Bob Long- Thinkers' Press

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  • Bob Long- Thinkers' Press

    This morning I was saddened to read on Edward Winter's website about the death of Bob Long who was the publisher of Thinkers' Press. He published many interesting chess books from about 1978 to 2008 that included several books on correspondence chess. They were high quality paper back books at reasonable prices. He also published the magazine "Lasker and His Contemporaries" and reprinted collections of articles written by Cecil Purdy. Many of my favorite books were printed by Thinkers' Press.

    Some links:

  • #2
    Bob Long (1945 - 2020)

    January 12, 2020

    The official obituary:

    Robert B. "Bob" Long

    September 16, 1945 - January 7, 2020

    DAVENPORT-Robert B. "Bob" Long, 74, a resident of Davenport, passed away Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at his home in, Davenport.

    A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial to celebrate Bob's life will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 16, 2020 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Davenport. The family will greet friends prior to mass at church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service. The rite of cremation was accorded and inurnment will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Davenport. Memorials may be made to King's Harvest-Pet Rescue. Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home, assisted his family with arrangements.

    Robert Basil Long was born on September 16, 1945 in Keokuk, Iowa, a son of John C. "Jack" and Grace M. (Gilbert) Long. He had been married to Mercedes Peitzmeier. She preceded him in death in 1984.

    Bob was an entrepreneur, starting; Thinkers Press, Chessco and Typefaces in downtown Davenport.

    Bob was a member of Sacred Heart Cathedral. He enjoyed chess, church, family, friends, and movies

    Those left to cherish Bob's memory include his children: Robert M. "Rob" Long, II, Frederick, MD, Christine (Ed) Palmer and Nathan Long all of Davenport; grandchildren: Brianna (Sawyer) Bartlett, Alex Long, Maya Rodriguez, all of Davenport, and Melissa Palmer, Cedar Rapids; great grandchildren: Aurora, Danni, Jack; siblings, Mary Claire (William) Bersbach, Galena, Ill., James Long, Lawrence( Sandy) Long, all of Keokuk, Joan (Paul) Gilkerson, Kahoka, Missouri, and Jeanne (Billy) Buckner, Keokuk; and many loving nieces, nephews, and extended family.

    He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Mercedes, and a sister, Rita Long. Online condolences and remembrances may be expressed at

    Published in Quad-City Times on Jan. 12, 2020


    • #3
      There is also an article on chessbase news by IM Andrew Martin with trahic details.


      • #4
        Bob Long (1945 - 2020)

        January 15, 2020 A Chess Life I

        I dealt with Bob Long for over forty years. He was the consummate entrepreneur – never at a loss for a chess project that would benefit everyone. If you bought in to the idea then he got you involved.

        The following is a review of the last half of his life. It covers three postings but I think that every person should have a summing up of his achievements at the end.


        In June, 1968, Bob Long of Davenport, Iowa, started publishing a magazine called Chess Stamps Informant. It was a bi-monthly magazine and lasted until 1974. It was then absorbed in his other magazine, The Chess Arts. Also published by Long’s CHESSCO; it lasted until 1977.

        I have The Chess Arts for 1973 in front of me. Each issue starts off with a few pages about chess stamps – for example J.R. Capablanca on Cuban stamps issued in 1951. There are book reviews, nostalgia – usually a reprint of an article from a bygone magazine and books for sale. I was quite surprised to see a letter of mine to Bob quoted; the subject was two inaccuracies in his review of A.J. Roycroft’s Test Tube Chess.

        It was a quirky little magazine - fun to read but not commercially viable in the long run.

        In the early 70s he published books under the CHESSCO imprint such as The Nimzovich Defense by Hugh Myers (1973) and Chess in art: paintings & watercolors by Manfred Roessler (1973).

