Kudos to Jenifer Gittrich! Today her husband Eric told me that he and his wife are coming to the Chess Festival for Feb. 16-18, 2018 in Bettendorf, Iowa! He wrote and said, I “thought somebody registering for the Chess festival might be a cool way to kick off your new year.”

Absolutely. It certainly pumped me up after one disappointment after another!

In the past week or two I have received 5 emails from people who have changed their minds about coming for all kinds of reasons (boss, company, their kids, wife, etc.). In some cases I was wondering “What the hell kind of companies are they working for?”

Years ago a fellow had signed up for Chess Festival 2 and he did come. 2 years later he asked for time off again (although I think he had vacation time coming) as we were having a major “hellzapoppin” event (GM Rowson, Prof. Smullyan, IMs Pein & Donaldson, Fisher (Michael), and Prof. Tykodi (the Purdy guru)) and his boss at Western Union said to him, “If you go, you will lose your job!” So he didn’t go and after the event was over, he lost his job anyway!! So it’s not just sexual harassment it is just power bullying. That is, don’t let another person have fun or they will “pay” for it. I’ve been thinking of writing a book titled, “HOW TO QUIT YOUR JOB!” I know a lot about that.

The point of this dissertation is to let you know that Simon IS coming, Andrew Martin is not (we couldn’t get enough people to sign up for him, and he didn’t want me to take a “bath.”) Andrew is considerate, a lot of people aren’t because in their own mind the JOB is up to me to figure a way out. AND BESIDES, a lot of people think (?) I have a lot of money anyway. (I have clearly no idea where they got that notion! Recently I heard a guy gasp on the phone when I told him how much I got from Social Security. He couldn’t believe it. That meant to me he had not yet reached 62 or 65!)

Talk Is Cheap!

THE IDEA about the Chess Festival came to me about 1997 as I wanted to do something for our fans and employees for their years of support in our chess business. I expected more than the 12-13 we got in 1998 when John Purdy and Frank Hutchings showed up along with GM Lubosh Kavalek, Allan Savage, and Jon Edwards. The ones who missed out on coming told me they would be at the next one, but, they didn’t come…hence the expression “Talk is cheap.”

So, the Chess Butler, is looking for Older and Newer fans to make this one because it will be the last one. When I said in 2010 that that year would be our last Chess Clinic, and, it was, we had 35 show up. The Chess Clinic and a Chess Festival are two different things. The Festival will have a GM and a clinic will have at least one IM. I’ve stuck with that premise but it is now unaffordable to do even that.

You wouldn’t believe all the paperwork that’s necessary to get Simon Williams to come here so for you who might be mad at him for him not making it, I would blame US Customs. For those who are mad at me, it wasn’t me. Read on.


We have some ladies coming! We’ve had a few in the past but this time, if their husband (SO) has a ticket, they get in FREE! So far Rawl Rutter’s Danielle will be coming. My Peggy is coming (with her Boutique of clothes, jewelry and chocolate chip cookies), Jenifer Gittrich will be here with Eric, and hopefully many others. It might cost you a car or plane ride, or a train (no AMTRAK!) Show her something she can do to accompany you if she is not all keyed up about chess. There IS something for her! And there is pizza on Friday night! There are pastries on Saturday. Kevin Schafer will be taking still photos on Sunday (you can bring a camera). These pictures may end up in a future issue of American Chess Magazine!!

Something for the gals

My first wife did more to encourage me and my business than any other. Now Peggy and my daughter are doing the same thing! Ya gotta love the right ladies. Bring yours, I mean it. Chances are I won’t be taking their $$$, Peggy will do that AND she gets to keep it! You can bring your own wallet (by the way, make sure YOUR credit card details are up-to-date as it makes everything go faster and more smoothly, and of course, cash is always accepted). Whenever Mercedes came with me we always had more fun than when it was just me. I remember one wife telling me she had more fun at CF #3 than anything else she had done! Powerful testimony.

We’ll have books, DVDs, specials and our SWAP MEET too.


Yes, we have a cold spell at the moment, a couple of inches of snow but this was nothing to what I had about 1990 when we were in Orlando, Florida. We parked at O’Hare in Chicago, and flew to Florida. I was there for a typographic conference and my SO spent her days at the pool and shopping. I had a lot of fun and she said she definitely had a lot of fun! It’s what you make it. We flew out of green Florida back to Chicago where snow covered our car! At first we couldn’t find that car. Yes, I will be there with Nate (my son) helping me out. Next week I will have lower back surgery, so if you guys come and buy me out, both Nate and myself will be grateful! Yahoo. And you will have terrific reading material.

I think we will have fun in Bettendorf, IA because that is not Davenport, but next door to Davenport. At my past Festivals we got few people from Davenport so I think that is a plus. Call the Ramada Inn at 563-355-7575 and ask for the Special Chess Rate of $62.50 per nite. Some have told me they plan to spend at least 3 nites in Bettendorf. Great, it will help pay for the Simul & Lecture Hall.


That’s my number. Almost always I have my cell phone with me so you can talk with me or leave a message and your phone number (don’t speak too fast please, I have a slow ear!) One thing I have discovered at these chess events is that a lot of folks want to speak with me too! Always glad to help. New things are always going on.

Over and out!

Watch for a new list of books which we will be having soon. Thanks friends.



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