If by now you are getting tired of reading about the chess festival in August with GM Simon Williams I have something different for you. Completely different, you CAN participate.

Everybody, at one time or another reminiscences. I certainly have, hence the picture above. It shows the legs of a woman, on a bench, in a park, with one of those 3D chess sets at a park. It reminded me of a time in Iowa City, where I was in school, and we went to a park for a picnic. Mercedes and I put a chess set on a board on the grass. She thought over every move (I’ll have to try that some time). I was impatient. I lost. It was the only time we ever played chess but she was totally supportive.

The night before graduation from college my friend Ray asked her if she would play him a game. Ray and I played in the college dorm for 2 years. I never lost to Ray (get ready for this). That Friday night after supper Mercy creamed Ray (after he had just beaten me for the first time, ever. He was depressed. He became a prison guard at the Iowa State Penitentiary.

What a memory.


“Tell” me about, or better yet, send me reminiscences of, or nostalgia of something chessy and meaningful to your life. If you have a story, include that! I know that will require effort on your part but it will be fun too. Don’t feel neglected before you take the dirt nap. Really.

I want to put something memorable together for those who have been a part of my life either now or over the years. At this moment I have no idea what form it will take. That’s a good thing. I may put this “art” together myself (probably in book form) or have someone else do it. There just has to be a chess theme.

Are you willing? Are you energetic enough to think about this? Are you willing to let your ego out of the bag? What got me thinking about this was chess pieces, or a set, or an article in the newspaper, or a photo of Fischer, whatever. Have you got the cojones to do this (here’s your chance)? I don’t yet know the form but if it should be a book, some of the pictures or copy may be on the inside or on the cover (whatever). I will run stories throughout the item.

It just has to be memorable to you! Pretty easy requirement, yes?

I know a few who I can expect to do this. Well, I would like something from those I wouldn’t ordinarily expect to do this (and there must be hundreds of you (or more)). Color, black and white. I have no idea how this will turn out but if you are involved in chess you must have SOME imagination. Might be nice to hear from someone I haven’t heard from in ages.

I won’t beg you to help out. This is volunteer work at its best.

Unfortunately I can’t guarantee that your submission will be used. No copyrighted material please.


This could be great fun. It’s not the type of thing Chess Life would think of. There is no time limit for submission. My warning is pretty simple. It will stand its chance of being used when I am ready to do it. My motto: do it early! Don’t send 3D objects. I want to be surprised by what you come up with and what is worth reminiscing to you. All in good chess fun.

One final thing, I think, it could be a story. Chess Review published some great stories in the old days. Perhaps write your own. Fred Wren was one of their more interesting writers.

Let your imagination flip out. Susan says I am guilty of run on sentences. While I already knew that, try to avoid that so I know where you start and where you end. She said I am perseverant (look it up). I think of it as a marketing tool.

Send in an envelope marked “chess stuff.” Don’t be a lazy shit and email me something. Email became the end of civility in most cases and the first mark of laziness personified (I am supremely guilty of this). Get an envelope, buy a stamp, and may part of this project be your project.

Case closed for now.

Bob & my 2 year old (almost 3) great grandson Jack (he’s a tough little guy, don’t make me send him after you). Knowing Jack he will run to your house!



Yesterday I got a resupply of American Chess Magazine #2! I have a list of those who wanted it but for whom I have yet to ship and charge for it. So I am cross referencing.

In other words have you gotten your ACM #2 yet? If not, please contact Bob, use my email address:

What you see above is the cover of the second issue. The retail is $29.95. To ship it to you costs another $7 because it is illegal to send it as Media Mail, so it will have to go to you as Priority Mail. That is $6.65 + .35 for the mailer. And you will get it fast because that is the same as First Class.


There was a Holiday last weekend called Memorial Day and for a change, I was slammed with orders and still have a few more to send out! Quite a few responded including some I hadn’t heard from in ages. It proves I haven’t given up and neither have those who responded. Thanks for remembering ME on Memorial Day even though I only spent 10 years in the Army, as a Civilian Mathematician for DOD.

