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

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“The World Open Has Become a Cheat Paradise”

This comment, from Jack Lee, was sent earlier this month in reply to my post of July 13, 2013, “Players Expelled from World Open!” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/players-expelled-from-world-open/)
It has been posted there, but because cheating has been prominently featured recently I decided to publish it today.
Submitted on 2014/05/12
“I played the Under 1800 and lost to “”David Zhou”” from Quebec (QC) who was “unrated”, with 7 games in Canada, assigned under 1800 section instead of being unrated. He tied for first, clearly master strength. Wonder what his real name and rating is.
I also lost to “Michael Quan” whose moves matched Fritz 12 when I analyzed the game. For 25+ moves in a row. Quan left the hall on his move several times and talked to a guy outside, I followed him. He, Quan, has never played since World Open. Computer Cheat!
Another in the under 1800 was a Nigerian (Nwoye Nnamdi), unrated, won 6 drew 3, tied for first.
Other sections – 1600/1400/1200 had unrated players winning top prizes.
Full standings:
http://www.chesstournamentservices.com/cca/tag/world-open-2013-standings/
The whole unrated thing is a joke. There should be no prizes for unrated players, just return the entry fee.
The World Open has become a cheat paradise. I won’t be back until it’s cleaned up.”
A recent conversation at a coffee shop caused me to reflect on the comments of Mr. Lee.
The Atlanta Chess & (What other Game?) Center may have been called The Dump, but the coffee was wonderful because one of the members worked for Starbucks and would pay for his membership and other things, like books, etc., with freshly ground Starbucks coffee. I have kept in touch with the gentleman and every now and then stop by for a cuppa java and a game of chess. My friend and I have time for a quick game when he is able to take a break. After finishing a game recently a distinguished gentleman who had been watching us while reading a NY Times came over to talk. He told me he played chess in school many decades ago and had kept up with the game by reading the chess column in the NY Times. He never had time to play, but said he would break out his pocket chess set and play over the game from the Times chess column and had done so “Since before Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky the first time.” We had been talking for some time when he asked, “Why do people still play chess?” Startled, I asked what he meant by his question. He told me it was obvious to him that chess was on its way out and had been since “Kasparov lost to Deep Blue.” He went on to say there had always been a mystique about chess that was not there now that the “Best players are accusing each other of using a computer to cheat as in the ‘Toiletgate’ incident.” As we continued talking I was unsure of how to answer the gentleman’s question. I told him chess was different now because of the effect computer programs have had on the game in that it used to be the top GM’s were the final word, but now a program known as Stockfish was the final word. He said, “Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it can never be put back in. No one can ever know for certain whether or not a player has cheated because the threat will always be stronger than its execution.”