Saturday, June 22, 2013

Queen Sacrifice

It seldoms happens that I win a game with a queen sacrifice.  However, I did so in a recent game of speed chess.  My opponent, who played black, was Eljugador of Mexico.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 c5
2. d4 cxd
3. c3 dxc
4. Nxc3 Nc6
5. Nf3 d6
6. Bc4 h6

Black wants to prevent Ng5, but e6 is a better move because it helps to control the centre and also protects the f7 square.

7. 0-0 Nf6
8. Re1 Bg4

The black king remains in the centre of the board.

9. e5 Nxe5

Black should play e6.

10. Nxe5 Bxd1

The capture of the queen is a blunder.  My knight and bishop control enough squares to deliver mate.

11. Bxf7#

A queen sacrifice leads to a quick checkmate.  Black plays aggressively and gains material, but fails to adequately protect his king.  This is the reason for his quick defeat.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

English of the Southern USA

The English of the southern USA is different from other regions of the country.  It is a large area which includes Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee.  The accents are quite diverse.  However, a number of features are characteristic of the region.

The diphthong of words such as my and tie is often realized as the monophthong of cat and sand.  Other vowels such as those of sit, ate, pet, put and cat are pronounced as diphthongs.  The second component of the diphthong is a schwa.

Before a nasal, the vowel of pen is raised and pronounced as the vowel of pin.  As a result, the words pen and pin sound identical.  The distinction is maintained before other sounds such as set and sit.

The words hoarse and horse are pronounced differently.  The word hoarse has a diphthong.  The first component is a mid back rounded tense vowel and the second is a schwa.  In horse, the vowel is a monophthong.  It is a mid back rounded lax vowel.

The English of the southern USA is different from other regions of the USA.  It is spoken in a large area of the United States with a number of different accents.  However, three features are universally true of this accent.  They are the monophthongization of the vowel in pie, the diphthongization of vowels  that are monophthongs in other regions, and the vowel raising that occurs before nasals.

Backrank Threat

In a game of speed chess against Khursheedk of the USA, I won by threatening to mate on the backrank.  My opponent, who played white, had no escape square for his king.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1.  e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd
4. Bb5+ Bd7
5. Nxd4 a6

I force white to move the bishop.

6. Bxd7+ Qxd7
7. 0-0 Nf6
8. Qf3 Nc6
9. Nxc6 bxc6

White strengthens my pawn centre.

10. Nc3 e6
11. Bg5 Be7
12. Rfd1 0-0

White has strong pressure on the e-file.

13. e5 Nd5
14. Bxe7 Qxe7
15. Nxd5 cxd5

My pawn blocks the e-file.

16. exd Qxd6
17. Qc3 Rfc8

My rook becomes active.

18. Qf3 Rxc2

White allows me to take a pawn.  It is better to play Qd3 to protect the pawn.

19. Rdc1 Rac8

I want to maintain control of the c-file.

20. Rxc2 Rxc2
21. b3 h6

I create an escape square for my king.

22. Qd3 Qc5

I threaten mate on the backrank.  White has no time to create an escape square because I also threaten Qxf2+.

23.  Qe3 d4

White wants an exchange of queens, but I make a better move.

24. Qf4 e5

My move forces white off the h6-c1 diagonal.  With the queen powerless to prevent mate, white resigns.

The key to victory in this game is my threat to mate on the backrank.  White's failure to create an escape square for his king lead to his defeat.  The threat of a backrank mate forces white's resignation.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The letters mn

In English, the letters mn only occur word-finally in a few cases.  When they do, the n is silent.  However, when the letters occur word-medially in a related form, they are both pronounced.

Here are a few examples:

hymn hymnal
solemn solemnity
column columnist
autumn autumnal
condemn condemnation

The deletion of the word final nasal can be regarded as consonant cluster simplication or deletion.  Without question, most languages do not allow the consonant cluster mn in word final position.  Nevertheless, the spelling of words such as column and hymn suggests that the alveolar nasal was once pronounced.

The alveolar nasal is pronounced word-medially.  Here the bilabial and alveolar nasals occur in different syllables.  In autumnal, the bilabial nasal is in the coda of the first syllable and the alveolar nasal is in the onset of the second.

In Swedish the two nasals are pronounced word-finally.  This is the case with namn (name) and famn (arms).

The spelling of words such as hymn and autumn reveals that the word-final nasal was once pronounced.  Further evidence is provided by the related forms hymnal and autumnal in which the alveolar nasal is pronounced.  It is possible to construct a rule for English which deletes the alveolar nasal in the cluster mn when it occurs word-finally.  The rule can be written as follows:  [mn] --> [m] / _#

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stress of Separable/Inseparable Phrasal Verbs

Separable and inseparable phrasal verbs carry different stress.  Separable phrasal verbs have stress on the particle of the verb.  Inseparable phrasal verbs, however, have stress on the verb.

The separable phrasal verb pick up has stress on the particle up.  In the sentence She picked up the phone the particle up is stressed but the verb picked is not.

Compare this with the inseparable phrasal verb look at.  In the sentence She looked at her watch the verb looked is stressed but the particle at is not.

One key difference between separable and inseparable phrasal verbs is that pronouns come between the verb and particle in separable phrasal verbs (Pick it up!) and follow the verb and particle in inseparable phrasal verbs (Look at it!)  However, another key difference is stress.  Separable phrasal verbs have stress on the particle, but inseparable phrasal verbs have stress on the verb.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Positional Victory

In a game of speed chess, I defeated my opponent witthout the use of tactics.  I relied on positional play.  My opponent, Firstcpa of the USA, played white.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. d4 Nf6
2. e3 g6
3. Nf3 d5
4. Be2 Bg7
5. 0-0 0-0
6. b3 Re8
7. Bb2 Nc6
8. Nbd2 e5
9. dxe Nd7

Now I can recover the pawn.

10. Rb1 Ndxe5
11. Nxe5 Bxe5
12. Nf3 Bxb2
13. Rxb2 Be6

I have an isolated pawn.

14. Bb5 a6
15. Bxc6 bxc6

I have doubled pawns but now my isolated pawn is defended by another pawn.

16. Qd4 Qe7

I want to advance my c-pawn.

17. Rd1 c5
18. Qd3 c6
19. c3 Bg4
20. Qe2 Qf6

White cannot prevent me from doubling his kingside pawns.

21. Rf1 Bxf3
22. Qxf3 Qxf3
23. gxf3 Kg7

Now white has no backrank check.

24. Re2 Re7
25. e4 Rae8
26. e5 Rxe5

Black makes a bad move and loses a pawn.  It is better to play Rfe8.

27. Rxe5 Rxe5
28. Kg2 h5

White wants to activate the king.  I aim to restrict the king's movement.

29. Rd1 Re2
30. a4 Rc2
31. c4 d4

I can win another pawn with ...dxc, bxc, Rxc4, but I decide to keep my powerful d-pawn on the board.

32. Rd3 Rc3

White cannot play Rxc3 because then my pawn queens.

33. Rd1 Rxb3

I win another pawn.

34. Kg3 Rb4

One of the white pawns must fall.

35. Re1 Rxc4

I win another pawn.

36. Re5 d3

I reject ...Rxa4, Rxc5 because it allows white too much counterplay.

37.  Re7 d2

I continue to push my passed pawn.

38. Rd7 Rd4

White is powerless to stop the d-pawn from queening.

The game starts out with a number of quite moves and material is even until the 26th move.  Shortly after winning a pawn, I obtain a passed pawn which I use to my advantage.  I also activate my rook to gain more pawns.  These small advantages are the difference in the game and exemplify positional play.

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