Friday, June 29, 2007


I finally was able to get the screen shot from my Personal Chess Trainer 2007 with a little help from the Hard Days Knight and my son Christopher (who went to college at James Watt University, Greenock, Scotland, for Multi-media). Thanks you both for all the help!

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.
While I was looking about I notice the endgame trainer, which I use to good effect. Also, I notice the opening trainer. At first glance I thought it was unless because it didn't train me in my selected repertoire. Since then I have come to realize that it is good in it's own way. You may play through the main lines of the select openings to about move 11 or so. This has help me clear up some issues with my Sicilian Defense. Anyone who reviewed my games will agree that their was some mixing of the system, which was costing me tempo. I believe this has now been solved. I have used it for the main line of the Scotch Opening, both ...Nf6 and ...Bc5 lines. The trainer doesn't allow my to train in my Scotch Gambit or the Stonewall Attack, but what the heck! I highly recommend this trainer.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sometimes you give it your best shot

I have been trying for two days to get a post of my Tactical Training History published to this blog. I am unable to get a screen shot for all to see. This is possibly due to my lack of computer savvy as anything. However, I am aware that it could be my system that is the problem or it is a combination of both. The Hard Days Knight has attempted to help and I thank him!

Tomorrow night is The Chess Club's Birthday Bash Open. I am playing in the Under 1600 section and I am hopeful I will produce a good showing. Tactics, tactics, and tactics. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 25, 2007

College Bound

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!

Saint Mary's University, Leavenworth, Kansas

Friday, June 22, 2007

The 2007 Chess Club Championship Round 3

How easy it is to fracture one's ego. My feelings toward chess had reached into the depths of despair. Perhaps I was suffering a form of chess Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My thoughts were jumbled and my speech incoherent, and I was in this state when a fellow chess sufferer named Doug enter into my life to stop my aimless stagger around the club's parking area. I confided that I really didn't think much of my present play and I thought even less of my chances of winning the Under 1300 class. Doug listened patiently as I poured out my woes and as I finished he simply asked if I wanted to go with him to get something at the Sonic across the street. What? I couldn't get my mind even around the fact that another human being was asking for my company. I needed help! " name is Todd and I suffer from PTSD..." "Hey man, you catch that from the 'Nam?" "Naw...chess...checkmate in two...had pawns coming over the wire!!!" Doug saved my life, my chess life, by a simple act of kindness to a pawn shocked chess combat veteran.

My round 3 opponent was my old friend Leroy from the Kansas City Open. I have the White pieces.

Forbes,Todd (1293) - Asher,Leroy (1127)
The Chess Club Championship 2007 Kansas City, MO (3), 16.06.2007

B01: Scandinavian Defense

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 (frankly, I have little knowledge of this system and no plan against it. However, Back's next move surprised me as it seems to increase White's advantage) 3...Bf5 4.c4 c6 5.Bd3 (I was thinking of trading light square Bishops so I would have control over b1-h7 diagonal. Perhaps I should have considered 5.dxc6 Nxc6 6.d5) 5...Bxd3 6.Qxd3 cxd5 7.Nf3 h6 8.Nc3 e6 9.0–0 Be7 10.Bf4 0–0 11.Ne5 a6 12.Rfe1 Nbd7 13.cxd5 Nxd5 14.Nxd5 exd5 15.Re3 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Rc8 17.Ree1 Rc6 18.Red1 Bg5 19.Bxg5 Qxg5

20.Qg3 (Breaking my vow and throwing away my advantage. Best was 20.Qxd5!) 20...Rfc8 21.Qxg5 hxg5 22.h3 Rd8 23.Rd4 Rc4 24.Rad1 Rxd4 25.Rxd4 Kf8 26.g3 Ke7 27.f4 gxf4 28.gxf4 g6 29.Kf2 Ke6 30.a4 a5 31.b4 axb4 32.Rxb4 (Along about here I was thinking draw) 32...Rd7 33.Ke3 Kf5?

