Monday, January 11, 2010
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: RISK
Not too long ago a customer from out of town came by to pick up some chess things (I love that, and he called first!).
As often happens, we got into the sticky subject of "chess improvement." He described some things to me and I offered (it seemed to be safe to say this) and I said, "It sounds to me like your progress is stalled because you are "risk averse." He looked at me in surprise and said, "that's what my trainer IM X said to me!"
I am eventually setting up my annotation and evaluation business for those who are rated 1800 and under. It will be affordable--because I am going to try something different (I'll tell you in due time). My point is, for 10 years I was a programmer and analyst for the Dept. of Defense. I was hired to think but I don't believe that had anything to do with naming my publishing business Thinkers' Press, although there may have been some subliminal influence (if you want to know more, pick up and read a copy of my book, The Chess Assassin's Business Manual.)
The named IM was not Andrew Martin, but Martin had told me in an email I should consider working with those who want to get better and who do not have the money to spend on an IM, GM, or even a master.
It's very weird, in a way. I've never had much time to study chess or read it, though I put in the time for the publication work I do. If I ever had the time, maybe I would have made master. There are some other traits that are needed. Among them: ability to risk, correct analysis of expectations, understanding your weaknesses, and having a tendency toward a killer instinct. It's amazing how far these can get you. Add in some tactical skill, some theory, and you become even stronger.
Not to belabor the point, but one day a friend of mine was finishing a game at the chess club. Joe was a strong enough player, but he overthought everything. He too was a mathematical analyst. I think the game ended in a draw or a very prolonged win for him. After it was over, there is a tendency, sometimes, for know-it-alls to descend on the board and ask a question like "What if you had done this?" I generally do not engage in that because I know how much I dislike it. But this one time, I suggested an "endgame" win in like 7 moves. After some hand waving, exchanging, and some "crazy" sacrifices he said, "Well how can I see all that?"
At that point it occurred to me that what I was doing was engaging in a goal and doing everything I could to reach that goal (probably queening a pawn). The moves and sacs were sound. But, by being ultra careful, he couldn't see the forest for the proverbial trees (I've done it too). But the win was there and it was efficient.
Andrew has seen my books and my analysis over the years. He thinks I have a gift to help many of you guys. I probably do. And like he said, because I don't wear that "certificate of merit" badge around my neck, I would be more affordable. So stay tuned or let me know if you are interested and I can shoot you some information/quotes. (I am not 100% ready yet, I have some other things to get off of my plate first.)
But in another area related to risk, you are aware (well, many of you are) that I released a 4-page color brochure on Saturday and offered some prizes. For the biggest order from that brochure, a FREE copy of the new New in Chess Magazine 25th Anniversary issue, 142 pages, will be given away! If you are the biggest orderer using PayPal, I offer another copy of that extra illustrious magazine/book for FREE.
I got an order immediately, that Saturday night. It must be over $100. Can you top that? I don't dare tell you the exact amount or someone will try like hell to order something that in total would cost $1 more (these "Neanderthals" on eBay do not impress me at all.)
The sale only lasts until this Saturday and the same prize will be offered to two different people. In case you don't think I have enough books and DVDs listed on those pages, two more books came in today. They were both by IM Igor Khmelnitsky (no, he is not the IM in the story above). One is his Chess Exam on Tactics ($19.95 ret, G&L $16.95, and Gold Card $14.95) and the other is his newest Chess Exam: You vs. Bobby Fischer (ret. $21.95, G&L $18.75, Gold Card $16.50).
So what's the risk/goal? That you wait and the sale (it's a good one too) is over. You might be tempted to get a Gold Card (and save even more $$$) which is $50. There is or will be an offer which is only good in January for those who already own a Gold Card. I can't think of it right now (too much going on) but you will know more by next week.
The days go by quickly, don't they. This morning I was thinking of the $15 million dollar Louisiana Purchase and wondering what that would be in todays $$$... no doubt billions. Our government took a chance.
I intend to write about a lot of business and personal topics in upcoming issues of Chess EXTRAS, the kind of stuff you won't see on here or in The Chess Reports. Why there? Because we all have to pay to get the really, really good stuff worth paying for. I get a marketing newsletter and CD every month that I pay about $500 a year for, lots of people do--and lots don't. It's the good stuff, the information that overturns much of the crap in the many business books on the shelves at Borders. It's like that. I hear from a few people every so often telling me I can't do this, I shouldn't do that, and virtually none of them know what they are writing about. So I will explain it in CE and why I choose not to follow their path, or, never have.
Coming... The Mystery Box and how tough it can be to invent a really great product with a great marketing plan and how difficult it always is to overcome obstacles put there because the internet can be so inflammatory. You can get cheated out of something great because someone who is a birdbrain occasionally gets someone to pay attention to him, for all the wrong reasons: name dropping is one of them.
Oh yes, a subscription to all six issues of Chess EXTRAS is $65, or, $50 if you own a Gold Card. See how valuable that card is? I will also be writing about the Gold Card.