Hi Gang

When I was a kid, lo those many years ago, Mom provided little Valentine’s for me (and my brothers and sisters) to give to school friends. Mom was a great sort as I think about it. In fact, I still miss my Mom because she was a genius at taking care of the details of my life. If I asked, “Where’s my shoes?” she would say, “Did you look under the sofa?” There they were. I never figured this out.

A couple days ago I was looking for Valentine’s Day cards to give to my own 3 kids. Something new for me as I got older. I had to restrain my self from bawling out the stores who buy that crap!


Because the prices were more than a regular birthday card! $6.95, $8.95, and more and worse, they were printed in China. The crassest of commercialism. In the past I would go into Walgreen’s, the grocery store, etc. and there would be quite a number of people looking around for an appropriate card to give to their sweetie. Not this time.

I asked one lady, and a guy too, at different stores if they had noticed the prices. They had. The lady finally walked away. The guy in Walgreen’s kept looking around and I don’t know whether he ever found a card. I finally left and went to Dollar General. One card was marked $3.95 and it was PURE CRAP. The resale price was $1.00.

I got it, and 2 more for my other kids. $3.21 altogether.

What lameness. I apologized inside the card for the lack of writing talent exhibited therein. No doubt this evening I will give them a phone call.

I asked Peggy, without giving it away, what she thought of Valentine’s Day cards this year? I WON’T REPEAT IT but I do think it involved the phrase “gouging.”

Is this what US commercialism has come to? Maybe Trump, in 2019, will ban Valentine’s Day cards and tell us to write our own such as they did in the 1800s.

I found one giant card (really big) for $5.95. It told me one thing: it was being recycled as UNSOLD from previous years. Amazing.

The Chinese must think we are beyond stupid.


Our recent Simon Williams Chess Festival had to be cancelled for a couple of reasons and I am still healing and feeling from my lower back surgery. Generous Simon sent out a big package of his Chess Software for those who paid to come. I am going to send out to all those fine folks a free copy of Simon Williams’ Shock & Awe Playbook, a $29.95 value. I will pay for the postage too! I just need a couple days to firm up some details and then they go into the Post Office hopper.

However, some of those who didn’t sign up want a copy of that book too but it will cost them either at Amazon or in this ONE-DAY VALENTINE’S SPECIAL SALE.

Here’s How to Get One

Send me, the Chess Butler, $9.95 + $3.00 for S&H in the US, and I will give you a brand new mint copy of this fun book. Features a slew (47) of Simon’s Games, annotated by Yours Unruly. Supplies are really limited because this was originally only for those who paid to buy a ticket or who donated for our cause (you know who you are).

You have until Midnight Feb. 14th to act. PayPal to: the amount of $12.95. Or you can tell me to use your credit card info in an email.

One day only.

Have a nice Valentine’s Day!


the Chess Butler

One day only.





Not too long ago I discovered what the pain of back ache is like. Briefly, you don’t want it! I’ve discovered many people have it or have had it but almost no one but hypochondriacs want to talk about it. I can’t blame them.

In February I had scheduled my fifth Chess Festival, days with GM Simon Williams. People were coming despite that it was in the middle of winter.

My back surgeon, a genius named Michael Berry, informed me it (the Festival) was likely not to happen. My “recovery” date (reasonable healing) would fall a day or two before the opening bell of the Festival! And that was if nothing went wrong between now and then. That would take the gift of mind reading. I don’t have that.

As long I was on strong pain medicine that meant “no driving.” Try to imagine how most of you would feel if you couldn’t drive. Limited, bugged, almost useless. (I went for about a year and a half with not having a car!) No trips to the post office. Virtually no rides to anywhere (such as church) because you are too tired to do anything. Stepping out of a car you had to be careful lest you fall, lose balance, or hit something.

So I cancelled THIS chess festival after talking with Simon and telling him about the back operation. A few told me they wanted no rescheduling! There were a few demanders! Some emails were upsetting as if somehow I planned all this so that I could keep their reservation money. Seriously? Apparently those few have never been out of commission due to a serious medical malady. I have almost 3.5 weeks to go to a reasonable recovery and even then I won’t be running around like a wild man from Borneo. Walking anywhere would be nice.

