Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Female Models

If you’re selling chess t-shirts, you have to use models, right?

And if you're selling girls' chess t-shirts, then must use female models!

I figured this was a long and proud tradition and I had no right to rock the boat. But I am also a pretty introverted guy and don't have much experience approaching attractive women to ask them if they want to be a chess model. But armed with the noble cause of creating a new breed of chess apparel and a love of hot chicks, I decided to blaze forward.

I thought finding a chess t-shirt model was going to be easy. I found several databases where I was able to search for models and then contact the ones I thought might be a good fit. And let's face it, there are worse ways to spend your time than searching for hot girls on the Internet. But it was also a lot of hard work. Several times I had to endure the personal sacrifice of skipping dinner...I would have to yell at my wife, "Not now! I'm trolling the Internet looking for girls."

But soon it got discouraging. There are millions of models out there, but apparently none that wanted to work with a small chess t-shirt company.

Then I found Jazmin. I had probably contacted 40 models by this time. About 50% never responded (in my mind, I figured they thought Endgame was lame). Another 40% politely said they were not interested. The last 10% were just really flaky...they would say that they wanted to be involved but I could never get them to commit to a date for a photo shoot. With Jazmin, there was never any of that bullshit. We set a date, I showed up with the photographer and we did work. We have shot several times since and she is always perfect. She comes with her little entourage with her hair and make-up done and several sets of clothes.

Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure why she even agreed to work with us in the first place. Hmmm...I actually need to ask her and make that a future blog post.

Now that things have been up and running, the story is different...we have been approached by several models who are just dying to be chess t-shirt models for Endgame. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Anyway, we're sticking with Jazmin!

Any questions?

Next up: "Male Models" ...a much different story.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You Asked For It

They are here.

After about a year of people asking, people suggesting and people just flat out calling us idiots...Endgame is now stocking 2XL sized chess t-shirts.

For the record, there was no conspiracy against the big guys...we just didn't think that there was much of a demand...apparently we were wrong!

Game on!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hikaru Nakamura Wears Endgame!!

Stop the presses!!

Hikaru Nakamura was spotted wearing Endgame!!

There is nothing better than seeing one of the world's elite chess players wearing one of our shirts. And is Hikaru just wearing the chess t-shirt around other chess players?


He's rocking it in the real world!!

Thanks, Hikaru!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Here is a design we did a while back called Prodigy. We were going to release it as a Halloween chess t-shirt, but never did...maybe next year.

Hope everyone has a great Halloween!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bishop vs. Knight - now available!!

Our newest design is now available...

We hope you dig this chess t-shirt that was inspired by the classic fight posters of the 50's. It was hand drawn and printed on navy with light blue discharge inks.

You can find it for sale at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Have you seen this?

This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It was on 60 Minutes last Sunday...

Don't mind the Viagra commercial, just watch it...HERE

And what does this have to do with chess? Well...nothing really.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mysterious Video

I just received an email from a film company asking me to post this video...

I know nothing about it, but was pretty stoked to see a major namebrand energy drink involved with chess.

Check it out and let me know if you have any guesses as to who is inside the can???

What do you think about this??

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Bad Stuff

Part 2 - The Bad Stuff

You're probably thinking that running the greatest chess t-shirt company on the planet is a dream job. Well, I'm here to tell you it's not all Grey Goose and Grandmasters.

Here are the tough parts:

1. Inventory. Ok, not very exciting, but very important. I HATE to disappoint customers and run out of stock. But the problem is that we can't just go and print a handful of shirts. Our shirts are printed by an amazing shop that prints for huge name brands. We feel very lucky to have them print our shirts. So in order to keep our costs reasonable, we have to print large quantities.

And this assumes that I am able to get the blank shirts from our supplier. For instance, right now we are out of a few sizes on the Horsey design. My supplier will not have the "faded demin" colored shirt in stock for approximately 12 weeks. 12 weeks?!?!? Are you fucking kidding me? How can anything in 2009 take 12 weeks to accomplish? I just got off the phone with a 12 week old kid who already had his first IM norm under his belt.

So from time to time, we run out of stock. Hopefully people understand that this is just one of the fun things you get when you deal with a smaller independent company.

2. Photography. This has been an eye opener. I have now realized that I have taken for granted every single professional photograph that I have ever seen. I have never understood or even dreamed of the amount of detail and work required to get good shots. I guess I always just kind of thought that if the picture sucks then you need a better camera. Still working on this, making headway...but we have HUGE room for improvement here.

