Sunday, September 29, 2013

Four Seasons Drink

The drink called Four Seasons has fruits that represent every season of the year. The four fruits in the drink are usually mango, orange, pineapple and guava. It has a blend of different fruit flavours.

The seasons of the fruits can vary depending on the variety and the region where they are grown.  Also, some fruits are ripe in more than one season. Many varieties of oranges, for example, are ripe from fall to spring. However, if they first become ripe in fall, it is possible to classify them as a fall fruit.

Here are the seasons which can be assigned to the fruits of the four seasons drink:

pineapple (summer)
orange (fall)
guava (winter)
mango (spring)

The four seasons drink is a combination of different fruits. It can be considered a fruit punch. However, the fruits in a fruit punch are usually not fruits that represent the four seasons.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Two Sacrifices

In a game of speed chess I sacrificed my knight and bishop for victory. My opponent, Suitmaker of the USA, played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 f6

Black makes a bad move. It is better to play exd.

4. dxe fxe

Black does not want to play dxe because then I capture his queen and take away his right to castle. However, fxe allows a knight sacrifice for a strong attack.

5. Nxe5 dxe
6. Qh5+ Kd7

Now it is difficult for black to protect the king.

7. Bb5+ c6
8. Ba4 Bd6
9. 0-0 Kc7
10. Nc3 h6

Black prevents Bg5, but he is far behind in development.

11. Be3 Nf6
12. Qe2 Qe7
13. a3 Bg4

The threat to my queen is easily countered.

14. f3 Bd7
15. b4 Na6

I begin an attack on the queenside.

16. b5 Nc5
17. bxc bxc
18. Bxc5 Bxc5+

I give the initiative to black. Here Kh1 is better.

19. Kh1 Bd4

I am on the defensive.

20. Qd3 Rad8
21. Rab1 Bb6

Black blocks the b-file.

22. Qa6 Bc8
23. Qc4 Rd4
24. Qb3 Rhd8

Nb5+ wins the rook but I miss this move.

25. Bxc6 Kxc6

I sacrifice my bishop to further expose the black king and strengthen my control of the b-file.

26. Qb5+ Kb7
27. a4 Ka8

I advance a pawn against the pinned bishop. It is understandable that black wants to move the king out of the pin, but this move is a mistake because he cannot defend b8. Here black needs to play Be6 so that the rook on d8 can defend the back rank.

28. a5 Bc5
29. Qb8#

This game features two sacrifices and a blunder by black on the third move. Black loses because his king is too exposed and his pieces lack development. Even so, I make a few inaccuracies which briefly allow black to seize the initiative. Fortunately for me, though, black's initiative is short-lived.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mate with Queen and Knight

In a game of speed chess, I mated my opponent with my queen and knight. My opponent, Grenouille of Ireland, played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Qf6

Black brings the queen out early.

4. 0-0 a6
5. Ba4 Nge7
6. c3 d6
7. h3 Bd7

Now black has the option of castling queenside.

8. d4 exd
9. cxd h6
10. e5 dxe

With the black king in the centre, I decide to open lines of attack.

11. dxe Nxe5
12. Bxd7+ Nxd7
13. Nc3 0-0-0
14. Be3 g5
15. Bd4 Qg6

I skewer the queen and rook.

16. Bxf8 f6
17. Qd4 Qg8

Black makes a mistake. He wants to capture my bishop, but now the pawn on f6 can be captured with Bxf6.  A better move for black is Ne5. Though I can play Bxf6, I make a different move.

18. Qa7 Qxh8
19. b4 Nc6
20. Qa8+ Ncb8

Ndb8 gives the black king another escape square.

21. b5 Nb6
22. Qa7 N8d7
23. bxa bxa
24. Qxa6+ Kb8

The black king is too exposed.

25. Nb5 Nc8
26. Rab1 Bc5
27. Na7+ Bb6
28. Nc6#

My knight and queen combine to give mate.

Black has nearly as much material as white, but he loses because his pieces are all on the back rank, they are uncoordinated and his king is too exposed.  Though he brings the queen out early, she does not play a big role in the game. On h8, she is too far to defend her own king and too far to attack the enemy king.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Offensive Battle

In a game of speed chess, I checked my opponent four times in a row before mate.  Earlier in the game, he delivered three checks in a row. The game was a true offensive battle.  My opponent, Billybob111 of the USA, played white.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. d4 Nf6
2. e3 g6

White usually plays c4 here.

3. Be2 d5
4. h4 Bg7

I am ahead in development.

5. Nc3 Nc6

White's move suggests that he may not wish to castle kingside.

6. b3 e5
7. dxe Nxe5
8. Ba3 b6

The white bishop prevents me from castling kingside.

9. h5 c5
10. hxg fxg
11. Nf3 Nxf3+
12. Bxf3 Bb7

Material is even, but I have a space advantage.

13. Be2 Qd7
14. Bb5 Bc6
15. Bxc6 Qxc6

I am happy that white's powerful light-squared bishop is no longer on the board.

16. b4 0-0-0
17. bxc bxc
18. Qf3 Ne4

The white knight is pinned because my bishop targets the rook on a1.

19. Qg4+ Kc7
20. Qf4+ Kb7
21. Rb1+ Ka8

White has no more checks.

22. Rb3 Nxc3

White blunders.  With the rook on b1, the knight is no longer pinned.  Here he should play Nxe4. Now I win a piece.

23. Rxc3 Bxc3+
24. Ke2 d4

I want to open more lines of attack against the white king.

25. f3 Qb5+
26. Kd1 dxe+
27. Kc1 Bd2+
28. Kd1 Bb4+
29. Kc1 Bxa3#

It is special to have four consecutive checks and then deliver mate. The white queen and rook are unable to come to the defence of the king. Though queen pawn openings often lead to closed games, this one becomes very open.

This game is memorable for several reasons.  White never castles in the game, and I decide to castle queenside.  We both have relatively exposed kings, and we deliver a series of checks.  The difference is that I win a piece on the 23rd move, and later use a discovered check to win another piece and mate the white king.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Homophones are words which are pronounced the same but differ in meaning.  English is a language which has several.  Sometimes the words are spelled the same and sometimes they are spelled differently.

The words rose (flower) and rose (past tense of rise) are spelled the same but have very different meanings. On the other hand, through and threw not only have different meanings but are spelled differently.

Here are a few examples of English homophones:

aisle isle I'll
two too to
there their they're
we'll wheel
some sum
blue blew
son sun
won one
sale sail
for four

English has many examples of homophones, words which share the same pronunciation but differ in meaning. Homophones can have the same spelling or a different spelling, but they must have different meanings. Homophones that have the same spelling are also known as homographs and those that have a different spelling are known as heterographs.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Salmorejo is a Spanish soup originally from Cordoba.  It is similar to gazpacho but has fewer ingredients.  It only has tomatoes, garlic, bread, olive oil and salt and is often garnished with serrano ham and boiled egg.

Here is the recipe:

1 pound tomatoes
1 clove garlic
white bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Peel the tomatoes and remove the cores.  It is easy to peel them if they are boiled first.  Soak a slice of bread in the tomatoes.  Take out the bread and set aside.  In a blender, puree the tomatoes and garlic. Add half of the bread and puree.  Continue to add the bread and olive oil until the liquid is smooth.  Add salt to taste.   Chill the puree and serve in bowls with chopped serrano ham and boiled egg.

Salmorejo is a delicious and simple dish.  It is usually enjoyed in summer but for me it can be enjoyed in any season.

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