Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Love This Blog Award

Having been nominated for the I Love This Blog Award by his Grace the current  Duke of Chug-a-Lug also known as Ray at Don't Throw a One (see Blogroll), I am required to post ten things about myself in order to pass the Award on to another Blogger.

So, here are ten and there are plenty more where these came from:

1. I made a felony bust while on vacation and wearing shorts at Key West, Florida, but couldn't collect the $1,000 Bounty because the cop screwed up his paperwork. They still owe me for the risks.

2. On a typical day I use ungrammatical Spanish for joking primarily for one third of the day, communicate telepathically with animals another one third, and then switch to English for the remaining one third.

3. I set the record for largest perfume sale in the US for the venerable firm Revillon Paris, depuis 1723, by convincing Aretha Franklin to buy "ten," "large," including the type from the Roman Polanski film Rosemary's Baby, and very nearly became her furrier as well as parfumier but the manager screwed it up, even though he did not have to--had that part gone through I would have reached the front page of the PETA website as a top villain .I was actually just covering for my gorgeous co-worker who was goofing off at the key moment, as it was really her job to do all that.

4. I have only called in sick twice in the past thirteen years, and since 1996 have only had one vacation which was in 2004.

5. I grow wheatgrass at home as a nutritional solution.

6. I once transferred hurriedly into the only all-black battalion in the army, complete with a white colonel, just before the Pentagon could discover there was such a thing having banned them decades earlier.

7. I received a medal for outstanding combat instruction after having guided a number of female soldiers at the live hand grenade range (while all other instructors took cover 100 meters to the rear) and lived to tell the tale. I thought the others were somewhat supercilious, and these women only wanted to fully prove their warrior abilities.

8. I met Sean Penn when he dated that gorgeous co-worker, and thought he was a very regular guy outside the spotlight.

9. I had an OBE, after almost all those incidents.

10.During the year that the famous racing thoroughbred Black Tie Affair won the horse of the year award, I had to chase the horse down on foot no less than eleven times very late at night when he kept escaping from his stall to wander around the racetrack--it did not hurt his record at all.

The remaining condition for the award is to pass it on to another blogger, and although this is a difficult choice with many possible solutions, one blog I love that is truly deserving of the 'Blog of Note' award, but has not yet got it,  has amassed an astounding 900-plus followers in nine weeks and ought to be recognized for such an achievement, therefore I nominate I Didn't Know That (see blogroll) operated by the amazing erstwhile Quebecoise, Patti D.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Graag gedaan;) succes verder

 Photo by Thorwulfsson: Lewis Chessmen, 12C

I said ok, dank u  -   when I resigned

So that's what the Dutch guy said back. Graag gedaan;) succes verder.

It went 46 moves, and on the 44th I stepped into a Knight fork where he got my Rook leaving him with a big advantage. A winning advantage.

Up until then it was very tense but there was a chance I would win with two pawns poised close to Queen promotions, but once the Rook was gone it was soon clear that there was no chance any more and he would eat those pawns before they could make it.

As I mentioned before when it is hopeless it is good form to resign if you're playing a gentleman, although when fighting pirates it is for blood and there's no quarter given nor expected.

And So Having Lost,  I Have A List of Reasons, Not Excuses

It was two in the morning and I was half asleep, and maybe he knew what time that is here, but in any event I could have just stopped playing in my sleep. He only had one knight, so I should have seen the possibility of the check and double attack on the Rook that finally made it hopeless.

And anyway I started off boldly and recklessly using an Icelandic Gambit, where I go two pawns down from the beginning, even though he is 400 points above me in ranking.

So he beat me both games, and there are no more with him in this tournament.

But he's the only one so far to beat me.

And he is number four out of the one hundred, so it would have been a big thing to have beat him. That would mean I could be up there too. As it was I made him think pretty hard from March 21 until now. The first game featured a dramatic event I am calling the "Buzz Saw Attack," where I tore him apart and left him lucky to only be a Rook and Pawn down. But he ultimately won the first game.

