Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The title of my latest poem is Explorers, a tribute to the explorers who sailed across the globe to discover land and treasure.


They sailed across vast open seas
In search of new land and treasure.
They embarked on distant journeys
Ready to face untold danger.

Brave explorers of former years
Promised to fulfill their duty.
Learning to overcome their fears,
They sacrificed for their country.

They added knowledge of cultures,
Discovering spices, tea and gold.
Monarchs awaited their treasures,
Precious goods to be bought and sold.

Though their vessels sailed long ago,
Explorers brought worlds together
With famed discoveries that echo
In our spirit of adventure.

My poem has four stanzas of four verses each.  In each stanza the odd and even-numbered verses rhyme.  Each verse is eight syllables long.  The final two verses of the poem tie the explorers of the past to the explorers of the present.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bishop Sacrifice

I recently won a game of speed chess with a bishop sacrifice.   My opponent, Pacontono of Colombia, played black.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Nf6

Black plays the Two Knights Defence.  Here it is more common for black to play Bc5.

4. 0-0 Nxe4

White usually plays Ng5 here, but I choose to castle.

5. d4 Na5

Black probably expects me to play Bb3, but I decide to sacrifice the bishop.  The black knight is out of position, the black king has not castled and I can gain two pains for the sacrificed piece.  Also, the sacrifice takes away black's right to castle.

6. Bxf7+ Kxf7
7. Nxe5+ Ke8
8. Qf3 Nf6

Black saves the knight and prevents mate.

9. Bg5 Be7
10. Re1 Rf8
11. Bxf6 Rxf6

I capture the black knight to remove a defender of the king and check black on my next move.

12. Qh5+ g6
13. Qxh7 d6
14. Nxg6 Kd7

Black wants to find a safe square for the king.

15. Rxe7+ Kc6
16. Nc3 b6

I move another piece close to the enemy king.  Black plays b6 with the hope of developing the bishop and creating an escape square for the king.

17. b4 Nc4
18. b5+ Kb7
19. Nd5 Rf8

Black has four pieces on the back rank.

20. Rxc7+ Kb8

Black's move is forced.

21. Nge7 Rh8

I can ignore the threat to my queen because I have mate in one.

22. Nc6#

I mate black with a decisive bishop sacrifice.  Black decides to capture my bishop on his fifth move with Na5, but this is a mistake.  It allows me to play a sacrifice that leaves the knight out of position and subjects the black king to an irresistible attack.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vocabulary of Austrian German

Austrian German differs from other varieties in pronunciation and vocabulary.  Many words are different from those used in standard German.  Here is a list with the standard word on the left and the Austrian on the right:

Abitur Matura (high school diploma)
Geldautomat Bankomat (ATM)
Schornstein Rauchfang  (chimney)
Treppe Stiege (stairs)
Krankenhaus Spital (hospital)
Umschlag Kuvert (envelope)
Anlieger Anrainer (resident)
Kartoffel Erdapfel (potato)
Johannisbeere Ribisel (currant)
Brotzeit Jause (snack)
Blumenkohl Karfiol (cauliflower)
Aprikose Marille (apricot)
Mais Kukuruz (corn)
Tomate Paradeiser (tomato)
Pflaume Zwetschge (plum)

Many of the words in the list are related to food.  The Austrian words for food are often similar to those of neighbouring languages such as Hungarian and Slovenian.  However, despite the differences in vocabulary between Austrian German and standard German, the speakers of both varieties usually have little difficulty in understanding one another.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Types of Adverbs

Adverbs are a common part of speech.  They can modify a verb or an adjective.  In many cases, they have the suffix -ly.  However, many adverbs do not have this suffix and in fact, adverbs can be classified into many types.

Adverbs of manner often have the suffix -ly.  Examples of adverbs of manner include quickly, nicely and regularly.  Adverbs of manner without the -ly suffix include well, fast and hard.

Adverbs of frequency are also very common.  They include always, often and never.

Adverbs of degree modify adjectives.  They include very, really and too.

Adverbs of comment form a large group.  They include fortunately, obviously and hopefully.

Adverbs of certainty are another group.  They include definitely, probably and maybe.

