- Chess and mental development
- Chess in education
- Chess maintains cognitive ability
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
This paper deals with the subject of chess in education, and its value beyond mental development; it gives a general history of the association of chess to intelligence and includes the origins of the game. This report outlines chess as an educational tool for schools in the United States that has the endorsement of many prominent educators, including Benjamin Franklin. A brief description of the game is given. The chess in education research summary by Dr. Robert Ferguson Jr., Chess in Education: "A wise Move" Conference (1995) provided research study information linking chess to cognitive development and an increase in mental abilities. Studies have proved that chess has a positive influence in education from both the student and educators perspective, and that the mental stimulus provided by playing chess reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In conclusion, chess education needs to be part of every school curriculum, especially at the elementary levels, where its benefits will have the greatest impact on thinking abilities of children.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nb3 Bb4
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
- Involuntary servitude to the Catholic Church of Ireland for the purpose of profit.
- Abuse of authority, including sexual abuse, by asylum staff and church officials.
Involuntary servitude to the Catholic Church of Ireland
Servitude—or slavery—is a condition in which a person is being deprived of his/her freedom to act as they choose. Furthermore, this condition is the complete and involuntary surrender of a person’s body, time, and property to another. According to Black’s Law Dictionary (Black, 1991 p. 1388), slavery is “the condition of a slave; that civil relation in which one man has absolute power over the life, fortune, and liberty of another.” Taking this a step further, Black’s Law Dictionary (Black, 1991, p. 1388) defines a slave as “A person who is wholly subject to the will of another; one who has no freedom of action, but whose person and services are wholly under the control of another.” Using these definitions as a starting point will help explain the civil relationship of the protagonist to the Catholic Church of Ireland.
Margret and Rose came under church control after their embarrassed families sought the advice of the local priest on how best to deal with their wayward daughters. The priest suggested that the young women would benefit from a stay at a Magdalene asylum in order to remove the stain of their moral sin. Therefore, without their consent and against their will, the Catholic Church of Ireland took Margret and Rose. Being an orphan, Bernadette was already in the control of the church; however, without her consent, and against her will, she went into the Magdalene asylum.
In the Magdalene asylum arrival scene, the protagonists are marched in military fashion into the Mother Superior’s office and made to stand at attention. As new arrivals, Sister Bridget makes it clear where Margret, Bernadette, and Rose stand in the institution’s social order. The rules are given. The women will not talk among themselves during their stay at the Magdalene asylum, and there will be no communication with anyone from outside the asylum. As penitents, they will rise early and go to bed late and Sister Bridget imparts to them in this scene from the film “Here you may redeem yourselves by working beyond human endurance, to remove the stains of the sins you have committed.” Furthermore, Sister Bridget informs our protagonists that they are going to be at the asylum for a long time, and that the young women had better mind the rules because there are severe consequences for any disobedience.
In this telling scene, the church has established its absolute power over the protagonists, both physically and psychologically. By stripping these women of their property, individual identity, and liberty, the conditions that establish involuntary servitude have been satisfied.
Financial profit by the church
The Magdalene asylum’s original mission was a laudable one. The church sought to remove prostitutes from the streets and get them into the safe environment of a Magdalene asylum. Once there, the Sisters of Mercy provided health care to get the diseased women clean, and the women were trained as laundresses, a trade suitable for 1890’s era women. Initially, these women could come and go as many times as it took to get them out of prostitution. However, the church discovered that running a laundry was profitable, especially with free labor. Naturally, the Catholic Church of Ireland wanted to maintain its workforce, and even increase it, to maximize profitability.
Accomplishing this task was easy with the help of Irish families who were devoutly Catholic; they understood that the wages of sin was a burning death in Hell and they did not want that for their daughters, so they gave the women over to the church to remove the stain of sin. All the church had to do was label more women as “sinners,” and the laundry’s labor pool would increase, as would its profits. The Irish government treated the Magdalene asylums as private institutions, and as such exempted them for any labor laws. The conditions were ripe for the abuse that followed.
The Catholic Church of Ireland, having no labor laws to regulate them and no one to oversee its activities, enslaved an estimated 30,000 women with the full cooperation of Irish society. These women would enter Magdalene laundries to work until a family member claimed them or they died. The church had stopped releasing these women years ago, and with the Sisters of Mercy forbidding contact with the outside world in any form, the women were helpless, and at the mercy of the unmerciful.