I think the title means 'done with pleasure, further success,' too bad rampjaar and brigade daendels have been quiet lately or we'd get a proper Dutch translation. Still might if Peter or someone can help out. The chess player lives in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel.

But I Beat the Scots Guy For My First Real Tournament Win

On the bright side, at the same time the Scots guy, who is the next best and who did split with the Dutch guy, stepped right into one of my traps at long last so that I could do a similar double check attack on his King and Bishop, forcing him to guard the King while I win his Bishop, which in that tremendously tense game was enough to cause him to resign to me, on his 44th move. He didn't say anything, but promptly started up the next game.

It seems odd to see a Scotsman select an opening known as 'The King's English,' but that's what he is doing, no doubt meant to throw me off. Little does he know, almost anything would throw me off just as well.

The game I won, he was using a King's Indian Defense with the fianchettoed Bishop while I had started off trying to do a Queen's Gambit. That game was so tense it lasted exactly as long as both games with the Dutch guy. But I got an advantage fairly early on by a Knight, and the tension was from not letting him ever get it back, until finally the loss of his Bishop left him down two pieces and he gave it up. It is harder for the mighty to fall, since he is in second place and trying to catch the Dutch guy too.

I moved up to fourth for a day, then yet another guy I'm playing beat another other guy, the #9  (the one who got my Queen last week) so he took fourth and I fell to fifth, out of ten, in the Standings.

Meanwhile during the week, I got that Queen back from #9 at the cost of a Rook, and then this morning got back the Rook too so I have made a complete comeback against him. Still too early to predict a win, but I am confident in that one.

Then there's another guy where I have got way ahead in material, like two pieces plus I just forked his Queen out last night, so that one he'll need a miracle for me not to beat him pretty soon.

So I am doing way better in this tournament than I would expect, considering that I only even qualified for the minimum rating a day before it started, and now I've got up to fourth or fifth place, from number ten, and have reason to think I'll end up even higher once some more games end.

This other guy who bumped me, #4, is exactly dead even with me with just a few identical pieces left and probably many would have drawn that game, but he seems to be more of a Pirate type. You know what that means.

Tricking the Nemesis

My regular Nemesis took the whole week off even though he has responsibilities as the tournament director.

But he got back in the game and he's beating me in our one remaining private match. My rating went up for beating the 1737 Scots guy, but not quite enough to catch the Nemesis by about one game.

So I came up with a trick. I convinced him to try a novelty system called the Chicago Gambit, which is also called the Irish Gambit. It's like a typical set up where the center pawns face off, then the Knights come out--but then one Knight takes a pawn, then the other Knight takes the Knight, and then the first guy brings up another pawn.

Net result, it was a stupid move to take the first pawn and lose a Knight for it. Apparently the inventor was quoted as having said on his death-bed, explaining his bad unsound gambit, "I hadn't seen the King's Pawn was defended."  So it seems this gambit is a sort of Irish joke...but maybe not, as for the price of a Knight for a pawn White does get a perfect solid pawn center phalanx that is usually very hard or impossible to get.

So if it really is unsound, like it looks, it's an easier than normal chance to beat Mr. Nemesis, by using a trick.

Sticky Paints In Stock At The Stores

I finally pulled out of chess long enough to get seven bottles of fresh acrylics and most of them are so old as to be sticky. It's like the stuff from tubes, and artists mix it all the time, so it may still be usable off a palette with some water added, but it's pretty annoying to have the new paint turn out older than the old paint.

I bought colors suitable for the American Civil War with a view to getting some 1/72 figures for that, but didn't yet and pulled out my American Revolution project instead.

But when I did I found the Alamo project that I had primed a month ago and did blue for coats and pants across the lot, actually more thinking of the 1845-47 US-Mexican War than the Texas War of Independence of 1835-36. So I painted a little over 100 figures for that, 83 Mexicans and 26 Americans. They are nowhere near finished, but they are more than started.