34.Rb6! d4+ 35.Kf3 d3 36.Rf6#


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Feel the Power!

My son Todd II made this for me as the desk top on my notebook. I like it as it show my Mustang GT in a nice way. Thank you son.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The 2007 Chess Club Championship Round 2

My last post was of my round 1 game. I don't know about most people, but when I play at tournaments I get really 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 getting the worse of it during the ending with my game with Yury and was lucky to have the draw. Exhausted is how I felt during the start of my second round game. My new opponent was a young man from New Mexico. I couldn't help thinking he was a little far of field, but chess is chess and people travel to play our game. I have the Black pieces this game.

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

A Plaque in Hand

I really couldn't believe it...I still don't. When the results were announced at The Chess Club of the 2007 Championship, I was included as the Under 1300 Champion. Someone made a mistake, surely? However, there I am (yellow T-shirt) holding my plaque and thinking back on those 4 rounds...hmm?!

Round 1:
Forbes,Todd (1293) - Markushin,Yury

The Chess Club Championship 2007 Kansas City, MO (1), 16.06.2007

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

"Honest Abe?...whatever!"

Take the challenge...the Rozerem chess challenge. You have to face the mighty chess playing spokes-beaver. He taunts you and insults you, just as he does with "Honest Abe". I find that I can beat problem. He claims: "I didn't see that coming". He plays like a patzer! Go one...take the challenge.

While you busy playing the beaver I will be taking a real challenge and tackle my sixth unit of tactics with the Personal Chess Trainer. So far, I really like it. I am almost addicted...which is great because I am more apt to do my training. Also, I have to log-in to Playchess and get busy with live opponents. Last night late, like 2 in the morning, I played against a 943. Don't know why I did, except that I needed to play. However, I was struggling with him. I was so angry when I missed a mate. The final result was victory for me. I had little trouble getting the advantage with Black in a Sicilian (18 pawns worth), but my trouble was I couldn't close the deal. Maybe I should do these things earlier.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Morning Routine

Yes, a BIG cup of Cafe SittoN to get me cranked up this morning. Yesterday, I finally broke down and purchased some chess software that I longed for a while now. I am the proud owner of the Personal Chess Trainer 2007 version 3.0. This is a tool that will help me focus on my chess studies. This particular one is helpful for Tactical training and you do problems in units. Also, it can be used for Endgame training, Opening training, Strategic training, and to play chess games against the chess engine Crafty 17. I can almost draw that chess engine. I still use Fritz 10 chess engine for all my real chess work. Fritz kills Crafty! I have other tools as well. I have a copy of ChessBase 9. This little gem organizes my played chess games and lets me analyze where I went wrong and how to fix it. I can do this along my repertoire for White and Black and by opening systems. BIG sip...ahhh! Best get cracking...Saturday is the championship.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cafe Anyone?

I just received a gift. Actually, it was four gifts...from the Republic of Panama. Let us take a good look. Well, now there is five things. I gotta like this! Okay, first things first. I have in my hand a bottle of Panamanian rum. A big bottle of Carta Vieja Ron Anejo. I like it! Next we have two T-shirts. Nice, I can us those right away. They are beautiful. Oh my god, what is this? Two fetching bags of Panamanian coffee. I love coffee. This here is some of the best in the world. Nobody seems to know about it, but I do. A bag of Cafe Sitton and a bag of Cafe Ruiz. Where is the coffee maker? Yes, cold crystal clear water and add 3 coffee scoops of Cafe Sitton and turn it on. Waiting. Whilst we wait for it to brew let me add that I drink lots of coffee. I have tried all kinds of brands. I like Millstone, but it doesn't taste any better than Folgers to me. Lately, I have been buying the cheap stuff. The Fort Leavenworth commissary has Eight O'clock Coffee for $2.59 a bag and it taste better than McDonald's coffee. I can't say Starbuck's coffee is that great either. Dunkin Donuts coffee beats Starbuck's both in price and taste. My question is why go to some coffee house, or restaurant, when you can make something better at home? Wow, let me tell you the aroma from that Sitton Cafe is just capital! A little sugar and some creamer...sip...longer sip...ahhhh. Yes, indeed. That is great coffee. I love my gifts!!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Leavenworth, Kansas, Night Life

