SEARCHING FOR A SHARPIE IN ST. LOUIS

I should welcome myself back, it’s been a long while. 2-3 months maybe.

Let me know if you are getting this because… because I must not know what I am doing!

By that I mean, WordPress, like Facebook, and like everything else, keeps changing. If you are gone a month, you can come back (or try) and wonder what you have to do to log in, try to find out where it is, and once you do…the guts have changed too.

The terrorist groups have changed also into a bunch of bloodthirsty losers bent on world domination. These ninnies do not know their history. Alexander the Great wasn’t so great, even though he conquered almost everything. He had so many men who were starving that in the end nothing matter and he himself was whacked at 27 or 28 wasn’t he?

What has changed, for real, was what I saw in St. Louis at the Sinquefield Cup on Maryland Ave. Caruana is a real killer. Will he go 10-0? It could happen, but streaks like this against the “world’s best” are pretty much non-existent due to such things as “internal pressure.” However, Fabiano IS a humble man and boy can that take one far. It didn’t hurt that he made some great decisions too and train real hard (I keep emphasizing that, but it comes back to man’s “human nature” and tendencies, laziness).

I’ll put more in the September issue of “Bob’s News Letter.” By Gad it is only $20 per year. It’s nuts when I get an email from someone who says they are going to subscribe and I never hear hear from them. Why do they waste everyone’s time? I usually don’t know them, so it can’t be to impress me.

The Housing for the Grand Turk of Amritsar

Very recently I came into possession of two fantastic boxes to hold the prized set I sell, the Grand Turk. The set of 2 unique boxes was commissioned in March 2014. Now the signature set is done except for one thing: some additional ornamentation, which will take an additional 6 weeks according to the Quote Sheet received this morning. It will be worth it. Yes, it will.

Over the years I have seen a lot of boxes but none like this one. And it has a number of utilitarian reasons for its existence too, which I will enumerate (maybe) as we go along either on this Blog (Personally, I am not a big fan of blogs, just another chance (opportunity) for writers to sound off when they should be writing real content.) or in the emails I send out.

I miss writing “Your Morning Cup of Chess” but those people who piss and moan all the time about getting spam ruin it for the ones who didn’t mind getting them. I remember, years ago, sending out something and somehow (I didn’t even know the person nor did I get his name from any kind of list) he got something from me and you would think I stuck a razor blade in his pecker! He was going to report me, but me on a black list, etc., etc. All of us reading this know he was a self-indulgent narcissist playing with his computer instead of doing something important.

At any rate, I am waiting for more Grand Turks to come to me from India. I sold out about mid-August. I had one on display at the Iowa Open where I was working the vendor table. The crowd reactions were positive, perfect, and all day long. People even wanted to know if I sold the board too! (Not yet, but I think that is coming up!) Let’s face it, a thousand dollar chess set deserves more than a folding black and red cardboard mat to put it on. A Walgreen’s board as it were. One fellow wanted one. Let’s hope he follows through as I get more in stock. What slows me down besides the shipping time is that I actually inspect EACH piece and pawn. There are several reasons for that which will be saved for the upcoming brochure.

The “templates” for the boxes now exist as long as I and the woodworker exist. In his basement I have never seen so many tools AND he actually knows how to use them! I know, “what a concept.”

BY THE WAY

Do you have friends you like to impress? Do you show your latest win to someone against Master X? Do you like showing your spouse your latest acquisition just to convince them that not only are you a responsible person, but you really do know quality when faced with it. That is, you don’t jet right out to Wal-Mart to get the latest HDTV, or whatever. I still don’t own one, none of that kind of electronics holds their value, and as those who own plasma screens have found out, durability often sucks too. Smartphones are upgraded too often for my taste, but not to those who buy them. A really superb chess set holds its value. Note I wrote, “superb” as the keyword. Ever heard of “Harry’s” the new, hi-quality razor blade. I want to look into that. While in St. Louis I bought a 4-pack of cheapo razor blades since I was not cool enough to remember to bring my razor with me. Worst shave-of-my-life. Wouldn’t cut through the Barbasol lather until about the 6th time! My worst shaving experience ever including when I was 16 and knicking myself!

For more on “By the Way” I will add that I am working on “names” for the caskets (chess boxes). I have some nice ones on the table, but I want to tie it more closely to the sets themselves. I am working (mentally at the moment) on a world class brochure just like working on an unforgettable ornamentation for the boxes themselves. Just to get them started (that is, give me a QUOTE!!) required a $135 deposit to show I am serious. I will bet you $135 they have received numerous “gonna do this” jobs which never went through and the company kept the cash (I would) because there is a LOT of vapor in this world.

