Archive for June, 2008

Kindred’s Special: Part III 9th World Champion Tigran Petrosian

June 30, 2008

In the Queen Pawn Game there are numerous opening defenses to meet White’s 1.d4. One such opening is the Slav Defense which is reached most directly by 1.d4  d5,  2.c4  c6. As early as 1604 it appeared in the publication authored by the Italian Salvio. He mentions in his book that Polerio mentioned the idea in 1590 so it is certainly an ancient relic against White’s Queen Pawn advance. While it has been known, the popularity of it rarely attracted much serious attention until Bogoljubov’s book P-Q4! in which he calls it the “Russian Defense” because Chigorin, Rubinstein, Alekhine and himself contributed considerably in its popularity. The name given the defense is probably because this group were Slavs and was probably given lots of investigation in study and practice.

                   Tigran Petrosian   (White)     vs    Pfeiffer  (Black)

                     Slav Defense Transposing to Meran Defense

1.Nf3  d5  2.c4  c6  3.e3  Nf6  4.Nc3  Nbd7  5.d4  e6  6.Qc2

Petrosian often avoided main lines, here being 6.Bd3. His choice leads to a different type setup but also has some history to it. In the 1946 Groningen Tournament, the Swedish star Stolz used it, play usually going 6…Bd6, 7.e4 dxe4, 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.Qxe4 e5! pulling the fangs as after further exchanges, Black can play Qa5+ attacking the e5 square. Then, as a result of a 6-game match between Taimanov vs Botvinnik who tied for top honors in the 20th USSR Championship, Taimanov played after 6…Bd6 his improvement 7.Bd2. Botvinnik won the match 3.5-2.5.

6…a6 7.b3  b6  8.Bd3  Bb7 9.0-0  Be7  10.Bb2

White has a space/square count advantage so probably Black does best to remove his King from the center and castle. He plays instead to complicate matters in the center aiming to weaken White’s pawn structure. While Black accomplishes his short term plan, the problem is that White is better situated to take advantage of such central exchanges and action. Pawn exchanges open up the lines for attack and due to Black having avoided castling soon finds his King stuck in the center. Just the cup of tea Petrosian likes from his opponents.

10…dxc4  11.bxc4  c5  12.Ne5!

This strong central outpost accomplishes one important task–continues to make castling very risky. TP visions placing Rad1 and Nxd7 with dxc5 that opens lines favoring White.

12…cxd4

Giving White the famous ‘hanging pawns’ so skillfully written up in MY SYSTEM by Nimzowitch. However, Black intends to give White an isolani (c4) and transfer a Knight to c5 where he hopes it to be useful and acts as a blockade. The problem is that in this case it seems to be too slow and in no way prevents White from advancing his own plan.

13.exd4  Nxe5  14.dxe5  Nd7  15.f4  Nc5

Mission accomplished but White has also made progress in advancing the f-pawn and securing e5 and again making castling rather dangerous because of the strong f5 pawn advance.

16.Be2  g6  17.Rad1 Qc7

Where oh where doeth I move my Queenie? Three square, take your pick!

18.Nd5!!  exd5

A lightning bolt! The sacrifice must be accepted.

19.cxd5  Qc8  20.e6 0-0

Black finally castles but it is too little, too late. The reason is that this is really not a tempo play because White is in no way limited in furthering his attack. The essential central squares are being invaded by a pawn phalanx like a wave crashing into a weak levee.

21.Qc3  f6  22.d6  Na4  23.Qxc8  Rfxc8  24.Ba1  Rc2  25.dxe7  Rxe2  26.Rd8+ Kg7  27.Rc1!

This relatively inactive piece now enters the attack and adds to the coming coup de grace and end to a sizzling adventure.

27…Rxe6

Black has no time for Rxg2+ as the Rook must stop the e7 pawn queening.

28.Rc7  Kh6  29.Bxf6

Now the Bishop that for so long had been denied access to a capture or more aggressive role enters the house that was weakly constructed.

29…Be4  30.Bg5+ Resigns. 1-0. 30…Kh5  31.d8(Q)  Rxd8 32.h3 sets up the mate either by Rxh7 or g4.

