They Are Just Like Us, Sorta!

This morning I have been watching Chess24 through ChessBase. The commentators Jan Gustafsson and Peter Leko are worrying the position between Meier and Carlsen. It’s down to seconds plus the bonus times after each move.

Carlsen looks totally relaxed though he’s been on the precipice of losing. Earlier they had been joined by Rustam Kasimzhdanov and the topics were jet lag, jogging in the morning with Fabiano in Miami and a myriad of other things. These guys are funny, cerebral and amazing. Colleagues.
Leko is extremely interesting to listen to. Gustafsson asks interesting questions. This game will probably make Daniel King’s recap of the ending position enough to make our heads spin. You might think that Meier, at some point had a win, but Carlsen hung in there like a Churchillian bulldog! Magnus even admitted to a “bluff” moment which goes hand in hand with a book I will soon be promoting, by Tukmakov: Bluff & Risk in Chess. A terrific book. If you didn’t get a copy when it came out (Many did) I would advise you to get it because of its ability to build amazing confidences.

What a game! The German entries, Bluebaum and Meier were not patzers no matter their final score. They were fighters foremost!

One has to admire Leko’s thinking capacity and his ability to remember the most interesting and “minute” details. If I had watched or listened to topics like this, years ago, who knows, I might not be typing this right now.Mastership here I come.

Admissions of frailties, mistakes, and such make chess so human.

Magnus even talks about “suicidal” moves, but, he doesn’t play them!

This game is a prime example of why there should be books on tournaments and matches. Books can hold your attention and allow one to go back and recheck our thinking. They can (if done right) show possibilities you hadn’t thought of, or, had thought of, but which wouldn’t work. Lev Alburt’s book on the Carlsen-Karjakin 2016 is a perfect example of this, which includes the very important notes by Vlad Kramnik.

The world champions and candidate challengers are impressive to the nth degree. I am already looking forward to any notes Leko may write, even with the use of the computer.

There are lots of draws, but I have not seen such fighting chess made so palpable as in the last two events I have seen Caruana play in. Everything matters. Carlsen doesn’t give up, he talks about “still having chances” even though half the tournament is over. I love this kind of thinking yet it allows for an escape clause if one needs one.

So, keep thinking about those two books I have highlighted. Both are in stock. I have 4 of the Bluff & Risk books and 6-7 of the 2016 match book. Don’t wait to impress your peers.



ON THE CHESSBASE WEBSITE TODAY is an article penned by GM John Nunn who writes about what it was like growing up and playing in youth tournaments in England.

As a bookseller and story teller I found it to be fascinating as Nunn was always good for sales. Then it was necessary for me to spin any magic I had to sell Nunn packages of books and to know their contents.

Oddly enough books aren’t the only thing we sell in the chess line. Today I will be rummaging through boxes upstairs for acceptable chess sets (wooden of course) to fly out of here. Yes, people are still interested in chess sets and not just playing chess on their phones (my Lord how dull).

When I was younger I admit to being surprised at those who made moves, wherever, and then took them back as soon as they discovered the move was a loser. Then I remembered also what Purdy said about that, convicting these characters, in so many words, of being losers of poor character. It just showed “no self discipline” to Purdy’s way of thinking, and he was right.


One of my printers charges me a “tax” on books I have saved, digitally, every year for storage purposes. It’s a “feature” for which they can make a significant amount of money over time. Recently they sent me a list of 4 Thinkers’ Press titles I had asked about. I wanted to finally cancel three of them, and keep one. I didn’t want to toss out ANY of the C.J.S. Purdy books but I was willing to let 3 of the “Chess Gangs” books go. 12 titles at $12 for each title, for many years really adds up and I am trying to reduce my economic footprint on things that will last longer than I will. I probably should have sold the “rights” to someone but I wasn’t in the mood to fool with negotiations at that time. I still have MY InDesign files, just not the files that were prepared for the printer.

Of the four titles Nicole presented to me, I kept the Purdy one, “Look Inside at What’s Wrong with Your Chess.” It’s another home run for Purdy and Part III of his series that we did some years ago. So, I’ve been thinking: “How many would like 700 pages of Purdy’s works (the set of 3 books) before I quit looking at them? Originally they were $45 for each of the three books and then I began selling them for $99 for the set of 3.

I have a rolling file cabinet with those “Look Inside” books and am wondering if anyone out there has a use for these. I intend to continue working on PURDY’S SECRETS OF THE CHESSBOARD this year as I just heard from Robert Jamieson the other day. Happy Days ostensibly.

Hence, if you are interested in a set of the Look Inside books (which were originally part of the Fine Art of Annotation series, contact me at

Last night, late at night, I issued a discounted list and sent it to potential customers, concerning new books from the WISH LIST PROJECT. You might want to look it over if you got the list. You might guess, as I did, that the first books to go would be the ones I ran out of because I didn’t stock certain titles, deeply. And, the really good books, are still sitting here! Bookselling is an “art” which would drive a psychiatrist nuts.

