In the coming week I will be able to send out all due Chess Festival T-shirts!

I had some who wanted to order them, but too late. Already paid for, printed, and picked up by me. It was a really snazzy design, and the material and printing quality was waaay good. On a par with the Bobby Fischer t-shirt of which I have only one left (they were ordered by guess and by golly, not a good way to go. Size if L ($25+ $8.95 for first class mail).

If we are able to get a re-boot of the Chess Festival and can get at least 18 more ordered, we may reprint.

2) Second piece of good news: I heard from Simon Williams today. He took  a little recuperation time off. Sometime this week we will discuss, via SKYPE about trying this one more time. I have some additional ideas which we think will make this work but we will need help from you, but, how can it not be worth it? I am considering writing a letter to the Washington Post and/or the New York Times. How Mr. Williams was dishonored by  another “Washington” outrage.

In the meantime I am going to eat a little popcorn, work on my Sales tax for the previous quarter, and watch DARK ALIBI, what looks to be a great Charlie Chan movie.

By the way, I want to issue a special sales list for all the items we intended to sell at the Chess Festival, with a full 35% off. If you are not a regular buyer, let me know and I will put you on our sales list.

As you may have guessed, it’s been maddening around here.

Also, Christmas, unfortunately, is not many months down the road. You, your friends, and chess players could clean up on the book and DVD sale. Them that responds first avoids the possibility of something you might want or could use, being told, SORRY, out of stock!

Ideas? Send them on.


Bob Long



THERE was a fiasco in trying to get Simon Williams to Bettendorf, IA. US Customs officials, in Detroit, prevented the GingerGM from coming to Moline, IL. He was escorted back to his seat on the return flight to England, by two armed guards.

Isn’t this seriously over the top? Of course it is.

Everyone was shocked. There was no real GOOD reason for these high-handed tactics. Isn’t this the part in a DVD drama where someone says, “Aren’t you supposed to be out catching the killer or crooks?”


I am sick of explaining what I know happened and mentioning the fact that it was all unnecessary! Period. So, I will let Simon, from his YouTube channel, explain it! This was forwarded to me by Chess Festival registrant Mike Vuolo:

By the way, afterwards, he plays a very exciting game at Dundee against McNab, a Scottish GM. I was a student of the English Defense and surely could have used this information back then. Lots of drama. Perfection. Simon really shows how a GM thinks!

I have to get back to another listing, this time about books on Magic, which I am disposing of.

I’ve also ordered polyethylene bags to mail shirts in first class to those who ordered them. I am picking up the tab for this. It is all numbing.

All of us really missed out on what would have been a great time didn’t we? Let’s see what can be done now.

A chess list of goodies that were to be for sale at the Chess Festival will be out shortly.

Next up? Hopefully. The RED PHOENIX. Details soon.


What Stephen King Said About Chess…

As far as I know, Steve (as he calls himself) hasn’t said anything about chess!

But I’ve been reading Stephen King On Writing. I read 51 pages the other night before turning out the light. Last night it went another 50+ pages.

This morning, before my shower, I read his comment on books and why he loves them:

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

So are all the different kinds of chess books.

I have them in both bathrooms. By my nightstand. My desk. The “living room.” My office floor. I seldom get my ideas from them but they do nourish my brain.

This weekend I will have lots of books to sell. I invite you to pick some up, even if only for the good of YOUR life. My Mom and Dad were big readers. So were my sisters and brothers. Adventures never quit. With chess it is even more than that.

My best friend Peggy is an avid reader and sometimes has trouble falling asleep.

King’s book on writing parallels what I know about writing for myself.

If one is into marketing it is really helpful to read everything you can, but to not force read. If it is not good, entertaining, or useful, there are always alternatives.

What I have found particularly missing from my life is good, chess fiction. I could read all of them in less than a day and then, where would I be?

Good chess players must have something good inside them, so why don’t they write?

My guess is they have a bunch of different reasons, almost none of them any good. King did some of his beginning writings (I have never read even one Stephen King book, my sister Rita has read a lot of them) at odd times and places.

Too many do not want to be inconvenienced. Buying a ticket requires having to do something. Packing requires doing something. How much money should I bring requires thinking! Good god, how lazy can we be?

I do a lot of things I would rather not do! That’s where I am different from some. I will be printing extra non-disclosure agreements for the Chess Festival because I know human nature too well.

We do, minimally, what we have to do, in order to pay for other stuff. Chess books, like most other things, are not necessary to live but they can be a GOOD habit which makes life more bearable.

An example.

The other day I wrote a note to Simon Williams congratulating him on reaching 20,000 subscribers on YouTube! I didn’t have to but it was a good thing to do! That’s worthwhile. He wrote back and thanked me. While he was at it, he dreamed about someday soon reaching 100,000 people. Would one of them be you? (I now am one.)

But, in addition, he wanted to know if it was OK to change some of the topics he would be talking about this Saturday. They were great and engaging and I gave him the go ahead! These are new and better than ever but when he and I first started this journey, many months ago, we came up with:

“Was thinking about changing two of the titles for lectures. So:

3) The lazy way to become an attacking Grandmaster. (Going to show simple patterns of attack. An opening that leads into a middlegame attack). Simple patterns, who can’t use that?

to – Hacking with the London System! (I know you mentioned that a lot of people would like this topic)


4) Jumping into your opponents mind. (Showing examples of how important it is to think about your opponent’s ideas). Getting into a customer’s mind is important, so it is when it comes to chess.

When computers get it wrong! (This could be a lot of fun, get the crowd involved with some funny positions.)

Ok, still got a fair bit to prepare for when I leave. Will get these titles done, unless you mention otherwise.”



Maybe, just maybe, you will change your mind at the last minute and come.

a. Don’t worry about the money. Did you worry about the money when you spent money on some damn foolish thing?

b. Don’t worry about your family. They should be there when you get back unless you want to bring them (someone at the Ramada last week told me we had 60 nights taken. Total B.S. Turns out it was 30-35. I need 60 to break even. I know, yes, you most likely don’t care about that.

c. Don’t worry about how to get here. Worrying is bad for your health. I had to learn to stop that too.

d. In the end, just have a GREAT time. It is being videoed so you can relive it at a later time.

Do something!!!!! Anyone can say NO. That’s easy.

Get in for $125.00. Skip Friday and Sunday. See and hear the lectures on Saturday. There, see? I just opened up 2 more days for you, you get one day of FUN CHESS, HILARIOUS CHESS with Simon, at a big discount. Only need one night’s stay at the Ramada.

Just went from IMPOSSIBLE to, HOLY COW WOW!







AT THE CHESS BUTLER we live (or die) by putting our Thinking Caps on and dealing with those who get our Chess Gazette but for whatever reason will not be coming to the Chess Festival in two weeks. Truly a pity because it just about is all I think of.

I will be gathering names and email addresses to send to those who get the Chess Gazette and who I believe might still be interested in getting some great books, new, and recent. All will have at least 20% discounts and some, even more !!!

Lots of signed NDAs have started coming in and I thank you. It’s important.

Everything is here for the event except the score sheets for the simul. They will be here next week. They will be carbonless so that you can retain a copy and the Chess Butler will have a copy. I have to review them and send some samples to the American Chess Magazine for an upcoming issue. If for some “sketchy” reason you don’t want your games broadcasted just tell me that and those will not be sent to ACM. But consider being brave. Maybe making your scoresheet accessible will make you play better.

Because it is no-carbon required you will need to press a little harder on the top sheet. I know all this should be obvious but I have been in business for such a long time I can tell you right now, NOTHING IS OBVIOUS to some people. I don’t know why but that is the way it is. I will be toting up all those who have contacted me and letting the rest know that they have not escaped my clutches. This is called, “What a waste of time!”

If there is anything else you want to know, just drop me a line soon. I will be contacting the non attenders in a day or two.




Just got back this evening. Things to report about the Sinquefield. Good things and not-so-good things but they will be in the last Chess Gazette before the Simon Williams Chess Festival in a mere two weeks!!!


The Shock & Awe Playbook of Simon Williams’ games are here. We ordered 100 of them. About 40 will go FREE to those who paid to register at the Festival. Simon will be given some to take back to England and his fans.

We will have some to sell to the US troops of chess fans. $29.95 each, postage paid.  We may have a few autographed by Simon for his non attending fans. $39.95 for those, something Amazon won’t have.

The t-shirts are here and I have worn one to St. Louis.

If you have a camera and it makes a ping every time you take a picture, or about every time, they will put a “hex” on it and tell you to check it in because nothing should disturb the players even if their clacking shoes as they walk back and forth on an uncarpeted floor does! Different arrangement of tables than I last saw. I couldn’t, therefore, get photos of everyone.

The thing to see is the Chess Hall of Fame.

