The Amateur Eye – Chess & Movies

December 26, 2017

Academy Award winner Gregory Peck taught his young co-stars how to play chess during the filming of To Kill a Mockingbird which was recognizable as being a big help in the quality of talent shown between the youngsters and Peck. His role as Atticus Finch made his acting role the top screen hero in Hollywood history.

Peck was an avid chess player and photographed playing between scenes.  The 1961 World War II film, The Guns of Navarone,  defused tensions among the stars Peck, Niven, Quinn, Baker and Quayle.  The film which took place in Athens enabled Quinn to arrange delivery of his chess set collection.  All the stars got hooked on chess and took out all their rivalry on the chessboards instead of before the cameras. – Celeb 64.

It was a big year for GM Levon Aronian who won the Chess World Cup 2017 $120,000 prize but also adorns the 2017#7 cover of New In Chess seen with his new bride and accompanying story on page 53 showing newlyweds Arianne Caoili and Levon together with Armenia’s President Sargsyan and First Lady.

CAPA GOES HOLLYWOOD is extensively reviewed in Capablanca’s effort to shine among the women in the Hollywood circles and chess circles that likely was Capa’s last resort to try and raise money to meet the excessive financial demands by Alexander Alekhine for a rematch. He could not find it but had a joy of a long stay.

A living chess exhibition game between Capablanca and Herman Steiner was arranged at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, April 11, 1933.  1. e4  e5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Nc3  Nf6 4. Bb5  Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3  d6  7. Bg5 B:c3  8. b:c3  Ne7 9. Nh4 c6 10.Bc4 Be6? 11. B:f6! g:f6 12. B:e6 f:e6 13. Qg4+ Kf7 14. f4! Rg8 15. Qh5+ Kg7 16. f:e5 d:e5 17. R:f6!  Which brought a rounding applause from the onlookers. K:f6 18. Rf1+ Nf5 19. N:f5! e:f5 20. R:f5+ Ke7 21. Qf7+ Kd6 22. Rf6+ Kc5  23. Q:b7! Qb6 24. R:c6+! Q:c6  25. Qb4 checkmate.

An Immoral game hailed by Reinfeld but shortly after Capa died, Steiner said the whole game was prearranged. Who knows? Was it hope that such play would find riches to meet the World Champion’s demands?  Who knows?  The actual game score was probably in English Descriptive Notation which was the normal notation used in America.

The game certainly shows the type of square count I developed from the study of Capablanca and Alekhine games and findings about how to play chess I wrote in 2007 Kindred Spirit’s Kaleidoscope.  kindredspiritks.



The Amateur Eye – A Tactical Reverse

December 22, 2017

In blitz play sharp positions may or may not occur.  Much depends on style  and willingness to strike out for complications.  Such adventurous ideas might come from a Sicilian where white initiates the Wing Gambit 1. e4  c5  2. b4 as was essayed some years ago.

Black in this example the opening goes into 1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nf6 looks for sharp play. Baadur Jobava  tackles Ivan Salgado from the Blitz at Tbilisi, 2017.  Many famous players have engaged this opening system from various competitions.  GM Jobava uses a pet system to remove many of the sharp tactic lines by choosing a favored personal system that attains a good positon for the middlegame without any noticeable weaknesses: 3. d3 Nc6  4. c3 d5 5. Qc2 (5. Nbd2 is the Hanham variation in the Philidor Opening.) So, in effect, White’s set up is playing a black  defense pattern with White but chooses 5. Qc2 as a slight improved idea.

5. … a5  6. a4  Bc5  7. Be2  O-O  8. O-O  h6 9. h3  Be6 10. Re1   d:e4  11. d:e4  Qe7 12. Na3 Rad8 13. Bb5  Nd7  14. Be3  B:e2  15. R:e3  f6  16. Bc4 B:c4  17. N:c4  Qe6  18. Na3  Ne7 19. Rd1 Nc5  20. b4  R:d1+  21. Q:d1  a:b4 22. c:b4  Na6  23. b5  Nc5 24. Qc2  b6 25. a5.  White is slightly better and went on to win the game.




The Amateur Eye

December 17, 2017

It is amazing the number of players whose styles vary with amazing consistency of a broad range of patterns adopted to find a rich variety of positions where the problems that emerge would fill the pages of the dictionary that sits on my book shelf.

