Smart Moves Chess Club

This article appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper Tuesday, August 26, 2014:

Doing Good: Foundation gives monthly grants to local projects

By Devika Rao

For the AJC

Dionne Mahaffey calls it a “discovery engine of inspiration.” She talks about The Awesome Foundation, the organization that started in 2009 and with trustees and provides monthly grants to various projects that are attempting to make local cities a better place to live.

It was right up the alley of the self-proclaimed serial volunteer. “I have been volunteering since I can remember, and to get the opportunity to launch this chapter allowed me to continue the spirit of giving back and get more Atlantans involved,” said Mahaffey, who is a business psychologist.

Mahaffey launched the Atlanta chapter in April, and once a month, she and fellow trustees pool together $100 and contribute a $1,000 grant to deserving nonprofits or volunteerism projects around Atlanta. There are no strings attached to the recipients of the grant.

“The whole idea is to fill a specific niche to fund great ideas that are just trying to do something good in Atlanta,” she said. “It doesn’t just include social change, but also simple projects such as park cleanups or painting murals.”

The Awesome Foundation Atlanta chapter has given $1,000 to various projects such as the Little Free Library, SMART Moves Chess Club and the Goodie Hack – $4,000 in total since its founding. Its August $1,000 grant was awarded to The Learning Garden, a new project started by the Ryan Cameron Foundation.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/doing-good-foundation-gives-monthly-grants-to-loca/ng78H/

There is a picture in the newspaper, but not contained in the online article. The picture shows four gentlemen playing chess on various and differing boards with this caption, “Members of the SMART Moves Chess Club were the first recipients of The Awesome Foundation Atlanta’s monthly grant, which helped buy chess boards and business attire for the young men to participate in competitions.”

Yes ~ I’ve Seen All Good People: Your Move (1971)

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The Escape Artist

The Legendary Georgia Ironman and I had time last night for a brief discussion of the chess action happening this weekend. One of the topics discussed was the fact that the human World Champion played the Bishop’s Opening proper yesterday against Fabiano Caruano. As regular readers know, the BO, “The truth– as it was known in those far-off days,” according to Savielly Tartakower, has been one of my favorite openings ever since reading his quote in “500 Hundred Master games of Chess.” (see the book in GM Bryan Smith’s excellent article http://www.chess.com/article/view/my-bookshelf-quot500-master-games-of-chessquot-by-savielly-tartakower-and-j-du-mont). Magnus played the opening horribly, and lost. GM Yasser Seirawan questioned the moves of the World Human Champion, especially the move 11 Bg3. I questioned 13 h3, which allowed the Bishop to take the Knight, forcing White to capture with the f-pawn, disrupting the pawn structure in a horrible way. It is obvious things have gone terribly wrong after 14 fxg3. When Magnus played the move Qd8, after 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3, against Caruano at the Olympiad, I mentioned to Tim that players would now start playing the move, long discredited since Bobby Fischer beat Karl Robatsch in 20 moves at the Olympiad in Varna in 1962 and William Addison in 24 moves at the Interzonal at Palma de Mallorca in 1970, since Magnus had won the game. I also brought up the fact that before the HWC played the move, I had mentioned the possibility of purchasing the book, “The 3…Qd8 Scandinavian: Simple and Strong” by Daniel Lowinger and Karsten Müller, which brought ridicule from the Ironman. Last night I wondered aloud if players would now begin to play the BO because Magnus had played it. Before the Ironman could respond, I added, “Probably not since he lost.” Tim said, “The opening did not let Magnus down, Magnus let the opening down.”
One of the great things about chess is that a lesser player can question the moves of the great players. We may not often be right, but like that blind squirrel, we will occasionally find an acorn. Back in the day “BC” (before computers), we had to try and figure it out for ourselves. If a GM played a move, we accepted it as gospel. Today we turn on our “engine” and the “truth” is right in front of us. In a way this is a wonderful thing in that we now know if our move is better than the human World Champion. On the other hand, we now know that even the best human player is, well, human, and we humans make mistakes. As the Discman said, back in the day Grandmasters were “Gods.” Which makes me think of the famous speech by JFK in which he said, “…and we are all mortal.”

Schmuggy sent me an email last night after his game with Damir Studen, which I opened after noon:
Kevin Schmuggerow
Today at 1:09 AM
I had this one Michael, let it get away….
> e4 d5 ed Qd5 Nc3 Qa5 d4 c6 Bc4 Nf6 Ne2 g6 Bf4 Nd7 Qd2 Nb6 Bb3 Nbd4 Be5 Nc3 Nc3 Bg7 OOO OO h4 h5 f3 Ne8 Qg5 e6 Rhe1 Kh7 Qe7 Kg8 g4 Be5 Re5 Qc7 Qg5 Kg7 gh5 Rh8 Qg2 Rh6 Rg5 Qf4+ Kb1 Qh4 hg6 Rg6 Ne4 Rg5 Ng5 Kf6 f4 Nd6 Qf3 Qh6 Rh8 a5 a4 Ra6 Qc3 Ke7 Qc5 Bd7….Ne4 wins!! Mate in 7 (I played Rb8 and eventually got my rook trapped)

Looks strange without the numbers, does it not? Thinking the game would most likely have to be transcribed, I decided to hold off on going to the US Masters website until later. Fortunately, the whole game was provided. I broke out my trusty small wooden board and pieces and played over the game. Here are my thoughts…

Kevin Schmuggerow (1971) vs Damir Studen (2264)
USM Rd 3
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. Nge2 g6 7. Bf4 Nbd7 8. Qd2 Nb6 9. Bb3 Nbd5 10. Be5 Nxc3 11. Nxc3 Bg7 12. O-O-O O-O 13. h4 h5 14. f3 Ne8 15. Qg5 e6 16. Rhe1 Kh7 17. Qe7 Kg8 18. g4 Bxe5 19. Rxe5 Qc7 20. Qg5 Kg7 21. gxh5 Rh8 22. Qg2 Rh6 23. Rg5 Qf4 24. Kb1 Qxh4 25. hxg6 Rxg6 26. Ne4 Rxg5 27. Nxg5 Kf6 28. f4 Nd6 29. Qf3 Qh6 30. Rh1 Qg6 31. Rh8 a5 32. a4 Ra6 33. Qc3 Ke7 34. Qc5 Bd7 35. Rb8 Qf5 36. Qe5 f6 37. Qxf5 exf5 38. Nh7 Bc8 39. c4 Be6 40. d5 cxd5 41. c5 Ne4 42. Rxb7 Bd7 43. c6 Rxc6 44. Nf8 Nc5 45. Ng6 Kd6 46. Rb5 Ra6 47. Bc2 Bxb5 48. axb5 Rb6 0-1

Wow, Damir was sooooooo busted! Poor Schmuggy…This game reminds me of many I played. If only IM Charles Hertan’s award winning book, “Forcing Moves” had been published in the 1970’s… Two things kept me from becoming a stronger player, one is not winning enough “won” games. The other will be discussed in a future post.
Damir’s 14th move looks weak. After 15 Qg5, white is all over him. After the obligatory 15…e6 Schmuggy played 16 Rhe1. I have to question this move. I mean, White is attacking the Kingside and threatening to open up the castled King position, so why move the Rook? I sat looking at this position quite a while…Obviously 16 g4 must be considered, but I wonder if this is one of those positions where a world class player would simply make a move like 16 Kb1? Then the thought hit me that Schmuggy could have played maybe 16 a3, but I like Kb1 better, but what do I know? One thing I have always taught my students is to count the total number of points one has in a sector, especially when one is on the attack. As it now stands White has a Queen, Rook, and Bishop, or 17 points, on the Kingside. Black has only a Rook, Bishop, and Knight, or 11 points. If White were to play 16 Ne4 he would have an additional 3 points, for a total of 20 points, versus 11. That is a huge disparity. And since Black has been forced to weaken himself with his last move, the Knight move takes advantage of the weakened dark squares. 16 Ne4 would be my move. Black would then be in “deep do.”
Schmuggy is right, 35 Ne4 brings the house down. It wins because it is a FORCING MOVE. The knight on d6 is PINNED. Another thing all chess teachers say is, “Pin to win.”

