Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

The Amateur Eye – A tickling central Ruy Lopez

January 16, 2020

Space and time often make up my theory of chess.  Right from the opening moves I advocate attack and defense from move one regardless the openings chosen for battle.  And chess is a battle! It can reflect both the temperment of the combatants as well as the management of strategy and tactics employed.  That is the joy of the chess struggle where both sides might vary their aims in similar situations of planning, and yet turn out a product for both original as well as copies of past struggles where a sort of trail exists coming out of past performances that will leave for the student of chess an ever expanding array of variations inside and outside of known theory and opening structures.  The result is an opening name or specific defensive pattern where results come from work and preparation for such competitions and practice arising from individual thought and purpose.

Here we see another Ruy Lopez set-up using a more modern plan.  Yet, here the pattern is pushed in a different direction but still the issue of square count with central pressures within the Black camp emerging.

l. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6

This was an early thought given the name of the Morphy variation.  One of the oldest and worthy systems employed by the defense against the Ruy Lopez. White aims for the Mackenzie’s variation

4. Ba4  Nf6  5. d4  Initiating the Mackenzie variation.

This opens the long diagonal for the  black QB.

7. N:d4 Bd7 8. B:c6 b:c6

This doubles the Q-side pawns and keeps his d4 Knight posted well for future action with added square pressure.  Black relies on having the bishop pair.

9. Nc3  Be7

White strives for immediate activity against the center in this known line called the Mackenzie’s Variation hoping to use his bishop-pair coming in future play.

10. Bf4!?

Certainly understandable but also interesting is 10. Qf3 aiming with a knight hop via Nd4 to f5. The Q would have pressure on c6.

10. …. O-O  11. e5 Ne8 12. Re1 d5 13. Nb3 a5 14. Na4! f6 15. e6!

Fnally making some headway against stubborn defense.

15. …. Bc8 16. Nd4 Bb7 17. Re3 c5 18. Nf5 d4 19. Rg3! Kh8 20. Qh5 Qd5 21. Q:h7+ K:h7 22. Rh3+Kg6 23. N;e7 Mate.

In the endgame of this fight, chances were unclear and did Black have a losing position or just a headache holding on?  The result of the battle is sometimes skewed by the complexity of time effecting choices made during a game.

The Amateur Eye – Hitting the center in a French line

January 14, 2020

William Goichberg and Robert Potter were both well established masters of both correspondence and finding occasional opportunities to aid the spread of chess over decades of chess promotion.  Many examples of their talent are in print for both their individual effort to promote the game for all of us to enjoy.

This game from the 1967 US Open held in Atlanta, Georgia in the 12th round illustrates once again the potent square count factor that put the icing on Bill’s dominant structural victory.

l. e4  e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 d:e4 4. N:e4

For Gambiteers who steer the game and want more action often might go for a risky pawn sac like 4. c3 for space and time to offset the pawn deficient.

4. …. Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. N:f6+ N:f6 7. Bc4 h6 8. Qe2 White’s aim is to use the half-open e-file with future pressure on square e6.

8. …. Be7 9. Bf4

Again pressuring the central squares and adding count.

9. …. O-O 10. O-O-O

White chooses to set his forces on aggression as the R now sits already on the d-file. A possible danger is the King left in the center file.  If 10. O-O the King would be a little safer having been removed from the central file.

10. …. Nd5?!

This is not a happy time for Black who should work toward a wing pawn demonstration via either …. a5  c6.  The question is why move a developed piece fairly well situated already.  He needs to secure some aggressive counter play which the pawns would give him against the King position.

11. Bd2

This retreat on the c-h6 file doesn’t effect the Bishop’s power and pressure on h6,

11. …. a6 12. h4 b5

Black can hope to follow this up with c7-c5 but the earlier Knight move was a weak turn that gives a clear edge to White with his next play.

13. Bd3! Qd6 14. Ne5! Bb7 15. B:h6

Black is suddenly horror struck with this shot.  Black’s pawn structure is suddenly ripped open.

15. …. g:h6 16. Qg4+ Kh8 17. Qh5 Kg7 18. Rh3

White starts the finishing blow with a typical Rook-lift occurring in such positions. That is why study of books teaching all aspects of chess play is so important to be a success at the board.

18. …. Nf4  19. Qg4+ Bg5 20. h:g5 N:h3 21. g:h3 Qe7 22. g:h6+ K:h6 23. Rg1 f5 24. Qg6 mate.



The Amateur Eye – Using Square Count

January 13, 2020

The objective is to present examples from actual game play that illustrate the art of using square count by showing games  that illustrate effectively how plans and game play develop into winning strategies. Enjoy while learning!

l. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O d6 5. d4 e:d4 6. N:d4 Bd7

This is a variation by Black to test a line long known in chess opening theory and occasionally revived because it is stable and has few defects in strategy. To combat it effectively White must be aware of its nuances.  White follows a strategy often seen in the early half of the century and practiced with an eye on space and square control.

7. Nc3 Be7  8. B:c6 B:c6

This entices further piece exchanges which keeps defensive resources at a good level to avoid limiting chances for upcoming countering of White’s attacking potential.

9. Nf5!?  O-O 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4

Keeping up the pressure on f6.

11. …. Kh7 12. f4

Other good tries are either 12. Qd4 or 12. Re1. Note the pressure placed along these lines effecting local squares.

12. …. Ng8

This defensive strategy by Black has serious flaws. While it offers a chance toward exchanging to soften a White attack, it proves soon that it lacks vitality and defensive resources.

13. Qg4  Now a mate threat pops up requiring Black’s energy to defend.

13. …. g6  14. N:e7 N:e7 15. Bf6 Qc8

This nice play makes it difficult for Black to get out of the bind on his position.  Black seeks a remedy by a Queen exchange offer.

16.  f5 Ng8 17. Bd4 Qd8. And a little better here for Black was ….Qd7 to connect his Rooks.

18. f:g6+ f:g6  19. R:f8 Q;f8 20. Rf1 Qe7 21. Qf4  Be8 22. Nd5 Qd8 23. Qf7+ B:f7 24. R:f7 mate.



Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

January 10, 2020

The best teacher in the world will be no benefit to you if you fail to work on a daily practice to improve and take steps to build upon what you believe are goals worth time and energy to achieve.  There is no shortcut possible to achieve without personal commitment to that end.

Today’s cartoon pages contain some valuable ideas toward that goal.


Here we see the cartoonist putting together 4 panels showing Nelson and Grandpa and Nelson is asking Grampa how old he is now.  Grampa gives some advice on that question by responding with the comment that someone once said that it is not how old you are but how you are old. Then, Grampa, how old are you? Well, Grampa tells him, Oh, I’ve got being old–down to a science.


Taking a story from Jack and the Bean Stalk, the cartoonist explores the thoughts of Hagar talking with Jack from the story. Jack relates to Hagar asking him if he was familiar with the expression “I.m waiting for the other shoe to drop? Sure have, Jack.  We see the shoe in the next panel resting next to the bean stalk and Jack running off from Hagar with the comment that he is not waiting.


The manager ask Dilbert how things went with his project.  Dilbert replied that it was fine until a thick wave of stupidity swept over it and extinguished my spark of divinity. I actually don’t know what will become of me. His manager told him not to worry–I’ll transfer you to marketing as they are all like that in that department.


Woodstock! That was Woodstock who just flew over!   BONK!!! The beagle buddy thinks:  Even on a clear day, Woodstock flies in a fog!





The Amateur Eye has returned!

January 8, 2020

Well folks –one and all– I am back finally after a long battle in hospital and nursing recovery care.  One of my nurses said I should be able to write a book on my adventurers within the confines of finding a host of pricks and blood tests…a long trek from a forced hospital stay.  What would we do without having a good insurance policy and dependable surgeons, doctors, nurses and other staff who help make patients well? Did I learn anything from the experience.  Yes.  I can say I did and will pass on what I learned here.  You have to take it one day at a time–no fretting or worries but keep the eye on the goal to improve one day at a time.