Tomorrow or the next day I should be getting some new books in. Want a free list with pictures (in color)? Just drop me a line. I can manage that! I think I will include some bonus items to whet your appetite. I have no money at this time, spent most of it on putting the Festival together. I have 40 boxes of chess sets and boards sitting in the hall way. I have all those books I printed to give to people for FREE when Simon showed up and no doubt would autograph them. Other expenses were for utilities, food (I hope that was OK). This, fortunately, had never happened to me before. What’s that say about “probability,” a subject I studied in college? More further down this blog.


1: Apparently I do know how to SELL (???) since I am ALL OUT of all my SHELF OF McFarland books except one. And I will be having more new McFarland news too including info on a book which should have been published eons ago AND IT IS BEING worked on!

2: When there is money on the line most chess people, unfortunately are not risk takers. So this next piece of news will have somewhat limited appeal. Are you one of those? For several years I have had the idea of a GAME for people interested in chess without necessarily being a strong chess player! A fun game. A board game.

At one time, 1974-1984 I ran a games shop for my clientele called The Thinkers’ Emporium, the House of Table Games. What a hangout! People who were young back then, now grown to adulthood, remember it well and who now miss that part of their lives. We also sold chess books by mail as well as in the store.

So I’ve been thinking of developing a board game for chessists, something which might span the globe in different languages. No FIDE politics, no cheating, sensible (I hope) rules, and just a few hours playtime. For kids, adults, clubs, and board game enthusiasts. To design, make rules, package and the like takes time and money. My son Rob has already found a likely distributor since Rob works in a games and specialties warehouse out East! Most likely I would be one of the designers. It won’t happen overnight. Most likely we’ll need a lawyer to handle out of state investors. I started down that road once, many years ago, turned out I couldn’t trust my own lawyer! Fortunately, I lost no money, just a lawyer.

3: What kind of investors? If I had money I wouldn’t even bother with seeking people other than myself. Years ago when I was working for the US Army a guy I’ll call George wanted to invest in something I was doing because it made sense to him, he had some extra cash but I turned him down. He asked “Why?” I took a minute to frame my answer because I had always gotten along well with George (his real name) and I said, “George, you’re a nice guy and all but you would be calling me every so often with an idea or asking me ‘How’s it going?’ and in all honesty, until I am ready to issue reports, it would be a huge waste of my time, and yours.” It’s not like I left town or went on to do something else, but, surprisingly and unfortunately, George passed away! There will be a time for feedback and ideas.

The game I have in mind involves chess history and how to become a Grandmaster (on paper!), a subject which is more enlightening than most can fathom but which allows for further research taking you to mysterious and interesting places. For example there is a book I have read which is not on any chess bestseller list, which has some of the most meaningful ways to improve you have ever read! It wasn’t written by anyone well-known inside the USA. Take your game from “average” to the A side of things once you’ve been shown how.

How did I find such a book?

I was flat on my back, recovering from back surgery and had nothing better to do and it was an impressive eye-opener! When there is a little quiet time in your life you can focus better than you ever believed possible. Bring God into the conversation and the ideas start to flow. Does that turn you on or off? Whatever your answer it doesn’t scare me away.

4: How can you invest? What’s the profit? When will I start? Don’t know any of these answers yet. Read on.

A well known saying is “One can’t get blood from a stone.” Today, I am the stone because I don’t have the money for full refunds. I believe in restitution. I don’t see me, Bob Long, doing another Chess Festival anytime soon. I can say that my best friends, those I have known and dealt with for a long time, have not been pressing me. Can’t say that for everyone but then that’s where the word trust comes in and without that, we have nothing.

If you are willing to take chess sets, books, DVDs, etc. in return for what I owe you, you will receive in kind as soon as I am up and walking about with vigor. Send in your claims but you don’t have to be in an all-fired hurry about it (smile). I doubt if my doctor will take chess books for his surgery work.


