I met my good friend and customer Gary White (Missouri) a long time ago. Gary was slated to come to the Simon Williams Chess Festival (or chess concert) a couple weeks ago. As most of you know, it’s been postponed, but when we had a 35% discount sale on books we were bringing to the Festival Gary couldn’t help himself. (STILL GOOD THRU SEPT. 5)

I want to show you what he is getting, perhaps to inspire you (me and everyone else). At one time Gary was around 2100 Elo. And like most of us, over the past 10 years (maybe more), many of us have dropped 200-300 Elo. I did, a senior master friend of mine did too. In fact, if you didn’t work hard at it, many people lost that much. The cowards gave up and withered away.

But Gary got inspired, He had bought Simon Williams’ 2 DVD set on the English Opening, played in the recent Iowa Open and engaged in some “clobbering time” (as the THING would say [Fantastic Four]). He wrote:

“I’ve been studying S. Williams 2 DVD set on English. Awesome. Used his ideas @ Iowa Open to draw w/ both 2200 (NM Valeriy Kosokin who tied for 3rd after Gareyev & Yermolinsky), & a 2100 player, and beat a 1650 player. My rating about 1880 now. Great to meet you again there.  Thanks for my T-Shirt!”
I’ve been saying it for a long time but it’s hard to gain traction with MY chess guys. DVDs are truly great for a quick warmup before an event. And, in a short amount of time you can get some salient points under your belt. And IF, it is Simon Williams’ stuff you know there is going to be some deranged BITS on the discs that maybe your opponents won’t know!
Not only was Gary willing to do the work, but he ordered some more things over the weekend, I am going to detail them not to give his opponent’s an advantage, chances are none of his opponents will read this Blog, but to give YOU some ideas go how this works!

“I’d like to order: 1) Boris Gelfand’s new book, 2) “Black is back” by Adjoran, 3) “How to reassess your chess 4th edition” by Silman, 4) “Fire on Board” combined books by Shirov, 5) “Dynamic Chess Strategy’ by Suba. 6) Y. Seirawan by Karolyi. Also please send my  S. Williams games collection booklet.
Thanks, Gary”
The Boris Gelfand book was advertised on my Blog and I am selling the hardbound for $31.96 + $3.50 for shipping & Handling. However, he wanted more. BTW, Gelfand title is Dynamic Decision Making in Chess. 
The book Black is Back is a lifelong pursuit of Adorjan’s, that Black is not inferior to White. I didn’t always believe that and did somewhat follow the “company line” until maybe 5-6 years ago. Now all kinds of books are being published favoring the person with the black pieces. It’s a fat book too. Have 1 left. Retail is $24.95 but for 2 more days I have it at $26.22.
This morning Gary added another title: How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Chess Grandmaster in the World, The Story and the Games by GM Simen Agdestein. Another inexpensive book at $19.95 but I have to order more. The stories alone are worth the price of the book, about why Magnus dislikes being interviewed (the journalists don’t know anything about chess!) Does Magnus learn from his defeats? He surely does as this book shows.
Lately we have sold a lot of Chess Evolution books. Gary ordered one of those about Yasser Seirawan. The Chess Butler ran out of vol. 1 of the book on Alexander Beliavsky. We ordered more immediately as well as #2 (apparently we were way ahead of the curve on this one! Theoretically they should be here in 7-10 days (maybe sooner).
A book I have secretly recommended after seeing it again several weeks ago is Jeremy Silman’s 4th edition of How to Reassess Your Chess. Many don’t know that Thinker’s Press, in its heyday published the first 2 editions of this work and I will admit, I like the 4th edition best, but I will have to order more of them!
Mihai Suba (pr: Shooba) had a hit record in 1991 with Dynamic Chess Strategy. 20 years later he extended his writing and updated this book and made the humor more obvious. It’s also $19.95 but I will have to order more of this one too. As my headline says Billy Joel was not right; the “Good” are like the Eveready bunny–they just keep going and going.
The last one he was getting is a real barn-burner. Alexei Shirov in his Fire on Board books! Two volumes rolled into one. Someone once told me that Shirov doesn’t really love chess the way some sub 2000 players might, but when you look at his games you can only conclude (if that was true about Shirov’s not loving chess!) he wanted to get the games over quickly so he could leave immediately. He’s been married at least 4 times so maybe he had some place to be! He might ultimately be as “gifted” as his countryman Mikhail Tal, but Shirov is still kicking.
Have a good Labor Day OFF if you get that!


