Friday, December 17, 2010

Sicilian Najdorf-English Attack

Here is my second round game of the Nevada State Championships. I had the white pieces against young up and comer Oswaldo Rodriguez of Las Vegas. He parlayed a sharp line in the Sicilian Najdorf and as he floundered trying to achieve counter-play I was able to secure the victory.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nevada Crusade

On September 25th the Reno Chess Club began a crusade to return the Nevada State Championship trophy to its proper home in Reno. Battling the evil Las Vegas team, whom had guarded it viciously for 6 years.

In 1187 the German emperor frederick Barbarossa with Phillip 2nd of France set forth to finance and lead a "crusade" to retake the Holy Lands from Saladin and his various allies.

A year later the newly appointed king of England: Richard 1st "The Lion-Hearted" declared his allegiance to the endeavor-while much has been made of overriding religious sentiment in casual discussion of the Crusades- the true goal was Near-East riches, expanded trading routes, prestige and adventure.

Barbarossa drowned during the voyage to the Holy Lands and Phillip would fail to stay away from France long enough to support the cursading campaign to a victorious conclusion. These factors did however lead to Richard 1st engaging in heroic efforts, enabling the Latin kingdom to survive another century, but even he could not retake Jerusalem alone. He and Saladin eventually settled on an uneasy truce.

But before peace, there were gnarly and brutal military encounters...

The siege of Acre- August 28th 1189

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 A small Christian force lead by Guy de Lusignan boldly lay siege to Acre.

3 exd5 exd5-Instead of investing in a strategic charge Lusignan harasses Acre from a distance. Launching rotten animal carcasses and fire bales into the stronghold by way of trebuchet.

4c4 Bb4+ A siege engineer launches a fire bale with great precision and scores a direct hit on the Muslim's main granary!

5 Nc3 Bf5 6 Nf3 A patrol of Muslim cavalry has completed their tasks and returning to the city are shocked by a besieged battle scene. They bring news of an incoming naval blockade of ships from Pisan and Genoa.

6...Nf6 7 Bg5 The cavalry patrol flanks the exposed siege engines.

Qe7?! Lusignan abandons his trebuchets in fear that the charging horsemen are scouts from Saladin's army.

8 Be2 dxc4 9 0-0 0-0 10 Nd5! Having smashed Lusignan's long-range artillery brave Islamic warriors charge, spears pointed into the heart of the crusading infantry. They converge in a tight double-file formation and then spread out as they close in on the enemy troops. This causes a great panic, Lusignan's troops are now disoriented and communication is very difficult.

10...Qd6 11 Nxf6?! Thinking that this small Christian force comprises Europe's entire attack, the cavalry plunge into the heart of the crusader cavalry, leading to the loss of many horsemen for both sides.

11...gxf6 12 Bh6 Re8 13 Nh4 Bg6 14 Bxc4 Re4!? The spirits of the men are lifted as Phillip 2nd joins the battle!

15 Nxg6 hxg6 16 Qd3? Acre sends out lightly-armoured skirmishers to finish off the invading troops with their quick moving formations and projectile weaponry.

16...Qxd4! Richard 1st The Lion-Hearted enters the battle with an unseen crossbow barrage, followed by heavy cavalry charges!

17 Bxf7+?? For fear of death the commander of Acre "blinks" and in a moment of panic he sends his troops on an all-out attack, Richard is in his cross-hairs! A great battle ensues.

17...Kxf7 18 Qb5 Qb6?! 19 Qd5+ Re6 20 Be3 Qc6 21 Qb3 Na6?! Phillip's forces are uncoordinated and are proving to be of little help in this battle. The horses are spooked and their riders are uneasy.

22 Rac1 Qe8 23 Rc4 Be7 Richard regroups, calling out to his troops "Maintain formations, they wish to confuse you! draw on the strength of the True Cross! This shall be our finest hour!"

24 Qxb4 Rb8 25 Qf3 Rxb2! The gates of Acre have been breached by an English battering ram!

26 Qh3 The knights of Allah continue to pressure close to Richard. If they can kill the leader, victory will be theirs

26...Bf6 27 Qh7+ Bg7 28 Rg4 g5?? Richard's veteran bodyguards over pursue attacking forces and leave their king very vulnerable.

