Monday, January 31, 2011

the complete chess player

"the complete chess player" is a book that describes several fundamental principles of chess:

1. centering
2. methodicality
3. security
4. orchestration
5. finish

"centering" (literally) means to control the center of the board. ..this is also an ancient tenet of war. ..when one establishes a strong center, it is easier to focus on other aspects of the game.  ..centering implies strength, stability, groundedness and self-awareness.

"methodicality" isn't a word, but it represents the basic, methodical development of resources. might appear to be boring, but the patience involved in being methodical creates future opportunity.  ..maintenance, communication lines, supply, and intelligence play a vital role in methodicality.

"security" refers to knowing your weaknesses, and minimizing their exposure. ..the king is the least maneuverable and most vulnerable piece on the board, and therefore needs to be protected. the same time, security should be woven into one's game rather than being overly-emphasized. ..after all, chess is a game, and the complete chess player understands the inherent risk in playing.

"orchestration" is my favorite aspect of the game. ..synchronized orchestration capitalizes on centering and methodicality by combining communication and connection with freedom of movement and vision to create (uh), music.

"finish" since the goal of the game is "checkmate," the complete chess player needs to be able to call upon all of his resources. this world of attack/defense/counter-attack, one must be able to anticipate the future by observing his (and his opponent's) tendencies. ..any sound plan includes the provision to change, and flexibility is one of the most important strengths of a complete chess player.

as the game ensues, principles like surprise, mass, and position determine initiative, momentum, and power.  the complete chess player uses fundamental foundation to prepave orchestration.  s/he understands that the lowliest of pawns can become the most powerful piece on the board, and s/he also understands that (at times) the best possible scenario is a draw.

the complete chess player: maybe the fun is in becoming one, rather than holding-off until being recognized as such.

maybe the result of the game doesn't mean that much.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

what does "go" mean?

"go" by brian culbertson

Monday, January 24, 2011

goodbye, jack

 a sad day has come (as we knew it had to).  let's use it as a moment to reflect, and reflect with gratitude.

flashback: click here for "life in the fast la-lane"

here's one more: .

dear jack,

i'll never forget how my mother's face would light up, as she invited you into our living room every morning.  you always had positive things to say, and you had a way of giving everyone hope.  you never asked for much, only a day or two of habit change.

rest in peace, my brother,


Sunday, January 23, 2011

the 'neti pot"

for years, i've heard of (and observed) people espousing the benefits of the "neti pot."

today, 1-22-2011, on an evening of sinus issues and a (borderline) cold, i hereby apologize to all of you for ever being a doubter.


(copied from bernadette sanders' facebook page)

this year we will experience 4 unusual dates:

now, figure this out: 
take the last 2 digits of the year you were born 
plus the age you will be this year 
and it will equal 111. 

click here for a flashback: "11 stories"

click here for a flashback: "eleven million leaves"

click here for a flashback: "earth is heaven" 

click here for a flashback: "the same thing: 11,111,111 ways"

f-eye-yuh place

one of the few reasons (i believe) to live in a cold climate.

the others would be f&f (friends and family) -- which are both (of Course) One in the Same.

game, too

 the computer (white) vs. martineau (black)
"control of the center creates momentum"

summary: in this match, we see how the control of center creates unlimited opportunity.
1. h2-h3                  ...d7-d5
white opens with his rook-pawn, allowing black to take the initiative in controlling the center of the board. 

2. d2-d4                ...Bc8-f5
3. e2-e3                 ...e7-e6
notice how both players have made the same number of moves, yet white's queen-bishop is restricted, while black's developed queen-bishop reinforces control of the center.

4. Ng1-f3               ...c7-c5  
white develops his king-knight, as a prelude to castling.  black plays a delayed version of queen's gambit, and moves his queen-bishop pawn to c-5.  this will allow black to develop his queen-knight, while (if white takes the gambit) allows black to develop his king-bishop as well.

5. Bf1-b5 (check)     ...Nb8-c6
6. Bb5xc6 (check)     ...b7xc6  

white has placed black in check twice in a row, but has nothing to show for it (except an opportunity to castle early).  black has the momentum in the center, and if 7. d4xc5, black will gain more of a stronghold while developing his king-bishop.

7. d4xc5                         ...Bf8xc5
8. 0-0                              ...Ng8-f6
9. g2-g4?                        ...Bf5-g6

white makes a (seemingly) harmless miscue by weakening his king's castle, and black's bishop retreats to safety.  although black can castle on his next move, he might wait -- and take advantage of white's weakened position with a king-side attack.

10. g4-g5?                      ...Nf6-e4

white presses his attack, but black's response creates several problems for white:
  • black's knight at e4 takes a powerful, forward position
  • black's knight also attacks white's advanced king-knight pawn
  • black's queen also attacks white's king-knight pawn, in a "discovered attack"
it is important to note that black's pieces are developed and involved in controlling the centerblack's position allows for freedom of movement, while white has yet to develop his queen-bishop or queen-knightwhite's king-side pawn attack may have been premature.  black's king-rook pawn is one move away from mounting a harmless-looking attack on white's advanced pawn -- but small moves can create huge results.

11. h3-h4 -- in an attempt to protect the pawn.  
                            11. ...h7-h6 black begins the attack. 

12. g5xh6 -white would have been better served with 11. N-c3, which would have helped to reduce black's stranglehold on the center. 

                            12. ...Rh8xh6!  (instead of 12. ...pxp).  now black has provided his king-rook with a powerful attack lane, pointed squarely at white's depleted castle.  white has a serious dilemma.
13. Rf1-e1                       ...Bc5-e7
white is overwhelmed, and tries to create an escape route for his kingblack simply steps-up the attack.