Others who can wait, I will be glad to put you on the INVESTORS list (for the game I just mentioned). Tell me how much I owe you and what it was for, your name, address, and phone number (please). You will be on a separate list. Some people have told me they have already written this loss off because they are like that! Thanks. However, I do have a bunch of Simon Williams stuff I have already bought and paid for and I don’t mind your taking of books, DVDs and the like as partial payment. It will take a couple weeks to put the list together. If I sit too long my back can’t stand it.

Honestly, 2017 turned out to be a rough year for this kid. I had no idea, cross my heart, it would end this way. I have to get up for now, get a few groceries and a small Valentine’s gift for a very good friend and cards for my kids who took almost daily care of me while I’ve been incapacitated. I was pleasantly surprised at their all out support for their “old man.”

Thank you too,

Bob Long



Kudos to Jenifer Gittrich! Today her husband Eric told me that he and his wife are coming to the Chess Festival for Feb. 16-18, 2018 in Bettendorf, Iowa! He wrote and said, I “thought somebody registering for the Chess festival might be a cool way to kick off your new year.”

Absolutely. It certainly pumped me up after one disappointment after another!

In the past week or two I have received 5 emails from people who have changed their minds about coming for all kinds of reasons (boss, company, their kids, wife, etc.). In some cases I was wondering “What the hell kind of companies are they working for?”

Years ago a fellow had signed up for Chess Festival 2 and he did come. 2 years later he asked for time off again (although I think he had vacation time coming) as we were having a major “hellzapoppin” event (GM Rowson, Prof. Smullyan, IMs Pein & Donaldson, Fisher (Michael), and Prof. Tykodi (the Purdy guru)) and his boss at Western Union said to him, “If you go, you will lose your job!” So he didn’t go and after the event was over, he lost his job anyway!! So it’s not just sexual harassment it is just power bullying. That is, don’t let another person have fun or they will “pay” for it. I’ve been thinking of writing a book titled, “HOW TO QUIT YOUR JOB!” I know a lot about that.

The point of this dissertation is to let you know that Simon IS coming, Andrew Martin is not (we couldn’t get enough people to sign up for him, and he didn’t want me to take a “bath.”) Andrew is considerate, a lot of people aren’t because in their own mind the JOB is up to me to figure a way out. AND BESIDES, a lot of people think (?) I have a lot of money anyway. (I have clearly no idea where they got that notion! Recently I heard a guy gasp on the phone when I told him how much I got from Social Security. He couldn’t believe it. That meant to me he had not yet reached 62 or 65!)

Talk Is Cheap!

THE IDEA about the Chess Festival came to me about 1997 as I wanted to do something for our fans and employees for their years of support in our chess business. I expected more than the 12-13 we got in 1998 when John Purdy and Frank Hutchings showed up along with GM Lubosh Kavalek, Allan Savage, and Jon Edwards. The ones who missed out on coming told me they would be at the next one, but, they didn’t come…hence the expression “Talk is cheap.”

So, the Chess Butler, is looking for Older and Newer fans to make this one because it will be the last one. When I said in 2010 that that year would be our last Chess Clinic, and, it was, we had 35 show up. The Chess Clinic and a Chess Festival are two different things. The Festival will have a GM and a clinic will have at least one IM. I’ve stuck with that premise but it is now unaffordable to do even that.

You wouldn’t believe all the paperwork that’s necessary to get Simon Williams to come here so for you who might be mad at him for him not making it, I would blame US Customs. For those who are mad at me, it wasn’t me. Read on.


We have some ladies coming! We’ve had a few in the past but this time, if their husband (SO) has a ticket, they get in FREE! So far Rawl Rutter’s Danielle will be coming. My Peggy is coming (with her Boutique of clothes, jewelry and chocolate chip cookies), Jenifer Gittrich will be here with Eric, and hopefully many others. It might cost you a car or plane ride, or a train (no AMTRAK!) Show her something she can do to accompany you if she is not all keyed up about chess. There IS something for her! And there is pizza on Friday night! There are pastries on Saturday. Kevin Schafer will be taking still photos on Sunday (you can bring a camera). These pictures may end up in a future issue of American Chess Magazine!!