Abuse of authority, including sexual abuse
According to the United States Air Force, abuse of authority is “an arbitrary or capricious exercise of power by a military member or a federal official or employee that adversely affects the rights of any person or that results in personal gain or advantage to the abuser.” (United States Air Force, 2001). Plainly said, if a person has an authority position over another individual and the authority figure exercises this power in a fashion that violates the rules, this is an abuse of authority. Oftentimes the authority figure uses the power for personal gain.
In the motion picture, The Magdalene Sisters there are many scenes of such abuse. One of the most glaring examples occurs when the priest uses one of the inmates for his sexual gratification through oral sodomy and intercourse. This inmate is at the mercy of the system that will not allow her to report the abuse. When Sister Bridget discovers this abuse, the Magdalene in question is whisked away in the middle of the night to a mental institution. Unmistakably, this is an abuse of authority by all church officials involved.
In another scene from the movie, two of the asylum’s nuns have the penitents lined up naked in the shower room, and the sisters are stripping the dignity of the Magdalene’s through humiliation, such as, comparing which of the women have the hairiest genitals, biggest breasts, and the fattest posterior. The nuns are enjoying this “game” and they are laughing at the young women. The faces of the penitents show distress. Clearly, this is an abuse of authority by the asylum staff. In fact, the protagonists received a severe beating with a leather strap—repeatedly—in all cases of disobedience, big or small, real or perceived, and much to the enjoyment of Sister Bridget. Again, this is an abuse of authority by a church official.
In conclusion, the motion picture The Magdalene Sisters raises serious ethics issues concerning the conduct of the Catholic Church of Ireland. According to the textbook Moral Issues in Business, the church engaged in “groupthink” believing that “because the group—the Catholic Church—is good—the moral authority—or right—Irish society did not object—whatever it did was permissible” (William H. & Barry, Vincent, 2007, p. 19). The church passed its demeaning labels of young women—some victims of a crime—into the collective conscious of the Irish family and government. Admittedly, it is easier to send a “whore,” “temptress,” or “lustful sinner” to a life of confinement than, say, a rape victim, a flirtatious girl, or a young mother who loved the wrong man. This “groupthink” led to the abuse of thousands of young women over the course of approximately seven decades because of its acceptance by the Irish family and government. It wove itself into the fabric of the Irish people, and for nothing more than to fill the coffers of the Catholic Church of Ireland.
It appears that Irish society as a whole is a shareholder in this immoral behavior. They witnessed the physical and psychological destruction of young women, yet stood idly by. The whole of Ireland is morally bankrupt for this trinity of betrayal.
The author disagrees with the handling of the ethical dilemma concerns, and honestly cannot find a workable solution to them. To say “the solution is this or that” is hyperbole. The only viable suggestion for a resolution of these ethical issues was to have the Irish families stop giving their wayward daughters to the church. What is more, the Catholic Church did nothing to correct any of these issues internally and it never accepted responsibility for its wrongdoing. The Irish government made no law against the church’s treatment of these women, nor did they seek to protect them through regulation, therefore under Irish law, this abuse was legal—but in the authors opinion immoral. The author applauds the initiative of Bernadette and Rose for effecting escape, by force, from these wretched conditions, and was pleased that Margret’s brother came to claim her after she had sent five years in confinement.
Black, H. (Ed.). (1991). Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed.), West Group.
Mullan, P. (Director). (2002). The Magdalene Sisters. [Motion picture]. United States: Miramax Films.
Shaw, William H. & Barry, Vincent (2007). Moral Issues in Business. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
United States Air Force. (2001). Inspector General Complaints. (AFI 90-301, Paragraph 184.108.40.206). US Government.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
However, the harder I thought the more the confounding the background noise became. My mind focused on the ticking of the chess clocks...tic, tic, tic, and tic! It was maddening to listen to this while trying to concentrate on improving my position. It reminded me of hearing a dripping faucet while you are trying to fall asleep; the more you try not to listen to it, the louder it becomes. I looked around the tournament room as a form of relief from this lunacy, and all I saw were nervous chess players with worried, anxiety filled, faces. I watched as these participants obsessively ran their fingers through their hair. I witnessed the various twitches of their bodies that occur as a direct result of intense concentration and frantic thought.
