Archive for December, 2013

Kindred’s Special: I meet a famous chess coach and chessmaster par excellence–Weeramantry

December 31, 2013

After I had turned over TD duties to my prodigy of sorts, Ed Frumkin, my time was limited for chess as my dad had passed away in 1973 and my efforts were bent on furthering my education and caring for my mom whose health had slowly worsened.  So it was a real surprise when in 1979 Eddy sent me an invitation to a tournament of the top area and Rochester Club players with invite and acceptance by Weetramantry, a well-known chess coach and father of a future US Champion, Hikaru Nakamura, who may well be the strongest on the North American continent.  He is one of the great gentleman of chess and it was my privilege to have played him and our talks afterwards even today is one of memorable kindness.

(Article amended from the original introduction.)

White:  Weeramantry   vs.  Black:  Donald P. Reithel    Opening:  Alekhin Defence    September 30th 1979   Rochester, NY  Initiating The Marchand Open held over September 29-30, 1979.

1. P-K4  N-KB3  /  2.  P-K5   N-Q4  /  3.  P-QB4  N-N3  /  4. P-B5   N-Q4  /  5. B-B4  P-K3  /

Being rusty for up-to-date opening systems, I decided as a whim to try a defense which I had years ago termed, “the desperado defense,”  and had employed successfully in two of the World Cup II ICCF series. It is a defense with many sidelines especially for White and he chooses one that gives him control of space and relatively easy development.  He embarks on a tactical line that I had not met but one I had analyzed some years before and felt like trying should it present itself.

6.  N-QB3  N x N  /  7.  QP x N   N-B3   8.  B-B4  P-KN4!!

This is the move I had studied and felt the gods had given me the opportunity to test it in actual play.  Some of his brilliant tactical games had appeared in Chess Life and I had entered the seat across from him with the knowledge that my winning chances were nil and draws unlikely, too.  In fact, I remember that I won three and lost two games played in this tournament.  This tournament was the worst effort on my part ever, not that I played badly but simply couldn’t get co-operation from my two master opponents, Alex Dunne and Weeramantry!  Afterwards, I found my timing of plans to be suspect and had tried to press too hard to build some advantage only to see it wind up in the hands my opponents who dutifully punished me.

9. B-KN3   B-N2 /  10. Q-K2   Q-K2  /  11. Q-K3   P-KR3  /   12. P-KR4  P-N3  /  13. P x QNP  RP x P  /  14. P x P    P x P  /   15. R x R check  B x R  /  16.  N-B3   R-R4  /

Here my thoughts ran awry.  I was thinking square count these last few moves that artificially appears beneficial to me; but as I see it now, what actually was taking place on the board was losing tempi.

17.  P-QN4   R-R6  18.  B-N3   P-B3  /  19.  O-O-O   K-B1  /  20.  R-R1   K-N1   /

21.  P x P    Q x P  /  22.  K-N2   R-R2  /  23. Q x P check   Q  x  Q   /  24.  N x Q  B-B3   /

White cleverly has gone from middle game to a favorable ending.  This is a mark of the master and grandmaster in chess.  I find no improvements on my part possible to alter such an appraisal.

25.  N-K4!   B-N2   /   26.  P-QR3   N-K2   27.  B-R4   N-B4   /  28. B-B6   B-N2   /   29.  B x B   K  x B  /  30. B-B2   R-R1  /   31.  R-Q1   P-Q4  /  32.  N-N5   K-B3   /  33.  B x N!!  K x B /

The right decision!  The Knight is more valuable than the Bishop which is considered an even exchange.  But the exchange of these pieces has increased the scope of the White forces.

34.  N-B3   P-K4   /   35.  R-K1   R-K1  /  36.  R-R1   R-K2  /   37. R-R5 check  K-K5  /  38.  N x P!!  R-N2  / ( 38. … R x N  runs into 39. P-B3 check leaves the Rook hanging.)

A nice breaking point.  I had seen it coming but hoped he would not.  Of such things are dreams made of.  But honestly, I was much impressed with his conduct of this endgame. In a manner, I thought I was being given a free lesson from the coach.  I was reminded of the often literary notes by the great players–“You learn much from your losses!”

39.  N-N4  P-Q5  /  40.  P-B3 check   K-Q6  /  41.  P x P   K x P  /

White now demonstrates great skill in exacting a full point.  In my chess career, I had few times to experience total shut down of my own plans or a saving grace.  It was not to be here.  The final seventeen moves provide you, my readers, with some excellent instruction of how to win a won game!

42.  R-R1   K-Q6  /  43.  R-QB1   R-K2  /  44.  R-B2   P-QN4 /  45. R-B3 check   K-Q5   /  46.  R-B2   K-Q6 /  (HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL; BUT ALAS! Zugswang is lurking).