At any rate, if you need to know something, drop us a line (that would be me, Bob Long, and a mouse I can’t seem to catch!)



This includes MINE!

Did you know that Carlsen and Caruana are meeting a whole bunch of times between now (Grenke) and this summer/fall? And, they played each other in the first round at Grenke, and drew but it was no short game. Almost 60 moves!


Today I sent out several issues of American Chess Magazine #6. Included in each Priority Mail envelope, besides the magazine, was a book the customer paid for, but for which we didn’t charge shipping!

The reason being that whatever you can reasonably put inside of a priority mail envelope, the amount to ship is the same as if there was only one book or magazine.

Hence the customer not only gets ACM wicked fast, but also the book!

And by the way, two new books which just showed up were Bc4 Against the Open Games by Alexei Delchev and Play 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6! by Alexander Kornev. This system seems to be popular lately. I think I have even heard Simon Williams talk about it.

The Thinkers’ Chess Box

Finalizing the name for my new “paid for” chess publication. Already there are many pages with topic headlines (and about 12 I accidentally deleted). The price has still yet to be determined. All I know is that there are a lot of useful and self help articles to make your games go better, possibly smoother, and a chance to rip up your opposition for one MAIN reason. The publication attempts to change your MINDSET about how you think about chess (actually, more than just chess, almost anything in fact), similar to what GM Jonathan Rowson did in his study of Black and White.

When I get the first issue ready I will create a brochure to send out. Hopefully you will get a better feel for the stokes, the solutions, and the mindset. Lots of new things without the pscho-babble which is prevalent in too many articles running rampant these days.


“Please send me one if you are not all sold out.”

That was a message to me last night from Rusty Miller, in Washington, a customer for many years.

Russ writes to me about chess stuff and he puts his limited funds where his mouth is, and sends an order now and again. We have a relationship which goes way back! I mean, way back. Same with Jean-Pierre Rheaume in Canada!

This time he is talking about the 6th issue of American Chess Magazine. We only ordered 8 this last time so we, for sure, have an issue for Russ, and most likely you too ($29.95 and sent by Priority Mail!)

When we sold the first issue of ACM we ordered 15 copies and I didn’t even get one for myself! When issue 2 came out I struggled to sell 10 because of heavy promotion to get a subscription from ACM and the lie the USCF told that it was the exclusive distributor (which they were not!)

I couldn’t send the magazine out at the Media Mail Rate because ACM didn’t have a license to send at that rate through the US Postal System (New in Chess magazine has such a license).

So we got off to a rocky start even though the next issue had a fairly big ad from us (and it is in #6 too, see pg. 149). People bailed faster than survivors in a sinking rowboat! Somehow, over the years, I had become accustomed to that what with Amazon and others, and while it isn’t something I enjoyed getting accustomed to, we still have fans and regulars who want a Grade-A relationship with the Chess Butler and Thinkers’ Press.

These people know I will do whatever it takes to make chess people happy including ordering 10 copies of the new Alekhine book, Chess Duels (arriving here in 3 weeks or so from the Czech Republic). (Want to pre-order one? Write us at:

In this 152 page issue of ACM #6 it is loaded with book reviews, a study of Fabiano’s success in London and his “failure” at Wijk aan Zee + more. This man works hard to succeed and now you see the RESULTS–he will be playing a match with Carlsen in November, possibly in St. Louis instead of London!!!

Some thought Fabi might have been “hiding” his preparation at Wijk for his shot in the Candidates. Myself, I don’t think so. Fabi is strong and we found out how strong at his finish in Berlin.

Of course there are many more features such as Ivanchuk, and Benjamin as well as an interview with Carol Meyer as the new USCF exec. dir. Let’s hope this woman does better than the guys who have had this job in the past and who were constantly beset with a Policy Board who was out of touch with chess and chess players.

If it is chess games and analysis you enjoy, then this issue is loaded with that plus more on Caruana. What a coincidence! Issue #6 arrived just as the merits and games (as well as photos) of Caruana are displayed.

Get a FREE copy of our latest Chess Gazette! Just ask!


My package of the latest issue of American Chess Magazine (#6). To be delivered by the German transport company, DHL is NOW here. Caruana IS on the cover. By priority Mail it is $29.95.

Caruana exhibited great confidence in himself by believing, virtually all the way, that he would win his last round game! Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us could do that?

Yet, he’s a down-to-earth guy and will admit his failings or uncertainties. I’ve watched his interviews and he is humble, not a know-it-all guy. Humility allows grace to come in and grace is a Bonus for our lives.