The other night, Saturday to be precise, I decided to check out the local public houses. This was all research for my faithful readers. Yeah, yeah, that's what is was...research! Anyway, I donned my best pair of jeans and a red polo shirt. I added my best walking shoes as I don't want to drink and drive and off I went. I must say that the City of Leavenworth, Kansas, really should think about the direction it is going in. I found hardly anything to do that would be considered "Date Night" material. What I did find was some old, run down, dusty looking places that pass as Bars. I walked much and drank little until I happened onto Marfield's Irish Pub. This place is a gem. While the decor might not be very pleasing to some, it is the ticket for simplicity and tavern functionality. This night there was an Irish folk singer that was quite good and added much to the cheerful atmosphere. The food is great (try the Shepard's Pie) and they have a assortment of Irish beers, plus their own brand. I had a pint of the home brew and a half pint of Harp's lager and off walking I went. The next place that was decent looking was the High Noon Saloon and Brewery. This place has it own brewery and a large range of choices. I can't say a whole lot about the service. It seems as though they are doing you a favor by being open or something. However, this place would be suitable for date night and it is where the semi-successful drink. I had a pint of their Lewis and Clark lager and found the door. Since I live a mile and a half from the town center I thought it best to review one last place. After walk about a third of the distance home, I sighted the loom of a neon sign. Wow! What do we have here? Tom's Country Stampede!!! This is not the place to take a date! It is a dive and dangerous (there was a fight right next to me within the first 5 minutes or so). Hell, it reminded me of my days in the U.S. Navy when the ship would visit Naples, Italy, and I would go on liberty to a place called "The Gut" (think seedy) to drink at a bar named "The Bilge" (the bilge of a ship is the void at the bottom where all the waste water and materials collects). They had some kind of country Karaoke going and the place was packed. The smoking lamp was well lit here and you could have cut it with a knife. The service sucked here too, but only because of all the people. I had their finest Pabst Blue Ribbon beer....yummy. My father used to call it "Sunk Water" because of the smell. I'll say it doesn't tastes as bad as it smells. After I had a 12 oz. draft of the stuff I was fit to leave. All of a sudden, I found it refilled. Hot beer! When that was finished another one appeared. So after 2 pints plus of the Pabst I was walking away. I must state that Tom's is fun...if you don't mind a complete dive. I'll just say stick to Marfield' will thank me.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blitz Action!

Last Thursday night I went to The Chess club in Kansas City, Missouri, for the Summer Blitz (5 minute games) Grand Prix (a long term cash prize tournament). I had only gone to view the spectacle and had not plan to play. However, I was roped into participating by the friendly staff and an offer of a free meal. Hey, I like spaghetti and meatballs! The games started at 7 P.M. with the ticking of the chess clocks, followed by the slamming of the chessmen and the bashing of the chess clocks. Excitement builds during these games due to the wild attempts to win. One mistake is often fatal because you don't have time to regroup your thoughts and calculate your way out of the mess you created. My first game I won against a much stronger player. What followed was a slow trip into hell...losing me next 3 games. The above diagram is of one of my games against a very seasoned player named Tony. I have the white pieces. The previous moves have been: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Bc5 What would you do next? I'll tell you this. Whatever I did do wasn't correct because I lost in a most humiliating manner! You just can't overcome this and act as nothing has happened. Finally, I was to finish the night playing a lesser opponent and I was glad. I wanted to have an equal score for the evenings work. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. I won the second to last game convincingly, but in the final tragedy struck as I banged on the chess clock in an aggressive manner and my flag fell...meaning I lost on time. I had a winning position. Crap! So the ultimate score was 2 games out of 6. I did receive a quick chess rating of 1297 Elo USCF. Really, not bad for the first time out in this type of quick game. I know I can do better!

