A long time ago I thought I had made up a worthwhile phrase: “If life was easy everyone would be doing it.” I’ve heard a number of people using that which tells me I most likely wasn’t the first. Aaargh.

30 or more years ago I thought I had made up the lingo for a business assistant when I referred to the position as “administrative assistant.” Since then I have seen it everywhere! Aaargh again.

In a 1939 issue of British Chess magazine I saw the phrase “Twilight Zone” being used so, sorry Rod (Serling) it’s been around a bit and I imagine that it was around before 1939. 

When Frederic Goudy (America’s premier type designer) saw some of his stuff being copied (assholes have been around for a long time!) he remarked, “Those old guys, they stole our best ideas.” The meaning there was that even Goudy would be inspired by the works of the old guys. To improve, change, etc. Nowadays the shortcut is a thing called “theft.”

Generally though, FG made his own stuff.


So…What am I Getting At?

Thinkers’ Press loves to do original work. Apparently some of my customers like it too as there was a big bunch of orders for the new book: C.J.S. Purdy’s Inside Look at What’sWrong with Your Chess?” But really, Purdy was the guy who wrote the pieces. Prof. Tykodi originally compiled it, and I redid a lot of the layout and “blunder checking” for this new edition which was taken from Volumes 2-3 of C.J.S. Purdy’s Fine Art of Chess Annotation & Other Thoughts or however I spelled it back then. Ralph came up with the title and I acceded because I was so busy back then; I never really cared for it. 

Recently another possible author submitted a book manuscript in which his title (I wish most authors wouldn’t come up with their own titles!) made it look like Ralph’s was a joy to work with! When I started discussing why shorter titles (in general) work better I could see an argument brewing. It’s called, by me, “Author’s Ego.” It was trash and while it was generally for newbies at chess I don’t think I could find ONE person, outside of his house, who wouldn’t toss their cookies. No joke. I even bet his Mom is wretching somewhere in Connecticut.


Anyway, the “newish” Purdy book went to the printer tonight. This time I asked for a proof, which I don’t usually do. Reason? There’s been some changes to the printer’s website and invariably these changes come from some English (or worse, journalism) major. It’s not spelling, or grammar it simply is the inability to communicate in good, logical, English. As time goes by someone must say something to them (I have tried) and things will improve, but in reality, they don’t know anything about designing forms (neither do most web designers). How do I know these things? I get newsletters from others and wow… I suspect some of these folks won’t be heard from again (as a business) in 6 months because everyone will have left them.

The reason I said “newish” is because mostly we have published the material before, in Vols. 2 and 3 of Purdy’s Fine Art, etc. But almost no one remembers it just like many don’t remember any of the games (including myself) in vols. 1-4 of the “Fine Art” series. So what I did was to bring all the material from 2 and 3 together for everyone (including moi) to re-digest and find out what is wrong with our chess because, there is something wrong with it or we would all be several classes higher than we are.

In fact, Purdy bets that 50 to 1, we don’t see combinations quickly enough and we waste too much time at the board trying to certify them! I think he is right. Funny thing though, someone thought the title of the book was “Combinations: 50 to 1 against.” Blew my mind.

If we don’t remember history we are doomed to repeat it someone once said. When I get letters from people I haven’t heard from in years, “history” of any kind as been forgotten…period. I am seriously beginning to question my sanity or ability to write clearly. Why do we need colleges when they are turning out idiots? Sure, there are always exceptions to the rule, but you wouldn’t think so. I am contemplating writing a book to my business colleagues about this. Not to be sold to customers because if they read a criticism of some dolt in it, some of them are thinking I am referring to THEM! Usually not! Not by a mile. The perp never thinks I am writing about them but people with “guilty” consciences are giving themselves too much credit.

But I do want to thank those who are purchasing it! Thank you.



This last couple promotions for this book taught me several valuable things. Not lessons but PROOF that I can market, though I was beginning to wonder. One fellow gave me a LOOOONG email loaded with WHY my promotions don’t sell! He must have a spy here. Problem? In my reply I wrote, “Will get back to you later about your comments because right now I am too busy filling orders!” I laughed at that one because he was telling me my promotions were too lengthy! True if one has ADHD! But long time marketers have known that long letters will not be read by anyone except those who really want to know the details. I covered this at length in my second SECRETS book. The other night I was re-reading through that book and was disappointed that it didn’t sell as well as the first one because in many ways the content was BETTER! I may have been trying to market it to the wrong audience because I was trying to market it to chess players who wanted to improve…! But, kudos for those who took a chance. One fellow bought #2 and took it to bed with him, and couldn’t stop reading it. He certainly was not helping himself on the “sleepy side!”

A couple years ago a chess journalist in the Netherlands was reading “The Chess Assassin’s Business Manual” in bed, and his wife poked him and said, “I want to read that when you are finished because I can’t imagine what is in there that prevents you from falling asleep so I can get some sleep!”

But with respect to that, I discovered something recently from a couple colleagues who had written similar pieces of work and people crabbed at them. It turns out they were jealous! Even an ex-wife told me that once. Never gave that any thought but some people don’t like someone else doing what they were once going to do (ha) but never got around to it! But, they didn’t want anyone else to do it either! It’s like the guy who has a beautiful wife but doesn’t want ANYONE else to even take a glimpse of her. He’s seriously insecure.

Anyway, enough for today. Now that the book has been sent out for a proof, I can work on getting YOUR orders together and shipped out. One fellow, from California, told me on the phone he had ordered something from me and was wondering when he would get it. (Some of these guys in California are extraordinary!) He mailed the order on a Tuesday and by Thursday was wondering if we had shipped? California is usually a 7 day letter zone and so is Seattle. 

Sometimes I just sit here, suck my thumb, and feel like the whole day has just been one “amazing” thing after another!

Cheers gents…Bob


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