Monday, November 29, 2010

NO "holiday tree" for MY READERS

Am I behind the times or what? I don't care if it means that "some" enfeebled pantywaists are now referring to Christmas Trees as "holiday trees." Give me a break! Apparently there are merchants who are trying to satisfy everyone, an impossible task, certainly, and it doesn't satisfy me. Who was it that said, "A rose by any other name is still a rose."

People are still "inventing" bogus holiday events like this Kwanzaa thing which started in California (?). If you have nothing to do, come over to my place and help me sort pieces I want to send out as direct mail to former customers.

Which leads into Tim S. in Hesperia CA who I haven't heard from in a long time. He took me up on my offer of $400 worth of Thinkers' Press products including the latest Semester of The Chess Reports, for $99.95. Fortunately, just in time boxes have arrived where I can ship out this jumbo-package (almost 8 pounds) to guys like Tim who got my 4 page Christmas flyer today. If perchance you didn't get one, I'll send one to you (George E. I hope you got yours this time.)

In this fistful of words and special, which took almost two days and one night to put together, I have attempted to free up some space at the office to put all the new goodies coming in. I even had to postpone Purdy's My Search for Chess Perfection as I ran out of them! And people from overseas are becoming a good backbone to my business here in the states. I have asked my web master for an update to my upcoming web site.

Resellers are looking forward to some TPi reprints for 2011.

As for the US Post Office I keep wondering how they can be running red ink when I am always having to stand in line at the PO because the postmaster refuses to put more people at the front counter. And sometimes the line runs out the doorway. The massive mailers, the rates for air travel overseas, invoices, and all that means lots of mail is being shipped. Unfortunately, being a former government worker, I know that until TODAY, there have been pay increases year after year for federal workers, ones who make no more contributions to their job than they did before (last year), supposedly because of inflation. If I don't work harder now than I did last year, the results are the same or worse. I can't even ship from my house like some others can, because I have a menageries of mail deliverers all on different schedules.

But I look forward to this season of holiday cheer and festivities. It always makes for a great mood.

One former customer called today because I listed a phone number on that 4-page Special, which I do from time to time. He doesn't know how to use computers or email and doesn't really want to learn. I quit posting my phone number when all that would happen is cause me to get phone calls from people who are too lazy to read and would ask me questions which were already answered in my Newsletters.

DON'T FORGET. The Special prices on "Quality Chess" books ends tonight at Midnight. Several titles are already out of stock. I will get some more to fill your orders. The book on the Benko Gambit by Pinski is temp. out of print. Tiger's Modern is also temp. out of print but I have one left for whoever asks first.

That's enough for now.

Friday, November 26, 2010


What does my logo for Quality Chess remind you of? A famous movie, book?

Quality Chess has some great books but their logo (not depicted here for obvious reasons) is pretty lame... so this one was put together by me and son and it certainly is, unofficial. The guy holding the chess King hostage is a bad boy, but then, some of you knew that.

Drop me a line and tell me where you think this idea came from and if you are correct, you will get $3 off of your order AFTER a current order from you to promote Quality Chess books... that is, a coupon will be put into your order to be used on your next order. This offer expires at the end of this year.

Now, speaking of weirdness, I got a piece of email advertising Black Friday specials for chess where "prices were slashed on our most popular items." Think about that! That is anti-marketing. Anyone in business for more than 10 seconds knows you don't slash prices on the stuff that rockets out the doors with no effort. And if it is truly popular, they already own it.

I guess it is for those who wish they had THESE "gems" but have just not gotten around to forking over the dough. That means Rybka is discounted (I am OUT of them!), and stuff I had that was once hot is gone or stocks are limited. For example, I still have a few copies of Seirawan's CHESS DUELS.

As some of you have no doubt noticed, I've been issuing catalogs piecemeal because if I sent everything in a PDF (one PDF) your email box would choke like a dog eating horseradish. So I break it down and in order to get some traction, I often offer a time limited discount which the vast majority do not take advantage of. (Guess what? I get offered deals like this too, and I take advantage of about 1/3rd of them--non-chess).

TODAY WILL BE INSANITY. Black Friday? I suspect so. I know 1-2 people who get up when it is still dark (4 a.m.) to get ready to go to the stores, whip their credit card out, and buy crap their kids wouldn't need in a month of Sundays (or, Fridays). I expect the parking lots of the bookstores to be filled today also. I look at the restaurants and movie theaters out where my Borders is and they are filled most weekends and many week nights. Yet I keep hearing about this recession thing. To wit... a couple years ago I was in Chicago taking some training courses. I walked from my hotel to Michigan Ave. where the Apple store was... unbelievable... lines zig zagging out this huge store out to the sidewalk. White packages, white boxes, iPods and everything else. Clerks roaming through the store nowadays taking orders... (next paragraph).