I've been accepted to the new a d program, with an outfit out of London, UK, so presumably it'll be more Euro-friendly or should be anyway. Better for customers, a bit worse for me as it's a middleman that wasn't there before.                                                               

Monday, April 11, 2011


Intensely Battling For Supremacy With The Enemy, We Can Forget They Are Decent People

Staring at the board, and noticing every little change on it and combination that could happen, if I do this, and then he does this, unless he might do that, etc...

I was especially battling hard against the top two tournament opponents out of ten, who I am calling the Dutch guy and the Scots guy, until  about 1:30 in the morning in their part of the world. These are the ones highest up in ratings and ability, and neither one has beat me yet, even though half the tournament is already over.

In fact I had a big advantage over both of them, although their technique could -  maybe - be good enough to get them back out of trouble. The Dutch guy did beat me despite a Rook disadvantage by using a trick a couple weeks ago, but the Scots guy has not been able to overcome a Knight disadvantage yet.

These two guys are rated 1800 and 1700. I am still a little under 1400, like 1393. But I think I will get above that.

There are still nine guys in the tournament on my section after the one dropped out; another one is taking a 'chess vacation' so proceeding very slowly. So far I have moved up to seventh place but not higher because I only have two games finished. One loss to the Dutch guy, and one draw with an American. His idea. I accepted that.

There's another American guy where when I was tired last week after being in the Salt Mines I moved my Queen by mistake right where he could get her for free, which is a terrible blunder, and would usually be enough to lose the game after that. Also, that is exactly what I was blogging about NOT doing, but the next day I saw I did it anyway, not seeing it because I was tired when I did  it.

But instead of losing, I have figured out a way to get his Queen and a Bishop too, the next move, and I think I will end up winning against that guy after all. That's what I meant about a stronger player having the technique to make a comeback against a weaker one, despite a big disadvantage.

It seems it largely comes down to mistakes at a certain level, but it still takes some skill to see and recognize the mistakes and to take advantage of them.

But Maybe The Enemy Are Decent People Sometimes, Away From The Board

So now after several moves against the Dutch guy tonight I was so engrossed in the battle I didn't notice until later he has invited me to another tournament which is more exclusive and I see it has him, the Scots guy, and one other with a similar rating.

 I don't know how many more games this will entail, I think only three more, but all against strong opposition. Playing the top competition is a strong challenge but it forces you to play better or die, so since we simplified so many games last week, I signed up. For More Games.

It will be rough but it does bring some adrenaline and excitement, and I see being invited to this one as a sign of RESPECT from the big boys at the top of the board, who are having a very hard time trying to beat me.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Running Neck and Neck, He's Breaking

Within 2 Bare Rating Points of Mr. Nemesis

The online site where we are playing these chess battles uses a rating system like the famous official federations, who themselves do not like to recognize one another, so likewise unless one pays money to them and jumps through hoops such as to commit to one or the other, these ratings do not count to them. There is FIDE, the PCA, and whatever happened to Bobby Fischer, and who knows what else. Khrgystan probably has other ideas, too. None of them would recognize the online ratings I am talking about.

It would be a fairly easy step to give them the money, if one were so inclined. It buys the right to be official.

But what counts to my Nemesis and I is that we can fight each other.

Four years ago, he beat me 10 out of 10 games in one night and I quit chess altogether. This phase lasted four years, with no chess whatsoever. When sometimes people would bring up the subject, I would at first show complete understanding of every detail and phase of the game, and then when they proposed we play a game, then I would look down at the ground and mumble that, oh, well, I quit. Because my nemesis beat me. Every game. Then I would endure their laughing, but dug in my heels. No.I...I can't...I quit. Sorry.