All the Simon Williams Chess Festival t-shirts have been mailed! Good news and I am getting reports already of people receiving them.

I meet with Simon Williams this Sunday evening on Skype where we will be discussing what we can do to change the catastrophic recent experience to a positive memorable one, in time.

I got some great letters of support from such great guys as Earl Zismer about the postponement of the event. Earl empathized. Only a couple people were ostensibly upset  with me and that dropped to about zero when I fully explained what had happened. I’m just a small fish in a big pond. No army of lawyers to take on the establishment.

To recoup SOME of my financial losses I had a lot of merchandise laying around that I was going to sell at the event. Instead I discounted everything 35% and some stepped up and bought things they didn’t get when first announced in the Chess Gazette. This should keep vendor suppliers off my neck for a few more weeks.

Should we be able to reschedule a further delayed Simon Williams chess festival, I will need NEW stuff to get people to reach into their wallets. The problem is that in the early part of 2018 there isn’t much in the way of new stuff because publishers aren’t cranking much in the way of new study materials at that time. I may hear from a few asking me why I am doing this in winter (they act as if I am not aware it would be winter!)

I remember our first Chess Clinic with Andrew Martin, the FIRST one. It was in February. We had about 12-19 people there. There was snow outside. Just as we were done on that Saturday, the power in my building went out. Sucks. Vince Berry was there (master from Chicago). He surprised all of us by buying all of us our dinners! Then Andrew played chess against anyone who wanted to play him. He was a crusher!!! Tim Crouse did well but he didn’t win. I think this was 2005 or 2006 (probably). Dale Suilmann elected to go back to MN that evening, a hardy breed. And, thank the Lord, Dale is still with us. Brave but not foolish souls.

So, in a few days we should have some more data to sling your way. As I said, I will report what Simon and I discuss. Hang on to your air fare tickets!

To try something that Gambit would do, the chess publishing company, does anyone out there have any good ideas of how we could encourage new attendees? Especially from the Chicagoland areas?? I am pretty sure that some of those who registered may not want to take a third chance on having a Simon Williams Chess Festival. All my life I have taken risks. Steve Lamansky recently told me that in the club he belongs to in the Ankeny/Des Moines area of Iowa that my name often comes up due to the fact I have brought many grandmasters to the Quad-Cities locale that he was able to meet and spar with.


Recently I received a review copy of Dynamic Decision Making in Chess. In paperback. It retails for $29.95 and it will be a few more weeks (most likely) before copies arrive here. In the meantime, if you like hardcovers, we already have them. $39.95 ret., or our price of $31.96. I reviewed this in a recent issue of The Chess Gazette.

Recently US Chess put a flyer in with the latest magazine giving reasons why US Chess Sales should be your Chess Shop of Choice.

  1. When it came down to published prices, their’s are the HIGHEST between here and Pluto. They get away with this detail by offering a “price match guarantee!” In other words, YOU do the work. Screw that. They will not be undersold they say. And they “constantly” have everyday low prices. Apparently they do not consider The Chess Butler as a competitor.
  2. You can pay by check or money order!??? Haven’t we been doing this since, forever?
  3. Same business day shipping on all in-stock items. “In stock items.” Pretty obvious they couldn’t do it if they didn’t have it, no? Have you ever tried navigating their online website? Before you do, go see a proctologist! Pain in the ass. No newsletter or “reviews” literature. 5000 items they stock. Well, we don’t have anywhere near that number of books, maybe they don’t have 5,000 items either especially when others tell me about their out of stocks, or advertising items, which aren’t in this country yet.
  4. Other things are geared according to chess clubs. We concentrate on excellent quality books. Their printed catalog performs as if they have never seen the book before! One line if you are lucky! That’s what I call detailed. If we did a printed catalog it would be out of date by the time you got your mail.