Update... some of you know that Microsoft has put together 7 stores within a few doors of Apple Stores. According to a MacNN report today of one particular store, the Apple store was killing them! Why? It's what I try to do here from Iowa: diversity and products no one else stocks because they are exclusives. In the last 2 days I have gotten requests for Buckley's Practical Chess Analysis (which is OP at the moment, but it will come out again in 2011). I was asked if My Search for Chess Perfection is available on the Kindle. (No, not yet, not anytime soon.) I am also out of "My Search..." in the book printed edition. I offered this to resellers in round about ways in the past month and they sat on their hands... so apparently they are satisfied with selling Everyman Chess titles no one wants.

It's a crazy business... but I invite you to continue coming to this Blog Site... in anticipation of my new web site... which is still being worked on. I hope there you will find a different type of chess business and an informational one which I don't think will be duplicated anywhere else until... I get copied like MS copies Apple. One way I avoided that in the 90s is that I made my catalogs SO BIG that my competitors just couldn't take the time to make theirs that big... besides, one has to know something about the products they sell to be able to write all those descriptions. If you take a look at the Quality Chess Catalog sampling I just put out, you will see what I mean. For customers a "description" of "Wow, it's great" is not enough.

If you haven't seen the Quality Chess catalog because you were too busy with turkey/ham, mashed potatoes, etc. and it slipped through your hands I will send another upon request. Special prices good through this coming Monday night, Nov. 29th (I mistakenly put Nov. 28th on the cover--I have been off a whole day this month.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Never liked the terms Black Friday, Black Monday and instead am creating RED FRIDAY because I feel upbeat on the day after Thanksgiving.

When I was in the retail, brick and mortar chess and games business we counted on the Friday after Thanksgiving to have a banner day to make up for all the losses we had on regular days. What was interesting was how many people would specifically go out of their way to come in on that Friday to do business with us or see if we were still IN business! (how macabre)

Generally it was a good day and no one who worked for me got that day off. Somehow things always worked out. Saturday was usually less illustrious.

So I am doing something for THIS RED FRIDAY and getting ready to issue a specialized chess catalog of "more than regular priced chess books." If you like good stuff and saving a few bucks on top of that, I am your Man. And, to top it all off, there is a little contest which allows you to save a few bucks on POSTAGE too if you get the right answer.

While I realize I can't make (mandate) anyone to buy from me anything on a particular day, I can say that the items on the list are in stock for that Friday, and can be special ordered if I run out... but, you can reduce your shipping costs by a few dollars if you get the right answer. And I am maintaining that MY logo for their company is a better one than the one they currently have. You can decide.

Oh, and like Steve Jobs' last remarks, there is ONE OTHER THING. Send us an order and I will include info on that One Other Thing with your order. 2010 has been an interesting and in many ways a fun year. I am hoping to do more in that vein for 2011.

I hoped to have a very interesting announcement (nope, not the web site, which is still being worked on) to make today, but it might have to wait a week or more. I'm jacked.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Sounds like a normal question but on the USCF web site in a long paragraph comes the following information:
"Over fifty Grandmasters (one out of every eight GMs in the world) represent the US internationally."

Hmmm... how can that be? That would imply that there are 400 grandmasters in the world. Since there are easily over a thousand, I have no idea what this statement is supposed to say. And we now have 50? A few years ago we had about 35. Some have since died, we've gotten some new ones like Ray Robson, Robert Hess, etc. so what is the actual and verifiable number? Will the FIDE site give me the "search" info I need or is it going to be a maze?

And for all the GMs we have, we don't often do that well on a BORN HERE status. Other sites have mentioned how countries like Israel and the US would have no dominance at all if it weren't for the influx of foreign GMs. At this particular time I do not see anyone MOVING to Russia and increasing their GM totals. That's totalitarianism status for you!

I suppose I could spend some time looking for this data, but if someone knows where I can get the names of those GMs residing in the US, that would be great and you would win a valuable Chess No-Prize like Stan Lee used to always mention in his Marvel comics.

Contact me at:

Monday, November 22, 2010


Hopefully a newly designed web site will solve a few promotional problems as it will tell you what sales are expiring and what is ON sale. Until then, emails and this Blog forum has to do the job. Even then a web site doesn't solve all "problems" because readers and customers have to remember to take a look every so often.

In recent weeks for example, I have received a ton of feedback on various new ideas and virtually NONE of this filtering has landed on the Blog, but in my email box, ranging from the BOOK Camp idea, to ChessBase, to Clinics, books, etc.