As is usual in August the heat was bad news outside.

The autograph signing session was downtown. I couldn’t find it on the website because it was hidden under layers of the website, always a terrible idea. My friend Peggy, who has lived in St. Louis her whole life said the idea of holding it in downtown St. Louis was a bad idea…we didn’t go there and it was in the evening. More in the Gazette.

The next issue of the Gazette will come out before the Festival. I may have some things to sell (and might run out of) before the Festival. Books sales have been almost non existent in the past 2 months. I don’t know if people are waiting to purchase at the Festival or what but that is not a good idea, especially for those who aren’t coming. I can’t guarantee I will have what you might want, no one could!


I HAVE BEEN TOLD that Gelfand’s second book will be here in a few days. Hardcover. To answer questions I have been asked: this is his newest book, the second one about DYNAMIC CHESS not the first one which is about POSITIONAL CHESS and was released last year! There will be a paperback version too but I don’t know when my suppliers will have it. What’s frustrating is that all of this stuff is written in the CHESS GAZETTE but some do NOT read the details in CG and then ask me about them. Is it too much work to read it correctly the first time? Are people only reading about it on their phone and then only in SKIMMED form? I was driving down the Interstate in St. Louis and a guy next to me was reading something on his phone and looking up every so often to make sure he didn’t run into the car in front of him. Can you really imagine that? You know it is an accident just waiting to happen. I have little faith in the continuance of civilization. We don’t need to be bombed into oblivion, just get killed in auto accidents. I was in a bad auto accident a couple years ago and I have NO phone with me. I just blacked out from a stroke. It too two years before they would let me drive again. That was a downer. In St. Louis I “let” Peggy do the driving while I drove on the Interstates–still having to watch with three eyes.


Lots of stuff going on in two weeks. The Friday night Pizza Night. The Saturday lectures on butt-kicking attacks, pastries, swap meet, video work on Saturday. The NDAs are still taking their time coming in. If they aren’t signed and returned you can’t watch Simon. I mentioned this months ago.


As you have seen, probably, the Chess Butler (Bob Long) has bombarded everyone senseless in attempts to give people a chance to make it to the Simon Williams presentation at the Fifth Chess Festival.

Now There May Be One More Reason to Come!

I was just asked if I would like to have coverage in an upcoming issue of American Chess Magazine of the Simon Williams’ event. OF COURSE, even though it will be too late to do us any immediate good except through this Blog and my own mailings. They asked for the background story (which is, I wanted someone big and entertaining), photos of the simul, which Kevin Schafer will provide, and some game scores of the simul (some folks like games).

Of course I can’t guarantee anything except it will cost you $220 to register for the event and the simul, there is always that chance you might show up in a near future issue of ACM. As my late friend Carol would say, “It could happen!”

Her other famous saying (with me) was, “You never know!”

And one other comment she made when she was describing the boxes we were selling for our Grand Turk chess set, “Sheer elegance.” I miss her. No slight intended to my friend Peggy who came up with a valuable source for the Saturday afternoon pastries (Aug. 19th) in the middle of one of Simon’s lectures. Of course the sponsor for such, Ken MacDonald is being thanked too–got to love those Canadians!

One Last T.h.i.n.g!

I just opened up the package of issue #3 of American Chess Magazine and it’s a Big Winner! Foisor (Sabina) has a great story on her win of the US Women’s Championship. I really liked Joel Benjamin’s commentary on how “cheating” still persists in important US chess events. I’m on his side about penalties (the big Red A, for example). Ivanchuk is back with more Shakespear, Inarkiev concludes the Carlsen-Karjaken match. Steve Doyle and his reaching out to Fine and Reshevsky was a special moment. Until then, Fine had felt ignored. All in all, maybe the best of the three! I am sending out some copies today, Don’t put it off: $36.60 for priority mail in the US except to California which is a little more: $41.45 and sent via priority mail. I’m short on time, but there are a lot of other worthy stories in issue #3 but the one I want to highlight is John Hilbert’s take on two American Chess Magazines which were in contention with each other for names, popularity, history, and readership. Fabulous! Don’t put it off or the last minute registrations for the Simon Williams’ event. You’ll have a couple days of chess heaven, for each! Welcome everyone! (It’s only money and we know you can’t take it with you!)

Bob Long

Editor in Chef (I am going out for a gyro, chief story in the next Chess Gazette!)


Waiting for the 18th—take a little trip to Davenport!!!