The whole process makes me tired. If I (Bob Long) can make at least one claim to fame it is that I know what I sell. I am not a low rated player. I’ve been doing this for years and years. I know chess, And, I won’t B.S. you. Get your free copy of the Chess Gazette by asking for it. With issue #227 we will be instituting a new look which will be even easier to read on your phone.

Keep checking our Blog.



In the coming week I will be able to send out all due Chess Festival T-shirts!

I had some who wanted to order them, but too late. Already paid for, printed, and picked up by me. It was a really snazzy design, and the material and printing quality was waaay good. On a par with the Bobby Fischer t-shirt of which I have only one left (they were ordered by guess and by golly, not a good way to go. Size if L ($25+ $8.95 for first class mail).

If we are able to get a re-boot of the Chess Festival and can get at least 18 more ordered, we may reprint.

2) Second piece of good news: I heard from Simon Williams today. He took  a little recuperation time off. Sometime this week we will discuss, via SKYPE about trying this one more time. I have some additional ideas which we think will make this work but we will need help from you, but, how can it not be worth it? I am considering writing a letter to the Washington Post and/or the New York Times. How Mr. Williams was dishonored by  another “Washington” outrage.

In the meantime I am going to eat a little popcorn, work on my Sales tax for the previous quarter, and watch DARK ALIBI, what looks to be a great Charlie Chan movie.

By the way, I want to issue a special sales list for all the items we intended to sell at the Chess Festival, with a full 35% off. If you are not a regular buyer, let me know and I will put you on our sales list.

As you may have guessed, it’s been maddening around here.

Also, Christmas, unfortunately, is not many months down the road. You, your friends, and chess players could clean up on the book and DVD sale. Them that responds first avoids the possibility of something you might want or could use, being told, SORRY, out of stock!

Ideas? Send them on.


Bob Long


THERE was a fiasco in trying to get Simon Williams to Bettendorf, IA. US Customs officials, in Detroit, prevented the GingerGM from coming to Moline, IL. He was escorted back to his seat on the return flight to England, by two armed guards.

Isn’t this seriously over the top? Of course it is.

Everyone was shocked. There was no real GOOD reason for these high-handed tactics. Isn’t this the part in a DVD drama where someone says, “Aren’t you supposed to be out catching the killer or crooks?”


I am sick of explaining what I know happened and mentioning the fact that it was all unnecessary! Period. So, I will let Simon, from his YouTube channel, explain it! This was forwarded to me by Chess Festival registrant Mike Vuolo:

By the way, afterwards, he plays a very exciting game at Dundee against McNab, a Scottish GM. I was a student of the English Defense and surely could have used this information back then. Lots of drama. Perfection. Simon really shows how a GM thinks!

I have to get back to another listing, this time about books on Magic, which I am disposing of.

I’ve also ordered polyethylene bags to mail shirts in first class to those who ordered them. I am picking up the tab for this. It is all numbing.

All of us really missed out on what would have been a great time didn’t we? Let’s see what can be done now.

A chess list of goodies that were to be for sale at the Chess Festival will be out shortly.

Next up? Hopefully. The RED PHOENIX. Details soon.


What Stephen King Said About Chess…

As far as I know, Steve (as he calls himself) hasn’t said anything about chess!

But I’ve been reading Stephen King On Writing. I read 51 pages the other night before turning out the light. Last night it went another 50+ pages.

This morning, before my shower, I read his comment on books and why he loves them:

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

So are all the different kinds of chess books.

I have them in both bathrooms. By my nightstand. My desk. The “living room.” My office floor. I seldom get my ideas from them but they do nourish my brain.

This weekend I will have lots of books to sell. I invite you to pick some up, even if only for the good of YOUR life. My Mom and Dad were big readers. So were my sisters and brothers. Adventures never quit. With chess it is even more than that.

My best friend Peggy is an avid reader and sometimes has trouble falling asleep.

King’s book on writing parallels what I know about writing for myself.

If one is into marketing it is really helpful to read everything you can, but to not force read. If it is not good, entertaining, or useful, there are always alternatives.

What I have found particularly missing from my life is good, chess fiction. I could read all of them in less than a day and then, where would I be?

Good chess players must have something good inside them, so why don’t they write?

My guess is they have a bunch of different reasons, almost none of them any good. King did some of his beginning writings (I have never read even one Stephen King book, my sister Rita has read a lot of them) at odd times and places.

Too many do not want to be inconvenienced. Buying a ticket requires having to do something. Packing requires doing something. How much money should I bring requires thinking! Good god, how lazy can we be?

I do a lot of things I would rather not do! That’s where I am different from some. I will be printing extra non-disclosure agreements for the Chess Festival because I know human nature too well.

We do, minimally, what we have to do, in order to pay for other stuff. Chess books, like most other things, are not necessary to live but they can be a GOOD habit which makes life more bearable.

An example.

The other day I wrote a note to Simon Williams congratulating him on reaching 20,000 subscribers on YouTube! I didn’t have to but it was a good thing to do! That’s worthwhile. He wrote back and thanked me. While he was at it, he dreamed about someday soon reaching 100,000 people. Would one of them be you? (I now am one.)

But, in addition, he wanted to know if it was OK to change some of the topics he would be talking about this Saturday. They were great and engaging and I gave him the go ahead! These are new and better than ever but when he and I first started this journey, many months ago, we came up with:

“Was thinking about changing two of the titles for lectures. So:

3) The lazy way to become an attacking Grandmaster. (Going to show simple patterns of attack. An opening that leads into a middlegame attack). Simple patterns, who can’t use that?

to – Hacking with the London System! (I know you mentioned that a lot of people would like this topic)


4) Jumping into your opponents mind. (Showing examples of how important it is to think about your opponent’s ideas). Getting into a customer’s mind is important, so it is when it comes to chess.

When computers get it wrong! (This could be a lot of fun, get the crowd involved with some funny positions.)

Ok, still got a fair bit to prepare for when I leave. Will get these titles done, unless you mention otherwise.”



Maybe, just maybe, you will change your mind at the last minute and come.

a. Don’t worry about the money. Did you worry about the money when you spent money on some damn foolish thing?

b. Don’t worry about your family. They should be there when you get back unless you want to bring them (someone at the Ramada last week told me we had 60 nights taken. Total B.S. Turns out it was 30-35. I need 60 to break even. I know, yes, you most likely don’t care about that.

c. Don’t worry about how to get here. Worrying is bad for your health. I had to learn to stop that too.

d. In the end, just have a GREAT time. It is being videoed so you can relive it at a later time.

Do something!!!!! Anyone can say NO. That’s easy.

Get in for $125.00. Skip Friday and Sunday. See and hear the lectures on Saturday. There, see? I just opened up 2 more days for you, you get one day of FUN CHESS, HILARIOUS CHESS with Simon, at a big discount. Only need one night’s stay at the Ramada.

Just went from IMPOSSIBLE to, HOLY COW WOW!







AT THE CHESS BUTLER we live (or die) by putting our Thinking Caps on and dealing with those who get our Chess Gazette but for whatever reason will not be coming to the Chess Festival in two weeks. Truly a pity because it just about is all I think of.

I will be gathering names and email addresses to send to those who get the Chess Gazette and who I believe might still be interested in getting some great books, new, and recent. All will have at least 20% discounts and some, even more !!!

