Friday, April 30, 2010
"The new phone book is out... the new phone book is out!" Thus spake Navin Johnson in The Jerk.
In this case the revised chess catalog from G&L CHESS is here. It also previews the new logo I will be using,
Lazaro Munoz says, "Your price and description of Russian Silhouettes is wrong. Great catalog otherwise." It turns out the price is fine (the number of pages isn't) but the name of the book doesn't match the photograph of the cover. I have since fixed this. Will wait to see if there are any other issues, fix them all, and resend.
Lots of pictures this time as when I did a trial run I was surprised I was able to keep the size of the email to 1.5 Mb. Will add some more pics next time too.
The cover is a Big departure from my usual having a snazzy piece of art or photography. It's hopefully designed to explain what the catalog is about and why other people order from it. It's an attempt to be humorous, let's see how that works. I must've had 5 pages of notes in writing this up and one can never be sure.
Anyway, it's out. I remember the "old days" when I would issue a catalog and eventually the orders would come in. Same way now. I wonder why I can spend 4 days honing all the parts and it takes weeks for people to respond. In the "old" days there were fanatics and I was always trying to placate them (or lose their business). Nowadays the pace is a tad slower.
Another game from Topalov and Anand today.
New in Chess' 25 Years Anniversary issue, the 400+ page book, has been a great read (in bed, the john, on the landing in my house...) Giddins, the editor, did a great job of selecting the material. The distributor in the USA was put out of the loop on this one and so we had to import a few copies. Gary W. was the inspiration for this and he got the first one. The theatrics (Kasparov, the whining (Kasparov), and the play (Kasparov, Anand, ...) really makes it as well as some interviews I had forgotten. Probably the most memorable for me was the interview with Rustam Kasimdzhanov (and another with Bronstein). After he won the FIDE world championship he was ignored. No invites, lots of excuses. In spite of what RK says, I think he was ignored because he was a Muslim... even though he doesn't wear that on his sleeve. He's one helluva player. His DVDs are among the best ChessBase has produced. I would love to have him write for Thinkers' Press and I hope that comes to pass. He's very intellectual, intelligent, and a good predictor of bad human behavior... but, in my opinion, he handled it indifferently and that hurt him. However, I've always thought that many European chess organizers are very "catty" people. These people would have peed all over themselves to get Fischer in spite of his antics, but their secularist "tones" prevent themselves from inviting a truly great chess player to their events. Kasim says he doesn't go for PR, so then that is his fault. Being "true to your school" has its downsides.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
As some of you know, Anand won yesterday against Topalov and the score is now 2-1 in Anand's favor.
What does the media do? They remind us of things our teeny little brains can't seem to comprehend:
1. The pressure is on Topalov. Will he have to change his match strategy?
2. Sleepless nights in Bulgaria. He's down one point for crying out loud.
And it goes on like this. Topalov was crushed, humiliated. And so was Anand in his first game. These news people never seem to think that the players, and their teams, are most likely a lot more prepared and smarter than all the rest of us. Who are "we" to be giving advice?
There could be, should be, some jitters early on but their poker faces are fine. Aren't they?
The news media (chess and others) have NO, absolutely none, idea of what each camp is doing, how well prepared they are, if they have secret "team" members, etc.
There was ONE thing I "learned" that was interesting and new: Anand is playing using Kramnik's openings (the Catalan) against Topalov. Recall, Kramnik edged out Topalov in the last world chess championship. But, Anand has played Catalans before too. Whether Topalov has I do not know.
Topalov made a mistake yesterday and the tiger from Madras ate him up. "A" mistake.
What should the press say? Good question. How about something new? Remember football games or baseball games where the headset guys would say things you could see for yourself. If you want to get their commentary while doing something else, why not listen to the radio, that's what my Dad used to do?
People seem to like stats. They could use more of that maybe. Or better yet, give chess a boost and talk (write) about former world champions and weave it into coverage. That's what Paul Hoffman said he did on ESPN (from his book King's Gambit.)
I've seen a little commentary by Ian Rogers... he's kind of interesting.
I've read many books on world championship matches, as no doubt some of you have, and I recall how guys like Lasker would lose the first game in a match or a tournament (quite often). It's like he was a taking a "first strike" as we see in baseball. Warming up. Looking for weaknesses.
When Kramnik won his first game over Kasparov how many of us realized he would win the match with only one more win and Kasparov, the "world's strongest player of all time" (which I repeatedly read from ChessBase and New in Chess) had ZERO wins! The last time that happened was in 1921 when Capablanca had 4 wins to Lasker's none. 79 years earlier.
So... enough of the hyperbole, fear, and hoopla. Give me more on the looks on their faces, how much time do they spend at the board, whether Danailov is pacing around in the press area. Instead we find that by Sofia Rules (which Anand didn't agree to) Topalov was in the uncomfortable position of offering a draw in Game three to Anand through the arbiter only to have Anand decide to play on. It looks as if Topalov was hoist by his own petard and that may damage him more than anything else.
Let's realize one thing: Anand still has his work cut out for him against Topalov. If he makes the slightest error, Topalov will be all over him just as if it were the other way around. THIS will be exciting chess.
Unfortunately, the only place which has exploded with chess fervor is in India. Did you see the photos of the playing hall? There was hardly anyone in there. What? 30 people, a few more. THAT is news. Lots of reporters and photographers, maybe more than spectators. You don't see this at Wimbledon.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Today I got a batch of books from Everyman Chess. I was more than happily surprised by one.
I had known in the past that now GM Danny Gormally had a temper, and that the GM title seemed to elude him forever as he would fade or crash in the penultimate OR final round of an event. He finally made it, congratulations Danny. Your book is great despite the insipid cover design.
I saw this book title Play Chess like the PROs and as soon as I looked inside I realized I should have ordered more of them. While there are just 36 annotated games, the back of the book contains combinational material as well as solutions to exercises. The CREAM of the book is Gormally's opinions on things and fellow GMs before and during the games! He writes about Grinders and Gamblers (opposites) and what you need to do to win more games. It's only $26.95 (retail) for a little over 200 pages, but would easily be one of the most fun books to spend a weekend with.
Okay, that impressed me, but so did the following:
1. Chess Secrets: Heroes of Classical Chess. (At first I saw the "o" in Heroes as a "p" and wondered if Everyman had gone mad!) by Craig Pritchett. More in the Chess Secrets series and one of the bets-selling series I have had in a while. Ret. $26.95.