I do not know about most people, but when I play in tournaments, I get tired. This is in the form of mental fatigue, and it is especially bad after a loss. I think deep down I knew I was losing the endgame against Yury, and was lucky to have the draw. Little did I know that the next round would be a disaster.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I had planned this special operation for weeks, and in response to the rash of thefts by the local Panamanian toughs. They seemed invisible to every means of detection, and very good at relieving Uncle Sam of his property. The only remaining option to stop the thievery was to meet them on their own terrain, but at the time and place of our choosing. Naturally, the ambush site was a good position, selected a week prior during a reconnaissance, it offered excellent concealment, and it provided the best ground for arrest/detention. A paid informant provided ample intelligence of who, what, where, how and when. Of course, the team’s morale was high, and we all felt John Wayne-like due to the power of the badge...not to mention the model 1911A1 .45 caliber automatics we carried.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Collecting the black raspberries was easy and fun. Soon I discovered that my hands, clothes, and mouth, especially my mouth, turned a deep purple from the sweet berry juice. In no time the steel bowl, and I, were full, and both happily returned to Mrs. Harris. She thanked me, and as I departed from her, these words registered in my ears.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I don't see how the average student at an University has time for anything other than study. I must produce a paper for each class every Tuesday and Thursday. I might be a little old and slow, but I am not that old to know that each assignment eats a whole lot of time. In fact, it eats my chess playing time, my chess study time, and my family time. How do you do it, Mister College man?
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Let me just face facts. I have been to lazy to do my tactics training as I once wanted it to be done. I can make all the excuses I want, such as: Getting enrolled into college and all that is takes to get ready, Home improvements, and Traveling with my brother. All of this is garbage! I just need to make more effective use of my time. Yes, good old fashion time management. With that mantra in mind, I once more returned to my chess tactics exercises. As you can see from my history I did okay. I would have like to finish all the units positions in under an hour and with 100 percent accuracy. That was certainly not the case, but a good showing never-the-less.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
2) How did you learn about the Circles? I was searching for chess improvement ideas by visiting Susan Polgar's blog when I saw a post by "Chess for Blood". His ideas seemed sound, so I visited his blog and followed it regularly. He didn't subscribe to the ideas as outlined in the book "Rapid Chess Improvement", but he did practice tactics. When he closed his blog he recommended Blue Devil Knight's blog and I started following that. I started the circles as a way of holding my nose to the grind stone.
3) When? June 2007.
4) How long have you been going through the Circles, or if you have finished, how long did it take? Since mid-June 2007.
5) How is your progress? I have worked through 19 units of Tactics One in the prefab circles of the Personal Chess Trainer. This has help my OTB vision and my USCF Rating has risen from 1206 to 1293 thus far.
6) Would working with the Circles alone work well in terms of chess improvement, or does it help more to join the Knight Errant to monitor and discuss the Circles? I think one could do the circle by his or her self. That being said, I believe working within a group provides the support needed to follow through with the exercise.
7) Are you a scholastic player? No.
8) Would you recommend this method, the Circles, to scholastic players? Yes, I would! I believe the pattern recognition would be invaluable and last a life time. I would also recommend that they spend a considerable amount of time playing through and analyzing classic games, plus work on endgames and strategy in order to be a more complete chess player.
9) Do you use other chess training methods along with the Circles? If any, could you summarize them? Yes. I use books and I review my games. I found that Lev Alburt's Comprehensive Chess Course Volumes 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 to be of great help. I would also recommend Jeremy Silman's Reassess your chess. I know the Knights dislike Silman, but I found it to be good advice generally. I find if I review my games 3 times over I derive a great benefit and find continuations that often would lead to a win. I verify with Fritz 10 all of my improvements.
10) Any general comments about chess training or the Circles you'd like to provide? Do post mortems with the strongest players you can find and listen to their suggestions on play. I would caution that you don't just accept what comes out of their mouth as the final word. Quite often I have found an error in their analysis, but it the ideas they provide that truly help. Simply put...all those years of experience often provide the correct path.
I tag: Hard Days Knight
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I arrived at the Chess Club in a zombie-like state. How in the name of goodness would I be able to play chess? Hmm...free pizza. That is going to help. Oh, coffee! Maybe that would get me going? Birthday Cake!! That tastes good, but will the sugar sustain me or will I crash further after the sugar high? Questions with no answers.