I chose the following game taken from New In Chess, Judit Polgar’s, “b3 or not b3” featuring Richard Rapport vs. Alexander Onischuk from the 2014 Olympiad. 1.b3 is the Bent Larsen Opening seen in the Fischer era principally and adopted largely as a system to avoid prepared lines of popular openings.  After, 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. Na3! The alarm bell rings that White is essaying a type of reverse system employed by Black.  To what end?  I think the objective is to just make Black ‘s mind to wonder just how to handle the position.  White hasn’t actually declared himself to a particular strategy. It’s consequence might simply be to gain time on the opponent’s clock.

5. … a6  6. B:c6  d:c6  7. Nc4 Qe7 8. a4 Increasing s/c.

8. O-O 9. a5 Bg4  10. Ne2 Nd7 11. O-O e4 12. N:d6  c:d6  13. f3! e:f3  14. g:f3 Bh3 15. Rf2 Ne5  16. f4 Ng6  17. f5!  Qg5+ 18. Ng3  Ne5  19. Ra4! Bg4 20. Qf1 Another s/c principle of opening up lines by pawn exchanges spells danger for the black forces and opening squares of attack for the Rook in this case brings about a swift decision.  White has with the simplest means built  up control over the major inroads to black weaknesses.  This brings on an immediate blunder with 20…f6 21. B:e5 and then   22. Qc4+.

This presents a perfect example of my use of square count principles.



Thought of the Day

December 14, 2017

People who speak ill of others in sinning are not guiltless themselves.
Beware!  The Lord will forgive the sinner but the conscience will haunt.

Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

December 13, 2017

Trying to make motivation happen for readers might be pointless.  We motivate ourselves. But the real truth to friendship is to inspire –by what we say, by who you are and is the purpose of introductions to my friendly and humoring visit over coffee and tea.

Take for example our Christmas Holiday season with Jon and Garfield, the cat. Jon  is trying to wrap a present for his girl.  Box, ribbon, and oh, yes, wrap.  But Jon suddenly realizes that last present to wrap finds a considerable shortfall.  Not only would this make you and me frustrated, Jon just screams–AAAGGGHHH!!!

Blondie and Dag are decorating and have only the fireplace left to do using the huge Christmas stockings Blondie brought out of the closet.  She laments that she could not find the one for Dagwood.  Dag says not to worry, he would just use an old one. He hangs it up but discovers that new was better and bigger.  Blondie quips: I don’t think that is going to work. dear.  Our holiday giving has grown!

Earl and Opal get invited to an ugly sweater party.  We don’t have any ugly sweaters, do we?  Earl looks up from reading the newspaper with, “beats me.” Opal thinks and then says, “Maybe we can go if I don’t wear any makeup and you go as you are.”

Hagar and his chief counselor are conferring about what is seen in their telescope search for their scout party. They are using smoke signals to tell us where they are. Yep! Just as I suspected: They are gathered in a hookah bar.

Lt. Fuzz exclaims to Beetle that everyone has talent for something.  Now, go use yours.  Sarge finds Beetle resting under a tree.  Goofing off, again?  Beetle tells Sarge that Lt. Fuzz ordered me to do this.

The wizard says he is playing Santa this year for the children.  Guess I’ll have to fatten up a little.  Which means your cooking is out. The cook says: I have the right diet menu: GO ZAP YOURSELF!!

Poor Ziggy!  He tried to join the “Procrastinators Support Group”…but they keep postponing the meetings.



The Amateur Eye – Civil War Times

December 12, 2017

Both my brother Raymond and I subscribed to Civil War Times in belief that history was an essential part of being American; the Civil War was instrumental in covering the rich heritage of the times.

Families divided was a popular slogan that describes the spirit of both Rebel and Yankee–north and south, east and west.  When Abe Lincoln married Mary Todd this event spawned two families in verbal conflict.  Her father, Robert Smith Todd had 8 children by a second marriage and those siblings were of strong Confederate belief.