If you should order issue #6 today, there is a good chance I can get this #6 to the post office and you will probably have it (via Priority Mail) by this Saturday!! $29.95 including shipping. Several have already been accounted for.

152 pages of lip-smacking chess. Tailor-made for the chessist in your heart.


Last night I continued to work on “Thinkers’ Chess Box (TCB)” to find out how long an average issue will take me to put together.

I did make the mistake (I think) of deleting 15 or so pages! How does one do that? Well, for one thing, it was just the headlines, the copy had yet to be written. The headlines were in place so I would know (recall) what to write below them. I could also shuffle the topics around for future issues too. Actually, it is exciting. But, how do I get the word out?

Maybe to chess clubs and schools or colleges. In the old days Chess Life and Chess Review would offer publicity but those days are no more. Then it was anything to help chess grow. Over the 40+ years we have been in business I signed up many to join the USCF. How much did they appreciate that? Who besides The Shadow knows?

If you know anyone who would like a sample brochure (FREE) sent to them, get me their email address. Thank you. A couple minutes of your time and somebody can have some chess fun for the rest of their life!



Thank Ya!



Owner, Rex Sinquefeld, of the St. Louis Chess Club, a billionaire, would like to have the World Championship for 2018 in St. Louis as reported by our friend Simon Williams, in his coverage broadcast last night on ChessBase!

Currently the WCC is set for London, England… which would be perfect for Simon and lots of Englanders but as we know, the WCC is about Agon (the chief organizer) and money. It’s not a done deal, but unless the people in charge of the World Championship have been living under a rock, everyone knows who Rex is.

For those who disdain chess history, preferring openings books instead, I will remind them that if this “possibility” actually happens, I will say that 132 years ago, one of the legs of the Steinitz v. Zukertort match (first official match) was held in St. Louis!

If it does happen, and I hope Simon will be one of the commentators, we’ll hope that Simon can get into the U.S. of A. this time! Talk about irony!


VOTES OF PREFERENCE for the new list of chess books coming in between now and the end of July are still coming in! Thank you. Many more to sign up. I send out 431 emails announcing new books and when they are expected and so far 11 have responded. If you have your name put on the list, remember, this is not the same thing as a FIRM commitment, heavens no we wouldn’t want that!! (I’m joking of course!)

My buddy Ed has sent me an addenda to the list concerning Quality Chess. QC’s book Playing 1 e4 Sicilian and French, by John Shaw came in at 900+ pages and so it is being split into two volumes! GM Shaw is a prodigious investigator as his King’s Gambit book was 680 pages!!

So, Quality Chess has split it this way (in my opinion, which doesn’t count, this was a bad idea). The Sicilian will be one book, and the French and Sicilian Sidelines will be the other book. Why can’t Aagaard set a more definite standard for publishing such as 700 pages on the Sicilian and 500 pages on the French. As my friend Ed wrote, maybe he wants to sell more books. I suspect Ed is correct. After awhile paranoia is no longer paranoia, especially if it turns out to be true. Strong European masters will probably pick these two up. US customers? They aren’t like that. Over here we have too many other distractions.

On another matter concerning Quality Chess, GM Sam Shankland’s book, Small Steps for Giant Improvement is being first released in hardcover. Usually the paperback is 9 months behind. Same for a title by GM Jan Markos, another one of Thinkers’ Press writers (!) He has written a hardcover called Under the Surface. The first book is about pawns. Here is what GM David Navara says about this second book:

“In his new book, GM Jan Markos focuses on important, yet often neglected, aspects of chess. He deals with this interesting and difficult topic excellently, making fine use of his chess and teaching abilities. The book is highly readable and belongs among the best chess books I have read in recent years. Although the book is intended to be read by amateurs, even grandmasters will find it interesting and useful.”

In case you have forgotten or don’t know who Navara is, he’s the Czech GM Garry Kasparov offered a draw to, and Navarra turned him down! Ballsy.
You want a copy of this continually revised list of new chess literature about to be issued, all in one place, just drop me a line at: and I will send you one. And for that favor if you could send me your wish list from that, I would be impressed and appreciative!

Bob Long


Just in. Fabiano Caruana won his last 2 games including the very last one against Grischuk. And now the St. Louisan will be playing Magnus this fall for the world chess championship. I bet Rex Sinquefeld wishes it was in St. Louis!
He played like an Iron Man but both Caruana and Grischuk were waiting for the right position to MATE and as things simplified, they didn’t help Alexander one of my favorites from years ago.

Way to go Fabi.

By the way, if you have Chess Life last year’s April, there is a big story on Fabiano’s skill set, games, and what he is trying to do. The fact that he has beaten Carlsen at least twice I think shows he’s got the chops!

Our first USA product since Fischer because Fabi was born here!

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