Wednesday, March 30, 2011
If you think holding an event, anywhere, is easy as 1-2-3, well, then you aren't me!
I have spent a lot of hours looking for a nice place, an affordable place, and one with access from airports or a scenic drive if you go that route... and I think I have it.
Sometime, within the next 24 hours, I will have information confirmed about price and other amenities and I will then let you know. The place is so cool it makes my hair stand on end. Not a big metro area, a small, touristy, nifty area where this Hotel has what we need, and access for everything else.
If the place turns out as great as it sounds, it's one of those places where you would want to go again! Near neat sights and sounds. A gambling casino is 15 or more miles away. Great restaurants of all kinds. The scenery and locale is breathtaking.
I looked at bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and while MOST of them looked very good, they were just too small for our needs. "Our" meeting place holds up to 40 people at tables, but I would say up to 30 comfortably with sales table, a place to play, talk and goof off. Free breakfast. I'm looking at July 29 and 30 as the overnight stays, with people leaving on Sunday the 31st. I may get there a day early (Want to come early? Let me know.), i.e., July 28th so I can take the area in, relax a little, and not be rushed. Very informal. Walking the streets, checking out the shops... looking for a place that sells superb fudge!
On Friday the check in time starts at 3 p.m. We'll roll about 6-7 pm to 10 pm, and then on Saturday, we'll start about 10 am and run to 6 pm... pretty much our usual approach. Then if you find something fun you want to do in the evening on Saturday, you will have time.
I have a book planned, and a number of great activities including TACTICS at the board. I seriously suggest you renew your USCF membership (whether you like the USCF or not) because there will be a small tournament included with the tactics session and you will be required to keep score because there will be a great memento (FREE) which each of you will get mailed to you afterward.
As you might have read, GM Alex Yermolinsky will be there too! I don't have the rates for the event yet as I have two contracts to negotiate but they will be based on that. I highly recommend getting a 2011 GOLD CARD ($50) now, because you will save $25 on the event plus more on any of the things you purchase. You'll have that card paid for before you leave town and can still use it the rest of the year (including NOW)! This "golden offer" expires March 31, 2011 (after tomorrow).
More details coming... including the probable Programme. It's just a FEW days out of your life, and those who read this Blog are definitely welcome to come, participate, and enjoy all the experiences I, Alex, and our guests can bring to this event in a sweet environment! More details coming. Accepting the FIRST 30 confirmed. One has already sent in his reservation.
Contact me: email@example.com
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
"envious" of the planning, the chess celebrities, and the events that happened at last year's London Chess Classic.
Take a look at today's link: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=7112
It seemed to me to be a very splendid affair. In a way, I feel I can take some credit for that, so I should be happy. There were grandmasters, news people, entertainment, a big spread for eating, chess play, commentary, and it looks to me, a lot of smiling faces.
One of the organizers and directors was IM Malcolm Pein. For anyone who was at our Chess Festival III in 2002 at Jumer's, The Castle Lodge, Malcolm was one of my invited guests. He was having the time of his life he told me. Said he had been to events everywhere, "Yours was the best!" he offered. Maybe he wasn't exaggerating.
We had GM Jonathan Rowson, IM John Donaldson, Prof. Raymond Smullyan, IM Pein (who lectured humorously on Kasparov's loss to Deep Blue and other political agendas) and Michael Fisher, I had more people show up at that huge affair than any other I have done--54 PAID. I think Pein had a really good time and it looks like he is modeling his Chess Classics after it and tossing in some extras (which events in London can afford to do with the right sponsors). My company, Thinkers' Press, paid for all of ours.
At the moment I am planning a smaller event in Southern Minnesota and should have some more news tomorrow about where. I will be sending out invitations to you who read this Blog, regular customers, and good friends. GM Alex Yermolinsky has already accepted my invitation. You'll find out more later. Looks to be July 29-30.
If you are interested you can contact me right away. Part of the "problem," if one wants to call it that, is to find a place big enough for 20 people, and affordable (I realize this word means different things to different people). Hopefully, tune in tomorrow for the latest info.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, March 28, 2011
Still proofing and it's a good thing. Finding niggling little errors. Probably won't find them all, but found more than I wanted to!
Finish up back cover and should send it off Wednesday or Tuesday evening. Then on to this Friday's THE CHESS REPORTS and finish that.
