Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Victory in 14 moves

In a game of speed chess, my opponent resigned after fourteen moves.  He was Poulantzas of France, who played black.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 d6
3. Bc4 Bg4

I can now castle kingside.

4. 0-0 Bxf3

Black makes a bad move.  By capturing my knight, he removes the threat of the pin on my knight.  He also allows me to advance my queen to a good square and put pressure on the f7 square.

5. Qxf3 Qf6

Black wishes to exchange queens, but I do not cooperate.  If I exchange, I help him to develop his knight and we both have one developed piece.  By refusing to exchange, I maintain my advantage in piece development-  I have two developed pieces and black has one.

6. Qb3 b6

Black prevents Qxb7.

7. d4 exd

I sacrifice a pawn to open a diagonal for my bishop and allow the e-pawn to advance.

8. f4 Nc6

Black can now castle queenside, but my next move prevents it.

9.  e5 dxe
10. fxe Qe7

The move Qxe5 is risky because the black king is very exposed.

11. Bxf7+ Kd8
12. Qd5+ Qd7

Once again black wishes to exchange queens but I have a better move.

13. Bxg8 Qxd5

I win a piece.

14. Bxd5 Bc5

If I do not move my king, Black can now play e3+ on his next move. However, the discovered check is not dangerous.  I can play Bxc6 on my next move.  Since this leaves me two pieces up, black decides to resign.

Black makes a number of bad moves in this game.  The move Bxf3 is bad because it is too committal.  It gives up the bishop at a very early stage of the game, removes the pin on my knight and develops my queen. The move Qf6 is also bad because it places the queen on an ideal square for the king knight.  Black's lack of development and exposed king are the reasons for his early resignation.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Quesadilla

The quesadilla is a Mexican dish that is very simple to make.  Either corn or flour tortillas can be used, but in most of the country corn tortillas are more popular.  The exception is northern Mexico where flour tortillas are more popular.  Here is the recipe:

Put a little bit of oil on a frying pan and heat on medium.  Put a tortilla on the pan and add a grated cheese such as mozzarella.  Fold the tortilla in half.  When the cheese melts, turn over and heat until both sides are brown.  Serve with salsa.  Other ingredients such as guacamole and sour cream can also be used.

Though the quesadilla is very easy to make, it is a tasty and popular dish.  By using different types of tortillas and different ingredients, many variations of this dish can be created.  Enjoy!




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Power of the Pin

In a game of speed chess, I defeated my opponent with a pin.  I captured his knight with his rook, but he could not capture because of the pin on his pawn.  If he had captured, he would have lost his rook.  My opponent, who played black, was Mahayahonthar of Burma.  Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d6
3. Nf3 b6
4. Nc3 Bb7
5. Bd3 g6

Black plans to play the double fianchetto.  This places both bishops on the wing, one on b7 and one on g7.

6. 0-0 Bg7
7. Be3 Ne7
8. Re1 Nd7
9. Qd2 0-0

I want to exchange bishops to weaken the defence of the black king.

10. Bh6 Re8
11. Bxg7 Kxg7
12. Qe3 c5
13. dxc Nxc5
14. Be2 Qc7

I clear the d-file for my queen rook.

15. Rad1 Rad8
16. b4 Na6
17. a3 Ng8
18. Nb5 Qc6
19. Bd3 Nf6

Black applies pressure to the e4 square.

20. Nfd4 Qd7
21. Nxa7 Bxe4
22. Bb5 Qxa7
23. Bxe8 Bxc2

Black makes a bad move because I can capture the bishop with my knight on d4.  He should play Nxe8. The move Rxe8 cedes control of the d-file.

24. Nxc2 Rxe8
25. Rxd6 Nd5

The black knight not only controls many squares but also attacks my queen.  However, this move is a blunder.

26. Rxd5

Black resigns.  The move exd5 allows Qxe8.  Already down a piece with a pinned pawn and an inactive knight on a6, black decides not to continue.

Until black's 23rd move, Bxc2, the game is very even.  His 23rd move allows me to win a bishop for the price of a pawn.  However, this is not the critical move of the game.  It is my 26th move, Rxd5, which pins a black pawn and gives me a significant material advantage.  The pin is the key to victory.




Tuesday, July 16, 2013

French fries

The secret for making great french fries is to fry them twice.  This ensures that they are cooked in the centre and crispy on the outside.  It is also important to use potatoes that are low in starch such as russet potatoes.

Here is the recipe:

4 large potatoes
cooking oil
salt

Cut the potatoes and then slice them into thin strips.  Cover with water and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  In a frying pan pour enough oil to deep-fry.  Heat the oil to a medium temperature.  Drain water from the fries, wrap them in a towel and pat dry.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add fries to hot oil.  Fry until fries are soft and begin to turn a golden colour, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Carefully remove from oil and drain.  Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Reheat oil to a medium-high temperature and fry again, stirring frequently, until the fries are golden brown. Fry for about 1 minute.  Transfer to plate and sprinkle with salt to taste.  Serve immediately.

This is a great recipe for french fries.  Of course, you may add other ingredients to your french fries such as mayonnaise, pepper and vinegar.  Enjoy!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ukrainian

The Ukrainian language is similar to both Russian and Polish.  In its use of the Cyrillic alphabet, it is similar to Russian.  However, the vocabulary of Ukrainian is often very similar to that of Polish.

Unlike Russian, Ukrainian does not reduce an unstressed o to a.  In this respect, it is similar to Polish.  Also, the Ukrainian language uses the voiced glottal plosive less than Russian.

One area in which Ukrainian is different from both Russian and Polish is word-final voiced consonants.  In both Russian and Polish, word-final consonants are always voiceless.  In other words, voiced consonants are automatically devoiced word-finally.  This is not the case in Ukrainian-  word-final voiced consonants are preserved.

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language which shares features with both Russian and Polish.  Since Ukraine is located between Poland to the west and Russia to the east, this is not surprising.  The Ukrainian language is a language which is making a comeback since Ukraine gained its independence.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Marzipan

Marzipan consists mainly of sugar or honey which is added to ground almond.  Sometimes almond oil is also added.  It is often added to chocolates and cakes.  The origin of marzipan is not clear.

In Latin American marzipan is often made with ground peanuts instead of ground almonds.  In the Middle East, marzipan is flavoured with orange-flower water.  It can also be made with oatmeal or semolina.  In the Indian state of Goa, cashew nuts are used instead of almonds.

Many historians believe that marzipan originated in Iran.  Others believe that it originated in Spain.  Marzipan is the most famous dessert of Toledo, Spain.

Though the origins of marzipan are not clear, it is enjoyed in many countries.  Lubeck, in northern Germany, is a city which is famous for its marzipan.  Another city, Toledo, claims marzipan as its most famous dessert. Regardless of the origins of marzipan, it is enjoyed by many all around the world.