The Open kicked off at 7 PM with the starting of the clocks. My first opponent was a guy named Kiran and he seemed to know what he was doing at first. However, I noticed he was unprepared for complications in the middle game; so I endeavored to make it as messy I could. I would go on and win this first game, but only after struggling to write the notation on the score sheet. My mind was not working very well and I had two competing disciplines to deal with...aggghhh! The next round started at 8:45 PM. I played my friend Dan. Last time we had met over the board he had the Black pieces, and went for the Sicilian Dragon set up. That time I missed a win at move 15 and that game ended in a draw. As luck would have it, he once again would have the Black pieces. I was waiting to see if he would try the Dragon one more time. The first victory in chess is to actually make someone give up their pet opening against you...by this standard I won. He opted for the Caro-Kann. The only time I played with this system was during my reading of "Tal-Botvinnik 1960" (I highly recommend this book). Great! How to proceed? I played my heart and lost. I believe that some improvements can be made to my play to increase my chances. My first suggestion would be try a different system within the Caro-Kann. The Next would be at sixth move. I played 6. Bd3 (which was logical), but theory says 6. Nxf6 is correct. There are other places where my play was less than I should except. Notably, both the move 9. Bd2N and 13. Bc3 are inaccurate and lead to my demise. Completely spent from that ordeal, I gathered more of the cake and ate myself into shape (perhaps if I kept on eating I would have a new shape). The last round started at 11 PM and my opponent's name was George. He played some wacky English set up with the White pieces that lead to a small, but steadily increasing advantage for me. We would play 50 moves before I delivered mate.
Everything was all said and done at 12:20 AM. My score of 2/3 was good enough to win some ca$h and give me a small boost in my USCF rating. The drive home was another adventure.
Friday, June 29, 2007
As you can see I have been working hard on middle game Tactics. This area is the most important at my level (USCF 1293 and 1370 Playchess Blitz). I find the positions edifying and relevant to my games. The position include those with up to a three move combinations that lead to check mate. I worked through 15 units in two weeks and I see some results in Tactic identification. The PCT 2007 does offer even more.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Today I was accepted into the Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation Program. I now have to visit campuses and gather information as to which program and major I want to pursue. Hopefully, I can find a chess related subject, but I will have to settle for something where at the end of four years I can be gainfully employed. Your tax dollars at work. Don't forget...hire a Vet!
Friday, June 22, 2007
The Chess Club Championship 2007 Kansas City, MO (3), 16.06.2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Stuart,Zach (1238) - Forbes,Todd (1293)
The Chess Club Championship 2007 Kansas City, MO (2), 16.06.2007
B45: Sicilian Four Knights
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6
(Let just face it. Black is behind in development and the Bishop on c8 isn't moving anytime soon) 7.Bf4N (Novelty. White usually aims for 7.Be3) 7...e5? (Bad...just dreadfully bad. 7...Bb4!? was best)
8.Nxc6! bxc6 9.Bxe5 (Black goes down a pawn with no compensation) 9...Be7 10.Bd6 0-0 11.e5 Re8? (Better 11...Bxd6 but 12.Qxd6 Ne8 still leaves White with a winning advantage) 12.0–0 Bxd6 13.exd6 (This d6 pawn would prove to be a bone in my throat. Even better 13.Qxd6!? locking down the position) 13...Bb7 14.Qd3 Qb6 15.b3 a5 16.Na4 Qa7 17.Rfe1 Rab8 18.Qf5 Qa8?? (Blunder. The position was bad, and any move in a bad position is bad!)