3. Search Engine Optimization. This is like playing chess with Google, except Google doesn't tell you the rules. I am constantly beating my head against the wall with this. I mean, come on!! There are not that many chess t-shirts out there...and you are going to tell me that Endgame doesn't deserve to be ranked on the first page? This means that there are millions of chess players who have never heard of Endgame. That makes me so angry, I want to punch a kitten.

4. The Internet can be a lonely place. It's strange to create something for people all over the world and never see them face to face. Or typing a blog in a dark room when you are never really sure if anyone other than my mom is reading it. Sure, I can see the traffic numbers, but are people really reading? Are they getting it? Do they dig Endgame? Believe it or not, some people do not like our designs...I know, I know...its hard to believe and it technically doesn't make them bad people. But there is a certain amount of arrogance in me that believes that every single chess player on the planet is going to love every design we create.

But in the end, the Bad Stuff means nothing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Good Stuff

When we first started Endgame, I had pretty huge expectations. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that we have created the best chess t-shirts the world has ever seen. Would I call these shirts historic? Well, that's really something for the academics to work out, but one guy did say that Fischer probably would not have quit chess if he had shirts like these.

So I figured that when the chess t-shirts were first released, I would be immediately hoisted upon the shoulders of Grandmasters and paraded through hallowed tournament halls...I would grace the covers of chess periodicals...I would be celebrated by having openings named after me. I might even be invited to do that ceremonial moving of the first piece in the upcoming World Championship match.

Well, none of that shit happened.

But there has been a lot of good and some bad.

Let's start off with some of The Good...

1. Meeting Top Players. As a fanboy, one of the amazing things about chess, is that many of our heroes are very don't have to get through a huge entourage to say "hi." Normally I am just a jackass from the lower section...but now I am a jackass with some chess t-shirts. Recognize! And I am very happy to say that most of the titled players that I have approached have been very receptive and supportive.

2. Artists. I have always loved art. As a kid I was always a huge fan of comic books and animation. T-shirt design has been an exciting way to work with amazing artists who are able to do things in computer graphic design that I never knew existed. I really enjoy the process of watching a rough concept for a design turn into the finished polished product. I'll probably write more about this in the future as several people have asked about it.

3. Models. I have always loved models. Especially female ones! This part was tough. Like everything else with Endgame, I have an idea in my head as to how everything works out. With a shirt design, we can always tweak until we get it right. But with models, you first have to find the right one and then they have to agree to work with you. My male model, Dan, was easy to find. I work with him and he cracks me up...done deal. Trying to find the female model was much more difficult. Not only does she need to look right for the part, but did I mention that we are modeling chess t-shirts? Not exactly the high fashion that most models dream of. So I searched and searched. Most would never respond or follow through. There was one model who agreed, but every time I tried to coordinate a photo shoot, she was busy. Then I found Jazmin. End of story...she's perfect and I feel very lucky that she seems to really enjoy being involved.

4. Worldwide Web. I think this Internet thing will be around for a while. It makes work very convenient. The Internet has been criticized for turning us into an anonymous society with increasingly less human contact, but I'm hear to say that it has restored some of my faith in humanity. Every day, I deal with wonderful, passionate people...who I have never met face to face. We transmit ideas and money on a daily basis and, almost without exception, people do the right thing. Good job humanity!

5. Endgame Customers. Without a doubt, this is the best part. I never lose sight of the fact that people have found Endgame and then made the conscious decision to wear a chess t-shirt. Wearing a chess shirt is both a committment and a statement. One guy said it is pretty much like putting a big middle finger on your chest. It is one thing to be a fan of chess and to play in the safe confines of a club or behind an Internet connection. It is quite another thing to put on a shirt and strut your shit in public. Any pussy can wear Quiksilver or Volcom, but it takes balls to rock a chess shirt. Thank you to everyone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Endgame Upset Prize - Week One

This season, Endgame is very proud to be sponsoring a weekly Upset Prize for the United States Chess League. This "upset prize" will be based on the largest rating difference between players. Draws are also eligible to receive this upset prize, once again using the rating difference, but a draws counts for only half of that rating difference when tallying the biggest upset.

Last night marked the end of week one. There were several exciting upsets, but only one could be named The Endgame Upset Prize...