George Rogers Clark Todd 1825-1902 was a Confederate surgeon; Margaret Todd Kellogg  1828-1904 married a Southern sympathizer from Ohio; Samuel Todd 1830-1862 Pvt. 24th Louisiana KIA, David Humphreys Todd 1832-1871 Lieut. 21st Louisiana Artillery; Martha Todd White 1833-1868 was accused of being a smuggler and CSA spy; Emilie Todd Helm 1836-1930 married CSA Gen. Benjamin Helm KIA; Alexander Humphreys Todd 1839-1862 Lieut. 1st Kentucky Cavalry, KIA; Catherine “Kitty” Todd 1841-1875 Married William Herr, 1st Kentucky Cavalry, CSA.

What is fascinating is that Elodie Todd, a devoted Kentuckian and belief in states’ rights, and Mary Todd were sisters.  She married a Confederate officer, Nathaniel Dawson, and between April 1861-2 exchanged 200,000 words that has enriched the spirit of the times.  Elodie’s letters reflect her distain for  her sister and brother-in-law President Lincoln.  Dawson’s letter reflect the early joy of secession, frustration with military life and growing disillusionment with the war.

Elodie wrote “Ever since I can remember, I have been looked upon and called the ‘old maid’ of the family, and Mother seemed to think I was to be depended on to take care of her when all the rest of her handsomer daughters left her, and I really believe they all think I am committing a sin to give thought to any other than the arrangement they have made for me. But as this is the age when Secession, Freedom, and Rights are asserted , I am claiming mine and do not doubt but I shall succeed in obtaining them as I have some one to help me in my efforts. (Months later)…I see from today’s paper Mrs. Lincoln is indignant at my bro. David’s being in the Confederate service and declares that by no word or act of hers should he escape punishment for his treason against her husband’s government should he fall into their hands. I don’t believe she  ever said it and if she did and meant it she is no longer a sister of mine nor deserves to be called a woman of nobleness and truth…God grant my brother will never fall into their hands. Nothing makes me more prouder of him fighting for his country.

…I do not think of peace and know well Mr. Lincoln is not man enough to dare to make it. He is but a tool in the hands of his Party and would not brave their wrath. He is no more fitted for the office than many others who preceded.

Elodie died in 1877 giving birth to their fourth child. He spent the next several years turning the Selma cemetery into a living memorial of live oaks, magnolias and Italian sculpture to his “own dear Elodie.”

The magazine covers a great deal about the war and folks who fought, lived and died in it. It was their prayers that it would be a short war and many felt that way on both sides.  Pictures, stories, books written all enrich the landscape battlefields that leave their lasting mark on American History.

The Amateur Eye – Cats & Dogs

December 12, 2017

In my life adventure I have been blessed with having several dogs and cats.  One remarkable fact is that each gave love and joy to our family and especially for me many fond memories.

My cats I named PINKIE, BLACKIE, MISSIE, TABBY and thankfully enjoyed many long years of sharing life together.  My dog breeds were cocker spaniel, black mini-lab, beagle, and mixed breeds.

Both cats and dogs had personalities–if you know what I mean. And those unique personalities were engraved in my spirit.  Each were individuals–love shown in their eyes and behavior.  Despite having no pets for several years now, my memories remain ever fresh. I do believe that when people have a dog or cat– God has richly blessed them.



The Amateur Eye – Anish wins The Reykjavik Open

December 8, 2017

Anish Giri seems to have used his very active schedule to dress down the Reyjhavuj 2017 Open for lst place and some great chess play.

Alexander Donchenko  White  vs.  Anish Giri  Black/   Catalan Opening

l. Nf3  d5  2. d4  e6  3. c4  c6  4. Qc2 Nf6  5. Nbd2 Nbd7  6. g3 Be7 7. Bg2  O-O 8. O-O8…b6 9. e4  Bb7

Black choses a stonewall setup–solid central features where the d5 square mainstay is the solid pawn formation. White enjoys a bit more freedom in space.

10. e5  Ne8  11. c:d5 c:d5  12. Re1 Rc8 13. Qa4  Nc7 14. Bf1 Qe8 15. Kg2 Nb8

Certainly playing with fire but looking for K-side attack ideas.

16. Q:a7 Ba8 17. Q:b6 Nc6  18. Qb3  f6!  19. Qe3  Qf7 20. e:f6 B:f6 21. Kg1 Rce8 22. Qf4 g5!  23. N:g5  Qg7  24.












24. Nh3?  N:d4  25. Bd3  e5

Just like in the old foot soldiers infiltrating enemy territory and cannon fire to batter down the walls of defense, Black banks all on an all-out attack come hell or high water.

