I knew a guy in my class named Steve. Steve intimidated people, on purpose. I don’t know why, but I was afraid to play him chess. I didn’t think of myself as world class anything but I just had the feeling Steve would not be graceful about losing. Looking back I should have played him anyway, I might’ve learned something.
When I began learning about chess I just couldn’t find many opponents; a problem many have. I was in a Catholic grade school. I stayed at Steve’s house say an hour before Boy Scouts would start on Thursday night (my Mom’s idea, not mine!) His older sister Shirley was hot and with the “in group” and always had dates. She was a was few years older than we were. Steve’s Mom was nice to me and Steve’s Dad ran a dairy store.
I don’t know, really, what Steve had against me unless he was just plain and simple a mean bastard. In high school I was running the bases and when I was rounding third he hit me in the nuts. Dropped me like a bag of cement. Hurt like hell. I just stayed away from him.
LIKE A BAG OF CEMENT
Years later, many years later, I was in a small nightclub and who did I espy? Of course it would be Steve. We chatted, I asked him what he was doing (nothing earth shaking, but it was necessary. Typical guy talk.) No one brought up the HS incident. He was BMOC back then. Time seems to have a way of correcting stuff like that. Said he was “glad” to see me. Huh? All my life stuff was going on behind my back and usually I never knew anything about it. It’s like someone has a secret and everyone knows but you.
One of the frequent comments I got later, much later, is that I would have been a big success if I lived somewhere else, like Chicago, or New York. I don’t know about that! It still would have been me.
One of the things people would bring up about visiting was air transportation. For crying out loud we have an International Airport in Moline, IL and will have a shuttle bus. “You know Bob if you were in or near a bigger city, you’d have bigger numbers!” My friend Kari would also say that. And my reply was, “And I would have bigger expenses and bigger logistical issues.” Plus the people in Chicago wouldn’t have to fly and most of them don’t come to my events anyway even though Chicago is only 167 miles away!
THE INTIMACY STORIES
I prefer intimacy, and being around the people who spent their hard-earned to come to one of my deals. I remember the 2004 Chess Festival and GM Yermolinsky “holding court” in the Black Bear Lounge of the Lodge, a German styled 2-3 story hotel, big parking lot, towers on the corners, and a fireplace off in the corner. He was telling us about Botvinnik and how he would get in someone’s face, toe to toe, and basically control and take over the “space” while a story was going on. If you are lucky you will be privy to something like that in New York but at my events you might even be able to participate in such because I encourage my celebrity guests to “mingle” with the attendees, and, they do. You have NO idea how much this means to some people.
Hence, come to the Chess Renaissance (note name change) in August (18-20). Friday night will be a get together. A little drink, maybe some food. I am not a drinker myself but I enjoy the stories, the camaraderie too, and I mingle with my guests. Sarah liked that and I hoped they did too.
I can remember being at a big buffet place in 2000. Most of the guests were gravitating to Silman, maybe Ken Whyld and the like. I liked it that they would spread out. Gufeld was sitting by himself, the strongest player there and by himself! I felt sorry for him and sat down with him and THEN others started joining us. What didn’t I know about? Was Silman that exciting? Was Fast Eddie being blackballed for some reason? I knew he and Silman were not the greatest of friends but that’s all I knew. Anyway, I was a host and it was my job to make him feel wanted. Never had a problem with that. Ed (Eduard) was a hustler, maybe that scared some people. I was no longer scared of the unknown. I ran for class president in my freshman year in college and was soundly trounced by the more effervescent BMOC or the funnier guys (the type who would drink Aqua Velva because they had no liquor!) I remember nothing about the politics of that year. Turned out I was glad not to have been elected.
Over time, running my own business (several of them), any kinds of fear of the unknown left my system. I was bolder and became a pretty decent player, a publisher, a mail order guy, and in the meantime, my H.S. “friend” Steve had passed away, probably a heart attack.