The winner of the coveted Upset Prize for week one is IM Jonathan Schroer from the Carolina Cobras!! Even though IM Schroer was up against a whopping 225 rating point difference, he was able to secure the draw against GM Kritz.

Everyone wants to know exactly how IM Schroer felt when he found out he was the recipient of this prestigious award. Unfortunately, emails to the international master were not immediately returned. He must still be celebrating!!

For further details and information on the U.S. Chess League, be sure to visit their homepage.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Endgame Chess T-shirts!

It's been a lot of work, but the new designs are now available at the main site.

Well...what are you waiting for?

Go get 'em!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Best Laid Plans...

Well, summer is here and we almost have the spring shirts ready to go!! Best laid plans...

We have received a ton of emails asking when the new shirts are going to be released. We really appreciate how anxious everyone is, but we want to make sure everything is perfect.

We're not playing for a draw here, kids. The last piece of the puzzle is the photography. We want to make sure that every part of Endgame is the best we can do. Up to now I have been very proud of all aspects of Endgame...except the photography. Many of the photos on the site are just crappy shots I took with my cheapo camera. Some of them are just downright embarrassing. Well, that's all about to change!!

The photography with Jazmin, our female chess model, is finished and everything looks amazing. This afternoon, we are shooting our male model, Dan. So hopefully in a few more weeks, the photos will be edited and the site will be updated with the new chess t-shirts.

Hang in there, everyone...


In other news...Sean Trani filmed an interview with Grandmaster Var Akobian last month at the St. Louis Chess Club during the 2009 US Chess Championship. About halfway through the interview, Var has some very nice words to say about Endgame. Thanks, Var!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Old Opponents

Do you ever feel strange playing a really old dude? And I don't mean just old. I mean way old and way overrated. I guess it's the opposite phenomena of the 12 year old kid who's abilities are increasing at a faster pace than his rating.

One of my biggest wins from a ratings standpoint was against an elderly gentleman who's best chess days were far behind him...but he would still come out to the weekend tournaments every once in a while with a smile on his face. Even in the summer, he would wear a collar and sports coat...both of which had to be at least 30 years old. He had the look of a widower who had not purchased a stitch of clothing since his wife's funeral many years ago.

He was 19 years old and serving as a chemist in the military when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor...and one afternoon several of us were captivated by his retelling of the experience.

This man once had a rating that I will never come close to achieving.

But was now being crushed in the lower section by some jackass like me.

So many others give up or become bitter when their abilities fade.

Not this guy.

He died a while back and I think about him quite a lot.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend in Vegas

A funny thing happened in Vegas...I got sick! And the not the usual kind of Vegas sick that goes away after a few Advil and a gallon of Gatorade. But even though it was not the ideal weekend, we still sold a ton of t-shirts and met some great people.

In other news, here's a quick update on what's happening around here...

1. The new designs are ready and the people in Vegas seemed to really like them. I am working to get the product photography done in the next few weeks and then they'll be up for sale on the main site.

2. We had a drawing in Vegas for a free Endgame t-shirt and the winner is David B! Thanks to everyone who entered!!! By the way, the results of the drawing were carefully audited by our 6 year old intern:

3. We will also begin to give away free t-shirts as prizes for tournaments hosted on This is something we have been thinking about doing for a while so we are pretty excited to see how it works out. If you decide to become a member over there, be sure to say that "Endgame_Clothing" sent you.

That's all for now! See ya.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Packing Up My Game...

...and I'm heading out the Las Vegas International Chess Festival. Here's my van with hundreds of Endgame shirts, 15 CDs, 2 kids and a wife...all packed in and ready for a 4 hour drive across the desert:

It is going to be a crazy weekend, but I'm looking forward to every minute of it.

See you there!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Endgame T-Shirt Preview!!

The new Endgame Clothing chess t-shirts are being printed right now...and I mean literally right this moment!

Both of these designs will be available at the Las Vegas International Chess Festival being held at the South Point Hotel and Spa on June 4th through 7th. They will be available on the Endgame Clothing website shortly thereafter.

We truly appreciate all of the support everyone has given Endgame and we will always do our best to provide players with a unique way to support chess...both at the board and away from the board.

Also, if you haven't done so already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive coupon codes good for discounts on the new shirts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Great Moments in Chess Cinema

Chess has been featured in an insane number of films. In case you missed them, here are a few highlights:

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

There is nothing worse than being convicted of a crime you didn't commit...just ask Andy Dufresne...or the A-Team. While serving a life sentence in prison, Andy decides to make his own chess set from the rocks found near the prison grounds. Andy describes chess as being "civilized" and "strategic." We don't get to see a whole lot of chess being played, but we know that chess is a pastime that Andy values greatly. What we learn from this movie: The same tactics that help you from being mated on the chessboard can't always help you from being sodomized in the prison showers.

