rob's caricatures will be featured in many upcoming issues of The Chess Reports. In issue #4 of Chess EXTRAS there will be a piece on "stealing" art ideas for a chess cover from a 1920s architectural publication: Karpov's Find the Right Plan. See ya then.

Friday, July 9, 2010


On the Marquee
Johnny Owens from Radcliff, KY is joining us as a registered member of the LAST CHESS CLINIC group. Johnny has subscribed to The Chess Reports for years (thanks Johnny). He was one of the very first to claim a room at the Clarion Hotel (563-391-1230) and now he backs that up with a PayPal money transfer for the biggest chess event in the midwest this year. (I also take checks and credit cards).

Most Amazing Book This Year
Andy Soltis, we all know, is one of the top writers in chess. Consistently good; the only TRUE good thing to come out of Batsford Publishing in years. Unfortunately the covers and typesetting is about as unimaginative as anything you are likely to see. But the newest book itself? Pure Gold! I'll have more to say in my review in an upcoming The Chess Reports. The title is Studying Chess Made Easy. Of course the title should've been, Studying Chess Made Easier, but that's the marketing department for you. Reuben Fine had a book titled Chess Made Easy and it too was an excellent book but if you read through it, you knew you had plenty of work doing absorption of the contents. Just be honest with your buyers--is that too much to ask? Oh, I guess it is.

I will be featuring it, also, in my Secrets book to be published this fall because there is a lot of parallel thinking in it (Andy has been reading my mind). I have a half-dozen copies on hand for a book that was not scheduled to be released until August! At a retail of $22.95 this must be the bargain of the decade in terms of writing, tips, real explanations, and what really works. Also full of his usual anecdotes including many from Russian sources. G&L price is $19.50 and the Gold Card price is $17.25. Add $4 for shipping in the USA and it's yours.

Questions & Answers...
for the Chess Clinic. You guys provide the questions (anything about chess including a board position that might have you stumped, your game, from a book, a thought, etc. Forward them to me.) Remember the dates: Oct. 22-23 in Davenport, Iowa. If you are flying in, you will go to the Moline International Airport. Call the Clarion Hotel and have someone pick you up if you are staying there (I'd advise early registration).

Andrew Martin will answer most of the questions. I can answer business and "other" questions if you like. More coming to you every day. Only 106 DAYS AWAY.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I just shipped out via email issue #109 of The Chess Reports. A day early as I have a number of other projects to finish and postponing sending TCR to get it out on time is dangerous simply because I get so involved at points that time is just a "mystery" to me.

Needless to say, I was thrilled that Gary Barker and James Breeden signed up for The Last Chess Clinic yesterday. I am trying to think of a design for a T-shirt for that event. If any of you out there are designers and you want to try your hand, I'll give you a FREE t-shirt, but that's all I can afford for now (being a designer is being in a tough business). It will be in L and XL only and I am sorry the "overweights" may have to lose a few pounds or stretch the XL. In the past I would also do S, M, and XXL and end up being overloaded with those (except for mediums and smalls--kid's sizes). The silk screeners are not bashful about how many they have to have to produce an order either.

Today is my least favorite time, paying bills so that I can get more product. I would rather go to the gym than do that NOT because I don't want to pay them it is because there is lots of red tape in doing so. Find the bills, enter the info into the accounting system, mark up the paperwork, print it out, create a new account IF it is a new vendor, reconciliation with statements, write the check, and mail. Then the state of Iowa will start bugging me about Sales Tax for this last quarter and that will be kind of meagre but it takes the SAME amount of time to take care of. So I better get off my soapbox and get going.

In the meantime, the drawing for a FREE Pass to whatever next year's event is looming (July 16th) so get your registration in. 35 seats left. There are many people who do not read this Blog, who I personally know, and they tell me they are coming, but of course have yet to register. They may be surprised if, a week before, or at the door I have to tell them "Sorry," with that look on my face that says, "How many times did I remind you?"

This one looks like the best one yet. So, you know the drill. $125 for Gold Card, $139 for early reg., $150 at the door. October 22-23, Clarion Hotel (563-391-1230).

In the meantime, getting ready to go to the gym. Wish I could work on paying my bills while I am on the machines!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Yesterday was a "hooray" day for me as Gary Barker signed up for the Chess Clinic this October. Today is "hooray" day as James Breeden, age 75, and from faraway Massachusetts said HE is coming. Don't let distance be a reason for NOT coming, nor age. He says he's been wanting to meet me. I hope I can live up to that.