After going over the game I first went to the Chess Base database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/onlinedb/) and 365chess (http://www.365chess.com/) to check out the opening. What I found was that Damir’s 7…Nbd7 is a TN. All games show 7…Bg7. Since the Scandinavian is Damir’s main (only?) defense to 1 e4 it is difficult to believe he came up with this move over the board. I must assume it was “home cooking.” It often happens that one can be burned while cooking at home.
Next it was put it into my now antiquated Houdini. I am sure you will do the same because that is what is done these daze. Some even put it into the machine before looking at it and thinking for themselves. Where is the fun in that? I find it shameful. After analyzing the game, my Houdini said, “The player with the Black pieces was the real Houdini in this game!”
What? Your computer program does not talk to you?

Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes

Sometimes You Take a Lesson, Sometimes You Give a Lesson

Awonder Liang (2327) vs Sanjay Ghatti (2024)

USM Rd 1

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 Nc6 5. a3 e6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bd3 a5 9. b5 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 Bd4 11. Nxf7 Kxf7 12. Bg6 hxg6 13. Qxd4 Qf6 14. Bb2 Qxd4 15. Bxd4 a4 16. Nd2 Bd7 17. Rb1 Nh6 18. Nf3 Nf5 19. Ne5 Ke8 20. c3 Rh4 21. g4 Nxd4 22. cxd4 Ra5 23. b6 g5 24. f3 Rh6 25. Kf2 Rf6 26. Rbc1 Rb5 27. Nxd7 1-0

Sanjay Ghatti (2024) vs Chuck Cadman (2220)

USM Rd 2

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h5 5. c4 e6 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. Nge2 Ng6 8. Ng3 dxc4 9. Nxf5 exf5 10. Bxc4 b5 11. Bb3 a5 12. Bg5 Be7 13. Qf3 Bxg5 14. hxg5 Qxg5 15. Nxb5 Nh4 16. Nd6 Kf8 17. Rxh4 Qxh4 18. Qxf5 Ra7 19. Qc8 Ke7 20. Nf5 1-0

Damir Studen (2264) vs Joshua Gutman (2134)

USM Rd 2

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. Qb3 Qe7 9. O-O O-O 10. Ne5 a5 11. f3 c5 12. e4 cxd4 13. Na2 Bg6 14. Nxb4 axb4 15. Bd2 Rc8 16. Rfc1 Nc6 17. Nxc6 Rxc6 18. Bb5 Rcc8 19. Bxb4 Qd8 20. a5 Ne8 21. Bd2 Nd6 22. Bd3 Qd7 23. Qb6 e5 24. Bb4 Rxc1 25. Rxc1 Rc8 26. Rc5 f6 27. Qxd6 1-0

Erik Santarius (2329) vs Reece Thompson (2007)

USM Rd 2

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nc6 4. c3 e5 5. dxe5 dxe4 6. Nxe4 Qxd1 7. Kxd1 Nxe5 8. Bf4 Bg4 9. f3 O-O-O 10. Kc2 Ng6 11. Bg5 Re8 12. fxg4 Rxe4 13. Bd3 Re8 14. Bf5 Kb8 15. Bd7 Re5 16. Bd2 Nf6 17. Bf5 Bc5 18. b4 Bb6 19. c4 Bxg1 20. Rhxg1 Ne4 21. Bc1 Nf2 22. Bb2 Re2 23. Kb3 Re3 24. Ka4 Rhe8 25. Bxg7 Ne5 26. Rac1 a6 27. c5 b5 28. cxb6 cxb6 29. Bh6 b5 30. Ka5 Nc4 31. Rxc4 bxc4 32. Bxe3 Rxe3 33. Kxa6 Kc7 34. Kb5 c3 35. Kc4 Re2 36. Kxc3 Rxa2 37. h3 Kb6 38. Kd4 1-0

Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) – School. Bospop 2011

The Ol’ Swindler Strikes Again!

