Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding is a delicious dessert that is easy to make.  For this recipe you need the following:

4 tablespoons tapioca
3 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan.  Lightly beat the egg.  Let stand for five minutes.  Bring to a full boil over medium heat and stir constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in one teaspoon of vanilla.  Let cool for twenty minutes.  The pudding will thicken as it cools.  Serve warm or cold.  Enjoy!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Victory with a Check

In a game of speed chess against Dingdone of Canada, I checked his uncastled king to turn the game in my favour.  In this game he played white.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1.  d4 Nf6
2.  Nc3 d5

White usually plays c4 here.

3.  Bg5 e6
4.  e4 h6
5.  Bxf6 gxf6
6.  exd exd
7.  Bd3 Be7

With the open g-file, I do not wish to castle kingside.

8.  h3 Be6
9.  Nf3 Nc6
10. Bb5 Qd6
11. Qe2 0-0-0
12. Bxc6 Qxc6

Black's decision to give up another bishop is committal.

13. a3 Kb8
14. Nd2 Rhe8
15. Nb3 Bd6

My bishop now controls more squares.

16. Qb5 Bd7+

Black wants to exchange queens but I do not cooperate.  I exploit the position of the uncastled king and put black in check.

17. Ne2 Qxb5

Black blocks the check with his knight but this removes the protection of his queen.  A better move for black is to move the king (Kd2 connects the rooks) but even with this move, he loses a piece.  Down a queen, black has no desire to continue and resigns.

Black's failure to castle is the reason for his quick loss.  My sixteenth move puts him on the defensive and gives him a losing position.  This game illustrates the importance of keeping the king safe.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Day

New Day is the title of my latest poem.  I hope you enjoy it.

New Day

Moments of yesterday can never come again,
Though they often return in my mind.
Today brings heightened sensation
In reaction to all I find.

I have no power to change the past
Or to restart the present.
The die of life has been cast,
Life mirrors an ocean current.

Yesterday has become history,
Today is my adventure,
Tomorrow is my destiny,
My three medals of life to treasure.

When yesterday disappears,
Tomorrow begins anew,
Not confronted by sudden fears
But surrounded by hope and virtue.

Tomorrow becomes another new day
With surprises for me to discover.
Each one can take troubles away
And make joys of life last longer.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chess Miniature

I played  a game of speed chess at chess.com which ended on my twelfth move.  This qualifies it as a miniature.  My opponent was Pawnkiller of the USA who played black.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1.  e4 c5
2.  d4 Nc6

Black's move is a surprise.  The reply dxc is very common.  Other possible replies are d5 and e6.  Black's reply allows me to put him on the defensive.

3.  d5 Nd4

Black makes a mistake.  The retreat Nb8 is much better.

4.  c3 Qa5

Black tries to save his knight by pinning my pawn.

5.  b4 cxb4

Now the black knight is undefended.

6.  Qxd4 bxc3

I centralize my queen.

7.  Nxc3 Nf6
8.  Bd3 g6
9.  Bd2 Bg7

Both sides prepare an attack against the enemy queen.

10.  Nb5 Qd8
11.  Rc1 Ng4

The problem with black's move is that the bishop is undefended.  Black needs to castle before making this move.

12.  Qxg7

Black resigns.  With my queen threatening black's rook and my knight ready to check on c7, black realizes the game is over.   Black commits a number of errors in this game.  The third move, Nd4, is a critical one which leads to the loss of his knight.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Capitals of the former Soviet Union

The former Soviet Union consisted of fifteen republics.  The largest in area and population is Russia.  Here is a list of the former Soviet republics and their capitals:

Armenia Yerevan
Azerbaijan Baku
Belarus Minsk
Estonia Tallinn
Georgia Tbilisi
Kazakhstan Astana
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek
Latvia Riga
Lithuania Vilnius
Moldova Chisinau
Russia Moscow
Tajikistan Dushanbe
Turkmenistan Ashgabat
Ukraine Kiev
Uzbekistan Tashkent

After Moscow, the most famous capital is Kiev.  Another spelling of this city is Kyiv which is based on Ukrainian rather than Russian.  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are known as the Baltic republics.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rule for Doubling the Final t of Base Verbs

A number of English verbs with a word-final t double the t when a suffix is attached to the stem.  However, this is not always the case.  Some verbs do not double the t.

Verbs such as hit, sit, forget and regret double the t with the addition of a suffix.  This can be seen in forms such as hitting, sitting, forgetting and regretting.  The last syllable of the base is stressed.  This is the penultimate syllable of the word.

In verbs such as visit, benefit and exit, the t remains single when a suffix is attached.  This can be seen in forms such as visiting, benefiting and exiting.  The difference between these verbs and the ones with a double t is that with the verbs of this group the stress falls on the first syllable.  It does not precede the suffix.  The t is only doubled when the final syllable of the base is stressed.

The rule for the doubling of the t has an exception.  Bases with a doubled vowel such as oo and combinations such as ea and ou do not double the t.  Consider the forms looting, heating and shouting.

The final t of verbs sometimes doubles when a suffix is attached.  The rule for doubling is determined by stress.  The t can only be doubled if the final syllable of the base verb is stressed.