Lesson from this game:

1. The most important point of this instructive game is that Black was not quite ready to disrupt the center with pawn exchanges while the King was not castled. A major principle of chess was ignored in that one should not open up the game position when behind in development. Had Black been able to castle and then threaten to exchange as he did, he might have had a good position enabling him to cripple White’s pawn structure and perhaps blunt what occurred. Still, it took inspired play and thorough calculation to visualize that the central pawn roller was worth the sacrificed Knight.

 

 

 

 

 

Kindred’s Special: Part II, 9th World Champion, Tigran Petrosian

June 27, 2008

After the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4, the Sicilian Defense has a rich and long history with just as many variations from this, just one of a number of standard positions that are possible this early in the opening.

The 1961 Zurich tournament where TP finished 2nd behind Keres saw him playing some very interesting games. I choose this one because his opponent, Swiss master Bhend, was a well known aggressive player who gained recognition for his lst round win against Tal in the 1959 tournament.

          Bhend   (White)              vs     Tigran Petrosian  (Black)

                                 Sicilian Defense

4….Nf6  5.Nc3  e6

This initiates the Paulsen variation viewed for many years with suspicion but still remains a favorite against opponents who the defender believes dislikes the type of setups or expects to win with little difficulty. It suits the player who likes compact positions now termed Hedghog which spring forth like a coiled spring releasing violence and wreaking havoc at the slightest miscue on White’s part.

The history of this defense goes back to the latter 1800s when a German master, Louis Paulsen, doing pioneer work and giving it life. Even here, the opening took name change because of two Knight moves, Nbd7 which is the Paulsen variation and Nc6 which became the Scheveningen variation.

Bsetween WWI and WWII these defensive deployments were frequently adopted by Alekhine, Bogoljubov and many Soviet masters. Boleslavsky experimented with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 e5. White soon often replaced 6.Be2 with 6.Bg5 which had been extensively analyzed and recommended by Richter and Rauser and bears their names with this variation. Black has faced various problems as huge effort in opening analysis supported by large numbers of games increased the depth of opening theory to many moves. Around 1949-50 the Najdorf (3…a6) began to gain popularity and remains so today. The Russian player, Mark Taimanov came up with his own idea: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6. And the great GM Paul Keres came up with a sharp line after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4  cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 stirring up immediate Kingside action with a bayonet like thrust 6.g4 which has won many brilliant battles for White players.

6.Be2  a6 7.0-0  Qc7  8. a4

This was one of the original ideas for White to address the opening needs and Boleslavsky enriched the play by substituting 8.f4 Nc6 9.Be3 followed by 10.Qe1 planning to transfer the Q to the King-wing.

8…Nc6  9.Kh1

Already White is in for it if he plays instead, say: 9.f4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 d5 with active play since Bc5 is a threat and the center is compromised.

9…Be7 10.f4  0-0 11.Nb3  b6  12.Bf3  Bb7  13.Qd2

Why not simply 13.Qe2? The text is not necessarily bad if White plays later an idea of transferring it to f2 but this moves is not natural at all in my opinion. Perhaps Bhend was trying to be cute or disguise his intentions but it will cost him.

13…Rab8  14.g4  d5

Classic chess at its best! A wing demonstration is met with a counter strike in the center.

15. exd5

Not good is 15.e5 due to Ne4 16.Nxe4 dxe4 17.Bxe4 Nxe5 18.Bxb7 Qxb7+. The decision by White to play on both sides of the board proves insufficient and Black begans to reap the benefits of shillyshally play that lacks a real plan.  Note that had White played Qe2 instead of Qd2, the position would have been slightly different.

 

15…Nb4 16.dxe6 Bxf3+ 17.Rxf3  Qb7  18.Kg2  Nxg4  19.Qe2

This wasted tempo has cost White dearly.

19…f5!

The e-pawn now becomes a block to any White invasion and Black is ready to lauch a Rook transfer to the King-wing via f6.

20.Nd1

White finds himself in a gooey mess as he cannot extract his feet from the fire. If 20.h3 Rf6 21.hxg4  fxg4 wins the Exchange.

20…Rf6 21.c3  Rg6  22.cxb4  Ne5++ 23.Kf2  Bh4+ 24. Rg3  Ng4+ 25.Kg1 Bxg3  26.hxg3  Qd5!

Centralization of the Queen! A topic often referred to by Nimzowitch who Petrosian absorbed from his teachings.