2. Chess Secrets: The Giants of Power Play by Neil McDonald. I've had this before but I had to get more. Ret. $24.95. Killers: Topalov, Geller, Bronstein, Alekhine, and Morphy!
3. Alekhine Alert! by Tim Taylor. For some reason, at least it seems so for me, Taylor's books have bombed big-time. Was it his article on Hungarian bawdiness in Chess Life years back, too many of his own games, or too much potatoes and not enough meat? I don't know (do you?). In this book he sticks to opening theory and games other than his own (he about 5 of his from a big selection of others). Almost 400 pages, $27.95 retail. I think Taylor is woefully under-rated as an author despite some of the dumb things he wrote earlier in CL.
4. Practical Endgame Play--mastering the basics by GM E. Grivas. Did I miss the boat on this book? I never got a review copy and twice when I ordered it I never received it. It has a 2008 copyright date on it. I bought a bunch of them so I hope this wasn't fatal! 32o pages, $25.95 retail. Excellent practical material. Will be reviewed in The Chess Reports as will be
5. Practical Endgame Play--beyond the basics by Glenn Flear. 544 pages!! A retail of $40.00. If anyone loved the endgame more than John Nunn or Karsten Mueller it might be Glenn Flear as he proves in this super book. His definition of the endgame is very much like Purdy's (one or two pieces for each side). Same story on this book. It was copyrighted 2007 but I had never seen it before. In the US there is a stigma against expensive books (except for Kasparov's and he got away with that because his last 8 books have been in hardcover). It was just reprinted.
Yes, I enjoy chess, and I play chess, but I have to make a living too. So these titles will be included in the new mini-catalog which will be out today or tomorrow. If you are not on my email list please contact me. I rather enjoyed putting this one together but all the Photoshop work was killing me!
Draw yesterday between Topalov and Anand. Tomorrow Anand has White and I suspect he will make Topalov work for his supper. When Anand jumped out of the chute against Kramnik it did a lot for his play and later confidence (which was needed as Kramnik tried to rally like he did against Leko--clearly that strategy no longer works).
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I can't believe the time has gone so fast... even faster than my grass growing.
Today is Game three between the world champion and his challenger. The Game has started and I could find a LIVE service somewhere, but I am working on this May mini-catalog--this time, replete with photos.
I just noticed last night I hadn't made a "big deal" out of New in Chess Yearbook #93, which may have been one of the best Yearbooks in many years. I'll check off the headlines: Short's 1.e4 c6 2.Ne2 wins quickly (lots of White wins, 3-4 draws, and a loss by all those who have tried this); Nakamura goes crazy in the Classical King's Indian (perhaps this headline is a little overstated); Jonny Hector sacs a pawn to turn around a Slav variation; and someone thinks, after many years of study, he may have a "bust" to the bust of the King's Gambit (a la Fischer). I wonder if there has been a new editor (though I don't see a new name listed) because everything seems to have more verve and excitement in the writing (as well as the topics).
In case you don't know, I have begun the automated shipping of New in Chess Yearbooks once again (autoships) in case you are interested. You get a favorable price and I ship within a couple days of receiving them. #94 will be next, probably already available in Europe.
Several new DVD titles from ChessBase:
ChessBase Magazine #135 (I am starting to keep these in stock). This one is a great issue.
Andrew Martin on the O'Kelly Sicilian.
Shirov on the Sicilian Najdorf 6.Bg5;
Nigel Short's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (I don't have this one yet)
The Squeeze as part of Danny King's powerplay series (I don't have this one yet either);
and a newly announced one on the Slav and Semi-Slav Revisited by Shirov (not here yet).
On the ones I don't have I can take pre-orders and ship when they get here, but just want you to know that ChessBase usually lags 10-14 days behind their online announcement.
Correspondent James Breeden has commented to me about Chess Assistant CDs as having a variety of problems in recent years and wanted to know if I would be carrying them. Iffy. I have both a Windows 7 and an XP machine here to test, but not a Vista System (thank God). I'm sure they would send me review copies but that's a time consumer when it comes to pinpointing problems and deciding which ones can take public use and which ones are a nightmare, but I might try it anyway. He seems to think some of these CDs are released without proper QA testing, and in the past I would have to agree on certain products. Others are repackaged, he says, of something you might already own--which is outright flim-flam unless clearly noted. What this paragraph is about is to ask "others" if they have noticed problems such as the ones mentioned, and if so, how did they handle it (tons of "patches?").
Back to the catalog.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday Topalov won a fairly quick game.
Sunday Anand won a very enterprising positional game.
Yet, I've read a bunch of comments from around the blogosphere and it seems clear to me that many of these people do not understand what a champion is. Champions do not fold after their first loss. What would be the point of them showing up and playing the other eleven games?
I heard the oddsmakers are back with Anand. But Saturday they still, pretty much still were. The oddsmaking business is about making money and they are more serious. Yet on Sunday you would swear that Saturday the oddsmakers were giving up on Anand, but I hadn't read that.
Grandmasters should know better.
I read GM Anish Giri's notes on the ChessBase website and it is fair to say "he is still a kid," because, he is! He didn't understand some of Anand's moves and preferred his own (playing "perfectly" may not get you what you want). But Anand knows something or two: he knows how to PROVOKE Topalov (and probably many others). When Toppy gets frustrated be will try to grab something, even if it is away from the action. But he is cunning too (and a heckuva calculator). We all found out in the Kramnik-Anand match that Anand can be cunning too.
At the end of Giri's notes he thinks maybe Anand is a psychological genius! I think so.
We can't write Topalov off yet, but if Anand avoids stuff like on the first day, Topalov is going to have his work cut out. I think Anand has a very good team if Kasimdzhanov and P Heine Nielsen are still on it. I haven't seen mentioned who is on Topalov's team.
What is rather "fine" (enterprising) about the game on Sunday was Anand's capture from the b-file to the a-file and how near the end of the game, the pawns were straightened out and Anand won. GM Ian Rogers said as far as he could tell, Topalov didn't think it was a bad move either while others were questioning it, such as Giri. Sir, this is why Anand became the world champion, several times. He's rather intelligent. He does dig into his opponent's past.
Perhaps later today I will mention several new DVDVs and books in stock.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Yesterday I received a very fine book, by Artur Yusupov. It, as you can see, is called Boost Your Chess The Fundamentals 1. It's from Quality Chess in Scotland.