Today I announce two things:
1) The SALE prices on the Chess Bullies flyer I sent out (10 pages) expires at midnight. That doesn't mean I won't have those very items in stock or that you can't get Gold Card pricing, just that you can't get the little EXTRA discounts after midnight tonight.
2) Three new books from Everyman Chess and Mongoose Press have shown up here; and
a) Two books are back which sold out at the Chess Clinic and for which I really had nothing to say earlier about them.

1. Play the Dutch by GM Neil McDonald. The repertoire is based on the Leningrad Dutch, a venerable and still popular system (176 pgs.). Ret. $26.59. My regular discounted price (G&L) is $23.25. The Gold Card price is $20.50.

2. Dangerous Weapons: The Caro-Kann by Emms, Palliser, and Houska. For some reason (and I think i know what it is), the Caro-Kann has been on my mind lately. This is a fat one, and worthy of attention, 304 pages. Good for Black or White, dangerous sidelines. What does Black do when confronted with 2.Nc3 ? Does he have some good ideas too? It's been my experience with the "Dangerous Weapons" series that these subjects should have been covered a long time ago by authors of main lines because, who knows when a mainline will have fallen out of favor? Karpov plays the Caro-Kann and it has happened to him! Ret. $27.95, G&L price is $23.95, and the Gold Card price $21.25.

3. The Zukertort System: A Guide for White and Black by IM Grigory Bogdanovich. Does he reference or use as a reference our book by David Rudel, Zuke 'EM? You bet he does. 340 pages. Ret. $24.95. G&L price is $21.50 and the Gold Card price is $18.95. A foreword has been written by a Colle-Zukertort user, GM Artur Yusupov.

4. Capablanca: A Primer of Checkmate by Frisco Del Rosario. Ret. $19.95. Games played by Capa which ended in mate or which were heading that way. The lesson is to show you different kinds of checkmates that actually happen and will happen if the game is carried further. Some of them are AMAZING, the kind of thing some of us miss if it was right there in front of us. G&L price is $17.25. Gold Card price is $15.25. Bookseller's BANE: I have one copy with a bruised lower right corner on the cover and a few following pages caused by wrapping too tightly and shipping the books to me so that if the box got hit on the corner, there is what I call a "bruising" of the book. Mainly caused by carelessness on the shipper's part. I'll knock $2 off just so I don't have to return it. Do I get review copies like this? Sometimes. Presents a poor look for something someone is trying to sell but as I get older, I am clearly more interested in the content. Now I ever write in my books! Oh no! Recently I also got a copy of Formation Attacks by Joel Johnson. This book has proven to be popular. But I got one copy from the fulfillment house that had a couple page extensions on the top of the book. Of course it doesn't affect readability, but I also can't claim that I prefer to sell books this way either. So, $2 OFF your price on that $40 book too. G&L Price $34.25. Gold Card Price is $30.25. Hence, Gold Card holders, for example, could get this for $28.25 as the sale price of $29.50 is over tonight.

5. Chess Blueprints Planning in the Middlegame by Nikolay Yakovlev (IM in ICCF). One topic I noted was "extravagant wing-play." Worth perusing. I suspect a lot of these coaches and trainers are needing extra income just to have a decent life. As many aspects of the Russian economy improves, it would be helpful to them if they could sell 50,000 copies of chess books like in the past but as people grow "wealthier" they buy other stuff (did I write that? unfortunately, true). So it is easier to get a "harder" currency from the West than higher sales for mediocre money from the East. Lately there has been a spate of books from coaches and trainers and this may surprise you but I find that they are clearer and easier to read (usually) and of more value to us plebes. This book looks good for one particular reason: I notice how he can also concentrate on "picking up" pawns. This is VERY important in becoming a stronger player and it took me a number of years to realize this. Too often I was going for the big fish because I didn't trust my endgame play. 275 pages. Ret. $24.95. G&L $21.50. Gold price $18.95.

That's all the news today from Chessbegone, IA.

Friday, November 19, 2010


you have bought Andrew Tocher's In Your Face Chess Novelties or will be buying it. I have something COOOOL for you!

It's not well-known that Bobby Fischer only drew, in a simul game in 1964, against a Damiano's Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6!?), against a guy named R. McGregor.

It's also not well-known that Alex Shirov played a Muzio Gambit in the King's Gambit (white side), and WON in 91 (1991). He played the correct "drawing" line, but his opponent didn't know it. In a Muzio you give up a piece and pawn right out of the opening.

All in all, 18 annotated games taking up 24 pages of space, 26 pages in all including a totally NEW ad for Ralph Tykodi's Horse Laughs where you get some additional comments on the content of his humorous book.

Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back, I got amused as well as tired of hearing what a genius everyone is, even at the 1200-rating level, when it comes to crackpot or semi-crackpot openings. I'll admit, there are some doozies in this "book" (all annotated) but the idea is to ASK you IF you know what to do IF you should be in such an embarrassing position to call into play your actual skill at chess (don't know Jack).

If you buy Tocher's book In Your Face Chess Novelties ($15.95 + $3 S&H) you won't get stuff as wild as I have portrayed in Don't Know Jack, except in one instance, The Hermes). But you will get some novel twists, some uncertain play, amusement, and a reasonably quick read with a detailed index. Do both of us THAT favor and I will send you a PDF of Don't Know Jack About Chess, absolutely FREE. I am going to leave this announcement up through Sunday.

Yes, we have sold these books, more than you think, but I want to sell a LOT of them and for such a small amount, it's a pretty good deal.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


After going through the usual PC hassles I have all of Andrew Martin's video chess diagram files on CDs and will be ported to Apple's iMovie this afternoon, or tomorrow. Clean up, editing, menu items, etc. Then into iDVD.

What will take the most time is cleaning up the PDF and making PDFs out of the original 2004 book and create an eBook to go with the package. Theoretically, I need to sell a lot of copies, probably near 100 to break even because my time is worth something too and editing the PDFs will be very time consuming to put them in a format people can stand. I was looking at a lady's iPad in Borders the other day and it was nice. Letter spacing drove me crazy but everything else was jake except I asked her, "Does it handle pictures, graphics?" Amazingly, she didn't know. The reason I say "amazingly" is she said she is a "gadget freak." This time she was just reading like a house on fire. The iBooks program from Apple had "dog-earing," bookmarks, and highlighting. So if I can get this to work (as opposed to just a PDF) this could be a very helpful tool on the road.

I already have some advance orders for Andrew's DVD. It is $29.95 + shipping ($3), in advance. 30 days after its release it will be $39.95 + shipping. It has thirteen new games plus two last minute bonus games. Lots of goodies. The so-called book by GM Christian Bauer on this same subject has yet to make its appearance and it was predicted to me that it would be late, even after announced it was ready.

Same with Silman's How to Reassess Your Chess 4th edition (6 million pages version). Two days ago I got a reply from the publisher saying it would be ready Dec. 1. Yesterday I got a notice from the USCF saying it was available for shipping RIGHT now from them. In my experience, the publisher ALWAYS knows if a title is available or not. We should have our copies around the first week of December.

Thus, morning and afternoon are accounted for. Tonight, web work.

Hope all of you got the 10-pager I put out today with specials and stories throughout. Deadline for purchase is Nov. 22. Get these BEFORE Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Do you know ANY chess company that puts out as many catalogs, brochures, flyers, sales lists, etc. as G&L CHESS does? I don't. No one. I have to try harder. And it is hard. It can use up two days just to work on this.

Tomorrow I will be sending out the catalog I shipped to those who have Gold Cards for 2010.
Some have already responded, they want to use their Gold Card... I recommend getting one for 2011. It's all mentioned in the 10 pages.

In a few minutes it will be midnight. Since I will be around at that time (what is new?) I will send out the 10-page catalog and hope the 19-20 items in it will attract you. There are stories to go along with it too.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


My heyday for selling previously owned (some people refer to them as "used") chess literature was in the late 80s and 90s. After 9/11 a lot of "chessy" things went under the radar except to the inveterate collector. Collectors tend to be more realistic than "newbies" to collecting. The collector "knows" that not everything can be had in perfect condition even if you are willing to pay a fortune for it.

Many items in David DeLucia's Chess Library of A Few Old Friends (second edition) I once owned, if they were after 1840 or so (although I did have some Philidor stuff...) I got them through acquiring various collections. It was a "sixth sense" if you want to call it that when it came to determining the price of something (which is different than the "value" of something). I was about 15 when my grandfather and I were taking some chunk of beef to a cattle auction because he needed some money. As we were riding into town he asked, "What do you think he'll get?" Being young and dumb I fired out "$500." (I tended then, as now, to round numbers.) When it was over the steer went for $480 (I think).

It got so that I could appraise a big collection that I was removing from a household in quick time because I "knew" (don't know how) what a box of books on chess would be worth. I took that "value" and multiplied it times the number of boxes. I also took into consideration the age of the deceased, whether he had money (of course spending it all on chess books could certainly deplete that), and how did he house the books. In many cases I travelled TO the site, maybe 50% of the time, van in hand or truck arrangements to be made.

To test my hypothesis I recall "bidding" on a listed collection and paid 10% more than a well-known "antiquer of chess" and I got it. No, unlike some unethicals when it came to bidding on selling at a chess site, I had no pre-knowledge of anyone else's bids, if there were any.