        From 1977 for almost thirty-five years his Thinkers’ Press produced over eighty books. Among them:

        Exploring the Chess Openings
        Hugh Myers, 1978

        Predicament in 2-dimensions
        Ariel Mengarini, 1979

        Persona non grata
        Viktor Kortchnoi, 1981

        Viktors Pupols: American Master
        Larry Parr, 1983

        My chess adventures
        C.W. Warburton, 1984

        Practical chess analysis
        Mark Buckley, 1987

        Confessions of a chess grandmaster
        Andy Soltis, 1990

        How to reassess your chess
        Jeremy Silman, 1991

        The complete guide to correspondence chess
        Alex Dunne 1991

        Journal of a chess master
        Stephan Gerzadowicz, 1992

        Henrique Mecking: Latin chess genius
        Stephen Gordon, 1993

        Modern postal masterpieces
        Alex Dunne, 1994

        Super Nezh, chess assassin
        Alex Pishkin, 2000

        Leonid Stein: master of risk strategy
        Edward Gufeld, 2001

        Olaf Ulvestad: an American original
        John Donaldson, 2002

        The history of correspondence chess in Canada
        Leonard Zehr and J. Ken MacDonald, 2006

        Fisching for forgeries
        Lawrence Totaro, 2007

        The chess assassin’s business manual
        Bob Long, 2008

        “In this period, he also was the authorized publisher of the collected works of C.J.S. Purdy, described by Bobby Fischer as one of the best writers and teachers in the world. His final book, an expanded edition of Purdy’s Search for Chess Perfection, was released shortly before his death” - John Hartmann in

        Hartmann goes on to say: “Ever the entrepreneur, Long was an inveterate chess promoter, bringing titled players from around the world to his Chess Festivals in Davenport, Iowa. After selling his mail-order chess business to Chess4Less in the early 2000s, Long returned to the chess marketplace shortly after his non-compete expired, and he continued to hawk chess books and equipment to his customers until his death.”

        Andrew Martin wrote this in the English Chess Forum:

        “Bob was a one-off, in the chess world a promoter, a publisher of eclectic material, and a bookseller, all on his own terms. I knew him since 2004, when he kindly invited me to feature in one of his chess festivals. I returned to the USA many times after that, working with him on more of these events, for the most part staying in his home. We became firm friends. Bob had a loyal, but limited clientele. If you got to know him, he was kind, generous and scrupulously honest. He made friends for life. He was also irascible and woe betide you if you got on his wrong side. He would not lick the parts necessary to get a sale if he did not want to. This certainly cost him business over time.

        Bob had strong Christian faith. This helped him to navigate through earlier, very difficult family times, which would have emotionally destroyed many. Those who have described him as curmudgeonly, perhaps knew nothing of these problems. Bob did not have much luck in his life.

        I enjoyed his company greatly. We had frank discussions. I enjoyed meeting his friends at the events he hosted and many of them have become friends of mine. The last event in May 2019, was only attended by six people, but we all had a terrific time.”

        Bob’s writing output was amazing. If you were a member of his inner circle you would receive emails and larger publications on a regular basis, which must have taken him hours or even days to create. All original, displaying his very high intelligence. I’m sure it was this type of dedication that bonded people to him, so that they would happily buy from him and even help him financially when times were tough. I can honestly say that ever since I knew him he was always surviving on very little money.

        Was Bob a businessman? He would like to think that he was, but for me he was more unique than that. In his own way, he was singular and that’s the memory of him that I will most retain.”


        From 2012 present I periodically got a newsletter from bob from Here follows some quotes from that enthusiastic “publication”:

        April, 2013: You may recognize the name Sam Sloan attached to author’s names. From what I have been able to find out, NONE of these titles I have seen were authorized by the original authors or publishers! I have contacted or tried to contact some of these authors—some of who have now passed away. This is the kind of stuff Amazon lets some get away with.

        The last I had heard Sloan had moved over to the Pacific somewhere, maybe Indonesia, Philippines... can’t remember now. I suspect the actual country has non-extradition treaties with the US

        In at least one case the only contribution made by Sloan was to write an introduction. Who needs his? Sloan’s contributions in the past have mainly boiled down to controversy about his personal and public life. Please don’t be so desperate for an out-of-print book such as How to Open a Chess Game that you will stoop to buying a copy which was reprinted from God knows where. You missed out when it originally came around, don’t be fooled by this. I think NOW all the original authors of that truly inspiring book are deceased. That doesn’t mean the book is no longer protected by copyright, it is.