29 Qh3?? Acre's main division fails to exploit the tactical errors of the crusaders and fall back.

29...Rb4 30 Rxb4 Nxb4 Both sides are exhausted an begin to fight under the emerging moonlight, a chaste breeze saves many from heat-stroke.

31. Qg4 Bf8?! Phillip's last group of longbow men back up the royal position, no longer attacking the city.

32 h4!? The peasants and children are given knives and farming tools and forced to attack the vulnerable crusader kings.

32...Nd5 33 hxg5 Nxe3 34 fxe3 Bg7?! Phillip's men are close to deserting, they have had enough of this battle!

35 Rf3 Rxe3?? Lusignan's forces have breached the inner-courtyard but European leadership is under heavy duress.

36 gxf6 Re1+ 37 Kf3 Qe2+ 38 Kg3 Qe5+ 39 Kf2 Qe2+ 40 Kg3 All sides have paid heavily in this battle. Richard allows Muslims to retreat and abandon Acre as the Muslim forces stop just short of breaking through to him. He has taken the city, but at what cost? His victory may turn to defeat as Saladin's army is close and fully mobilized.

The blood that screams out from the now wet desert soil leaves Richard with his inner thoughts and justifications for this battle rattling around his skull. As he lay in bed, still in shock from the intensity of battle, he whispers to the shadows, or perhaps to God himself, "I wish not Saladin to be my Richard..."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lost-Season One-

Nice to get away from Chess for a bit and now that I've had time to sit back and think about Lost, I wanted to write a bit about it. I had a pretty lengthy conversation with one of my best friends who was disappointed about not getting the answers he felt entitled to. Most of the questions he still had were actually already answered on the show (maybe not to his/or others satisfaction). I was hesitant to put time into actually going over any of the answers since I've never felt that revealing them was a strength to the show, having mystery and developing characters, along with using unorthodox storyboard techniques were always Lost's strengths.

So I thought I'd take a thoughtful look at the so-called Answers. Keep in mind that one of the main goals of the writers was always to leave lots of ambiguity for you and me to have opinions on the reality of the island and the characters.

We'll take a look at the questions posed in Season One, first, and see where it leads us. But as was so perfectly inserted in the episode "Across the Sea" the woman caring for the Man in Black and Jacob cuts off endless questions with "Every answer will lead to more questions"; which is true of any type of knowledge, and in that way one of the more profound insertions of Season six, but getting down to business. Lots of my info is pulled from a collaboration of sources with the Lostpedia has a guide.

Why did the plane crash? A good place to start. Not surprisingly, with everything going on with the plane crash and the new island struggles, the reason for the plane crashing was a bit of an after-thought until the force of the new show started to settle in.

On September 22, 2004, Desmond Hume, who had been maintaining the DHARMA Initiative's electromagnetic station on the Island for the past three years, failed to enter the Numbers into the computer in time after having accidentally killed Kelvin Inman. This resulted in a system failure and an electromagnetic buildup. Although Desmond eventually managed to reset the Swan's countdown, the electromagnetic force had been strong enough to pull down the plane and cause it to break apart in mid-air. Desmond wouldn't come to realize his role in the crash until more than two months later. We find all of this out in the episode "Live Together Die Alone, Part One"

More interesting is that Jacob led these people(and the plane along with them) to the island as "candidates" to replace him as a protector of the island. Jacob didn't pick happy people; he picked people who lived a "lost" existence.

What is the Smoke Monster and what is his nature/properties?
We find out near the end of the series that the so-called Smoke Monster is an evil remnant of a not so evil twin brother of Jacob. I will discuss the “Man in Black” as separate as I can from the Smoke Monster, as I consider them different characters. The Monster’s powers include the ability to turn into a cloud of smoke and have quite a devastating effect on the material around him. He has also shown the ability (as early as episode one) to take the form of those that have died, e.g. Christian Sheppard, John Locke, Alex Rousseau and even Richard Alpert’s dead wife. He also has been shown to have the interesting ability to see into the pasts of people he has met.

I like to think that the Smoke Monster’s purpose is relative to whom perceives it. Since many characters seem to have come up with interesting ideas about what the monster is up to. For quite a while we are content with “the Others” point of view that the Monster is like a security system for the island. The Dharma initiative felt it was enough of a threat to create a system of sonic fences to control its movement. While it appears that Ben Linus can summon it by special technique in his small home in the Dharma camp he is quick to tell us that he thinks the Monster actually summons him.