Something for the gals

My first wife did more to encourage me and my business than any other. Now Peggy and my daughter are doing the same thing! Ya gotta love the right ladies. Bring yours, I mean it. Chances are I won’t be taking their $$$, Peggy will do that AND she gets to keep it! You can bring your own wallet (by the way, make sure YOUR credit card details are up-to-date as it makes everything go faster and more smoothly, and of course, cash is always accepted). Whenever Mercedes came with me we always had more fun than when it was just me. I remember one wife telling me she had more fun at CF #3 than anything else she had done! Powerful testimony.

We’ll have books, DVDs, specials and our SWAP MEET too.


Yes, we have a cold spell at the moment, a couple of inches of snow but this was nothing to what I had about 1990 when we were in Orlando, Florida. We parked at O’Hare in Chicago, and flew to Florida. I was there for a typographic conference and my SO spent her days at the pool and shopping. I had a lot of fun and she said she definitely had a lot of fun! It’s what you make it. We flew out of green Florida back to Chicago where snow covered our car! At first we couldn’t find that car. Yes, I will be there with Nate (my son) helping me out. Next week I will have lower back surgery, so if you guys come and buy me out, both Nate and myself will be grateful! Yahoo. And you will have terrific reading material.

I think we will have fun in Bettendorf, IA because that is not Davenport, but next door to Davenport. At my past Festivals we got few people from Davenport so I think that is a plus. Call the Ramada Inn at 563-355-7575 and ask for the Special Chess Rate of $62.50 per nite. Some have told me they plan to spend at least 3 nites in Bettendorf. Great, it will help pay for the Simul & Lecture Hall.


That’s my number. Almost always I have my cell phone with me so you can talk with me or leave a message and your phone number (don’t speak too fast please, I have a slow ear!) One thing I have discovered at these chess events is that a lot of folks want to speak with me too! Always glad to help. New things are always going on.

Over and out!

Watch for a new list of books which we will be having soon. Thanks friends.



For some the gift giving time at Christmas time is seriously stressful. Shouldn’t be.

I have one more thing to do and I will do it tomorrow.

For those who like chess things or to give chess things let me tell you what happens here.

I get people of all stripes who order stuff right up to Christmas and they know I will ship, but the gifted won’t get the item in time to open on Christmas (eve or the day).

Why worry about that? As long as you get what you want. I filled and sent out 3 orders today and 4-5 letters and could have done more but I had other things to wrap up.

I was working on a new price list several days ago and haven’t had time to finish it. Probably will send out Friday if I have time and this will be a TIMED or SUSPENSE sale. That is, you will have to order by a certain date to get the extra BONUS discounts OR you won’t get them.

It will be worth your while as I reduce these shelves to get the new stuff for 2018. If I get the merchandise in 2018 then it is inventory (and dollars) for 2018 and not 2017.


If I don’t have time, it will go out on Christmas Day! JUST TRYING TO GET DEPLETED inventory out to lighten my load as I am having back surgery on Jan. 10th unless a miracle should take place (it could happen) and if it does, I’ll tell you.


In the meantime, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Also I JUST FINISHED a new Ad for a chess publication and I will send copies to you about the Chess Festival in February and I will send a copy to you if you give me your name and email address. This should be fun. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we are looking forward to a mild winter this February and the FA has a track record of being right 80% of the time, while this year, 2017, our meteorologists have been wrong on snow, sleet, ice, etc. 100% of the time!!! Thank God.



Old time friend and customer Rick Kennedy wrote recently and while he was at it, ordered a copy of the great green hardbound, Mannheim 1914. On the enclosed card were the words PEACE, ironic because Mannheim in 1914 was anything but peaceful, as he noted.

I see it has been November since I last wrote on this Blog, but I’ve kept on writing, just in emails.