AND SPEAKING OF VAPOR 

NO, I haven’t forgotten the book “Among These Mates” which was supposed to be out by now. Because I’ve become a lousy typist on my keyboard these days, it went through 3 proofings. The stalwart helping me on this is Phil Wong. He found some omissions and just plain screw ups. I want our stuff to look as good as it can. Hence, like Apple, I held off until it became gem quality. It resulted in adding one additional page PLUS an advertisement for a Special C.J.S. Purdy item I have been dreaming about for at least a year. It is in the works too.

So, I’ve been a busy boy.

Also, I am working on a new black and white catalog of 2014 chess products to be sent to those who have requested one by mail since they do not have internet capabilities, for whatever reasons. Here’s the CHANGE: No Pictures. You might think this is a mistake but I am going to test it. McFarland sells books which have no dustjackets. I discussed this intensely, in person, with Robbie Franklin (McFarland’s president). Now he puts pictures on the covers of his paperbacks (he caved in other words). Did it improve sales? For paperbacks, probably.

I’m still working on the Nimzovich Defense book. In some cases I am tossing out games of my own which don’t show any strategy, or accuracy. Or just have moves which are offbase but I do want to show customers here is what you can run into and offer tips here and there about what to do about it. I just want to be honest with everybody. I did start playing the French primarily and results even went better and better, so I will tie that into the conversation.

In the meantime the AMONG THESE MATES book will be $35.00 and the NIMZOVICH DEFENSE will be $40 and a little more if you want the CD with it. I need to get all this nailed down. Just a lot of stuff going on. Would be nice to have the answers to life’s “little, and persistent, questions.” Stay with me and don’t stop purchasing books from my publishing competitors such as Quality Chess, MFarland, Batsford, Everyman and… what happened to Gambit? In with a flash, out with an eBook??? Incidentally, I am working on having old UPS-style pick up and delivery but through DHL. Anyone out there interested in faster delivery than MEDIA mail and willing to pay the extra? Would save me on trips to the post office, wasted time and gas.

Later guys… BOB

PS: Supposedly, in 2 more weeks (or sooner I hope) I will have enough Grand Turk pieces to make 5 more sets before the end of the year. Yes, the price is $995 for the pieces with the black leather bottoms, and $895.00 for the exact same pieces but with the green felted bottoms. The caskets you might want, to put them in, as yet, price is still unknown. It comes down to materials, lots of labor, template making, and some hardware plus the “brass” something or other secret which is still locked up in Fort Knox. If you want to lay claim to one, send a $200 non-refundable deposit for a set you are destined to love. Here’s what Joe Byrnes wrote me the other day after coming back from HIS stint in St. Louis: “I took another look at my Grand Turk set since I’ve been home. I like it more and more, every time I look at it. I’m really impressed by the weight of the pieces. They’re not overly heavy, very easy to move around the board.” [Ed. Note: They are double-weighted, the perfect weighting for a long-standing set and no need to ever buy another. I’ll tell you more in an upcoming brochure, even IF you like other styles too–which I do also, and I have one in mind that make my socks roll up and down–but currently, it’s not available. No one wants to make one for me and I KNOW why–tremendous amount of work! Among them, 5 (FIVE!) coats of shellac!]

 

OH YES, THE SHARPIE!

What a dope, almost forgot about the headline. Joe Byrnes and I were in St. Louis last week and he was looking for a black Sharpie to get autographs on his chessboard (I didn’t do that, lots of others did!) We couldn’t find one anywhere within a 6-10 block (or more radius, and bear in mind it was averaging 95 degrees every day!) Clothes shops, candy, restaurants and bars and places to hang out. Card shops, UPS, etc. no one had anything. Finally we found a Walgreen’s a mile away and he picked up 1-2 Sharpies, hence, the headline. Stay cool. Send me an order!

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One thought on “SEARCHING FOR A SHARPIE IN ST. LOUIS

  1. Hi Bob, Must have been pretty exciting in St. Louis, history in the making!? Thx, I obviously did get this posting! Regarding your newsletter, forgive me for asking, am I currently subscribed? I had sent you a little something before the summer for both your kitchen sink catalogs and, I think, your newsletter. If I owe you 20 bucks, I will send it through PayPal… Regards, Roger

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