Have been working on the next issue of The Chess Gazette, #224 for the middle of June. You can get your issue FREE in the form of a PDF (Portable Document Format) just by asking for it. You must have your name and an email address. Seriously, it’s got a lot of cool chess stuff in each issue. When it comes to your email box all you need to do is double click on it and read. Some people do this on their Smart Phone. I don’t have a Smart Phone but I know others read it on their Smart Phone. Me? I read it on my computer.


after the middle of August I will be charging for it again. The MAIN reason? To produce it takes huge amounts of time. If I take that time and use it to create a website we’ll all be better off. Right? When I look at the House of Staunton Catalog (I got one the other day) I get depressed. All fluff and NO valuable information. Nice photography but who paid for it? Pretty sure you did if you are a member of the US Chess Federation. The description of their books are flat. Title, author and price. Flimsy city. If you want to truly find out what is IN these books (one review per month in the national magazine is not enough) you need The Chess Gazette. It has the data, the stars, the reasons, and the answers. So, sign up NOW. Then when we start charging for what used to be free you can decide if it is worth it to you. As for me, my writing is backed by 40 years of the “little details.”


Two more signed up for the Simon Williams Chess Festival this August, a Father and Son. Making it 33 right now. August 18-20. Pay for all 3 days (includes Friday evening, Saturday lectures, and the Sunday Simul…the Sunday evening Q&A with Simon is an additional $25).

We’ve been told we have room for 65 at the Ramada Inn in Bettendorf, Iowa. So we are more than halfway there.

As a marketer I have a slight tendency to worry but it’s not what you think kind of worrying. What I am trying to accomplish with this event is to show people, maybe even you, that chess can be fun and it isn’t necessary to kill yourself. And it can be fun for cheap. $170 for the event and Simul against the WILDMAN Simon Williams. A couple hundred more to stay at the Ramada, $100 or more for some food and upwards of several hundred dollars for transportation depending where you live and how you want to get here.

More info? Ask me at

Of course the locals in the Quad Cities area have it made but do they take advantage of it? NOPE. What’s new? They live here. Registration and the Simul is their only expense. Most of you guys/gals will fly into Moline International Airport but these guys will only live a few miles away!

It’s not just cheapness, it’s also cluelessness. Even though I have been to one of their chess clubs and handed out information I haven’t heard from them.

I hear from whiners about how it is the same weekend as the Iowa Open. And that is somehow MY fault. If I had my event 2 weeks earlier or 2 weeks later I would hear, “They are too close together!” If you look at the Tournament Life section in Chess Life you will see so many tournaments it would make your head spin. While I do believe in personal responsibility I don’t believe in being responsible for others’ fun!

I have customers who know me personally who I have not heard from. For whatever reason they ignore my contacting them to come. They won’t offer a reason. I can’t speculate in print, I might be wrong. But their unwillingness to register or even contact me says volumes about themselves.

But it’s not too late to register, meet the famous and fabulous Grandmaster Simon, just write to:

Do you remember the King who was having a wedding feast for his son in Matthew (the Bible)?

“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Notice the part where it says “Speechless?”

While at the beginning of my little marketing epistle I said “no worrying,” what I am also trying to avoid is the last minute excuses or those who want in at the last minute because the Quad-Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau has been sending out on my behalf information to show those in the surrounding areas how to have a really good time without having to dip into drinking and carousing. So far we are not hearing from the Silent Minority. The ones who often like to go to cheap concerts in the park and we have them here, they are Blues Bands. Now don’t get on my ass about dissing Blues Bands. My sister Jeanne sang in one.