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

Wadsworth it enough?

Yesterday I visited the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Leavenworth, Kansas. I think I like it's former name better: The National Soldiers Home, Western Branch, Wadsworth, Kansas. Yes, that has a grander ring to it...just like my ears do! President Lincoln, with the help of the U.S. Congress, established these homes as a way of repaying these volunteer soldiers loss of a limb or mind directly caused by the U.S. Civil War. These homes were grand in their Victorian design. No expense was to be spared and every effort was made to make sure these homes had the latest in modern plumbing, fixtures, safety equipment, medical services, food, and entertainment. The above image is of the lake...Lake Jeanette. Notice the band shell on the lake. In the 1870's, and until the 1930's, this is where the old soldiers, sailors, and marines would come to ease the heat of the day and listen to music. The band was provided for their enjoyment. They had dances and plays also. A huge library was provided. On pension day the canteen sold beer...70 half barrels worth! I won't tell you that this would meet our modern view of comfort. No, most of you would be appalled by the austerities of the open bay barracks with it lack of air conditioning and privacy. I believe most of you would have turned up your nose at the food the subsistence department provided. I am sure the horror of a visit to the hospital would be leaving you with thoughts of law suits. However, it is our modern eyes that make us blind. This place would have seemed as heaven on earth to these mangled men. Most of them were from farms and hard work and harder living is all that they knew until they were baptised by fire during war. These men had little in way of shelter, food, clothing, and sanitation. Just about all had body lice and sores covered their skin. Think about living as such. Now, think about coming to a place where you didn't have to worry about sores, lice, food, clothing, shelter, medical needs, and entertainment. To boot, they received! That was a god send to these men and most enjoyed their stays until their last roll call. I wish it was still like that.

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

Hurry Home Soon My Son

My little man has left. He is my partner and friend and I will miss him. We do everything together. He is my son...a reason to arise in the mornings and make a grand breakfast. I miss him already. Yesterday I fixed him some biscuits and sausage gravy. This morning he had oatmeal and toast. Maybe I should have cooked up some pancakes. The fluffy ones he loves so much...yeah, I should have. We left at 8:30 am for the Kansas City International airport. I let him drive there because it makes him feel grown and that he is doing something for the family. He was mature acting. He found the perfect parking space and took his bags to the check-in counter of the airline. I heard him ask if the flight was on time and seen him flash his passport. A picture of a grown man. I didn't want to let him go and I don't want him gone for the whole summer. However, his grandparents in the Republic of Panama have been waiting for a visit for years and I must not disappoint them with my selfishness. As they called his flight I hugged him goodbye and silently prayed that he will have a safe flight and for his safety in general. I need my wing man...I need him as I need oxygen...he is my life! Please be safe son and return home soon!!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Judit Polgar

I am sorry to report that Judit Polgar didn't win her FIDE Candidates Match against Evgeny Bareev. She gave him a good match and produced one outstanding example why she should be the first woman to be crowned World Chess Champion. I don't want to offer excuses, but she has recently had to curtail her chess playing to become a mother of two. As these children grow older she will naturally have more time to devote to her chess career and I fully expect her participation in a World Championship game in the future. Go Judit!

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Lion Queen...Judit Makes Her Kill!!

Hurray, Judit won a game! I like this very much. Judit has had a disappointing candidate match thus far. Her opponent is a very exprienced Russian Grandmaster named Evgeny Bareev. After game four the score was Bareev 3 points and Judit had 1 point. Yes, a very hard place to be and near impossible to recover from. Judit has a heart of a lion and went for the kill! I know most who read this blog wouldn't understand the notation, but believe you me when I say it was a most exciting game. If you wish me to post the entire game just ask. I will put the final position above for all the enjoy. The score after today stands: Bareev 3 points and Judit 2 points. One game remains in the match. If Judit wins then they play sudden death blitz (5 minute games) until one of them wins a game. Judit can not draw...or she loses her match. Go Judit Polgar!!

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?