Getting back to David DeLucia... his book is being sold by New in Chess for $350.00 + shipping (from Holland). Andy Ansel was selling them to a few Chess Clinic attendees. Ask me HOW you can get this book from me without going overseas (and saving some money at the same time). My price includes careful shipping to your US residence from a US residence, and I will have a brand new one sent to you.

There are hundreds of photographs on glossy paper, a smyth sewn green binding. Photos are in color when applicable. There are letters (Alekhine, Fischer and so on) reproduced, and often with a typescript copy. It's an absolute treasure trove of chess memorabilia.

Two items I have chosen to illustrate are the colorful cover of a book by Henry Bird and a black and white photo (moire pattern from the scanning process) of Joseph Henry Blackburne, the next chess character in the series of The Chess Gangs of New York and London. By the way, "foreigners" are gobbling up the recent Lasker the Ultimate Streetfighter "book" (51 pages) I recently issued. I have about 35 left. You can get one free if you purchase $100+ worth of chess materials from me in "paired" months, such as Nov-Dec, Jan-Feb, etc. I will run this series for 2 years (hopefully). I am getting ready to start "pushing" used book sales again.

Due to currency regulations (translation: thin wallet) I am only taking chess book collections on consignment at this time for resale. It will be nice to see a new crop of collectors.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I had some interesting news for you people who are interested in how I deal with the resellers who are uncooperative about pushing even their own merchandise (let aloe mine!) That's like a "freebie" for you when I have extra time.

Tomorrow I will be packing a big order to go overseas. Resellers act like my stuff doesn't sell but then they keep ordering more. What's up with that? Am I supposed to give them a break? In reality what it will do is cause me to be the ONLY outlet for the stuff I produce like these catalogers that go out to 15,000+ customers and they sell their own stuff and don't have to give ANY discount to anyone except their customers. I buy THEIR stuff but they drag their feet on purchasing mine. I ask them to do a little work instead of just copying off of the back cover but they just can't seem to do that.

Well, today has been a great day and this evening I have put more work into web site design. They will not be happy when I start sucking regular business away from them too. As Andrew Martin once told me: "We are all in the same business and everyone needs to cooperate." Yeah, but many won't. "Oh Bob, I need to get some stuff from you. I will order soon." Never hear from them until next year when they say the same thing, brag the same things, etc. Pathetic. They are not even funny anymore.

Join ME on the Thinkers Press Express.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Some sales ideas on Whacky Openings will be presented to get one of TPi's books on track. Plus, a PDF in production.
Plus advice I just gave to another chess company (a big one) about marketing.

Enough of sameness.

Enough of boring (as my grandson says).

Will you get on board or do I have to give you the same sermon for acquiring NEW abilities. Another book is being worked on, on a different subject: "I AM AN IDIOT! except to my banker." You can't even write about "stupidity" these days in a period of "present" because by the time you are finished the company has gone out of business for ineptness above and beyond the call of duty.

See ya tomorrow as I promote and emote.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This past Saturday I received a phone call from a fellow who called me 13 years ago (William Baruh)! He told me my marketing methods reminded him of Dan Kennedy's--who at the time I hadn't heard of (though I did find I owned a book by him, The Ultimate Sales Letter). I asked him if he could tell me in what way that was and he included: opinionated (I do a lot of research too, just like Dan does, mountains of reading); not afraid to say what is what (especially if it goes again traditional apathy); I tell stories (I have a huge supply of real ones); and my writing is hypnotic (I know what he means, compelling, but were it actually true, I would own the chess sales world!)

I wanted someone else to tell me what readers see because I have never (rarely) been the guy in the snapshots. He recommends that I ask all of you who read my stuff or come to my events to write testimonials which I can use to tell the rest of the world what a great deal of interest/product/information can be had by doing business with me. I like that idea of his (though I have asked for testimonials before and do so again in issue #117 of tomorrow's Chess Reports) and I hope you will do that rather than just being a voyeur.

The reason, the other reason, for this post is to tell you about an event which is going on starting today about storytelling in a "virtual way." Anthony Marquez brought it up to me last week. It's called the Reinvention Summit ( There will be 25 audio presented speakers from across the spectrum of everything. It does cost something for those 30+ hours ($11.11). And if you can't sit and listen to everything all at once (!!), you can get playback. What's it about? Content and Social Networking, which has become big. Even formerly slothful large corporations are interested. Why? Simple, and I mean simple (I've been doing this for years): It's necessary to engage people to create relationships, to tell them a story which has components of interest, facts, reasons, relevance, and a good use of your time as opposed to texting or being on the phone too frequently. In other words, a land of when you were younger and you could read, or dream about the unreachable or make a difference. And it could better be done through a story.