Ben and Mr. Eko feel that the Monster is a judge of sorts and that when he approaches people it can weigh whether the person deserves to die, as explained by Mr. Eko in Season 3’s “The Cost of Living”.
The Smoke Monster wants to leave the island and will stop at nothing to escape.

Why are there Polar Bears on this tropical island? Starting in the episode “lockdown” we begin to understand that the Dharma initiative was testing exotic animals on the island, and actually modified them to be able to live in tropical climates. A fantastic teaser was shown in the episode “Confirmed Dead” where the Anthropologist Charlotte finds Polar Bear bones and collar with the insignia of the Hydra station. The Dharma folks used the Polar Bear to see what would happen when they spun the wheel, which indeed sends you to a spot in the Tunisian desert.

Who recorded the distress signal and why is it still repeating after 16 years? The distress signal which we are presented with in the pilot episodes was created by Danielle Rousseau, a young scientist whom wrecked, along with friends on the island. It kept playing because she never got rescued.
What is the Black Rock (mentioned in the distress signal)? The Black Rock was a slave ship from the 1800s which was piloted by Magnus Hanso (an ancestor of the Dharma founder) taking prisoners/slaves including Ricardo (Richard) Alpert. A large tidal wave launched it towards the island where it destroyed the huge statue and came to rest deep within the islands interior.

Who were the skeletons that Jack and Kate found in the caves? The skeletons which were found in the caves belonged to “the man in black” and the one called “mother”. She was the protector of the source before Jacob and was attempting, after murdering Jacob and the man in black’s mother (Claudia) to be there mother, raising one eventually to take over for her and protect the source.

The man in black was disillusioned after he found out all the lies she had told him and that she had killed his real mother, he choose to live with the other people who crashed with his mother, many years prior. The man in black wasn’t evil, he wanted truth and to be free to see the world. He began working with the other people and found a way to harness the source, the eventual wheel, mother became upset and killed all the people and ruined they’re project. He soon after stabs mother and physically dies by Jacob’s hand, creating the monster.

Jacob placed the bodies in the cave with the two stones.

What is the purpose of the cable that Said finds leading into the ocean?
The cable, apparently lead from the dharma station “Flame” to other stations on the island. Sayid found a cable which lead to the “Looking Glass” station, which was an underwater station which helped guide the submarines and also served as a communications station.

Who are the Others? The term “the Others” in Lost typically refers to the people whom conspired to kill the members of the Dharma initiative and control most of the island, for most of the show. The Others initially consist of Richard Alpert and any other people who are lead to the island by Jacob. It then included Benjamin Linus who lead the slaughter of the Dharma folks.
They then use the resources of Dharma to continue the objectives set form by Jacob.
What are the “whispers”? The whispers which would sometimes be heard by people on the island was a remnant of those that died on the island and weren’t able to move on. An example I found in Lostpedia was Libby whom would appear and also whisper, but was able to get through and be part of the spiritual reunion at the end of the show.

What do the “numbers” mean? This is one of the more complex and debated issues so I will try to leave this simple so as to allow people to form their own opinion. The numbers do represent values of the Vanzetti Equation, which was released as a canonical experience in between seasons of Lost called “The Lost Experience”. There were in fact little details, especially with the numbers, and some higher ups in Dharma which the Lost experience provided extra info.

Many Lost fans aren’t really aware of “The lost Experience” so aren’t especially pleased to know that there is quite a bit of canonic info outside of the actual syndicated show.

As far as the show goes we know that the numbers represent different degrees which Jacob must turn his wheel to view the candidates, in his lighthouse. The whole idea of the Dharma initiative was actually to alter the numbers of the Vanzetti Equation, to change the course of the earth’s ultimate destruction.

What is the significance of the Hatch? The fascination of the Hatch was a spectacular part of the show. The hatch is where the release of electro-magnetism occurred and using the computer to type in “the numbers” one was supposed to stop a large build-up of E.M. The very popular character Desmond Hume was left in charge of this task.

A very popular storyline revolves around whether the button pushing is real or a social experiment, and several characters disagree, often violently on what is the truth.