Many years ago NM Neal Harris beat the Legendary Georgia Ironman for the second time in the exact same variation. The Ironman, who was none too pleased, said, “That Neal…he ain’t nothing but an ol’ swindler!” We have all laughed about it since then, and I have been known to address my friend Neal as “Ol’ Swindler”, which invariably brings out a smile from the Ol’ Swindler. Today the ol’ dog proved he still has some bite!
This afternoon as fire raged on every board at the Sinquefield Cup, with GM Maurice displaying histrionics that would make Tom Cruise proud, and Jen and Ben talking excitedly when given the chance, with even the usually calm and understated Yaz getting in on the act, especially when Hikaru Nakamura eschewed the opportunity to put Darth Topalov out of his misery with 21…Bxf2+, I was following the game between Neal and Kazim Gulamali at the US Masters along with the coverage from St. Louis.
Neal is a fellow Senior who happens to be against Senior tournaments. We have agreed to disagree on the matter. Knowing Kazim from the time he was a child put me in a tough position. It is one of those situations where one might hope for a great game that turns out to be a draw. Then there is David Spinks, who said, “You gotta pull for SOMEBODY!” I admit that when the Ol’ Swindler obtained an advantage my heart was with him. “Come on Neal, push that pawn to e2!” I exclaimed as he missed chance after chance to do just that. Nevertheless, Neal found a way to win. Congratulations my friend! NC obtained a modicum of revenge for the loss to the Atlanta Kings earlier this week.

NEAL D HARRIS (2218) vs KAZIM GULAMALI (2398)

US Masters rd 2 Greensboro, North Carolina

B29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. Nc3 Nxc3 5. dxc3 Nc6 6. Bf4 e6 7. Qd2 h6 8. h4 Qc7 9. Rd1 b6 10. Qe3 Bb7 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. (12. Ne4 Nf5 13. Qe2 Qc6 14. Nd6+ Bxd6 15. exd6 h5 16. f3 O-O-O 17. Qd2 e5 18. Bh2 e4 19. Qf4 exf3 20. Bd3 Ne3 21. Qxe3 fxg2 22. Rg1 Rde8 23. Be5 f6 24. Kd2 Rxe5 25. Qg3 Qf3 26. Qxf3 Bxf3 27. Rde1 Rhe8 28. Rxe5 Rxe5 0-1, Ingvar Asmundsson (2338) – Jacob Murey (2496) EU-ch Seniors, 10/03/2002) Nc4 Nd5 13. Qg3 O-O-O 14. Nd6 Bxd6 15. exd6 Qc6 16. Bc1 Qa4 17. c4 Nb4 18. c3 Nc2 19. Kd2 Na1 20. a3 Nb3 21. Ke1 Nxc1 22. Rxc1 Qc6 23. f3 e5 24. Rd1 e4 25. b3 Rde8 26. f4 Rhg8 27. Rd5 Kb8 28. h5 Qc8 29. Rf5 f6 30. Rh4 Re6 31. Rg4 Qf8 32. b4 e3 33. bxc5 bxc5 34. Rd5 Bxd5 35. cxd5 Qxd6 36. c4 Re7 37. Bd3 Qc7 38. Kf1 Rge8 39. Qe1 Qb6 40. Bg6 Rf8 41. Bd3 Qb3 42. Ke2 Qxa3 43. Qb1 Qb4 44. Qxb4 cxb4 45. d6 Re6 46. c5 a5 47. Bf5 Rc8 48. Bxe6 dxe6 49. f5 exf5 50. Rc4 b3 51. Rc3 a4 52. Rc4 Kb7 53. Rxa4 Rxc5 54. d7 Kc7 55. Rb4 Kxd7 56. Rxb3 f4 57. Rb7 Ke6 58. Rxg7 Rxh5 59. Kf3 Re5 0-1

Traveling Wilburys – Congratulations

The US Masters Needs Your Help!

This can be found on the website of the Carolina Chess Initiative:

Convert scoresheets to PGN

We need your help! In tournaments we collect scoresheets. They were scanned and uploaded to this server. You can see list of scoresheets coming from recent tournaments. If you enjoy ChessStream, please consider chip-in your time by looking at these scoresheets, read them and convert them to PGN. Easy, no login required. Any amount of time you spend here are appreciated!