        Bob started on a series in 2010 which I never understood and, even today, seems bizarre. It was called The Chess Gangs of New York and London and featured the games of famous chess personalities from the twentieth century. I suppose it was inspired by Martin Scorsese’s epic period film of 2002 called The Gangs of New York. See the next post for the twelve titles.

        (to be continued)


        • #5
          Bob Long (1945 - 2020)

          January 15, 2020

          A Chess Life II (continued)

          June, 2013 - Have you ever wanted to meet someone famous in chess who was a player, writer, commentator on TWO (at the scene) world chess championship events, without having to go to Europe and incur expensive airfare and accommodations? Well, I have a surprise for you!

          IM Andrew Martin and Thinkers’ Press publisher Bob Long will hold a “Jam Session” on October 26 in Davenport, IA. One day only, Saturday. Ask questions from 10-6 but beware, you will also be sent a questionnaire, in advance, for you to work on, and we will spend several hours Saturday afternoon deciding which are the best answers and there will be prizes! $125 is the price for this unique thrill. Later you can join us for an evening of conviviality and food.

          For Sale:

          The Chess Gangs of New York and London

          Lasker - The Ultimate Streetfighter
          Blackburne - The Black Death In Spades
          Alekhine - The Executioner
          Pillsbury - The Fencer
          Capablanca – The Mouthpiece
          Petrosian – The Punisher
          Larsen - The Hammer
          Horowitz – The Interrogator
          Bronstein - The Mechanic
          Keres - Machine Gunner
          Mason – The Piledriver
          Botvinnik - Da Boss

          Put all twelve of these books together to get a GIANT book and you get 536 pages (!!) + 12 beautiful full-color covers, and 644 games, all of them annotated. 12 people who made chess history from 1892-1998. Shows only our heroes’ wins as white or black. As they said on the cereal packages, collect all 12 and be mesmerized by 106 years of massive talent. Retailing at $162.40; get them all at 50% OFF + $7.95 for shipping. We are low on Alekhine and Pillsbury, so I wouldn’t wait!


          A non-chess book he wrote was on internet dating!

          July, 2013 - Was on the radio a month ago promoting a new book, non-chess, but there are side benefits: “How to Meet S.I.D. through Senior Internet Dating. “ The radio show, capably handled by Charity Nebbe and Ben Stanton, was about people dating again, after age 50. Of course they had another “expert” on the show at the same time, a Dr. from one of Iowa’s universities and somehow he got the idea (???) the subject was about “Helping” people over 70! I’m sure that his prophecies didn’t help sell the book but I would sure like to be incorrect on that. After I said my piece one of the phone-in callers was a previous girlfriend, from in the mid-90s! Fortunately, as my head was whirling wondering who it might be, I heard her say her piece and she was totally supportive! Maybe I increased sales by one more book!

          (Note: Amazon has the book by Bob Long with this blurb:

          At last a book on internet dating and by an author of 15-years' experience who is MALE! Did you know that over 80% of the people engaged in online dating sites never actually get even one date? HOW TO MEET S.I.D. through Senior Internet Dating will show you what actions you need to take to get a date as well as point out how to avoid meeting the wrong person!)


          Bob often mentioned his family, friends and bits of his life to get closer to his customers.

          October, 2013 - Back to the Bunkhouse... Yes I was a ranch hand for three summers working for my grandpa. What an experience; I was saving up money to go to college. Until I was 16 I didn’t know college would be about advanced mathematics when I had felt I didn’t know jack about elementary mathematics. That all changed with the callouses, blisters, sun, hail, branding, and riding of horses. It was a Nature Life, but I wasn’t much of a nature guy. I liked blackboards and uncomfortable desks in the search for higher education. Yep, I did. A little while later and ten years as an applied math guy (who loved theory more), I went out on my own. And I was a Kitchen Table or Dining Room table entrepreneur.