27. Ra3  Rh6  28.Nf2  Nxf2 and with this White Resigns. 0-1. He either suffers mate or loses his Queen.

Lessons to learn from this game:

1. Petrosian’s style was an undercurrent of dynamic, imbalance and a willingness to forego the ‘norm’ so-to-speak yet he exercised great fortitude in understanding the deep nature of positions he encountered. This game certainly shows a maturing of his play and confidence he possessed in turning the slightest inaccuracy into unleashing a force that could not be denied.

2. This game illustrates his systematic approach to faith in himself, willing to dig down and find just the right level of firepower to win.

3. It is very important to understand the relationship with square count, tempo moves, and how just a slight miscue can cause the coiled spring I mentioned earlier to explode. Certainly it is one of the key ingredients that aspiring players toward mastership of the game visually sees in their favorite stars. It is always a joy to witness such skill and artistic achievement on the 64-squares.

Postscript: There are many more beautiful battles as Tigran Petrosian displays his growing maturity at the board. Stay tuned. There will be more!

 

Kindred’s Special: A Look at the 9th World Champion, Tigran Petrosian

June 26, 2008

Born in Tiflis on 17th June, 1929, of Armenian parents, Tigran Petrosian enjoyed play in the yards of a block of flats where he lived. When eight years old, he was noticed by a chess teacher, Barbara Zargarian, who saw his quickness and intelligence, teaching him the moves and opening to him a door into a world where he was to achieve great things.

Young Tigran, like many children who show promise in chess, joined the Pioneers in the Chess Section. In 1942 GM Flohr gave a simultaneous and like Botvinnik years before winning from Capablanca did likewise against Flohr.

1945 was the beginning of his long journey distinguishing himself in the Youth Championship, gained the rank of candidate master and soon won the Georgia Championship. He achieved draws with both Keres and Mikenas showing he was growing in strength.

1946 he decided to live in Erevan, the capital of Armenia. Erevan was a town founded in 670 B.C. The new champion was given a nickname: “the chess tiger” and an additional title of later on “the Russian Capablanca.”

1947 he was awarded the master title, moved to Moscow that meant he would mix with many of the best players in the Soviet Union that was a rich proving ground for his steady advancement. His initial try in the finals of the16th Championship was unsuccessful.

One of his inspirations was Dr. Nimzowitch and MY SYSTEM was one of his favorite books. He had a style that was deceptively deep and his comrades encouraged him to work harder and build a fighting spirit. His efforts found him finishing with 7.5 points out of 19 and 16th place his lst USSR Championship in 1949.

Then, in 1951 he had a major breakthrough winning the Moscow Championship showing excellent results and all marveled at his finding the best moves so quickly just like Capablanca. In five minute chess, there was no equal. He defeated everyone including Najdorf who considered himself the best in the world at blitz play.

With hard work and study a slow and steady climb saw vast improvement in his game. In the 18th championship he finished 12-13 place with 8 points and in the 19th championship he shared 2nd with Geller behind Paul Keres.

A tidbit account by Flohr noted that the two game loss at the beginning of the 19th championship prompted a devotee had Petrosian paged and the caller exclaimed to him: “Who gave you the right to lose?” That phone call must have awakened the tiger who went on to achieve his best result todate.

With the 1953 Candidates tournament, Petrosian began his fight toward the world championship. He came 5th, scoring 15 points out of 28 but critics pointed out to him that none of his victories were against the top 7-places.

Petrosian was included with a Soviet team that visited several countries during 1954. He made a big hit with an Armenian community in Montevideo, Argentina. His popularity was assured when he consented to sing an Armenian song at the town chess club having a fine voice.

The 1956 Amsterdam Candidates tournament again left him short taking a tie 3rd-7th place finish with 9.5-8.5. The tragedy for him was leaving his Queen “en prise” against Bronstein in a winning position. Had he won the games where he had technical winning positions and failed to score the full point, he would have been the challenger instead of Smyslov against Botvinnik.

After a long road of near misses and what might have beens, Petrosian finally broke through and clinched lst place in the 1959 USSR Championship but again fell short in the Candidates taking 3rd behind lst Tal and 2nd Keres. It was a brilliant performance by Mikhail Tal! Then in 1960 he took 2nd place with Geller behind Victor Korchnoi in the 27th USSR Championship tournament. He again won the 28th USSR Championship, making sure of his place in the 1962 Stockholm Interzonal. Although he finished tied with Geller for 2nd-3rd while Fischer won with a 2.5 point margin. However, Petrosian did not lose a game. Later that year, he won the Candidates Tournament at Curacao thus earning the right to battle Mikhail Botvinnik for the world title.

