Thursday, July 1, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. John DiIorio?? Now, there's a name from Greg's distant past. John used to direct tournaments in Minnesota's Iron Range area back in the early 1970's. I played in one, called the "Great Ore Miner's Convention."

  2. I reviewed the book on my blog ( I thought it was a great game collection, but as a guide to improving your chess it had no different advice than any other book of that type. The author's claim of going from unrated to 2199 FIDE was spurious and the improvement was not permanent. Apparently he could not improve his chess at his current age. Bob, you must not have looked at his rating lately because he has never been 2199 USCF and has not been 2199 FIDE since his first FIDE rated tournament in 2008. In point of fact, Hortilossa has gained FIDE rating points in exactly 1 FIDE rating period in almost 2 years and is currently rated 1987 FIDE and 1983 USCF.
    Bob, unless your book was perfection itself, I would expect you to have gotten some sort of negative feedback in the form of constructive critism. Unless there was anyone you consider to be "idiots" that gave you positive feedback on your book, I would take your claim that only "idiots" gave you negative feedback with a grain of salt.

  3. Why not come to the Chess Clinic and talk to HIM about this Hank? I'm not concerned much about the rating as it's been a while since I was near 2100, but I have beaten more masters than many other people. I don't know when Andres rating was computed, but now with "instant" ratings it is a different kettle of fish. Who do you review for?

    As to "idiots" reviewing my book, for obvious reasons I am not mentioning their names, they know who they are because I either told them directly or I told the person who used them to NEVER use them on anything of mine again. They twitted about the chess and while 50% of the book was about business and I how ran my chess business, they were totally silent. There's no salt involved, these guys are business idiots. Books are not to be reviewed with an attitude of finding mistakes because one can, in any book--they are to be reviewed as in "review" what is there and did it accomplish its purpose? There are those who look for flaws because it pains them to write in a positive vein about someone doing something they haven't done. I remember when Hugh Myers worked for me. He told me all kinds of "negative" stuff when he left my business and created a copycat one after copying down my mailing list by hand while I was at lunch with my wife. His business failed, flat on its face because he didn't know anything about business. He had a restaurant fail too for the same reason. He owed me royalties money when he left and he didn't pay. He accused me of selling his books without paying him his share when it was he who took inventory and could easily calculate if this was a fact! That's just ONE example of the people I am referring to. There are IDIOTS in this world, every day, and every where. Sometimes I do idiotic things, but there are those who make a profession of it. I do not put MY faith in masters who review a book just because they are masters, nor non-masters. I want to know what THEY have done first.

  4. My review was a blog entry to share what my thoughts on the book was after i read it. I understand you are pumping your clinic by highlighting the guest's accomplishments. I have no stake in the success or failure of the book. The rating is a matter of public record, why do I need to ask anyone about it? I liked the book as a games collection, but as a system of self-improvement it falls short IMO. I'll accept your theory that the publisher may have sensationalized the author's rating, but that is the main selling point of the book - TO IMPROVE YOUR CHESS AT ANY AGE, not a games collection of an expert player. I stand by my opinion that the claim of sudden chess improvement was spurious.

  5. Hi Hank,

    Firstly, thank you for your review. I actually like it.

    Secondly, before you make factual accusations about my rating, I suggest you visit the FIDE website and check once more the facts. You said yourself that rating and facts associated with it are a matter of public record but you seem to have failed in investigating these public records closely because you seem to be the one making a spurious statement.

    If you look at the January 2009 list, FIDE listed me with a rating of 2199. So the "never has been 2199" is a big lie on your part, or did you simply overlook this fact, just most reviewers do when they review a book after simply skimming through it.

    But I think you actually read my book and spent time doing it. I thank you for that. Other reviewers merely skim and proceed to write nothing more but their own insecurities.

    It is true, however, that my rating is no longer over 2000 FIDE, but you do not know the circumstances behind its decline. I am not offering excuses here. On this regard, would it have satisfied you had I sat on my 2199 rating and not play a single FIDE rated game until the book is released.

    Mind you, the contract to write the book was offered in August 2008. Most of the declines in my ratings occurred in 2010.

    I play chess for the sheer fun of it. The creative struggles over the board give me very satisfying pleasure. One of the noble goals of the book is to equip amateur players a chess thinking process so they can avoid those game-ending blunders early in the game even before a struggle is reached.

    My other point is to simply offer up my chess thinking process as a starting point from which anyone can build on while taking into account his own temperaments.

    Hank, ignore my own "weight" issues. See if you can really use my prescriptive "diet plan" because you might be a better practitioner of the plan than I could ever become. Like anybody else, the more I practice my chess thinking process, the better I play.

    In March 2009, I defeated FM Boor and IM Pasalic (both grandmasters slayers) in a Chicago invitational event in a manner only possible when I am on point and in strict adherence to my chess thinking process.

    Also, I suggest you invest some time understanding FIDE rating rules, as unlike the USCF does not issue provisional ratings. One gets listed in the FIDE rating list only after the player has earned his or her official rating.

