Some are new, some are recent, and some we haven’t carried before.

They are all in issue #196 of Bob’s News Letter (BNL), a big fat one again, with photos are sparkling wooden sets photographed by a pro. Call it luck, the grace of God, whatever, but lately the chess books are disappearing like crazy. I run out or down to the last one. With the Christmas Season approaching (yes, it does come after Thanksgiving!) I am discovering which publishing companies are lackadaisical (that is, they don’t stay in touch, send out catalogs, etc.) The subscription price is $29.95 for 12 issues. Greg Delaney wrote last nite to say “Excellent! That newsletter is worth the price.”

So my advice is, get what you want while we have it.

I am putting off the grand exhibiting and brochure of a great chess set until 2016. Reason, limited responses and I don’t have the time to spend 1-2 days writing copy, putting in photographs, and so on, before Christmas, so will do it later.

Part of my sale job is to intrigue and interest people in chess sets. Funny and funkily, I do get to chess events now and again and there are some pretty poor examples of what passes for the Staunton pattern. How does that lift a player’s hopes for success? It doesn’t.

Last night my son Nate was over to help me clean up my living room. Before he came into work, I showed him something in a zebra-styled chess bag with the Chessco logo on it. I said, “Go ahead, look inside.” He started taking the wooden pieces out. Then slowly, as if oozing out of his mouth he said, “Wow, you found it!”

He asked me a couple weeks ago about a particular rosewood and boxwood set he used to see me play with at the chess club. I had won a lot of games with that set. He had asked, “Where is it?” In cleaning up the nooks and crannies of the living room, I found it. It was a copy of a style known in the 40-50s as the “Pinney.”

Mr. Pinney supplied a bunch of them (several dozen) to the Mechanics Club in San Francisco. It was an exceptional design. I wouldn’t part with mine, except for $500. All the guys who ogled it wanted it, but the true test was to name a price, and they all fell away. It was a set given to me by the late NM Harold Kehler who tutored Desi Arnaz in how to play chess. He gave me the set months (or so) before he passed away. Nate loves that set and I told him he could use it whenever he wanted to. And when I pass on to the great chessboard, he could have it if I haven’t sold it. So, it’s for sale.

If you want a picture, I can do that, send me a request. The ONLY reason I am willing to let it go is because I also own a Grand Turk set, which is even more beautiful (and twice as expensive). I am waiting for some more restocks on the Turk.

We only get to go around once on this planet except for the re-incarnation crowd. In daily email today, Ben Settle writes that despite protests to the contrary, “Price is seldom the issue for not getting something we would like to have.” I say “seldom” because there are hardcore cheapskates whereby FREE is too much if they would have to pay for S&H. He said he has seen customers not buy a product (I have seen this too) because of its price and then go buy a similar one which cost more from someone else! I’ve had some of these folks actually lie to me! Unbeknownst to them I had found out the truth from an alternate source.

Nate asked me about a “defective” piece and I said, “Yeah, there is a crack in the base of a white Knight. I showed him. He said, he liked the set so much he didn’t care. Same thing a friend named Roger Rudolph said when he was showing me ivory carved pieces from a set around 1775! A true collector. Get what you can afford, and upgrade later. That was how I built part of my library before I started selling off pieces of it.

If you want to see this wonder set, just let me know: info@chessbutler.com


Bob, great grandfather of my great grandson Jack (who is a little older than 1).



  1. BNL coming later this week? Getting your New Letter is better than getting the new Chess Life. opps did I say that? Never understood why they don’t pick up a copy of Chess UK and just steal the diagrams, the layout, the fonts, and be done with it. Esthetics in a magazine are of course secondary to the content but they sure run a close second. đŸ™‚

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