Also pictured is Build Up Your Chess The Fundamentals 1. Notice the similarities.
Although publishers tend to defend stupid choices, certain things never seem to stand out to them:
1. Same or similar colors (see ChessBase DVDs for really great examples of PP manufacturing).
2. Similar titles (Boost and Build), Subtitles are the same, the indicia (1) is the same.
3. The graphic design really went overboard putting a square on the recent book's cover and a circle on the previous books cover! But the same photograph!
4. The inside Preface from Anand and the Introduction by Yusupov are the same!! No real reason for what this new book is except a very brief note on the back cover!
After that first visual introduction the books veer off into two different volumes, yet, they are part of a series.
You might call the new one "more information," or "more subjects" in a similar vein. Indeed, the material is good. The choice of presenting the books was terrible, and this from a company who has "Quality" in their name! It's like the USPS. The last "S" stands for service and one certainly doesn't get that when waiting in long lines at the counter day after day because the local postmaster is too preoccupied to care.
When looking the new book over last night at a coffee shop, at first I wasn't sure I had grabbed the right book. I finally convinced myself I had gotten the right book, but still realized what a dumb job was done in marketing it. The other two books in the first "series" were other colors, I think blue and green. Are we going to get two more titles in this "new" series in blue and green too!
Whoever does the design work HAS to take into consideration:
a) pulling the correct stock from the shelves;
b) color-blind employees;
c) people filling orders who don't use barcodes (after all, customers don't use them!);
d) Getting the RIGHT title to customers who know what they are ordering (and who will be just as flummoxed when they get the wrong book). Time and postage as well as bookkeeping, wasted.
Most established companies do not make this mistake (ChessBase is established but they keep making this mistake).
It's time to get back to Design Basics 101, not "Design Basics (sort of) 101."
The retail on this 265 page book is $29.95. The G&L price is $25.50, and the Gold Card price is $22.50.
A review will appear in The Chess Reports.
Friday, April 23, 2010
If you can't you are doomed to have mediocre results which, in the end, will beget dissatisfaction with this great game.
Most books, unfortunately, are a collection of quizzes, asking you to do something. Sure, they may explain what a "skewer" is, or a "pin," so that the vocabulary of chess will not overwhelm you. There are something like 16 types of tactics. That's a lot of "stuff" to keep track of.
But it gets trickier when one gets to that chapter where the quizzes are all mixed in and you don't know which tactic you are looking for, in order to solve. That's the author's attempt to show a REAL chess position except for one thing, and it is a big "one thing:" in the book you are studying you ARE aware there is a problem to be solved, but at the board everything may look innocent and you have no clue that you might finish the game off sooner rather than later--if you just RECOGNIZED there was a tactic present.
In John Nunn's Learn Chess Tactics he offers as a subheading the phrase: Discover the secrets of how to win chess games. If you haven't played much chess (you probably wouldn't be reading this post) then these "things" ARE secrets (a most overused word in the GAMBIT lexicon). And, wouldn't you WANT to win MORE games rather than just "win chess games?" You may already be winning through trial and error, but actually we all want to win more games than we were winning before.
In spite of that criticism about Nunn's work his book is actually one of the best out there in my opinion.
Nunn offers a longer intro to each chapter than most books on tactics and he gives great examples. Then at the end of the chapter he offers exercises to see what you have learned. The good parts are the nice variational twists.
Let me explain. I went to solve the exercises of Chapter 9, "Back rank mates," I have no idea why I picked that chapter. There were 12 such items. After I came up with my solutions (I haven't yet checked my answers against the back of the book), I began reading the introductory material, which was excellent. I have, again, no idea why I decided to choose that "backward" approach. Maybe it was because I was already familiar with the concept of the back row mate.
Then, I really liked this book. Why? Because I believe I solved all the problems (I was wrong on one). None of them were impossibly hard. A few were tougher than others, but each one required that "weird" eye for noticing something. That eye which wasn't quite happy with the solution because it seemed too easy. That eye attached to its brain relooked at the problem to discover the "trick." Then that solution seemed much more satisfying and gave one hope. Nunn's books on the endgame are like that too (and he has two new ones coming out).
I strongly suspect the other chapters are like #9 and that requires well-chosen selections, something which I think Nunn is particularly adept at doing. In fact, when I mentioned "variational twists" what I mean is that not all positions end in a back row mate BUT if you don't play your cards right they could. More explanation: sometimes to stave off a back row mate your opponent will have to give up material, and after that you "go on to win." (And there are tricky little beasts in some of these positions. (Beast is also a "mathematical" term, and Nunn is a mathematician as well as a grandmaster.))
If you are having trouble with tactics I strongly recommend this book. Besides the quality of everything in the book (and the fact you know a "win" is lurking somewhere on the board), you will get a feeling of accomplishment and that you don't have to be a member of Mensa to get that feeling. It is often in the art of accomplishment that "passion" rises to the top.
That is, do this kind of study repeatedly and all of a sudden "inspiration" will begin to form in your brain when you see other quizzes OR something similar (such as a technique) in an actual game (such as your own). THAT to me offers GREAT value. It's like advanced show and tell.
For everyone up through 2100; it's only $19.95. If you are interested in purchasing one, let me know.
Finally, a good book on tactics for 95% of us.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I pulled the trigger.
Bring up Facebook and search for Thinkers' Press, inc. Notes and you will see some book covers. More will be added as well as occasional commentary. But the main purpose for this page is for YOU, the readers and fans of TPi.
I know TPi fans are out there because I run into them and one of the most common remarks I hear is: "I have all Thinkers' Press books on Purdy," or, "I own all Thinkers' Press books." For most people I don't believe this is true or possible because I have printed some private books and "complete" buyers would have to contact the author to get them. For that reason alone I will post some of those book covers if only to hear, "When was that issued?"
When I read some of the web's "tech sites," I am amazed at the breadth of knowledge of some people and just as amazed by those who are talking out of their hat (lots of these). I do find it an irritation however when I see people quote Wikipedia. While I have found Wikipedia useful at times, I can't trust it in important research. They don't seem to "allow" the names of those who contribute.
Anyway, you now know where to go, become a friend or fan, bring others on board, etc. Since I've sold tens of thousands of TPi books over 30 years you might think, for those who care, there might be a lot of fans. Are you one?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
My choice would be Alex Yermolinsky.
I've met Yermo (as some call him)... a gracious, willing, and fun guy at my Chess Festival in 2004 when he filled in for GM Karsten Mueller (who couldn't come because of illness).