What is the explanation for the so-called Hurley Bird?
This was never answered and actually when the question was posed to a producer of the show he declined to talk about this bird’s significance. For those that don’t remember, a huge bird flew by twice and says Hurley (even in the sub-titles). The resulting silence and lack of explanation has lead to intelligent speculation including the idea of “Altjira” an Australian Aboriginal God of the dreamworld, which just so happens to be a huge green bird! Interestingly, if you remove the l and the t you get ajira, which is the name of an Indian airline which the “Oceanic Six” take to get back to the island.

Well that’s at least a good starting point. Those were a lot of the main questions from the first season (and many of them lasted deep into the series). Hopefully it can lead to some ideas on the show for people and I plan on listing some more ideas for other seasons, more for me than anyone else. I kind of enjoy going through the episodes and trying to figure stuff out.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Far West Open Round 5....10 move than I lose

I don't often drop a piece. In fact there have only been a handful of games in my chess career where i drop a piece, and this was one of them. On board one, the final day of the tournament with a chance for 1st place and some decent cash I went and blew the game inexplicably. Since the game is pretty short and pretty much all book till I lose I've added a bit of info on the opening choices for both sides. Enjoy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

French Advance (or) another win to keep me interested...

Here is my round one victory from the Far West Open. I started this tourney off pretty strong with 3.5/4 and then fell apart on day three when everything was on the line. This was a pretty straight-forward game against a French-Advance variation. My opponent made a few inaccuracies in the opening and I was able to exploit them and slowly improve my advantage.

Enjoy the game!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bloody Sicilian

Here is another recent game in mind which has some resemblance to my last blog post. This was a second round victory for me at the recent Far West Open. I have white this time and I face a Sicilian defense. I get a pretty good lead in development, flounder for a little bit and then finally capitalize on my opponent's errors. Maybe posting a few of these wins of late can pep my ego back for playing over the board games, either way hope you enjoy the game and any questions or suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maybe I'll show some games...

I was going to display a long grinding win I achieved against Soltani but it appears that I've botched the score sheet. So here is my game the next week against Harry Chrysanthou.

I won this game rather quickly, but it may hold some value nonetheless.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The end of the road...

Well chess, I've come to a dead-end with you. I get much more agony from my blunder-prone loses than I do joy from my wins. Although I learn new skills I am still continuing to make the same mistakes that better players just don't make. Setting my ego aside I'm now pretty sure that I don't have the concentration abilities that others have. No matter whether I know how to play a position, opening or ending, I continue to not pay attention, play to fast and blow my games. I started off this tournament well winning my first three...but then I blew a clear win and didn't see a free piece in round four settling for a draw. Round five I am on board one with a shot to take first place and I proceeded to lose in about ten minutes...I won a pawn, then gave up a piece in amateur fashion. Game six I got into a losing position, fought hard and found a draw, then allowed a simple fork.

I beat a guy in the third round who has won over 10 million dollars playing poker professionally. Which made me realize that I'm not where I want to be in life, others are playing this game as a leisure, it mostly feels like a chore for me now.

Thanks for everyone who helped me get better but I think I'm done...

How to lose a tourney in ten minutes...

Spend two days fighting hard and playing decent chess only to throw it away with a careless move on board one with the tournament on the line. Sometimes I don't know why I play this game...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Harrington v. Arteaga -learning Rybka

I'm posting this game without my comments or analysis because i've been working with the Rybka Aquarium software and learning how to do some different things with it. I took this game which was pretty even throughout and ended in a draw. I then let Rybka do the analysis. He provided his own branches and opening variations which could have been played and gives an approximate evaluation of the position. He also gives his own ?! and ? where he feels appropriate.

This was a Ruy Lopez-Steinitz defense. An opening that is solid for black but not so many winning chances when white plays safe, as I did. I thought it would be interesting to just post the Rybka analysis which will usually help me in my own search but in this case, since its new to me let's take alook at a purely mechanical view of the game. Once again, NONE of this analysis is by a human. Nor did I interfere or cut and paste in any way, this is a full Rybka study.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I'm suprised to have received several phone calls about my last post. Concerned players that didn't wanna see me miss out on playing, even though they respected my reasoning. I guess it's to my overall benefit to play the games that are remaining on my schedule. I'm not that consistant and over the board play is most-likely to help that. I still think that this whole process is unjust but I guess I need to let the people in power do what they want. Little guys like us never have a say in things like this anyway...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


So I think I'm done with this tournament for the Club Championship Qualification. Apparently one of the members of my qualification group, who also happens to be the Club President is being seeded into the finals without having to play a single game! The format which we all have been following consisted of two fairly-evenly matched groups where the top four scores for each group would move onto the next round.