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

Every sport has a crowning cinematic masterpiece. Boxing has "Raging Bull," baseball has "The Natural" and ping-pong has "Balls of Fury." Few would argue that there is a better chess movie than "Searching for Bobby Fischer." This is a great movie with a legit all-star cast. The movie centers around the idea that chess is a game that has been drifting around in the doldrums since losing its greatest player. When an 8 year old prodigy appears to be the next incarnation of the fallen hero, the entire chess community pins its hopes that this child can save a once proud country of chess players. Little known fact: After seeing Lawerence Fishburne's performance in this film, the Wachowski Brothers wrote and directed a complete rip-off of "Searching for Bobby Fischer" and called it "The Matrix." In this pathetic imitation, we have nearly the same plot: The very future of a group (chessplayers) hinges on finding the identity of The One (Fischer). The One is supposedly a predestined person who is capable of seeing the secrets of all of life as we know it (chess).

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

In this film, we can't help but fall in love with two unlikely friends in the form of a Rockstar and an Accountant. In one particularly emotional scene, we come across the sexually inexperienced Accountant, on his honeymoon, confused with his new role as a husband and struggling with his very faith in God. As he desperately tries to understand God's reason for putting a playground next to a sewer system, he finds solace with the Rockstar. Through the creative use of an oversized chess set as a marital aid, the Rockstar is able to show the Accountant the beauty of the sexual act as well as finding a level of intimacy with his new bride that he never thought possible. Movie Life Lesson: We all can learn something from each other. As the Rockstar provides the benefit of his vast coital experience to the Accountant, we hope that in turn, the Accountant can lend his financial expertise to help prevent the Rockstar from becoming a cautionary tale on VH1's "Behind the Music."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Current Chess Scene - Part Two

Are you tired of hiding the fact that you play chess? Do you want to see your local Grandmaster quit his night job at McDonalds? Do you want to finally get the respect and admiration you deserve for spending years of your life staring at little wooden pieces?

In order for any of these things to happen, we must make chess more popular. And I am here to say that this is actually much easier than most people think. People have said for too long that chess will never achieve mainstream success. But in reality, an activity is irrelevant to its popularity. The largest determinant to whether something is popular or not is its promotion. And the promotion of chess in this country sucks.

Sure, we have problems with the federation that is technically in charge of promoting chess in this country, but that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem, as I see it, is the lack of the human element. We tend to forget that 2 people are playing the game. These people have stories and personalities, but we never get to hear them.

The most horendous example of this problem is the Computer vs. Computer matches! Is there anything more boring and damaging to the image of chess than that? Are we suppose to revel in the glory of the computers' perfect play? Who gives a shit about perfect play!? That's like going to the movies to watch a film about a perfect life. BORING! Show me some guy who's life is fucked up and tell me how he overcomes it...that's what I want to see. That's what makes me cheer, laugh and cry.

To promote chess, we must make chess more human. So how do we do this?

1. The Internet. This has been a huge windfall for chess and chess communication. Chess blogs are all over the place (don't look now, but you're reading one) and online play has created millions of closet chess players. The best example of this is the one-stop, chess playing, social networking masterpiece called Anyone can play as well as connect with other chess players and truly feel like part of an online communty.

2. Focus on Character. Every person has a story. And the story of chess players in an amazing one. The incredible personal sacrifice to a game that never promises to give back as much as you put in? These people are not lured by flashy cars and supermodels. They are not leaving high school to go pro. They are sacrificing everything to play a game with little financial reward or prestige. Many get to the end of the road, and like a bitter drunk staring at a bottle, wish they had never seen a chessboard. Or others come from far away countries, dodging and weaving through years of beauracracy and political instability just to find a home. I don't give a shit about the tournament where they achieved their second GM norm, give me the stories of thier lives!!!!

3. Away from the Board Promotion. Chess is a very intimitating game for those who don't know how to play and can be downright cruel to those who do. And while the pieces may be beautiful, they aren't too cuddly. We need something softer, like....t-shirts!! Oh snap!!! See what I did there? I brought it back around to Endgame Clothing, The Original Chess Apparel. Apparel has been a standard for promoting activies for years. There are millions of people who wear Quiksilver or TapouT without every stepping foot into the ocean or an octogon. But people buy and wear the t-shirts because they support what the sport represents. Endgame Clothing t-shirts are an off-board expression of the love of chess.

