Archive for June, 2018

The Amateur Eye – It’s Your Move

June 30, 2018

In the game of chess being a piggyback of life in the way of Kindred Spirit, every moment, every mood change, stirs the juices of personal action coming from our brains.  It behooves us to question, to reflect on the past, to stimulate questions and to concentrate on the possibilities if the right questions are asked.  As in chess, so to it be in life.  In general terms this reflection bodes true in both.  Yet, there is one difference.  The chessboard has 64 squares with two forces opposing each other.  There are rules we must obey else we do not have the tools of use on the action of the various units either separately or in unison emerging in a planned operation.  One might say this should also be true of life.  But is it? We often find life a real mess largely because of human interference by human conduct in exhibiting little of what chess rules placed in force upon us.

There are a variety of games using the 64 squares and pieces that evade those strict rules and conduct.  So, too, in life.  Take for example the Bobby Fischer era.  He among others achieved from youth to maturity at least in age the bounds placed on rules and force but with a variance of time controls.  If rules are altered in any way, the game of chess like the game of life can radically change because the rules, the positions of forces as in Fischer’s version, upsets the patterns without altering the rules.  In the context of my reasoning, life and chess can be modified due to tinkering with both with no other purpose then to create a version of chess called Fischer Random which was in reality nothing more than to allow Fischer to patent it as his own.

Don’t think I mind as I look at it all as change and that spices up life in so many ways.  The change in the patterns of piece placement alters the strategies to a complexity where there is no cut and dried beginning.  Certainly this has the blessings of those who are never quite normal in their character traits, always looking to find something new in an established and historic context called “Practice” and “Book”.  This whole concept of change makes life more interesting for this exploratory group.  But it adds a physical difference in my thought of change being only coming from an idea or move sequence in a plan.  What comes from this radical alteration of setup at the start of play boggles my mind.  Maybe I am getting too old to try new things.  But it must be remembered that old does not mean change cannot be a “fun thing” to try either in the amateur or professional.

The Amateur Eye – USCF Never Quits

June 29, 2018

We, the players of our sport which comes local, state, country and world travel the paths of many who embrace and enjoy the comradeship of a sport that the Olympic Committee continues to refuse to call chess a Sport.  This world has produced its own Olympiad so what care should we venture with in continually begging this OC to ever see the light?

Chess is a game, a sport, a competition of individuals and of teams.  A great deal of work goes into the art of chess play where the top are called Grandmasters followed by a series of classes created for the public, and unique in its practicality for the publishing houses as well as high tech institutions now that the computer age is upon us and reached maturity.

Chess has always been an experiment of sorts.  From the time of its concept as a sport, chess has expanded quietly to a place that demands respect as a sport as well as an art with scientific certainties.  This has not come about by accident but through the efforts of professionals in the arts and sciences with a lightning grasp of technologies ripe for its introduction in the sport world.  Technology has made it possible to offer not only 20-100 player events conducted manually but with computers we now see thousands playing in weekend or week long events and chess clubs growing in understanding the needs of their cities and towns.  School chess has greatly stimulated such expansion.  And USCF has built a close working relationship among schools, parents and hopefully into the film industry where chess has been long envisioned as a medium for high tech studies or story plots.

So the question is this:  Has the Olympic Committee robbed itself of ever cementing such a relationship in the sports world?   Have they any concept of who in Sport play chess as well as their individual and amateur participants?  A term was once coined: PIGHEADEDNESS.


The Amateur Eye – Of Mice & Men

June 29, 2018

Mort Walker, an American icon of comic strips Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois, died in January at age 94.  But in those decades of work, he called Life is like a game of chess. Each move determines your next play. Where you wind up is the result of the sum total of all your moves.  And Stanley Ellin is quoted as saying The way he plays chess demonstrates a man’s whole nature.  Jerry Spinelli says he feels like he makes chess moves under water–the pieces just keep floating away. I don’t know where things go or figure where things are or what tomorrow brings.  A professor of Cognitive Science at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland said of chess: The chess master is the chemist of a dimension that is geometrically bounded by 8×8. The elements he works with are Pawn Structure, Space, Force, and Time.–Professor Ruth Byrne.