19.Nb6 Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Re8 21.Nxa8 Rxe1+ 22.Bf1 Bxa8 23.Qxa5 Re8 24.b4 Nd5 25.b5 c5 26.c4 Nf4 27.Qc7 h6 28.Qxd7 Re1 29.Qc8+ Kh7 30.Qf5+ Ng6 31.d7 Be4 32.Qxf7 Bd3 33.h3 Rxf1+ 34.Kh2 Nh4 35.d8Q (35.d8Q Rh1+ 36.Kxh1 Nxg2 37.Qdg8#) 1–0
What a disaster! I felt down and dejected...hoping that the lunch break would help going into round 3.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Forbes,Todd (1293) - Markushin,Yury
The Chess Club Championship 2007 Kansas City, MO (1), 16.06.2007
C50: Hungarian Defence and Giuoco Pianissimo
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 d6 5.Nxd4 Ne5 6.Bb3 Nf6 7.Bg5N (I am having trouble believing that is a theoretical novelty...I only wanted to pin the Knight) 7...Be7 8.Bxf6 (8.Nc3!? is worth a look) 8...Bxf6 9.Nc3 0–0 10.h3 Bh4 11.Qe2 a6 12.0–0–0 12...Bd7 (Yury missed 12...Qg5+ 13.Kb1 Qxg2 winning a pawn. However with 14.Rdf1 White is still in charge) 13.g3 Be7 14.f4 Nc6 15.Nd5 Nxd4 16.Rxd4 Bf6? (16...a5!? is a better try) 17.e5 (This pawn advance gives an edge to White) 17...dxe5? (Better for Back was 17...Be7)18.Nxf6+! gxf6 19.fxe5 Qe7
20.Rh4? (I blew it with this simple looking Rook move. Best was 20.Qh5 and the rest is a matter of technique 20...Bf5 21.Qxf5 Qxe5 22.Qxe5 fxe5 23.Rd7 and White has a winning advantage) 20...Qxe5 21.Qxe5 (I am just throwing away any advantage with this. Better here is 21.Qf2!?) 21...fxe5 (Black has equality with this passed pawn) 22.Bd5 c6 23.Be4 f5 (Black is now in full control of the game) 24.Bd3 Rae8 25.Bc4+ Be6 26.Bxe6+ Rxe6 27.Rc4 h5 28.a4 Rd8 29.a5 Kf7 30.Rd1 Rdd6 31.Rxd6 Rxd6 32.Rb4 Rd7 33.Rb3 Kf6 34.Rd3 Rxd3 35.cxd3 Kg5 36.Kd2 f4 37.Ke2 (37.gxf4+ would allow the White King to penetrate Black's Queen side) 37...fxg3 38.Kf3 g2! 39.Kxg2 Kf4 40.Kf2 c5 41.b3 h4 42.Ke2 Kg3 43.Ke3
Kxh3 44.Kf3 Draw (While Yury and I agreed on a draw, and I honestly believed at the time it was a drawn position, alas it is not. Play should have continued 44...Kh2 the White King is forced to keep the opposition with 45. Kf2 h3! this pawn move hands the opposition to Black and with it...the game. Interesting!)
I was disappointed with my play in round 1. Little did I know that round 2 would be a disaster.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
I have had some suggestions for play from the above positon. One suggestion was 5. Bxf7+. I think Black gets a Bishop for a pawn and holds the postion. An example of play would be 5...Kxf7 6. Ng5+ Kf8 7. Qf3+ Nf6 and I believe Black has a slight plus. We could improve the line on the sixth move with 6. c3 d5! 7. 0-0 dxe4 8. Ng5+ but black is still holding an advantage with 8...Kf8. Finally, someone suggested 5. 0-0 and safely tuck White's King away. In my opinion that allows Black to much compensation for an unnecessary move. Black will simply play 5...d6 freeing his light square Bishop and increasing the scope of his Queen. Does anyone have anything better?
Friday, June 8, 2007
My stay at the soldier's home was short. In 4 hours I was back in my home and thinking about all of the above. I think a lot about the Veterans and how they live. I understand what is like to have wounds that don't show. Some people think that you should "just forget" about your military experience. I wish I could, but it is replayed at odd times during the day and frequently at night. How are you supposed to forget when the nightmares remind you? Yesterday I was told that I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have seen the counselor and the Psychiatrist. I feel guilty that I am not able to get over this by myself and I feel as a failed man...weak. I received my medication with dread and longed for the days when I would have been provided a band, a dance, and maybe a play. I wanted to be with the older men as they shared the days recalling their former glory with Custer. Mostly, I wanted to have pint or two of beer to forget and with luck...sleep in peace.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
This position arose out of the Caro-Kann Defense, Two Knights Variation. Judit played book moves until she unleashed a novelty on the ninth move with 9. Bf4N. After that her position looked lost, but she fought on to the above position. Can you find the mate?