Remember when the 18th of August was about a year away?
Some were asking why I was announcing a Chess Festival almost a year in advance. I warned that time would fly by. It has. We’re all a year older. Totally inescapable from that.

Everything was a long ways off. Some were going to a wedding a year away. Who would have thought that anyone would be doing anything on a usually hot summer day, in August.

As I write this my house is cool from A/C. There’s baseball on the radio. Some guy named Simon Williams will be here in 3-1/2 weeks. All of a sudden we are in the home stretch. Of what?

A tribute to something many of us have enjoyed over the years, chess. We’ve played it, we’ve won with it, we’ve celebrated it, and soon we get a chance to sit on our asses in Bettendorf, Iowa and get to listen as well as watch the secrets of this game escape before our senses. What will we do with that information? I can’t say what you will do with it, but for me it has been a ton, or two, of work.

Today, for example, I received 3 heavy boxes of chess pieces, made in China and wow were they heavy. Two of them I could hardly lift because my left arm, the one that had been broken July 4, 2015, in two places, still has not perfectly healed. How does that happen from a stroke on a street I was driving on? Apparently my steering arms and face impaled themselves on the steering wheel of my HHR (2008). I blacked out and when I came to an EMT guy was asking me, “Who’s the president of the United States?” I do remember replying, “Do I have to answer that?” This, and some other questions they asked, showed there was some life in me.

About the very first thing I thought about was, “Will I be able to have the Chess Festival (2015) or will I have to cancel it? I had no idea how bad everything was. My life had always been like that! I didn’t want to let a whole bunch of people down. There were 22 registered for the first chess festival I had set up since 2004, 11 years ago and now, THIS?

In 2016 I started to think about the Chess Festival again. I went looking for a sponsor and found one who didn’t want to be on the marquee. Now we have at least 40 registered. The black and white heavy plastic pieces have been picked and checked and put into nice and comfortable boxes for the simul. Should you want to take your set and board as a souvenir, home with you the price is MY COST! $20.00.

The shirts are also here and tonight I will be bagging them up and putting name tags on them–one thing after another!

After the weekend I will spend a few days at the Sinquefield Cup. The Sinquefield people do not do a very good job of telling us, in advance, who is going to be there, just that 10 of the best in the world will be there. After some more rooting around (not on the Sinquefield site tho) I have come up with the list:

GM Magnus Carlsen 2832 Norway
GM Hikaru Nakamura 2785 U.S.
GM Wesley So 2812 U.S.
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2796 France
GM Fabiano Caruana 2808 U.S.
GM Levon Aronian 2793 Armenia
GM Sergey Karjakin 2781 Russia
GM Viswanathan Anand 2786 India
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 2732 Russia
GM Peter Svidler 2756 Russia

New to me will be: Karjakin, Anand, Nepomniatchi, and Svidler. I don’t see a favorite of Rex’s, Topalov. I can tell he also likes Aronian.

This should be something but I can’t stay long as I have my own event to tend to! Gary K is coming later for the Rapid & Blitz event and I will miss that. There are so many top events each year that the calendar has become insanely crowded.


TODAY I received 10 copies of American Chess Bulletin #3. Some have already told me they want one, so I have 7 left to send out. The price will be $29.95 + Priority mail shipping which will be $6.65 except for California (at this time) which will be $11.50. Let me know if you want one and I will try to get them out to everyone who wants one before I leave for St. Louis.

The other thing is that my good buddy Ken MacDonald offered to buy pastries for Saturday afternoon and I have found just the place to supply us. The cost is free to those who registered and their significant others. Thank you Ken.

Also, there are 4 places left for the Sunday night Q&A. If you want to get into that it is $25, has Simon’s blessing and he will be there (of course)! The room called the Board Room only has room for 16 chairs and is filling up. This is one of those things you won’t want to leave on your “regrets” list.

I am aware that a number of people who have registered for this Simon Williams extravaganza also want to see me, the the organizer. I am honored. One reason I do these things is to find and keep new customers. Those who registered have automatically become friends of mine and the Chess Butler. So I will be in and around everything and we can talk and do some business during the Swap Meet and other things. Avenue Studio will be doing Video work on Saturday. You are invited to bring your camera too but to avoid being rude to the presenter it would be nice if you would get your filming out of the way, early on.

Lots of Simon videos and books will also be available as well as other things. We haven’t done a Chess Festival in 13 years so, there is a lot of catching up to do. If everything is working well, we will be able to take credit cards at the Festival too!

C U Soon!