My parents have never played poker. But my parents love watching poker on TV and they know all the players' names. They know who is nice and who is a jerk. Poker has done something very, very, right. They focus on the drama of the players, not the game.

"Hey, Mom, do you know any names living chess players?"

"Of course, honey, Bobby Fischer."

"Actually, he died a while back."


...Yeah, really.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Las Vegas International Chess Festival

Hey Everyone! Endgame Clothing will be taking the traveling t-shirt circus on the road to the Las Vegas International Chess Festival which runs from June 4 -7. The tournament will be taking place at the South Point resort. If you are in town, be sure to stop by and say, "Hi!"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Late Update...

Over the weekend, IM Sam Shankland won the semi-finals and finals of the US State Champion of Champions tournament which qualifies him to play in the 2009 US Chess Championship. Congrats!!

The US Chess Championship will take place in May in St. Louis...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Congrats to IM Shankland!

Sam Shankland moved onto the semi-finals in the 2009 US State Champions of Champions by completely dominating his field with a score of 9.5/10!!

The semi-finals will take place on April 4th. More info can be found here.

Congrats, Sam!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Future of Chess? has over 500,000 members and is adding over a thousand new ones each day. This is an absolutely amazing feat when you consider that the site was only launched about a year and half ago. I remember checking it out briefly when it first came out, but it didn't seem like anything special. And it really wasn't, but much like a 15 year old IM, they have been improving on a daily basis.

I feel a little embarrassed that I didn't realize how powerful this community has become. I have always been a US Chess Federation kind of guy. And it might be a completely inbred, dysfunctional family, but it was my family. And even though mom and dad always argue and have taught me to have extremely low expectations which they continously fail to meet, I have stuck with them. I mean, they are the sanctioning body for chess in the United can't get any better than that, right?

But damn...look at They have everything! It is a completely integrated online home for chess players. Playing chess can be a very cold and lonely endeavor at times and I think that is why the game loses so many of its casual players. But has made a very comfortable place to hang out and find mentors and friends.

The visionary behind all of this is a guy named Erik. He has put his heart and soul into this chess community and it shows. But he isn't just some guy who runs the site and holds his constituents in contempt...he is an active part of the community. The amazing thing is that if there are any problems with the site, he is the first one to accept blame and ask the members for help and suggestions for improvement. His openness and transparency of action is not only endearing, but makes the members feel like they are all part of the journey. The USCF could learn a thing or two (or two million) from Erik and

Is this face the future of chess?

Oh, and Erik also wrote some very cool things about Endgame Clothing. You can check out the whole

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rise Against and Chess

You don't think chess is in the mainstream? Well, think again!

For those of you out of the loop, this bombshell came out a while ago, but I have been waiting for the rest of the International Chess News Corp to pick up on it. I figured this would have been a huge story! I guess I'll just have to report it myself...

The popular rock band, Rise Against, released their fifth studio album in October of last year. The name of the album is "Appeal to Reason" and it premiered at #3 on the Billboard 200. The album was immediately embraced as a critical and commercial success.

While this is all well and good, people seem to have overlooked the real importance of this album. It employs major chess imagery. Watch out Wu Tang! There's a new band on the block for chess players to desperately look to for validation on the musical landscape.

So without any further ado, I present what I am calling "See? It told you chess is cool #47 "...

What's that? You don't see anything? Well, look a little closer...

My high school years have been officially vindicated! I knew I was cool...I fucking knew it! I just didn't know I was ahead of my time. Here we have a successful band (but not too successful...we don't want to lose street cred) showing some heavy chess love.

So why does Rise Against have a bishop on their album cover?

No. I'm asking you, "Why does Rise Against have a bishop on their album cover?" Because I don't know. I have messaged them on Myspace, but haven't heard anything back. I'll let you know if there are any late breaking developments, but right now I need to go set the record straight with a few girls from high school that didn't understand what a visionary I was...

By the way, both the band and this album are great. And although it lacks the chess imagery, their previous album "The Sufferer and The Witness" is a favorite of mine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Endgame's Next Top Chess Model

I thought it would be super easy to find a model for Endgame Clothing. I mean, isn't modeling for a chess clothing company a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Doesn't every model dream of just getting the chance? Apparently not.

But let's not focus on the negatives here or how I was turned down so much it felt like high school all over again...let's talk about the positives...

After many failed attempts, dead ends and flakes, I found Jazmin. And she is wonderful. She was always prompt to reply to emails, was on time for the photo shoot...and did I mention she stands 6 feet tall in heels?

Now you might be cynically asking yourself if she plays chess? Haha, does she play chess? Hell ya...she knows how the pieces move!! Her 5th grade teacher taught the whole class...but she hasn't played since ;-(

I will continue to rotate more pictures of Jazmin at our main website so stop by and check them out, blogger doesn't quite do them justice...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Endgame Reviews

There have been some great product reviews out there in cyberspace and I wanted to share a few with you guys. The two below are particulary cool because both are from non-chess related sites...

This first is a video review by Coty Gonzales. All this guy does is review t-shirts...he has seen a million of them...he eats t-shirts and craps cotton...let's see what he has to say about two of the Endgame shirts...

Glorious Nonsensities 2x06: Crazy Bananas, Endgame Clothing and Chess from Coty Gonzales on Vimeo.

In addition to the video, Coty interviewed me one-on-one for his "Indie Tee Spotlight"...this can be found here.

We were also mentioned on, who reviews "T-Shirts for a Geek Friendly Future." Here's what they had to say:

"Chess geeks have had it rough. When somebody would go and attempt to make some game inspired gear it usually turned out on the french-horn-in band side of extracurricular lame. Not John. John started his shop, EndGame Clothing with a mission: create chess inspired shirts that would be equally at home raiding the frat house as they would be castling. That’s quite an accomplishment."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Back From the Tourney

What did you learn this weekend? Well, I learned that there are certain people that don't like Endgame t-shirts. As I sat at my vendor table, at the U.S. Amateur Team West tournament, I was treated to several looks of contempt as people passed by. One man even said that one of my shirts was in "poor taste." Really? Dude, have you looked in the mirror in the past 10 years? That tie is in poor taste.

But for every person that didn't like my shirts, there were 2 that loved them. This was great and I want to thank everyone who came by to say, "hi." In particular, there were a group of guys from Cal State Northridge who where totally stoked to see my shirts and I even met 2 people who follow this blog!

This was my first attempt to promote Endgame in the offline world. I took a few pictures of my vendor table posted them in the draft for this blog entry, but after seeing them, I took down the pictures...they look too boring. I can now see that my set-up really failed to capture the majesty that is Endgame Clothing. I'm not going to let that happen again...I have some great ideas for next time.

By the way, the shirt that was in "poor taste" was my second best seller.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Photo Shoot

Last night we had a photo shoot for Endgame Clothing. The photographer and model were awesome! I can't wait to see the pics...check back soon!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

U.S. Amateur Team West Tournament

Endgame Clothing is taking its game on the street!

I will be peddlin' my wares and pimpin' my shirts at the 24th annual U.S. Amateur Team West tournament on Saturday, February 14th. The tournament will be held at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA. Be sure to come by and say, "Hi!"

More info about the tournament can be found here.

Worst Job in the World

A friend of mine decided to ditch work a few weeks back and bought a lottery ticket. Bam!! The guy wins $20,000 on a scratcher.

So he goes to the dreary government building to claim his winning. Sitting behind the counter is the most miserable person in the world.

Here is a little bit of my friend's conversation with this person...

My Friend: When does the confetti fall from the ceiling?

Lottery Employee: What confetti, sir?

My Friend: There should be confetti that falls from the ceiling when a big winner like me comes around. Come on, where is it?

Lottery Employee: (No answer. Just a dead blank stare. She cuts my friend a check who then studies the check very closely for a full minute.)

My Friend: Oh, this can't be right.

Lottery Employee: What do you mean?

My Friend: This check is too small.

Lottery Employee: No, sir, it is for $20,000...exactly the amount you won.

My Friend: No, I mean, the check is too small. Where is the big check, the huge one that I have to carry with two hands?

Lottery Employee: What?

My Friend: You know, that 4 foot long one.

Lottery Employee: That is only for ceremonies.

My Friend: Is there a suggestion box around here? I think you guys should make some changes...

I was cracking up when my friend told me this story, but can you image how soul crushing it must be to sit behind a counter all day and just hand out lottery winning?

