The American Legion Magazine – April 2020

March 29, 2020

A national Treasure– Veterans keep Hubble Space Telescope flying!

Our national freedom to think in terms of days, weeks, months and years past poise a danger to a citizenship value system enjoyed since our founding.  Everything is based upon the word NOW.  It has been fed to us daily both in education and employment that history of America has no modern day relevance.  It has been replaced by the NOW generation that seems to zero out any purpose of discovering the past as necessary to what we deem as needed to keep our freedoms secure.  Education has failed us to ignore literary works that promote and secure a belief system as we progress toward ever faster knowledge being transmitted.  Perhaps this almost instantaneous transmission, with all its wondrous potential has a danger yet discovered or realized toward simple words–Peace-Truth-Happiness that assures a lasting FREEDOM of our generation and those coming after.

Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

March 27, 2020

It was humor at its best when I read ASK AMY column: IT’S HARD TO ENJOY PARTY WITH ‘ONE PARTY’ RULE.  I hate to tell Amy who is biased more often than not when it comes to being liberalized female.  Well, since papers in general are run by liberalized editors, it is understandable, especially in Calif. if you want to work in Hollywood so some pals told me.  I side with the ‘frustrated conservative’ who seems to be knowledgeable and fair-minded in all respects.   Go!! Girl!

In a small way this reminds me of Garfield in the cartoon depicting his getting lost in the woods and comes to a sign that reads YOUR LOST.  Of course Garfield is a cat and cannot talk but meows out with thinking; Like I needed a SIGN!?

Herb, Dagwood’s mailman tells Dag that his boss is set on micro-managing me and has stuck  a GPS Tracker on my bag to tell him where I am on the route.  We find Dag going into his boss’ office  and tells Mr. Dithers: You know Boss–You aren’t so bad after-all.

In Pickles, Earl is examining the vac when his wife Opal comes in the room and asks him what he is going to do with the vacuum.  Earl tells her he is a grown man in my own house. Can’t I use my own vacuum without being interrogated?  Opal tells him by all means he should go ahead and use it. Earl replies Thank you! We see Earl bent over the machine looking for the turny-on thingy?



The Amateur Eye– Reviews from my chess library

March 26, 2020

The scene is Lindsborg 2001 Lindsborg Rotary Chess Open with the feature of IM John Donaldson snapping up this gem  from master 2307 Ryan Porter. to take lst place.  Opening is a Pirc Defense being at the time a very popular black choice of defense.

/ 1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Be2 Nf6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. O-O Bg4 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 e5 9. d5 Ne7 10. Rad1.

Gligoric’s Chess Review column continued here with 10…. Ne8 (Geller-Tal and got me interested in testing this opening system. However, black chooses an idea that appears to be an improvement.

10. …. Bd7 11. Ne1 b5 12. Nd3 Qb8 13. f3 a5 14. b4

He chooses my square count strategy of collecting square influence toward space.

14. ….  c6 15. d:c6 B:c6 16. b:a5 b4 17. Nb1 d5 18. N:b4

White could play here to keep the bishop-pair. 18. Q:b4 d:e4 19. f:e4 Q:b4 20. N:b4 B:e4 21. Bc5 Rfe8 22. Bb5.

18. …. R:a5 19. e:d5 Nf:d5 20. N:d5 N:d5 21. Bf2 Qa8 22. Bc4 Rb8 23.Bb3 Nf4 24. Bg3.

Better was to play 24. Be3 and if 24. … Nd5 25. Bg5 give White a good edge.

24. …. Bf8?

A miscue due probably to the state of his time shortage.  Necessary seems to be 24. …. Bh6.

25. B:f4 e:f4 26. Q:f4 Rf5 27. Qg3 Qa7+ 28. Kh1 Bh6 29. Rfe1 Bf4 30. Qh4 B:h2! 3l. Re7 Rb7?

Black can turn a loss to a draw or maybe a winning idea starting with 31. …. Bc7 instead.  Nerves get to me as well in such tight endings.

32. R:b7 Q:b7 33. Qd8+

White regains control of the position and his own advantage now is clearly nearer to victory.

