DATA is leaking out at an ever expanding clip on the Chess Festival.

Quite a few things were told in Chess Gazette #220. Since then two more have signed up, Mr. & Mrs. Geoff Goers from Texas. Mrs. Goers is an experienced programmer involved, among other things, in the daily handling of their rare books business (no, not chess). Geoff is an accomplished musician and guitarist. Somehow he has FOUND the time to register, get two t-shirts ordered, and find himself a place to stay at the Ramada Inn in Bettendorf, Iowa. As you can tell, Geoff is a go-getter.

Geoff heard the name GM Simon Williams and the first thing he thought was “I want to get my butt kicked by Simon Williams.” Whether it gets kicked or not, it will take place on Sunday, Noon or earlier (Aug. 20) and he will leave on Monday because in the evening we will be having a Question and Answering show. I remember doing this in 2002 with 55 registered guests in attendance and it was one of the most popular parts of the whole Festival experience.

I can imagine after a long day some will come for the Q&A and some won’t! The cost is $25 and I have to see if we can find a room for it. I know the room I am thinking of but I don’t know how many will sign up for the Q&A. (I think THAT room holds 12)vSome will go home that evening, others will stay another night and go back on Monday, as Simon himself will.

When I was in Chicago a few years ago for a Boot Camp on Marketing I was there for 2-3 nights at $140 per night plus the privilege of $20 parking (and what was the hotel doing while I was paying $140 a nite? Renovating! These hotels are ALWAYS renovating). While I was there by myself, it was an interesting experience even though there were quite a number of “ringers” in the audience (people who had taken this course before and had ready answers for everything–which of course, sucked). One of the main reasons I was there was to learn or determine how to create a USP for my business (USP=unique selling proposition, what some call a TAG LINE). Dave had to go through this phase too quickly (too much on the agenda). Some people were so ready for this, they must have prepared it in advance! I never did get my USP (see below, I need help!!!)

So the Q&A has some valuable points:

1) Maybe you have some “knotty” question about an opening (no variations please). Simon knows an inordinate number of openings/defenses and we did have fun talking about that last week.

2) He also knows what it is like when something goes wrong or an opponent catches you by surprise.

3) He’s BIG on Gambits for playing with your opponent’s head. Why aren’t more gambits played? I do not know, but I think some players are so materialistic they hate “losing” a pawn and have no plan for counter-attacking!

4) Or maybe he still recalls what it was like when he played Magnus Carlsen. In a tournament. And beat him.

I wouldn’t waste time in asking him HOW TO IMPROVE since that is what he was talking about on Saturday (Aug. 19).

Someone once said, “If you need something done, ask a busy person!” True isn’t it?

Speaking of which, others have remarked that “delegation is the key to success.” Also true, but often it has to be paid for, they call it STAFF. Kevin Schafer just dropped me a line this A.M. about doing Videography work for the Festival. Kev is an old friend and a video instructor at one of the local universities. Sometime this coming week we will get together and discuss the structure and essential points of when and where video will take place. This kind of thing is covered in some of the fees (and you thought all those extras were FREE!) Some of you may be “in the shot” as they say. So I will be mailing RELEASE forms in advance. We’ve done this before with no problems but I still wanted to let you know. While it’s unlikely someone will be a spy or on the lam, I just wanted to warn you in advance. Thanks for returning these in an envelope which will be provided, along with other pieces of valuable information (such as paying in advance for your T-shirt). See? There’s a hundred things to think of, so getting the word out in advance, is important. When you come to the event and pick up up your name tag lanyard we will make sure you have signed the RELEASE for photographic purposes. But if you do that in advance, it will prevent registration bottlenecks.


As I had mentioned above, I am still looking for a Unique Selling Proposition for my chess business and I am hoping you will be willing to help. You have a chess brain, I am sure you use it to think. My problem is I have too many facets to nail it down to one inclusive thing. Years ago I had a business which was named The Thinkers’ Emporium. These days everybody wants to have the word “think” in their name because they don’t want to have to do any thinking on their own. There’s that chess publishing business in Europe called Thinkers’ Publishing with a logo very similar to mine! How droll, uncreative, and uninspiring (we had already done it at Thinkers’ Press, inc.

