The Gambit Publications Challenge

by ChessBase
1/14/2004 – Chess books are not easy to sell. Maybe it is because of boring titles, like "Chess Endgame Strategy" or "Improve your 2.c3 Sicilian". Gambit Publications, one of the most successful chess book publishers in the world, wants you to suggest titles that will fire the imagination of the public. You can win some interesting prizes by suggesting appropriately flashy titles.

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Dr John Nunn, the Chess Director of Gambit Publications writes:

"At Gambit we are always on the lookout for good new ideas for chess books, and who better to suggest ideas than the readers of the ChessBase web site? Please submit the title for a chess book which would most persuade you to buy the book. Your title can be serious or humorous. The three readers submitting the best entries will each receive a prize of a free Gambit book chosen from our list."

So turn on your creative imagination and come up with some interesting titles for chess books. They should be clever, witty, funny, maybe even a wee bit indelicate or naughty (we will not prejudice your choice with any suggestions here). Send them in, at the most five per entry, using the following link:

  • Feedback form for the Gambit Challenge [the competition is now closed]

Entries must be received no later than January 31st. The best three suggestions will be selected by the Gambit team (see below).

About Gambit Publications

Gambit Publications was founded early in 1997 to produce a list of high-quality chess books. In the years since then it has grown to be one of the world’s leading chess book publishers.

Gambit’s genesis is connected to the fate of B.T. Batsford, a well-known general publisher which started a chess list in the late 1960s. Back in 1996, Graham Burgess was chess editor for Batsford while John Nunn was doing a considerable amount of typesetting work for the company.

Batsford had for many years been considered the world’s leading chess book publisher, but despite this success the company’s star was on the wane. Unhappy with developments at Batsford, Graham approached John with the idea of setting up a new chess publishing company. Since neither had any experience in running a business, John approached Murray Chandler, who at the time was owner and managing director of the British Chess Magazine, to sound him out about the new venture. Murray was enthusiastic, and so Gambit Publications was born.

The three had an ideal combination of skills to get the new company off the ground. Murray’s long experience with running small businesses enabled Gambit to avoid many of the mistakes which often endanger start-up companies, Graham was able to transfer his commissioning and editorial skills from Batsford to Gambit while John Nunn proved invaluable in solving the technical problems associated with publishing.

A few years after Gambit was founded, Batsford went into receivership, owing its authors, including the chess authors, a considerable backlog of unpaid royalties. Chrysalis, a large media company, bought the assets of Batsford from the receiver, but unfortunately the missing royalties were never paid.

Gambit always intended to publish its own books, but it takes time to build up a chess list until it is large enough to be viable. While Gambit’s own list was being developed, it undertook some work for other publishers such as Cadogan Chess (now Everyman Chess). However, since 1999 Gambit has focused solely on its own books.

At the time of writing, Gambit’s English-language list contains over 80 titles and, in addition, Gambit has translated eleven books into German and five into Spanish. By publishing exclusively chess books, Gambit has been able to maintain the high standard which was one of the key motivations behind the foundation of the company. Its best-selling titles include

There are always new books in the pipeline, including new translations, so it is worth keeping an eye on the pages devoted to forthcoming books and recently published titles.

These are the people behind Gambit Publications
Dr John Nunn
is an English grandmaster. He has won four individual gold medals and three team silver medals at Chess Olympiads and was at one time ranked in the world top ten. Two of his books have won the prestigious British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award.
Murray Chandler
is a grandmaster who was born in New Zealand, but has lived in England most of his life. He played six times for the English team in Chess Olympiads. His entertaining book How to Beat Your Dad at Chess is one of Gambit’s best-selling titles.
Graham Burgess
is a FIDE Master from England with extensive experience in chess publishing. He also won the British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award, and holds the world record for marathon blitz chess.

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