Also, have been looking at places to stay for the end of July Chess Event. Have a list of people to call. The BEST places (i.e., lodges and so on) are in Northern Minnesota. Not cheap, but really cool. Less access to airports of import. They charge a ton in winter and another ton in Summer--must be something messed up about that picture. Anyway, looking for places in Southern Minnesota that are business or meeting oriented. Lots of emphasis, it seems, is on family (i.e., kids) fun and fishing, skiing, polar bear annihilation (kidding), and throwing snowballs or is it snowmobiles? How about just ATMOSPHERE and SCENERY? Can we live with that? And great breakfasts? And a large hall with fireplace in the evening? Of course, but not easy to find.
Mr friend Bobbie in Tulsa is helping me look. Thanks Bobbie.
Let ya know later... no pic of THE COLLECTOR for today; too many irons in the fire.
Am picking up some CAISSA EDITIONS books in hardcover, so stay tuned. Mint.
Contact me: email@example.com
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Yesterday was a very busy day and I completely forgot about scanning in THE COLLECTOR and saying something about it and I can't do it today either as I have been making up a list of the individuals who have qualified for a FREE copy of the new Blackburne book, about 20 of you and ...
I've been looking at lodges, resorts, etc. in Southern Minnesota for the upcoming event (more details next week).
Dropped taxes paperwork off to accountant yesterday who didn't look overpoweringly busy. I suppose that's because it isn't April 14th. I read recently that those who file by March have greatly lowered stress levels. Works for me.
Today it looks like working on some ads, The Chess Reports, etc. Usual stuff but put in a little time with grandson and the gym. Hoping this weather warms up slightly. Isn't this nuts?
Doing more reading on Alekhine, Bled 1931, attacking chess... and hoping to get the new book on Feynman this weekend, Quantum Man, featured on Science Friday yesterday.
Sure, I am the editor and publisher of The Chess Reports and it would be great if more people subscribed. I admit, it is not New in Chess, but, I never intended it to be. My audience agrees that what TCR does, NIC doesn't--which is to inform and help the person trying to move his skill level upward and while NIC is aimed at the much stronger players, many lower ranked guys also subscribe to it (I used to). Soon all back issues of TCR will be loaded onto the web for individual purchase. Issue #125, coming up, will have a big feature on Cyrus Lakdawala's new book, a ferocious opening repertoire. It really is quite interesting and valuable, but I will give all the details in the upcoming issue along with some games from it because he says such cool things as: "The Veresov was made to play against the Dutch!" (I am paraphrasing). I will admit, I have done OK against the Dutch when I played the Veresov and all of its sibling components.
Thus, it looks like another busy Saturday. Trip to the post office, change the sheets, you know, all that time wasting stuff that is important.
PS: Will probably be thinking about Alekhine's 1931 Bled tournament too where in the first half he was blowing everyone off the board, and in the second half he was playing very risky (no doubt trying to maintain his momentum and show his superiority, all over again) and in danger of losing several games, which, he didn't!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Joseph Henry Blackburne was a character, and a coach, and a blindfold chess player, and if they had such a title back then, he would have been a Chess Grandmaster too. He loved his whiskey and he loved his "trappy openings."
I celebrated him twice today because:
1. Blackburne The Black Death in Spades just came in from the printer yesterday. It has 41 pages, costs a measly $12.95, and contains 40 + games, all wins (with white or black pieces). But not all the wins are commonplace. Some were retrieved from long forgotten issues of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. With John Blackstone's help, my master friend from California and Las Vegas, this inexpensive booklet was put together. It's part of a plan to grow my customer database away from the clutches of Amazon.com who "wants it all." If you purchase $100 or more worth of chess stuff from G&L CHESS every two months, you will get the FREE booklet for that period (Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr, May-June, etc. The first issue in the series called The Chess Gangs of New York and London was Lasker The Ultimate Streetfighter. It has proven to be quite popular and if you choose to buy one, it's just $12.95 plus a little S&H ($3.50 in the US).
2. The sixth issue of Lasker & His Contemporaries is ready to go to the printer--the last one, #5, was published in 1997! This one is bigger than any of its predecessors--72 pages, letter sized. Lots of articles but since our topic is Blackburne, he gets two pages extracted in portions from an article in an 1899 issue of Chess, not to be confused with any other magazines since then called "Chess." What a chess player killer he was! The magazine, for only three more weeks is available at $28.50 which includes S&H in the USA. After tax day it goes to $38.45 in the USA. The author of that article tries to figure out why people back then (and to some degree, even now) would pay more to see a sport than a chess contest (Yes, I will admit that the "action" is slower, but I think there is another reason, a big one the author misses, and it's revealed in L&HC #6). Will you agree? Is Elmer Fudd bald? Does Gadaffi's mustache look bad?