A good storyteller can captivate like no other. He/she makes you want to believe in their message. One of the reasons I have seen so many chess books fail or limp along on the road of mediocrity is that they are boring (as my 6 year old grandson said about a movie we saw at the iMax last night--BTW, initially I was afraid to ask him because I thought the same thing)--they do not tell stories to wrap around the "other" conversation--moves, variations, the reason for the game, etc. We have become accustomed to, over the years, that this is the way it is to be (forever). It's not true. People really want relationships, friends, like kin, and instead many are resorting to texting just to "keep alive" the semblance that someone is out there who hopefully thinks they matter. But if they want to BOOST their "texting" message they will need to start elevating the CONTENT and not just talk to be talking.

Otherwise, Boring.

Send me a testimonial if you find, to your satisfaction, that I do my best to avoid boring you.

Look into the Reinvention Summit and tell me what you think. I'll be doing that too and trying to sharpen my storytelling skills.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MISSING A POSTING now and then

When I miss a day without posting there is usually only ONE reason: swamped with work. In the past few days I have shipped out a lot of DVDs and worked on the Friday issue of The Chess Reports. I am almost done. There will be coming a new model for The Chess Reports which will be a combination of a particular type of publication (downloadable) + CDs. As very few people seemed to read what I wrote in issue #116, I will continue with the way I have done it since 2006 (hard to believe, nearly 4 years--it kept me alive in Savannah, GA (barely)) FOR 10 issues at $69.95 for a Semester 10 Subscription.

The current issue, #117, is jammed full of fotos, annotated games, and some book/DVDcommentary. All clinic attendees will also get this issue too.

Back to work... hope to hear from you.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Usually there is nothing like the day after Thanksgiving for sales near and far. But this past weekend the biggest Mall in Iowa (in Davenport) was swamped in the parking lot. I finally found a parking place in the Yucatan Peninsula. After earning my hiking merit badge I made it in there and noticed lots of people in the stores. Hopefully stuff like this will help turn things around some... and of course we have to watch out for corporate America because as soon as they get a hint of "buying" they will start price jacking as if the rest of us are too stupid to notice it. I'm already reading complaints about the grocery stores having to raise ingredient prices, etc. because of etc., and etc. Hey guys, do what you gotta do... and we'll do what we have to do and we'll see who is left. The piece of information which is coming out is that many of the TOP guys in these business are making $500K or more and many of the people down the totem pole are scraping to get by. Maybe we will have a Marie Antoinette type of thing.

Point is: the DVD sale info I sent out late last week had a positive effect as I have been selling DVDs like there is no tomorrow. After paying shipping (to me) costs there is basically little left over, and I knew that would happen, but at least I am getting some of my $$$ back for stuff I had already paid for but which was sitting on the shelves... taking up space (and I've been shredding like some people blend!)

The inventory is taking a beating, esp. on things I was down to one of each! I am reminding you that tonight at midnight the special prices on the DVD sale disappear. I will try to send out a reminder with an updated price list.

Kasimdzhanov on Tactics disappeared in a flash... partly because this guy is ultra smart when it comes to knowing what makes the engine move. ChessBase is making stuff left and right to pay for their 16-20 employees.

I am getting asked about the Center Counter (new) from Martin and I just haven't had a chance to work on it yet (only one of me). So let me put it like this, load me up with orders and maybe I can hire some part time help. I doubt it, but it sounds good.

I'll be checking on Cody from time to time to see how the Web Site is coming. I can't announce the name yet because there are those who will check it and then write and tell me it isn't working. It will have a name different from -- so that will be no help. I am also looking for a way to make "automatic downloads" too for my PDFs so I don't have to spend time setting all of those up, dealing with payments, etc. It's all getting there.

More happening all the time including a newsletter on THE CRITICAL SECRET... am doing some book reviews and a bunch of games for this Friday's TCR too. Pretty soon it will all shake out.

I'm hanging tough, how about you?

Saturday, November 6, 2010


One topic I get frequently from an "old" customer is that they have run out of space. It could be that the newer electronic toys are taking over, or that they are now parking their Bentley in their living room.

When I need space almost the first thing I do is throw other stuff away. Sometimes you find things you've been looking for or want to actually keep. Most of the time, into the trash. I remember throwing out 1000 VHS tapes in my dumpster. I tried giving them away, and had small successes. But, I did go through every one to see if I ever intended to get a DVD version (if there was one).

I've donated as many as 20 cases of books (mostly not chess) to a library.

When it comes to business paper, I SHRED. Because of credit card numbers, correspondence, etc. But there are all kinds of shredders. The cheap ones can do at most 5 sheets at a time, including staples, but they can be really slow. I bought a $600 one time which ate through everything like a chainsaw, but it broke because fundamentally it was an overpriced POS. I wasn't doing anything clever, just that the "steel" rod buckled and couldn't handle or do its job.