Here is a detailed record of Petrosian’s climb to the top:

  • 1945  2nd Tiflis Chamlpionship
  • lst Championship of Georgia
  • lst-3rd USSR Youth Championship
  • 1946 lst Armenian Championship
  • 1947 4th Prelims USSR Championship
  • 1949 2nd-3rd in Prelims of USSR Championship
  • 1950 3rd Moscow Championship
  • 2nd-3rd Prelims USSR Championship
  • 1951 lst Moscow Championship
  • lst Prelims USSR Championship
  • 2nd-3rd USSR Championship
  • 1952 2nd-3rd Stockholm Interzonal
  • 1953 2nd Bucharest
  • 5th Zurich Candidates
  • 1954 4th-5th USSR Championship
  • 1955 3rd-4th USSR Championship
  • 3rd Goteberg Interzonal
  • 1956 3rd-7th Amsterdam Candidates
  • lst Prelims USSR Championship
  • 1st-2nd Moscow Championship
  • 1957 lst Prelims USSR Championship
  • 1958 2nd USSR Championship
  • 3rd-5th Portoroz International
  • 1959 lst 26th USSR Championship
  • 3rd Candidates, Yugoslavia
  • 1960 lst-2nd Beverwyk
  • 2nd-3rd 27th USSR Championship
  • lst Copenhagen
  • 1961 lst 28th USSR Championship
  • 2nd Zurich
  • 1962 2nd-3rd Stockholm interzonal
  • lst Curacao Candidates
  • 1963 Defeated Botvinnik for World Championship title
  • Result in match points – 5 wins, 2 losses, 15 draws = 12.5-9.5

At this point lets return to 1946 when he won the Armenian Championship and present a game that shows youth and vitality. Fear not, later on I will show some of his exceptional games during his rise and while World Champion and ex-champ.

This game played early in his career development shows the understanding of strategic principles that future study, practice, patience, determination and prodding by chess pals led to the highest award in chess.

The name “Indian” was coined in 1924 by Tartakover whose book iNDISCH appeared in Berlin, Germany. Thus, King’s Indian Defense (Fianchettoing Bg7) and Old Indian Defense (Be7) found great favor by the Soviet masters who early on recognized its imbalanced features as challenging white right from the opening. Still some debate about its origin suggests the term originated earlier but who knows?

                     Kalantas     (White)   vs  Tigran Petrosian  (Black)

                                   Old Indian Defense

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  d6  3.Nc3  e5

At this point I favor Dr. Emmanuel Lasker’s view that Knights should be developed so why not 4. Nf3 to recapture should black take the pawn. Also, white achieves little by exchanging with 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8. The point is that black will play c6 defending d5 and move his King to c7 where it will be quite safe and well positioned.

4.e4  exd4  5.Qxd4  Nc6  6. Qd2 g6

Note the consequence of Qxd4 as black gains a tempo and while white has a little better space at the moment, his pieces have little coordination for any meaningful plan.

7.g3  Bg7  8.Bg2  0-0  9.Nge2  Ne5!

Deserving an ! as it has a two-fold threat. TP immediate zeroing in on the c4 pawn sets up the following tactical shot.

10.b3  Bh3

Made possible by the hole at f3 since 11.Bxh3 allows Nf3+ forking King and Queen.

11.0-0  Re8  12.f3  Bxg2  13.Kxg2  Nfd7

TP starts a Capablancian strategy to play on both sides of the board. At the same time, he frees the f-file for the pawn to eventually join in the operation against the center.

14.Ba3

An alternative might be 14.Bb2 followed by Rad1.

14..a5  15.Rad1  a4!

A strategic imbalancing as if now 16.Nxa4  Nxc4 17.bxc4 Rxa4 leaving white in a miserable state.

16.Qc1  axb3  17.axb3  Qc8

A mysterious Q move that is very logical and Nimzowitch like. TP aims to apply added pressure against the center and the Q will go to b7 which has the added feature of opposing the enemy King in that long diagonal.

18.Na4?!