But that is not the main reason I would choose to play like him. I am rereading his Road to Chess Improvement... what a book!
I am busy preparing for my next tournament appearance, May 15th (gee, I hope I do well!) I pulled several books from my shelves and this was the main one and not just because he writes about the Benko Gambit (from the white side) but because of his attitude, his writing style, his giftedness, and his explanatory abilities. Reading Yermolinsky is a Big Pleasure. He doesn't write much in the book world. I think he did one other book, a Chess Explained title.
I'll be getting more of those and I have his "Road..." book reordered.
This morning I went through a game I looked at last night: Yermolinsky-Kreiman (a student of Alex's). Why do I like this game? Easy. (see page 85)
1) It reminds me of my attempts to play like a very much stronger player;
2) It has errors of judgment in it--by both sides;
3) It has some interesting resources to pull everything off;
4) It has quirky moves to make you think; and
5) It has a snappy ending (48 moves).
The notes are those delectable parts of a sandwich, without which, it just doesn't taste as good.
That was ONE game. His thoughts on chess, its variations, how to improve, and all the rest are jammed into this 224 page monster. And, Gambit does something they are reluctant to do: put tables and charts inside to further explain Yermo's theses.
I asked Yermo years ago to do a book for TPi and he said he had nothing left to say. Maybe true then, but now that time as passed, is it still true?
This is a fantastic book--extremely well written as Yermolinsky captures our American colloquialisms. If every chess book were written like this, we'd all be broke.
Worth having, worth rereading. Which grandmaster would you like to be... answer below if you wish.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Hindsight is always better AFTER the evidence shows up. Maybe not a lot better, but sometimes it raises even more questions. Here's the problem: Silvio Danailov. An international master and full time "aide" for Veselin Topalov. Also, vice president of the Bulgarian Chess Federation.
Yesterday it was announced that the organizing committee for the World Chess Championship would not permit Anand a small delay with his entourage getting to Bulgaria for the WCC. (Volcanic ash over Europe you know.) Naturally this is not a problem for Topalov since he is from Bulgaria! I wonder how Topalov would feel if the situation were reversed.
This is a stunt against Anand and one can only wonder what else Danailov has up his sleeve. He's already said, if I recall correctly, there will be no draw offers from Topalov except through the arbiter (he better hope he isn't in time trouble). How low class. It's a little more convoluted than that. For more details, the pros, the cons, go to:
So the question I ask you is:
a) Will Anand win the match with no problems?
b) Will Anand win despite problems?
c) Will Topalov win the match?
I pick (b) now before the match has started. I'd like to see the rest of the chess press make their "predictions" before hand also. Danailov IS creative... much more than FIDE.
And, what do YOU think dear reader? What is your guess (and a guess it is because we have no foreordained knowledge do we?) You can answer below.
If you recall, Mr. Danailov was not above suspicion according to a variety of sources in the Kramnik-Topalov match. The suspicion was in helping cause problems during that match.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Even though the DVD publishing and printing machine isn't here yet, the discs for another round of Black Shockers are finished for overseas delivery (when the printer finally gets here). Hopefully this week I can work on the White Shockers set. These items, along with the Busy Man's Chess Openings have proven popular overseas with those who are trying to outfox their opponents.
I want to put up a Thinkers' Press Fan Page on Facebook. I have a personal profile already on Facebook and I've heard that a "fan" page can be put up and if anyone reading this can tell me how, I will, and that way the hundreds, if not thousands, of readers who have enjoyed TPi publications over the years can find out quickly what is going on (and something always is). When I go to Facebook (my own page) I don't see anything obvious. Maybe just start a NEW one? (Somehow). Of course there would be the latest info on anything CJS Purdy and there is NEW info.
I have finished a big chunk of the next issue of Chess EXTRAS. I know what I want to put on the cover, but I will have to scan the picture of Fischer into two parts and seam them together. It is a proof of the poster that was originally set up for the Fischer T-shirts I had designed years ago by Bill Hannan.
I've decided to enter another chess tournament, this time next month, and am trying to erase my brain weaknesses with some more concentrated effort. This time there will be more emphasis on strategy as well as trying to get a more coherent "white system" to throw Black to the wolves. I set a target date, ONE month, and that way I will have the first part of the goal out of the way. I have another goal, to go back over 1900. These can be done but are always a ton of work. What's frustrating is that I think it is a 4 rounds-in-ONE-day event. I don't see many two day events these anymore (around here). But 4 rounds is manageable because when called upon to think more quickly in a compressed amount of time, it can be done. Unfortunately, it can also be done for your opponent if they can learn to re-adapt.
Several books I am recommending:
The set of Attacking Manuals by Aagaard. I have been going over them and I like what I read.
Yermolinsky's Road to Chess Improvement is still excellent and has some commentary on the Benko Gambit which is somewhat similar to Georgiev's Squeezing the Gambits book (which is very packed with details). And I spent quite a bit of time last night on the Flexible French again to look at the mysteries of the screwball systems White wants to toss at me (if I can find someone willing to play 1.e4). Finally, a passel of DVDs such as Mikhalchishin's on the Power of Exchange. Recently reader Laz Munoz brought this topic up and I noted myself that I need to "know" more about this--so let's see what Adrian has to say.
That's the way I study. I put together a pile of materials and go though them. The unfortunate thing is my opponents seem unwilling to cooperate and often play crazy stuff. I'll keep you updated and of course run a series of stories in upcoming issues of The Chess Reports. (Subscriptions are still coming in.)
Lastly, for today, I have several cases of Paul Hoffman's King's Gambit--which I am currently using as a premium to get people to resubscribe to Semester 9 of The Chess Reports. And the book is FREE when you send in some kind of order (book or dvd) where you have to pay for S&H. So this is just a reminder.
It's been nice hearing from many old friends.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Once or twice a year NPR and PBS go on the air to raise funds for their work and its collateral costs. Some people are gifted and manage to squeeze something new out of every encounter, some have the perfect voice for listening too, but it is work... and usually we are glad when the fund drive is finally over.
Recently I was interviewed about what I do for an "Art Talks" show and one of my former typography students (it's amazing isn't it?) told me most of their fundraising at the station is now done by direct mail to get the lion's share of the work out of the way, and the "on air" stuff is designed to get new members or gift givers.
I know the process, because every 26 weeks I introduce a new Semester for The Chess Reports. The one just ending was #8 and the one starting on May 14th is Semester 9. Time really does fly.
