I was 14, standing in a bunch of sand and prairie grass, in South Dakota.

There was no way to know I would publish chess books one day (once upon a time), IF, I made it that far!

I did move, slightly, my eyes, to see what Gramps was talking about.

He was talking about a rattlesnake, an adult one. I couldn’t tell if the snake was sunning itself or asking himself if he tasted just like chicken!

Luckily, as it turned out, I was glad to be wearing cowboy (Western) boots.

My knees didn’t knock but on the other hand I wasn’t running away either.

Gramps told me that when he gave the word (a little drama here) I should jump in the direction of X (probably UP!!)

There was no fooling around on my part. I wasn’t asking if it was a bar joke, or “Do I need a compass?” None of that stuff.

When he gave me the hi-sign I did what he told me, and he creamed the rattler’s head with a fencepost.

Sometimes it’s BEST to do what you are told!

Gramps was a cattle rancher. His face was leathery from the sun, his whiskers were Brillo pad tough. He was strong from not being afraid of work, and by George, I had the feeling he loved me, I was his first grandson. You can relate to that I hope.

It was a teachable moment. As much as I cared about and loved my late Father, grandpa helped me about business. He was successful as a truck driver, dairyman, farmer, restaurateur, and cattle rancher.

He liked having me along as a companion when we would get into his Chevy pickup and go check the windmills, look for broken fences, and check out the thousands of acres. He rented property refusing to own anything. That was one thing I should have considered years later when I bought my own building and then put a lot of $$$ into fixing it up. Then when you go to sell it, everyone’s nose is held high in the air. No sooner than I sold it and taken the sign down (tip: if you want to sell something, keep the price up for a couple months, and then make it disappear… people, like crazy, will call you!) and I must’ve received 6-7 phone calls, even from some lawyers looking for bigger offices! They were ALL procrastinators and yet, I’m sure, were still looking for a deal.

Today I am going to TELL you what to do about a book and a set of books

The book. I won’t hide the title, simply it is Lakdawala’s newest, Larsen move by move. Monstrously good. As a person Larsen was easy to like. He was a straight shooter. I do know this for sure as myself and 3-4 other people were standing around talking to him in Denver 1971, shortly after he took a beating from Fischer. He told us stories about Botvinnik and others, eminently fascinating. Like history in the making. YOU ARE THERE Walter Cronkite.

Lakdawala tells us personal things too, even how Larsen pissed him off. Larsen was, his own man. He played a move Kasparov ridiculed in his “Predecessors” book (about their game) and Larsen went on to draw. And Garry tells the reader that Larsen was “reckless!”

Basically, or fundamentally if you like that word better, Lakdawala is a superior writer. There are others in the “move by move” series, of course, but Lakda captures your funny bone, your curiosity, and he tests your analytical skills while at the same time remaining humorous and informative.

I just got a message this morning from Everyman Chess that my copies of this book have been shipped. I know, for certain that I will need more copies but what I am getting should hold the ones who pre-ordered it on my “wantlist” spread sheet.

Simply this: when I got my review copy a couple days ago, I didn’t immediately start pawing through it. I waited until evening. When it was time to hit the “rack” as we called it when I was in college (a long time ago) I piled up some pillows and had a go at it. I just kept reading. You will too. This guy, who didn’t wear a tie, will capture your senses.

Bronstein out Nimzos Larsen

In fact he “psyched out Houdini (the chess engine) too!” The outspoken Larsen could occasionally say things which might backfire against him–later on. If you want to take ONE THING to the bank it would be that Larsen, and possibly Lakdawala, would be a fabulous lecturer. Whether he demonstrated FAST versus REASONABLE speed, I do not know. But if you had the time and calculating power to follow him in a classroom, he would be stupendous.

The book almost runs 500 pages (487 to be exact). 59 annotated games I count. If you are a Chess Butler buyer the price is $25.50. If you are a Gold Card buyer the price is $22.50. (By the way, since I’ve been asked, the new Gold Card for 2015 will be $55, the first price rise, in seven years.) I am taking the 2015 Morphy Gold Card orders, today, for $55.00. This also entitles you to ONE free S&H order for 2015. You can do the FREE thing for ONE book but economically it would make more sense if you waited to do it with an armload of books, wouldn’t it?) Definition of Armload: Say 4-6 books! Otherwise if you get only this one, the S&H will be $5.50 (it’s a big boy).

One more thing about Larsen, if your stomach or heart can take it, you will notice how he gets the car revved to a high-speed and then tackles complications you might be afraid of even if you were ringed with a bunch of mercenaries to protect you and your soul! In other words, he played exciting chess, like they did in the olden days because he had nerves, nerves, and more nerves. In Fischer he found another cold-blooded rattlesnake with no “grandpa” near by. Fischer had all the nerves part, he was also accurate as could be.