The Amateur Eye – Nothing Doing?

June 29, 2018

In the mind of the beginner: Nothing Doing is the drive to say: I got to do something.  Doing something just to do it is not the right answer.  You got to have some sense of the whole position.  You examine the pawn structure.  As I have noted in many of the games, the endgames often produce pawn islands. Good or bad for the position? The answer is that the side having fewer pawn islands has a pawn power edge.  Are there any open files possible?  That is where your Rooks (Castles) go or perhaps to support a pawn advance.  Files will not be opened without pawn attacks on the board striking into the enemy and force exchanges or blockading which in either case can give a space edge. If you examine the games I show, you notice the players eye the whole board structure. For example, World Champion Magnus Carlson’s play often show his planning concepts described herein.  Another player I admired greatly including the greats of years past was Petrosian before and as World Champion.  Many great players came up through an apprenticeship toward mastery of the game.  That fact should be a stimulus for youngsters learning the game.  You start with the basics and then build on theories known seemingly for ever among the chess giants of the world.  Children now have the benefits of great books of past champions, coaching, computers, and greater opportunities to compete either for practice or tournaments.

I am often asked what players’ games had the greatest influence on my own play and interest.  That goes hand in hand, the idea of interest to study and learn from the great players of the past. That always finds interest at the top.  I want to enjoy the play of the old times, players, tournaments and their arrangements for tournaments and matches.

In being up-to-date, I try to examine the art of chess, writings, and how the modern age of computers has made analysis and commentary more thorough.  For me, personally, I look at computer analysis as tiring.  I really don’t care about 10-20 moves analysis of which some is junky boring and having nothing to do with the actual play on the board between players in play time.  I had my own way to prepare for tournaments which often rested from studying the games of Rubinstein, Marshall, Capablanca, Alekhine, Lasker, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Reshevsky, Petrosian, Tal, Fischer, Spassky, Bronstein.  In my youth I was interested in chess history of the Staunton and Morphy era players.

On Staunton, I believe him to be badly abused by American authors. Read my columns on the Staunton and Morphy era.  Another player who was attacked by Horowitz of Chess Review was Alexander Alekhine due to his European life as World Champion and having to survive in the Nazi propaganda era.



The Amateur Eye – Ideas Old and New

June 29, 2018

One of my mentors The Reverend George Switzer favorite reminder was Does an exchange or Exchange improve the replied capturing piece?  The most shocking idea emerging comes when the reply is made by the King.  This, Reverend Switzer noted to me, was quite uncommon but yet creating a change in the whole atmosphere of the position on the board.  Our discussions on Faith and chess left a lasting impression on me.  My “Its a square world we live in.” I wrote as a tribute to how chess and life both possess principles upon which people relate to each other.  It is often the theme of some of my articles.

I have been a believer in the concept of teaching chess starting with the Endgame.  Why? Because it fits in with my theory of square count.  A student needs to know the value of each piece in both strength and relationship with others in the geometric patterns seen on the whole board with all the players being involved in the struggle.  And chess is a struggle as Dr. Emmanuel Lasker espoused.

As I noted, I never could understand the thought that a pawn was worth 1, a Knight 3, a Bishop 3+, Rook (Castle) 6, Queen 9 or 10, and King 0 or whatever.  I give the whole board the playground of chess pieces, especially the power of Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen and King.  Looking numerically at my value system of 6/8/14/18 shows depending upon the board position, a variance possible that changes a square count appreciably depending upon the whole position.  It expands the player mentally to seeing the geometric patterns that can emerge during play and help planning strategy, and understanding what I said in the first paragraph.

The following example illustrates this: White: Pawns on a4/b2/c2/e4/g3/h2 Kt. c3 f7/B b3/Rd3,f1 Qe2/ Kh1.  Black: P a6/b7/d6/e5/f4/h4 Nf6 Bd7, e7/ Rd8, h8 Qc5 Kb8.