So that's what's going on today. If you have a FREE copy coming, you should have it within a week. It's for the months: Jan-Feb.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Third in the series of four, Bill Hannan portrayed two guys facing off against each other in a battle of wits and wills in THE STARE. Usually this happens, if it does happen, among the "elite" who are trying to grab their opponent's soul. I have doubts about its efficacy because it may just make some players more determined to flay (and filet) your hide.
However, I have seen "bigger" players try to "bully" smaller fry. These days that can really be a dangerous proposition as some of these kids are monster stompers and ignore their troublemakers like they were belly button lint!
Same size as other posters. I think these two gents could look through steel doors with their gazes. Friday I will scan in and present, THE COLLECTOR.
IN THE MEANTIME
Copies of Blackburne the Black Death in Spades will begin shipping tomorrow. I didn't get them until 6:30 p.m. tonight! For you who are buying, it is $12.95 + $3.50 for S&H. Looks rather nice.
AND, Lasker & His Contemporaries #6 is within a day or so of going to the printer. Still proofing some odds and ends and adding bits. $24.95 + $3.50 S&H in USA. After April 15th, which isn't that far away, it will be $34.95 + S&H.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
This morning I talked with artist Bill Hannan about his creations for me in 2000. I mentioned that over the years I had seen literally dozens upon dozens of t-shirts, and 95-98% of them had no graphic taste for design and were often done by those with equipment for making them but no feel for subtlety or a degree of suave. Over and over I saw such t-shirts as "Mate Me" and every variation of that. It was just too obvious. The ones made for commemorating a tournament were some of the worst.
Hannan, the designer of many successful t-shirts was loving this because I mentioned all the swirls, and lines in his artwork and his willingness to avoid using a straight edge to help capture form "au naturel" while still evincing "straight laced" characters as well as "out of control" ones such as in EGO, where the "know it all" is in a rage, and reducing his adversary to a wimpering pup. I have seen players use their rating to "kow" others into believing their malarkey. hence this one was created. I didn't have t-shirts made because those who act like this would never buy them (everyone already knows they are bozos anyway)... and the cowering kid, nobody wanted to be that, but I am sure they could be made into card to send to "former friends."
Check out the purple earring on this guy as well as the foam bubbles emanating from his mouth.
At any rate, this is the EGO dude (or, dood). Tomorrow we face THE STARE... such as Tal, or Karpov, or Kasparov, or Fischer staring at their opponent until someone blinks. What is fun is to outstare another starer! OK, I better behave myself.
You can contact me at: email@example.com
Monday, March 21, 2011
You who own t-shirts of this image from the 2000 Chess Festival should recognize this image easily. When I wore it outside, and wore it out, I would get smiles, especially from women! The t-shirts are gone, maybe one day a comeback...
I will show a different image for this week of the 4 which were done (The Collector was done for the 2002 Chess Festival and was a monster success in t-shirt sales).
What I just found, while still unpacking stuff from my return from Georgia in 2008 were some posters by the artist, Bill Hannan, of these images. Each are signed and numbered, and affordable and perfect for framing in your office, den, or kitchen (that last one is a joke of course). They aren't numbered to 50,000 like in a Bev Dolittle print (isn't that kind of over the top?), but somewhere from 1 to 50 although I think the lower numbers are already gone.
The size of the actual art is about 13 x 12 (or so) and the CHESS? one is mounted on foam core board (which can be easily removed if you are going to frame it).
One of the reasons I commissioned Bill to do this was because of the plethora of bad chess t-shirt designs. I don't mean a few here and there I mean, serious amateur stuff in huge quantities. When I was a college kid I remember being in Lary Jonson's art shop (lots of really cool stuff) and I recognized some art by some 25 year old named William Hannan. I said to Mr. Jonson (later he became Lary), "I've seen those posters at the college and around town." Lary replied, "People are now collecting Bill's art, already." You could recognize the big eyes, hands, and soulful expressions whether it was Shakespeare or a Martian.
What made Bill so sought after was 2 things:
1. He was fast and competent. Extremely knowledgable about art and visual media;
2. There was no subject you could talk to him about for which he didn't know something. (You might remember a catalog cover I had years ago of the Renaissance Monk and the Philosopher's Stone--which was a big hit!)
His ideas were always a treasure trove. His basement was full of almost forgotten art. He did signs, books, brochures, hand mades and etc., etc. He was in Germany while in the army and learned more. He had been a dismissed student of the famous art teacher and calligrapher Fr. Edward Catich. Catich kicked him out of art school for being a screw off! Bill told me, "That was the best thing that could have happened to me. I got serious after that!" Later Catich complimented him for righting his ship!
There is also a full page of this art in the current issue of Chess EXTRAS #5... and some additional data. (Subscription $65 for 6 issues).
A mounted poster of CHESS? is available for $24.95 + $6.50 for S&H for mailing inside the USA. My supply of other artwork in what follows, in mounted form, is not yet discovered and I suspect that was because I only had a couple made to see how the first one did.
Everything Bill does has a "texture" to it. Lines, thick and thin. And always unusual things IN the art such as on these 3 I asked for ONE extra color to be included as a micro hi-light.
As always, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The right eye surgery went very well and I am back at the keyboard.
Chess EXTRAS #5, which is 40 pages again (although my original promise was 36 pages), should be available this evening for those who have subscribed. Huge variety this time--with the emphasis that this is an art and design issue. More details tomorrow about the contents.
The Chess Reports #124 which is due out tomorrow before noon was emailed in its PDF form last Tuesday in the event I couldn't get everything done at the last minute.
Turns out the fault is mine, not the printer. When queried as to the whereabouts of Blackburne Black Death in Spades I was told the printer was waiting for approval of the "proof" copy. I don't know why they do this. I said it was not going to go through a formal proofing stage (for example, they send me a copy of the book to be re-examined) but apparently forgot to do this ONLINE (please know that now when printers have a reason for NOT being done on time it can be blamed on online answers).
And since that was almost 3 weeks ago (I submitted it in Feb.) I now have some older bills due which must be paid first, so they will get paid today. Hence I don't expect the copies to be here until late next week. I am sorry. Like I said, ultimately my fault.
Rob and I have already begun work on Alekhine the Executioner. The cover is kind of nifty. Half the contents are finished.
Permission was granted to use the Schiffers article for Lasker & His Contemporaries #6 by Vladimir Linder, so everything is falling into place. Price is $25 + $3.50 for S&H when it becomes available. After April 15th it goes to $34.95 + S&H. It looks like maybe 72-74 pages, the biggest one yet.
Contact me: email@example.com
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Two books now out support my feelings, from the past, about chess books and reviewers of same. Yes, I review and comment on chess books, and probably have for a longer period of time than most, but also being a seller as well as a buyer gives me a completely different perspective. I try like heck to review books so that they will SELL, not so people will head for the hills. But every now and then...
In 1999 or so I did a book authored by GM Eduard Gufeld and NM Oleg Stetsko called Richter Veresov, the Chameleon Chess Repertoire. The opening, was made fun of. In one case a reviewer couldn't find ANY lines with an edge for White. Logically, my retort, can you say that about ANY chess opening? Because if you can, everyone would be playing it until it wore itself out. If the Sicilian, for example, is so powerful, why doesn't White just throw up his hands and quit playing or go to 1.d4? Then I heard the stupid remark, with a Knight on c3, "White can't play c4." No kidding Sherlock. Those who play this don't want to play 2.c4. IM Cyrus Lakdawala pretty much supports my attitudes in his new book a ferocious opening repertoire from Everyman Chess. GM Nigel Davies wrote an excellent book on the Veresov, too. I had made a comment one time that if Kasparov played the opening just once, then all the wannabe's would jump on the bandwagon! But if you do research you can find former world champions playing it including Tal and Spassky. Probably others too.
Another reviewer of the book I produced made fun of my marketing attempts by my including a plastic chameleon in the shrink wrapped review copies I sent out. But his website with crystals, pyramids, and stuff like that made sense?? Oh yeah, that's what people with ratings lower than the high and mighty have to endure. It's ALL about ratings. But stupidity knows no barriers. It is known that there are IMs out there whose IQs are below average (100 is average). I don't see any of them raising their hands and saying "Pick me!" The thing about the rating phreaks is that they ARE convinced rating = worth and value just like people who make $250,000 a year feel superior to someone who is a technician. But who do they call when their computer craps out or their expensive home entertainment system fails?
Now to a second book. One reason I gave years ago for not being that interested in brain teasers or puzzles is that IF there is a flaw in them, you can spend a ton of time, wasted time, not solving the problem. In the old days if there was no solution or more than one solution they were called "cooked."
Last week I started reading John Nunn's new book and solving the puzzles in it called 1001 Deadly Checkmates. Nunn is so fussy about particulars that I figured I was safe. I was wrong. At the beginning of section one there are a lot of 1-2 move mates and you are scored accordingly. On #22 I just couldn't find the mate. After several days, off and on, I looked at the answer. It was a mate in 3!! That wasn't funny. But, I decided to limp along and went after the others. I had solved the first 47 (if you count the mate in 3) when #48 stumped me. I hate that. This time I looked at the answer within 10-15 minutes. It was another mate in 3!!
Nunn blew these off with the remark, in effect, in the answer, "Yes, Black can block with such and such, but it is mate the next move." Geez I am sorry John but that's part of the solution and it has always been looked at that way too. It is a mate in 3 and does not belong in that mate in 1 or 2 moves section." So I stopped (for now).
If you think I hate brain teasers because I have never solved any you would be wrong. I am, however, not that great at riddles. My Dad was. I don't know if he once read a book of brain teasers and remembered all the answers, but it seemed like no matter what was brought up, he knew the required answer. I couldn't do that even if I had heard the answer! Yet, he terribly disliked algebra and his son, me, became a mathematician. Maybe my Dad had a higher rating!
It appears that Nunn doesn't give those limitations in later sections of the book. The book should be available in the US pretty soon and I will stock and sell it, but I was still annoyed at this discrepancy. It wouldn't have been so bad if it happened WAY down the line, but among the first 50... inexcusable. I still like what he did with the book, but putting the algebraic notation around the sides of the diagrams is strictly for sissies who have NO memory at all and can't figure out that "a1" is the lower left corner and "h8" is the upper right corner and everything else in between requires little effort. Others have told me that this little nuance is done for "the public," who apparently, if they can't think, wouldn't be buying a book like this at all.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Going back in Wednesday to get the right eye fixed this time. In all honesty, I had heard the term cataract surgery over the years, but, I didn't know what it meant! That happens sometimes. What the doctor does is take out your "corroded" born-wth lens and replace it with a brand new, clear one in an operation that is truly amazing (I won't go into the details here). It takes 10 minutes or less.
But, they want you to take eye drops from three different bottles at various times of the day, mortgage your house again, and get a lot of sleep. I have Medicare now, thank God for that. But that other 20%--you can't believe the pile ons! $65 for this, $270 for that, and that is for each eye. There is more, but... I need to sell more chess products.
The Latest Issue of The Chess Reports which is due out Friday will most likely go out tomorrow. And, I am going to do the same thing I did last semester for those who want a good sampling of what The Chess Reports is like:
Tell me you want 3 issues, for $15.00 and I will send the PDFs to you. While this is for semester 10, which runs issues 118-27, I have 118-124 virtually ready to send to your email box. So pick the ones you want. PayPal is fine or credit card too (sorry, no American Express). You don't know which ones to pick? I'll send you 118-119-120. A $21 value for $15.00. Lots of reading plus all the features which TCR has: reviews, annotated games, info on events, letters and many articles of commentary concerning chess. Lots of pictures, diagrams, and color.
Or if you are tired of screwing around, send $69.95 for all 10 issues... and end the guessing.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I thought I would post this before someone else does.
In case you didn't know, it's sister game, "Checkers," was concluded a draw according to Clifford Pickover in his book The Math Book (which my daughter gave me for Christmas!) Jonathan Schaeffer and colleagues came up with a neat method (IN 18 years) of using hundreds of computers to work backward with one set of data and forward with another set until they could "hotwire" (my term) the two together. This happened in 2007.
There are brilliant programmers who have found slick ways of determining very, very large (to our teeny minds) prime numbers. Computer power alone is only helpful, it is the short cuts that do the job.
While my thinking it is so doesn't make it so, it is likely that whatever White (in chess) offers, Black will be able to find a balancing, "no edge" rejoinder. Bear in mind White only has to find ONE line which is a forced win out of a bazillion permutations. It's possible that something like Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem (a logical conundrum) may do the trick. The hard part will be in establishing the "boundary," or, parameter conditions. It may take a century to come up with that, so in the meantime, I can still publish books and articles on chess... and I hope you continue to buy them.
For someone taking notes, I made this prediction on March 11, 2011... and I know it's unlikely anyone will be around to say, "You know Bob, it turns out it's a forced win for...Black!!!"
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, March 10, 2011
My web guy reports he has solved a big inventory problem in assigning discounts to Gold Card 2011 holders, en masse.
Now... on to other things. Some testing, mailings... etc. and then some of you will get a crack at it.
New books in 7-8 different titles, may get a list out tomorrow.
Looking for my Serial Number to make sure CB 11 is up to snuff, then I can fill you in on some other details (I have an awful lot of stuff around here to keep track of).
Expect Blackburne The Black Death in Spades any day.