Right now I am using one Rita gave me--over a waste basket. This is slow and dreary so I will head out to an office supply store and see what they have. My MAIN point is to tell you that your documents with me are SAFE. I shred invoices, credit card info and so on when relevance has slipped away.

But you can also do yourself a service and DUMP stuff you will NEVER look at or need. If you are saving "stuff" for that "day" when you might need it, I can only say you are kidding yourself.

I get really annoyed when some guy has "retired" and keeps reminding me, and yet he has NO TIME for anything. It was worse than when he had a job. All those books he bought he was going to read, we are talking "fat chance" here. So, if you are tired of annoying yourself, get rid of it and don't start with the "I'll put it on eBay" crap again, we know how that usually works out. Try introducing "scarcity" back into your life.

So... make life better for a bit, get out, do something... try chess just for the heck of it! Or clear things out and put in another bookshelf... then, drop me a line! Yes folks... I love it.

Oh yes, I forgot to add WHEN to do this... If you need some down town, put in a movie, watch some sporting event, and shred. You are getting something down and hopefully enjoying something else at the same time. Besides, it's nice making your home a better place!! Yippee.

Friday, November 5, 2010


It was announced on this morning that No. 1 ranked (by rating) player Magnus Carlsen will be sitting out this World Championship cycle.

If you think about it for a second, he HAS the power. And he does what he thinks is best for HIM, not FIDE, not Ilyumzhinov (we'll call him ILL for short). That means not being in contention to be one of the greatest and youngest champs of all time (if he had made it). It seems, and I doubt anyone would disagree with me, that the world championship cycle is about 5 years and he says, in effect, that's ridiculous. It is. Accuse Lasker all you want, he did have the tools, but he called the shots. Carlsen has the tools and he sees FIDE as "milking this" for all its worth (my quotes).

No one except the ineptitudes in 3rd world countries likes ILL. The 3rd worlders are after their best interests too, but having Carlsen drop out ISN'T in their best interests. In 1971 Argentina put itself back on the chess map by holding the Candidates for Fischer and Petrosian. Then Iceland went on the map with Fischer-Spassky. NOTHING goes on the map in the former Soviet Union, no matter how many good players they have... even Topolov complained about this.

Any idea how many players near the top are going to be happy about this? All of them no matter what they say in print--it's human nature. They admire him now, more than ever, because he is doing (has the power and courage) to do what they wouldn't do. ILL has come up with prize money, sometimes late in paying it, and really, that is ALL. His smile does not exude the kind of charisma that people believe in, and feel unless he really is "happy" about the possibility of alien life (this guy is just plain out there).

Carlsen has an advertising job, he's the new James Dean. He has Brass Balls and now, maybe brass knuckles too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I got a big shock tonight when I went into ChessBase 10 and started looking for a Database I created around Christmas time last year. It was to go as a "prize" for a yet unknown reason. It consisted of 60 annotated games over a 2-3 week period of a famous recent event.

I wanted the under 2200 to see how a non-master looks at these players and games. It seemed to have some great teaching value about ups and downs, staying in the race, and a good look at the games. I looked everywhere I could think of on my new WIN 7 machine. The DB is there, but there's NOTHING in it! A far cry from all the work I was doing at the time.

Has CB10 ever "lost" a database of yours? If so, this is scary. I've looked in places where it shouldn't be and, it isn't there (that's a good thing). I can only hope that in a moment of madness I copied it to a CD or brought it over to my Mac. Heckuva a premium if it can't be found. Wanted to use it as enticement to RENEW THE CHESS REPORTS for Semester 10. And I was going to offer another book about the same subject, along with it, at a GREATLY reduced price. Diddly damn.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Cody and I have begun work on the web site. I haven't picked a name for the domain yet. But he thinks it would be a better idea to move this Blog to my new web site. What do you think? I have no way, that I know of, of knowing how many check in on this web site with regular frequency and who reads it without signing up as a "follower." I did in the early days because I would get emails from them.

Tonight I finish up my software and DVD catalog. Totally different format and some SALE OFFERINGS that will make your hair stand on end! It sure did make mine stand up!

DVDs have their good points and let's say, "weaker" points. I will discuss that too as I am a big DVD fan.

Watch your inbox tonight or tomorrow, OK?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


At the recently concluded Chess Clinic I continued to have big ears, as all resellers should.

I overhear snippets of what the attendees have had to say about various products, esp. DVDs and even reviewers of DVDs. Often the "data" is much different than what I believe some producers and critics "believe" which comes from their own mouths.

