Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mate With Queen and Bishop

I recently played a game of speed chess at chess.com in which my queen and bishop combined to mate. My opponent was Onyx of the USA who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d6

Here d5 is the most popular move for black.

3.Nf3 Bb7
4.Nc3 Bb4
5.Bd3 Nf6
6.e5 Nd5
7.Bd2 Bxc3
8.Bxc3 Nxc3
9.bxc3 0-0
10.0-0 f6
11.Qe2 fxe
12.Nxe5 d6

I capture the e-pawn with my knight because the black bishop threatens to capture my knight and weaken the pawn shield around my king. Black has yet to develop the queen knight.

13.Qh5 Rf6

I ignore the attack on my knight. Black defends the f-hile with his rook but a better move is to capture my knight with dxe5.

14.Bxh7+ Kh8

Black makes a mistake. A better move is Kf8 because it gives the king more escape squares. With best play, though, I prevail because I have a winning position.

15.Ng6+ Rxg6

Black is forced to give up the rook.

16. Bxg6+ Kg8
17. Qh7+ Kf8
18. Qh8+ Ke7
19. Qg7#

My queen and bishop combine to mate the black king. My bishop prevents escape to e8 and my queen prevents escape to f8. Black loses because of his lack of development. His queen rook, queen knight and queen remain on their original squares.

Monday, November 29, 2010


"Dragons" is the title of a poem which I wrote in 2007. In this poem I try to capture the magic and power of these mythical creatures. Here is the poem:


Fiery creatures with powerful tails,
Supported in air by magical wings,
Proudly protected by well-crafted scales,
Dragons belong to lands of fairytale kings.

In very high mountain caves they are found,
In wilderness that they claim as their own.
Their intelligence and power are renowned.
Legends foretelling their beauty have grown.

Though dragons vary greatly in colour,
Golden dragons leave lasting impressions.
Dragons are mythical beasts of wonder,
Filling our minds with vivid sensations.

With wings to ascend and descend through air,
And scorching fire to breathe upon their foes,
Dragons are very rare creatures that scare,
Living forever in legend and prose.

This poem consists of four stanzas with four verses. The even and odd verses rhyme with one another and each verse has ten syllables. The phrases which start "Proudly protected" and "With wings" are examples of alliteration. I hope you enjoyed my poem.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Castling Error

I recently played a game at chess.com in which my opponent castled queenside. It is more common to castle kingside but sometimes queenside castling is a good idea. If a player wants to initiate a pawnstorm on the kingside, queenside castling frees the kingside pawns for an attack. In my game, however, queenside castling is a mistake because I have a strong attack on the queenside. My opponent was Clearknighto of the USA who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 h6
4. 0-0 d6
5. d4 exd

I want to open the centre because the black king has not castled.

6. Nxd4 Bd7
7. Re1 Qf6

Black puts his queen on the best square for his king knight. My knight on d4 is attacked twice but it can be defended easily.

8. Be3 a6

It is better here for black to develop his knight or bishop to e7.

9. Nc3 b5
10. Bb3 Qe5
11. Nd5 0-0-0

Black makes a bad move. I have my pieces on the queenside and the black queenside pawns are easy to attack.

12. a4 Qxe4

I want to open the queenside for more lines of attack against the black king.

13. axb Nxd4
14. Bxd4 Qg6
15. bxa6 Bc6

My a-pawn is two squares away from queening. I must not move my knight here because the black queen and bishop can combine to deliver mate on g2.

16. a7 Kd7
17. Ba4 Bxa4
18. Rxa4 Ra8

I am happy to eliminate black's bishop. The black rook is reduced to a defensive role.

19. Qe2 Nf6

I want to check with my queen on b5. Black finally develops his king knight.

20. Qb5+ c6

Black forks my queen and knight. In this case, it is a mistake. Though he is lost regardless of how he plays, he can last longer with Kc8.

