Two things today, I hope you can help out.

  1. What is the best (?) commercially available chess engine? Looking also for expertise in the endgame. I see Komodo 10 is now available. I bought K8 and it seemed like within months Komodo 9 was available. I felt screwed. I see Houdini 5 is now here. I liked Houdini 4, but this is supposed to be 200 Elo better–in what areas? What is the Elo now, they seem to skip over that part! Fritz 5 is now here and the author was the guy who worked on and created Rybka but was later “discredited because he used some code from someone else.” The world is so judgmental, especially when it comes to, ANYTHING!! I can’t afford to buy at this moment, another PC, so is that a consideration? I have two very specific projects on my mind, one is about the endgame.
  2. Years ago IM Jeremy Silman was writing for “Chess Life.” In one article he wrote that he discovered he had been pre-empted in his teaching techniques by a guy named C.J.S. Purdy. That was a nice revelation because Purdy was self-taught and self-read. I wrote Jeremy to see if he could remember when and where that article was because it would be handy advertising for a new Purdy project I am embarking on. He didn’t even remember doing that. Hard to for me to believe. But maybe someone else remembers. Silman had discovered that all of his nice teaching ideas and tricks had precursors in Purdy, that guy from Australia. He seemed slightly embarrassed by that. Whoever can find me this information will get a FREE copy of the book I am working on and credit for digging up the reference. Two of my able helpers have been Bob Woodworth and Greg Delaney but while they are still eligible, it would be cool if we had some additional researchers out there, especially since this information was in English!

Yesterday, I got in some more books that I recommended in Christmas Catalog #2. Black is Back! is a fine one. Endgame Play by Aagaard was another. I don’t think I have offered that one before. Retails for $29.95, but I will sell you one for $23.95 + $5 for S&H in the USA. It looks very, very good. Mostly simplified endings (which may still task you). That is, a few pieces, some pawns.

Then, the crown jewels from the Soviet Chess Classics. Pick up your catalog and see what was written about these gems. The book I liked the absolute best was The Soviet Chess Primer (pronounced: prim-mer). One lifelong expert, maybe a master at one time, ordered it from my catalog, immediately, and he is a coach. If I had this book (even now) many years ago, I would have gone beyond expert to master within a year. It’s that good.

And finally, a very good book by GM Mihail Marin. The 10th anniversary edition of his Legends book, Chess Champions at their best. It includes Carlsen. This chapter is particularly remarkable because the first opponent analyzed was Sergei Karjakin! Many, many pages before Carlsen won (however many pages you think it might have been, multiply that by 2 or 3!) It’s a very nice hardbound with nearly 500 pages and only a $34.95 price tag. Tell you what. I’ll sell you one at $29.95 or a different one with a bumped corner on the cover for $26.95. Add $5 for S&H. Great caricatures, biographies and Marin’s personal story as a fan of these champions. Similar to Timman’s Titans but maybe just a little bit better.


The name has been changed, it was Jamboree. I was never fond of jamboree because it sounded like a hoe-down of circus performers. But when I was talking to Sandy yesterday about where I wanted to have my event, I mentioned Chess Renaissance, and from formerly being an Account Exec years ago, she said, “That’s It! That’s the one I would choose!” I thought it over and said to myself, “She’s exactly right!” So I have a pretty good idea where it’s going to be. It will have a shuttle between the airport and the HQ too! All I need to do is talk with her about the numbers and I think we have a done deal. It will also include a SWAP MEET which seems to have some people engaged already. Soon I will put out a full blown brochure on what we are going to do. But, you don’t have to wait. It will have room for about 40 people. It’s $100 right now and will be $150 on March 15th. Add another $20 (right now) for the simul, or $25 for the simul AFTER March 15th. Of course the highlight will be GM Simon Williams. He’ll learn you some chess! Make it east on yourself by registering now! I should know in a couple weeks the name of the place (it is being changed). I’m truly excited. How do I know? We spent about an hour or more on the phone talking (it IS about who you know!!) about people we knew in the “olden” days when I was in the typesetting business and she was an account exec. One of her daughters goes to St. Louis University and she is dating a chess “world champion” (aren’t they all?) Good times. Become a researcher, dig chess, it’s NEVER later than you think.

Bob & Jack


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