One member has been sick and missed his first six or seven matches. He assured us that he would make them up (like anyone of us would have to do in his situation) "even if he has to play 7 games in 7 nights" I believe those were his words. I have now found out that he doesn't in fact have to play any of these games and he is being seeded into the finals. As a rule, the club has generally seeded the previous reno club champion into the finals, this would be Edwin Straver whom is in fact already seeded into the finals.

On top of this injustice, our group now will only get three members into the next round instead of the prescribed four. Someone whom played a good tournament is going to left out simply because one member is getting special treatment.

Chess is supposed to be fun and the tournaments should be fair as possible. I rarely get involved with the politics of the club but this is one case where influence is giving an unfair advantage to another member, in full contrast to the prescribed rules which we all accepted when we set aside our thrusday nights for this tournament.

I'm not blaming anyone for this mishap, I just can't conscientiously continue playing when the rules are so blatently being manipulated to the advantage of the select. This will probably(paradoxically) turn me into the bad guy, so be it...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rybka Aquarium

If anyone out there has the Aquarium interface for Rybka please let me know. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to make opening trees and databases. Any help would be greatly appeciated.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Club Championship Qualifier: Round 3 or "Drunken Boxing"

My thrid round game in the Reno Club championship Qualifier was against Vern Young.He has recently become A class and has a chess teaching business with youth players in the area.He has a blog as well which can be accessed at

Weve now played three times with an even score of +1-1=1.With the school semester starting the same week of this tournament I have had very little time and energy to try any sort of preparation for my opponents so I decieded to play the Closed Sicilian this night.I have a basic understanding of the ideas and knew it could present for a positional and if I was lucky tactical oppourtunity.

I must say though, I made many mistakes in this game by not using my clock wisely.After 15 moves I had used only 28 minutes and my opponent had used about 53. Enjoy the blunderfest!

Chris Harrington 1600 v. Vern young 1912

Just blew a won game against an expert...

The game will be posted along with my third round game as soon as I get a chance.Probably later this week.Just know for now that I was in a worse position,played an exchange sacrifice,and caught him playing a failed tactic,but then didn't bring it home.Needless to say I'm happy to have fought hard and have had a good four games, but this sucks to be so close and fail...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Club Championship Qualifier Round 2

My second round game in the Reno Club championship Qualifier ended in a lose.Aside from that I was pleased with most of my play and the ideas I had, as well as my opponents ideas that I was able to read.I out played him a bit in the opening and reached a pretty nice position with black, defended pretty accurately against a scavenging queen and then inexplicably drop a pawn and with it the game.Hope you enjoy the game!
George Fischer 1907 v. Chris Harrington 1600

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the Dragonslayer returns

The knight smelt the burning aroma from a good deal away from the scene of battle.The dragon had been spotted several days prior by several townsfolk.The knight was sent with the specific mission of bringing back the corpse of the great beast.

He wasn't by any means a veteran but then again this wasn't the first dragon to meet his blade.He knew absolutely nothing else about this beast.Sizes and color varied in the different accounts but the general feeling was a mid-sized monster with decent skill at destroying the men that had come to challenge it.

The smell of the smoke eminating from the beast's nostrils allowed the knight to prepare himself mentally for battle.As he stepped out into the clearing he saw the beast lumbering out of the entrance of a large cavern.The knight drew his sword and charged the dragon.The dragon was immediately in the air and they circled each other as the beast swooped and eventually touched down in the clearing.The kinght saw the glistening purple scales and the large talons and became focused on the struggle that was taking place.It was him or the beast.This wasn't going to end in anything but death.

The knight began swinging his sabre very skillfully at the dragon.The dragon began backing up and trying desperately to dodge the sharp, cold metal.He was knocked back and began tumbling back and the knight took up a very aggressive stance.

The dragon then unexpectantly charged the knight.The knight was suprised, from this distance it wasn't so difficult to avoid any attack from the dragon and continue his assault.In fact the knight allowed a blow to glance off his armoured shoulder to allow himself to get closer to the dragon's underbelly.

The knight took the chance he was given and delivered punishing blows to the dragon.The beast was taking great punishment and soon vanquished in a manner unspeakable for this vernacular.

Chris Harrington 1600 vs. Ryan Van Reken 1738