We have been “warned” that we may get a little snow this Friday or this weekend. So far I see nothing, which is OK with me although I love the Christmas Cards with snow on them.

I don’t want or need snow-shoveling!

2-3 weeks ago I discovered pain in my right hip and right leg. What a drag. At first I thought it might be the hip replacement thing, but, thank God it wasn’t. Something they call osteo-arthritis. Had never heard of it. But after an MRI it turns out to be the compression of a nerve on my right side (in my back). Tylenol alternated with Ibuprofen helps as well as occasional pain patches, BUT, Man oh man. I also have stairs to climb so I want to wish sympathy and prayers to anyone who may have something like this! And, Merry Christmas (of course I am sitting down right now). I believe surgery is being scheduled… so, I need to sell stuff.

For a couple week boxes of books were pouring onto my porch, right and left. We are almost caught up with everything the publishers have been cranking out, so, your orders are welcomed.


The Chess Festival February 16-18 is only a couple months away! I contacted Leigh at the Ramada Inn (563-355-7575) and she said only 1 had reregistered so far! I couldn’t believe it! This doesn’t count the rooms I have to cover for Simon and Andrew. Sure, February is a winter month but why take chances? I don’t know what to say. Help me on this!

I will be putting out a SPECIAL sales list today to all those on my mailing list. I am flooded with books, and I will be offering them at good prices. What is amazing to me, as I go through them, is how good they are! If you have any time at all to read this Season, you could stock up on some of the best delights I have ever offered. It’s even fun to REVIEW them!

However, after last weekend, a lot of things are missing (sold out) but some have been rectified! For example, I am getting more books from The Chess Player, and already some of them are in low quantities, and one is even sold out because of me! I think it might be the IM Imre Koenig book. So if you get a chance, check your email box today, where I will have more to say (too much to keep track of).

In case I don’t get back to the BLOG this month, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bob Long


I am still preparing for the Feb. Festival and also working on my Morphy Newsletter (#11) as well as a big discount catalog!

That would be for the upcoming Christmas Season. Not far away.

If somehow you missed out on some of the new stuff you “might” be in luck as the season of “love” is coming upon us. Well maybe two seasons: Christmas and Valentine’s Day!

And being near the end of the year, it is necessary to fork out some more moolah to get my main supplier to ship me some new stuff.


You remember that “snake” Howard “the Coward” Staunton and how he staved off meeting our own Paul Morphy?

Well, yours truly, the unruly, editor, Bob (me) has discovered something in a P. Sergeant book about Mr. Staunton and it doesn’t look to good for him. What a weasel.

It will be revealed in issue #11 of Morphy’s Times & Games and will be sent to all subscribers as part of their subscription. No single copies will be sold except to those who have already purchased #1-10!

So, be on the look out for it.

I also discovered in my 2015 Mega database for ChessBase that they had Staunton and Morphy playing each other! I haven’t checked yet to see if it was their famous consultation game or whether it was another CB screwup.

I will be ordering CB Morphy’s Master Class #9. Anyone besides me wanting one? I think it is $32.95. Let me know right away will you? Add $3 for S&H.

I’ll be in St. Louis for a few days to see about buying some chess items. I am trying to gather sales material to pay for new merchandise plus for the extra Festival Expenses.
See you later.



More data coming in for February 16-18, 2018. More merchandise, two rooms to present from and Peggy N. coming to help out with extra chess mdse. and getting the proper amount of sleep. Also guys bring your Significant Other, they get in FREE if the both of you stay at the Ramada!

It will be an action-packed weekend and my 2018 copy of the Old Farmer’s Almanac says the Chess Festival weather will be MILD! Yahoo (for this part of the country)

We also got in The Center from Hungary and expect some more chess books tomorrow.

It’s bananas here and I am loving it PLUS the Ramada Inn ROOM RATES WILL BE $62.50, a 22% SAVINGS over the August RATE plus some new data on Simon Williams and Andrew Martin.

If you aren’t on the CHESS GAZETTE mailing list send your name and email address, Copy should be ready this weekend.

Bob Long