Go here (http://www.carolinaschessinitiative.com/tournaments/US-Masters-NC-Open-2014/) and click on “Scoresheets” and get started. It is as simple as that. I may have been the first to transcribe a scoresheet when burning the midnight oil last night when I sent the following game to Chacha Nugroho:

Neal Harris (2143) vs Sam Sevian (2454)
USM rd 1
1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. f4 e5 5. dxe5 dxe5 6. fxe5 Nxe5 7. Qxd8 Kxd8 8. Nf3 Bd6 9. Bg5 c6 10. O-O-O Kc7 11. Be2 Nxf3 12. gxf3 Nh5 13. Bc4 f6 14. Be3 Bh3 15. Ne2 Bg2 16. Nd4 Bxh1 17. Ne6 Kc8 18. Rxh1 b5 19. Bb3 g5 20. Rd1 Bxh2 21. Nc5 Rd8 22. Be6 Kc7 23. Na6 Kb7 24. Nc5 Kb6 25. Nd3 Kc7 26. Rh1 Nf4 27. Nc5 Ne2 28. Kb1 Bg1 29. Na6 Kd6 30. Bxg1 Kxe6 31. Be3 Kf7 32. a4 Kg6 33. a5 h5 34. Nc7 Rac8 35. Ne6 Re8 36. Nc5 h4 37. Nb7 Ng3 38. Rh3 Re7 39. a6 Rd7 40. Bc5 Rd1 41. Ka2 Rf1 0-1

I just finished transcribing two more:

Anton Kovalyov (2622) vs Damir Studen (2264)
USM rd 1
1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg4 7. Qb3 b6 8. h3 Bh5 9. g4 Ne4 10. Nxe4 Qxh4 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Ng3 Bg6 13. Bd2 Bd6 14. Rg1 Nd7 15. Rc1 Bxg3 16. Rxg3 Qf6 17. Ba6 Rb8 18. Qc3 c5 19. Bb5 c4 20. Qa3 a5 21. b3 Bd3 22. bxc4 Bxc4 23. Bxc4 dxc4 24. Rxc4 b5 25. Rc7 b4 26. Qxa5 Qd6 27. Qa7 Rd8 28. Qb7 O-O 29. Bxb4 Qe6 30. Bxf8 Nxf8 31. Rf3 f6 32. Rxg7 1-0

Carlos Perdomo (2347) vs Kenny Thomas (2047)
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. e3 Be6 7. Nge2 Qd7 8. h3 f5 9. Rb1 Nf6 10. Nd5 Nd8 11. b4 O-O 12. O-O f4 13. Nxf6 Rxf6 14. exf4 Bxh3 15. Bb2 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Rf5 17. fxe5 dxe5 18. Nc3 Ne6 19. Qe2 Raf8 20. Ne4 Rf3 21. Rbd1 Nf4 22. Kxf3 Nxe2 23. Kxe2 Qa4 24. Bc3 b6 25. Rd2 a6 26. Rh1 Qd7 27. Rh4 Qf5 28. Ke1 h5 29. f4 exf4 30. Bxg7 Kxg7 31. Rxf4 Qe5 32. Rxf8 Kxf8 33. Ke2 Qa1 34. Ke3 Qb1 35. Rf2 Kg7 36. a3 Qc1 37. Kd4 Qxa3 38. Rf3 Qxb4 39. Kd5 a5 40. Ke6 Qe1 41. Rf7 Kh6 42. Rxc7 Qe3 43. Rd7 a4 44. Kf7 h4 45. gxh4 Kh5 46. Rd5 Kxh4 47. Kxg6 a3 48. Rh5 Kg4 49. Rf5 a2 50. Nf6 Kg3 51. Ne4 Kg2 52. Rg5 Qxg5 53. Kxg5 a1=Q 54. Kf4 Qd4 0-1

Many other games, such as these, can be found on the website!

REECE ERIC THOMPSON (2087) – ETHAN LI (2364)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 h5 8. Bg5 Be6 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Nd5 Qd8 11. Nec3 g6 12. Be2 Bh6 13. O-O O-O 14. Qd3 Nc6 15. Rad1 Nd4 16. f4 f5 17. fxe5 dxe5 18. Qg3 Kh7 19. Qxe5 Bg7 20. Qc7 Nxe2 21. Nxe2 Qxc7 22. Nxc7 Bc4 23. Nd4 Bxf1 24. Nxa8 Bc4 25. Nb6 Bxa2 26. exf5 gxf5 27. Nf3 Bf6 28. Nd7 Rf7 29. Nxf6 Rxf6 30. b3 Rc6 31. Ne1 Rc3 32. Ra1 Bxb3 33. Ra3 Rxc2 34. Nxc2 Bxc2 35. Kf2 Kg6 36. g3 Kf6 37. Ke3 Be4 38. Kf4 Bd5 39. Rd3 1/2-1/2