I’ve been working diligently (Defn: diligently: “busting my ass.”) on the magazine catalog, this time it’s FREE. But you have to ask for it. Why do I do that? BECAUSE I can’t read your mind, and neither can your wife (most likely). It also means, YOU are a person of action if you do something about it right now.

The catalog is only about half done. My very good friend Bob Woodworth told me about an eBay auction the other day where a set of 8 volumes of Chess Digest went for $1,295.00. I have two sets, one in hardbound and one in paper. So, I am raising my price for those but less than the eBay price simply because in auctions some people want something so badly they pay more than any reasonable person would, but, IT depends!!!

For example, a couple years ago a set of Purdy’s writings went for about $2700. I have sold various items (Chess World, and Check) for much less and the action was REALLY slow. “Why?” you might ask. The simple answer is the buyer decided to DO without. He (she) could’ve gotten a bank loan, used their credit card, plunked down (with a THUMP) the cash, nut NOPE, they are hoping someone else comes along at a later time and they can pick the books up for $300-$500. What do you think of folks like that?

So, the catalog should be finished in about a week and it will be emailed. If you did buy from the BITS & PIECES catalog (also free) you will automatically receive this one. I haven’t completely checked yet, but I might have 1-12 of Chess Digest in unbound condition; I found more this morning! It might be from my personal collection and if that is the case, I will give you a good price, I am not greedy, wealthy or sitting on sacks of Scrooge McDuck coins.

So pardner, that’s it for today. I am expecting and hoping for a busy JANUARY. In January I will be giving a layout for the New Year 2015, so stick with us, I expect you won’t be disappointed. In fact, I am sure of it.


1) I have been writing personal notes in my recent sendings, especially if I haven’t heard from you in a while. If you remember Rita, and many do, you probably liked her personal touch. I’m all for that myself. But I also like to get down to business and if you never or seldom, purchase anything, I think a Quid Pro Quo is reasonable don’t you? Ken Smith of Chess Digest was a nice enough guy but his magazine was not profitable. People would call him up and chat with him and it would cost him in time and manpower. Some could not appreciate that. Those people weren’t customers they were what we call “Time Vampires.” Fortunately, I guess, over the years I have lost most of those people. If however you need to speak to me, and you intend on fattening your library, give me a call at 563-271-6657. Soon I will tell you more. Got some great stories coming up for this Blog or better yet, my NewsLetter (by the way that will be going for $29.95 a year after February.)

My phone CAN commence ringing in a couple minutes!

2) INVESTMENT. Most of you don’t know that I sold stamps to collectors years ago from about age 14 to 33. In my whole life it sounds as though I never had enough to do! Besides selling US, Canadian, and Australian stamps, I had a pretty big clientele (people like you) who bought “Chess on Stamps” from me. One collector, who is still a lifelong friend, was very fortunate. He bought complete sheets of chess stamps from me when I was able to procure them. What has this to do with you?

The question could be, “Did he buy them as an investment?” Yes he did, and so far as I know he never sold them!” That goes as far back as 1978. Oh he got some good stuff!!! I am going to advise him to sell his stock of philatelic chess items. Not to me (I don’t collect, just sell) but to those who might be interested. He was always kind of laid back and didn’t worry much yet he was a first class chess master. We used to have hour long conversations. Still do now and then.

Chess on stamps contain some of the most beautiful designs, engravings, and photography you have EVER seen. There is even a new stamp out in a presentation pack about Carlsen, winning the World’s Chess Championship in 2013. I ordered 10 sets of them. The vendor, went “underground!” I often wonder how these people succeed. If you are interested, let me know, I will be contacting them again. This was a very big deal and I have seen them, and WOW! I can’t give you a price yet but if you want to know more, I will re-check. And, should you start an interest in this subject, let me know. I have more inventory than anyone else in the world. If you play your cards right (and have access to $$$) you could be IN CHARGE in your own little sideline business and I could help you get started quickly. Done right (and I made money in those days) you could have fun and access to about $35,000 worth of inventory. Give me a ring (and please in this instance, looking for serious people only). 563-271-6657.

I helped another fellow get started 10 years ago in his own chess book and hardware business and sold him inventory and added a brochure (75 pages) for a total of $25,000. As you can see, I don’t kid around. He’s still selling and he still enjoys it on the weekends. Never gave much thought to being a business broker, but perhaps I should have. If you don’t know me there is no time like the present. I am not afraid of competition and that can be advantageous for you because I can show you how to do it smartly, IF, you listen to me, just like I did to my grandpa and I am still around to relate the story! People who do business with me? I love to see them succeed.

Thanks ladies and gents.


the 25/8 Chess Guy




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