21. Qb7+

Black resigns. I can mate on my next move. Black must reply with Kd8. I can then play either Bb6# or Qc7#.

If black plays Kc8 on move 20, the game might continue as follows:

20. Qb7+ Kc8
21. Re8+ Nxe8
22. Qxe8+ Kb7
23. Rb4+ Ka6
24. Qa4#

If black plays Kd8 on move 20, the game might continue as follows:

20. Qb7+ Kd8
21. Qb8+ Rxb8
22. axb8=Q+ Kd7
23. Qc7#

Queenside castling is often a good move. In this game, however, it is not. It is better for black to castle kingside or leave his king in the middle. I am able to launch a quick attack against his exposed king.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Twenty Famous European Cheeses

The most famous cheeses in the world are from Europe. This is the reason that many other cheeses are based on European recipes. I have decided to select twenty of the most famous ones.

The country which consumes the most cheese per capita is France. Five famous French cheeses are Boursin, Brie, Camembert, Neufchatel and Roquefort. Brie and Camembert are probably the two most famous French cheeses. They are very similar cheeses but Brie is traditionally sold in a bigger wheel than Camembert and has a milder flavour. Boursin is a soft cheese flavoured with garlic and herbs. Neufchatel is also a soft cheese with the flavour of mushroom. Roquefort is a blue cheese which is ripened in caves of southern France.

Another country which produces many popular cheeses is Italy. Four famous Italian cheeses are Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone and Romano. Mozzarella was originally produced in the south of Italy. It is a very good cheese for baking. Parmesan is a hard cheese which is flavoured with brine. Provolone is a traditional semi-hard cheese. Romano is a hard cheese and is one of the oldest in Italy.

The Netherlands also produces great cheeses. Three well-known Dutch cheeses are Edam, Gouda and Leyden. Edam and Gouda are similar semi-hard cheeses. A notable difference between the two is that Edam is made with skim milk and Gouda is made with homogenized. Leyden is a hard cheese which is drier than Edam and Gouda.

Switzerland produces a number of fine cheeses. Two of the finest are Emmental and Gruyere. Emmental is also known as Swiss Cheese. It is a hard cheese famous for its holes. Gruyere is also a hard cheese which is flavoured in brine. Some varieties are also smoked.

England is the home of Cheddar. It is a semi-hard cheese which is originally white in colour. However, some Cheddars have colour added which makes them yellow or orange.

Spain produces Manchego, a hard cheese with small holes.

Greece is known for Feta, a soft cheese preserved in brine. It is one of the ingredients in Greek Salad.

Germany produces a number of fine cheeses. One is Tilsit, a semi-hard cheese with small holes.

Denmark is known for blue cheese and for Havarti, a traditional semi-soft cheese.

Norway is the home of Jarlsberg, a hard cheese with holes and a flavour of nut.

France and Italy are the two European countries which produce the greatest number and variety of European cheeses. Their cheeses are undoubtedly the most famous in the world. However, other European countries also produce popular cheeses of high quality.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Offensive Battle

I recently played a game of speed chess at chess.com which was an offensive battle from start to finish. My opponent was Bullsandrage of Colombia who played black. Here are the moves and commentary of this exciting game:

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 e6
3. Bc4 d5
4. exd exd

Black has a strong pawn centre but is behind in piece development.

5. Bb5+ Nc6
6. 0-0 Bd6
7. Re1+ Ne7

Both black knights are pinned.

8. Ne5 Qc7
9. Nxf7 Kxf7

I sacrifice my knight to expose the black king.

10. Qh5+ g6
11. Qf3+ Kg7
12. d4 Bxh2+

I push my queen pawn to open a diagonal for my dark-squared bishop. The check takes me by surprise.

13. Kh1 Bd6
14. Bxc6 Nxc6
15. dxc Bxc5

The black bishop is no longer on the same diagonal as the queen.

16. Nc3 Bf5

I finally develop my queen knight.

17. Nxd5 Qd6

Black must move the queen.