So what does this have to do with chess? Well...nothing, really.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Current Chess Scene - part one

One of my biggest gripes about the chess scene today is that there is no adult chess experience. I'm not talking about some obscure European chess porn (but if you have some, feel free to email ;-)), but I am talking about being able to enjoy and discuss chess in an adult context.

In organized chess today, the scholastic programs make up the majority of the members of the United States Chess Federation. And on one level, that is a great thing; the Federation needs every member it can get. But as a result, the Federation has created an environment that is wwaaayyyy too kid friendly. We are so busy kissing their prepubescent asses and trying to keep their parents happy that we end up trying to please everyone from ages 5 to 95. This is an impossible task!

So what we all get is a big serving of bland, boring, uninteresting dullness. Is it any wonder why so many people drop out of the chess scene after a few years? Unless you have completely dedicated your life to the game, are an 8 year old, or the overprotective parent of an 8 year old, I just don't many things that hold the attention of the casual player. The casual player needs to be given some other type of social reward or fulfillment.

Now don't get me wrong...I like kids, I have kids and I even used to be a kid. And I believe that if kids are around, then everyone has a personal responsibility to set the best example possible. But sometimes I also like to curse and get pissed that I hung a piece for the thousandth fucking time!

I am here to say that this squeaky clean one-image-fits-all is wrong! I am here to say that is one of the MAJOR reasons that chess in America is in such a sorry state!

And this is one of the reasons I started Endgame Clothing...that's right, dear reader, to save chess!!!

End Part One

Monday, January 26, 2009

Life in the Lower Section

I have always had an amazing ability to learn. My parents told me that several teachers throughout my youth commented that I was a gifted learner. I imagine they kept this information to themselves so as to encourage me to one day become a well-adjusted adult. This ability to learn was evident in every intellectual endeavor I attempted. I was creative and mature in my understanding of language while destroying the grading curves in math and science.

And please don't think that my talents were limited to the classroom. Outside of class while enjoying baseball, I also loved to play board games. My favorites were Risk, Monopoly and chess. Especially chess. I guess I was about nine-years-old when my father first taught me the way the pieces were supposed to move. Almost immediately, I displayed an amazing command of the board and seemed an expert at making those sixteen pieces do their deadly dance. I demonstrated my dominance at the board by winning, almost without exception, every game I played. This incredible, unprecedented streak continued for nearly twenty years.

You may now be wondering why I don't have a GM or IM in front of my name. Well, perhaps I am very modest and don't wish to rub your face in my internationally recognized title. Perhaps like Henry V, I like to walk without my well-deserved designation, so as to get a better idea of what the average chess player is thinking and doing. But the truth is that I never played anyone who had even the slighted clue as to how to really play this game. And even worse, I had to come to the ultimate realization that after twenty years of playing chess, I didn't know shit. I was about to become a serious beginner.

It is hard to believe that that an adult can lose a game of wits to a child. But there I was, sitting across from sixty pounds of terror. I had fumbled through Nimzowitsch's MY SYSTEM before this kid had taken her first step. In the opening, I was knocked off balance and never got back on track. All I could do was await each painful move that she recorded with a pink Hello Kitty pen onto her scoresheet.

And of course I did not have to suffer alone. The only thing misery loves more than company is an audience. And at any chess tournament, an audience can always be found when a child is beating an adult. I tried not to look at the audience as my position got worse and worse, knowing that the room was filled with smirks and at least one smug parent. At the same time, a part of me was very proud of my child-opponent. After all, I have two children of my own, including one just about her age. The only difference is that my son's favorite pastime happens to be throwing dirt clods at the neighbor's house.

I believe that being a serious adult beginner in the game of chess is one of the most challenging things in the world. Some non-chess playing people will disagree and righteously say that the greatest challenge is raising children and ramble on about things like the importance of future generations and tomorrow's leaders. Compared to chess, raising children is a piece of cake. If one of my children talks back to a teacher, I simply explain "he gets that from his mother." If one doesn't want to eat his vegetables, "he gets that from his mother." But when I blunder at the's all me.

The biggest threat to the serious beginner is the temptation to just quit. After all, this is supposed to be fun, a pastime. But to sit down and lose again and again is incredibly frustrating. The serious beginner has to make a lot of new friends. These friends go by many names, but the most common ones are frustration, heartbreak and humiliation. To be two pieces up and then lose to a one move mate on g7 has made me curse this game more times than I care to mention.