Just using my square count I here would favor Nd4. This move may be a miscalculation of a plan but it seems to remove this N from the action. It also reminds me of a Knight on the Rim, looks dim. Worth some consideration maybe is then to answer…b6 with 19.Nb5 Qb7 20.Bxd6 cxd6 21.Nxd6 forking Q and R. White gets a Rook and two Pawns for a Bishop and Knight.

18…b6  19.Nec3  Qb7 20.Nb5  f5!  21.exf5  Nxf3!

Now, 22.Rxf3?  Re2+ wins.

22.Rd5  Nfe5  23.Kh3  Nf6  24.Rdd1  Neg4  25.Nd4  Ne3  26.Rf3  Nfg4

Simply threatening Bxd4 and Qxf3 to follow.

27.Rd3  Qxf3  White resigns.  0-1.

After 28.Nxf3  Nf2+  29.Kh4  Bf6+  30.Ng5  Ng2# (mate).

In summation: what can I say about this game? Again the use of just one tempo gained by the defense created a tense situation for white. For example, if instead of 7.g3 he had tried 7.b3 Bg7, 8.Bb2 0-0, 9.Bd3 and white seems to be on the way to completing development and consolidating his position where his space edge might prevail him an edge.Black must play energetically and sharply having this opportunity by 9…Ng4. White might consider 10.Nf3, 10. 0-0-0, 10.Nge2 all of which seem to give black good play. Try using your chess program play out variations from this position after move 9 after you analyze the play yourself.

End of Part I of The Petrosian apprenticeship.

 

 

Kindred’s Special: Topalov shows f7 weakness

June 23, 2008

My earlier column dealing with the f7 square is brilliantly revealed in the following game from New In Chess.

          Veselin Topalov  (White)    vs Bu Xiangzhi   (Black)

                        Opening: Slav Defense D-19

1.d4  d5  2.c4  c6  3.Nf3  Nf6  4.Nc3  dxc4  5.a4  Bf5  6.e3

Another popular idea here is 6.Ne5 but VT comments that his opponent had not fared well against the text which is the reason he adopted it here.

6…e6  7.Bxc4  Bb4  8.0-0  0-0

Note that it is wise usually to put kings into safety by castling early on. Many an attack catching the king in the center files illustrate such wisdom. Yet, how often does this occur among amateurs and even occasionally in master games? With his next move, VT aims to envoke e4 to gain space and limit the value of the QB on f5. Black decides to hinder that by…

9.Qe2  Ne4  10.Ne5!

This rare choice had been played only 3-times over the more popular Bd3. White won all the contests.

10…Nd7

After 10…Nxc3 11.bxc3  Bxc3  12.Ra3 Bb4 13.Rb3 a5  14.e4 results were in white’s favor.

11.Nxd7  Qxd7

One thing in chess that I stress is: When to exchange. Here we see a perfect example of forced moves that alter the position of (in this case)  the Q. The Q is distracted from two major diagonals along dark squares and winds up in a rather bleak d7 square. This will gain a move for white eventually as the Q will have to move again to a more aggressive or defensive square, presumably a dark square.

12. Na2!

Clever play!! White avoids exchanging this Knight and now the Knight on e4 can be molested to lose more time where white can gain increased central control. Reshevsky used to call these little steps in achieving winning positions–an accumulation of moves within a plan that leads to a tightening noose around the adversary’s neck.

12…Be7

Previously played was ..Ba5 as in Van Wely vs Gelfand, 2006 Monaco blindfold game. This is new according to VT and probably is better since it adds protection to the kingside dark squares.

13.f3  Nf6

This move doesn’t make much sense in lieu of black’s previous Be7. VT suggested that ..Nd6 14.Bb3 Bf6 15.Rd1 e5 16.e4 Be6 17.d5 cxd5 18.Bxd5. This type of black setup is often seen in games. Its passivity is due in part to the sort of tie-up of units that do not coordinate well in finding any reasonably counterattack.

14.e4  Bg6

Naturally not ..Qxd4+ because white with Be3 attacks the Q and will win the Bishop on f5.

15.Be3  Qc7  16.Nc1!

Nicely played as the Knight on d3 is more potent than on c3 and since black has lost tempi, white can afford likewise. Another point is that now if ..c5, white has 17.Nb3 cxd4 18.Nxd4 gaining considerable square count especially in view of an added Rac1 thrown in. So, black decides to stabilize the Q-side pawn structure with…

16…a5 17.Nd3  Nd7

Here the bad Knight condition going to f6 instead of d6 again illustrates how square count can play a role in planning. The knight is less effective on d7 and the idea of either support for c5 or e5 is now eliminated because of…

18.Rac1!  Rfe8  19.g3  Bd6  20.Nf4

White plans to play e5,h4 where Bxf4 leaves white the Bishop-pair. Still, this is better than what BX decides to try.

20…e5?  21.Nxg6  hxg6  22.f4  exd4  23.Bxd4  b6  24.f5!

Forcing further weakness of the w/s around the king.

24…g5  25.Qh5  Nf6  26.Bxf6  gxf6  27.Qg6+

Using the tactic of the pin on the f-pawn by the Bishop on c4 lets the Q penetrate into the guts of black’s castle.

27…Kf8  28.Qxf6  Be5  29.Qxg5  Qe7  30.f6  Bd4+  31.Rf2  1-0.

Black resigns.

Lessons to learn:

1. Even from book opening play and known practice, one must keep in mind the importance of tempo moves. Loss of tempi can increase the opponent’s square count translating into a substantial space advantage.

2. Accumulative weaknesses emerge as a result. One must remember that as GM Larry Evans once noted in an interview that every game features a critical moment when opportunities present themselves to challenge an adversary initiative or attack, usually this being a counteroffensive.

3. In this game, white slowly increased pressure and little inaccuracies or finding ways to imbalance the position into a more favorable light and as a last resort to muddy the waters with Nd6 instead of Nf6 led to white dominating the final stages of the battle.

4. One misstep often leads to other missteps no matter how minor they appear on the surface. Such a situation occurred in the above battle that prompted VT to comment that what he liked about the game was how one could end up in a hopeless position without making any big mistakes.

5. While some dispel my theory of square count, nonetheless, this game illustrates the value of considering such moves as add to such a count or defensive maneuvers that achieve similar objectives.

 

Kindred’s Special: Idiots Unite or Road to Nowhere

June 13, 2008

Again, I put my chessboard aside but sit there eyeing the men awaiting call for arms and battle. Why do I suffer so? Is it not sane to examine the world in all its follies to try and discover some truth of the debacle we find ourselves embracing or waging verbal insults to justify our own images of self perfection?  Hardly, I say. Truth be told, the world for all its historical backdrop continues to commit the same flaws of past times and embraces those illogical isms that convey nothing but ruin for those who follow them.

I like to look at the world from the barest of concepts starting with the individual, then family, then community–all geared toward a spiral buildup to nationalism and internationalism.

“We are living in the best of times.” is often quoted by the politicians. Maybe so. Certainly at most levels of human relationships, this is true. Yet, is there not a vague and somewhat alarming cancer reaching out that gives one a sense of foreboding about the way the world makeup is headed? In my lifetime of 70 years, subtracting 20 perhaps for emotional and educational development, I can only speak of my America with love but also view the world bodies as a transient mess. And I frankly fear for my America because our United States is being ever pressured toward the global eye view of the United Nations and the elite who profess to know more than myself who is nothing but a whiff upon the wind of time. Do as I say, not as I do is the banner of the elitists of the world. Just look around!

The USA is the only developed nation to ignore fully the natural resources available of using new technologies for coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy development while at the same time asking our scientists and our inventors to develop alternative sources that will in the future provide our national needs and maintain economical growth and world leadership.

Simple to say but we find ourselves hamstrung trying to change the elite environmentalist view of saving the planet because man is the cause of all our problems. Hogwash.

There is also the danger of tinkering with our whole system of existence, hidden in the guise that togetherness of purpose brings peace and prosperity for all. I doubt it. If one looks at President Johnson’s idea for an American Utopia, to Hitler’s Germanic superior race, to Marx, Engels and Lenin’s universal communist manifesto for world domination, for Stalin’s and other dictators through modern radicalism, it goes to prove that the larger the goal, the larger the plan, the larger the powerbase– it all ends in a decline of the individual, of self determination, principles that shine on good versus evil, and freedoms in our daily life to pursue and make the best of our collective existence as individuals, family, community and nation.