    Best regards,
    Andres D Hortillosa

  6. Hi Andres,
    Thanks for taking the time to look at the review. I did enjoy the games very much. I noted that you started out 2199 FIDE. I did say "he has never been 2199 USCF", so your reference to a 'big lie' is misplaced, unless you were indeed rated 2199 USCF pre-1991, in which case I did misspeak and I will offer an apology to you in advance. But until then, I did research the ratings and wrote factually.

    I think sitting on your rating would have been too much like De La Maza for my taste and I accept the fact that I do not know the reasons for your FIDE rating decline, but I stand by my opinion that your initial 2199 was the result of an exceptional first FIDE tournament. I would have been much more inspired to see your USCF rating hit a new peak since I have been struggling since 2002 to play better than before I stopped tournament play in 1986. I am a Senior Tournament Director and do have some knowledge of the USCF and FIDE rating systems.

    Like most of us chess players, I have my own improvement regimen and chess thought process, crude as it may be. I am happy to point out that I did hit my high rating in standard and quick chess this year at the age of 49, but still have a way to go to climb the peaks you have seen, so please don't take it as bragging :-).

    Best Regards,
    Hank Anzis

  7. Hi Hank,
    I apologized for misreading your posting. I quote below:

    "Bob, you must not have looked at his rating lately because he has never been 2199 USCF and has not been 2199 FIDE since his first FIDE rated tournament in 2008."

    I missed the point of the word "since." Most of the force of my response was directed against the notion that I never got the 2199 FIDE rating.

    However, I still disagree with your statement in referring to the improvement as spurious. Unless, of course, we both attach different meanings to the word. It is a word I will likely not use just because of its negative connotation. It emotes more than just what it means to some people. And for people like me who would rather be honest than poor, it is irksome.

    I read your posting on your blog. I cannot recall calling you (the person) an "idiot." I may have characterized a behavior as idiotic, but it is not the same as calling the offender an "idiot."

    On a different note, you totally missed the point of using the analogy of a diet plan. Your logic about not wanting to use an improvement system because the inventor could not follow the plan is irrational. You again missed the point that the plan is not the same as the person. How many times have told someone about a chess mistake, but end up doing it yourself?

    Following that logic, does it follow that when Kasparov calls a line in the Najdorf - the best line - but somehow loses a game in the same line, would that loss question the status of the line? Was it the line or was it his play that was at fault?

    Best regards,
    Andres D Hortillosa

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  9. Hi Andres,

    Bob used the 'idiot' phrase, not you. As my point was to note the less civil tone in the subscriber-only magazine as opposed to the blog postings, I did not feel I needed to distinguish who said what, but lumped your and Bob's comments as one and gave you both 'credit'. We could dance all night determining whether I was called names or my actions were called names or I was merely inferring being called names…

    As to the word ‘spurious’, I agree it has many definitions and its connotation can be relative to the context. I do believe the word has a different connotation when describing Bob’s “his rating was 2199 last I looked” comment and subsequent backtracking than referring to your book and I would have been best served using different words for those 2 events. For what it’s worth, the words ‘accusation’ and ‘critic’ have a similar texture leading to misinterpretations.

    I would feel bad if you and Bob think of me as a critic in the sense that I think of one, but that is not in my control. I paid for the book myself and rereading the review I feel the main point was that while I would not recommend the book (or method) to someone looking for a chess improvement course, the games section in the book were easy for someone of my rating (1600+, which must be in your target audience for this book) to learn from, the diagrams well laid out so that I didn’t need a board nearby and the accompanying advice was very useful. I don’t think it was in tenor or practicality anything ‘like Goldowsky’ (I did manage to find his review), which seemed to me to be an audition for a New York Times book reviewer job and much more like something a ‘critic’ would write in my opinion.

    I also did want to let you know that I do have some idea of what it takes in regards to the time a book is born from an idea to the shelf and the work involved. If you want to send your address to me in a private email (, I will send you an autographed copy of my book ‘The Adventures of Bulldog Beagle’ (self-published)if you will agree to autograph and return my copy of ‘Improve Your Chess at any Age” that I will send you with it. If you have a grandchild, they may enjoy it.

    In passing, I think we were in the same place at almost the same time 2 weekends ago. I had taken my son to play in the FIDE tournament on the 17th and 18th at the Chess Castle and you were there playing on the 19th. I would have enjoyed meeting you.

    Hank Anzis

  10. Hi Hank,

    I would love that because I have a soon-to-be 7-year-old. She wants a dog really bad. I would be happy to sign the book in exchange for yours.

    Next time you are in town, let me know. We would be happy to host you at our house.

    Have you seen Arne Moll's review of my book at

    Thank you for purchasing my book. I am sorry that it did not meet your expectations. I hope it did not waste your time reading it.

    Best regards,


  11. Hi Andres,

    Done, and I'll let you know the next time we play at the Chess Castle. Thanks.

    I'm sorry we had a misunderstanding. I consider the purchase of your book money well spent and please feel free to quote me if you like.

    I'll look at the chessvibes review.