I am printing out issues of The Chess Reports to keep my files up to date, make a few corrections. I am close to 2,000 pages. Hope to have an announcement about that soon.
Other things are keeping my desk looking like a mess as I try to get Chess Reports 124 out next week so I can rest after the right eye cataract surgery as it really takes it out of you.
Am sending out an "invited" questionnaire tomorrow about the Chess Soiree.
Contact me at: email@example.com
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I just filled some back orders today. I do that you know, from time to time. I don't carry everything, but if I can get it from a regular distributor, I will. If you are a regular customer then I try even harder. Loyalty, at least with me, does have its rewards.
The other thing is the chess blow out (haha) in late July. I have one committed and several who are more than interested. One school of thought is to HIDE any objections. I don't belong to that one. For example, the price of gas has gone up a pile and yet the fuel facilities are being hammered with overabundance according to today's news. This is typical of weakneed and simple minded investors and speculators who, I would guess, mostly get it wrong. The oracle from Omaha (Warrren Buffett), had his Berkshire Hathaway invest heavily in Conoco I think it was, at the height of the fuel crisis and it bit into his Nebraskan ass BIG TIME. What's different about Buffett is he admitted he screwed the pooch on that one.
So if you are thinking of driving or flying and it might cost you an extra $30-60 to come, then you really weren't interested in the first place. I hope to be calling some lodges tomorrow. Problem is, usually when I do this the first place I contact always sounds so good I don't spend a whole lotta time on the phone. Then to get someone interesting to spend time with--as well as myself I hope. As one friend told me not too long ago, "Bob, you sure have a lot of interesting stories and experiences." I used to be able to say all kinds of neat things without fear of being recorded, but that is getting harder and harder (ask those nitwits who used to work for NPR--and I mostly love NPR). Bring recorders if you want as long as I have the right to get transcripts for something in the future (hey, ya never know). But since I have no political ambitions, I'm not too concerned with covering my behind.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Catalog went out last night with at least ONE typo in it. Prices on the Pal Benko book were almost half of what they should have been as I did a "cut and paste" price and forgot to go back and adjust. At least one fellow admitted the old "If it seems too good to be true..." phrase. But no one asked if maybe I made a mistake! That surprised me! I said 10 years ago "In the end, it's always about price, with no regard to consequences." I was told I was nuts.
I spent an hour reading more data on the controversy about Batsford and their changes to Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games which, according to historian Edward Winter, no one came clean on. Ooooh--bad for posterity. Winter found 570 substantiated changes including Ol instead of Olympiad. Fischer said there were thousands upon thousands but he was out to lunch unless he was counting EVERY instance of a change like "Ol" and even then he probably couldn't get thousands upon thousands. What led me to that article I was researching for something else.
Got cover elements today for Lasker & His Contemporaries #6 and will be working on those today also. Friend Andy Ansel gave me Isaac Linder's email address for some permissions I wanted to ask of him on an Emmanuel Schiffers article--so until I get that permission, I will have to pull that article and save it perhaps for the following issue if I should have it by then.
GM Alex Yermolinsky has written an amazing review, with even more details, of my recent work, The Critical Secret for Success at Chess and Anything Else, but he is unwilling to post it on Amazon.com because you have to register, and all that nonsense, and then be willing to be subject to emails from Amazon and "partners," which if you are a buyer, can be exasperating. It occurred to me that since I am already registered with Amazon I could post it for him but then it would look like it came from me, which it did only in terms of I got the manuscript from Alex. But I've been thinking--can I put a comment on the review pages about where they can get a COPY of this SEVEN page review? Anyone out there KNOW for sure (please, no guesses, I can do that).
The WHOLE review will be published in a newsletter for those who bought the book when I get the Newsletter ready. I have to leave out a couple parts OF the GM's review (for retrieval through the Amazon reference of where to get it) where he lets the cat out of the bag, as that is ONLY for those who bought the book, so that should be my only edit.
I probably won't be on here tomorrow as I am working like a hurricane to get some things caught up.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, March 4, 2011
Miyoko Watei finally wins in the estate dispute as the Icelandic courts saw documents proving Fischer really did marry her.
But that is not MY news today. Now that it appears over I can reveal that Mrs. Fischer, as Watei, was a customer of ours (Chessco) for many years. She was the head of the Japanese Chess Association. She paid her bills in advance, and she ordered hundreds of dollars worth of books, sometimes much more in her orders to us. At the time I had no way of knowing she had any connection with Fischer, but I wonder if some of the books she did order found a way to get into his hands to read! Only she knows.