To compete economically we are told by the elitists that we have to go global. Like Europe, the North American continent must join in a 3-nation, no boundaries, international union where borders, language and culture blend. A real UTOPIA!!! Oh, yes, and we have to include visitors like China and others to play an ever increasing role as economic partners just like a student exchange program. In China’s case, they already control one of our major ports and guard it with their automatic weapons from too close scrutiny by US coast guard or other officials.

Former Secretary Madeline Albright once noted that the United States should not be the only superpower in the world and together with the Clinton administration concocted to give many of our naval and other secrets to the Communist Chinese Government which, in a future war, may damage our national defense and to win battles at sea. Thank you President Clinton, and Ms. Albright.

Power corrupts and the lust for power illustrated herein may result it a very dangerous world. I am reminded of the tale of Pandora’s Box: Once you open the door to its seductive power and magical attraction, you have released its uncontrollable power.

Force is often times the end result within the human environment whereby we simply cannot ascertain the end result. The world has needed America. The Americans are a compassionate people. But let the evil of the world fully understand, the American spirit can also be an avenging spirit. Those who do evil to our good values and work throughout the world, have never learned this because America has never dealt a crushing blow outside the two World Wars we fought, the police actions to save our allies, and our own Civil conflict that kept of our nation one and freed the slaves at the cost of many hundreds of thousands of free men and women.

 

Kindred’s Special: How to Save On Costly Fuels

June 11, 2008

Everyone these days are complaining about the high cost of energy and want the government to fix it. As a chess player I have the belief that each of us has the brains to figure out ways to save. Lets take a look at our surroundings and actions that take place daily that illustrates the wasteful and thoughtless sights that are too common around the towns, cities, counties, states, and nation.

Did you ever notice, for example, the way in which school buses operate today based largely upon the demands of the parents of school children? What I mean is that a school bus stops at every house rather than stopping at a prearranged bus stop where kids in the community congregate to catch the bus. The problem I have seen is that school buses stop at each house, sit idling while it waits for the kiddies to come out of their house and stroll slowly to the bus, often having to stop and wait for the bus driver to have them pass should they be on the wrong side of the street. Then they continue to idly walk to the bus.

What has happened to our ambitious nature to run and get on the bus as quickly as safely possible?  When I was a kid, I had to walk a quarter mile to the corner of my road to catch the school bus that was not permitted on our road. It would stop and if I was not there on time, it started up and left me. My mom then would kill me so I knew I had better walk the four miles to school. That realization made me be sure to be on time, waiting for the bus. It did not matter whether it was sunny, rainy, snowy or even blizzard conditions. If the school was open, it was each child’s responsibility to be there waiting for the bus.  Once on the bus, the same held true for all my friends. Be there or else!

In those days schools ran on a tight budget. No waste. And the community at large contributed understanding, appreciation for a bus service, and supportive of the most economical manner for children to get to school in a timely fashion. There was no pampering of little children, hugs before getting on bus or mommy who held her kiddies hands. And today many parents greet their kids when the bus comes that holds up the bus even more and costs additional fuel.

School buses today take kids on outtings, sport events, and at a much increased cost which is passed on in the form of taxes.  Of course these activities are for the good of students and I do not question the value of such trips which help to enrich their young lives.

I often hear the complaint that Europeans have to pay much higher prices for fuel than the USA. Yet, did those who suggest we do not pay enough ever realize the some of those European countries are small enough for a car to travel the full length and even into another country whereas in the USA, it takes about 12 hours to go from Rochester, NY say to Chicago by car or to New York City in 5-6 hours? In the former case about 700 miles and to NYC over 300 miles. In either case, a car reaches only a tiny portion of the geographical landscape.

Good ways to save fuel are to form car pools that were popular years ago for workers who can share rides conveniently. However, the insurance companies came along and decided to hike the cost of insurance if a driver had a car of full of passengers. A win, no win situation. God help us!!

Cutting down on the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used on lawns makes mowing less frequently possible. And it is more environmentally safer in watershed safety due to runoff. A good way to kill weeds is to use vinegar full strength in a spot spray trip through the yard. Most likely there is another benefit in that the mower is not stressed as much with shorter grass during mowing.

Plan your shopping day so that you do not waste time or trips which can be conveniently combined. Plan weekly meals so that one trip to the market will take care of family food needs.

