Have You Ever Sacked Your Queen?

Don’t mean a trivial back row mate or anything like that. Although even that would mean you were paying attention.

I saw my friend Tom Moore, a big time master in Wisconsin, sack his Queen in what appeared to be a hopeless situation for him. But it was sound as Norwegian currency (Krone). He just happened to notice it worked, in spades and the game was reprinted in about a dozen different publications including Chess Informant.

The feeling was like, almost to say, Tom was really snapping his suspenders. Tom was one of my best tournament circuit spenders. He would come to my room on Friday night for advance buying, with books in boxes, even laid out on the bed. He paid then and there none of this “Hold these for me, I am expecting to win money when the 5th round is over!” (That often didn’t happen.)

I know what the feeling was like, almost (in my instance it was an offhand game with a “friend.” Not a rated tournament game.)

My buddy couldn’t resist counting chickens before they hatched. He would put that dorky grin on his face when he was sure he had me. One evening I was in a tough situation and my brain was scrambling for ideas, I was in trouble. He played his move and gave me that s— eating grin of his! All of a sudden my head woke up but I didn’t let on, I was calculating. What if I was wrong? I sacked my Queen, and he pondered for all of 2 seconds before snapping it up and off the board.

The combination was not a two mover. So I reeled it out and he finally saw what was coming. Wished I had recorded it, but it was an evening of annihilation.

Sure felt good. As Flip Wilson had said, “When You’re hot you’re hot…” (Jerry Reed recorded the song.)

What’s Next Julius?

Naturally it is a book. To me the book is saving your hind end when you are desperate. Probably no one was better at this than Genrikh Chepukaitis. The guy was a master at pulling his games out of the fire. He didn’t overlook tricks nor was he afraid of playing them. He was as good as Tal at this! And a rated master.

It finally occurred to me, one evening, this book is perfect for people who want to see more and do more as well as fatten their rating. Former World FIDE Champion Alexander Khalifman called “Chip” a true master at blitz.

It’s kind of weird but true that often one can see more in a few seconds than if they had minutes! I am not sure why this is so, but it happens to me and I am no savant by any means.

This book is back in stock and I am recommending it to LOWER RATED players as a fun way to get more out of chess including wins and they are liking it! Along with it I was selling the Sveshnikov’s A Chess Opening Repertoire for Blitz and Rapid. The sad news today is that I sold out of this book and won’t be getting more for 7-10 days.

In the meantime I have Winning at Blitz, A Fun Guide to Blitz Chess. He writes, “Nobody knows how to play blunder free chess.”

The book is 108 pages and a cheap $16.00! Add $4 for shipping. You’ll laugh, you’ll wince, you will win more games because he has specific setups and routines which seem to work over and over against even the Dutch and other “sins” of chess. Get good, get even.

I have 7 copies left.


Yesterday a small raft of books arrived from McFarland including new and old. Here’s a QUICK rundown for collectors, those who like history, and some who want to save some money on their collection.

Vera Menchik by Robert Tanner. The chick from Czeckoslovakia. First Women’s Chess Champion, 350 games (most are annotated). List of prominent male “losers” to her were: Mieses (she beat him in their  10 game match! 6.5-3.5); Thomas, L. Steiner, Opocensky, Reshevsky (!), Alexander (at least twice!), Mir Sultan Khan, Euwe (twice,!), Golombek, Winter, Yates, and Saemisch. She had draws against many established and strong players but she couldn’t do anything with Alekhine. Those two met in many more tournaments than I would have thought and in one picture she is sitting right next to the champ! She did a lot for women’s chess, more than most of us know and you will look at that brand of the game much differently from now on. Some info at the back on the Polgars. Tanner has done an excellent job in these 317 pages, hardbound. There are many more games waiting to be discovered and she did give simuls! $44.95 + $5.50 for S&H.

The next one is Hans Renette’s H.E. Bird.

Hardcover, 1,118 games, 595 pages. Also from McFarland with a foreword by Richard Forster. Full of games, anecdotes, issues and such but I don’t recall ever finding out who were the kind souls who took down the scores and had the games published in magazines, newspapers, and such, but except for the reporters in the “crowds” someone must have been interested in keeping things straight.

I like all the desiderata. Don’t you? A shilling a game, or a cup of coffee.

Bird was known as a fast and capable player. Chess players also were often known to be poor and were constantly hustling. I know what that is like, the next publication, the next piece of art, or cartoon. If someone asked me what I bring to the table I would have to answer, stories.

This tome offers lots of stories and a boatload of games. Bird was an irascible guy. He was familiar with the ‘upper class’, the established patrons because a goodly number of them wanted to match their wits with Bird’s but of course they didn’t have the experience! But, while Bird felt he was no match for Lasker or Steinitz, and his results against them proved that, he didn’t feel inferior to them in rapid play. But, maybe that was wishful thinking.

I was amazed at how many contests there were between Bird and Blackburne. This large volume is like the Blackburne book by Harding: detailed, an emphasis in trying to include every known game, lots of photos from various sources but in Bird’s case, many from the J.G. White collection in Cleveland.

 Being interested in Paul Morphy (the lecture on Morphy on YouTube by GM Ben Finegold is hilarious as he talks to his students about how and why Morphy developed his pieces to maximum effect) it was noted that Morphy blew Bird off of the proverbial map. Finegold was convinced he would have done the same with Steinitz, and in some ways Finegold makes some great points. Morphy was less interested in pawns than he was the opponent’s King. This book is sold by us for $67.50 + $8.00 for S&H.

I’ve read chunks of these books and I have to regard Bird as a wheeler – dealer. Not one to think overmuch about his losses especially to guys like Morphy, but hopeful to meet them again at another time. I could find no games against Staunton.

Another spectacular book from MacFarland, what a stable of writers and historians.

If you want to get Blackburne & Bird together, send us $135.00 + S&H (includes insurance) of $12.00. It’s a bargain for months of enjoyment and knockdown and drag out games with hundreds of interesting notes. Usually I try to keep one set on hand.


Friday night I will be involved in a sleep study to find out how my heart is doing as a result of my accident. I’ll tell you, it’s always something. So I will tell you about some McFarland books I just got in and you can place “dibs” on them. I will just list the titles and price and then I will hit the old sackeroonie.

Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games 1902-1946 by Skinner & Verhoeven. 807 letter-sized pages. Hardbound (beautiful). 2,543 games. Just about ever kind of item is indexed at the back of the book. It was $125 but the price was dropped to $95. With our MacFarland discount the price has been reduced to $85.50. Please add $12.00 for S&H and insurance.

 Chess World Championships 1834-2004, 3rd edition. 2 vols. in paperback by James Gelo. A herculean job. 897 pages, 6 new chapters, 1,375 diagrams and no doubt as many games. $44.95 + $6.95 for S&H. All the goodies including FIDE events.

A number of upcoming books will be featured in the Nov. 15th edition of the Chess Gazette which is free for your name and email address. First edition, #210, was 16 pages. No sales so far. I ask myself in my nightmares, how long will I be able to continue doing this. This is what I meant when I wrote: “If something is FREE, there often is no perceived value. Read the information, look at the price and buy the item somewhere else.” Some think that happened to Borders books, but that wasn’t the reason they folded. MBAs and people who knew nothing about their product (primarily books) was the reason. Booksellers are different from every other kind of seller because most good booksellers are passionate about books, truly passionate.

Bob & Jack



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