26. Qe3 e4  27. Bb1 Nce6  28. Kh1  Kh8  29. a4 Qg4 30. Nf4 N:f4 31. Q:f4 Qg7  32. Qe3 Bg533. f4  Bf6 34. Ra3  Nf5 35. Qb6 Bd4  36. Qb5 Bf2  37. Rf1 Ba7

Now the pawns are free to march down the center.

38. Ba2  d4 39. Bd5  Rb8  40. Qc4 Rfc8 41. Qa2  Ne3  42. R:e3 d:e3  43. N:e4 Qf7!!

White resigns in view of 44. B:f7 B:e4 45. Kg1  e2+ 46. Rf2 R:c1 Mate.

Who ever said chess was an easy game of attack defense and time clock.



The Amateur Eye – Truth/Freedom

December 8, 2017

Christians believe that justice is mine, sayeth the Lord. For it is written in Romans 12:19-21:  Don’t take revenge. Leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. But if your foe is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, water to drink. Don’t be overcome by evil, but see that good expels evil even in thought.”  The Holy Spirit will be your cherished blessing to ever embrace throughout life.  Fear not, for the Lord is always with thee to the end of time.  And it is not our forgiveness nor goodness alone upon such healing power, but that of our Lord’s guiding hand that embraces us.

The Bible/Old and New Testament and Church is given for our steadfastness of effort in living life to the full of our potential.  The evildoers who murder, rape, plunder and bring untold numbers of sinful acts which require us to beware of our surroundings.  Does this conflict with what I write before?  No. For Christians and Jesus said that in travels, defensive weapons (swords) or (staffs) should be kept for protection against attacks.  To be present, to hear the word of the Lord, to receive Baptism of the Holy Spirt is to enter the Kingdom of God.

Christianity is too strict to live by. I want my freedom to do as I please.  That is the atheist and even the agnostic.  They both have beliefs.  They might even speak in hallowed sounding tone.  But as the Bible warns, they come in sheep’s clothing to prey on the innocent and guilt ridden alike.  The kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21.


Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

December 8, 2017

Some readers comment that they really enjoy these coffee and tea break visits.  Across the table we share joy, togetherness even though we never come together in sight–only in our pleasure of a cup of cheer and invisible partnership of a brief moment in time.  The value is shared.  Is it valuable or not?  In the final analysis, perhaps it might portray the simple pleasure of believing that good things are only good to those who see the goodness.  Wrap it up in your heart. Occasionally take it out and re-examine it.  Should it be kept or tossed out?  If kept, then give it a good polish so it shines bright anew!

Garfield, Jon and Liz are in the living room enjoying the Christmas tree Jon set up. Oh, Jon!  How did you ever get it to stand so straight?  It wasn’t hard at all, Liz.  Not for me anyway!  It just took some basic structural engineering.  Garfield purrs at Liz’ feet and thinks: He duct-taped it to a coat rack.

Blondie takes a sweater to the Dry Cleaners. May I have my sweater cleaned this afternoon?  Nope! Not gonna happen. But your sign in your window says, “In By Nine, Out by Four.  Exactly says the clerk.  Some days I am even in by eleven and out by three. The sign read done on the spot.  Well, lady, that is my pitch to draw customers and I can do it if you want to wait but suggest you pick it up tomorrow if you want our gold star special.

Pickles usual chuckle sees Brian Crane at his usual best and using less ink because absent is Nelson, Silvia, and the dog Roscoe.  Opal is distraught.  In case you’re wondering why I look this way, the power is out.  My curling iron won’t work and I can’t see to put on my makeup.  This is what I’d look like if we lived in the stone age.  You look fine.  I can’t tell any difference in this darkened room. This is not what a wife should ever hear. With this, Opal raises her eyes to heaven and with hands raised over her head laments, “Why do I even try??!

Dilbert gets on the carpet again with the boss. Like on politico with Fox reporting that your financial forecast turned out WRONG!!  Dilbert reasons, “Is that a surprise given that forecasts are just guesses plus math”?  Well, the math is supposed to fix the guessing.  “Well, I think we have isolated the problem being you.”

Hagar is talking with his young son who says, Mom says I should give everyone the benefit of the doubt. ” Your mother is right!  Doubt everyone!!”