          (Note: After his passing, Bill Rankin wrote:

          Tragic. My condolences. I hired Bob and he worked for me at the Rodman Laboratory at Rock Island Arsenal 1970 – 1976 time frame. Yes he was one of a kind – I had a department full of one of a kinds. Our group was involved in computerized war gaming and weapons development when computers were in their infancy. I assigned Bob the lead role in developing computer models to simulate “urban” warfare – street and building combat. Really interesting and challenging work. I went to work at John Deere in 1976 and communicated with Bob a number of times after that.)

          As my government career came to an end, I was setting up shop (Chessco’s House of Table Games) I was also selling the topical subject of “chess on stamps” in the evening. Stamps were light when it came to postage but my reach was worldwide with purchases in many far flung places and numerous clients. But I did the “unforgiveable”... I became interested in books on chess! And magazines. And some Staunton set designs. The next thing you know, I was selling that stuff, from scratch, with little knowledge. But someone said if you take your passion and put it into action, big things can happen.

          Along the way I ended up publishing about 13 different chess publications which surely must be some kind of record. (If I get to publish “CB-Buddy” that will make it 14). Made DVDs to sell. Holding, at last count, about a dozen chess events such as the upcoming “Chess Jam Session.”

          In between all these “bulleted” items a few books have been written and many games have been played and people to meet. But what did I enjoy the most? It was marketing of chess. Common sense says I should have tried marketing something else. At 14 I was selling stamps to a school friend and doing business by mail order. I was fascinated by rubber stamps and the typewriter (Remington?). As I got older I remember having my first letter head printed, for “Chessstamps,” and it was in 2-color, orange and black, half-letter size. Then I bought and learned about technology, the early use of modems and expensive “Black Box” electronics. Then typesetting and meeting wonderful people.


          Buying a collection for resale. I still wish I could have got first call on some of the items!

          October, 2013 - THE DALE SUILMANN COLLECTION When Dale arranged to bring his collection to me it was boxed up in about 17 (a prime number) large containers like those tubs you’ve seen in Walgreen’s or Target. I already had several more tubs from a previous trip, loaded with valuable volumes from the British Chess Magazine collection he owned (including the valuable first couple years and “autographs” from the rare 1881. It was nigh on unbelievable. Next thing you must realize is that there was so much stuff it filled my living room. As you no doubt have figured out, I wasn’t married at that time! What was in those tubs? It was acres of lovely chess stuff. There were books both foreign and domestic. There were dozens of high-calibre chess sets from all over the world, Staunton design, AND... there were a slew of bound volume chess magazines. And that is what I am here to talk to you about today.

          Anyone can call themselves a collector of something, but many don’t or seem to be embarrassed unless they are talking to a like-minded collector. But this Dale guy is not one of those. Yes, he’s shy, but through it all he collected “bales” of really good stuff, and even some of it from Chessco (me) over the years. His reasons for “unloading” SOME of it aren’t really pertinent at the moment, but he didn’t load me up with JUNK. Some books are in better condition than others, but in the main the books, sets, and periodicals are all “beings” you wouldn’t mind owning. For years I had huge collections of bound chess magazines from here to Germany, to the Soviet Union, and England. As I said, BOUND but I also had big collections of UNBOUNDS such as from Latvia, and the USSR (such as the “64” newspaper periodicals). Before I forget there were bound volumes of Swedish and Norwegian chess magazines, probably Yugoslavian and Hungarian too. You never know where you will find your next idea!

          Through these publications I would contact other collectors and vendors. Ever heard of Uno Linde? Big time Swedish reseller but his lists were in English! I met Albrecht Buschke in NY in 1971 and Walter Goldwater also from NYC the same day. These guys knew their stuff and could spin the stories or tell you why paying $60 for Lasker’s Chess Magazine was a super bargain.