Subscribers of Semester 8 have been given information in issue #104 about renewal. I have found that reminders, in different forms, are effective. I usually put deadlines (short ones) on them otherwise people don't take action (I am one of those myself). This one is a little longer, Deadline: May 14th! (And don't be surprised about how fast that one looms.) You can subscribe at any time, but the deadline is for the FREE premium (read on).
Like those fundraisers, I am now offering a premium if you go for the more pricey subscription, for, this time there are two plans!
First, there is the Gold Standard and it's $29.95. This is pretty much like the regular subscription I was selling except IM Andrew Martin has been switched to the Platinum Edition, which is $59.95. The Platinum Edition also has "How to dos", Letters, Opening Revelations, the Editor's Thoughts, and everything which is in the Gold Standard Edition. However, if you own a Gold Card for 2010, you get the Platinum Edition for $49.95, or a savings of $10.00.
Now that it is worked out, it seemed like an easy enough proposition, yet it took about two weeks of jostling these ideas around in my head before finalizing it. Subscriber James Breeden said: "It appears to me that you have struck a good balance in the contents of the two 'versions.' " Hope so.
Now for the Premium. A few years ago a polymath named Paul Hoffman wrote a book called King's Gambit, a Son, a Father, and the World's Most Dangerous Game. This hardcover (with dust jacket) rolls in at 433-pages! It reads well and reports accurately the things I am familiar with, but it also has a lot of personal things for which I could not possibly know... In the marketplace, in its day (2007), it sold for $24.95. So I am giving that away if you buy the Platinum Edition. I will also ship it for FREE IF you place an order for a book or dvd which requires some S&H fee (otherwise the USPS costs just eat me alive). People are responding, and responding well. Because of that, I now know, at least for the time being, this will become semi-annual fare. So I am already trying to think up new things for the next time and for the upcoming Chess Clinic (#6), in October. I'll write about the Clinic in October next week (remind me).
I look forward to hearing from you. If you haven't subscribed before, send me your email address and ask for a couple Sample Copies. Have an enjoyable weekend please!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Warning. I have nothing against his new book, Studying Chess Made Easy, it's his publisher. My experience in the past year since I opened G&L CHESS is that Batsford books (his current publisher) do not sell for me. Even Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games was a slow seller. So have been most of its other current line up, and their titles from previous years, say 5-10 years back.
I won't go into the dolts at Batsford and distributors I have dealt with in the past either in UK or NYC.
The page layouts, the cover designs seem to attract no one I know. Everyone I know loves Andy Soltis, but apparently do not love Batsford. The stodgy type, the huge rivers of space between lines of type and the less than attractive diagrams do not make me feel as if I want to read a Batsford book. Often the books are priced below the current market rates of their competitors but that is really because they use fat, pulp paper, waste lots of space, and seem to avoid any semblance of proofreading. Yet I've seen other non-chess Batsford books and they look nothing like them.
Batsford publishes books on warfare, military, movies, gardening, detectives, sports, Hollywood, etc. but most of those books are relatively attractive; many are coffee table books. I can't fathom their motives except I suspect low royalties, a lean or almost non-existent staff, poor book recommendations, and in the end, a production which is amateurish; yet the profit margin is high when they succeed!?!? That is still "getting screwed" by someone who wants your money.
As I said Feb. 1, 2009, in the Godiva of Chess catalogs... I want to sell the Best books. When I discover they really aren't the best (at much anything), I drop them. "Best" can include many attributes, with two of them being desire and usefulness.
I have not read Andy's book but, as usual, I expect it to be good and different than the usual range of Batsford twaddle. When I have slow sellers sitting on my shelves, it's depressing. Batsford isn't alone, but, it is the worst. I wish they would get out of the chess business.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
With some people asking me when I would publish the pricing for Semester 9 and all the accompanying frills... now that that was released late last night, the fruits of the labor are apparent. My email box is deluged with resubscriptions, orders for books, and all the nice collateral that goes with that. Thank you.
I will keep this brief today as it is more important for me to fill those orders and get things off to the post office that need to go there.
But I do offer a thanks to Michael Goeller. Michael has a Blog and he said Google has indexed my site. He gave me some SOUND tips on what to put in the subject header to be picked up and blown out there worldwide. In spite of his generosity, and I sincerely mean that, it's Google's Game I think. So for now, I will publish "meaningful" subject lines instead of keyword meta tags designed to pick up people who are looking for openings information. Maybe Google will eventually come around to my way of thinking and give people information they are REALLY looking for. I'll explain that in a future post. If someone is looking for something on the Caro-Kann or the Nimzo-Indian, and I have something on those two, then I will post.
I want to make this site useful. If it is, people will bookmark it, read it, etc. I've done this before. The Google kids are kids, amazingly enough. I'll probably buy an iPad too to take with me on trips. It turns out I was onto something there. Apple is sold out and has to push back their international opening day.
All those anti-Apple guys didn't get their wish, Rush Limbaugh described Failure (although I believe Limbaugh is a big Apple fan).
My grandfather told me years ago he made a lot of money betting against idiots. By that he meant, if someone was a Cardinals or Cubs fan, for example, and yet their stats showed they were just okay, and not as good as the Brooklyn or LA Dodgers, he would bet against them when those teams were playing such as the Dodgers, and win most of the time. They never, ever seemed to have caught on to that!! It's not about "wishing," it's about "likelihood." Richard Feynman would have loved that. You can talk about sports as much as you want, but that doesn't determine who the winners and losers will be. Same in chess.
In the meantime, back to the job at hand.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Already, from yesterday, I received a resubscription to The Chess Reports Semester 9, from long standing subscriber Russ Miller. Then today an email note from another long standing subscriber Greg Delaney. Thanks fellahs.
Blogs have some value in that I can get important info out quickly (well, within 24 hours). I don't see myself setting up a Twitter account because that implies a type of "constant" communication--and most businesses are too busy taking care of customers, not fooling around. I've met people who spent so much time gabbing with customers (esp. to ones who never seemed to purchase anything) they went out of business. Real businessmen know better.
Yesterday I was interviewed on a radio "art talks" station by Bruce Carter about type. It was fun and nice to see him again. Bruce and I lived in the same neighborhood for years and he is still there. It was great to reminisce about things that I have done in the past and not put in my Chess Assassin's Business Manual but hopefully will be included in the next volume, The Experimenter.