Several years ago when Borders Books was in business I knew the Manager at the Davenport location. He told me the Davenport Borders was one of the top stores (I think he said Top 10) in the nation in sales! I was somewhat surprised because I thought many in the QC area were really cheap when it came to spending money. He said, “Well, they are, but when we have special promotions on excess merchandise from other Borders stores, we sell a LOT of stuff!” Our store was a hub for bargains, closeouts, and to be frank, a lot of crap but they kept the store neat and clean. I suspect that many were buying gifts (not books) and stuff like that for Christmas and holidays. Then, finally, that store went under. Blame it on the MBAs.

For all the news commentary (our worst enemy!) about the decline in books and printing, chess books are coming out faster than ever before! (I am not kidding) But you know what? Relatively speaking, chess books are a bargain. One doesn’t have to buy every one that comes out, and some chess books can be read (amazing). People boast to me about their trips to Italy, Hawaii, and elsewhere but a trip down the street is too much! (As my grandson would say, “Grandpa you crack me up!”)

I forget the company who used to boast LIVE A LITTLE but it’s a truism. I am the one who sits at the computer telling you to LIVE A LITTLE when I should be doing that myself. I am on Social Security, and depend on it, are you? I hope not.

Come to the Summer Funfest. Read past BlogPosts for more information or drop me a line for details at PayPal, Visa, MC, Discover, and your check, all accepted.


Sign up and get a $20 gift certificate to spend at the event. Also, when you sign up you get a FREE book of Simon’s games called THE GRANDMASTER OF SHOCK & AWE, a $39.95 ($40) value! And, 20% OFF all books and sets for sale at the event. And right now, if you contact me ( ) you get a FREE subscription to the Chess Gazette up to the time of the event. We just need your name and email address.

Here’s the LAST (but not least thing), Simon is very funny. If you have a funny bone you will like his presentation (5-6 of them on Saturday alone). With over 15,000 chess fans watching his YouTube channel you will see why.

I am pretty sure there will be those who want to enter at the last minute, but once we are full, we are full, end of story. In the meantime, while time IS running short, call Jerry, Leigh, or Maria at the Ramada Inn (563) 355-7575 and also get Reward Points for the future. Summer is busy around the Quad-Cities, get your spot now. Tell them you want the Chess Festival rates.


(563-271-6657) or

The Simon Williams SHOCK & AWE Playbook

Making lots of progress on the FREE books you will get when you register for the Chess Festival this Aug 18-20 in Bettendorf IA at the Ramada Inn. (563-355-7575).

Although I (Bob Long) am annotating this book, it still takes a lot of time. Already most of this week and some of last. And I am only 25% done. It will have about 40 games, all wins and patterns and thoughts I have gleaned from his games while working on this small epistle similar in scope to the Chess Gangs of New York and London (go to However there is a lot more detail, observance of Simon’s funny foibles, and it will cost you $39.95 otherwise. I pay for the printing, the artwork (that which you see above by my son Rob), the PR, and use it as a promo piece to get you to come. Because things I do these days are in limited editions, I have to raise the price to cover all the expenses.

The book is a little bit of a chess romp and that makes it fun to put together. Something anyone can try, but most won’t because it is expensive, time consuming, and uncertain when it comes to sales. However, it has worked for me.

Even grandmasters (especially) use chess engines to annotate their books and check for analytical errors and typos. While I am not a GM (no time in my past life to work that hard), I take the work seriously and have been known to actually use my head to analyze, predict, sum up and open new portals to Simon’s raucous thinking!

If you are an autograph hound I strongly suspect if you show at our Simon event, he will autograph your copy for you (just one!–if your friends don’t make it here, that’s on them).

Two more have signed up for the Chess Festival. Makes it 32 now I think.  Father & Son! Perfect. We should have more of that. I’ve been to a lot of chess tournaments as a player and vendor and I know one thing that is pretty much for certain: most foreign fathers who come to an event with their son are cheap (as in “cheap bastards”, and it sometimes rubs off on their progeny. No sales for me! Way too bad for my business. Books are good. Learn faster, avoid major screw ups. I’ve checked my sales slips, I do not make this up.