ALEX SHIMANOV (2649) – KAZIM GULAMALI (2398)
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. Nd2 c6 4. e3 g6 5. Bd3 Bg7 6. Ngf3 Bf5 7. Bxf6 Bxf6 8. Bxf5 gxf5 9. c4 dxc4 10. Nxc4 Qd5 11. Qb3 Nd7 12. O-O Rg8 13. Ncd2 O-O-O 14. Rac1 Kb8 15. a4 e6 16. Rc3 Be7 17. Rfc1 Bd6 18. Ne1 f4 19. e4 Qxd4 20. Rd3 Qb4 21. Qc2 Nc5 22. Ra3 Be7 23. Nef3 f6 24. Rc3 b6 25. Rc4 Qa5 26. Nd4 Rc8 27. b4 Qxa4 28. Qc3 e5 29. Nf5 Bf8 30. bxc5 Qa6 31. cxb6 axb6 32. Rxc6 Bc5 33. Qxc5 1-0

RICHARD TYLER FRANCISCO (2382) – YAROSLAV ZHEREBUKH (2709)
1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 dxe5 5. Nxe5 c6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Re1 O-O 9. Nf3 Bf5 10. c3 Nd7 11. Na3 c5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 N5f6 14. Nc4 Be4 15. Bf1 Rc8 16. dxc5 Nxc5 17. Qxd8 Rfxd8 18. Nfd2 Bf5 19. Nb3 Nd3 20. Bxd3 Bxd3 21. Ne5 Bb5 22. Nd4 Ba4 23. Nef3 e6 24. Bg3 Bf8 25. b3 Be8 26. c4 Bb4 27. Re3 Bc5 28. Rd1 b5 29. Red3 bxc4 30. bxc4 Bb6 31. Ne5 Ne4 32. Nb3 Rxd3 33. Rxd3 f6 0-1

There are LIVE GAMES as I punch & poke, so head on over to the website of the 2014 US Masters now! http://www.carolinaschessinitiative.com/tournaments/US-Masters-NC-Open-2014/