          Now that I have advanced, somewhat, beyond the neophyte stage of collecting, I get their madness, methods, and troubles. There are a few I regret never meeting. But all of them have stories that’s the beginning of collecting — even David Delucia relayed that in his lengthy NIC article. Maybe one of these days you will say, “I knew Bob Long after he stopped sucking his thumb! I bought British Chess Magazines and Chess Lifes from him.” Many collectors consider one only an “amateur collector” if you have no copies of the British Chess Magazine, especially a nice run of them. Perhaps you are worried about distance to ship? Well, perhaps you should be. The rates for shipping overseas these days is pretty close to astronomical. But, at one time I shipped a set of BCMs (British Chess Magazines) from 1881 to about 1945 to a collector in England. I think the postage ran about $400. We spent all day packing the boxes to make sure they would arrive safely.

          (to be continued)


          • #6
            Bob Long (1945 - 2020)

            January 15, 2020

            A Chess Life III (continued)

            I should interrupt the narrative here to tell how I started dealing with him again.

            Bob had brought out six issues of a magazine entitled Lasker and His Contemporaries from 1978 to 2011. I had four of the six and wrote to him about getting the remainder. I remember writing after 1 AM one day and getting an instant reply from Bob with the costs of the magazines and shipping.

            Subsequently, I bought at auction, the eight issues of his magazine SQUARES The Chess World’s Picture Magazine. This was meant to feature chess for enjoyment and like the old Chess Review. It ran from Spring 2003 to Fall 2005. In a last word, he said that he loved the magazine, spent hundreds of hours on it and thousands of dollars but he needed twice as many subscribers as he had and many more advertisers to keep it going,

            And there was a book that he issued in the summer of 2012 that I really found attractive. It was a reissue of the 1892 Modern Chess Brilliancies by G.H.D. Gossip. 75 brilliant chess masterpieces. Gossip commented on the games and Bob had got hold of Harry Nelson Pillsbury’s copy which had 100 footnotes and 297 notes and move evaluations throughout the book. The book as reissued had notes by Gossip in black and by Pillsbury in red. It sold for 55 USD in a limited edition and I was glad to get a copy.

            Reissuing Purdy

            December, 2013 – Our book C.J.S. Purdy - My Search for Chess Perfection.

            What a guy (C. J. S. Purdy) and what a book! Over 400 pages, several editions—one of TPi’s most sought after books, finally reprinted in 2007. Then added to in 2010 with a monster 18 page index. Why did most people like Purdy? The main reason is that when he explained something, even “average level club players” understood him! That doesn’t always happen in today’s books written by GMs and GM Wannabes for non-GMs. Some writers only give the reader analysis whereas Purdy often gave a story, a reminiscence, a comparison AND analysis. The reader had the feeling Purdy was “talking” directly to them! (And... he was!) Purdy’s attitude was that if HE didn’t understand what he was writing about, how could he expect his audience to do so? His subscribers were quite important to him and people all over the world came to know him. His books sold in huge numbers (his mistake was that he wasn’t good at pricing stuff because he was always in the “hole.”). He worked very hard for little (peanuts). This $39.95 book, is going to be dropped to $20.00!!! It will then be out of print for a while.


            His chess festivals, talking of the next one and then an accident:

            April, 2015 - We know how to do chess festivals, this is our 5th!

            Some amazing headliners we've had too: GM Lubosh Kavalek, GM Eduard Gufeld, GM Jonathan Rowson, and GM Alex Yermolinsky. Subheadliners have been: Nikolai Minev, Jeremy Silman, Igor Khmelnitsky, Malcolm Pein, and Andrew Martin. Other entertainers have been Members of the CJS Purdy family, Ken Whyld, Jon Edwards, Allan Savage, and others. Bob Long, your host, is the publisher at Thinkers' Press, with over 160 books and magazines on chess to his credit. He will be hosting this event as he has the others.

            July, 2015 - I do have a business to run, despite the accident I suffered in my car (totalled by the insurance company last week).