But the thing that makes me nuts is the father’s unwillingness to play in the same event as their kid. They don’t have the time (what are they doing there?), came to watch their child, etc. Their kid will probably beat their ass. Foreign fathers (and some domestic ones) can get very uptight about that. I didn’t go out of my way to lose to my son Nate, but when I finally did (he beat me first!) I was proud of him. That’s the way it should be. I got him the next time around. I think it brought us closer.

I believe in the Father & Son thing. This August Nate has volunteered to help me! Fantastic. Come and meet the son who gave up chess to join the Army, learn Korean (he said their current “leader” is nuts), got his degree in electronics and raise a family. He’s always busy but he volunteered! I never asked. He even has the patience to explain chess to his own son, Alex (soon to be 13). Try it, you’ll like it. I should be starting a specific Chess Club for sons and grandsons. Maybe you will have them join. I’ll even try to make it easy on you (LOL).

NOTE: The stroke I had which crunched my car and damaged the left side of my brain kind of retired me from analytical chess, for a while. But, there has been good news too. I keep working my brain, see more than I did a month ago, and a lot of that is due to repeated use, hour after hour on this book. It’s improved my avoidance of blind-sightedness and working my peripheral vision. And, it is partly due to CHESSBASE! Never thought I would say that! But it’s true. Some rewiring going on there. Memory is improving by taking TWO Gingko Biloba capsules per day instead of one–available at Health Food Stores.

$150 to register for the Simon Event this August, and $20 to sign up for the Simultaneous Exhibition. We hope you will stay, on site, at the Ramada Inn. They have a special rate for us, but after July 15, that all goes away. Just ask for the Chess Rate. I think it’s $79.95 per day (563-355-7575) These days that is hard to believe unless you are in a dump (I stayed in a few in my early years).

ONE MORE NOTE: We also have T-shirts and all the pricing is in the most recent issues of our CHESS GAZETTE which is FREE for a little while. And if you come to the Chess Festival we will extend the free subscription as well as give you a $20 gift certificate. If a Father & Son registers, they each get a $20 gift certificate.

Am trying to emphasize the CONCEPT of F-U-N. If you’ve lost that FUN feeling, we can help you get it back. And we’ll have some Simon Williams chess books he has written, on openings AND Attack. Don’t be SQUARE, be there.

BEFORE I FORGET: All books, chess sets, that kind of thing are 20% off if you register. Includes the GRAND TURK. Does not include the set and boards at the Simul that you will take home with you (for $20). We still need an accurate count of how many of you will be playing Simon. Life is GRAND.

John Blackstone, R.I.P.

My very longtime buddy John Blackstone passed away yesterday. It meant an end to his suffering and an end to our mutual phone calls.

John was a National chess master and a friend since somewhere around 1969. He was an active cuss. When John wanted a book or to talk about something, he didn’t wait around for a couple days. I would get the phone call from Las Vegas or California when he lived there. And we would chat. He always had something interesting to say and you could tell it was something he thought about. There is a picture of John and me in my book The Chess Assassin’s Business Manual. He liked my my sister Rita, my friend June, who handled my daily business secretarial load back in the 90s when I had to deal with various nut jobs such as Karpov (!)

Seldom did I not get a TIP for taking care of business but that was not John’s way. The secret can now be told. John would send $10-20 additional for his book or magazine and tell me to have a meal out somewhere. But I never did, I just poured it back into the business to pay some bill, or to get gas to go to the post office. I think once I did go to McDonald’s for breakfast!

John, like many of us, had Diabetes 2 and was just exhausted from life. He had already quit smoking and if you knew Johnny the way I did, that had to be tough.

He had a lot of buddies, all of whom had passed away by now. He was a Grade A programmer. You would think nothing was too tough for him but he told me several times of guys he knew who were better than he was. They had problems with eating too much, drinking too much, and everything in  excess “too much.” They beat John to the great beyond.