In this position White should have played 23. Qf2 but instead played 23. N:h8.  Important to notice that the Knight forks the two Rooks so in effect he is wasting a chance given the fact that Qf2 stops …d5 which neither contemplated. After, 23…R:h8, 24. Qf2 Black erred with 24….Qb4 when either Qa5 or Qc7 was more apropos.  But notice that hole on d5! for either the B or N. So what can else Black do.  Missed is the shot now of 24…d5!! opening the Bishop power and likely keep Black in the game. Now, with …Qb4 being played, White can go 25. Nd5 N:d5 26. B:d5 B:a4? 27. Ra3! h3 28. c3 Qb5 29. b3 Bh4 30. b:a4 Qd3 31. g3 B:g3 32. Qf3 Qd2 33. Ra2 wins.

Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

June 25, 2018

Peanuts four panels fits the youthful young Lucy to a tee.  Linus approaching Lucy who is skipping rope asks, “Let me ask you something. Do you know exactly what you’re going to be when you grow up?”  Lucy continues to skip rope and tells Linus, “Of course!  A smart cookie!”

Jon is reading a history book of quotes, etc.  He addresses Garfield, “I like this saying by Benjamin Franklin—Early to bed. early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Garfield thinks: ” ….and lonely, dateless, and boring.”

Blondie greets Dagwood as he returns home from work.  Dagwood appears a bit hot under the collar.  Blondie asks if he had a good day at work? “Boy! Suddenly Dithers thinks he is a comedian.  In the break room he cracked some lame jokes about my dozing off occasionally.”  Blondie says, “Mr. Dithers–a  comedian?! What did he ever say to excite you so?” “I don’t know, dozed off and missed the whole deal.”


Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

June 23, 2018

Much has been written about self-esteem.  What you want to believe is that whether you feel great or miserably terrible in performing tasks anytime–any place, the result are always positive in accomplishments.  It says time and space never stand still and work always brings about change.  Today’s humor classic cartoon variety provides examples.

Garfield observes his caregiver Liz talking with Jon.  Jon is explaining to Liz that a chipmunk ate his shoes…while I was still wearing them!  Liz is not cool with this and her face and eyes when attending Garfield brings this thought in Garfield: I see by your expression that you have been visiting with Jon.

Blondie calls out to Dagwood who is taking Daisy for run…You are going for 3 miles again? Dag looks back and says, “Oh yeah! I am all  about health so I am taking Daisy for a good exercise.  It will do us both good!  The next panel shows both dashing up to the new food stand–Gus’s Gooey Gourmet that just opened 3-miles away.

Pickles has four panels. Earl and Opal are sitting at the breakfast table enjoying a cup of coffee or tea.  Opal says to Earl, “Guess what…I’m so proud of myself.  Earl asks her why that is.  “I lost five pounds! And little Nelson come up behind her chair and tells her that he found them noting her rump seat!

Hagar and his right-hand-lieutenant are discussing Hagar’s son.  “I told my son I would like him to follow in my footsteps.” “Isn’t he too young to go to the tavern?” (seen in the distant path walk)!

Dilbert has 3 panels with the staff analyst sound off with “My new defense against every accusation is to be offended by the question.”  “That works?”  ‘That depends on how hard I sell it.”  A department head asks: “Why haven’t you replied to any of my email requests?” which brings the response: “How DARE You!”

Shoe asks his golf partner and assistant: “How far to the Green?”  “I’d say about ten swear words.”

The Family Circle shows Dad reading a book to his son.  “Daddy, just skip ahead to where the bunny jumps over the fence onto the frog! That part’s better!”

Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

June 22, 2018

The more fun you have studying and playing chess, it’s effectiveness will more and more become clear with the improvisational spirit seen with Kindred will be entwined with the magic of intuition emerging out of square count.  So you must hone your present skills to manage expectations, painting an enticing and accurate picture of what is to come in the battle.  This will help your brainy thoughts to maximize what is there and avoid disappointments in what is not in the works.  You may experience strangers in the vicinity of kings and awareness of friends and foes alike will give substance to your analysis even as a hope or prayer.  Smiling hides wrinkled foreheads deep in thought.

