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:

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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.  


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.


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Raven Lee Raven Lee 1/22/2022 01:38
RIP. I met Bob Long frequently at various chess tournaments in Wisconsin, where he'd have a table full of Thinker's Press books. I'd eye each of them greedily, especially the C.J.S. Purdy books. He'll be missed.
ChessDryad ChessDryad 1/24/2020 08:32
I'm saddened to hear of his passing. I first met him in the late 1980s when I was the chess book buyer for Games of Berkeley. Over the years, I conversed with him on the phone and in emails many times. His Thinker's Press editions of the C.J.S. Purdy books were a labor of love that enriched the entire chess community. I will miss him.
treetown treetown 1/15/2020 04:26
I met Mr. Long many years ago when he organized chess festivals. In addition to hosting Andrew Martin, he also had wonderful guests like Alex Yermolinsky, Jonathan Rowson, and Jonathan Berry who played a 12 board blind fold simultaneous. He had strong opinions about chess and definitely did not suffer fools gladly but he was genuine. He enjoyed chess, like chess players and loved chess books. He will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace.
royce campbell royce campbell 1/13/2020 12:17
I can't begin to express my feelings any better than others who have already shared about Bob Long. I believe it was 1972 when I first met Mr. Long. I can honestly say that in the ten years or so we frequented the same tournaments, there was never a hint of animosity in me towards him. Anyone who knows me would understand how rarely that occurs! While our paths inevitably diverged, he continually worked hard for chess his entire life, and deserves all the acolades being shared here. RIP
kenneth calitri kenneth calitri 1/13/2020 04:11
There are many interesting human beings in the chess world. Some are fairly described as being a 'character' for their uniqueness, distinguishing qualities or eccentricities. They often step to their own drum beat, are typically very interesting, have many wonderful qualities despite maybe some less attractive ones. There are several Americans who in their own have made an indelible contribution to the chess world. Hanon Russel, Dale Brandreth, Fred Wilson and Bob Long come to mind. They are players, writers, book dealers, promoters, publishers and teachers. I deeply respect them for their contributions to chess - for us. I attended one of Bob Long's Chess Festivals - it may have been the inaugural event, but I am not sure. The chess celebrities featured were Raymond Smullyan, Jonathan Rowson, Malcom Pein and a local Shakespearean actor. There may have also been one other chess celebrity, but my photographic memory is fading these days :). It was a wonderful three day event and is one of my fondest chess memories. Besides the various lectures I still remember playing the Snake Benoni against the chess celebrities in a tandem simul. Great fun. Later on, as a hobby I tried my hand as a part-time chess dealer and I was a wholesaler of Bob's products and books. Bob, his sister, and team were supportive and honest. Bob's chess book store in Davenport Iowa was a chess player's heaven. It was the perfect bookstore you see in movies - wood bookcases - the old comfortable oak library chairs you can sit in for hours and the largest selection of chess books for sale I had ever seen. Needless to say everyone left with armfuls of books. I remember the event attended by 2 or 3 dozen chess players. I regret not making the time to attend more of them. I sent Bob an email on Friday evening only to open Chessbase on Saturday to see the sad news. Thank you Bob Long for all your contributions. I have thought about you often over the years. You won't be forgotten.
PEB216 PEB216 1/12/2020 03:53
When I first started ordering chess books from Bob Long, his publishing company was known as Chessco. I was particularly interested in his booklets on Emanuel Lasker ("Lasker & His Contemporaries") and his many books by or about C.J.S. Purdy (in particular, "My Search for Chess Perfection"). If my memory serves me correctly, the first edition of Jeremy Silman's "How to Reassess Your Chess" was published by Bob's Thinkers Press in the mid-1980s. Bob will be sorely missed.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 1/12/2020 03:04
I was shocked to learn about Bob Long’s death from my friend, Ilan Rubin the other day and refused to believe him. Sadly, it’s confirmed now. I was an old customer of Bob and corresponded with him. He was tough as nails and had an acerbic wit. A non-nonsense man who did not suffer fools gladly. He was incredibly knowledgeable about books and had unshakable faith in his own judgment on them. I stand with countless admirers of Bob and share the grief of the family.
NoSystem NoSystem 1/12/2020 01:14
I was a customer of Mr. Long's over the years. I will miss our occasional phone conversations (he never hung up on me until we had a conversation about something). I'm sad to say I never met him, though I came close a couple years ago when one of his festivals was abruptly cancelled when GM Williams was turned around by US Customs. I strongly support every sober, law-abiding citizen's right to defend themselves and agree with GM Yermolinsky's advice with this caveat: be armed at all times, but be sure you know what you are doing. Get training and stay proficient. Screwing up with a gun will cost a lot more than hanging a piece.
AlexYermo AlexYermo 1/11/2020 10:38
What horrible news, proving once again what the United States of America can be (a wrong place) in the 21st Century (a wrong time). Davenport, Iowa is supposed to be a quiet Midwestern town, much like the one I live in. To be murdered in your own home.... No words, except for stay armed at all times.
I knew Bob, met him many times at book selling shops at various tournaments. Twice he invited me to participate in his chess camps/festivals, one of those times Andrew was there as well. It was always a unique experience. For Bob, this was never about the money, he was not going for the number of participants, as his goal was to celebrate chess in a company of fellow lovers of the game.
schack schack 1/11/2020 06:54
As the author of the piece on US Chess, to whom Martin obliquely refers in the above, I would say that the world 'curmudgeon' is multivalent. Where I grew up, it is not a slur, but a recognition of qualities that are gruff but also, in their own way, endearing.