Now and then I still get some people who want to know WHY this will be the last one. I sometimes send explanations, especially if they have been to previous ones. One answer is that while virtually everybody who has been to one tells me what a great time they have had, it isn't easy to get new people who are often afraid to take a chance.

Amazingly there are shy people who are afraid to come for fear they may be called upon to answer a question. Other people jump out of their seats to volunteer. Here's the DEAL: As soon as you find yourself HAVING fun you forget your self-inflicted protocols and start joining in. On the other hand, if you've been answer many questions, as there are more and more "clients" you tend to recede into the background.

It always helps if the presenter has a great sense of humor, as Andrew Martin certainly does. If YOU have a sense of humor then you are gearing up for a fantastic experience.

Some of you know that July 16th is the deadline for registering so that you will be entered into a drawing for the opportunity to win a FREE pass to whatever next's year's event will be--maybe a fast tournament and openings' workshop! It's worth $185 and includes free entry into the event. But you have to register by July 16th. The fees are $125 if you own a Gold Card and $139 if you do not.

The Clarion Hotel is awaiting your sleeping accommodation reservations at $74 per night. Their phone number is 563-391-1230.

Yes, I do take checks, cash, credit cards (Visa, MC, and Discover) as well as PayPal; that should offer you options.

Gary Barker has visited us many times and he keeps coming back--Chicagoans can do that!

Don't wimp out or play the excuse game, show me I am wrong about having this as the last one. Already have 2/3rds+ of last year's attendees. Fence riding is over folks, it's that brutal. If you like shameless direct talk, you will like me. With Bob, you don't have to guess what I mean (unless you are a woman!). Welcome Gary and James. Love you guys.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Sorry I missed yesterday. This blog isn't promised everyday, the only promise is that I don't write on Sunday.

But yesterday was full... on top of that by evening I had a cold and headache, but kept pounding away. I've finished the ChessBase Basic, 13-14 page instructional booklet for the Chess Clinic, the Last One.

I worked quite a bit on this Friday's The Chess Reports.

Also, for several hours I listened to two DVDs, long ones by Shirov. The first on the Advance Caro-Kann (2nd ed.) and the second on the Tkachiev Ruy Lopez. While in the past Shirov's mumbling bothered me, he didn't do that these times around. And now he looks at the camera from time to time too! This IS engagement and it made the whole experience hugely improved. I watched a half dozen games but the most interesting one was Leko-Caruana, 2010 in the Tkachiev Lopez, of which, according to Shirov, Caruana is an expert. However, Caruana lost that game and once he made a "decision" mistake, Leko's technique took over and buried him. The funny thing? No games on the Tkachiev Lopez by Tkachiev. Shirov says that Tkachiev plays everything and doesn't concentrate just on the Lopez.

Anyway, just to let you know I am still cooking up brochures for sending to people about the Chess Clinic. Ron Nurmi is talking some people into coming, I hope you will too.

Over the years I have always priced Festivals and Clinics too cheaply and I still couldn't get enough people to come to make the expenses. When I ran Chess Festival 3, the most incredible one, my expenses were around $20,000! No one had ever complained about my events being too expensive. That doesn't mean they don' complaint, but they don't say anything to me. The ones who return are the most important.

So if someone you are trying to encourage is resisting coming because of the recession, being gone for two days, the cost, value, etc. it is clear to me they have no idea what it is worth. Oft times one clue or one sentence can change everything about your playing ability and successes.

On Friday night there with be a Q&E session with Andrew Martin and so far I have received ONE question! You have the opportunity of a lifetime here and you aren't using it. Andrew just wants the questions in advance so he can do sufficient research and give you a good answer. This could be amazingly valuable.

When chess historian ace Ken Whyld was here we had a Q&A and some great questions but after 30 minutes, that's all he had because, why? Everyone expected some one else to come up with the questions. One of the questions was intriguing: Is it true that in the 1927 Alekhine-Capablanca match they played in a room with just a referee, long before Fischer-Spassky? The answer was YES, it was true.

Doesn't matter if it is history, openings, tactics, endgame, etc. feel free to ask. Imagine how you will feel when he starts discussing YOUR question. Submit more than one if you feel like he may not have enough to choose from. He has thousands of reference volumes so don't worry.

Anyway, if you can't convince your friends to come, I will be more disappointed than you should be and I won't be disappointed much. The world has always been dominated by wimps and those who just let things happen and then want to complain to anyone who will listen. One of the most boring topics I have ever been engaged in was politics because if you don't vote, you can't do a whole lot about much anything (and no one wants to listen to you--really!)