Looking at Dilbert, you know the cartoon regularly featured in major newspapers in the comic section, comes to mind on the above when the analyst tells his boss that there are many reasons the project is late and over budget.  This brings the tart remark that rings verbal irony seen in such situations— Do any of those reasons not involve your incompetence and sloth?? This brings the thoughtful rebuke:  I am offended by such a question!

You find Opal on the couch writing on her tablet message board with hubby Earl leaning over the back of the couch saying, “As you get older, life has a way of humbling you. You realize just how much nonsense you have wasted time on.  Just what is that you are writing now?”  Opal responds, “Wishing HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Facebook to a bunch of people I don’t even know.”

In Pearls Before Swine:  “what are you doing. Pig?  He is all dressed up to go out.  “Heading off to England. My pal there says its supposed to be 34 degrees so I stuffed my suitcase with all my warmest clothes.  Well, cheerio!  I’m off to be a sophisticated traveler of the world.  Ignorance shows itself when the two left note that 34 degrees Celsius is 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shoe is sitting watching the tube and his aide asks him what is he watching?  Shoe laments “The Crime Channel.”  “How come you aren’t talking back per usual?” Shoe responds with, “I have a right to remain silent.”

Joining in with soccer play, Marmaduke sits with his paw on top of the ball.  The kids all excited say, “We taught him to block and trap, now how do we teach him to pass?!”

In Peanuts, Lucy is in deep thought and finally says, “I wish I had a secret admirer.  Someone who would send me flowers and little love notes and things like that. And then he would tell me who he was.  But then again, I would need a new secret admirer.”

Before closing down, I want to tell you that this is the longest day of the year.  It really is. To enrich the soul Americans need to pray for our President Trump, his family, all the members in the House and Senate for wisdom and sincere HOPE for mending the many fences that shackle our Country from achieving the goals set by President Trump’s agenda.  We need only to study the Bible, its many cherished principles and guiding hand of our Lord to solve problems using our Faith in bringing about justice and reconciliation among our multitudes.  It starts with the conviction that America was, is and will continue to be great with sincere and joint effort by all our Parties. Amen and Amen!

The Amateur Eye – Modern Defense

June 18, 2018

Books on this opening are plentiful.  I coined it “The Rat” in viewing a game as a TD when White said of it being played: OH RATS!? perhaps hoping for something more classically known in his arsenal. White: Quillan vs. Black: Dubov.

After 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. f4 Usually Quillan plays 3. Be3 with a host of alternatives available; it is a line he often chooses so he elected to create this wall.   How would he attack it? wanders through his mental cap.  The mind is likened to a computer of sorts.

3.  … d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 Creating a pin and getting the Bishop out beyond his own pawn setup. Using my s/c theory White has an 8/3 edge in space on the board.  But we know this can change suddenly.  Still, White can be happy.

5. c3 Nd7 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O  Ne7  Too close to the breast, but Black hopes to utilize his forces on the King-side, perhaps using the Queen and Rook pair for Q-side action.

8. Qe1 O-O 9. Bb3 B:f3 10. R:f3 c5 11. Be3 c:d4  12. c:d4 Nf6 13. Nc3! Adding s/c and developing the Knight to it’s natural c3 square.

13. … Ng4  Black continues the horse race like a jockey trying to find a way to break the block setup by White who now brings his QR into the center d-file.

14. Rd1 Qb6? Working the Q-side for space and s/c, Black finds his overworked Knight by exchanging it to query his whole plan.  The Knight has performed a long journey while allowing White to build up his force via development.  Still, removing the Bishop and Knight would loosen up the position a bit and just the fact that this exchange of the overworked piece brings question to the viability of such previous play, may have been a deciding reason to avoid the exchange.  Such goes the story of a thought process.

15. Na4  Qa6 16. Bc1 Saving the Bishop and even though it returns to it’s home base on c1, it continues to exert pressure over the dark squares aimed into the guts of the enemy King-wing.