I was rummaging through "Gold in Them Thar Hills" boxes the other day looking for something and I came across one of our invoices to her! Why would I have saved that since I had thrown so many out? Don't know. I know Rita also sold our goods to TV stars during those times. I have sold to rich collectors too before some of them became snobs (not to me, but to others). I've sold stuff, and lots of it, to those preparing for a world championship match.
Now, at the "point" of starting anew, I will have to refresh my company and set the chess world on fire in other ways.
Over the years I have seen almost every kind of chess t-shirt there has been from those who specialized in them to commemorative chess events.
Chessco was fairly successful at this, especially with the "Collector" in 2002 at the Chess Festival. A nice piece of work by Bill Hannan. At the recent Last Chess Clinic, the t-shirt with the X-ray of the King caught in the rib cage sold out and I didn't get one for myself. They have always been great pieces of advertising. I've had attractive women see them and offer a big friendly smile. Well... you might've guessed it, I have another idea for t-shirts, one which I have never seen before (thank God). It will be made, should I do it, in the most popular sizes, L, XL, and XXL or maybe just the first two. But I can't reveal it yet. If I hear from enough size M, I could consider that.
Funny thing, as I said, I've seen LOTS of chess t-shirts and most of them were pretty bad; designed by a blind monk with no imagination. What was worse were the words often inscribed on them. About 20% of them tried to put the word "mate" in there somewhere so as to "look" cool in our "anything goes" on a t-shirt culture.
But nope, these will have class. Tell ya more later.
In the meantime, contact: email@example.com
Thursday, March 3, 2011
In a couple weeks the right eye will be worked on. All went well but it almost made me stir-crazy behaving myself yesterday.
Tonight, I will be working on a catalog of "small press" outfits that do chess books. Every now and then something good arises and you'll be shown what's there and for you to decide. The price discounts will be generous until items are gone.
In the meantime there will be a strong emphasis on new products and reprints from Thinkers' Press, inc. including reprints and the web site. I am at a point on the web site where I have to do a lot of work "adding" in things because "most importing" schemes can only go so far. In years past the web site did bring me new customers. Now I rely on email and it seems that some people are so distrustful of email that they won't do it, yet my companies have never had a problem. In many ways, email service has been more personal and faster as I have two machines open at the same time with a separate "eye" on each one!
In the meantime there will also be work done on George Gossip's Modern Chess Brilliancies, with the co-author Mr. X. No matter what you have read before, you won't be prepared for this. A title such as MCB also points out the flaw of using the word "modern," even as happened with Larry Evans' Modern Chess Brilliancies. On the other hand, if you put beneath it, "as of 2011," you will kill sales when you are a few years along. I know, it's insane as a Brilliancy IS a brilliancy, but when things are time date stamped, you lose with the buying public. I may change the title however of Gossip's book to be something MORE commercial, and perhaps, enchanting. Maybe "Half-Baked Chess, A Grandmaster Comments." I like puns and those who know how to "reach" would get it. Does that get me into trouble? Hmmm... Don't know. In chess there is no shortage of people who have a limited sense of humor. For a study on "sense of humor," watch Steve martin's movie, My Blue Heaven.
In the meantime, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Oh yeah, lots of reviews coming up as well as Chess EXTRAS #5--a very colorful issue.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
These days it seems like there are Mr. X's on Blogs and Information Marketing Sites everywhere. Well, the Mr. X I am going to mention was in the 1890s and Thinkers' Press, inc. is doing a book on his personal, pencilled in written notes, to George Gossip's Modern Chess Brilliancies.
Yes, there are brilliant games in the book but Mr. X didn't think all of them were good choices. He was particularly unhappy about Gossip including some of his own!
My good friend, the late Ken Whyld, was on the verge of giving Gossip a break, if only a little one. George was what the Brits would call a "wanker." Americans might use the words, "overpuffed dipshit." No matter the crowd, George was like the guy in the middle, standing on a step-ladder saying, in effect, "Look at me." While various rating systems would have him ranked 60 or some other number today, in the world, one could argue, hysterically at any rate, that perhaps there were only 60 players in the world at that time.
Some people love old "Let George do it George" but if you look at his track record, the guy had a habit of finishing in last place and bitching and moaning about everyone else. He kept moving around to places like Australia, America, and Canada from his original England. He seemed universally disliked wherever he went. This takes some doing!
Our Mr. X, whose name will be revealed in the latest issue of Lasker & His Contemporaries #6, had no truck with this guy and his pencilled notes are all over this book. He put his name IN the book but my buyer wanted PROOF it was him. I explained the "secrets" in the notes and he too became convinced that the owner, with signature, WAS the owner and paid handsomely for it!