33. …. Kg7 34. K:h2 B:f3 35. Qd4+ Kg8 36. Rf1 Rh5+ 37. Kg1 Rh1+ 38. K:h1 B:g2 39. Kg1 B:f1 40. K:f1 Qf3+ 41. Ke1 Qh1+ 42. Kd2 Q:b1 43. Qf6 Black resigns.















The Amateur Eye – 2001 Eastern Open Upset?!

March 25, 2020

13 year-old Shirley Ben-Dak (1899) met and defeated a top expert Keith Eubanks (2054).  She demonstrates a maturity and skill that speaks well for the girls playing chess.

White: Keith Eubanks (2054) vs. Shirley Ben-Dak (1899) English Opening

/ 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. b3 Bg7 4. Bb2 c5 5. g3 O-O 6. Bg2 d6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. d3 Qc7 9. Qc2 c6 10. Nc3 d5 11. d4 a6 12. c:d5 e:d5 13. Rac1 Rb8 14. Na4 c415. Nc3 b5 16. b4 Nb6 17. Rfe1 Bh6 18. Ra1 Bf5 19. Qd1 Ne4 20. Nh4 Bd2 21. B:e4 B:e1 22. B:f5 B:c3 23. B:c3 g:f5 24. N:f5 Kh8 25. Bd2 Qd7 26. e4 d:e4 27. Qg4 f6 28. Bh6 Rg8 29. Qf4 Nd5 30. Q:e4 Rbe8 31. Qf3 N:b4 32. Nh4 Nd5 33. Nf5 Ne7 34. N:e7 Q:e7 35. d5 Rg6 36. Bf4 Qe4 37. Qh5 Q:f4 38.Q:g6 Q:f2+ 39. K:f2 h:g6 40. d6 Rd8 41. Rd1 Kg7 42. Rd4 Kf7 43. a4 Ke6 44. a:b5 45. Rd1 c3  White resigns. Future chess stars and Grandmasters to be from this section included Robert Hess, Fabiano Caruana (both nine-year-olds), both future Grandmasters and top in their field as writers and players through the 2022 era.

The Amateur Eye – From the Past /Fischer Gem 2001

March 24, 2020

From my library research I found this Robert I. Fischer versus Paul Yavari battle that took place in the 2001 Eastern Open.  Fischer notes that it was his best game from the tournament and he was most proud of his play against the 2001 Maryland State Champion, Paul Yavari.

White:  Robert I. Fischer (2107) vs. Paul Yavari (2158)  Sicilian Defense Rd. 4

/ 1. e4  c5 2. Nc3 a6 3. g3 b5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. Nge2 Nf6 6. d4 a6 7. O-O c:d4 8. N:d4 d6 9. Re1 Nbd7 10. Nf5 Ne5 11. f4 Neg4 12. h3 e:f5

Had Paul played 12…. Qb6+ I was planning to answer with 13. Qd4 Q:d4+ 14. N:d4 thereby stranding the knight on h6 and leaving me with the better center and better positioned pieces.  He decides to sac a pawn with aggressive kingside play.

13. e:f5+ Be7 14. h:g4 h5 15. B:b7 Qb6+16. Be3 Q:b717. g5 Ng4 18.Nd5 OO 19. Qf3 Rab8 20. Bd4 Bd8 21. Kg2 Qd7 22. Rb1

I decided to give back the pawn for good play on the h-file but also good was 22. Qd3 Qb7 23. Qe4 Ba5 24. c3 Rfe8 25. Qf3 (taking charge of important squares.)

22. …. Q:f5 23. R:h5 Q:c2+ 24. Kh3 f5 25. g:f6 e.p. N:f6 26. N:f6+B:f6 27.Qd5+Rf7 28. B:f6 g:f6 29. Rb1 Kg7 30. Rh2 Qc4 31. Qf5 Rg8 32. Rc2 Black resigns as after 32….Qf1+ 33. Kh2 there are no more checks and Black will be shortly mated.

In those days long past now, it was hard to get a ratings beyond the expert class.  There simply were not that many players who even held master ratings let alone Grandmaster titles.

Most players were members of chess clubs and it was difficult to dominate any group even with the chess strength at a very high level for individuals.

The many chess literary works in my library point to a very high quality level of skill.  Materials in chess magazines also record the joy, friendships and friendly competitions at home and abroad often sharing interesting stories about events and participants.

