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

Wesley So Does It Again

Heading into the sixth and last round of the ongoing National Open GM Wesley So was tied with GM Alejandro Ramirez and GM Manuel Leon Hoyos for first place, each with 4 ½ points. Six players, all GM’s, Ray Robson; Jaan Ehlvest; Varuzhan Akobian; Tomas Gelashvili; Victor Michalevski; and Enrico Sevillano, were a half point back. The pairings were: 1)Ramirez-So; 2) Hoyos-Robson; 3) Gelashvili-Ehlvest; 4) Michalevski-Akobian; 5) Fidel Corrales Jimenez (with only 3 ½)-Sevillano.
Ramirez battled So for twelve tough moves before offering a draw, which was accepted. As it is said in golf, “That puts them in the lead in the clubhouse.” I was disappointed Wesley did not make his twelfth move and castle, for then the position would have been completely symmetrical. Maybe that is why Ramirez decided to offer the draw. This would seem to make no sense because Hoyos can finish a half point ahead of them with a win over Robson. Certainly that will not be an easy task as Ray needs a win to tie for first place. Still, it is a possibility. If Hoyos manages to draw that would allow the possibility of a six-way tie for first. If ever there were a time to do battle, this would seem to be it.
Wesley So, along with his opponent Pavel Eljanov, has taken much heat from the press and pundits for offering a draw in the last round of the recent Reykjavik Open. There is an extremely interesting article by GM Eljanov in the current issue of the best chess magazine in the world, New in Chess (2013/3), in which Pavel tries to explain his motivation for taking the draw without playing. He writes, “The last round started much earlier than the others-at 12, as often happens even in super-tournaments.” Another motivating factor was, “It’s all very simple: we are people and sometimes our strength is exhausted.” He admits to being out of bullets, writing, “In Reykjavik I strictly followed my principles for the first nine rounds, and it’s no exaggeration to say that I fought to the last bullet.” He blames the Soviet chess school culture when he writes, “Nevertheless, I was raised in the traditions of the Soviet school of chess, where various kinds of short and prearranged draws were fairly standard,” later admitting, “But one way or another I have a grain of that mentality inside me.” Maybe an exorcist would help? He writes about a game he lost versus Mikhail Gurevich, playing a Dutch (and nothing says “I intend to win” better than the Dutch!). Eljanov provides chess fans a glimpse into his soul when he writes, “Unsurprisingly, at some point in an ordinary but complex position I couldn’t withstand the tension and came under a crushing attack.” After reading this how many 2700 GM’s are going to offer Pavel a three move draw in the last round?
About the short draw Pavel writes, “Even then I had a kind of an unpleasant aftertaste after the draw,” and, “…I couldn’t have imagined that the reaction would be so strong!” That is precisely the problem in chess. The top players have come to regard it as their right to not try and win. Unless the rules are changed the only thing that will stop this sordid practice from occurring is the opprobrium of the chess community. Without a fan base, there will be no chess.
He must have come to the conclusion that accepting the draw offer was wrong because he writes, “The first thing I’d like to do is apologize to the chess fans who felt insulted.” He quotes Albert Einstein a couple of times and compares chess to a “90-minute football match.” (For my American readers, that is what we call “soccer,” not the maimball in the US) It is an interesting article to read. Pavel sums things up by writing, “The next day what happened, happened.” Or as Hikaru Nakamura is fond of saying, “It is what it is.”