            I've always been about REAL transparency and not a "save my butt" type of thing. The accident was mine. I ran into a parked and apparently heavily loaded metal trailer on 15th street. I never saw the trailer nor when I hit it head on. They have put me through two tests: an in the tube MRI for 30 mins. and something else to do with my heart and I am wearing the monitor for the last several weeks--what a giant pain in the ass! Apparently I passed the MRI with flying colors.

            In other words, I blacked out before the accident so I saw nothing and remembered nothing. Still don't.

            The Chess Festival I worked many months on had to be cancelled. That was a formidable task. I have refunded one person their registration and he didn't even ask for it yet. Unfortunately it is sitting near my door awaiting to be mailed!

            You guys have been great. Some are telling me to hold their refund. Some said they will use it as a credit. Others are still ordering books! It's an outpouring of still liking this ole' buzzard in Davenport.

            My problem? My left arm was broken in 2 places and it was wrapped in a heavy plastic cast. Inside was placed a plate of some kind and titanium screws. I can't use my left hand for typing. My right hand and wrist is now in some kind of fiber-cast to lessen twisting. Doc says the sprain may require several more weeks to heal.

            Am I boring you? Well I am boring me!! I found out today my left arm has to undergo more surgery as one of the bones is resisting locking itself in place! Sad. For the past two weeks I have been counting this as towards recovery time. Now I find out--PIPEDREAM, problems with ligaments and whatever and more pain meds.


            By autumn he was back in harness again

            September, 2015 - It's getting to the point folks where very soon I will be staying in touch more frequently. My arm and hand is getting better each day. See my ortho guy tomorrow. Books are still coming in and some fascinating ones too. I am able to help people here and there and my good and loyal customers are occasionally keeping me busy (which I need to keep from going stir crazy and to pay these endless bills.). I walked 6-8 blocks to my daughter's house yesterday. It's a little humid outside and it's warming up so when her husband Ed gave me a ride home it was welcomed.


            The last newsletter I received from him was dated January 3, 2020. Big Purdy is the new expanded edition of C.J.S. Purdy’s Search For Chess Perfection by Robert Jamieson and John Hammond.

            As I was leaving church recently I overheard one woman to say, "I am glad we are done with 2019." I don't know about you but it seemed to me that a lot of folks felt that way too. I know I am OK with that.

            Now that BIG PURDY, as I now call it, is out there, I will be pushing it to other retailers. I'll do some more blogs, start another few projects and finish up some old ones. I have passed Purdy's age of 73 when he died and he was a tennis player. None of us can be absolutely sure of our "life ending" genetics.

            This year I will be writing also about "disposing of collections" (of anything) in a way to keep you happy, involved, and not tortured. Some don't want to think about death and giving up that which has been dear to them for all these years but it can be handled in a way that is "polite," worthwhile, and problem solving. Some just give up playing chess. Not necessary. I did when I realized my left eye had been impaired when I was in that accident. The eye-docs did great things requiring me to wear glasses again, but in the main, I feel fine. I am working on cleaning up my office, am gratified with the prepaid response to BIG PURDY and I have renewed contacts with people I had known years ago. Hence, I am optimistic about 2020.


            Four days after this email, in the afternoon of Tuesday, January 7, the police were called to Bob’s house and he was pronounced dead on the scene.

            A 19-year old admitted to police that he went into the house forcibly with the intent to steal his car, strangled him and then stole property and left the scene. The 19-year old was charged with first-degree murder, robbery and burglary.

            This note of condolence on the U.S. Chess website:

            Richard Reich, M.D. -

            What a senseless tragedy. My condolences to the family. I bought many books from Bob over the years, and met him many times in person at tournaments. He was always genuine, true to his beliefs, scrupulously honest and fair. Caissa has lost two of America’s great chess publishers and dealers recently, Dale Brandreth and now Bob. May he rest in peace.
            Last edited by Wayne Komer; Thursday, 16th January, 2020, 12:14 AM.


            • #7
              Thanks for all that interesting background Wayne. Id bought a few of Bob's books. Now I know a lot more about him.