Friday, January 20, 2012

Why We Study Tactics

One the reasons, no, the main reason chess players study tactics is to enable them to use the tactics against their opponents at the board. Just as important, but seldom talked about, is that we study tactics to avoid having our opponent use them against us.

Sometimes it is to no avail, due to time trouble or just trying to find something, anything to stay in the fight.

The following two positions are from a game I won – barely – and as will be shown I should have lost. The game was played in round 3 of Dayton Chess Club’s #44 Next To Last 2011 Quick , game in 25 minutes, time delay of 5 seconds.

I was in dire straits through much of the game so I did something I seldom do afterwards. I went over the game and critiqued my moves and those of my opponent, Andre Jaworowski.

I chose a poor plan and Andre properly punished me for such a poor plan. The following position is after white played 31: Bd3

Black to move.

The following week, I wanted to show Andre the position because he should have won the game directly here with 31. … Qxg3 and if 32. hxg3, then 32. Rh6 mate. Pretty neat and something I wanted to make sure I didn’t give Andre an opportunity to do again.

Imagine my chagrin when Andre set up an earlier position after the moves 25. Bxf8 Bxf2+ 26. Nxf2 Qxf2+ 27. Kh1 with black to move. Andre already in time trouble, played 27. … Rxf8. Instead he had an absolutely killer move. Do you see it?

Black to move.

Do you see it yet? Andre set it up at the Dayton Chess Club and told me a killer move was there, but I didn’t see it.

Okay, the move is 27. … Qxd4!! where not only is white’s Rook on a1 threatened, but if the Rook moves a mate in three (3) ensues. 28. R moves, Nf2+ 29. Kg1 Nh3 dble+ 30. Kh1 Qg1 mate.

So I tip my imaginary hat to Andre while telling myself I will never (NEVER) let him have this opportunity to do this again.

Yeah, Right!

Interesting Quotes

Last year while reading the executive summary of a 60 page report on
“Working Towards Rules For Governing Cyber Conflict” published January 2011 by the EastWest Institute I came across three interesting quotes.

They were made all the more interesting because of the unusual range of the writers. One a Russian expatriate and American citizen, one a famous American writer of the 19th century noted for his cynicism, and the other a famous Russian playwright and writer.

“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see.” Ayn Rand.

“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” Mark Twain.

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” Anton Chekhov.

Confession, I was once a great fan of Ayn Rand and read much of Mark Twain, but have read little of Anton Chekov's writing.

I should also mention these quotes, which were interesting in and of themselves, helped keep me interested in a very dry (to me) document.

Finally, Anto Chekhov's quote reminded me of a line from the movie The Grace Card delivered by Louis Gossett Jr about the Christian faith and church, "Sundays are the classroom, Monday through Saturday are the application."


Look up the definition for decadence online and you will find three definitions
- the act or process of falling into an inferior condition or state; deterioration; decay
- moral degeneration or decay; turpitude
- unrestrained or excessive self-indulgence.

To me the third definition given above is the core of decadence, for moral degeneration or decay cannot take place without some form of excessive self-indulgence. Likewise excessive self-indulgence would also lead to deterioration and decay.

Today we see evidence of this all around us and especially in the world of entertainment. Michael Medved wrote about this in Hollywood vs. America almost 20 years ago. To read his book today is to see it as a place marker as the self-indulgence of Hollywood has become more and more unrestrained and excessive.

Another marker came up today, it is a movie The Children’s Hour from 1961. Gary North in an article to his subscribers described a conversation he had with an actress (whom he did not name) who was offered a role in said movie at the tender age of ten (10). Without explanation her agent warned her against it. He could not explain why to a ten-year-old, but she took his advice. [Gary North] remarked, “He was looking out for you.” She agreed.

Sadly today two major things would be different. The ten-year-old would know what lesbianism is and most agents (and parents) in their unrestrained and excessive desire for money (greed) would now encourage the ten-year-old to take such a role.

She would know because of the incredible level of sexualization in today’s post Christian culture in the United States that includes a constant barrage of lesbianism/homosexuality in the entertainment world – movies and television and now entering comic books.

At one time parents would have fought to avoid the process of sexualizing their children letting them be children. Today, many parents would not object at all and in many liberal homes would actually encourage their ten-year-old or younger to explore “their sexuality” always assuming it is a good thing.

Why? To justify the parents’ self-indulgence in their own activities. Truly unrestrained self-indulgence leading to moral degeneration, putting the adults’ feelings and values above the protection of their own children.

Decadence indeed. Jesus had something to say about this as well, "If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!" (Matthew 18:6-7)