Friday, February 25, 2011


Where do artists and designers get their ideas and inspirations? Often, from each other.

How do they do when it comes to chess. Often, not too well.

There's a chasm between being able to design and knowing something about chess and being able to design and not knowing anything (or hardly anything) about chess. But the "rules" are not fast nor do they always make sense. I have no problem with that. The older I get the more I find rules to be disruptive rather than helpful, and often they are "created" by those who don't know enough to know how to apply them. But, maybe we should at least have a "starting point."

In the upcoming issue of Chess EXTRAS, No. 5, I explore some of this, visually from "Deception in Art" on the cover, to Magritte, to kid's and beginner's books, and in the wide world of chess goofiness.

So, to answer some questions, "Yes, it is coming, but probably won't arrive until March." There is no dearth of material, I have lots of it... just the dearth of time. It took a while for sales to climb in the 1990s before I could hire extra people to do the things I now do solo. Phone answering, order taking and shipping, graphics, books and catalog elements for future mailings, watching the DVDs to be reviewed, and of course, the most time consuming and non-money making aspect of all, bookkeeping.

So hang on to your bowler, Chess EXTRAS will be here soon. (Lots of bowlers in the Magritte arena.)

An Explanation of what Chess EXTRAS is: Size wise it is 36-40 pages, but I think all 4 issues so far have been 40 pages each. A little editorial content, but it is whatever strikes my fancy about chess. In the first two issues of CE I spent some space writing about my 1971 trip to Denver to see the Fischer-Larsen match using notes I made during that adventure. I even wrote about some time spent with Bobby Fischer while he asked me questions about my "chess on stamps" business! Frank Brady didn't cover everything! This leads me to believe his book, ENDGAME, isn't the last book on Fischer. There will always be new discoveries, but I don't intend to write one. I put my efforts with Gufeld in that direction many years ago in another TPi book which is out of print.

Chess EXTRAS is letter size in scope, in color, often with many pictures, and depicts unusual stuff about our game--even some positions sent to me from GM Karsten Müller which show problems for chess computers to analyze and their inability for the software to do a good job of determining, win, draw, or loss. There was an article also, which I found to be most important about chess openings, in which big computer systems have already determined the FATE of many chess openings, through repeated trial runs (called replications)—and the results are a little surprising.

In the current issue we have some pictures from Bob Woodworth of GM Patrick Wolff playing at a Warren Buffett gig in Omaha for the shareholders. Not great pictures mind you, but "evidence" chess is still alive and useful even in business settings. Chess EXTRAS, in some ways, is a hodge podge, a pot pourri about something other than the analytical side, though I also published that in a game between Lasker and Pillsbury from the British Chess Magazine many moons ago where I concluded that the annotator, Mr. Mason, must have been in the bag as he got near the end of his musings!

I can send you a small sampler I created, for FREE, if you ask. For those who want to subscribe, it's $65 for all six issues. If you own a 2011 Gold Card it is $50. It will be downloaded via PDF to you for you to print out and read.

Oh yes, Readers can send things in of interest. And now and again I publish almost forgotten photos of something I was involved in, many years ago, chesswise (usually). I'm amazed that some of these show up, but I have boxes of photos.

Contact me:

Even if you got snow this weekend, like I did, have a great weekend. Stay inside, go through my catalogs (or blogs), and send an order via email. Keep the Post Office guys busy. I don't need to be kept busy any more than I am, but it's nice to pay the never ending supply of bills.

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