I love what I do, the friends I've made, the folks I know. Those who like to waste my time, perhaps there is a chess hell somewhere for them. Maybe it's continuing to lose after missing opportunity after opportunity to improve because of a few hundred dollars. How much money do people shed on big screen TVs, XM radio, booze... yeah, a few hundred dollars is nothing.

Everyone who comes tells me what a great time they have. Are they lying? Could be, but I doubt it. But some are afraid to enjoy themselves as guilt rises and they think, "I could have mowed my grass today."

Chess Clinic... Oct. 22-23, 2010. Clarion Hotel in Davenport: 563-391-1230.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Sacrifice. Oh how many hate that word, even in chess! I knew a guy who was an excellent wargame strategist and a pretty decent player at chess, but he couldn't bring himself to "sacrifice" a piece for a potential win. So he would beat me at wargames and I would beat him at chess.

In the business world it's about doing things like giving up "personal time" for a business goal which, hopefully, will lead to more personal time in the future. Thus, last night I continued developing and working on some business projects when a plan to eat supper out and listen to an outdoors band did not materialize.

Remember one of the things I wrote yesterday about my "to do" list this weekend? I spent last night working on a "ChessBase" explanation paper for the Chess Clinic coming up in October, which is only 4 months away (or less). I got half of it written and have included "in color" screenshots. I don't intend to tackle the whole CB database project, but do intend to give people who own CB or would like to own CB (I do sell it!) some useful thoughts, along with some humor, to make more of what they have. This 10-20 page paper will be FREE to attendees only.

Hopefully you won't find it dry and boring. Readers James Breeden and Ron Nurmi are both excited about the project (and there are no doubt a few who never write me who might be interested too). Another reason to come to a fun-filled, but packed, set of demos, lectures, workshops (Andrew does a great job with these) and friendships on October 22-23 in Davenport, IA at the Clarion Hotel (563-391-1230). I've done my part.

In reading Michael Masterson's Read Fire Aim! last night I saw another example of success, at anything. There are doers, and there are armchair readers (I call them sports fans). I am not a sports fan of what one sees on TV--some of you might know that. I don't watch hours of YouTube of chess play either like some friends do (who never get better at chess). The important part to getting anywhere, including chess improvement, is to DO something. One of the purposes of this blog is to inform you about what I have been doing and hope you can take away something from it.

Oh yes, I sell chess stuff. I've gotten in, recently, Why we lose at chess by Colin Crouch. I have a review copy of Play the Najdorf Sicilian by James Rizzitano in which the subtitle is nice, A new guide to the King of Chess Openings. This must mean I will have to get this information out there and to the readers of The Chess Reports to do any good for you.

Take some action, come to the Last Chess Clinic. Ask me to put you down for a seat in the wagonwheel setup to hear and see Andrew Martin in action. It's only money and a far better deal than playing on ICC all day or all week. No hiding allowed behind a computer screen, come SEE and HEAR what we have planned for you.

Friday, July 2, 2010


It's going to be another crazy weekend, like most of them.

1) Still getting orders for the Sale to end July 16th. Got in some back order stock today for those who wanted something on the SALE sheet but for which it was already gone. Only going to do this once more (i.e., restock ordered titles).

2) The guts of My Search for Chess Perfection is nearly finished. The indexing starts next week. Am looking for an August print and launch. The book will be $39.95, but for the month of July, I will take PAID pre-orders at $33.00, which includes shipping. As some have noted I no longer sell Purdy items on It will have one new chapter (which somehow I overlooked in the 2006-2007 editions) called "On Castle Walls." It's about protecting your castled King and having the "right" pawn formations in front of your King--which are best and which are worst and any exceptions. As Purdy wrote, he's surprised NO ONE had covered this topic. I'm surprised no one has since, or maybe my memory is out the window.

3) The "final" proof of In Your Face Chess Novelties by Andrew Tocher in PDF form has been sent to him for clarification and rechecking the openings' index. I found some intriguing stuff in the book, not weird, because sometimes it can transpose, but your opponent most likely (99% of the time) doesn't know that: how about 1.d4 d5 2.Qd3!? What next? Most likely you don't know and checking your computer isn't going to tell you much. Think about it friends, when you are at the board does the TD let you whip out your laptop?

4) More direct mail brochures for the surrounding states are being prepared today after 10 days of delays in getting ink toner replacement cartridges from CDW in Chicago; which is 160 miles or less from me. One excuse after another. Needless to say, I've already started ordering toner from another company and keeping a few extras on hand though it is far from a "cheap" solution. I read yesterday in a business management book that "rotten service" will pervade the next decade as big companies look for more reasons to cut costs. I don't think we have to wait, it is here now. I know it seems hard to imagine but when I had extra employees it was to take care of service issues because losing any good customer is painful and most of you out there know I bust my hiney to get stuff out the door and in good shape.

5) Stacks of Black and White Shockers DVDs are being prepped and packaged for Europe. Have you got yours?

6) As hard as it is to believe, I am going to a Barbecue out in the country in Illinois tomorrow. What is wrong with me? Am not interested in skeet shooting or riding ATVs, just eating and conversation. Then I should be back to take care of more of the items on this list.

7) Some "chess toys" have been ordered for the Chess Clinic this fall.

8) I am pretty sure I will prepare a paper (FREE!) for Chess Clinic attendees on how to use ChessBase10 in a worthwhile manner. This will ONLY be free to those who attend and who want one for only themselves. A DVD or PDF will be sold for all others. I am doing what it takes to get people here--right? Wouldn't you? But no more than 50 of these will be put together because I am only selling 50 seats for our Last Chess Clinic event. You can pay the entry fee and NOT show up and I will send you one, but probably that won't happen.

9) 50 pages have already been written about the Chess Secret I mentioned on the Chess Clinic brochures I have sent out. Now the hard stuff starts but I already know what it will be so that is a major help. Maybe I should get my old Apple laptop (MacBook) into condition again so I can write while I am out and about... did that for years.

10) Get some more orders out today.

It's always OK to send me orders over holiday weekends. I don't fill orders on Sundays, but I may read them and will fill the next day.

Advance registration for the Chess Clinic #6 is $125 if you have a Gold Card and $139 if you don't. Do I take credit cards--short answer, YES. The Clarion Hotel's number for the Chess Clinic and the Chess Clinic room rate is: 563-391-1230. Don't dilly dally.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Andres Hortillosa is another reason to come to the Oct. 22-23 extravaganza-thon-arama Chess Clinic #6. Besides his terrific book from Everyman Chess, reviewed in the Chess Reports several months back, titled Improve Your Chess at any age, Andy is a software developer with an advanced degree in computer science! He and another partner have developed an app for the iPhone and iPad called Smart Chess. It's cool and you will see what it does as he demoes it for the crowd at the Clinic. After the Q&A session he will also take questions for as long as it takes. If you have an iPhone or iPad and have not really downloaded anything he will show you how. Then you might switch to an iPhone or iPad (I have played with the iPad and intend to get one.) Best of all, the service he provides is great at a low cost, like $5 to do great stuff. It's still under development but he wants to show it to me this summer at his home.

I liked his book too. He said it met with criticism by those who were weaker than he is (his rating was 2199 last I looked). Yet he got kudos from those who were STRONGER than he was! In my book that means the lame are: jealous, envious, they have done nothing, or worst of all, they know him! (The Bible says there are no "prophets" in your home town.) I don't know why people can be that way. If they know what they are talking about, that is one thing, but unless they've done it, it kills sales and that's all it accomplishes.

Someone who I thought was my friend trashed my book (The Chess Assassin's Business Manual) for Chess Life in the "interests of full-disclosure." WTF! Of course these people won't do this to you face-to-face because they know you would argue back and wreck their moronic comments. If anything bothers me it was that he was PAID for his garbage. In fact, the only negative feedback I got on my book was provided by idiots who know nothing about business and who wouldn't last 6 months on their own in one because their view of the world is way off base, but hey, they don't think so. These yoyos get nothing at all except how to move some chess pieces around. "Whoopee Do" as my friend John DiIorio used to say (maybe he still does.) The only thing these types are good for is testing blood pressure machines.

Anyway, Andy will be here and he can meet the other Andy, Andy Martin who will host the Chess Clinic with me, Bob Long. I really do advise signing up soon as I will close attendance after we get 50 people in the room. It will happen, wait until you see the next email I send out on this subject (no, it's NOT a price reduction).

Andres Hortillosa's book is in stock, but I expect, not for long. I have it discounted to $16.25 until July 16th. Then it goes back to $20.25 on the Gold Card and $22.95 at the G&L CHESS price.

Get my message, Andys will be there, ready to autograph, demo, have their picture taken, and to show you chess' good side!

At the door (if any seats left, $150). Otherwise $125 for Gold Card holders and $139 for G&L CHESS customers.

Clarion Hotel (563-391-1230) Mention the Chess Clinic.
Davenport, Iowa