There is no telling how far this talented young man will go but if this game is any indication, he will be heard from again in the halls of Chess Life.








The Amateur Eye — Health Update

March 22, 2020

The Holy Spirit blessed me and I must say that following the medical and President’s message about the virus has helped for me and s/son to weather the storm.  The positive instead of negative views expressed in the political arena has curbed political air and put more reason to support the GOP instead of D/Communist philosophy.

I was in hospital emergency care when my illness suddenly improved and they sent me home only to return to the hospital, operation and stay at the nursing home to recover my strength.  All medical–doctors, nurses and other staff for physical rehabilitation shortened the recovery so I am now home and have no signs of contacting any virus.  Been staying home and hope our national as well as international recovery will be short and permanent. For all my readers I ask to obey our leaders and keep a positive outlook on this life experience.  It is a tragedy to read about the slow but steady growing loss in life but as I have often noted, as I have belief as a Christian, the promise from Heaven and the Holy Spirit given us when Jesus rose from the grave and ascended to be with his Father in Heaven, gave to all who believe the joy of the Holy Spirit being with us will help overcome all fears. Jesus will return as promised.  My prayers that our leaders will work together to overcome this crisis and restore sanity to the world body politic  continues.

God bless us all!


Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

March 18, 2020

My reading friends inspire me to every day bring peace and a joy to my blog and to what we share together.  I was thinking about the virus which is causing the young much fear.  Rightly so.  But remember that if you are one having faith and trust the Lord’s promise that is encased in the teachings of the prophets and believe Biblical teachings, the Holy Spirit assures you and I that life and death are linked together spiritually to guarantee life ever lasting.  Our loved ones await us in Heaven and this gives us assurance of tranquility now and forever.

Having said this, it is necessary for us to follow the medical information given in the news on personal care. I bathe daily and wash my hands numerous times especially before eating meals or snacks, scrubbing with soap and water.  And I did not need any advice about doing so because it should be something we do on a daily basis anyway.  I have often used the term “commonsense” which I hope everyone possesses.


We find Earl and Opal in bed trying to drift off to sleep for the night.  Opal is the first to speak as Earl is reading the newspaper.  She tells him that people need less sleep as they get older.  And I’ve heard that crazy people tend to sleep less.  So, a crazy old person would hardly need any sleep at all.  With this, Earl lays down the paper and looks at his wife, asking her why she looks at him when he was saying that?


Ziggy was waiting for a table in the restaurant. The ambulance driver was coming out the door of the kitchen with a patient on a stretcher.  The waiter came out to announce to Ziggy that a table had been cleared and he could enter and place his order.

For Better Or For Worse

We see John  and his wife hand-in-hand strolling in the park. She is thinking about Spring and all the buds forming on the trees. The grass is turning a bright and healthy green and the days are getting longer.  At the same time, her husband John is thinking about all the work ahead that is coming up.  A leak in the basement needs tending. All the storm windows have to come off.  The car needs an oil change and the snow tires taken off.  She takes John’s arm and hugs him lovingly : I just love Springtime!! Aren’t you glad it is SPRING!?


The Amateur Eye – Coffee & Tea Break

March 17, 2020


The Birdwatchers Club Banquet sounds like fun.  Yes, we have seen all–the Loons and host of other birds including the yellow bellied snapsucker and lappet faced vulture and the tawny.

Oh, my. It must have taken a lot of patience.

The toughest part is saying their names without laughing hee-hee!


Earl and Opal are in the parlor with their dog.  Earl is staring at his hand and Opal is questioning why he is doing this.  He said he was using his blue pen and it what he was writing got smudged on his hand but he couldn’t read it. Opal said let her see it.  She said it wasn’t an ink stain at all–but a bruise from when you caught your hand in the vending machine at the store.

Beetle Bailey

Sarge and his dog Otto was out for a bit of relaxation at the NCO Service Club.  Two of the hostesses met them and the girls began to tell how cute Otto was.  One remarked how cute he was and the other hostess as to how sweet Otto was.  When Sarge and Otto were leaving, both girls waved bye, bye to Otto.  Sarge said you did not introduce me to the girls.  Lets face it.  We are good friends, you and I but am not a wing-man.

There is not much humor in the cartoons since the virus attack.