47.  N-B2 check  K-K6   / 48.  N-Q1 check  K-Q6  /   49.  N-B3  R-K4  /  50.  N-R2   B-Q4   /  51.  N-B1 check  K-K6  /  52.  R-K2 check  K-Q5  / 53.  R x R   K x R  /  54.  K-B3  K-B5 /

55. N-K2 check  K-K6  /  56. N-Q4  P-B3  57. P-N4  K-B5  58. K-Q2   Resigns.  (1-0).

All I can add here is that I was simply following my belief in not giving up the ship!  In such cases, a player might fall asleep and just make a horrific blunder to save the day.

Kindred’s 2013 Christmas Tale: Lydia’s Mystery Christmas by Donald P. Reithel

December 28, 2013

It was a sad day in the life of Lydia. Just a week before, she discovered the boy living in the corner house on our street.  He had asked her to a school dance.  Rose, my wife, had noticed a slipping of Lydia’s study habits and consequently had called the school concerning tardiness and slipshod work of late.  Being only fifteen, we had told Lydia that dating would not be permitted until she turned sixteen.

“But this is just a school dance and all my friends will be there.” pleaded Lydia.  Rose was very firm about it.  Her tirade, too frequent of late, met with a scolding.  Dashing out of the room, she ascended the stairs to her bedroom on the second floor, slamming the door after her.  Rose followed her upstairs and getting only a verbal response of, “Go away and leave me alone.”

By breakfast time, Rose and I had discussed this and decided on a course of punishment.  Lydia came to the table sulking, stirring her spoon in the oatmeal without eating.  It need not have gotten worse–but it did.  Words led to anger. Rose was forceful and told her that she was grounded and was to come home directly after school.  Lydia resigned herself that she had provoked her mother and she looked at me for sympathy; there was none.

She inhaled and asked quietly, “How long am I to be punished like this?”  Rose told her it was permanent unless her behavior improved as well as her marks.  Also, she would not have any contact with Paul except her music lessons and definitely no chess.  Period. End of discussion!  By week’s end she had convinced us along with hugs and embraces that she was getting on top of everything.  During this grounding, we had discussed allowing her to attend the school dance which was just as important to her as her chess victory at the tournament held by the Black Knights’ Club.

Lydia was pleased that Paul had agreed to spend his Christmas holidays with them.  Two days before Christmas Eve, the shopping was done, all the presents wrapped and put under the Christmas tree.  That same day, a package arrived from Hungary.  It was a large box and was addressed to Miss Lydia Peters.  Paul had told Rose and I about the gift he had bought Lydia and that he had to journey to London on business but should be back to celebrate Christmas with them.

Christmas morning saw the family gathered around the fireplace and beautiful tree adorned with bulbs, lights, and shimmering tinsel.  Presents were under the tree and Lydia sat taking each gift and reading ‘to and from’, passing out the gifts.  She saved Paul’s gift as last to open.  The large box Lydia pulled to her lap and soon the paper and ribbons were crumpled and the box opened to expose a beautiful inlaid chess board cabinet wherein lay 32 beautiful chess men.  The kings were six inches tall and all bases were rounded to help prevent them from toppling over.  The set  was handcrafted and each piece felt heavy with a red felt bottom that matched the felt adorning the housing for the individual pieces.  Paul said he commissioned a craftsman in Hungary whom he was told did wonderful work to make it; it was one of a kind.  Lydia hugged Paul and said she would cherish it all her life.

Several days later while at Sunday church, their home was broken into but nothing seemed lost.  Lydia had put her gifts under her bed for the time being and the state of her room would make it almost impossible for anyone to find anything among the dolls, and other things that young girls enjoy in their private domain.  The police reported that no other burglaries had been reported so it seemed to be an isolated case.  This incident was to lead Lydia into new wealth, adventure, and intrigue.

By coincidence, Lydia had made friends with an elderly couple who were business partners heading up a private detective agency.  She had taken the time to stop by their offices located on the second floor of a bookstore she frequented and mentioned the incident.  Mrs. O’Rourke was alone as her partner-husband was out to London on a case.  She listened intently, asking questions here and there about this strange break-in.  “Have you added any valuable items to your home lately?   Have you noticed anyone browsing near your house?”  Lydia told her about her beautiful chess present from Paul purchased in Hungary.  Mrs. O’Rourke said she would like to see it, rose from her desk, donned her winter cloak, and they dashed off to Lydia’s house.

Now, Mrs. O’Rourke had a nose for smelling out problems like few others.  She took one look at the set and examined both the pieces, their width of bottoms and the board and compartments, tapping here and there. “What are you doing?” asked Lydia. She opened a jackknife she had removed from her handbag and pried off the felt covering the king’s base.  “Aha!  I thought so!” she exclaimed and took out a magnifying glass to examine it closely.   With a careful pressing of the blade to the edge of a small indented lip in the base, it popped open and revealed a hollow that, when she turned it over, several very shiny stones fell into her hand. “We have discovered the apparent reason for the burglary.  I would say that since these came from Hungary, I would venture a guess that these gems are very valuable.”  Additional jewels and a necklace were found in the other major pieces.