IT’S ALL IN THE GAME ~ Tommy Edwards 1958

The Cost of Chess Magazines

The Legendary Georgia Ironman loves “Chess Monthly” (http://www.chess.co.uk/). He takes it with him to lessons and pontificates at length about the good qualities of the magazine. He does this while there are copies of the best chess magazine in the world, “New in Chess” (http://www.newinchess.com/), sitting unopened, still in cellophane, in the apartment. The Barnes & Noble in Buckhead carries “Chess Monthly” and “Chess Life” but not “New in Chess.” An advertisement in the 2014/3 issue of NiC shows ten places it is sold and one of them is The Book Tavern in Augusta, Georgia, yet I have been unable to find it in any bookstore or newsstand in the largest city and the capital of the state, Atlanta.
I have purchased “Chess Monthly” at the B&N when found. This means it comes irregularly, so the Ironman is missing some issues. We usually split the cost. One time Tim received a B&N gift card and he gave it to me to use and it covered the cost of two issues. We hit the jackpot when Greg Yanez of chess4less.com (http://www.chess4less.com/) was here for the National children’s something or other at the downtown Hyatt. Greg had back issues on sale for only five dollars, and they went fast. The last July issue sold before the Ironman was able to nab one. Meanwhile the issues of NiC, which cost more, did not sell well. Everyone wants a deal. Still, I would rather have a NiC at ten dollars than a CM for five.
I was in the B&N the other day and, as luck would have it, so was the July issue of “Chess Monthly.” I had a buck or two left on the aforementioned B&N gift card, so I nabbed a copy and took it to the checkout counter. My billfold was out when I heard the clerk say, “That will be eighteen something.”
“Pardon me?” I said. Having tinnitus means I do not hear as well as I used too, what with the constant ringing in the brain.
“That will be eighteen something,” he repeated. The last one I purchased was “eleven something.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. He showed me the price attached to a price tag that covered the one on the magazine, and, sure ’nuff, it showed a price of $16.99 US. Include tax and, wah-lah, “eighteen something.”
As I was putting my billfold back into my pocket I said, “Wow…Last time I purchased a copy it was only eleven plus; that is a dramatic increase.” He gave me a blank stare. The clerk at the next register, who had been watching this unfold, gave me a look and sort of shrugged his shoulders as if to silently say, “What’cha gonna do?”
I started to grab the magazine, telling the young man I would put it back, but he jerked it out of my hand saying, “We will do that!” I was stunned, thinking, “I did not even get a chance to peruse the mag…”
I went to the coffee shop where one of the Starbucks employees is a fellow who used to come to the House of Pain and trade genuine Starbucks coffee for a membership, etc. And now everyone knows the secret of why the House had the best coffee of any chess club. I told him my tale of woe while awaiting my cuppa joe. Back in the adjoining bookstore an empty table was located, where I broke out my chess board and latest copy of the best chess magazine in the universe, “New in Chess.” I am behind with the NiC, having only recently received issues 2014/2 & 3. The subscription ended and times are tough, with the current situation being in a state of, shall we say, flux. I purchased the issues from Amazon. The Gorilla recently raised the amount for free shipping from $25 to $35, and since the price of a NiC is a little over $10, I have included it to meet the new requirement. Unfortunately, the Gorilla cannot produce an issue in a timely fashion. For example, check out the dates of the two NiC’s I have on order:
Not yet shipped
Track Package
Delivery estimate: Friday, October 10, 2014 – Wednesday, October 15, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess Magazine 2014/4
Guezendam, Dirk Jan ten
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
Delivery estimate: Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Tuesday, October 14, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess magazine 2014/5
ten Geuzendam, Dirk Jan
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
That’s right, the Gorilla has the issue out now set to ship before the previous issue! I believe 2014/4 was published in June. I have been sending emails to the Gorilla about this, but maybe I expect too much from a Gorilla…It is obvious there must be a better way.
Back at the B&N with my cuppa joe, I opened NiC 2014/3 and thought about what GM Jonathan Rowson wrote about taking his new issue of NiC to the coffee shop as soon as it arrived…Then I began to read. I discovered a letter by one Evan Katz, of “New York, NY, USA.” Seems Mr. Katz is disappointed in the price of the best chess magazine, ever, in the recorded history of the human race. NiC is truly “cheap at twice the price,” but not to Evan.
At this point I began to ponder the reason for the dramatic increase in the price of “Chess Monthly,” so I decided to ask the manager. When I mentioned the amount of the price increase she was obviously shocked. “That is a huge increase,” she said. The nice woman went on to tell me B&N had nothing to do with the price of magazines because a distributor handled it, going on to inform me that beginning in July B&N had a new distributor. I told her that explained things, and thanked her for the information, and her time.
In putting this together I did discover that chess4less.com not only provides a yearly subscription for $70, but has individual issues for sale for $7.95. The Ironman and I have not seen the May, June, July, and August issues. Even with shipping charges one can purchase two for the price of one from chess4less in comparison to B&N. Goodbye Barnes & Noble, hello chess4less!

Elton John perfoms Benny and The Jets on Soul Train

Leningrad Dutch by Vladimir Malaniuk

It should be obvious to anyone who reads this blog that I love the Leningrad Dutch. The GM who has spent most of his career playing the defense, Vladimir Malaniuk, has written a book on it, and it has been published in Europe, and is not yet for sale in the US. For that reason I decided to email the publisher, Chess Stars, to learn why it is not yet sold here in the states.
Subject: Re: Leningrad Dutch
From: Semko Semkov
Date: Tue, August 5, 2014 01:51
To: Michael
I sent the book long ago to our distributor. I will ask him to answer you.
Hi,
Our US distributor is Books From Europe
I asked him to answer you, but I still have no reply from them.
Semko Semkov
Books From Europe
To Mesemkov@chess-stars.com
Aug 5
Dear Michael,
Leningrad Dutch by GM Malaniuk is available on our web-site (as most chess titles from the wide range of publishers).
Please follow the link:
http://chessbooksfromeurope.com//bookstore/product_info.php?products_id=1817
We also have internet stores on the E-bay:
http://stores.ebay.com/Books-from-Europe?_rdc=1
and Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main/ref=olp_merch_name_5?ie=UTF8&asin=1857449886&isAmazonFulfilled=0&seller=A1NNTWFA7GO9OY
Best Regards,
Emanuel & Irena Rasin ( Books from Europe )
Visit our website:
http://www.chessbooksfromeurope.com
Fax / Toll Free 1-866-328-1523

