Thanks for Scratching the Itch!

Yesterday quite a number of people made a suggestion or better yet, multiple suggestions about who they would like to have for a chess clinic chess guy of some stature. You who missed out can still vote. Read the blog if you haven’t already.


The books I really like on chess — I keep a copy for myself. Guess what… when I look into them for a lecture, years later, they are gone. Can’t find them at the remainder stores (I don’t usually bother looking at Amazon because the books are OP (out of print)).

I have two I suggest you get because they are unlikely to be reprinted. How do I know, because they are good! The good books make for great bathroom reading or sitting on the nightstand to be read. I picked off my shelf, the other day, Genius in Chess by GM Jonathan Levitt. The cover wasn’t that great but it was better than the usual. It originally sold for $19.50, and that was a bargain. Back then it took me a while to get into it to the point where I will read page after page. But, I will now, it is that good. By the way, Amazon has it fried at $5 and $45-46. Nothing in between! Get one.

Another Recommendation

Most chess books published by Batsford, Everyman Chess, and Quality Chess have lousy covers. They can’t help it. Besides being “cheap” these companies know nothing about design, all they think about is the chess. Ignoramuses to put it mildly. I remember Bob Rasmussen dropping me a line about the cover design of a book we published. He loved it. It was one of those “culture shock” things that only those in the so-called inner circle would get and he got it good. I can’t recall the cover at the moment without going into my living room and looking through the books we published, but I was pleased that he noticed what we were doing. GM Spraggett probably would never gotten it because he has naked women on the brain but still he criticizes Thinkers’ Press book covers for David Rudel. Rudel has sold literally tons of his own books that we publish. Being criticized by an “expert” at design is one thing, being criticized by inept amateurs who “think” they are experts is something else! We make our books to sell. That includes the covers. Even at this moment I have no idea of what the cover for the next Purdy book will look like or what will be on the cover of Chess Collisions. It doesn’t hurt that the content is good too.

One of the strangest covers we had on a book was done by a guy I didn’t even know but the author (Lawrence Totaro) knew him. Just the other day I accidentally ran across his stuff on the web! That book, Fisching for Forgeries or whatever it was called sold recently on eBay for some outrageous sum, like $300 I think it was because I know the guy who got it, a customer of ours. He was in a bidding contest with someone who wanted it almost as badly as Greg did. Real determination almost always wins out.

It’s Not About Bragging, It’s…

About interesting Facts and Truths. I am intending to write a series of Marketing Articles on things I have been involved with, mostly chess. One of them will be, How I Stopped Anatoly Karpov’s Clock Twice! Two separate stories (maybe three!). And they both happened in front of a chess audience! What I have noticed over and over is that people love a good story being retold and retold. The ones who don’t dismiss the theatrics as braggadocio don’t you know? That’s why the unknowns have more fun than the ones who vaguely know (of) me. It just rubs some people raw when I get a little publicity. I recall getting a letter, many years ago from a guy in Arizona (of all places, I didn’t know anyone in AZ at the time) who put me down about my networks, contacts, etc. until one day he was in Denver where I was a vendor with my son Nate. He started listening into my sales pitches, talks, whatever, and he came up to me and said, “I am sorry I didn’t believe you!” He didn’t really know me but he was exasperated (I think it’s called jealousy) that his little chess business had no good believable stories to tell and I did. But he didn’t realize that was not my fault that he had few customers and few stories to go with them. Never heard from him again. By the way he still didn’t purchase anything from me, then or since. Envy and jealousy are not kind things for our hearts to deal with.

Any of you have some good proposed titles for my stories? I am not going to use, How I Checkmated his Sorry Ass! Although it might sell. Send them on, make ME laugh. If you have more than one, the more the merrier.

By the way my buddy of almost 50 years, Life Master John Blackstone, sent me the following: Bengy and the Zipper. Hilarious. Go to:

Bob & Jack (he’s still only 2)

P.S. Some readers got annoyed with Cecil Purdy because occasionally he would have a story in Chess World about his son John. John was also an Australian chess champion and one heckuva tactician, and a really nice guy I was privileged to meet along with Frank Hutchings in 1998 at one of our Chess Festivals. It was a very memorable experience. Wish you had been there. We had 12 rocking’ attendees!! We actually had a meal at a river restaurant where they served ostrich meat! (Purdy was from Australia, never had eaten Ostrich! The city of Sydney had one of the largest chess club memberships in the world, over 500-600 members in the 30s!)

You want more stories? Suggestions? Contact me at:


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