Certain DVD packages sell because of the "completeness" bug (i.e., "I have to keep my series complete.") Some are disdained because the "author" (i.e., speaker) is half way unintelligible. Some people want to "see" the speaker though this adds nothing to the script and in fact is a distraction should the speaker make a slip. When you are in your car is it necessary to "see" who is narrating or speaking? I think Scott Simon on NPR's weekend is terrific, one of the best, but I have no idea what he looks like because, it doesn't matter. I can recognize his voice at any time of the day. NPR also has a Steve Inskeep, who is much less interesting, but on everyday!

But books come in for their share of disappointment too. Some of the publishers are finally "learning" to fatten up the content, an approach I recommended a long time ago... but what is happening, for example with Everyman Chess, is that they are steadily fattening up the prices and from my selling point, I've noticed that it is slowing down EC sales because the content is the same. I read a marketing guru this morning who said "Don't raise your price unless you are giving them more!" One book, "Dangerous Weapons of the Caro-Kann," soon to be released (and from EC!) has to go up $3 because, a hundred more pages were added. That's what I mean.

IM Andrew Martin mentioned to me, "Opening books are dated as soon as they are published." (Which is often true of almost everything.) With the exceptions of strong players and a few others waiting in the weed, howevers, most buyers don't notice (or care), unless they lose!

But to finish with the original conversation, many topics (er, GOOD ONES that is) will still sell if properly promoted. But cranking out opening tomes is the number one revenue source. Some people such as myself collect "resource" materials. A few others like Puzzle Books because they like the "mystery" of finding the solution.

At this clinic I forgot to bring some of my Batsford books and it seems no one noticed. There is a good new one (by Soltis, Studying Chess Made Easy) which was in that group, and I have sold a bunch... but I do regret not bringing that one--just overlooked it (high on a shelf). One attendee told me he had recently taken up the King's Indian and found Martin's King's Indian Battle Plans the best of all the books out there! (I am not surprised because Martin went to the trouble of laying out a plan for each of the 200 annotated games--what a concept!).

Point is, like a boss at a company, like a foreman at a factory, I should listen to what is being said in the background and then "filter" it for newsworthiness. So, considered opinions are always welcomed.

Monday, November 1, 2010


This Monday morning, after finishing a class, a fellow I know a few years older than me told a story about FEAR. This can be a killer in chess and I invite viewers/readers to send me theirs.

When he was a little older than college age a fellow who was a former marine joined their group of chess players. For a reason only known to this type, he announced to everyone there that he was the Marine Chess Champ of his unit in "Somewhereville, USA. He had heard that my friend Gene was supposed to be a pretty good player and Gene was challenged to play him at some specified time.

Gene was pretty nervous about this as the guy clearly made it known he was a first class butt-kicker. It was easy for Gene to believe this guy because he had made such a federal case out of his chest beatings.

The final day arrived and Gene, playing White, beat him in 4 moves with the Fool's Mate (no joke!). For the first couple of moves Gene just played like he knew what he was doing but with no hope for survival. When the guy playing black lost, the loser immediately challenged him to another game and like the magician who refuses to do the same trick twice for the same audience, he declined. The guy's face had gone beet red because a host of people were standing around to watch the Big Game, almost as if it were a publicity stunt, which, it wasn't.

Some people really believe that being the champion of their block, or their school, or scout troop means something. They have no outside experience so they legitimately do not know better. The problem is, they can't imagine anyone else beating them simply because they have been the beatings' administrator in their encounters. And if they tell you they've NEVER lost, that too is another lie.

Gene was infinitely the better player but he was fearful this guy would make such a big deal out of it that he would have to hang up his chess spikes.

When I ran a games' store I had run into these types, many times. Their ego literally had no focus on reality. Even though they would lose every time, they would stop coming back, therefore they turned to believing in luck. These yokels COULD be sold the Brooklyn Bridge with the right persuasion.

I remember one fellow who stopped in; a great big fat guy from Louisiana. Told me he could carry 7 games around in his head at all times. Wanted to know where the chess club met. His lucky day! It met that night at 7 p.m. He DID show up and was soundly beaten by our weakest regular player there, a guy rated about 1400. We never saw him again.

Boasting from an unknown means nothing. Don't fear the unproven. Talk is tough. Laugh a lot, especially when it is over and you've won, but not before then. Then leave.

These guys are pathetically insecure. No truly good player I've ever known ever announced that he was a good player--there is no "money" in that! Pool hustlers don't do that and neither do good chess players. As SOON as I hear that, the advice I give to myself is this: "Don't play them if you don't have to." Or, "They may be full of baloney, but they may also know a little something, just don't get over confident because you can be sure that at some time during the game, they will be (overconfident)." Only fool's would get beaten by the Fool's Mate.

Please send me your stories.