One month ago he persuaded me to join up to an online chess site, and there he beat me 9 out of 10. I was encouraged by that result. They start you off as an 1100 rating and then it goes up for wins and down for losses according to a certain mathematical formula. You get more for beating someone stronger, less for someone around the same or lower than you. There's a certain online Pool game that uses the same sort of rating system. So losing nine out of ten, my rating quickly fell below 1000, and then drooped as low as 917.

The minimum to be allowed to play in a tournament I had signed up for was 1000, but we were waiting for the tournament places to fill up, so it had not started yet. I began to win more games, and when I did the formula worked more in my favor as when such a low-rated 917 beats a 1463 (my nemesis) the 917 gets more points than the 1463 would, since he would be expected to win most of the time.

I got up to 1159 in time for the tournament start, so I was allowed in. In the first game I very nearly beat the top dog, a Dutch player, who was then a 1716 but now is an 1814. I had a Rook and Pawn advantage in material and was grinding him down, but he was able to trick me and win. I was quite exhausted at the time, and should have seen and prevented what he did.

The next best player is from Scotland and a very cautious player, and in that game I have a Knight advantage over him. It's not over yet because he plays slowly and cautiously. I could tell he made some desperate moves this past week, so I think he is starting to go for broke, still at a material disadvantage.

Then last week going berserk I threw away as many as three of the 23 games against my nemesis just to clear up the docket. It was too much to have 30 games going on at once, and I just wanted them over with, so I moved too fast and blew three of them, ending up losing the 23-game series 13-10 I think, although it is still too difficult to figure out if that is the correct exact final score. Too much else going on.

I threw away my queen in a tournament game after last week's article about not doing that, but had moved when I was tired. Luckily that is against the next weakest player and I may actually be able to survive the tremendous blunder in that one. Maybe.

But the most important development is that last night my surprise system defeated my nemesis in just 12 moves, when he saw I would get his Queen he resigned in just 12 moves.

His spirits are crumbling as I am now down to only ten active games, and he still has about fifty. It was his original idea to have one hundred simultaneous games, so he certainly deserves the strain. He got me into it.
After the defeat last night, I see our ratings are now like this:

Mr. Nemesis:  1395
me:                  1393

He said that if my rating goes above his, he's done.

That means he will quit chess, or so he says. We've come a long way to reach this position.

The game we are now playing is plus or minus 13 points, since our ratings are now almost the same based on dozens of games of results against other rated players. These numbers put us in the 71st percentile of the near 300, 000 players we are compared with. The 1800's in the tournament are not quite good enough to be masters, but they are in the top 7 or so percent of the compared group.

So the one game we are now playing could be enough to break him. Unfortunately I miscalculated an attack on his Queen, so that he was able to get my Light-Square Bishop, which I have just converted to a Knight advantage for him.. so he is ahead in this one. Still, I think I have almost got him ready to break down.


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Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Fool's Night Punch- Drunk Berserkers

Sick to Death of It

A month into the March Madness chess matches and tournaments with multiple games against multiple  opponents around the world, and tired from the 12-hour Salt Mine work, which a couple times turned into 16
hours, I was heartily sick of it, and my Nemesis interrupted me by saying something is going on, maybe you shouldn't be playing right now.

What? Why not?

Because in my Fatigue, I Was Playing Like a Punch-Drunk Boxer, Like Rocky Trying To Go The Distance

It turns out I had forgotten what I said about a month ago about playing slower and more carefully, and reverted to my bullet-chess speeds or blitz at least, and was throwing away pieces in games that I was winning. Although my opponent was glad, even he could tell something was wrong. I wasn't watching what I was doing, at two in the morning.

I said well, I am sick to death of these games, they are taking over my life. Every time I wake up I am behind in another twenty or thirty games, and nine of them are the tournament. All of them count. It has been nothing but chess, chess, chess, for a month, and I forgot all about my Revolutionary War figures, and the bloody uniform books are due back at the library.

So We Kept Going Another Seven Hours After Discovering That We Had Gone Berserk

It turns out Patti D. was right, when she said 'well that is just insane,' (see comments last week)  but we did it anyway.

The record up to that point was 4 Wins for me, 3 Losses in the Match of 23 Simultaneous Games.
I was winning on the board, and in life, as my Nemesis took two extended time outs and couldn't handle all the pressure. Especially since I won more than he did, when he thought he could win 90 percent. Actually it was about 45 percent him, and 55 percent me I think, out of the first seven. I knew it was wearing him down. But it must have worn me down too. I didn't stop, oh no, I played 32 more moves per game on average, and handed him three of his seven victories that I should have won in the process.

It was even more insane to keep on going at the point of such fatigue as to be beyond caring, but we did. At least three full games that I was winning in at the time turned into lost games, because I was blitzing with just a quick glance for thirty seconds and hitting the first move that came to mind, without being careful.

I threw away Queens, Bishops, and who knows what. Some of it worked, and my Nemesis did it too, once or twice. I actually should have won three of the seven that I think he won after that. The score was 10-6 out of the 23 when I won one more game this morning around 6 am, as the sun started to come up.

That means sixteen down, and only seven left to go. But Now instead of on top, I am down 10-6 out of 23, with only seven left to go, which means I'd have to win all seven to still win the entire match. It's mathematical.

Out of those seven, there are two where if I were playing a Gentleman, I'd have resigned a while back, as they are hopeless positions and really not worth wasting our time on playing them out. However, I am not playing a Gentleman, I am playing against a Pirate, and there can be no quarter given in a fight to the death, with Pirates. If I resign those two games, then he will have won 12, and in a series of 23, 12 is the most. That means he will win the series...if I resign.

He Still Might Stalemate By Mistake
There is another possibility, that he will screw up the technique and on at least one of them there could be a Stalemate. That would be if he leaves me no legal move, but forgot to put me in Check. It could easily happen just when all hope seems lost. I almost did it to him in one game this morning, I think it might be game 10, in which I have the Black pieces. But I was watching for it three moves in advance, and he gets no such luck. I will win that game, in just a few more moves.

I just Queen-Kamikaze'd his last hope pawn who'd just been promoted to Queen, and then in three moves more I will have my pawn promoted to Queen, and then we will clean that board up in short order.

Of the seven left, I will no doubt win two where he should resign, there are two where I should resign, and three others I can't remember but that may still go either way.

The average chess game is only 30 moves, but these titanic struggles are still going at 68, 62, 64, 56, a couple at 41 each and one has only 35 moves done. The reason for the disparity is, he will only prefer to respond in games that he likes because he is winning those, while trying to ignore the games where I am winning as much as possible, and so those ones end up much less further along. It is part of psyching each other out.

All these berserk games are in the 23-game match-Not The Tournament

I was at least careful to stay away from the tournament games until after a twelve-hour sleep to recover some of my senses.

I have only lost one game there out of nine in Round One, and I am committed to play through a second set with the nine guys. One dropped out so I got two tournament wins by default. That leaves anther sixteen of those to go, but 'only' eight at a time.

In the game that I did lose, I had a huge Rook and Pawn advantage against the player from the Netherlands who is #3 out of the 100, but he tricked me at the end  and won. Because I was so tired from the sixteen hour work thing previously mentioned.

Empty Fish Hook Trophy
He sent me a Trophy shaped like an empty Fishhook, and thanked me for letting him off the hook, admitting that I had that game. It would have really been something if only I had won, since I was the bottom rung player and he is 3/100. I did hold his attention for about 6 1/2 hours, since if not for that last trap, I was crushing him.

I am actually behind in nine more games now, out of the remaining sixteen that I am still in, out of 29 I think it was, just from looking away.

It is clear that fatigue is a major factor with many of the guys playing, and we must find our own ways to deal with it. The Berserk April Fool's Night cost me this match, almost for sure, and I must try to remember to avoid doing that again like that.

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