The gems were turned over to the police; Paul was questioned on the particulars of his contact making the order.  The police in Hungary questioned the dealer and owner of the shop who said the craftsman who did the work and worked there a little over two years and quit due to family concerns.  No trace was found to his whereabouts so it was assumed he had false papers and passport, and fled to parts unknown. Mrs. O’Rourke believed that it was he or an accomplice who broke into the Peters home in an attempt to recover his loot.  Newspaper reports told of the foiled burglary attempt and Lydia was not happy to read of how messy her room was kept as the reporter duly noted in getting to the facts of the case.  We advised her to be less committal about revealing too much to reporters.

Well I said Lydia’s adventure was altering her life.  She was hired by Mrs. O’Rourke to work part time answering the phone, filing, and general clean up in the office.  All the while, Mrs. O’Rourke slowly groomed her into becoming a real sleuth.  And what was the disposition of the jewels?  A search for the owners was futile and since no one came forth to claim any or all of them, the court declared that Lydia was the rightful owner having received the chess equipment as a birthday gift.  FINIS.

Kindred’s Special: My Christmas Stories from December 2007 Archives

December 21, 2013

You are invited to partake of my Christmas time stories which you can get from my archives by clicking on the blue background to get the archives listed by year and months.  Just click on the December 2007 where you will find my Christmas contributions. Look for the titles, A Winter Knight’ s Tale and A Ghostly Christmas Tale.

Merry Christmas everyone!!/Don.

Kindred’s Special: Pricking the Sides of Liberalism and Conservatism

December 1, 2013

How can you be a conservative in a world gone mad with liberalized ranting of just about every media outlet geared to sway the public toward a form of business ethics  that has turned our form of constitutional law into a mass hysteria blame game?  Unfortunately none of the media moguls really know where and how life in America has evolved from our founding fathers and been molded through decades of experiments that our original thirteen colonies’ representatives envisioned.

We sure do not get smarter with aging of the American experiment.  Our national direction and too many leaders today remind me of the time when we raised chickens and dad would catch one in the yard and cut its head off with the axe; that chicken would run around the yard for about a minute with no head before it fell over and gave up its life where grandma and mother put it in boiling water, to remove the feathers and prepare it for baking in the oven. Not a great memory for me but one that did lead to a healthful and tasty family meal.

Society needs a blood test and/or a blood transfusion periodically to weigh the health or to fix the ills taking place over time.  Those decades saw many and the remedies were usually cause and effect related.  The American language adopted the term democracy which is a form of government coming out of the middle ages and having no basis in American life.  The United States is a REPUBLIC, always was and always will be so long as we have this constitution which, by the way certain floaters are periodically put forth by elite liberals for “needed change”.  But for some reason the media with pocketed liberalism as its GOD abuses the American – English language. I guess liberals believe the common use alone validates a word–a word that spells historically as poor governance.

The evolutionary process of what has developed can be described as misguided reasoning.  From early times, our government body had a widespread close-knit relationship between two major parties and, in its history, a few splinter parties that existed mainly for influence of an agenda of pet projects.  These political groups seem mostly to desire a platform but few have gained much attention largely due to the simple fact that those member numbers did not warrant media coverage.

As I see it, our society functions with a high degree of insolvency for both intelligence and commonsense.  We have given over to the media the role that citizens should exercise–that of governing through representatives and being ever read up on current events and how they are, with the help of propaganda through the political elite and media control of news, attempt to sway public opinion, good or bad and have sense when the public is being politically shafted.

Essentials to remember:

  1.  widespread belief in the rule of law;
  2. our three bodies made up of the Senate, House of Representative, and the Executive branches  had limited powers;
  3. recognition that local and state controls were the best forms of governance for residents;
  4. finances in the form of budgets raised through just taxations for the public good.

The executive branch main job is a protectorate of the nation–defense, war, and support of national public projects started in states. The President is the national leader responsible for appointments; military and voice for the USA in world affairs and overseeing the agencies within the executive branch and finally signing or vetoing bills passed by the legislature.

What I see here is a limited form of power granted the federal government and having checks and balances responsibility.

When the Great Society emerged with the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson, the shackles of controlled governance at the national level was compromised that had been readily followed as a conservative principle.  But it started really back in that of President Wilson where the country began to embrace what is called the Progressive Movement.  And from this steady and ever encroaching movement against the conservative agenda, eventually through political elections, the liberal establishment furthered its goal to bring about a type of administrative  function as described in an excellent article by Professor John Marini, a distinguished fellow at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. who wisely notes, “In addition to destroying the fabric of federalism, this centralization concept and policy had the effect of undermining the separation of powers, making it difficult if not impossible for Congress, the president, and the bureaucracy to function amicably in pursuit of a national interest.”

Yet folks, you don eye shades to sleep and that is where ye vote registered in the last election. Government is not reason nor eloquence; it is force and troublesome–never to be left to incompetence and irresponsible actions. It is natural for me to indulge in the illusions of hope nor to shut my eyes against a painful truth; to read not; to hear not.  My spirit in kindredship with readers beg for the whole truth of these events, to raise my voice, to witness the worst, and to find promise from and salvation in the Lord.