It is also at this point that we truly learn about ourselves. Do we simply give up like a spoiled child or rationalize that adults are not capable of learning as quickly as children? I am old enough to know that persistence will overcome almost any obstacle. Intelligence is great and helps, but over the long run it is the persistent person who comes out ahead.

And it was at that moment, when I could do no more and tipped my king in resignation, that I made the decision to renew my studies. There are many examples from my past where I have given up too easily. I decided that this would not be one of those times. I will focus more on the fundamentals that I know I neglect. I will seek a teacher to help me fill in the gaps in my play that seem to be reoccurring over and over. And I know that the next time I sit down to the board, it will be a fresh chance to show what I have learned. It will be a fresh chance to climb out of the lower section. But most importantly, I will try to not get discouraged and always enjoy my journey with this beautiful game. It is often difficult to love something, which at times, does not seem to love me back. But like all our great loves, we do not choose them; they choose us.

I walked out of that tournament with a lower rating but a greater understanding of myself. And in the grander scheme of things, which was more important? The answer was obvious. So as that little girl climbed into her dad's minivan and began to drive away, I picked up a dirt clod and threw it at their car. He gets that from me.

I had written this essay a while back and it was posted on Jeremy Silman's -John.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chess and Lit

A customer of Endgame Clothing sent me the following quote...

"If alterna-rock were a chess game, Lit would control the all-important mid-board squares, where the diagonals of cutting force intersect with the horizontals and verticals of straightforward pop-melodic appeal."

Talk about an amazing coincidence! This is from an article written in the LA Times back in 1999. Fast forward 10 years and a few million albums later and the guitar player, Jeremy Popoff, is wearing one Endgame's chess t-shirts. Awesome!!

By the way, if you do not own Lit's "A Place in the Sun," you have to get it. It is simply one of the best pop/punk albums ever.

The full article with the above quote can be found here.

Play well,


Thursday, January 15, 2009

What Does This Have To Do With Chess T-Shirts?

I came across this video a while back and I find myself watching it over and over again. There is just something magical and beautiful about it...

Sony Bravia 'Balls' from Mark Kirby on Vimeo.

So what does this have to do with chess t-shirts? Well...nothing, really.

Play well,


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chess and Other Boring Things on TV

Poker is boring. Golf is boring. Billiards is boring. They are all so boring that each of them is usually accompanied by massive amounts of drinking. But they are also all on TV. Take a gander on ESPN2 on a Sunday afternoon and you will see nothing but boring sports. Billiards, golf, poker, spelling bees, scrabble and sandcastle building. Seriously? Sandcastle building? And did I mention that cooking has an entire channel?

Now I'm not here to pick on anyone, (well, maybe the scrabble people, I mean they're just so smug with their big vocabularies) but instead I want to spotlight what these other "boring" sports are doing right and what chess can learn from it.

When we're watching golf and the camera just happens to cut away to some guy in 19th place, we know he is going to make a spectacular shot. Go spend some time in a poker room and tell me that's not one of the most boring places on the planet. But when we watch on TV, every hand is pure excitement.

We're not talking about rocket science here...with chess you would film hours of play, do massive post-editing to just show the critical moves and put in some decent commentary. With the help of computer analysis, you can explain to the casual player or layperson what the best move is and illustrate it on-screen with some snazzy computer graphics. Flesh out the players with some filmed interviews and narratives with compelling back-stories. And, of course, some hot chick to conduct post game interviews.

People don't watch TV to see games, they watch to see human drama and joy. By itself, does it really matter if someone sinks a 20 foot putt or catches a spade on the river? No! But what I find engrossing is the passion and dedication it took to be able to sink a 20 foot putt. And I love to see the child-like excitement when someone catches a spade on the river to complete a flush. I want to see the victory and defeat, the journey, the competition, the stakes and the winnings!!

Do I really give a shit if a kid knows how to spell "alopecoid?" Hell, no! I just want to see something like this:

Good stuff. Human stuff. Ridiculous stuff. And is there anything more ridiculously human than sitting for hours, deciding which little piece to move on a board?

Play well,


Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 North American Open

The North American Open just finished up last week in Las Vegas with GM Giorgi Kacheishvili winning with a clear first. Chris Bird did an amazing job with timely coverage and photos of the event. All coverage and photos can be found here.

Speaking of photos...what do we have here?

It looks like IM Sam Shankland sporting the Wandering King! Thanks for the support, Sam!