Lots of signed NDAs have started coming in and I thank you. It’s important.

Everything is here for the event except the score sheets for the simul. They will be here next week. They will be carbonless so that you can retain a copy and the Chess Butler will have a copy. I have to review them and send some samples to the American Chess Magazine for an upcoming issue. If for some “sketchy” reason you don’t want your games broadcasted just tell me that and those will not be sent to ACM. But consider being brave. Maybe making your scoresheet accessible will make you play better.

Because it is no-carbon required you will need to press a little harder on the top sheet. I know all this should be obvious but I have been in business for such a long time I can tell you right now, NOTHING IS OBVIOUS to some people. I don’t know why but that is the way it is. I will be toting up all those who have contacted me and letting the rest know that they have not escaped my clutches. This is called, “What a waste of time!”

If there is anything else you want to know, just drop me a line soon. I will be contacting the non attenders in a day or two.




Just got back this evening. Things to report about the Sinquefield. Good things and not-so-good things but they will be in the last Chess Gazette before the Simon Williams Chess Festival in a mere two weeks!!!


The Shock & Awe Playbook of Simon Williams’ games are here. We ordered 100 of them. About 40 will go FREE to those who paid to register at the Festival. Simon will be given some to take back to England and his fans.

We will have some to sell to the US troops of chess fans. $29.95 each, postage paid.  We may have a few autographed by Simon for his non attending fans. $39.95 for those, something Amazon won’t have.

The t-shirts are here and I have worn one to St. Louis.

If you have a camera and it makes a ping every time you take a picture, or about every time, they will put a “hex” on it and tell you to check it in because nothing should disturb the players even if their clacking shoes as they walk back and forth on an uncarpeted floor does! Different arrangement of tables than I last saw. I couldn’t, therefore, get photos of everyone.

The thing to see is the Chess Hall of Fame.

As is usual in August the heat was bad news outside.

The autograph signing session was downtown. I couldn’t find it on the website because it was hidden under layers of the website, always a terrible idea. My friend Peggy, who has lived in St. Louis her whole life said the idea of holding it in downtown St. Louis was a bad idea…we didn’t go there and it was in the evening. More in the Gazette.

The next issue of the Gazette will come out before the Festival. I may have some things to sell (and might run out of) before the Festival. Books sales have been almost non existent in the past 2 months. I don’t know if people are waiting to purchase at the Festival or what but that is not a good idea, especially for those who aren’t coming. I can’t guarantee I will have what you might want, no one could!


I HAVE BEEN TOLD that Gelfand’s second book will be here in a few days. Hardcover. To answer questions I have been asked: this is his newest book, the second one about DYNAMIC CHESS not the first one which is about POSITIONAL CHESS and was released last year! There will be a paperback version too but I don’t know when my suppliers will have it. What’s frustrating is that all of this stuff is written in the CHESS GAZETTE but some do NOT read the details in CG and then ask me about them. Is it too much work to read it correctly the first time? Are people only reading about it on their phone and then only in SKIMMED form? I was driving down the Interstate in St. Louis and a guy next to me was reading something on his phone and looking up every so often to make sure he didn’t run into the car in front of him. Can you really imagine that? You know it is an accident just waiting to happen. I have little faith in the continuance of civilization. We don’t need to be bombed into oblivion, just get killed in auto accidents. I was in a bad auto accident a couple years ago and I have NO phone with me. I just blacked out from a stroke. It too two years before they would let me drive again. That was a downer. In St. Louis I “let” Peggy do the driving while I drove on the Interstates–still having to watch with three eyes.


Lots of stuff going on in two weeks. The Friday night Pizza Night. The Saturday lectures on butt-kicking attacks, pastries, swap meet, video work on Saturday. The NDAs are still taking their time coming in. If they aren’t signed and returned you can’t watch Simon. I mentioned this months ago.