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 in half. 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 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. 🙂

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 nc3bb4.com.

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 “Chess.com”]
[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 uschess.org.

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 chess.com 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! 🙂