This book will be issued this fall in an algebraic notation, and possibly in hardcover. It won't be cheap trash or a toilet paper type book like so many from various reprint houses, it will have suggestions, complaints, and inside information as only Mr. X could provide. It will probably be less than 150 pages and run about $45. It will be part of my Thinkers' Press Historical Chess Series.
The entertainment value here at TPi keeps getting ratcheted up. I don't see the point of advertising it on Amazon.com, they've done nothing for me except discount my stuff (except with my new book, The Critical Secret for Success at Chess and anything else, which is listed at $99 and NO discount!) Since YOU are reading this here, right now, you needn't be worried, you know where you can get it. I believe scarcity IS a form of marketing. Whenever some chess marketer says in effect, "We have every book in print," that would be, "No, I'm sorry, you don't."
Lastly, I have in front of me a review of my above mentioned book and the review is quite favorable. And the review AND tips run 7 pages! It will be part of my FIRST newsletter for Critical Secret which goes ONLY to those who own the book, in effect stating, the book was definitely worth what they paid for it. Who is the Reviewer? None other than GM and former two-time US Champion Alex Yermolinsky!!
I have a special 2011 ONE-TIME offer for Critical, at $79.95 to be withdrawn at any time (and most of you know I mean this when I say it). I will include the shipping too to any country the US Postal System ships to. You will get the book and Newsletter #1 with Yermos fantastic notes.
As per usual, contact me at: email@example.com
I have a great Mr. X story for you about something which is going to appear this fall or sooner About an older Super Master who couldn't stand the annotations of George Gossip. I had it written up last night but editing it this morning... whoosh... it disappeared.
See ya tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Most likely by tonight or this evening. However, not totally finished. Clean up, proofing, art touches, and waiting for a cover for Lasker will take about until the end of the week. The EXTRAS will go out via PDF but Lasker #6 will be printed, so that will take a little longer. Then it will be time to start gearing up for The Chess Reports.
Those are all major publications for me. Someone recently suggested that I put together some sort of comprehensive catalog to explain what they all mean. I could, and eventually I might, but the point is, take a CHANCE. I do, and so do others. Often, when customers do take a chance they are pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure why. It's always been the goal of Thinkers' Press to give people more than they bargained for. But, I have discovered, in the past, there are those who eagerly look forward to a screwup at this end. Get a life guys.
These journals are not like the routine chess stuff that gets cranked out everywhere else and is forgotten 10 minutes later. For years I subscribed to everything, so I am not making this up. As one woman told me, "Don't compare me to them." Unfortunately, it is inevitable.
Occasionally I release samples or FREE copies and I have people who order those over and over, but who won't buy anything. The only way to get them to buy is to "guess" what their favorite subject might be and ship them that issue with the fond "hope" they will think EVERY issue is for them and contains that kind of stuff. To quote anyone, "Yeah, right."
A couple weeks ago I got a phone call from a fellow in Minneosta who works for another government. He LOVES the stuff TPi puts out but he won't give me permission to use his name because his superiors would go "ape" if they saw it, because it connotes all kinds of scary and secretive innuendo. But he can't wait for the next installment of whatever! Isn't that great? And, on top of all that, he's a great guy!
Here's the prices for those who can take the plunge and not sit on the can for week's at a time trying, with every grunt, to make a decision:
The Chess Reports, Semester 10. $69.95. You will also get a CD or DVD during this semester.
Lasker & His Contemporaries #6. $25.00 plus $3.50 for S&H. Will soon go to $34.95 + S&H.
Chess EXTRAS #5, part of a subscription series of 6, $65.00. $50 if you have a Gold Card 2011.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: All the time I get requests for a FREE catalog. At the moment I have nothing totally current. Very few people who get these catalogs ever buy anything. I don't know what they are looking for; usually they don't say. I am thinking of ordering a Mind Reading Kit from Amazon.com. Let's see if that improves my chances of guessing. When I would PRINT catalogs, back in the day, the printing and shipping would run around $10,000 and 75% of those who got them never said a thing or made ANY purchase; but they still ASK for the printed catalog! The email versions go to my tried and true, thank you men.
PSS: Tomorrow I go in for cataract surgery for the left eye *first." Unfortunately, that will take me out of action for a day or two. So I doubt if I will post any Blog tomorrow. In the meantime, keep those cards, letters, and emails coming in (not about my cataract surgery, though that is OK), but about what you need to enjoy chess more. That is what I do, and, I make no apologies for it.