Aug 7
Semko Semkov
Michael,
Thanks a lot for letting me know that. We only send books to our distributor and we do not devise his trading policy. Before Books from Europe, we dealt with Hannon Russel from Chess Cafe. He sold less so we are relatively happy with the guy from Books from Europe.
Perhaps the main problem in our case is the expensive delivery from Europe (air cargo) and the high cost of books before production. Making a hardcover is actually cheap (1$), we do not offer them to reduce weight and postal expenses. Our authors are top Grandmasters and we publish only high quality (having in mind chess content) books. It takes a year to prepare one. Respectively their fees are higher than an author of “a really nice hardback McFarland book”. At the same time, our target audience is farly limited to strong club players and professionals. If the reader does not grasp the difference between mass production and our books, he is probably right not to buy them. They are clearly not meant for him.
_______________
We are constantly trying to make our product more affordable. That’s why we devised the electronic format Forwardchess (iOS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/forwardchess/id543005909?mt=8), Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.forwardchess) . It is much more functional than any paper book since all the moves are displayed on a big board while retaining their print layout. One can also analyze with Stockfish.
The prices are the same or less (the top one is $20) than any competitor’s book. I strongly recommend Forward chess to any chess fan. In my opinion, this is the future of chess books.
To semkov@chess-stars.com
Aug 8
You are welcome, Semko. I completely understand everything you have written, having worked at the Oxford bookstore in the late 70’s-early 80’s I do understand some things about the business of books. In my case it is that I am old(er) and have less money, much of which does go to books! Although New in Chess magazine is considered expensive, I enjoy it immensely and somehow manage to read every issue, whether or not I have a subscription.
I would like to use your comments in a post about the Malaniuk book and the state of the book business. I would, therefore, like to ask you if that is OK? Also, what is the retail price of the book? The folks at Chess Cafe show this:
7/12 The Leningrad Dutch (25% preorder discount!)
When one clicks on, this is shown:
Price $37.95
Sale Price $28.46
Availability Back Ordered
Is this the true retail price? Or is it $31.95?

Semko Semkov
Aug 8
Michael,
Thanks a lot for letting me know that. We only send books to our distributor and we do not devise his trading policy. Before Books from Europe, we dealt with Hannon Russel from Chess Cafe. He sold less so we are relatively happy with the guy from Books from Europe.
Perhaps the main problem in our case is the expensive delivery from Europe (air cargo) and the high cost of books before production. Making a hardcover is actually cheap (1$), we do not offer them to reduce weight and postal expenses. Our authors are top Grandmasters and we publish only high quality (having in mind chess content) books. It takes a year to prepare one. Respectively their fees are higher than an author of “a really nice hardback McFarland book”. At the same time, our target audience is farly limited to strong club players and professionals. If the reader does not grasp the difference between mass production and our books, he is probably right not to buy them. They are clearly not meant for him.
_______________
We are constantly trying to make our product more affordable. That’s why we devised the electronic format Forwardchess (iOS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/forwardchess/id543005909?mt=8), Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.forwardchess) . It is much more functional than any paper book since all the moves are displayed on a big board while retaining their print layout. One can also analyze with Stockfish.
The prices are the same or less (the top one is $20) than any competitor’s book. I strongly recommend Forwardchess to any chess fan. In my opinion, this is the future of chess books.
On Friday, August 8, 2014 2:31 PM, Semko Semkov wrote:
I do not know the retail price – we never put one on the cover.
Our wholesale price is $15 (including air cargo to the US). American retailers are used to at least double it. As far as I know, that’s common practice.
So there it is, the retail cost of the book is $15. Chess Cafe shows the price of the book as $37.95, on “sale” for $32.27. Although they showed it as ‘Back Ordered’ a few days ago, it is not listed as ‘in stock.’ Amazon has it listed for $31.95, plus $3.99 shipping. This is from the folks at Books From Europe. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. Unfortunately, circumstances dictate that I must wait on a price drop.

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