In the meantime, I will be getting out the last issue of The Chess Reports for Semester 8, this afternoon. Taxes have already been done and filed... what a brain drain! Hope you are caught up too so we can charge into Semester 9. For subscription details, read yesterday's Blog.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Finally the subscription prices for The Chess Reports are now available. Simply:
a) The Gold Standard: $29.95. A Great bargain. Pretty much the same features as before (although Andrew Martin moves to the Platinum edition), 8-10 pages.
b) The Platinum Edition: $59.95. Everything in the Gold plus "How tos," Andrew Martin, Letters, Editor's Thoughts, and plenty more. 16-18 pages.
The number of pages is slightly malleable. Emailed before Noon every other Friday.
Also, with the Platinum edition, there is a Premium Book, for FREE, Paul Hoffman's King's Gambit, a non-fiction story of being involved in chess and with known chess players. A 400+ page read. It gets sent FREE to anyone who subscribes to the 13 editions of Semester 9, and who orders a book or dvd that has a S&H fee. PLUS, a Big Bonus: if you have a Gold Card you can get the Platinum Edition for only $49.95.
More information is provided in the last issue of Semester 8, issue #104.
Resubscription notices will be sent out to current subscribers first, and potential subscribers next week. Issue #105 will commence on May 14.
Those who want to can resubscribe right now. Soon, news about a Chess Clinic 6.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The publishing firm Chess Stars operates out of Bulgaria. One of their big hits was the Khalifman books (which I have for resale) on both the repertoires of Kramnik and Anand.
They have spread into other chess books besides opening manuals, but today I will present some opening books, esp. new ones.
Oh, BTW, the English translation is top notch and as good as an book published from England.
GM Alexey Dreev is first with The Moscow and Anti-Moscow Variations, An Insider's View. I remember when van Wely covered this on a ChessBase DVD. Surprising to me, there's a lot of lethality in this system for Black. I am saving reviews for these two books for my publications, but I want to make you aware of them.
212 pages, copyrighted 2010. Retail price is $29.95. G&L CHESS price is $25.50. The Gold Card price is $22.50.
Second Chess Stars book, Squeezing the Gambit: the Benko, Budapest, Albin and Blumenfeld by GM Kiril Georgiev. 192 pages. Retail is $28.95. G&L CHESS price is $24.50. And the Gold Card price is $21.75.
IF you order both books, the shipping will be FREE through this Saturday only (April 12-17). You save another $5 right there. I have a few sets available.
More CHESS STARS books will be mentioned soon.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
No doubt you've heard the old expression, "In every cloud there is a silver lining," or something like that.
Sometimes the dark cloud perverts our thinking. For 3-4 years I have been checking out the silver linings but never gave any thought about the possibility of there being more than one!
Yesterday I received my dvd burner and printer. A nice piece of work and it seemed like what I had ordered. But, after a nap to blow away the day's cobwebs I started to set it up only to discover this machine used a slightly more advanced operating system and had different hardware requirements than what I had.
While I didn't cuss or throw things I was disappointed as I wanted to get started this weekend and crank out a bunch of back ordered DVDs in the "Shockers" series.
Then it occurred to me: "I've got this nice looking piece of hardware but I haven't made any art yet for the printing of the DVDs!" So that's what I will be working on today. (Sunday I don't do commercial work... so, things are better.) What else? How about working on the material for White Shockers, another DVD from Andrew Martin? That will take some more time. Hopefully by then, I will have the right machine.
Apparently the salesman and I were "thinking" different things. There will be a delay, but there are always other things to do. That's one of the Big Keys to the lock.
For example, I am almost finished with The Chess Reports #104, the last in Semester 8 (time really does fly!) But I saved the "hardest" work for last, splitting the publication into two magazines. Will it be more work? Obviously, but it has to be the right kind of "more" work.
All in all, the delay is a new opportunity for me. Maybe you can't find the time to study during the week, but even an hour or two on the weekend will be most helpful; perhaps the basis for a new program of personal instruction. I keep reading books and passages that have one thing in common with success, the oft stated "hard work." There is no substitute for it. Even, and probably especially, geniuses perform hard work to achieve a result they are seeking.
Next week I will cover some more new chess titles which have come in. Am looking forward to making new DVDs and printing on them to satisfy the purists.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I just finished watching a 4-5 minute web video. The guy, a nice enough fellow, mentioned that if you post a video, keep it short as people, in general, tend to have a short attention spans. While he is correct, it doesn't have to be that way... it helps if you have interesting content, very interesting content.
Too often the presenter is trying to get the words out, look professional, and trying not to look like he or she is reading a script (or remembering the words!!!) What if the speaker was Mikhail Tal (from some discovered recording) or Viktor Korchnoi? Yep, it's a lot easier to pay attention. Plus, these guys are experts, they aren't handing you a baloney sandwich. Plus, they are a little ornery.
But VOICE helps also. Some people, with highly pitched voices, are usually hard to listen to. I observed this about Edmar Mednis. Danny Kopec puts me to sleep. Others, because they are immigrants, are not always easy to understand. It wouldn't have been a sin to have used someone else, but, that's added expense and they might need training in the art of chess speak. Chess seems to have NO money.
And at times, some people are just hard to look at. But Seirawan in a suit, easy to look at. But when he starts talking about alien civilizations, who wants to look or listen?
I recall going into a steakhouse in Galesburg, IL several years ago and I was greeted by a gentleman at the door and I said to him, "You should be in radio." He said, "I was, for years." Ever heard of Earl Nightingale? What a voice! He led the way in selling success on tapes. He had a voice to kill for. (Same with Sam Elliott in the beef commercials, or Gregory Peck before him.) Lower voices tend to be heard better than other types of voices as long as the enunciation is there. Some women do very well with their natural voice... but not all of us have sound engineers.
Watch the ChessBase videos (I've seen many), and drop me a line in the box below as to who is YOUR favorite. Not the best chess player, but who speaks so well you don't mind hearing him. Myself, I like Martin & Davies because they are generally clear and have an authoritative voice with a little humor tossed in. But who is (are) easy for you to listen to?
Photo by friend Harald Fietz.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Last week I got a phone call asking why I don't sell Thinkers' Press, inc. products in a big way on Amazon or in Borders and Barnes&Noble. My answer:
1. Amazon takes most of the money, 55% for their wholesale division and we also pay postage!
2. They order in quantities as small as 1. Not 1 of several titles, but ONE book! They frequently do this. I pay the postage. Now I gang two or three orders together when possible... otherwise I just lose the "sale."