I am thankful to have communion every day by a dedicated group of volunteers which I truly believe gave up lift to my soul and spirit in this steady recovery.

All of  this occurred during the political woes forced upon our President and my personal daily prayers for our nation and our leaders to exercise good judgment did have an effect on guiding our nation through a very trying time.  It is too bad when there are those who clip their own wings by false assumptions and poor guess work, and those who don’t walk the talk as seen by their petty ways back in their own backyards.

A lot  of travelers lost their lives, and or were in careless accidents due to excessive speeding on the highways.  Is there a lesson to learn from this?  I know what it is but I doubt if anyone is interested in my opinions that only time will resolve as valid thoughts.  Ho, hum!  God bless us all!!

The Amateur Eye: Does Santa Claus Exist

December 8, 2019

Santa Claus is alive and well in the minds and nature of the reading public. You cannot see him because he was a spirit born in the minds of children who hope and pray for good Christmas tidings.  To be truthful, he exists in such spirit at Christmas time where in many areas of the world cold weather is followed by winter which is why he depends upon his sleigh and reindeer for transporting his many Christmas gifts for delivery to homes especially having young children. As the story goes, they sleep soundly on Christmas Eve night and awaken to see a beautiful Christmas tree decorated with gifts under it.

Over the years the famous Christmas Carol was altered by families to suit their own lives and locations.  But the key feature has never changed–that the Spirit of Christmas for children continue to this day in the guise of a man spirit with a white beard bearing the name Santa Claus, gifts delivered in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer.

Perhaps the spirit of Santa Claus should forever be the Spirit of Giving to others and through exchanging gifts bring joy and happiness to all who cherish this Holy Christmas Season.–Don.

Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

December 7, 2019

If you want the truth then you just have to ponder what you read and hear in this crazy mixed up world.  Be careful of those in political life who use face lifts to hide their wicked tongues hidden in public view but are seen in the hatred masked drawn old lines in their corrupt mindset and cannot be hidden.


The scene is the usual meeting place at the bar and grill.  “How is your long distant relationship going?”  Her customer and friend says it going great. “I have a man who’s not afraid to federal express his feelings!”


you’re cheese idea wont work because it has been tried before and it failed.  You deny me a testing just because others who tried to solve it failed and your mind is glued to their cheese proposal plan and mine happens to be new and not tried before.  You have a mind of a rodent but that doesn’t mean you like cheese.  Sorry my decision bothers you because I do love cheese.

The Amateur Eye: Shelby Lyman 1936-2019

December 3, 2019

Al Lawrence FACES ACROSS THE BOARD column in Chess Review reports the life and death of one of America’s gold star performers as a chess star and as a writer and host of the TV match Fischer vs. Spassky.  It was unique in that he made chess come alive for millions and introduced many to the joys of learning and studying the many facets of the game.  It stirred the juices of young and old alike and perhaps more than anything else it put the game of chess for America especially on a permanent road that has spiraled upward ever since.

On the following page GM Andy Soltis describes how Lyman deserves the title “TV”s First Chesscaster” who revolutionized the way chess was disseminated to the public. And Bruce Pandolfini noted his first encounter with what was to be a long friendship when he first met Shelby who won the Marshall Chess Club Championship 55 years ago.

This historic time saw great talents emerge who have through the years seen many young and old alike find pushing pawns and all the forces coming behind to do battle with opposing enthusiasts of this Royal Game.

The Amateur Eye’s A thought on Kindness

November 30, 2019

There is no time clock to feel, discover, and experience a joy coming from the mere effort translated during a moment in time that leaves it’s mark on any visitation among engaged bodies of humans, animal pets, or literary works that one finds compelling to digest.

Pearls Before Swine 

We see pig at the dining table to place an order for a Jumbo Hamburger combo but make it light on the fries. The waitress takes down the order but asks pig why he just doesn’t get the whole order of fries. Pig says if he gets a whole order in front of him, he will likely consume the whole lot and suck them up like a food vacuum stuck on “ON”. She says wow! What a pretty image.  Pig just shutters at it and tells her that FRENCH FRIES CRUSH FREE WILL.