Adverbs of time are frequently used.  They include today, now and soon.

Adverbs of place are also frequently used.  They include here, there and nowhere.

Conjunctive adverbs can be used to connect independent clauses.  They include however, furthermore and  therefore.

Adverbs are an important part of speech.  Though they usually modify verbs, they can also modify adjectives.  Along with adverbs of manner, adverbs can be classified into many other groups.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Winning With a Retreat

In a game of speed chess, I retreated my knight to win a piece.  My opponent, Chog81 of Argentina, could not save his piece.  I played white.  Here are the moves of the games along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 h6

Black prevents Ng5.

4. h3 Nf6
5. 0-0 Bc5
6. c3 d6
7. d4 exd
8. cxd Bb6

I have a strong pawn centre.

9. Nc3 Bd7
10. e5 dxe
11. dxe Nh5

The knight is out of position on h5.  Ng8 is necessary.

12. Re1 0-0
13. Nh2 Qc8

The knight is trapped.

14. Qxh5 Nd5

The black knight threatens to fork my rooks on c2.

15. Bb3 Be6

I can prevent the knight fork with Bd1, but I decide to play more actively.

16. Ng4 Bxb3
17. axb3 Nc2

The black knight forks my rooks.

18. Nxh6 gxh6

I sacrifice my knight to destroy the pawn shield around the black king.

19. Bxh6 Bxf2+

The check is not dangerous.

20. Kxf2 Nxe1
21. Qg5+

Black resigns because I have mate in one.  The black king must move to h8 or h7.  I then mate with Qg7 on my following move.

Retreats are often defensive moves, but they can also be used to attack.  My thirteenth move, Nh2, is not a defensive move.  It creates a discovered attack on the black knight.  On black's eleventh move, Ng8, a retreat of the knight to the back rank, is the only move that saves the piece.  Though the move is purely defensive and makes it difficult for the knight to take part in the game, it is better than Nh5.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bach, Mozart and Beethoven

Many musicians consider Bach, Mozart and Beethoven the greatest classical composers.  They are undoubtedly among the most popular composers of all time.  Though their music shares similarities, it also has differences.

Bach lived during the Baroque era.  Unlike Mozart and Beethoven, Bach wrote no operas.  Beethoven, however, only wrote one, Fidelio.  The music of Bach is complex.  It has a very even tempo, is cyclical and makes extensive use of the organ.  His music also uses counterpoint.  This means that there is more than one melody at the same time.  In contrast, the music of Mozart and Beethoven has a melody and accompaniment.

Mozart lived during the classical era.  His music sounds more conservative than that of Beethoven.  It is very expressive and structured.  Though he died young, he was very productive and wrote more music than many composers who lived twice as long.  Much of Mozart's music is very joyful and romantic.

Though Beethoven lived during the classical era, his music is often a reflection of the romantic era.  In fact, his music is a reflection of both the classical and romantic eras.  In addition, his music went through three distinct periods in which it changed and developed.  Beethoven tended to focus on orchestral pieces.

Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are famous classical composers whose music is played throughout the world.  Familiarization with their styles makes it easy to distinguish the music of the three composers.  The music of Bach is characterized as complex and uses counterpoint.  The music of Mozart and Beethoven has a melody and accompaniment, but Mozart is more conservative and less dramatic.  Without question, these three composers left an immense contribution to the world of music.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Victory in 9

In a game of speed chess, I used a sacrifice to win my opponent's queen.  My opponent, who played black, was Cravox of Brazil.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1.  e4 c5
2.  d4 cxd
3.  c3 dxc
4.  Nxc3 d6
5.  Nf3 Nf6
6.  Bc4 g6

It is better for black to play e6 in order to challenge my bishop's control of the a2-g8 diagonal.

7.  e5 dxe

Black probably expects me to play Qxd8+ on my eighth move, but I have a better option.

8.  Bxf7+ Kxf7

Black's move is forced.

9. Qxd8

With the loss of his queen, black decides to resign.  Black fails to anticipate my bishop sacrifice which wins the black queen.  I also sacrifice two pawns for a lead in development, but the bishop sacrifice is the one which decides the game.