3. They are seriously SLOW payers. I've got thousands owed me. When they sell a book, they pay in 30-90 days. I get small checks deposited into my account most months. This has been going on for some time.
4. Their purchasing algorithm is flawed. In a big way. They must be using dead mathematicians to compute what they will be needing at this or that warehouse.
5. Their big discount allows them to compete favorably (very) against the publisher if they decide to do that (and they often do).
Question? Where's the upside for me?
IF a chess book should happen to be wildly popular they can move a lot of titles and in the process, promote OTHER books not connected to me. They still can win big. The "upside" is an illusion. David Rudel did very well because he took the bull by the horns and made several books on the College Zukertort, a very neglected system. AND, he made it interesting.
Is there ANY advantage in TPi using Amazon? No, not until they start ordering in larger quantities (the paperwork for me is crazy) and start paying for what they essentially have on consignment.
Two other points:
A. They would like to think they can go "viral" for the seller. Not much. The other day I saw that YouTube had posted a video of some deranged kid who had paid $500 for an iPad and then ostensibly proceeded to SMASH it! It was a joke, fake, or idiocy. At no point did the video show him smashing it with anything (just a dented corpse). If this is viral, what does it prove?
B. It's a one way street with Amazon. Schach Niggemann in Germany has over 60,000 people on its e-mail list. They don't need Amazon! If I do anything it will be to create my own Amazon because I know the subject and believe I can do a better job.
As to Barnes & Noble and Borders. Look at their shelves. "Rummy" books which aren't selling. Then later they return huge numbers. More paperwork, slow pay (100 days or more in many cases.) Sometimes I am seriously convinced I sell more books than they do. The returns from Borders are often screwed up, including books I don't publish, misscounts, paperwork totals wrong... and damaged books!
If I don't make money, I am history. No more books, no more DVDs, no newsletters. Some Americans are very suspicious of anyone (except them) who makes or tries to make a profit (living) from business. I've actually met some who think stuff should be free with no regard as to how this can be done. We've given away a lot of our manufacturing to China. Is anything free? No, and it won't be. People who run companies like mine buy cars, clothes, groceries, and on an on, and we also help fuel the economy. But first, it has to be paid for.
So for all the kind folks who are by my side, and like my products and business sentiments, thank you. I will keep innovating. I have one coming tomorrow!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Funny, though Quality Chess, in general, publishes fine books, their notices to subscribers through their newsletter is deplorably bad!
I just got one today announcing an Alterman book on "Gambits (a guide)," Pavlovic's "Open Sicilian 1," and a hardcover (???) edition of Schandorff's book on the "Caro-Kann" (I hope there is more meat in it than there was in his QG book).
Light orange in small print (for their links!!!) and light gray, also in small print.
The reason TPi uses black and red is that they are noticeable everywhere and almost on every machine, I suspect.
Whenever someone in "marketing" gets cute, they push toward intolerable gobbledygook and shameless displays--not to get your attention, but because they believe THEY know what they are doing and the rest of us don't. You are fortunate (I hope) in that when the books do arrive (it's too bad they don't have a split emailing list to inform two different time-difference audiences), the message from me will be clear. Shakespeare wanted to "fire" all the lawyers and I've wanted to fire most college design graduates of recent years.
Is Quality Chess alone? I wish they were. The "newsletter" is "signed" with the faceless "The Quality Chess team." It makes it harder to complain, blame or eradicate the one who put this out.
All publishers go through fits and starts growing pains, but QC didn't start yesterday although their newsletter would seem to suggest otherwise.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Jacob Aagaard assigned this evaluation to a Q-side castling move for a K-side safety chapter in the game Albanna-Albonni, Tehran 2007. From his newest book, by Quality Chess, titled Attacking Manual 2 he said: "I have to admit that I am not terribly concerned about the theoretical correctness of this move. I like the attitude, but one fears that it might be a little too optimistic."
There are few books on attack. There are books which contain attacks via some sense of combination or tactics, but few which actually apply the writer to the difficult task of assembling material about how to attack, when to attack and... what if the attackee puts up stout resistance?
The Chess Reports will carry additional information in issue #104, the last of the Semester #8 series, due out next Friday. Before I get too windy, what I can say is this subject is terribly important in chess. It's hard to find a better writer on such a dense topic than "Mr. Perfectionist," Jacob Aagaard. Jacob is the man who swept through the 2007 British Chess Championship and who finished his norms to get the GM title.
It's big and it's 461 pages (retail $34.95). At the same time its companion volume, Attacking Manual 1 was revised and expanded, and re-released (at the same price). The Gilbert & Lange (G&L CHESS, that's me) price is $29.75. If you own a Gold Card (G&L's Gold Card) the price is a show stopping $26.25 (saving $8.70!). They are heavy (hi-quality paper) and I will cut us both a little slack (in the USA) on shipping: $3 for one, $5 for both. In stock now.
Have a great day. I am doing finishing up work on Andrew Tocher's book about his chess opening novelties. A lot smaller than Aagaard's works, but it will be a lot more affordable too. Title not 100% confirmed but you should see it within a month or 6 weeks.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Today Chessbase let the cat out of the bag concerning which of the three "news" stories were a fake on April 1. I am happy to say that the two answers I received + my own, were correct. The Matt Damon and Magnus Carlsen story was the fake.
My bloggers are apparently more reserved, or afraid of looking like an idiot (that didn't stop many readers of the CB website). It was a fun piece, but as usual, I learned some things about marketing from it:
1. Background knowledge, the ability to read between the lines, and then to make a decision are just as important when it comes to playing chess well. In the ChessBase case a LOT of people got it wrong! There were many guesses for the hadron collider and the Fischer exhumation, but the last one (i.e., Fischer) was deemed in poor taste by some. Hadron and Fischer had been mentioned earlier on CB posts.
2. Some people will criticize you no matter what you do. These are people the world doesn't trust because they "gloss over" what is actually in the story. They see everything as a conspiracy, bad taste, not politically correct and/or often think they could do better! (Have you seen any of THEIR work? No, and you aren't likely too.) They don't have necessarily a low IQ, but when you see them play (chess or other things), be on the look out for really strange, unprovable plans and ideas and try to figure out how you can take advantage of them.