WHIPPING IT OUT!
Sunday I whipped out my credit card and spent over $1K on a new program to enlighten chess players, but not written BY a chess player (that’s real marketing)! I’ll tell you in the coming months about it; I have a lot of things to do in the interim. My point is, I bellied up to the bar and invested. I saw a coming trend and I want to get more involved. In the meantime, look through our Christmas catalogs 1-2 and order things involving the Endgame (I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t boo or hiss, just not today). Same for #3 when it comes out. But that is nowhere near the whole story. I am looking for fascinating people. People who are no longer afraid. People who want to have fun, spend some money, and get involved with, becoming great again. (I stole that from Trump!) An idea was sparked by the Carlsen-Karyakin match. I told my friend Peggy about it and she lives, guess where, St. Louis!? Chess city. We even made it to the Chess Club.
I will be writing more emails and some on this Blog site. If you are afraid I might sell you something, don’t worry, you can always opt out Mr./Mrs. Scaredy Cat. I just have a problem nowadays with hanging around worriers because they never accomplish anything except worrying (but they have the art of “talking tough” down cold.) I got hurt pretty badly from my auto accident but it looks like soon I will be getting my driver’s license, so I can get around more which means, I can do more. I have friends encouraging me to create chess auctions (we’ll see). Maybe a source for products too.
I can get new books to Kingdom Come, review them, and get excited about them, but they seldom pay the bills because we’ve become a nation of non-active folks. It’s not just about going to tournaments. Heavens no. The number of people I have run into who were not even aware of a world chess championship even being seen on the internet blows my little mind. In Europe, countries of non-accomplishment for years, the numbers were huge. One person in five in Norway! The other 4 of the 5 were probably frozen!
There are lots of new books, even better than the ones of 30-40 years ago by a large margin. No one has to buy them all, that’s too unreasonable. You ought to see all the ones I have still to get to read. Of course I know where to look for them when I am ready to. Some of my chess abilities have returned. When I get a car, I will have a location picked out for the Chess Renaissance 2017 probably within a week! So keep reading here for more info (in other words, WATCH THIS SPACE). The price is a very affordable: $100, or $120 if you play in the Sunday Simul. In March it goes up to $150 ($175 to include simul)because we need the bread to start getting it all set up.
WHO will be the Major Domo?
Why Grandmaster Simon Williams of course. Funny, smart, and red haired! Plus this guy knows something about chess.
I encourage sign ups even as I write this. I learned of another sign up when looking at my emails this morning. See how easy that was? He wasn’t from Iowa but Michigan.
SNOW ON THE GROUND
Does snow on the ground JAZZ you? It does me. I am looking out of my office window and the snow is on the ground but the roads and sidewalks are clear. And, I am hungry. Every time I tell Peggy about a signup for the Chess Jamboree she squeals with delight and she knows nothing about chess! We have 6 signed up so far. Don’t worry about it being so far away on the calendar, before you know it, it will be here! Bring your camera.
NOT ONLY PILLSBURY SAYS IT BEST
Mr. Allan Savage said it best, as usual, those who have come to my Festivals know how much fun they had!! True. The others heard about and said they would make the next one. They didn’t. Easy promises. See the above paragraphs about fear, intimidation, the unknowns. Break out of that crapola, excuses have NEVER interested me. Invest in yourself, use a credit card if you have to, and by the way, bring one with you. Will have an abundance of more goodies than a candy shop–even the great ones in St. Louis, or Dubuque, IA, or even Davenport, IA. (My grandfather Orville and his buddy Joe Arnold had a fantastic candy business at Christmas time and Valentine’s Day.) See? Life doesn’t have to be so 1-Dimensional!! I’m already pretty sure where it’s going to be!
SIGN UP today. Send your check or credit card info to: Bob Long, 1524 LeClaire St., Davenport IA 52803.
As is common
Bob & Jack thank you.
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