The Amateur Eye – Coffee & Tea Break

March 17, 2020

News reporters are too often given free range when it comes to fact finding where the tendency is to play it safe with like souls.  Their job is to view  the scene for the benefit of readers and avoid doing other than writing the story without coloring facts with personal or company bias. While this was one of the highest professional achievements of good  journalism dating back to the days of the printing press, such quality is sadly too often missing. It has led to what  I see is troubling.  Because without truth and justice being ever in the printed word, how long will it be when fraud and corruption will be taken as a norm?  It would create an era of distrust, hatred, envy and most certainly diminish our cherished freedoms.


We see the Bumstead children sitting in the Livingroom on the couch talking about school news.  Alexander is telling his sister that he heard a funny rumor at school that is so over the top. I am afraid to repeat it.  His sister said she heard it, too. What did you hear?  She tells him that she better text it to Alexander.  Okay. So text away!!


We see Earl and Nelson on the couch and Grampa is reading from a book and says: The strongest of all warriors are these two … TIME and PATIENCE. Gramma Opal comes in and asks what book is Earl reading to Nelson?  A bedtime story! WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy.  She asked, what ever happened to Peter Cottentail?  Earl said he thought it better to read a book that we would both get something from.


The Amateur Eye – My Best Move: Neil McKelvie

March 15, 2020

Neil McKelvie was born in England in 1930. His grandfather David was one of the best world draught players in Scotland and his son taught Neil when he was 4 years old to play chess.  In 1940 he was sent to America as were other children because of what was to be called World War II. He was raised by his aunt and uncle in America and at age 13 one of his chums showed him a copy of Chess Review and he learned notation from a family friend. He moved back to England after the war and won a scholarship to Cambridge and continued to excel in chess competitions. He returned to America to earn a doctorate in  Chemistry at Columbia University. He reactivated his chess interest winning or scoring high against some of the best players in America winning the 1974 Manhattan Club Championship and co-champ in 1979.

The game Neil McKelvie versus Ariel Mengarinj  was played in the 1967 NY Masters Tournament.

The game went 30 moves with some very exciting play. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Bb4 (This is a rare line.) 5. c3 Ba5 6. O-O Nge7 7. d4 e:d4 8. c:d4 d5 9. e:d5 Q:d5 (9…N:d5 loses a piece 10. B:c6+ and 11. Qa4. 10. Bb3 Qh5 11. d5 Na7 12. Bd2! B:d2 13. Q:d2 O-O 14. Re1 Ng6 15. Nc3 Bg4 16. Nd4 Rae8 17. Ne4! Nc8 18. f3 Bd7 19. Rac1 Qe5 20. Ne6!! A shocking move. 20…f:e6 21. d:e6 Bc6 22. e7+! Kh8 23. e:f8/Q+ R:f8 24. Ng5 Qf5 25. Nf7+ R:f7 26. B:f7 Q:f7 27. Q:d8+ Qf8 28. Q:f8+ N:f8 29. R:c6+! b:c6 30. Re8 Black resigns.

An interesting note: Given chess instruction and early practicing, could I have become a Grandmaster? Probably yes, but at what cost? Similarly, for my piano playing; in both chess and music, so many people I have known have given their lives for so little reward. If nothing else, teaching around 18,000 chemistry students over 45 years has been my real contribution.

Creating and doing for years this blog column and developing my square count theory were pretty good goals and achievement in my chess life after a 30= life in accounting and happily finding my wife through chess is also worth a bit of applause for a game’s passionate result!

Finally, I have a strong faith and belief through our Lord’s promise and Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost as it is referred to in biblical and church teachings. I am not perfect and my shortcomings are too often witnessed but that is my goal–to adhere to my biblical Christian beliefs and training as a mentored being.  We go around this world having beliefs or none at all. You can’t have it both ways.  I have been asked why chess?  I do like a lot of things like music and used to try my hand at drawing and painting to coincide my joy for reading historic novels and mysteries. That covered a lot of decades of my life and I never called myself anything but a a”woodpusher” so far as chess goes. While I have amassed a number of tournament achievements both as a player and organizer, I always like to think it has been all worth while. I have respect for those whom I have met through the years including family and friends but live to see tomorrows with mostly fond memories.