Monday, August 23, 2010


In my chess works there is always something going on behind the scenes. You know I can't report it until it is a "fait accompli" (done deal). Sometimes things go sour before they get better, let me illustrate:

I got the proof off to my printer for In Your Face Chess Opening Novelties, today. I tried to do that several weeks ago, but 1) the author changed some material, and 2) the print house asked me to check with my "credit representative." #1 was done in 15 minutes. With respect to #2 I contacted my rep., left a phone number and email address. Never heard back even (I contacted her twice, voice mail is the refuge of cowards) though I took my phone with me while out of town a couple days last week. Apparently everything is OK because I was able to submit for a Proof this morning. People like she are irresponsible. I have an author waiting on pins and needles to see how everything is going and it is awkward to explain that the money he is spending is "nothing" to these twenty something kids who only worry about their own paycheck (and they should!). When Andrew Tocher calls this Monday morning, as he usually does, he will get good news.

Another topic, the inestimable Chess Clinic:
Several have reported to me the possibility of getting others (new candidates) to come. I think this is great! I hope it happens. In a sidebar I have discovered, long ago, that people LIKE to be asked to do something with a friend. The reason is, I think, is that it confirms there is some special status between the two. Usually the "problem" (if any) is the asker (!!) They are afraid of being rejected by their acquaintance. Now hold on for a second. Yep, rejection by someone they thought was a friend. They aren't always rejecting your request, their answer may be 100% legitimate. On the other hand, there are "fair weather friends" aren't there? I personally know several. I have the advantage. I "know" they are opportunistic in advance and so there is no way I am disappointed by their "failure" to step up to the plate. I pretty much expect it. But ONCE in a while they fool you. What can be sad is when they say "yes" but you want them to get their own room (they snore, for example, like a wild boar).

So, in this instance I can't report on who else might be coming until I get $$$ confirmation. Years ago, at one of the Chess Festivals I was running, one of the club's stronger players was in my shop and said: "Put me down for coming." I told him I would when I saw his money. He never came. Later he was seen at a casino throwing money away. After that he joined the Army. Disappeared.

I have related that Andrew Martin and I were dropped as the editor and design dudes for The Right Move, an English Chess Federation emailed newsletter which went to 5,000. It was an important source of income for both of us. I can report today there are discussions with others to continue bringing the magazine to the youth across the pond (as we both say) and setting up a different arrangement with others who are more business-minded. I can't say more, but we are hopeful. Hopeful because Andrew is well known and well liked almost everywhere. This is another reason for coming to the Chess Clinic.

At the moment I am preparing a special brochure to go out to locals who have not signed up. They are always the hardest to capture. If I was living in Chicago and tried this same idea, it would be a struggle there. Too often there is no respect for the local "medicine man" (at least that's how some portray us). I remember some years ago bringing Andrew by the chess club and introducing him and what I was there for. They barely could look up and nod, their pregame activities were just too engrossing. Many of them are still playing the same way they did years ago. Somehow the dots just never get connected.

When I was younger I read about magicians and their exploits such as John Scarne, Dai Vernon, Slydini, Ed Marlo and others. Scarne was dead too soon. Vernon I plaed chess with in Wichita, KS! Slydini was the premier performer, all the way from Argentina and NY, at one of my magic soirees. We had a huge turn out. Marlo became a personal friend (What is personal? I got invited to his house and met his wife. That seldom happened with Ed.) It's nice to have some heroes even if they have flaws as we all do.

Hope you come, we'd love to have you.

P.S.: I have a web site name picked out and a most likely provider (ISP). Everything looks excellent so far. But once I "attack" the problem, it will be balls to the walls as there is a tremendous amount of data to be added and things to consider. So I haven't been sleeping, it just is a huge undertaking.

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