3. Hopefully the greater majority had fun and were entertained. But, again, there are those who claim your (or ChessBase's) earlier efforts were better and that you are slipping. Maybe they were wrong last year and right this year and now feel they are expert. Once you know it all, the big fall is just around the corner. Sometimes it is hard to keep things (e.g., details) in perspective.
4. There were a LOT of answers and personal opinions, not facts, or logic, present in these answers. To be able to reason is something we take for granted; now I can see why. You can also see the reasons for wars, revenge, and incompetence from some of these answers--it's emotion overtaking reason. It's personal with some to the extent that I have no doubt there are those who have written back to CB to tell them they are wrong about their own hoax!
While I didn't expend a lot of time on this conundrum (in the morning many other projects are in the mix) I found it entertaining enough. I thought the CB staff did a good job all in all. Apparently some people didn't even know it was April 1. Foreigners may have been at a disadvantage if they don't celebrate this crazy day in their country but by now many of CB's readers know of this feature, quite a few in fact, and look forward to it.
But the ONE thing which probably surprised me the most was the ADAMANT notion by some that they were 100% correct when they were 100% wrong! I was pretty sure of the Damon/Carlsen hoax answer but in the amount of time I spent looking at all three I wouldn't have bet the farm... some would have.
Keep these traits in mind when studying, reading, and concluding as they are applicable to chess and other disciplines. Some contestants (?) may be bad at math, some can't draw, but when it comes to opinions, this is the most important trait to them. You CAN learn how to defeat chessplayers (and their cousins) by taking advantage of their opinions.
Congrats to the two fearless people who wrote in-- (J. Wan and Kevin).
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Whether you are a "regular" leader or not, there are people who will notice you if you are doing something different and having "success" with it. (Some even want your success to be a FAIL.)
Right now Apple inc. has brought out the iPad which has its fans and critics. The critics I don't totally understand (attention getters mainly, who believe their opinion matters). These critics claim to want what they want and are miffed they won't be noticed, but in reality, they hate Apple--a company which was a true underdog in 1997 and now has the "pack" following them (Apple). Anyone who likes Apple products "drinks the Kool Aid, etc."
Some years ago my youngest son came back to play chess at the club. He began playing 1.Nf3. He studied the Khalifman books and gained a very nice understanding of moving the Knight on the first move. Then his Dad, me, liked what he saw and began playing it. It had its quirks, but that was all the better. Also, the size of the Khalifman library showed how transposable it was, further maddening the crowd with the dark pieces.
Recently I had noted a few others at the club begin their game with 1.Nf3 and now one of my friends is playing it. Will it last? For a while, until the next great thing comes along. It used to be the Colle, then the Torre and sometimes the London systems--but you don't see much widespread adoption of any systems by 1.e4 players... so maybe that will be next.
It's nice to have some fun, mix it up a little, but beware, the critics who aren't spending their own money will often try to influence you spending yours. These people could well spend time improving their own games or openings instead of following you around like a Pied Piper.
I am betting that ChessBase will introduce an app for the iPad just as I believe they have done with the iPhone. Personally, it's hard for me to imagine myself wanting to spend much time looking at a phone--so it must be the portability aspect. If so, the iPad will do well. There's a kind of practice or analysis which when stored would have Alexander Alekhine as its FIRST adherent!
Friday, April 2, 2010
On the cover today of The Chess Reports #103 are two books from Gambit publishing in England.
A Course in Chess Tactics by Bojkov&Georgiev and
The Giant Chess Puzzle Book.
The first book is, of course, quite useful for those trying to ramp up their tactical prowess. Although I am not acquainted with the authors, grandmasters from Bulgaria, they do a good job. Theirs is a 191 page book, priced at $22.95 and not quite yet available in the USA.
The second book contains 1001 positions...claims to be brand new (i.e., original) puzzles to "challenge and entertain players from novices to grandmasters." To grandmasters? Maybe. One nice feature is a rating conversion chart. For every so many you get right (no fudging) you can determine your Elo score though books that do this never tell us how they get that figure. Is it from a small sample of real players, a big sampling, or what? Weighing in at 287 pages it retails for $26.95. Full solutions are also offered and there are 8 "quizzes" per page. The author writes in an engaging style as he sets up each chapter.
Some time ago a very strong player approached me about the idea of publishing a book or DVD on chess "puzzles." Apparently they love "puzzles" in the UK. Do they in the USA? Tell me what you think. I asked WHY he thought I would be up to the task and he said, "I've seen the 6 puzzles to a page in The Right Move for the English Chess Federation Youth program every month and they are perfect!" (I don't think any of them have been published before either. As of now, I have setup about 230 some situations, maybe that is a much more manageable number!?)
I have a couple secrets for making my choices and I have kept them to myself. Almost all are solvable and the solutions are not overly complicated, but, if you don't look at them the right way, a few of them can wear you down. I don't break them down by themes.
My question, as if I don't have enough to do, what is your take on books like these? Do you buy them (please mention what country you are from)? If so, what makes you do so?
Personally, I think too many of these books are discouraging. They are like going to the gym or buying a treadmill, popular for a couple weeks or months and then summarily shelved.
Fred Reinfeld wrote two puzzle books, one on combinations and the other on checkmates. While Fred is often criticized for "cranking chess books out," even Purdy had to admit those were great books to improve your skill set with. I agree as I remember studying one of them when I was in the hospital a long time go.
Let me know your thoughts either through the box below or an email. Opinions in cases like these are just as valuable as "gut instinct."
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Years ago (8-9?) ChessBase.com began a tradition. Every April 1 they would publish a total B.S. chess story. When I say "total" I also mean, somewhat "totally" believable. Today's the day. They have three stories which qualify:
1) Magnus Carlsen related to Matt Damon;
2) Fischer and his DNA to be exhumed;
3) Top chess players sitting at a table and discussing the Hadron Collider in Switzerland and how it might produce a black hole and suck down Iran (I made up this last part).
This year it is relatively tough but I have my thoughts as to which one is the baloney sandwich and I don't want to spoil it for you. In the past I think I have gotten them all, but a couple were tougher than expected. I used to read, it seemed, almost everything about chess. But, in the interests of widespread lunacy, I am somewhat surprised at the reasons some people send in to ChessBase. It's no wonder there are conspiracy theorists out there as it looks as if there are "families" of people who fell off the edge of their flat earth.
At any rate, I invite you to share your guesses, and clues if you wish, with our readers before ChessBase unveils its answer. Let's have some fun today after the mind-bending yesterday.