Monday, December 26, 2011

Removing The Guard

One chess tactic is removing the guard. This is also known as undermining. It removes the defence of a piece so that it becomes possible to win material. In a very short game of speed chess at chessgames.com, I used this tactic to great effect. My opponent was Syanas of the USA who played black. Here are the moves of this game along with my commentary:

1. e4 c5
2. d4 cxd
3. c3 Nc6

I expect dxc.

4. cxd d5
5. exd Qxd5
6. Nf3 Bg4
7. Be2 Bxf3

Black thinks that he can win a pawn. The capture of my knight removes a defender of my d-pawn.

8. Bxf3 Qxd4

Black makes a mistake. Qd7 and Qe6+ are better moves.

9. Bxc6+

I remove the knight which guards the queen. Black must respond to my check. I then capture the unprotected queen on my next move. Realizing the difficulty of playing on in such a position, black resigns. The key to victory in this game is my ability to capture my opponent's queen with a check which removes his queen's guard.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Trapping the Queen

In a game of speed chess at chessgames.com, my opponent brought his queen out early. On my twelfth move, I trapped his queen and he resigned two moves later. My opponent was Williamigg of Russia who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 d5
2. exd Qxd5
3. Nc3 Qa5

I immediately attack the queen.

4. Nf3 Nc6
5. d4 e6
6. Bd2 Qh5
7. Be2 f6

Black lags behind in development.

8. Ne5 Qh4

I attack the queen again.

9. Nxc6 bxc6
10. 0-0 Bd6

The black queen can capture my pawn on d4 but with the lack of development and the king in the centre, it is risky. For this reason black chooses to develop and threaten mate on h2. The problem is that the black queen is in danger. A better move to protect the queen is g5.

11. g3 Qh3
12. Bg4 Qxg4

The black queen is trapped.

13. Qxg4 e5

Now the black bishop attacks my queen.

14. Qxg7

Black resigns. Not only is he down a queen and a pawn but he cannot save his rook on h8. Rather than continue in such a difficult position, he surrenders. My ability to attack the black queen and take advantage of black's lack of development result in a quick victory.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quick Mate

In a game of speed chess at chessgames.com, I quickly mated my opponent by penetrating with my queen to the back rank. My opponent was Liew1960 of Malaysia who played white. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. d4 e5
2. f3 exd

White's move is a surprise. I expect dxe.

3. Qxd4 Nc6

I immediately attack white's queen.

4. Qf2 Nf6

Qd1 and Qa4 are more common moves for white.

5. b3 d5
6. Nd2 b6
7. Bb2 Bc5

I attack the white queen to create a pawn weakness.

8. e3 Bb7
9. 0-0-0 0-0

White castles queenside to protect the king but my firepower is concentrated on the queenside.

10. Qe2 Nb4
11. Kb1 a5
12. e4 a4

I continue with my attack.

13. exd axb

A better move for white is e5 which attacks my knight.

14. axb Nfxd5
15. Nc4 Na2
16. Qe5 f6

I must stop mate on g7.

17. Qf5 Ndc3+

Now I have a discovered attack on the rook.

18. Bxc3 Qxd1+
19. Kb2 Qc1#

Supported by my knight on a2, my queen delivers mate. In this game white creates a mating threat with Qe5, but fails to see the power of my seventeenth move. It creates a discovered attack on the white rook which allows my queen to penetrate to the back rank. This is the key to victory in the game.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Infixation in Cebuano

Cebuano, one of the languages spoken in the Phillipines, has infixation. This is a morphological process in which a bound morpheme attaches inside a root. More common morphological processes are prefixation and suffixation.

The following are five nouns from Cebuano:

sibwano (a Cebuano)
ilokano (an Ilokano)
tagalog (a Tagalog person)
inglis (an Englishman)
bisaja (a Visayan)

The language names are the following:

sinibwano (the Cebuano language)
inilokano (the Ilocano language)
tinagalog (the Tagalog language)
ininglis (the English language)
binisaja (the Visayan language)

An analysis of the words sinibwano, tinagalog and binisaja reveals that the affix -in- has been inserted between the onset and the rest of the root. However, with ilokano the affix is in front of the root. In the case of ininglis, it is not clear if the affix -in- is the first or second syllable of the word.

To solve the data it is important to find a simple solution. It is not so simple to argue that the affix -in- is sometimes a prefix and sometimes an infix. Rather, a rule can be created which inserts the affix -in- after the onset of the root. The onset of sibwano is /s/. With insertion of the affix after the onset /s/, the result is /s/ + /in/ + /ibwano/ which derives sinibwano. The same pattern applies to tagalog and bisaja. The three words begin with consonants.

However, the words ilokano and inglis begin with vowels. Here the onset of the first syllable is 0. Therefore, the infix -in- is inserted after a 0 onset. This is also known as an empty onset. Here is the derivation for ilokano: 0 + /in/ + /ilokano/ becomes inilokano.

The word ininglis is derived by the same process. To indicate the position of the affix in the word, we can write /in/(Af) to distinguish the affix from the part of the root. Here is the derivation for ininglis: 0 + /in/(Af) + inglis becomes ininglis.

Cebuano is a language with infixation. The infix -in- attaches to the inside of ethnic group names to derive language names. It may appear that the affix is sometimes a prefix because it attaches before vowel-initial roots. However, the rule which states that -in- attaches after onsets solves this problem. In roots which have no initial consonant, the infix -in- is attached after a 0 onset. This makes it possible to express the process as infixation in all cases.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My heart leaps up when I behold

William Wordsworth was an English romantic poet. One of his poems is titled "My Heart Leaps Up."

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound to each by natural piety.

The narrator expresses his love of nature. Every time he sees a rainbow he is filled with joy. This was true in his days of infancy and also now. He says this connection will be true until he dies and declares he would rather die than not appreciate the beauty of a rainbow. He considers children superior to adults because they are closer to nature. He wants to be as in his childhood, a person bound to nature.

The poem "My Heart Leaps Up" is a very short poem. However, it is a powerful poem which expresses many ideas in few words. The strength of the narrator's feelings is clearly expressed in the sixth verse "Or let me die!" For the narrator a life without nature is unimaginable.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Decisive Pin

In a game of speed chess at chessgames.com, I used a pin to achieve a quick victory. My opponent was Barbances of Spain who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 d6

Black usually plays a6.

4. Bxc6+ bxc6
5. h3 Nf6
6. 0-0 Nxe4

I sacrifice a pawn for quick development.

7. d4 exd

With black's king in the centre, I want an open game.

8. Qxd4 Nf6

A better move than this retreat with the knight is d5. It keeps the knight in the centre and opens a diagonal for the black bishop on f8.

9. Bg5 Be7

Now black is ready to castle.

10. Re1 Qd7

A better move for black is 0-0.

11. Bxf6 gxf6
12. Qxf6 Rg8

My twelfth move takes black by surprise. My queen cannot be captured because the bishop is pinned. The pin is decisive. Black must move his rook to avoid capture by my queen.

13. Ng5 Rg6

Black attacks my queen but this move is a mistake. A better move is Rf8 but it is clear that black is in trouble.

14. Qh8+

Black resigns. The only move for black is Rg8. I then play Qxg8 and it is mate. One of the key moves in this game is Qxf6. It takes advantage of the pin on the bishop and attacks the king rook. Black must move the rook on his next move but then loses his right to castle. Black's inability to castle allows me to end the game quickly.