To save additional funds, use only one credit card that provides cash awards for points accumulated. Be sure to pay off the bill in full each month or do not use a credit card. The interest rates will kill you and they level those charges in a sneaky way to get the most from you.

If possible, a car should today get at least 30-35 miles average travel per gallon gas. If not, then you should consider trading in that old gas guzzler and buying one that does.

Try this for size. I find that having a south and north window open at night during sleeping cools the interior as breezes often blow out of the southwest which adds to natural ventilation. Also, if you have storm windows on your home, try leaving those on where you do not use screens in planning to open windows for ventilation. Furthermore, if you have blinds or heavy curtains, shutting them to keep out the sunlight will keep the interior cooler. Naturally having an airconditioner or central cooling is ideal but we’re talking energy savings, guys and gals!

For fun, learn to eat meals at home with the family and instead of looking to the outside for pleasure, enjoy evenings at home playing family games, go to the library and collect books that interest your children so they can read them; have a family session where your child can tell you about the book they just read. You would be surprised that this would add to the knowledge and enjoyment of the learning process in their lives and your own.

Well, that’s all folks!!

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Finding Values

June 6, 2008

It is hard to imagine hitting upon an idea, writing a paper on it for high school, only to discover after exhibiting my wonderful idea that it was already discovered and penned by Franklin K. Young, many years before in his book series according to a chess expert at our club, Allen Candee. He later invited me to his apartment and let me see his excellent collection and library. I must say that Young was a genius and his view was to be exact whereas my own results were ever so slightly altered to reflect more accurately the actual power of the pieces on the board.

Oddly it was a simple idea getting the thought that if I put a Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen, and King on the board and counted all the squares, I should come up with a relative numerical value. This came out rounded as follows:

                                     NAME OF PIECE           VALUE

                                         PAWN                          2

                                         KNIGHT    (5.25)          6

                                         BISHOP     (8.75)          8

                                         ROOK                         14

                                         QUEEN                        22

                                         KING                           6

This illustrates the numerical maneuvering variance among the pieces. Note that I altered the Knight and Bishop because in closed positions the Knight is often more valuable and because of it’s unique movement. The Bishop can be good or bad depending upon the pawn positions.

What basic pieces can force checkmate on a lone board with only opposing kings assuming of course that only the basic elements exist?  For example, neither King + Knight or King + Bishop can checkmate the lone King.  Only the major piece Rook supported by the King can force checkmate.  Now you can also see that King + Knight + Bishop can also force checkmate although it requires full understanding of the process. In each case the numerical points to force checkmate is 14 or 20-6 counting the Kings on the board. Still, in the latter case, to effect checkmate requires driving the lone king to the side of board who best runs to the corner not covered by the Bishop. The purpose for the attacker is then to drive the lone king to a corner with the 3 vs 1 just as in many team sports where the defender simply cannot prevent infiltration so the point is scored as with here where the Bishop move ends winning the day with checkmate!

By the way, this is a very good training lesson for you to work out the checkmate. Why? For the simple reason as it really illustrates the teamwork among the pieces, points out the limiting available squares for the lone king that should began to illustrate for the newcomer to chess an awareness of square count and the importance of relationships.

There are of course other ways to evaluate the piece for an exchange value. The only value I remember is: 1= Pawn, 3 = Knight, 3.5 Bishop, 5 = Rook, 9 or 10 = Queen, 0 = King.

The difference between the dynamic energy and static exchange is quite interesting and instructive comparing the above values.

An important thought process emerges each time an exchange of material, whether it be a pawn, or other unit of equal or similar value appears on the board developing out of a plan. Weighing whether to exchange or not is not an easy matter. Any exchange will upset a position balance. Positions may well evolve from rather tame opening plans that tend to become boring and drawish while creative thought can build upon energy by creating imbalances in pawn structure or by pressure focused in a sector where ideas and continuations require the players to spend time on calculations (series of moves that are likely or forced).

Please review my earlier columns which now number 62 I believe, many of which offer you opportunities to see amateur play in action. Of course I have mixed a bit of humor, tidbits, reflections on 61 years of chess, and game play that reflected various rating levels in the amateur ranking. At the same time I have applied to life itself some of the attributes that chess affords in building blocks for critical thought.

Please respond with your thoughts on any of them as this is the only way I can gauge whether there is sufficient interest by viewers.  Thank you.