One thing I enjoyed about John was his humility when it came to chess. Recently he was playing a 12 yr. old girl chess and he loved it. She would come over to his place. He, like myself, didn’t believe in letting her win even though he was a shadow of his former self. He found that letting people win didn’t teach them anything, contrary to these big trophy cases in high schools where showing up would qualify you for a trophy. EARN IT he said, then it will mean something to you.

He knew Bobby Fischer and found that graciousness toward’s Bobby would net him an autograph (knowing John it was probably for a friend). And Fischer not only gave him an autograph but told John he remembered their simul game which was published in the notes of My 60 Memorable Games.

John knew the big guys from California, the guys who wanted to establish a separate chess federation in Las Vegas (!) and anything else requiring time and effort. I remember when my fiancee Sarah was driven around Las Vegas by John during a painting and decorating show she was selling at (trying to make some extra cash flow like I am with the Simon Williams event in August). She thought John was a cool guy. He was.

But if I can put my finger on something that was super fun with John it was when he and I were having Breakfast at one of the casinos at 3-4 in the morning! Now THAT was relaxation and for $3-4! We cured all the ills of the world that early morning and traded war stories like never before. John, like me, was never out of stories and it was doubtful he ever had to repeat himself.

He and I were still married in the early 80s and our wives, Julie and Mercedes, both died within a year of each other. We had become steadfast friends. His son Brandon was finishing his PhD in electrical engineering or some related field (Brandon, also an accomplished programmer was astounded at how good (and quick) his Dad was even in his 70s!). Brie, his daughter, has kept in touch with me about her Dad (when he couldn’t do it himself) and the photo above was taken by her. I asked her this morning to see if she could put together a c.v. about her Dad, who was a couple years older than I was.

John had invited me to come to work with him at Hughes Aircraft in California. I was deeply flattered.

I remember being at the National Open one time when John wasn’t playing but he would stop by to play one of the chess computers. He won his game, pocketed $50 and probably spent it at a table before he had walked very far. He was a fun human being to be around. I had invited him to come to the Simon Williams event if he felt up to it. We’ll miss you Johnny!


Yesterday I sent 23 Questions and/or ideas to GM Simon Williams for possible discussion at the SIX lectures on August 19th at the Fifth Chess Festival.

The Grandmaster got back to me right away about collating them into a number of presentations for those who come to the Chess Festival for which he is the CHESS STAR. And boy will it GLOW. And you will want to be there.

Yesterday we signed up #31, Jason from Minnesota. Still room for more.

After looking at some of Simon’s miniatures (mostly) I selected 40-45 over a period of 6-7 days. A bunch with the dark pieces, and the rest, with the light. You’ve got to see these abrupt games!

Oh sure there are PATTERN games and no reason you can’t learn from those. There are g-pawn pushes to beat the band (as well as Harry, the h-pawn). Then there are those TRAIN wrecks where all of a sudden something happens and you are afraid to BLINK for fear of missing it.

Then there are some… well not FUNNY things but HILARIOUS things. The last game for example.

I will be doing clean up in the next couple weeks, further annotations, and comments and then you can pick up your FORTY dollar copy for FREE in Bettendorf.

What is that green MACHINE at the top of my screen?

That’s SSW, or, Simon’s Secret Weapon. When properly hooked up, and “aimed” under the table at his opponent it emits a high pitched sound others can’t hear. Sort of like those dog whistles. So far FIDE either doesn’t know about it or doesn’t really care; they are too busy trying to get chess into the Olympics (bad idea) and passing anti-doping measures (won’t happen, they are the biggest dopes in the channel!)

In addition the machine emits a mild form of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and may cause Simon’s opponents to actually believe they know what they are doing and smiling too much!

When you see some of these games you will think that Simon’s opponents have gone off their rocker (but, they are real games). And he has allowed me a license for reselling it. Now I know it won’t be an easy sell because, it costs money. Chess people are usually against spending any. But as a friend once reminded me, IT COULD HAPPEN! Price is $597 and it will ship in 4-6 weeks after the Festival event is over. PayPal only, so you know it is guaranteed!