18. Bf4 Qd7

The black queen must move again. Though black has one more piece, his two rooks are not active. They remain on their original squares.

19. Rad1 Bxc2
20. Qc3+ Bd4
21. Rxd5

Here black resigns. The resignation may seem premature but if black plays Nxc4 I play Re7+ and black loses his queen. If black plays Rac8 or Rhc8, I play Rc4+ and black is in trouble. The three possible moves for the black king are Kf7, Kf8 and Kg8.

If black plays Kf7, I play Qf6+. Black must play Kg8. I then play Bh6 and mate soon follows.

If black plays Kf8, I play Bh6+. Black must play Kg8 and then I play Nxf6 which wins the black queen.

If black plays Kg8, I play Nf6+ and win the black queen.

In this game, black establishes a strong pawn centre but does so at the expense of piece development. My knight sacrifice exposes his king and turns the game in my favour.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Speech Errors

An important but often understudied area in linguistics is the study of speech errors. A speech error can be defined as a conscious or unconscious deviation from a speech utterance. Five kinds of speech errors are omission, addition, metathesis, substitution and word exchange.

An example of omission is the utterance "They can come" instead of "They can't come." Here the word-final "t" of "can't" is omitted.

Addition is the exact opposite. In this case, more is uttered than is intended. For example, the phrase "us and me" in "He saw us and me" instead of "He saw us" is an example of addition.

Metathesis is a speech error in which segments switch place in an utterance. The utterance "feel run" instead of the intended "real fun" is an example of metathesis. Here the word-initial "r" of "real" and word-initial "f" of "fun" switch position.

In substition, one word is substituted for another. For example, the utterance "I can't find my bat" instead of the intended "I can't find my ball" is substituton. This kind of utterance often occurs with words which sound similar to one another.

Word-exchange is similar to metathesis. However, it is not segments which are exchanged but rather words. For example, "I must put the pot in the rice" instead of the intended utterance "I must put the rice in the pot" is an example of this type of error.

Speech errors can be categorized into many different kinds. They are deviations from intended utterances which speakers may or may not be conscious of. If they are not conscious of their error, they cannot correct it. Among the most common speech errors are omission, addition, metathesis, substitution and word exchange.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rules of English Word Stress

Though most English words are stressed on the first syllable, English stress is invariable. It can fall on any syllable in a word. With the knowledge of a few rules, however, it is easier to predict stress in English.

In a number of cases, disyllabic nouns and verbs are stressed differently. The nouns are stressed on the first syllable but the verbs are stressed on the second. This is all that serves to distinguish them. Examples include "decrease," "increase," "import," and "export."

Words which end in the suffixes -ic and -tion have penultimate stress. Examples include "historic," "economic," "acidic," "situation," "organization" and "civilization."

Words which end in the suffix -al have antepenultimate stress. Examples include "geographical," "philosophical," and "biological."

Compound nouns are usually stressed on the first syllable. Examples include "greenhouse," "airport" and "newspaper."

Compound verbs are usually stressed on the final syllable. Examples include "overlook," "disagree" and "underrate."

English word stress is not as irregular as many think. It is true that stress can fall on any syllable in an English word, but the majority of words are stressed on the first syllable. In addition, a number of rules are useful for predicting stress in an English word.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Controlling the Centre

Controlling the centre is a very important part of chess. In a recent game of speed chess, my central pawns played a key role. My opponent was Oezolivo of Venezuela who played black. Here are the moves along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 h6
4. 0-0 Bc4
5. c3 a6

Black's fifth move does not develop a piece. Here it is better to play Nf6.

6. d4 exd
7. cxd Ba7
8. d5 Nce7

My central pawns are very strong.

9. d6 Nc6
10. Nc3 Nf6

Black can finally castle.

11. e5 Nh7
12. e1 0-0
13. Bf4 b5
14. Bb3 B8

Black's move is very defensive. A better move is Bb7 which develops the light-squared bishop.

15. Qd2 cxd

I am preparing a bishop sacrifice.

16. exd Qf6

The black queen prevents my bishop sacrifice.

17. Nd4 Qd8

Now the sacrifice is possible.

18. Bxh6 gxh6
19. Qxa6 Ba7
20. Neg5 Bxf2+

Black's bishop sacrifice is a surprise. It is a desperate attempt to generate counterplay.

21. Kxf2 Nxg5
22. Nxg5 Qb6+

The check is not dangerous.

23. Kf1

Black resigns because he cannot prevent Qh7#. He can delay mate if he moves his rook to d8. Then I can play Qh7+ and after Kf8 I play Qf7#.

My control of the centre, quick development and forceful moves lead to a decisive victory. Black fails to counter my strong centre and develop all of his pieces. This leads to his downfall.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Old English

From approximately 450 to 1100, England was the home of Old English. Though this language is the ancestor of the modern English that is spoken today, it differed from modern English in many ways. These included pronunciation, vocabulary and syntax.

Many of the differences in pronunciation were reflected in the vowel system. Unlike in modern English, Old English had a front high rounded vowel as in the French word "lune" (moon). The vowels were monophthongs, not diphthongs. Furthermore, Old English had a number of diphthongs which no longer occur in English such as "eo."

The consonants were similar but Old English had palatal and velar fricatives as in German. A word with a palatal fricative was "night" . Also, the interdental voiced fricative of "mother," the voiced labiodental fricative of "vest" and the voiced alveolar fricative of "zero" were allophones of their voiced counterparts and not phonemes as is the case today.

Much of the vocabulary of Old English was quite different from that of modern English. Here is a list to illustrate:

English: I, king, name, life, now, bread, tree, eye, lake, cheese
Old English: Ic, cyning, nama, lif, nu, hlaf, beam, eage, mere, ciese

The syntax of Old English was also different from that of modern English. Old English was a V2 language. This means that in sentences where the first word was not the subject of the sentence the second word had to be a verb. For example, in the sentence "Now we must go" Old English had to put "must" in second position. This resulted in the sentence "Now must we go" which is ungrammatical in modern English. Another difference was that inversion was used to generate questions with main verbs. The auxiliary "do" was not inserted. The question "Do you like fish?" was "Like you fish?" which is ungrammatical in modern English.

The ancestor of modern English is Old English, a language which differed significantly from the language of today. This is the reason that Old English texts are often translated. Without question, English has undergone many changes since its earliest days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crushing Victory

I recently had a crushing victory in a game of speed chess at chess.com. My opponent was Gameraus8 of the USA. He brought out his queen early and I took advantage. In this game I played black. Here are the moves along with my commentary:

1. e4 c5
2. Bc4 e6
3. Qf3 Nc6

White brings out his queen early. With my second move, f7 is not a target for the black queen and bishop. Another problem is that this move takes away the best square for the black king knight.

4. a3 Nd4

I immediately attack the white queen. I also threaten to fork the white king and rook with Nc2+. With this move I expect black to play Qd1 on his next move.

5. Qd3 Qg5

Qd3 stops Nxc2+, but it blocks the d-pawn and makes it difficult to develop the queen bishop. After my fifth move, I expect g3 which weakens white's pawns.

6. Nf3 Qxg2

Nf3 attacks my queen but leaves the kingside vulnerable.

7. Rg1 Nxf3+

Black is in big trouble.

8. Kd1 Qxg1+
9. Ke2 Nd4+
10. Ke3 Qe1+

The king is very exposed.

11. Kf4 Bd6+

I bring out the king bishop to aid in the attack.

12. e5 Qxe5+
13. Kg4 Nf6+

The king moves to the only available square. My king knight comes out to aid in the attack.

14. Kh3 Qxh2#

The game is over after only fourteen moves. Before mate I check black seven times in a row. White loses quickly because he brings out his queen prematurely and is unable to get his king to safety.