While I was one of the first to notice it (we love our children) that didn’t make it any less painful. My friend Bob Dudley had his Chess Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) and then later came Seirawan’s International Chess Enterprises (ICE). Not very familiar with what was out there was he? Of course I had the name CHESSCO many moons ago and at least 2-3 others tried to copy it including the incomparable James Schroeder who liked to complain about what everyone else was doing (or not doing). Using a tagline such as “We will not be undersold” is ridiculous and probably not provable. When Dominos Pizza said, “30 minutes or it is FREE” it made the company’s owner a millionaire before others started using it. The USCF touts how they have the biggest inventory in the world but only because the person who write that has never heard of Niggemann. House of Station claims to have the most beautiful chess sets around but say nothing of the poorly designed ones put together by the owner! We have ONE set, the amazing Grand Turk, it’s hard to want or need another one, but, I am working on it.

If I have learned one thing over the years it is that there are a lot of interesting and creative people out there. Maybe you ARE one and just don’t realize that. I remember saying to my youngest, Nate, that I thought he was terribly creative and quick. He didn’t think so. Yet, I found out when he was in MI in the Army, whenever they were scheduled for maneuvers or anything else, they asked him to do the logistics because he could find some way to put 20 pounds into 10 pound bags and have stuff arrive in perfect condition. When I moved to Georgia in 2008 the 24 foot Ryder van was packed to the rafters. When I came back, I had to leave a lot of stuff behind (it’s called giving away a chunk of your personal library!)

When we were vendors in Denver he helped me sell a TON (almost literally) of merchandise. He didn’t even know he could sell but he knew the products and invariably  could siphon from customers what they needed! CEOs don’t (literally don’t) have the time for that.

Being pessimistic, if you really know me, is not my style, I am a realist. Pessimists don’t look for solutions, they have objections. If anyone out their in TV land comes up with a USP for the Chess Butler, I will send them $100 worth of chess books, their choice! For example, “The Chess Butler, we serve you in style!” Do we? Probably not or I would have fancy packaging, one day delivery, guys or gals in livery. Etc. One area I feel pretty confident about is “Knowledge and Experience.” The TV series called Selfridges (It’s on DVD now) was a brilliant expose of first rate customer service, having whatever you need, and service with a smile. Those are all kinds of clues. Will I get any takers? I’m doubtful. One of the problems with something like this is that the reward is not high enough, or so high no one thinks they have a chance (and in some cases they are right–such as the time I wrote a jingle for a women’s magazine at Trudy’s behest only to find the winner, for the same exact jingle was someone else! So, no trip for two to Las Vegas!

I know this can be done but I will have to think about the answers should I get any submissions because sometimes, on reflection, THE answer wasn’t really the answer,

How do I know it can be done? Simple. A month or more ago Lenny Cavallaro asked me for a title for the eBook of Persona Non Grata. That day or next I gave him Suspicion & Sabotage. He wasn’t sure, but it only took him a short while to go for it. I didn’t tell him right away that I paused, reflected, and asked God if he would give me a title. That’s what I got, in a matter of Minutes (there will be those who pooh pooh this but they do not know my relationship with God. And I gave him the credit. A week later Lenny called me and told me the title was perfect and then he unreeled some information about Korchnoi that fit in perfectly with that title! I haven’t even checked with Amazon to see if anyone wrote a review. Did anyone?

All I know is that USPs are possible and they help! Send one or two or three to me. I will decide if it is true and accurate. Clever is not nearly as strong as meaningful. Otherwise some might not get it.” I’m just reaching out to our fans.

$150 for the Simon Williams Chess Festival 2017. $20 for the simul. $25 for the T-shirts. $25 for the Q&A session on Sunday night. all at the Ramada Inn in Bettendorf, Iowa.

$100 worth of chess books we stock is you come up with a USP we can use, all rights revert to us. Be sure to include your list and address.

Bob & Jack


NEWS NOTE: In last night GM Michael Roiz’ The Nimzo-Indian Defence, another high quality chess Opening Repertoire book from Quality Chess. Part of their Grandmaster Repertoire series. $23.95. Add $3.95 for S&H. This is a small price to pay for studying an opening which is quick to set up, aggressive, and a payer of big dividends. Ask GM Tony Kosten if you don’t believe me. TNT in a bottle. It scares the crap out of players with the white pieces.


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