The instructions are in addition to the FREE Simon Williams Playbook which will be given to every paid registrant of the August 18-20 Chess Festival to be held in Bettendorf, Iowa. Build your own from the DIY plans included. The slight problem is that you need power and an APP and that’s why Simon sits at the table on the stage in front of his rabid fans. However, maybe you can use the battery power from your iPhone (Samsung phones won’t work with this schematic. But, we have already heard from a reliable source in S. Korea that Samsung is already working on “COPYING” it!)


Hard to describe but the opponents acts as if they are in a coma but their eyes are open. Some of their moves may appear erratic such as NOT castling when they should. Or, moving their Queen early in the opening, and often. Once I saw a contestant try to castle K-side and then Q-side.

Check out the LAST game in the book for a perfect example of WONKY chess play against Simon. Finally, in order to put him away Simon had to give it a little extra juice using a 9 Volt battery found at any Walgreens.


Send $150 to register. Add $20 if you want to play in Simon’s Simul on Sunday. To get a room call (563) 355-7575. Jerry or one of his assistants will help you. Ask for the Chess Festival rate. If you are interested in a special commemorative t-shirt send for our brochure right away. L, XL, XXL, 3-5XL. Payment must be in advance.
Where to send the money? The Chess Butler, 1524 LeClaire St., Davenport, IA 52803. If you drop an email to: the other particulars will be sent right away in the form of a PDF. A Chess Vacation with Grandmaster Simon Williams (all the way from Merry Olde England) is the way to have a chess vacation. His banter, play and demonstrations are as humorous as his machine! Join the crowd. Half the seats are already taken. DO NOT WAIT.


the Chess Butler







I’ve been working on the Simon Williams Playbook.

It’s a fun project and one that drives me crazy too. How come?
It’s either my computer or ChessBase 13. Naturally, it could be both.

But there is some good stuff too. After having a stroke many moons ago I was afraid I would have to learn ChessBase 13, InDesign, and Photoshop CS 4 all over again! It was sort of like that.

That’s good news because a lot of people have trouble with ChessBase. It’s not the easiest program in the world to use. TRUE.

When I wrote about 70-80 pages to teach people how to use ChessBase it turned out to be a bigger deal than I thought it would be.

I may know and understand CB13 even better than I did several years ago. I have had people who used it who told me that I got right to the nitty gritty with ChessBase because it is not the most logical program ever written.

Here’s the deal. I use ChessBase to produce books, magazines and chess stuff like that. I would like to you and tell you it is trivial but actually if you get started on the right foot, it can be easier than you think because there are TWO things to make it easier than you think it might be:

  1. I have lots of screen shots in the document.
  2. Under screenshots there is a step-b-y-step explanation of what you see (sometimes the explanation is before the screen shot).
  3. I leave out unnecessary stuff. That is one source has everything in it, which sometimes makes it a great reference book but mostly what it does is confuse people.

Then ChessBase doesn’t help because their explanations are haphazard, strewn around and poorly organized.

I have two ways of promoting ChessBase:

a) You can buy it outright. $39.95. It includes 4 chapters plus a bonus chapter. I send a PDF and all you do is print it out. I recommend a laser printer rather than an inkjet printer for it. My stuff is copyrighted.

b) If you buy books from me you can get this guide for FREE. I put a lot of effort into it. 3-hole punch it and place in a binder. How many books do you need to buy? $125 worth (net) + postage and insurance. THAT IS AN AMAZING DEAL & STEAL.


End of commercial. 70+ pages. OFFER (b) ends this COMING Saturday night. If you mail a check that is okay once it clears.


The Chess Butler

1524 LeClaire St.

Davenport, IA 52803

phone: 563-271-6657



IF you need ChessBase14 I think we can get the Standard edition for you for $189 + 9.95 S&H.

OFFER ENDS this Saturday night, May 13, 2017.

You no longer have to put up with counterfeit copies, worthless online manuals, or “helpful” friends who don’t know what they are talking about. Will work on CB13 and CB14.

You will love it.