14. Re1-e2                     ...Be7xh4
white braces for the inevitable, and black delivers.    one look at the board tells the story:  

black's pieces are developed, synchronized, and synergisticwhite's pieces are restricted, undeveloped, and out of the game.

15. Nf3xh4 -what else can white do?
                       ...Qd8xh4! black patiently saves the development of his queen for the moment of choice -- when she can unleash her power, fully!

16. f2-f3 -white is completely out of options...
                          ...Qh4-h1 (mate)

black's superior development, patience, and control of the center coincide to create a punishing mate.  in the end, white lost because:
  • white failed (at the outset) to bolster his center.
  • white mounted consecutive advances (which might have given him some instant gratification), but he forgot to lay the groundwork for security and stability.
black's momentum resulted from patience.  while it may appear as if black mounted a stunning victory, we look at it as a game that white lost by getting himself into a bad position.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

martineau vs. the computer (chess)

martineau (white) vs. the computer (black)
 black's level of strength was set at "casual".

summary: black (played the computer) blunders early in the match, and white swarms-in for a devastating double-check-mate after only 12 deliberate moves.

1. d2-d4                    1. f7-f5 
   * white (martineau) opens with his signature queen-pawn opening. 
   * does black have something up his sleeve by opening with his king-bishop pawn?

2. Bc1-f4                   2. d7-d5 
3. e2-e3                    3. e7-e6
   * white creates a long avenue for his king-bishop.
   * black protects his exposed pawns, but he constricts his own position.

4. Bf1-b5 (check)     4. Ke8-f7??
* white simply develops his king-bishop, expecting to be brushed back by c2-c3 .instead, black's Ke8-f7? miscue gives white the initiative.
* black would have been better served to protect his king -- by countering with the queen-bishop pawn, the queen-bishop or the queen-knight to c6. ..moving the king leaves him exposed and vulnerable.

5. Ng1-f3                  5. Bf8-b4 (check)
   * white develops his king-knight (controlling the center), and threatens 6. Nf3-e5 (check)
   * black responds with a (weak) bishop-check.

6. c2-c3                     6. Bb4-f8
   * white easily rejects the check with a pawn attack on black’s king-bishop, and
   * black retreats to safety.  maybe too far??

7. Nf3-e5!  (check)    7. Kf7-e7
   * white attacks swiftly, opting for position instead of material.

8. Bf4-g5! (check)       8. Ng8-f6
   * white begins to swarm, as black is constricted. 
   * black develops his king-knight into a pin, which leaves him vulnerable to…

9. Qd1-h5!!!!               9. b7-b6?? 
   * white wastes no time in developing his queen, and +9. f2-f3 will be followed by 10. Bg5xNf3 (check), setting up a powerful 11. Qh5-Q-h4 (check)
   * ...but instead of protecting his weak f2 square, black’s position deteriorates further with his attempt to develop his constricted queen-bishop with .+9. b7-b6

10. Qh5-f7! (check)      10. Ke7-d6
11. Bg5-f4!!                  11. Bc8-b7
   * white prepares a crusher, which...
   * black (at this stage) is powerless to stop. ..he should have opted with 10. (resigns), and gone home early for a warm cup of chicken soup.

12. Ne5-c4!!! (double-check, and mate)
   * checked (and mated) by both the king-knight and queen-bishop, black cannot retreat onto squares that are controlled by white’s queen, and 
   * black cannot move his king forward to c5, which is controlled by white’s queen-pawn.

notes: the truly interesting note about this game was that no pawns or pieces were exchanged, white’s king never castled, and white’s queen-knight never needed to be developed.  ..white was quick, efficient and opportunistic -- which rendered black helpless after his initial blunder.'s queen was never in the game.

learning notes:
  • develop pieces conservatively, in an effort to control the center of the battlefield.
  • create openings for freedom of movement.
  • refrain from moving the king (the most vulnerable piece on the board).
  • develop your queen (the most powerful piece on the board) wisely.
  • often, it is beneficial to favor position over material.
  • know when to resign.

* the chess set pictured in this post is a hand-carved, home-made Christmas gift -- made by my brother (larry) long before josephine ever dreamed of The Gift Exchange.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011


    there is nothing short of intriguing about water:

    * that which makes up most of our body
    * that which makes up most of our planet
    * that which is, within itself, a Trinity of One: solid, liquid, gas

    "ice" (well... we could try to analyze and explain it, but...) ice -- is depicted, below:

    actually, the first three pictures are pre-ice: cardinal activity, deer activity, and preparation for the walk to watch the national championship game on monday night activity.


    below, now... ice (1-12-2010):

    click here for "ice".

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    gentle, quiet, snow

    quiet, gentle snow
    by. S. Now

    when the pace is super-fast and when the word is "go,"
    nature's scene can intervene with gentle, quiet snow

    * there's no-thing quite like nature to help us re-Connect  with the present, Now moment.



    no school in foster/glocester

    no school today, in charlotte nc -- because there was a report of a snowflake within a 100-mile radius of the city.
    which brings us to this post, which salutes rhode island's own salty brine (1922-2004).  ..salty was a radio host for w.p.r.o., where he was loved by everyone, especially children.  ..he used to end every show by saying "brush your teeth and say your prayers!" before he signed off.

    salty is also famous for the many, many, many times when he would say "there's no school in foster/glocester," because the rhode island towns of foster and glocester would literally shut down at the hint of snow.  ..growing up in providence, we always dreamed about how great it would be to live in foster/glocester.

    this (below) is what life looks like, from my back porch today: