Secret Garden

“I happen to have a solution for you and Hannah,” said Dr. Voist, “I want to mention a few things before you consider the notion, however. As a neurosurgeon, I look at peoples’ brains all the time. Hannah has a very rare chemical imbalance. It is similar to many imbalances which are easily cured completely with non-addictive medications which usually have minimal to no side effects. These medications, be them hundreds in their number, are not what will help Hannah’s imbalance. There exists only one medication which will, and it still has a 5% chance of not working. I think it will. Our only drawback is that the medication is a new experimental one. It has only been prescribed in the US a few times this last year and is manufactured in Mexico. It will be legal here in the States for a six month time frame and will either be manufactured here or will be unavailable in this country. I think it will work for her, yet it is a tentative solution at best. If you want to try this option, I have a dosage recommendation, one pill a day with breakfast. I would like to see Hannah in seven days, and if everything is okay, within twenty, and then we will consider our options.”

“What are the chances of addiction or side effects?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “I do not think there will be any side effects, and the medicine is a non-addictive chemical which acts very minimally on the balance of brain chemicals -just enough to make things right. Hannah will not notice if she has taken anything, and the twitch in her left eye should no longer occur.” Mr. Goldbeck looked over to Hannah who was listening to every word. “The medicine is experimental?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “It is a new medicine, however I am surprised it has not been manufactured, before. It is a very simple extraction from an herb a doctor in South America isolated. Once it solves the problems it can and will in a healthy way here in the US, which I think and hope it will, pharmaceutical companies will make it here. It may cost a little more then, however it will no longer be experimental.”

“Will her imbalance change over time?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “I am sorry, sir. No. The medication should make her okay, perfectly normal even in adulthood, but she will, in all likelihood, need to take it indefinitely.” “Is the medication expensive?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “No,” said Dr. Voist, “I can get enough free samples of it to last six months. I can even report the success of our story in order to help get the medicine made here in America, so long as it works properly.” “And the new medicine is safe?” asked Hannah. “Safer than Aspirin” said Dr. Voist.

Mr. Goldbeck and Hannah agreed to try out the medicine. Since her birth, she had a twitch in her left eye. Being eleven, she was having trouble reading in school and her fellow classmates were tempted to make fun of her eye. An intelligent, beautiful, and honest girl, the new medication, Zyphan, would hopefully work safely.

The next day Hannah took her medicine and ate an over-easy egg with a piece of toast with jam and a large glass of milk. Her normal eye twitch was still there all day. You get what you pay for, thought Mr. Goldbeck. The next day she took the medicine again, as prescribed, and ate another decent breakfast. Her twitch was still there, yet she could not tell if it had gotten better. At least it did not worsen. The next few days she stayed true to her practices and the twitch bothered her much less. It was if she never had one.

The week flew by and Mr. Goldbeck and his daughter, Hannah, went to see Dr. Voist. The doctor checked her out and asked her a few questions. She said the twitch went away gradually. The doctor kept a close eye on Hannah for about twenty minutes while having a conversation with Mr. Goldbeck. During their previous visit, Hannah’s eye would have twitched at least one time during ten minutes. The doctor was sure the medication worked.

“Have you experienced any health issues such as having to go potty too often or rashes?” asked the doctor. “Not that I know of,” said Hannah, remaining as honest as possible. Mr. Goldbeck had is concerns, yet he thanked the doctor. “I think you will be fine,” said Dr. Voist. “Be sure not to miss our next appointment. It is important to make sure that their exist no side effects and that the medication is still performing properly.” Mr. Goldbeck and Hannah thanked the doctor once more and promised to return as requested.

The twenty days flew by. Hannah did better in school with her reading and her twitch was a thing of the past, did not even occur. She went with her father to the doctor who said he planned to write a good report to help facilitate the new medication’s manufacture in the United States.

During the next five months Dr. Voist did what he could to send information to the right people and entities. The medication did not work for other children and adults throughout the country. Whether it was because people did not take the medicine properly or practiced improper dieting was unknown to him. To his and Mr. Goldbeck’s disdain, the medicine was not able to be made in the United States. The medicine was also unable to be obtained in the US, and Dr. Voist spoke with Mr. Goldbeck about possibilities.

“The twitch in Hannah’s eye is minimal,” said Dr. Voist, “However I understand your dilemma. She does better in school and the children don’t make fun of her eye anymore. From my perspective, I wanted the medicine available to keep her brain chemicals in balance in a healthy way. The imbalance does cause her eye to twitch, however it can also effect both cognitive development and overall thought process. I do not have an alternative medication. If you do not want Hannah’s imbalance to return, you are going to have to go to Mexico for the medicine. I have an address of a pharmacy down there. It is cheap in comparison to other medicine. Your only problem is having to leave and come back with it. It won’t be illegal to bring it back, as you will have a prescription. One trip and you should have enough to last her for three years. The medicine won’t stay ‘viable’ after that, however by then there is the chance Zyphan can be manufactured here. It’s our only hope, for now.”

This news was no problem for Mr. Goldbeck. He was happy he was going to be able to get the medicine, after all. A trip to Mexico would not be too hard, he had vacation time stacked up from his corporate job from three years back. Hannah would be okay, and within three years the medicine was sure to be available in the US.

Mr. Goldbeck spoke with those whom he worked with and planned to take a trip down to Mexico. What fun. All went well. His boss did not mind and things were sure to be okay at work. His SUV was less than two years old and running well, as he always kept it maintained properly. He even had a spare gas tank installed up in the back of the vehicle from when he went to Canada the year before hunting elk with some of his co-employees. The trip was sure to be a success.

The first day of Mr. Goldbeck’s vacation came and he kissed his daughter on the forehead, as well as his wife, as he had his SUV packed and ready to go before daylight, thanks to a double java mocha he drank at 5AM. He gave Hannah’s younger brother, Willy, a mild noogie, and departed.

The open road was great, as was Mr. Goldbeck’s GPS navigation system and cruise control. Whoever said the interstate highway system showed no signs of beautiful country? Mr. Goldbeck begged to differ, as the scenery was far more impressive than the routine life he had been living.

Mr. Goldbeck crossed the border with no problem and made his way south. The GPS worked perfectly. Nine hours into Mexico, he found the Dr.’s office on the map Dr. Voist gave him and went inside.

Mr. Goldbeck knew at least sixty words in Spanish, yet was still happy to find that the doctor he was speaking with was fluent in many languages. Having a long conversation, the Mexican doctor explained how simple the medication was and why it was rare. The plant, common even further south of them, contained a rare chemical which acts very minimally on humans’ brains with a very specific chemical imbalance. Mr. Goldbeck, the curious and intelligent man he was, asked the doctor how difficult it would be to extract the chemical from the plant by hand. “Totally easy,” said the doctor, and drew a diagram on paper showing how to do such a thing with water and a few simple forms of glass ‘apparati.’

“Would it be hard for me to find a plant of this nature?” asked Mr. Goldbeck. “No,” said the doctor, and he drew Mr. Goldbeck a map to a small city further south. Mr. Goldbeck thanked the doctor and departed with 1,000 pills of Zyphran. Mr. Goldbeck decided to travel south, surely it would be no problem to find this plant. After all, it was common.

Mr. Goldbeck, who often went by Ron, drove for a while in the night down a dirt road. He pulled over tired and slept ’till sun up and continued to drive. He drove and drove and drove, only occasionally seeing an old sign on the dirt road indicating he was on the right path to the village he was headed to.

Ron found the village. He spoke with people and found a medicine woman, who said she would happily give him his choice of five of one the plants for some dinero. Ron handed her a hundred and said the plant was important. The medicine woman nearly fainted and brought him to her small backyard. She had all kinds of small plants and fruit bushes growing in pots and flower beds on top of old malnourished and dry soil. “I would give you all five of them,” she said, “But I need to keep four to save seeds.” Mr. Goldbeck nodded as he understood. “I keep them here even though they grow wild and are not too hard to find,” she explained, “I keep them to keep the seeds.” She brought him back inside and showed him a large preservative jar half full of seeds of the rare plant. “Though I cannot give you but one plant, I can give you a sack of seeds,” she said. Mr. Goldbeck thanked her happily and gladly accepted a sack of seeds and the mid-sized plant of the five he saw. She thanked him, too, and he headed north.

Crossing the border with a plant and a sack of seeds was all Mr. Goldbeck had ever dreamt of, not to mention the pills with a prescription which looked like he could have written it himself, short a little blue stamp on the left side of the document. I might as well be smuggling contraband. Again, Mr. Goldbeck was no fool. He knew the customs at the border would at least inquire of his reason for travel. His medication would be on the front seat with the prescription.

The rear seat of his SUV contained an under-seat compartment with a key-hole lock for storing hunting rifles. Only a few hours from the border, Mr. Goldbeck slowed to a stop beside the road and carefully locked up the plant and the seeds under the back seat. It should be fine for three hours. He drove to the customs and they asked him to step out of his SUV. Ron did so and noticed some mud on the bottom of his vehicle, it was not much, however it was there. The officers brought a drug dog who scoped out the vehicle and did not find anything, and the officers inquired of the pills on the front seat. “Asthma medicine for my daughter,” said Mr. Goldbeck. Two officers looked at the prescription and let Mr. Goldbeck depart.

Ron drove his SUV up the interstate, relieved. He did not forget about the plant under the back seat and pulled over after driving for half an hour or so.  He pulled the plant and the seeds out. He put the seeds and the pills and the prescription in the center console, and secured the plant in a middle seat with a seat built. The A/C was fine, so he left the windows up. Ron drove all the way home, safely, only stopping once for gasoline.

Ron’s wife was happy he made it back and he still had five days left before returning to his job he loved and endured. His wife thought the plant was illegal and he assured her that it was not. Hannah was happy that she would not have a twitching eye for the next three years, at least, and they all went to sleep.

The next day was Saturday morning and Ron’s wife, Spring, woke up early to analyze the medicine plant. “Do you think it makes flowers?” asked Spring. “It has to,” said Ron, “Because it makes seeds. It is probably an annual.” She was amazed with these notions. “We have to hide it,” said Spring, “It’s pretty but we cannot risk it being taken. It’s not against the law if they don’t know.” “Honey, it is not illegal; no one will know we have it.” “Our friends and neighbors come here, will they not see it? We have to keep it secret; I am telling you.” “What do you suggest we do spring? Put it in a cabinet with a fan and a light?” Spring went deep into thought. Ron watched as she continued to process ideas.

“The bookshelf,” said Spring. “What?” said Ron. “Our bookshelf in front of Auntie’s room.” Auntie was Spring’s sister who stayed with them a while when sick and moved to work in another city once well. “The bookshelf is in front of one of two large walk-ins of the room. Let’s knock off a door knob, paint a hole, and install a weight-pulley.” “A what?” asked Ron. “It will be like in the movies,” said Spring, “You pull a specific book from the shelf and it opens to reveal the space behind it. You can grow the seeds and keep the plant alive in there. I am sure you can ventilate it somehow.” “We have a windowsill,” said Ron. Spring looked into his eyes with a pleading puppy-dog expression. “It’s for Hannah,” said Spring, and Ron decided construction was fun.

Spring and Ron analyzed the bookshelf and the closet and took measurements and went to the hardware store. They came back with all the supplies they found deals on and a two foot-long receipt. They worked together over the weekend and turned the bookshelf into a revolving door, the kind like in the movies, complete with a weight pulley. They re-painted the entire wall on the other side with matched paint, and it was perfect. The completed project included a vented flush closet and an ambient light system, controlled with a timer and misting mechanism. The plant from Mexico was sure to flourish, and the few seeds Ron and Spring planted would surely grow fine. Already able to grow well, they were confident the plants would sprout and survive, and they did.

Throughout the next year Hannah took her medicine and ate breakfast every morning. Dr. Voist was always happy to see her and happy that her eye was fine. He promised he would continue his efforts in getting Zyphran manufactured in the US. Zyphran was never made in the US, yet Ron and Spring kept their secret garden healthy for years and years, learning to pollinate the plants with a live bee once a year and also how to make the medicine to the proper dosage for Hannah.

Hannah went to college to become a professor and did so. She stayed on her medication and married a colleague she fell in love with, and they all lived happily ever after.

Thoughts on “A More Healthy Beat”

I wrote “A More Healthy Beat” for one reason -the ending. In reading about how to write short stories, I often come across the same information more than one time. Advice for dialogue is almost always redundant, mentioning things like, “Characters should not utilize entire sentences, one character should not go on and on all the time, written dialogue presents more clarity than most every-day conversation,” ect…

Literature on writing stories always mentions plot, character, and setting development, as well as other techniques. One thing I have noticed in some of the more preferable short stories that I have read was an abrupt, humorous or witty conclusion. This technique is advised by some as a near necessity for crafting short stories. For this reason, I wrote this one.

I’m writing out this post; however, for another reason. Though a humorous conclusion is often applauded and enjoyed by many readers, I at times wonder if a more developed denouement is a far better choice from a literary perspective. It seems to me a simple joke or humorous play on words could be simply that, and a story should not have to include such an ending to be seen as more preferable than other stories.

To each their own, I say, on this. If you have a good idea for a story, write it out. If you can think of some form of in-depth or ironic conclusion and are worried the story may sound like a shallow joke, go ahead and write it anyway. Chances are someone will enjoy it, and you can further develop more in-depth concepts for better ideas afterwards.

Thank you for reading. 🙂

A More Healthy Beat

The night was cool and crisp and the weather was nasty. A tunneling mist blew leaves in front of the two officers, in front of an eighty-year-old street lamp in front of them. The night was also very dark in the woods across the way, except from part of the light of the street lamp. Noting the nostalgia of the old street light, the female officer looked up to its salmon glow to see its metal curls turned green from mild surface corrosion.

“Nice street lamp,” said Officer Lilac, the female, with a sniffle.

“Nice, indeed,” said Officer Attens, a large male police officer who was also her partner, “I am going into the small shop behind us to get us a coffee.”


Officer Attens entered the small store, as Officer Lilac endured the scenery. They were used to policing various areas of town on foot, usually bringing in criminals during nocturnal hours.

Within moments, Officer Attens returned with a small package in his pocket and two cups of steaming coffee with sugar and creamer added.

“Thank you,” said Officer Lilac.

“No problem,” said Officer Attens, handing her her cup of coffee. He then proceeded to pull out the small package.

“What’s in the package?” asked Officer Lilac.

“The cashier said the coffee was complementary. I thought it was the uniform. He said it was complementary so long as I made a purchase. So, I killed to birds with one stone.”

“How so?”

“Well, I got us both a coffee, and I got you this.”

Officer Attens handed Officer Lilac a package of allergy lozenges.

“Why thank you,” said Officer Lilac, “I was starting to get a sniffle. What possessed you to get these for us?”

Officer Attens chuckled and said, “I am of the mind that we should be catching criminals, not colds.”

Hobby Photos

I have four photos to share. One is of the chess board I made above. The sixty-four squares are made of poplar wood. The dark squares are dipped in a polyurethane coating I had yet to experiment with. It is not translucent in any way, which I was, in a way, hoping it would be, yet it will surely suffice for the dark squares of the board. The light squares are dipped in clear coat poly. The photo is not actually the final product, as I poured two more coats of clear poly on it. The squares were not totally perfect squares, causing the board to have small gaps. I wanted to fill the few gaps so the top surface would be smooth enough to dust with a microfiber cloth and not to be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

The base the squares are glued to is made of an inexpensive, thin plywood, yet the surface on the bottom of the board looks very nice, especially for its cost, and was obtained from Home Depot. If you notice the four holes in the corners of the board, they are there for functionality reasons. They look neat, yet I wanted to be able to get the board to a table from a wall and back again in a small amount of time if necessary. I thought the concave curves on the four edges added to the board’s aesthetic value, a sort of alien look, and am glad they came out without much flaw.

It is the first chess board I have made with wooden squares. Not too much of a hassle when compared to other project ideas I have in mind for chess boards. I am happy with the final result, so far. It should be dry within seven days or so, and will be totally dry within forty, in all considered probability.

Though I have a job and attempt to spend time off work reading (about writing and partially for pleasure) and writing and do, I also [at times] work some with wood projects/electronics. Below is an idea I had for someone for Christmas in 2016. Now far enough into 2017 for it to be nowhere near Christmas-time anyway, I still could not get the idea out of my mind, so I went ahead and processed the material. I hope the recipient of the box enjoys it, even if I ‘sort of’ made it to test the dye.The wood is stained with a water-based blue dye obtained from WoodCraft. The wood itself is an inexpensive hobby ‘white-wood’ plywood sold at Walmart for small picture frames and totally useful for most small box projects. In order to get the box looking at least as good as it does, despite the corners having no dove tails, I sanded it and re-coated it more than once. I made sure the corners were rounded, yet I left the lid mostly trapezoidal. The box has eight magnets for the lid to close/open, and I went with two steel wires instead of an actual hobby hinge for functionality reasons.

The lining is an inexpensive fabric I got from Walmart a few years ago for Christmas projects, ect. It is shiny on one side, so I was pleased with being able to use it for the project and think it came out nice enough. I sewed the corners and top of the fabric by hand into seams and used superglue to secure it within the box. I also used superglue for joining the planks of wood together. I have actual wood glue, yet I usually just use superglue. It will dry very quickly and still bonds wood corners with good strength. With wood glue, it is best to clamp pieces together and wait a day or two for the bond to dry. I’m not sure if I would do that, even if I was retired with nothing to do. At all.

The braided wire on the top of the box is a four-braid steel wire idea I chose over a knob, because the little knobs I got for making other boxes had a long screw I was unable to saw short. I liked the idea and the final looks of the braid, so I was happy with the final result. On top of the dye is clear coat polyurethane to present a gloss finish. I was worried that the poly would turn the dye green, yet it did not, to my joyful surprise. Even if the box carries an amount of character, I was happy with the final result.

Here is a photo of a houseplant I got yesterday.


The last thing I needed was another plant to care for, yet this one caught the passionate side of my eye. After looking up “Celosia” on the web, I read that the leaves can be used for stew. I have four grapefruit trees I grew from seed that are over a year and a half old and are almost four inches tall, now, as I have cared for them, and my other house plants, daily. I also have a purple basil plant (in the old photo I still use for the header of jcm3blog), now about three years old. I am happy with it (the basil plant) and surprised I was able to keep it alive this long. The purple basil has one branch that is totally purple, so I think it is pretty impressive. For about four months, it was almost entirely green. I have a dark chili-pepper plant that makes little lavender flowers. It actually somehow was pollinated and I witnessed the development of small, spherical, red chili peppers that will probably fade to black upon their ripening.

Years ago I attempted to force pollination with pumpkin flowers and it did not work out (as I did not choose to use cubiculum, or bee feet), so I was surprised to see little chili peppers with no attempt in trying to pollinate the flowers. I think the process may have occurred from misting the plants.

This year, for Christmas 2016 visitors, I got an evergreen tree/bush. It is about three feet tall and is living, though I have yet to change its 35 some-odd pound soil mixture. Why would I even possibly need another house plant? Well, this about the best time of the year to get one -between now and about ten weeks from now, I think. This plant (the Celosia) caught my eye, as well as did another dozen, yet I chose it and plan to keep it healthy. It is an impressive plant, as its stem is lucid redish-pink in hue, and its flowers look like feathers. One way or another, I hope you like the photo of the Celosia.

Thank you for reading this post. On a personal note, I have been busy reading yet recently did write a sci-fi short story after reading Ben Bova’s book on how to and plan to edit it soon enough. I am still working on my fantasy novel and plan to write some other stories and a sci-fi novelette or two as well, soon enough. Click the diamond below to check out one of the world’s best publications of sci-fi and fantasy. Have a nice day. 🙂

A Personal Hello

Howdy folks. It has been a while since I posted a personal set of sentences with regards to the on-goings of my current endeavors.

This last year was an exciting one for me, and I hope 2017 will be as rewarding. I am a dishwasher. Though I love cooking and have cooked for restaurants; for now, I wash dishes and help out around and in a kitchen. I know it does not sound too exciting, yet I work with a special group of interesting people, all intriguing in their own way.

So how could I claim to know anything about writing or pursue it, at all? Well, I have always enjoyed a wonderful story. From the first C. S. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien books I read as a child, to the best-sellers full of action, and the classic novels, and importantly, the books on writing, I have enjoyed the consideration of the craft.

Recently, I read that, if we were to all go over to the Smiths, adding an apostrophe to the end of their name would not be necessary. Simple enough; I did not know it, though.

Lately, I have been reading a few grammar books and a few pages of books I read cover to cover on, well, writing. Last year, I wrote 55% of a fantasy novel I plan to continue working on, eventually, and it dawned on me that I was writing with less grammatical authority than I once carelessly played with. Though the novel is important to me and will probably be enjoyed by most who read it (I hope), I put it aside for a few weeks to work on other things.

When I made the shelves you can see here in another post, I had some left-over wood. I thought about making small wooden items and dove into a wood-working hobby. I made a few things I liked. The other items maintained a classic sense of character.

Towards the end of the year, I decided I was rushing the fantasy novel and chose to set it aside to cool off a while. As said, I mad the decision for more than one reason. I wanted to read a little more on writing to improve my technique, yet I also realized I never received publication from anywhere. Sure, I self-published a collection of short stories with Amazon, yet I felt as though I would enjoy pursuing becoming a published author another way.

I wrote two stories. One was a fantasy story, and the other one a story with a talking plant and an alien. I liked both of the stories and sent them to a publication that turned them down. No big deal; the stories were not what they were after. I still have both stories and have one of them posted for review in a writing workshop, here. The workshop is great. I can review stories and offer helpful advice, as well as see what others say about what little work I have posted there, so far.

Excited with the extra time it made to set the fantasy novel aside, my mind flooded with many ideas for new stories. I have always liked fantasy the most of the genres of fiction. I liked sci-fi, too. I decided that sci-fi allows for more creativity, and chose it as my favorite genre, because anything can happen anywhere with any kind of being within its realm of consideration.

These things taken into consideration, I remembered a list (here, under qualifying markets) of publications trusted for their publishing history with sci-fi and fantasy. I decided to look into “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction”, as they have been publishing since 1949. I subscribed to their publication after reading the December issue, and the publication impressed me with the quality of its stories. No doubt, it is no easy task to write a story that compares to the ones they choose to publish. I decided to give it a shot, anyway.

I wrote down an outline of what I thought would be a great sci-fi story. I liked the 25,000 word limit. With a novelette, an author can include plenty of description within a story, including characters and setting. As I wrote down the outline for my idea, I watched “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel. It was a re-run, yet I could not help but to consider an intriguing short story inspired from the interesting show. I wrote down a quick outline, thinking I would simply write the short story out, then work on the more important sci-fi novelette.

The next morning I woke up and began writing out the short story. 9,000 words into it by the afternoon, I realized I should go ahead and think of it as a novelette, because I had yet to get to the mid-point of the story. The paragraphs near the end were the driving force behind the story, and I eventually was able to include those notions. Four or five days later I finished the novelette, and it contained 22,200 words. A real feat, for me, as my previous word-count record for a single day was about 4,000 words. My goal is usually 2,000 while working on a novel (not that I have ever finished one).

I had the novelette written and another one to do. I spent five weeks re-writing and revising the work. I finally decided it was good enough and submitted it to the publication. They rejected it about ten days later; I may review it a few times and send it elsewhere to attempt its publication. I like the novelette; that is why I spent so much time trying to make its text flawless.

That pretty much brings us to the present with my on-goings. I like my job and love to write. I made a few wooden Christmas gifts this year and people liked them. I am participating with oww to review and post work, and I plan to continue with efforts for completing the fantasy novel as well as my primary sci-fi novelette idea. Though I have still as of yet received publication for a work of fiction; it will be a goal for a while. I have played a bit of chess this year and continue to learn more with how to play the game in a more efficient way.

Thank you for reading. Live long and prosper. 🙂

The Punisher Opening

Simply stated, in this opening white moves out the two central pawns two spaces, and the to knights to the center of the board. If you turn the board around, you can see that the knights resemble two eyes and the two pawns resemble teeth. The idea of a skull came to mind, so I call this opening the Punisher Opening. Upon these first four moves, the opening also involves moving the king-side bishop to protect the king-pawn, then castling.

The order in which the first four pieces are moved varies depending on the moves of the opponent, yet I have found it to be the most effective to move the king pawn first and go from there. this is one of the most effective openings I use while learning more about the game, and it is easier to explore than many I have seen in books on chess.

The Punisher Opening is a variation of a four-pawn sacrifice opening explained by Kasparov in one of his books on chess. In his book, he recommends lining up bishop-knight-knight-bishop on the four central squares from c4 to f4. While this can be a highly effective technique, I have found the Punisher Opening to have its advantages, especially when playing against more advanced players or against

I have used this opening nearly every match I have played, lately, and have found it difficult to find a more preferable or efficient way to play the game. It is good for castling early in the game, as well as planning an efficient, safe attack to obtain checkmate.

The recommendations above mention six possible first moves for white. You can also usually use this opening easily as a defense when moving second, depending on the first moves made by white. While playing the Punisher Opening on the white side, plenty of moves can be made by the opposition. Such moves are easily defended against and usually can lead to winning an advantage in the game.

Two most common defensive strategies for the opening involve pinning one of the knights (or both) with a bishop on the b4 or g4 square. I recommend moving a pawn up one space on either side to attack the bishop, while the white knights are still protected by pawns. The other moves I make often with this opening are the outer pawns. Moving a pawn to a3 or h3 (or both) keeps the black knights from forming fork attacks early in the game.

After setting up power in the center of the board with this opening, it is usually best to consider the development of the bishops. The king-side bishop can be placed in front of the king or the queen for castling, or even c4. I usually move the queen-side bishop to e3 or f4. Remember to consider the two central pawns. They can be sacrificed or used for attack or both, and are usually protected by both knights and the queen. The king-side pawn, while protected by the king-side bishop ‘can’ rise some complication, because the queen is no longer able to protect the pawn in front of her if the bishop is protecting the king’s pawn. Her pawn is still protected by the knight on the right side, yet it is usually best to keep him there for defensive purposes, especially when castling on the king’s side. One way or the other, with cautious examination of possible moves, these combinations can easily lead to an early-game advantage.

I have found the Punisher Opening to be a highly effective technique and encourage you to explore it as I have. Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoy the Punisher Opening – I think of it as one of my favorite strategies.

If you would like to see an example match, one in which I won against stockfish on level four (of ten levels), break out a notation board and play out the score and score analysis below. You will notice several instances when both the computer and myself had better moves, yet the opening is played partially well, and I did win the match.

[ score:

48.Qxg6#1-0 ]
     Score Analysis:

[Event “Vs. Computer”]
[Site “”]
[Date “2017.01.16”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Guest”]
[Black “Computer Level 4”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B00”]
[CurrentPosition “8/8/6Qk/5P2/2P4p/6BP/1P6/6K1 b – – 0 48”]

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 h6 3.d4 e6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Bd3 Nb4 6.a3 c5 { (+0.20 → +3.56) Blunder. The best move was 6… Nxd3+. } ( 6…Nxd3+ 7.Qxd3 Nf6 8.O-O Be7 9.Bd2 O-O 10.e5 Nd7 11.Ne2 ) 7.axb4 Nf6 { (+3.50 → +6.26) Inaccuracy. A better move was 7… c4. } ( 7…c4 8.Be2 Bxb4 9.O-O Nf6 10.e5 Nd7 11.Bd2 a6 12.Nb5 ) 8.bxc5 Bd7 9.Bb5 { (+6.79 → +4.78) Inaccuracy. A better move was 9. Ne5. } ( 9.Ne5 Bc6 ) 9…Be7 10.Bxd7+ Nxd7 11.O-O b6 12.c6 Nf8 13.h3 dxe4 14.Nxe4 a5 15.Bf4 Ng6 16.c7 Qc8 17.Bg3 f5 18.Nc3 O-O 19.Nb5 f4 20.Bh2 Rf6 21.Qd3 Qd7 22.Rad1 Qc8 23.Rfe1 Qe8 24.g4 fxg3 25.Bxg3 Kh8 26.Nh2 Qc6 27.Ng4 Rf5 28.Ne5 Nxe5 29.dxe5 Rf7 30.Qg6 Kg8 31.Rd2 { (+10.90 → +5.18) Mistake. The best move was 31. Nd6. } ( 31.Nd6 Bxd6 32.exd6 e5 33.Rxe5 a4 34.Qxf7+ Kxf7 35.d7 Qxc7 ) 31…Bc5 { (+5.59 → +12.02) Inaccuracy. A better move was 31… Qxb5. } ( 31…Qxb5 32.Qxe6 ) 32.Red1 Be7 33.Rd7 Rc8 34.Rxe7 Rxe7 35.Rd8+ Qe8 { (+19.60 → +21.11) Inaccuracy. A better move was 35… Re8. } ( 35…Re8 36.Nd4 ) 36.Rxe8+ Rcxe8 37.f4 { (+30.38 → +14.10) Mistake. The best move was 37. Nd6. } ( 37.Nd6 Rf8 38.c8=Q Rxc8 39.Nxc8 Kf8 40.Nxe7 Kxe7 41.Qxg7+ Kd8 ) 37…Rc8 38.c4 Rcxc7 39.Nxc7 Rxc7 40.Qe8+ Kh7 41.Qxe6 h5 42.Qxb6 Rf7 43.Qxa5 Re7 44.e6 { (+23.08 → +14.49) Inaccuracy. A better move was 44. f5. } ( 44.f5 Rf7 45.e6 Rf8 46.Qe5 h4 47.e7 Re8 48.f6 gxf6 ) 44…Rxe6 45.Qf5+ g6 { (+127.74 → +318.00) Inaccuracy. A better move was 45… Rg6. } ( 45…Rg6 46.Qxh5+ ) 46.Qxe6 Kh6 47.f5 { (Mate in 2 → Mate in 2) Excellent. Faster mate A better move was 47. Qg8. } ( 47.Qg8 g5 48.fxg5# ) 47…h4 48.Qxg6#

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Score Double Oh Won

For the chess lover in all of us, there is the learner, the problem solver, the one who enjoys to win. I have been playing chess since I was around six and have never really mastered the game. I have yet to play in a tournament, yet I love to solve puzzles and love chess, too. Carleson defends his title in NY tomorrow – keep up with the twelve rounds, here on

Recently, I have attempted to better my game in chess. I am pretty good, however when it comes to winning against people with higher e-l-o ratings, such as 1,300 or above, I am usually short a few combinations. Having just won a match on with a guest account, I was happy to win against stockfish, the strongest chess engine known of, on level five (there are ten levels). I moved first. For anyone who would like to play this match out with algebraic notation, here is the ‘score analysis’ of the game:

Strength White Black
Excellent 23 17
Good 5 6
Inaccuracy (?!) 9 6
Mistake (?) 2 4
Blunder (??) 0 3
Forced 0 2
Avg. Diff 0.84 1.21
1. d4 a6 2. e4

B00: King’s Pawn Opening: St. George Defense, 2.d4

d6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. h3 Bxf36. gxf3 Nf6 7. d5 Ne5 8. f4 Ned7 9. e5

INACCURACY (-0.08) A better move was 9. Be3

(9. Be3(+0.69) g6 10. Qd2 Bg7 11. O-O-OO-O 12. Kb1 Rc8 13. Be2 c5)9… Rg8

BLUNDER (+2.93) The best move was 9… dxe5

(9… dxe5(+0.01) 10. Bg2 exf4 11. Bxf4g6 12. O-O Nh5 13. Bd2 Bg7 14. Bf3)10. exf6 h5 11. fxe7 Bxe7

INACCURACY (+4.01) A better move was 11… Qxe7+

(11… Qxe7+(+3.36) 12. Be3 g6 13. Qd2O-O-O 14. O-O-O Bg7 15. Bg2 Kb816. Kb1)12. Be2

INACCURACY (+3.38) A better move was 12. Qe2

(12. Qe2(+3.89) Nf6 13. h4 Kf8 14. Bd2Ng4 15. Ne4 Bxh4 16. O-O-O Nf6)12… Rh8 13. O-O Nb6 14. Re1 Qc8

INACCURACY (+4.44) A better move was 14… Qd7

(14… Qd7(+3.54) 15. Kg2 O-O-O 16. a4Kb8 17. a5 Nc8 18. Bxh5 g6 19. Bg4)15. Bf3

INACCURACY (+3.36) A better move was 15. Kg2

(15. Kg2(+4.44) Kf8 16. Bxh5 g6 17. Bg4f5 18. Qd4 Rh7 19. Bf3 Nd7)15… Kd8

INACCURACY (+4.36) A better move was 15… Qxh3

(15… Qxh3(+3.43) 16. Qe2 Qh4 17. Bd2Kf8 18. Ne4 Bf6 19. Ng5 g6 20. Bc3)16. Bg2 g6 17. Qe2 Bf6 18. Be3

INACCURACY (+3.99) A better move was 18. Ne4

(18. Ne4(+4.72) Qf5 19. Nxf6 Qxf620. Bd2 Na4 21. b3 Nc5 22. Qe3 Rg8)18… Qf5

INACCURACY (+4.79) A better move was 18… Re8

(18… Re8(+3.92) 19. Ne4 Bxb2 20. Rab1Na4 21. c4 f5 22. Rxb2 fxe4 23. Rb3)19. Bxb6

INACCURACY (+4.25) A better move was 19. Ne4

(19. Ne4(+5.49) Na4 20. Nxf6 Qxf621. Qd2 Kc8 22. Bd4 Qd8 23. Bxh8 Qxh8)19… cxb6 20. Ne4 Bh4

MISTAKE (+5.73) The best move was 20… Qxf4

(20… Qxf4(+3.91) 21. Nxf6 Qxf622. Qe3 b5 23. c4 Kc7 24. cxb5 axb525. Qb3)21. Rad1

MISTAKE (+4.03) The best move was 21. Nxd6

(21. Nxd6(+6.17) Qxf4 22. Nxb7+ Kc823. d6 Ra7 24. Red1 Bxf2+ 25. Qxf2Qxf2+)21… Qxf4 22. Ng3

INACCURACY (+2.56) A better move was 22. Rd3

(22. Rd3(+3.42) f5 23. Ng3 Rc8 24. Qe6Kc7 25. Rf3 Qg5 26. Rc3+ Kb8)22… Rc8

MISTAKE (+3.99) The best move was 22… Kc7

(22… Kc7(+2.42) 23. Qd3 Rae8 24. Qc3+Kb8 25. Re4 Qf6 26. Qe3 Qd8 27. Qf4)23. Qd2

MISTAKE (+1.79) The best move was 23. c3

(23. c3(+3.80) Qf6 24. Rd4 Rc7 25. Ne4Re8 26. Qe3 Re5 27. Nxf6 Rxe3)23… Qh6

BLUNDER (+5.21) The best move was 23… Qxd2

(23… Qxd2(+1.71) 24. Rxd2 Re825. Rxe8+ Kxe8 26. Re2+ Kd7 27. c3 b528. a3)24. Qb4 Bxg3 25. fxg3 Qf8 26. Qxb6+ Rc727. a4

INACCURACY (+4.64) A better move was 27. h4

(27. h4(+5.83) Kc8 28. Qa7 Rg8 29. Rd3Qd8 30. Rde3 Rf8 31. Qa8+ Kd7)27… f6

MISTAKE (+5.80) The best move was 27… Kc8

(27… Kc8(+4.22) 28. Qa7 Qd8 29. c4 Re830. Qa8+ Kd7 31. Qa7 Kc8 32. Bf1)28. c4 Rg8

BLUNDER (+9.97) The best move was 28… Kc8

(28… Kc8(+5.72) 29. Re6 Rxc4 30. Rxd6Rc2 31. Rxf6 Qc5+ 32. Qxc5+ Rxc533. d6)29. c5 Qf7

MISTAKE (+19.03) The best move was 29… Kc8

(29… Kc8(+14.40) 30. cxd6 Rd7 31. Rc1+Kb8 32. Rc7 Qc8 33. Re7 Rxe7 34. Rxc8+)30. cxd6 Rf8

INACCURACY (MATE IN 8) A better move was 30… Kc8

(30… Kc8(+24.15) 31. dxc7)31. dxc7+

MISSED MATE (+20.48) Checkmate after 31. Re7

(31. Re7(Mate in 7) Qxe7 32. dxe7+ Ke833. exf8=Q+ Kxf8 34. Qxc7 h4 35. Qxb7Ke8 36. Rc1 hxg3 37. Rc8#)31… Qxc7 32. Qe6

MISSED MATE (+22.20) Checkmate after 32. Qb4

(32. Qb4(Mate in 13) Re8 33. d6 Qc834. Rxe8+ Kxe8 35. Re1+ Kf7 36. Re7+Kg8 37. d7 Qf8 38. Bd5+ Kh8 39. Rh7+Kxh7 40. Qxf8 b6 41. Bg8+ Kh8 42. Qxf6+Kxg8 43. Qxg6+ Kf8 44. d8=Q#)32… Qc5+ 33. Kh2 Qc2

INACCURACY (MATE IN 4) A better move was 33… Kc7

(33… Kc7(+39.51) 34. Rc1 Kb8 35. Rxc5Rh8 36. Qxf6 Rg8 37. Qf7 Ka7 38. Qxg8)34. Qe7+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 6) A better move was 34. d6

(34. d6(Mate in 4) Qe2 35. Rxe2 f536. Qe7+ Kc8 37. Qc7#)34… Kc8 35. Qxf8+ Kc7 36. d6+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 6) A better move was 36. a5

(36. a5(Mate in 4) Qe2 37. d6+ Kd738. Rxe2 g5 39. Re7#)36… Kd7 37. Qe7+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 2) A better move was 37. Re7#

(37. Re7#(Mate in 1))37… Kc8 38. d7+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 3) A better move was 38. Qe8#

(38. Qe8#(Mate in 1))38… Kc7 39. d8=Q#

Thank you for reading, and go Carleson go! 🙂

A Chess Photo

About twenty two years ago I read a not-so-lengthy book on playing chess written by Gary Kasparov. I lost the book years ago, yet I think it was titled, “Gambit”. In the book it showed a few opening strategies, one of which I enjoyed learning to use better over the last twenty years while playing chess from time to time. I am an average player, for the most part; I still have a great deal to learn.

I am currently a fan of Magnus Carleson, hope he wins in NY in November.

As I played better and better players online, I started losing more and grew tired of chess about six years ago. These last few weeks I decided to learn to play better and not to worry about winning or losing. I have enjoyed playing the app Chess with Friends,” which can be played on iPhones or Smartphones (and maybe online).

Here is an engine I have yet to win against: nc3bb4.

There are plenty of openings in chess. This one is my favorite for quick moves early in the game, especially for ‘rapid chess’ – if necessary, the center four pawns are sacrificed for position and sometimes an efficient, safe checkmate.

Here is a photo of the goal of my current favorite opening in chess. It is not always easy to accomplish, yet does have its advantages. The four leading pieces are a bishop, two knights, and the other bishop. The queen has yet to move and white has castled. Of course, to get the pieces into this position, plenty of the opposing pieces would not be arranged as seen, as it takes plenty of moves to get the pieces to where they are in the photo. If one manages to get them there, however, again, it can be beneficial for mid and end-game tactics.


I love the game and cannot wait to get better with it. There are plenty of ways to play chess online, here is one (over 15 million players play there).

Thank you for reading and have a nice day. 🙂

A Sad Day for Gardening

For weeks I have been meaning to re-pot my purple basil plants. They were getting huge and it had been three months since I changed out the miracle grow. I cared for them once or twice a day for months and months. They were so big, in fact, that when I turned them over to remove old dirt from its root system, the main stems broke almost completely. There were two plants which grew over time into a sizable shrubbery, including numerous small lavender colored flowers. They were in great health, and I was happy that they were, as I am not really that good with gardening to begin with and was impressed that the plants were even alive.

So, I had to throw out one of the stems. The other one happened to still have a small branch coming off it with some leaves and a few flowers, so I gave it new soil and will see if it lives and how long. I now have a small Charlie Brown Christmas tree purple basil sprout -no more shrubbery. It will be less to maintain, and I am sure it will survive, so it was not a total tragedy, merely a 98% form of depression.

Basil is edible, even though I was growing the plants for no reason other than some pursuit, experimentation, something to behold, somehow.

Nevertheless, here is a photo of the branches which broke off. The remaining part of one of the plants is still alive and will hopefully make it. I did not take a photo of it, yet here is the photo of what I plan to dry out for seasoning.


For me, a plant that lived to this size (from left to right is about three feet) was quite an accomplishment, anyway. Thank you for reading and have a nice day. 🙂