Our good Senator is having a news conference and one reporter asks, Senator what do you think will happen if this country moves to the FAR LEFT?  One thing it would do you can tell your readers for sure is that travel to Hawaii would take less time by plane.


Continues to visit and observe the department store Santa as he talks with children about presents they would like for Christmas.  Like another little boy viewed earlier, this lad seems bent on little Christmas spirit but rather: “I don’t like to tell you Santa how to do your job, but shouldn’t you be busy making toys instead of sitting around here all day?”


We see Nelson walking up to his Grandma sitting on the sofa and she asks him where he had been visiting with Grampa.  We went to the zoo and it was okay, lots of animals and things.  I got to feed the ducks, chicks and goats.  I was able to ride a pony and pet a baby lamb.  Grampa must have upset a llama because it spit on his cap covering his head.  And he is not taking it well as you can see.

Do Things Ever Really Change

In the Classical Doonesbury the usual liberalize and conservative battle for ideas continues.  The Dean is sitting at his desk and he is being served some news and it appears pleasing. “Wow! Some unbelievable strong language in the student demands. What an impact you’ve had sir.  I can’t believe the chorus of people calling for your head.  The students, faculty, deans and alumni, even your own staff are calling for your removal.”  ” And exactly why are we all smiles??”  “Don’t you see!! Sir, you did it! YOU FINALLY BROUGHT THE WHOLE CAMPUS TOGETHER!!

Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

November 29, 2019

Hope  all enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving with neighbors and friends. Every Thanksgiving I am reminded of the Founding Fathers, especially Ben Franklin who abhorred the choosing of the American Eagle as our national symbol, personally preferring the Turkey.  He called the Eagle a bird of bad moral character, fails to get an honest job preferring robbing and stealing and looked upon it as a poor and very lousy choice.  Perhaps he was right but the vote was in favor of the Eagle.  Turkeys are an American bird whereas the Eagle can be found in a number of countries.

The average person in the USA will consume about 15 pounds of turkey in 2019.

What are their characteristics?  Well, the loose red skin attached to the underside of the beak called a wattle and when the male gets excited such as mating season, the wattle turns scarlet. The fleshy flap of skin that hangs over the gobbler’s beak is called a snood and also turns a bright red when the bird gets excited.  Wild turkeys can fly but prefer to walk or run. They are hard to hunt. Their handles are toms, hens, and a youngster is called a poult. Their diet consists of seeds, nuts, insects and berries.


We see Blondie and Dag together at the front door and Blondie is kisses Dag saying that she is not sure how long she will be at the mall.  Dag responds with a peck asking her what she is looking for.  As she dashes out the door, she responds that she doesn’t know yet–just going to wing it once she gets there.  Dag looks worried as he closes the door.  He says to himself that he gets a little nervous when she says that and it is Black Friday.


Nelson is asking his Grampa why it is that he promises but never takes me to the zoo. Why do you want to go to the zoo so bad?  It’s just a bunch of stinky animals. We have those right here.  The dog and cat lying on the sofa look at each other with a questioning look by the dog.  The cat perched on top of the sofa back.  The pooch thinks is he talking about us?  The cat looks down at the dog and thinks: Just you.


We see Hagar dashing for home thinking he had better hurry.  Helga will be worried if I’m late thinking I might have been hurt in the battle.  He stops to ponder this and thinks perhaps he will get a bigger welcome home hug! if he tarries a bit.


Customer says he has read the entire menu.  She asks him what he would like?  His uncouth remark is “Directions to another diner.

The Family Circus

The kids dash in passed their mother who had opened the door to let them in.  “You can leave the door open, mommy.  We’re heading back out as soon as we eat lunch!


He notices a little boy on Santa’s lap who is saying to Santa: “Wait! What? I have to be good in order to get the new bike?!? That sounds a lot like extortion!!”  Ziggy’s face shows sighs as if to say: WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO?