Thursday, May 13, 2010


The announcement of Chess Clinic 6 is made here today and in #105 of The Chess Reports, which also goes out today. This will be my last Chess Clinic so if you've been putting it off, come to this one, your big and last chance. More details are forthcoming but already (3) people have told me, before I even knew WHERE it would be held, that they would be coming! The tentative facility looks excellent, the Clarion Hotel on Brady St. in Davenport, IA, October 22-23. All day Saturday and Friday evening--big room, regular tables!

The smorgasbord is great as presenter IM Andrew Martin has been working on a FIDE project which fell through but all is not lost as he is going to use parts of that publication presentation at the Chess Clinic! Another topic covered will be the importance of Pawn Endings. Last night I was reading Efstratios Grivas' book Practical Endgame Play--mastering the basics and he too comes right out and says in the endgame that, most positions are reducible to pawn endings (usually through the queening of a pawn). John Nunn in his various endgame works says the same thing. In other words, KNOW pawn endings. You will win more games and that's what most of us want to do.

"So where does the passion for excellence come in?" you may ask. I belong to an organization called FREE FREEHAND. It has over 5,000 designers as members. Freehand originally was the best darn drawing tool ever in software form. It was intuitive, it was expedient, it was gratifyingly excellent in every way. It's opposite was Adobe's Illustrator, a clunky jacked together tool use for illustration and which can be unwieldy and obtrusive. Adobe bought out Macromedia and with it Freehand which they proceeded to abandon (though periodically they will steal something from their own Freehand and add it to Illustrator). Lots of us would like to see Freehand brought back, sold, licensed... something, so a campaign was born, Free Freehand. It has members from all over the world.

Here's the issue: The organization asked all of its members to send a postcard or letter, poster, etc. to Adobe's headquarters, to take some action, make some money. Adobe is "mulling" this I've heard (after initially ignoring us). But only 500 people, so far, have taken any action. That's 10%!? What about the other 4500+? Those are the ones who will plead: too busy, too much effort, I don't know what to say (the organization already prepared postcards so that excuse is invalid), can't get around to it and so on. This too is what happened when I had a Chess Festival or Clinic.

All year long I would hear "I'm coming to your next Chess Festival or your next Chess Clinic" but they never did. Not one time did I hear it was "too expensive," or "we're in a recession." (Fact is, as I read books back to the 1950s, the story lines often are about people being in their own or a national recession, everybody is always short of money.) One after another I read or hear, "Andrew Martin is coming? I've got to go." But then they don't show.

Here's what's surprising, the real surprise. If I get some new people (and I do) invariably they are REPEATS for future attendance! Last year, in October at Halloween time I had my biggest crowd. 21. This time I am going for 50 (or more). There will be incentives to register early. If you can't clear your schedule 5 months in advance, you don't want to.

Most of all, this will be my last chess clinic so if you want to see Andrew at work (he is funny, exciting, and chooses great topics), THIS is the one. To top it off, the hotel has a great restaurant 20 feet from our meeting room! More details later on.

So... if you have a "passion for excellence" this will be the event. There will also be my sales area for the best in books, software, and equipment.

I invite all readers of this blog, domestic and international, to set aside those dates. If you are interested let me know and I will put your name (and email address, please include that) on the list of those to send MORE info to. If you have a Gold Card, that will allow you a discount too, a big discount.

You can contact me at:


  1. On the pawn ending thing, you can add Aagaard who in "Excelling in Calculation in Chess" to advocates of pawn endings. He uses them as the focal point of study of calculation since they are by nature simple in strategy but require a bit of calculation vision of many moves ahead. But the simple nature does not add too much complexity to calculation. So it serves to improve the student's ability to visualize future positions.

  2. To Laz's comment. Yes, I forgot to mention Aagaard as I know he feels hat way, and that bit about learning how to calculate better through pawn endings is exactly true. Thanx, as always.

  3. You can add me to the list of those planning to attend the 6th and final chess clinic.

  4. I hope the excellent results and turn out will cause you to change your mind! Maybe there will be a 7th clinic.