16. … b5 17. Nc3 Qb6 18. Qh4!  This excellent move increases s/c, developing the Queen to an attack mode along the K-side and h4-d8 diagonal.

18. … Nf6 19. g4!! This keen shot opens up the loosened squares for White’s heavy forces to begin to infiltrate in the King hunt.

19. … Qb7  20. Rh3 h5 Black should have gone for 20…h6 trying to keep the wing pawn more compact for defense.  But the defense continues now to be shaken with the text. Now comes an excellent example of a centrally tied pawn attack into the enemy King sector.

21. g:h5  N:h5 22. f5!! e:f5 23. e:f5!  N:f5 24. Qg5!  The pointed conclusion to White’s previous moves at the pawn breakthrough and exchanges.

24. … Ne7 25. R:h5 g:h5 26. Rd2 Taking advantage of the loose second rank to swing the Rook to g2 and pouring great force to conclude and score the point.

26. … d5 27. N:d5 Rfe8 28. Rg2 Ng6 29. Nf6+ Kf8 30. N:h7+ Oh what fun when you are stacking the chips in poker and who says it doesn’t equal or best finding the ingredients herein.?

30. … Kg8 31. Q:g6 And Black has run out of gas, having no way to carry on any counter-play.

I chose this game for my chess students I found in New In Chess.  Notes are mine after the brief introduction.  Enjoy; employ; have fun!  Remember: it is a square world we live in!



The Amateur Eye – The CP Agenda

June 18, 2018

The Communist Party of the United States focus rests entirely with badmouthing Donald J. Trump and the Donald J. Trump family.  You see, the CP hides their evil eye by duping the Democrat–Liberal-Socialist-United Nations sleaze as a means of attracting the ignorant.  And what I mean by ignorant is exposing American students in higher learning to text books specializing in anti-American (assaulting the benefits of Capitalism) mixed with infiltration of communist propaganda in the classroom.

Our whole system of justice evolves around clarity and truth.  The Left attempt to colorblind our Justice system in lots of ways.  The essential way is the whitewashing of the investigative process and report by illegitimate or faulty conclusions to evidence collected.  Recent conclusions reached by committees given the task point to clear abuse of proven facts shining through various air holes in the investigations as to political media bias widespread since Hillary Clinton lost to President Trump.  Anyone ever hear of the tactic BAIT AND SWITCH??  The Clinton clan, the whole Democrat Party are experts at this tactic that came about in the 1990s thru 2016 and last two-years of stored up hate because election result is not the problem, only the fact that Trump’s supposed upset election result that almost no Democrat or Liberal or media ever expected has led to the exposure of government and political corruption by the highest powers in our government agencies, especially our Justice system once the pride of LAW everywhere. Who was responsible for this?

Yes, the Russians have been trying to undermine American and Allied nations for years since the 1940s under earlier dictators and most effectively now with Putin.  He has managed to smear the integrity of the Democrat Party as well as the strong Liberal philosophy that backs the abortion of our babies through the communist brainstorm and practice in the Stalin era and influenced to be established in the USA under the guise of a joyful and non-communist plot —PLANNED PARENTHOOD–a universal benefit to women as a cover.  How many abortions is not the question today.  Dead is dead. Any decent woman who views the beauty of love and birth and raising a child in the family setting of husband and wife or even through adoption to parents who cannot bear children for a physical reason is a blessing from our Lord.  The gift of the Holy Bible describes the steps to raising successful chances for a child in life.  I see abortion as evil and right only as it pertains to the health of the mother. And some willingly give up their own life to save their child in birth.  Shame! Shame! And triple SHAME!!!

But this all reverts back to the evils of communism as a system rule over mankind by force.  Examples can be viewed in Cuba, Russia, China, North Korea and all other Leftists whose rule by force of its population is legendary.  Such force is heaped upon the good and the bad in societies.  Is there any wonder that, but for the grace of God having raised up great leaders with principles set in mind to make the world a better and safer place, would justice be so served?  I leave that to your thoughts and conscience.