Prolific chess author slain

by Andrew Martin
1/11/2020 – Chess author and publisher Bob Long has reportedly been murdered in his home in Davenport, Iowa, USA, according to local news media. ChessBase author IM Andrew Martin was a long-time friend and sent this reflection. | Photo: bobthechesser.wordpress.com

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"Man charged after 74-year-old man is found dead"

Local news (KWQC) in Davenport, Iowa reported yesterday that a 19-year-old has been arrested and is being charged with murder after police say they found a 74-year-old man dead in Davenport. The man was identified as Bob Long, who was known to the chess community as a chess book author and publisher.

According to his blogger web site, since 1985 Long has reviewed or commented on about 2,000 chess books, magazines, equipment, DVDs, and websites. He has published: Chessstamps Informant, The Chess Arts, The Chess Atlas, Lasker & His Contemporaries, The Chess Gazette, The Chess Reports, Chess EXTRAS, the Purdy Chess Chronicles, and SCORE (for opening theory). His publishing company Thinkers’ Press, inc. (TPI) (not to be confused with the more recent Thinkers Publishing) has published nearly 140 items not including DVDs, CDs, or journals, as well as (licensed) materials from the C.J.S. Purdy estate.

Police say Charlie Gary, of Davenport admitted to entering the Long's home forcibly with the intent to steal his car. Police say Gary strangled Long, killing him and then stole property and his car and left the scene. He was later located in Long’s vehicle at the time of his arrest.

Gary has been charged with first-degree murder, among other felonies. He is currently being held at the Scott County Jail. He was also wanted out of Rock Island County on previous charges of robbery, theft and aggravated battery.

A handful of the books written and published by Bob Long


Remembering Bob

by IM Andrew Martin

Earlier this week, I received the terrible news that my old friend Bob Long had been murdered. Strangled to death in his own home. He was 74.
It has been a terrible shock.

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. I will miss him greatly.

Bob leaves behind three children, two sons and a daughter and I can only offer my sincere condolences at this very difficult time.  

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Andrew is an English chess player with the title of International Master. Martin has won various national and international tournaments. He has been playing for years in the Four Nations Chess League, at present (July 2009) for Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher, previously for the Camberley Chess Club. Martin received his title as international master in1984. He earned his first grandmaster norm in the British Championship of 1997 in Brighton. Martin was a commentator on the chess world championship between Kasparov and Kramnik in 2000.